Social Philosophy and Policy 3 (2):160 (1986)

It is a commonplace of academic conventional wisdom that Marxian theory is not to be judged by the historical experience of actually existing socialist societies. The reasons given in support of this view are familiar enough, but let us rehearse them. Born in adversity, encircled by hostile powers, burdened with the necessity of defending themselves against foreign enemies and with the massive task of educating backward and reactionary populations, the revolutionary socialist governments of this century were each of them denied any real opportunity to implement Marxian socialism in its authentic form. Nowhere has socialism come to power as Marx expected it would – on the back of the organized proletariat of an advanced capitalist society. For this reason, the historical experience of the past sixty years can have no final authority in the assessment of Marxian theory. The failings of Marxist regimes – their domination by bureaucratic elites, their economic crises, their repression of popular movements and of intellectual freedoms, and their dependency on imports of Western technology and capital – are all to be explained as historical contingencies which in no way threaten the validity of Marx's central conceptions. It is not that Marxian socialism has been tried and found wanting but, rather, that it has never been tried
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DOI 10.1017/s0265052500000352
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References found in this work BETA

On Human Nature.Edward O. Wilson - 1978 - Harvard University Press.
Democratic Theory: Essays in Retrieval.C. B. Macpherson - 1973 - Philosophical Review 84 (2):304-306.
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