Download e-book for iPad: Communist and Postcommunist Political Systems: An by Stephen White, John Gardner, George Schopflin, Tony Saich

By Stephen White, John Gardner, George Schopflin, Tony Saich

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ISBN-13: 9780312050191

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They coexisted, however, with a rich and democratic community life with which all but the political elite identified more closely. One further aspect of the pre-revolutionary political culture requires some emphasis: the unusually broad scope of government, whether at the local or the national level, extending not simply into matters such as the preservation of public order and the raising of taxation but also into religious affairs, the detailed administration ofjustice and public morals. The state was a major participant in the economic life of the nation, for instance, as the owner of extensive collieries, oilfields, forests, industrial enterprises and railways, and in addition it exercised close control over other sectors of the economy through the provisions of contracts, the regulation of tariffs, the supervision of company affairs and the operation of a factory inspectorate.

The communist countries, in other words, are 'workers' states' in a purely formal sense: ordinary working people are indeed well represented within the parties' mass memberships and in local institutions of government, but they do not predominate in higher-level bodies where national policies are actually formulated. This would matter less if executive and decision-making bodies were genuinely and not just formally accountable to the institutions which elect them, and in which ordinary workers and peasants are typically well represented.

Indeed it is by no means clear that Marxist terms of any kind provide an adequate basis for the analysis of a form of society that Marx himself did not experience and which he refused to discuss in detail. Some writers in the Marxist tradition, such as Feher, Heller and Markus (1983), have argued that Soviet-type Comparative Study oj States 33 societies are in fact best conceptualised in a manner which employs the vocabulary of neither capitalism nor socialism but instead accepts that these are historically unprecedented social formations which require analysis in their own quite specific terms.

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Communist and Postcommunist Political Systems: An Introduction by Stephen White, John Gardner, George Schopflin, Tony Saich


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