Paresh Chattopadhyay: Socialism and Commodity Production: Essay in Marx Revival.

Author:Liodakis, George
Position:Book review

Paresh Chattopadhyay

Socialism and Commodity Production: Essay in Marx Revival, Leiden and Boston, MA: Brill, 2018; 308 pp.: ISBN 9004231641, 123.94 [pounds sterling]

This new book by Paresh Chattopadhyay is presented as a 'humble contribution to the ongoing worldwide endeavour to restore Marx's emancipatory vision of socialism' (1). Apart from a Prologue and a very rich Epilogue (Illusion of the Epoch: Twentieth-Century Socialism), it includes nine chapters (1-9) referring correspondingly to Socialism: Association of Free Individuals, Commodity Production, Simple Commodity Production, Commodity Production and Socialism in Marx's Followers, Socialist Accounting, Anarchist Communism, Guild Socialism, Market Socialism and the Problematic of a Non-capitalist Road to Socialism.

With his astonishing eruditeness, the author has managed to offer a well-researched and adequately documented, both logically and textually, work. Although the author has dealt with most issues included here in his previous work, this book constitutes an advancement as it refers to a wide range of authors and theories, concerning the theoretical problematic and the historic course of socialism, and treats all these theories with a greater detail and a more adequate documentation, based on Marx's (and Engels') work. Apart from all else, the main issues explored in this book include the concept itself and the historic transition to socialism, the historical relevance of commodity production and the law of value, the relevance of commodity production and money under socialism (equivalent to communism), the role of the state and party in the transition and under socialist conditions, the possibility of a transition to socialism/communism without passing from capitalism, the character of proletarian revolution and the social characterization of those regimes (with the Soviet Union as the prototype) that the author considers as (single) Party-State regimes.

In regard to the concept itself of socialism, and contrary to Marx's conception of it as the new society emerging after the supersession of capital, alternatively called communism or free association of producers, Lenin and his followers conceived socialism as the transitional regime between capitalism and communism, and as the first phase of the latter (pp. 125-126, 228). As pointed out, 'Lenin's revision of Marx's notion of socialism by considering it as the first phase of, as well as the transition to communism. ... had far-reaching implications ... It became a...

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