PART 1.  IN WHAT SENSE (IF ANY) WAS THE ‘SOVIET’ SYSTEM CAPITALIST?

Introduction

For two centuries the main stream of Marxian discourse has focused on criticism of ‘private enterprise’ capitalism from the perspective of its negation in a general conception of socialism (which I do not distinguish from communism). Let me call this ‘the capitalism-socialism paradigm’.

The appearance of a previously unknown ‘Soviet’ [1] social system (eventually in a range of variants) challenged this paradigm. Marxian socialists responded to the challenge in one of three ways:

The most common response was to accept the new system as ‘socialism’ (now meaning a lower phase of the collectivistic post-capitalist society, the word ‘communism’ being reserved for the higher phase) or as a transitional system in between capitalism and socialism.