EUROCOMMUNISM AND THE STATE by Santiago Carrillo
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EUROCOMMUNISM AND THE STATE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An important document by the head of the Spanish Communist Party, a leading exponent of the development known as Eurocommunism. Primarily directed at those within the Marxist fold, this book urges an aggiornamento of dogma, in keeping with the needs of the moment, and the spirit, if not the letter, of past Marxist thought. From the viewpoint of an outsider, much of his argument is common sense in nee-Marxist jargon; from the viewpoint of Muscovite orthodoxy, it is heresy. Not only does Carrillo argue that, in advanced capitalist societies, historical necessity requires a genuine adherence to democratic procedures, but he is critical of Soviet policy in matters the Kremlin persists in deeming sacred--the man even asserts that Trotsky was a revolutionary, and not a Nazi agent. Despite such sins, Carrillo will not admit to being a mere social democrat. He is not, but the program he suggests for a Communist government in Spain is not dissimilar: democratic, rational, national planning; coexistence of a private and public sector; socialization of the decisive levers of the economy (but, as in Eastern Europe, with multinationals extracting profits). There still would be an army, freedom of religion, and everything else. One might wonder what would happen to a Eurocommunist government under duress. Would it un-Leninistically allow bourgeois parties to democratically replace it? Carrillo would say yes, if it happened in good faith, but there are reasons for doubts. He still harbors a messianic vision, complete to the withering away of the state. He views ""monopoly capital"" as the evil and subtle genius controlling advanced capitalist states. He regards violence and dictatorships of the proletariat as viable alternatives in some situations--as in 1917 Russia. Might not a person with such a mind-set be likely to misconstrue a democratic defeat as the work of capitalist subversion, and react accordingly? While admitting some excesses and terrible mistakes, Carrillo sees precursors of democratic attitudes in his Party's past history. Others may see sinister portents. The ultimate significance of Eurocommunism will be elucidated by the course of public events, but this brief work is essential to understanding the intellectual climate in which it emerged.

Pub Date: April 14th, 1978
Publisher: Lawrence Hill