Tony Cliff

Four Reviews

(Summer 1965)

From International Socialism (1st series), No.21, Summer 1965, p.32.
Transcribed by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.



T. Cliff

Figures of Fun

The Communist Economic Challenge
David Ingram
Allen & Unwin, 30s.

This book examines the economic achievements of Russia, Eastern Europe and China and compares the rates of growth with those of the Western countries. Unfortunately the area covered is really too broad for comparison in the short space allotted. The main defect of the book, however, is the fact that hardly any sources are given for the figures quoted. Quite often a statement on the most controversial issue is given in a dogmatic way, without pointing out the statistical pitfalls. To give an example: “In 1962 and 1963 the growth of the Soviet economy slowed significantly, largely as a result of the failures in agriculture, with increases in GNP of some 5 per cent and 3 per cent, compared with gains by the USA of 6 per cent and 4 per cent” (p.27). How were these figures calculated? What sources were used? There is not a clue.



M. Turov

How to Grow?

The Forming of the Communist International
James W. Hulse
Stanford University Press/OUP, 52s.

This book suffers from a one-sided approach to the Communist International, dealing with organisational problems without reference to ideology and with only slight reference to politics. The results therefore, after a lot of research, are very slight.

One lesson, however, shines dearly out of the book, a lesson of vital importance for all Marxists. The communist Parties grew out of existing mass parties: in France the Socialist Party split gave way to the Communist Party, similarly in Germany, Italy, Czechoslovakia, and so on. This should be a guide for revolutionary socialists also in the future.



R. Tennant

Barton is Best

Forced Labour and Economic Development. An Enquiry into the Experience of Soviet Industrialisation
S. Swianicwicz
Chatham House/Oxford University Press, 45s.

A very disappointing book. It spreads too thinly over the question of problems and methods of Stalinist industrialisation and gives very little new information on the question of the labour camps, using little original material on this specific problem. It is hardly worthwhile after Paul Barton’s book on the same subject.



T. Cliff

Change of Sign

The Life of Lenin
Louis Fischer
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 63s.

Louis Fischer has written another book using the old, old card index system. The equations mean the same but the sign has changed. “Stalinism equals Leninism” was a basic equation for Fischer when he was an apologist for Stalin, and is still a basic equation for him now that he is a vicious enemy of the October Revolution. Poor Trotsky, Bukharin and the other Old Bolsheviks, if they had only understood ... There would have been no need for Stalin to dig a trench of blood to separate his regime from Old Bolshevism.


Last updated on 19.10.2006