The “Global South”: Analyses from the Socialist World

Soviet and DDR scholars on the role of the nationally liberated states in the capitalist world economy and the prospects of socialist-oriented development

Matthew Read

26 June 2024

I. Introduction

There has recently been a resur­gence in deba­tes around the deve­lo­p­ment of the capi­ta­list world economy and the poten­ti­ally progres­sive aspects of new inter­na­tio­nal trends such as the expan­sion of BRICS, shif­ting alli­ances in West Asia, and so on. The “chur­ning of the global order”, as Tricon­ti­nen­tal: Insti­tute for Social Rese­arch descri­bes it, is viewed opti­mi­sti­cally by those who see hope in “the Global South’s growing poli­ti­cal demand for sove­reig­nty and econo­mic deve­lo­p­ment”, while others outright dismiss the idea that capi­ta­list states can play any kind of progres­sive role on the world stage.

The follo­wing article seeks to contri­bute to these discus­sions by summa­ri­zing the findings of leading socia­list scho­lars who were working on simi­lar ques­ti­ons in the Soviet Union and German Demo­cra­tic Repu­blic (DDR). At that time, entire acade­mic facul­ties were dedi­ca­ted to deve­lo­ping Marxist analy­ses of the econo­mic, poli­ti­cal, legal, and cultu­ral deve­lo­p­ments in the former colo­nies. Through inter­na­tio­nal confe­ren­ces and jour­nals such as Problems of Peace and Socia­lism, the socia­list states faci­li­ta­ted lively discus­sions amongst workers’ parties and popu­lar move­ments from the Global South. Many of the insights gained during this histo­ri­cal period can help orient our deba­tes today.

It is neces­sary to empha­sise from the outset that this article in not meant to offer an analy­sis of the contem­po­rary world order; the conclu­si­ons reached by these scho­lars pertai­ned to their time (from the late 1960s to the end of the 1980s). We are also not clai­ming here that their analy­ses were correct.

The purpose of the article is rather to make socia­list scho­lar­ship from the “Eastern bloc” acces­si­ble to an inter­na­tio­nal audi­ence. For seve­ral reasons (e.g., language barriers, but also poli­ti­cal preju­di­ces against scho­lars from “the East”), most of these works have been forgot­ten or igno­red during the past 30 years. We believe, howe­ver, that there is much to learn from the dialec­ti­cal mate­ria­list metho­do­logy employed by these analysts. The concrete inter­na­tio­nal situa­tion has undoub­tedly chan­ged since the 1980s, yet the theo­re­ti­cal frame­work deve­lo­ped in socia­list scho­lar­ship can help to orient new analy­ses today.

What was this theo­re­ti­cal frame­work built upon? Its start­ing point was the poli­ti­cal economy of the former colo­nies: how were the concrete socio-econo­mic condi­ti­ons shaping each of the natio­nally libe­ra­ted states and what gene­ral deve­lo­p­men­tal tenden­cies could be iden­ti­fied amongst diffe­rent count­ries? There was a great appre­cia­tion of the unique and deeply contra­dic­tory situa­tion of these states: colo­nia­lism and impe­ria­list depen­den­cies had defor­med their socie­ties by impo­sing capi­ta­list modes of produc­tion on some bran­ches of the economy while preser­ving feudal or even pre-feudal rela­ti­ons in other sectors. Follo­wing poli­ti­cal inde­pen­dence, these socie­ties ente­red a profound process of tran­si­tion from colo­nial parti­tion and subju­ga­tion towards a new social forma­tion. The ques­tion was: on the basis of which rela­ti­ons of produc­tion and under the leader­ship of which clas­ses was this process evol­ving? How was the deve­lo­p­ment of the produc­tive forces and the process of class diffe­ren­tia­tion shaping diffe­rent vari­ants of state power? To what extent were objec­tive anti-impe­ria­list tenden­cies bound up in this process and what role did subjec­ti­vity play in anti-impe­ria­lism? Class struggle was the lens through which these scho­lars analy­zed global deve­lo­p­ments. They rejec­ted black-and-white models (“either capi­ta­list or socia­list”) and instead sought to iden­tify the direc­tion and trajec­tory of diffe­rent states.

When cate­go­ri­zing the former colo­nies, the chall­enge was to iden­tify common deve­lo­p­men­tal dyna­mics amongst a group of states that exhi­bi­ted drasti­cally diffe­rent start­ing condi­ti­ons. There was never unani­mous agree­ment in socia­list scho­lar­ship, but here we try to summa­rize the conclu­si­ons that were most influential.

A brief note on the scho­lars them­sel­ves is also in order, for their back­grounds reflect the quali­ta­tive shift in the charac­ter of acade­mia in the socia­list states: Sergei Tyul­pa­nov, whose work is cited exten­si­vely below, served in the Red Army during both the Russian Civil War and the Second World War. In the late 1940s, he played a central role in the Soviet Mili­tary Admi­nis­tra­tion in East Germany before leaving the Army to become a profes­sor of econo­mics at the Lenin­grad State Univer­sity. Herbert Graf was one of many working-class child­ren in East Germany to be offe­red the chance to study at a workers’ and peasants’ college. After gradua­tion, he worked as a staf­fer to Walter Ulbricht for over a decade before beco­ming chair of the DDR’s profes­sor­ship for “Consti­tu­tio­nal Law of the Young Natio­nal States” in 1971. In this role, he travel­led throug­hout Africa, Asia, and Latin America to advise socia­list-orien­ted govern­ments on consti­tu­tio­nal law. Parviz Khalat­bari, born in Tehran in 1925, fled from poli­ti­cal perse­cu­tion in the Shah’s Iran and sett­led in the DDR in 1956, where he studied at the Humboldt Univer­sity and became one of the DDR’s leading scho­lars on econo­mic under­de­ve­lo­p­ment in the former colo­nies. These were – as Gramsci famously descri­bed it in his Prison Note­books – the “new intellec­tu­als” of socia­list society.

We encou­rage criti­cal enga­ge­ment with this article and welcome all respon­ses or ques­ti­ons via

II. Contextualizing the liberated states in the revolutionary world process

The “Third World”, the “Global South”, and the “deve­lo­ping states” are terms that emer­ged throug­hout the latter half of the 20th century to iden­tify the former colo­nies and depen­dent states across Africa, Asia, and Latin America (the ‘tricon­ti­nent’1). Socia­list scho­lars were wary of such terms for good reasons2, but would often accept them due to their domi­nance in inter­na­tio­nal acade­mic and diplo­ma­tic exch­an­ges. Most often, the term “libe­ra­ted states” was used to describe the former colo­nies, semi-colo­nies, and depen­dent states, although it was also acknow­led­ged that the libe­ra­tion of these states was incom­plete so long as neoco­lo­nia­lism contin­ued to deprive them of econo­mic autonomy.

To begin analy­zing the libe­ra­ted states, socia­list scho­lars sought to contex­tua­lize their posi­tion in the broad histo­ri­cal trajec­tory. The 20th century began with capi­ta­lism growing into “a world system of colo­nial oppres­sion and of the finan­cial stran­gu­la­tion of the over­whel­ming majo­rity of the popu­la­tion of the world by a handful of ‘advan­ced’ count­ries.”3 At its height, this impe­ria­list colo­nial system stret­ched over more than 72 percent of the globe and exploi­ted some 70 percent of the world popu­la­tion. The world economy was charac­te­ri­zed by massive accu­mu­la­tion in the capi­ta­list “metro­po­li­ses” and the deepe­ning of depen­dency in the “peri­phe­ries”. The 1917 Octo­ber Revo­lu­tion then inau­gu­ra­ted the “epoch of tran­si­tion from capi­ta­lism to socia­lism on a global scale”. While there was an ebb in the revo­lu­tio­nary tide in Europe after the early 1920s, this did not last long: the defeat of German and Japa­nese fascism in 1945 opened the path to revo­lu­tion in China and Viet­nam and anti-fascist libe­ra­tion throug­hout Eastern Europe. A socia­list world system emer­ged to coun­ter the (now US-led) impe­ria­list order. The weak­e­ning of the “old” Euro­pean impe­ria­list powers after the Second World War and the upsurge in natio­nal libe­ra­tion move­ments also brought about the collapse of the impe­ria­list system of direct colo­nial rule. As the 1960 “Meeting of Commu­nist and Workers’ Parties” in Moscow descri­bed it:

“Our epoch, whose main content is the tran­si­tion from capi­ta­lism to socia­lism as initia­ted by the 1917 Octo­ber Revo­lu­tion, is the epoch of the struggle of the two oppo­sing social systems, the epoch of the socia­list revo­lu­tion and the natio­nal libe­ra­tion revo­lu­ti­ons, the epoch of the collapse of impe­ria­lism and the liqui­da­tion of the colo­nial system, the epoch of the tran­si­tion of more and more peop­les to the path of socia­lism, the epoch of the triumph of socia­lism and commu­nism on a world scale.”4

There were thus three inter­de­pen­dent curr­ents driving the “revo­lu­tio­nary world process” in this epoch: the socia­list states, the natio­nal libe­ra­tion move­ments, and the working-class move­ments in the indus­tria­li­zed capi­ta­list states. It was on this premise that socia­list scho­lars began study­ing these three curr­ents and the inter­re­la­tion between them.

In 1969, Soviet econo­mist Sergei Tyul­pa­nov published a book entit­led Poli­ti­cal Economy and its Appli­ca­tion in the Deve­lo­ping States in which he argued that the complex econo­mic proces­ses unfol­ding across the tricon­ti­nent could not be adequa­tely unders­tood by the laws formu­la­ted in the “clas­si­cal” poli­ti­cal economy of capi­ta­lism. For one, while many libe­ra­ted states had begun to promote the capi­ta­list mode of produc­tion as the basis for their natio­nal deve­lo­p­ment, their start­ing condi­ti­ons diffe­red greatly from the orig­ins of capi­ta­lism in Western Europe and North America (e.g., they had been defor­med by colo­nia­lism and had no colo­nies of their own through which they could stimu­late primi­tive accu­mu­la­tion).5 Addi­tio­nally, the world economy was no longer charac­te­ri­zed by one compre­hen­sive (capi­ta­list) world system, but by two compe­ting and contra­dic­tory world systems.6 This had signi­fi­cant impli­ca­ti­ons for the laws gover­ning natio­nal econo­mies throug­hout the tricon­ti­nent and the wider world economy: “The mode of produc­tion and the laws of capi­ta­lism are no longer univer­sally binding and omni­po­tent, yet the mode of produc­tion and the laws of socia­lism are not yet opera­ting everywhere.”

As such, Marxist poli­ti­cal economy was tasked with unco­ve­ring the laws that gover­ned this new subject: the natio­nally libe­ra­ted state, which had become a central actor in the epoch of tran­si­tion from capi­ta­lism to socia­lism. Tyul­pa­nov iden­ti­fied three prin­ci­pal crite­ria common to the “deve­lo­ping count­ries”7:

  • Their distinct posi­tion in the world economy and in world poli­tics: “The majo­rity of the form­erly colo­nial and depen­dent count­ries remain inte­gra­ted into the capi­ta­list world system, although they do not belong to the system of impe­ria­list states.”8 While poli­ti­cal inde­pen­dence had ended direct foreign rule and brought grea­ter scope for action, the posi­tion of the libe­ra­ted states in the inter­na­tio­nal capi­ta­list divi­sion of labour had not chan­ged. The laws gover­ning the capi­ta­list world system tended to deepen their econo­mic depen­dence on the impe­ria­list metro­po­li­ses (explo­red more below). The conso­li­da­tion of the socia­list world system, howe­ver, opened the possi­bi­lity for the libe­ra­ted states to progres­si­vely connect to the inter­na­tio­nal socia­list divi­sion of labour and thus gradu­ally decou­ple from the capi­ta­list world economy. As such, while the “first stage of natio­nal libe­ra­tion” was poli­ti­cal in nature (the fight for natio­nal sove­reig­nty), the “second stage of natio­nal libe­ra­tion” had a deeply social charac­ter (a struggle over the path of the country’s future: capi­ta­list or non-capi­ta­list deve­lo­p­ment). (For more on the two stages of natio­nal libe­ra­tion, see here.)
  • The speci­fic charac­te­ristics of their repro­duc­tion process: The colo­nial malde­ve­lo­p­ment of these socie­ties had given rise to multi-secto­ral econo­mies: the country’s econo­mic sectors and bran­ches were not “orga­ni­cally” linked to one another in a compre­hen­sive natio­nal economy. Diffe­rent modes of produc­tion gover­ned diffe­rent econo­mic sectors. For instance, agri­cul­ture was often domi­na­ted by pre-capi­ta­list (feudal, semi-feudal or primi­tive) modes of produc­tion, while craft­work was often regu­la­ted by rela­ti­ons of simple commo­dity produc­tion, and indus­try belon­ged to either a private capi­ta­list sector (owned by natio­nal or foreign capi­tal) or a state sector. At the same time, compa­nies owned by foreign capi­tal (parti­cu­larly in natu­ral resource extra­c­tion) were inte­gra­ted into the repro­duc­tion process of the impe­ria­list states, not of the libe­ra­ted states them­sel­ves: “With a few excep­ti­ons, it is typi­cal of all Afro-Asian deve­lo­ping count­ries that their econo­mies are highly subject to the repro­duc­tive requi­re­ments of impe­ria­list natio­nal and trans­na­tio­nal corpo­ra­ti­ons and the mecha­nisms of inter­na­tio­nal banking capi­tal.”9 The deve­lo­ping count­ries conse­quently conduct the vast majo­rity of their foreign trade not with their geogra­phi­cal neigh­bours, but with the indus­tria­li­zed capi­ta­list states. The econo­mic base of these socie­ties can thus be unders­tood as a “contra­dic­tory socio-econo­mic conglo­me­rate” that is subject to neoco­lo­nial rela­ti­ons of depen­dency.10

  • Their social struc­ture: The previous two factors are reflec­ted in the social struc­ture of the newly libe­ra­ted states. While the exact social constel­la­tion often varies greatly, the main clas­ses of the capi­ta­list mode of produc­tion (bour­geoi­sie and prole­ta­riat) are gene­rally still in the process of forma­tion. As such, inter­me­diary clas­ses (intel­li­gent­sia, administrators/bureaucrats, mili­tary offi­cers, etc.) and pre-capi­ta­list social strata (semi-feudal land­lords, tribal aris­to­cracy, clerics, etc.)11 still exer­cise signi­fi­cant influence over society. The peas­an­try frequently makes up the vast majo­rity of the population.

As these crite­ria suggest, the libe­ra­ted states had to be unders­tood dialec­ti­cally; they were in a profound and contra­dic­tory “process of tran­si­tion” from pre-capi­ta­list rela­ti­ons to another social forma­tion. The ques­tion was: on the basis of which rela­ti­ons of produc­tion and under the leader­ship of which clas­ses was this process unfol­ding in each state? In exami­ning this cross­road at which the libe­ra­ted states stood, Tyul­pa­nov iden­ti­fied three concur­rent but compe­ting tenden­cies that deter­mi­ned the forms and paths of econo­mic deve­lo­p­ment in these states:12

Which of these three tenden­cies will prevail in each state “depends on a complex combi­na­tion of objec­tive and subjec­tive factors” during the second stage of natio­nal libe­ra­tion. While the first two tenden­cies stimu­late capi­ta­list deve­lo­p­ment, only the third tendency – if it can gain the upper hand over the other two – advan­ces through a stra­tegy of non-capi­ta­list deve­lo­p­ment to lay the socio-econo­mic, poli­ti­cal, and cultu­ral foun­da­ti­ons for the cons­truc­tion of socia­lism. The latter is what came to be refer­red to as “socia­list orien­ta­tion” in socia­list scho­lar­ship and is explo­red in detail further below.

With this basic under­stan­ding of the tran­si­tio­nal nature of the deve­lo­ping count­ries and their posi­tion in the revo­lu­tio­nary world process, socia­list scho­lars set out to analyze the libe­ra­ted states in the second half of the 20th century accor­ding to their class charac­ter and socio-econo­mic start­ing condi­ti­ons. The prin­ci­pal cate­go­riza­tion was between capi­ta­list orien­ted and socia­list orien­ta­ted development.

III. The liberated states pursuing capitalist development

The predo­mi­nant tendency in the econo­mic deve­lo­p­ment of the “young natio­nal states”13 was the emer­gence and conso­li­da­tion of the capi­ta­list mode of produc­tion. By the late 1980s, there were appro­xi­m­ately 80 states throug­hout Asia and Africa follo­wing this capi­ta­list path.14 As Tyul­pa­nov obser­ved, the condi­ti­ons in the tricon­ti­nent were far more fertile for the deve­lo­p­ment of capi­ta­lism than for the cons­truc­tion of socia­lism. On the one hand, the colo­nial powers had alre­ady impo­sed the capi­ta­list mode of produc­tion on certain indus­tries during the prece­ding era (e.g., extra­c­tion and proces­sing) and, on the other hand, capi­ta­list rela­ti­ons were spon­ta­neously deve­lo­ping as commo­dity produc­tion progres­si­vely over­tur­ned feudal and pre-feudal forms of produc­tion in craft­work and agriculture.

It is first neces­sary to iden­tify the common charac­te­ristics of this group (the econo­mic base, the class rela­ti­ons, and the charac­ter of the state) before explo­ring their diffe­ren­ces and cate­go­ri­zing them into subgroups.

A. The economic base: Dependent multi-sector economies

“The capi­ta­lism in those Afro-Asian count­ries pursuing capi­ta­list deve­lo­p­ment is not a capi­ta­lism that grew orga­ni­cally out of the histo­ri­cal process of the respec­tive socie­ties. Unlike in Europe or Japan, it was implan­ted as colo­nial capi­ta­lism in the course of the subju­ga­tion and explo­ita­tion of those count­ries. The colo­nies and semi-colo­nial states were inte­gra­ted into the capi­ta­list world economy as depen­dent and exploi­ted compon­ents.”15

The natio­nal econo­mies of the count­ries pursuing capi­ta­list deve­lo­p­ment operate as peri­phe­ral and depen­dent compon­ents of the capi­ta­list world economy. Since signi­fi­cant bran­ches (e.g., the extra­c­tive and proces­sing indus­tries) are owned and control­led by foreign capi­tal, these econo­mies lack a ‘closed’ repro­duc­tion process. A signi­fi­cant portion of their surplus product and natu­ral resour­ces are funneled off to the impe­ria­list metro­po­li­ses, which is often the same coun­try that colo­ni­zed them in the previous era. It is common, parti­cu­larly in sub-Saha­ran Africa, that just one or two raw mate­ri­als domi­nate the exports of a single coun­try. At the same time, pre-capi­ta­list modes of produc­tion remain intact in other sectors of the economy and remain influ­en­tial in the base and superstructure.

To describe the special posi­tion that these states now hold in the world economy, Tyul­pa­nov noted:

“The condi­ti­ons under which the produc­tive forces of the deve­lo­ping count­ries are embedded in the global capi­ta­list divi­sion of labour differ substan­ti­ally from the rela­ti­ons of inter­de­pen­dence that are usual for highly deve­lo­ped specia­li­zed econo­mies. Produc­tion in deve­lo­ping count­ries can be compared to a tech­no­lo­gi­cal process that is not self-contai­ned and is prima­rily control­led by foreign mono­poly capi­tal. Even today, the young natio­nal states still play the role of a ’sub-labo­rer’ in the capi­ta­list inter­na­tio­nal divi­sion of labor.”16

As such, econo­mic, finan­cial, and tech­no­lo­gi­cal depen­dency cannot be over­come by merely incre­asing produc­tion. While certain libe­ra­ted states pursuing capi­ta­list deve­lo­p­ment can at times achieve prono­un­ced econo­mic growth in terms of GDP, this is not accom­pa­nied by an “all-round deve­lo­p­ment of the natio­nal economy and a reduc­tion of depen­dency and explo­ita­tion by inter­na­tio­nal mono­poly capi­tal.”17 The econo­mic contra­dic­tions within the coun­try tend to inten­sify. The social situa­tion of the working masses remains dire. As DDR scho­lar Herbert Graf concludes, the “process of natio­nal libe­ra­tion is not complete”.18

This contin­ued subju­ga­tion also means, howe­ver, that “almost all natio­nal forma­ti­ons in the deve­lo­ping count­ries are objec­tively in antago­ni­stic contra­dic­tion to impe­ria­lism.”19 On the one hand, this contra­dic­tion pushes the libe­ra­ted states towards confron­ta­tion with impe­ria­lism. On the other hand, the inevi­ta­ble inten­si­fi­ca­tion of dome­stic class antago­nisms simul­ta­neously drives the indi­ge­nous bour­geoi­sie to compro­mise with impe­ria­lism so that they can main­tain their social domi­nance at home. The young natio­nal states deve­lo­ping along capi­ta­list lines thus exhi­bit an oscil­la­ting tendency between colla­bo­ra­tion and the aspi­ra­tion for grea­ter econo­mic self-deter­mi­na­tion.20 The latter can be driven by both the popu­lar pres­sure of the working masses or “sections of the embol­dened natio­nal capi­tal that are trying to expand their econo­mic and poli­ti­cal scope” within the capi­ta­list world economy. This can lead to econo­mic and foreign poli­cies that exhi­bit objec­tive anti-impe­ria­list tenden­cies, even when the subjec­tive factor is not expli­citly anti-impe­ria­list – i.e., poli­cies that “parti­ally limit imperialism’s radius of action” inter­na­tio­nally and dome­sti­cally. In some states such as India and Nige­ria, this even culmi­na­ted in a compre­hen­sive reform stra­tegy to improve the posi­tion of natio­nal capi­tal vis-à-vis foreign capital.

B. Class relations: A bourgeoisie caught between collaboration and confrontation

The social struc­ture of these socie­ties is shaped by the depen­dent and multi-secto­ral nature of their econo­mies. The degree to which the bour­geoi­sie has formed as a class “in and for itself” varies greatly across the tricon­ti­nent (this is explo­red below in more detail), but gene­rally there has been a diffe­ren­tia­tion process between compra­dor and natio­nally orien­ted sections of this class.

In its attempt to secure grea­ter econo­mic leeway or even pursue a “capi­ta­lism of its own kind”, the natio­nal bour­geoi­sie in the libe­ra­ted states will often deve­lop a stra­tegy of “natio­nal refor­mism”, which conta­ins “an anti-impe­ria­list compo­nent that varies in strength and consis­tency depen­ding on the coun­try and the speci­fic phase of deve­lo­p­ment.”21 The bourgeoisie’s oscil­la­tion between colla­bo­ra­tion and confron­ta­tion is frequently seam­less: peri­ods of confron­ta­tion can be swiftly follo­wed by peri­ods of colla­bo­ra­tion without there neces­s­a­rily being a change of govern­ment or poli­ti­cal leaders. The foreign policy of non-alignment is an expres­sion of this oscil­la­ting tendency.

It is important to reco­gnize that the forma­tion process of the bour­geoi­sie as a class unfolded very differ­ently in these states than it had in Europe. There were gene­rally three paths along which an indi­ge­nous bour­geoi­sie emer­ged in the newly libe­ra­ted states:

The forma­tion process of the dome­stic bourgeoisie

C. The character and role of the state in countries following capitalist development

“Only in rare cases is the state [in the libe­ra­ted count­ries] the dicta­tor­ship of a bour­geois class, and even in such cases it is of a bour­geois class whose consti­tu­tion is not complete and which has very speci­fic charac­te­ristics. Usually [state power is exer­cised by] a dicta­tor­ship of an alli­ance of bour­geois and pro-bour­geois class forces that are under­go­ing dyna­mic proces­ses of forma­tion and trans­for­ma­tion. The state estab­lished in these count­ries is ther­e­fore a state in tran­si­tion to the bour­geois type.”22

The state in these count­ries is in a process of “tran­si­tion to the bour­geois type”. To vary­ing degrees, the charac­te­ristics of bour­geois state­hood and a corre­spon­ding poli­ti­cal system are emer­ging. Common vari­ants of state power are explo­red further below under “Cate­go­ri­zing the deve­lo­ping count­ries of capi­ta­list development”.

Here, it is important to note the signi­fi­cant role played by the state in the libe­ra­ted count­ries pursuing capi­ta­list deve­lo­p­ment because it is far more prono­un­ced than in compa­ra­ble histo­ri­cal phases of other count­ries.23 The state and state-owned sector in these states is utili­zed by the indi­ge­nous bour­geoi­sie to acce­le­rate the deve­lo­p­ment and expan­sion of the capi­ta­list mode of produc­tion. In this regard, socia­list scho­lars iden­ti­fied a speci­fic kind of “state capi­ta­lism” in these libe­ra­ted count­ries.24 DDR scho­lars Klaus Ernst and Hart­mut Schil­ling argued25 that this state capi­ta­lism exhi­bi­ted a contra­dic­tory dual charac­ter, which embo­died both reac­tion­ary and progres­sive-demo­cra­tic aspects:

“The econo­mic acti­vity of the state serves on the one hand as a cata­lyst for private capi­ta­list entre­pre­neur­ship, partly also for the expan­sion of foreign mono­poly capi­tal, as well as for the realiza­tion of the func­tion of the state as ‘the coll­ec­tive capi­ta­list’, which exploits the working class in the state sector and, through the redis­tri­bu­tion of natio­nal income, impo­ses the burdens of econo­mic deve­lo­p­ment on the working masses of the people. To a certain extent, this compen­sa­tes for the lack of dyna­mism and the pecu­liar lethargy of dome­stic private capital.


On the other hand, state capi­ta­lism also brings to bear anti-impe­ria­list tenden­cies and those requi­re­ments of econo­mic deve­lo­p­ment which purely profit-orien­ted private capi­tal is unable to meet. It is also a means for advan­cing the coll­ec­tive natio­nal inte­rest in over­co­ming back­ward­ness and dependence.


The problem is, the dome­stic bour­geoi­sie under­stands this anti-impe­ria­list, coll­ec­tive natio­nal inte­rest in capi­ta­list terms. In other words, it equa­tes this inte­rest with its own class inte­rests: with the crea­tion of more favorable condi­ti­ons for the explo­ita­tion of capi­tal, a higher share in the over­all global capi­ta­list system, and a compe­ti­tive limi­ta­tion of foreign capi­tal and neo-colo­nial exploitation.”

In the 1980s, certain Soviet scho­lars such as Karen Brutenz began arguing that the pros­pect for “natio­nally inde­pen­dent capi­ta­list deve­lo­p­ment” were grea­ter than socia­list scho­lars had hitherto main­tai­ned: “The idea that depen­dency will inevi­ta­bly become deeper and deeper in all cases – a notion that is wide­spread in the lite­ra­ture and has a tendency towards fata­lism – is not enti­rely correct. In prac­tice, there is no influ­en­tial social class or poli­ti­cal group that is fore­ver bound to the perspec­tive of depen­dent capi­ta­list deve­lo­p­ment.”26 Nevert­hel­ess, this progres­sive deve­lo­p­ment “does not abolish the contra­dic­tions with impe­ria­lism, nor does it weaken them. Rather, it modi­fies them by intro­du­cing the element of inter-capi­ta­list contra­dic­tions.”27

D. Categorizing the liberated states following capitalist development

Given the hete­ro­gen­eity of this group of states, a meaningful analy­sis must diffe­ren­tiate and cate­go­rize them accor­ding to certain prin­ci­ples. Socia­list scho­lars used various crite­ria for doing so, but gene­rally used the contra­dic­tion between colla­bo­ra­tion and confron­ta­tion as their start­ing point. Writing rela­tively early in the 1960s, for instance, Tjul­pa­nov propo­sed a very broad diffe­ren­tia­tion between the “progres­sive-bour­geois states” (those curr­ently seeking to streng­then their econo­mic inde­pen­dence) and the “reac­tion­ary-bour­geois states” (those seeking to inte­grate with impe­ria­lism).28

Buil­ding off this diffe­ren­tia­tion in the late 1980s, Graf advan­ced two methods for cate­go­ri­zing the count­ries follo­wing capi­ta­list deve­lo­p­ment. First, he empha­si­zed the need to have a deeper under­stan­ding of the level of socio-econo­mic deve­lo­p­ment in these states. The mate­rial condi­ti­ons of produc­tion ulti­m­ately shaped their posi­tion and pros­pects in the world economy. He accor­din­gly formu­la­ted four subgroups, poin­ting out that the boun­da­ries between them are rela­tive and fluid:29

Socio-econo­mic cate­go­riza­tion: accor­ding to the level of the produc­tive forces (1980s)

1. Very low or low level deve­lo­p­ment of produc­tive forces

  • Agri­cul­ture is domi­na­ted by pre-capi­ta­list (or even pre-feuda­list) rela­ti­ons of produc­tion. Natio­nal indus­try exists only in a rudi­men­tary form. The capi­ta­list sector is leading the direc­tion of the natio­nal economy, but it does not predo­mi­nate quantitatively.
  • Examp­les: many Sub-Saha­ran states, Nepal, Bhutan, etc.

2. Inter­me­diate level of deve­lo­p­ment of produc­tive forces 


  • Bour­geoi­sie and prole­ta­riat have alre­ady formed but are still in the active process of forming them­sel­ves as a class “for themselves”.
  • Examp­les: Indo­ne­sia, Bangla­desh, Paki­stan, Sri Lanka, Tuni­sia, Morocco, Cote d’Ivoire, Sene­gal, Kenya, etc.
  • To this can be added those states in which modern produc­tive forces and capi­ta­list rela­ti­ons parti­ally and insu­larly exist (espe­ci­ally in extra­c­tive indus­tries) and where the still wide­spread semi-feudal or patri­ar­chal social struc­tures are in a process of pro-capi­ta­list transformation.
  • Examp­les: Gulf Emira­tes, Saudi Arabia, Nige­ria, Gabon, etc. 

3. Rela­tively high level of produc­tive forces & capi­ta­list rela­ti­ons of production


  • The capi­ta­list econo­mic sector predo­mi­na­tes. The main clas­ses have alre­ady consti­tu­ted them­sel­ves and the contra­dic­tion between capi­tal and labor is stron­gly prono­un­ced. Elements of a natio­nal upper bour­geoi­sie and mono­poly bour­geoi­sie are begin­ning to emerge in vary­ing degrees.
  • Examp­les: India, Phil­ip­pi­nes, Egypt, recently Malay­sia and Thai­land, etc.

4. High level of produc­tive forces and high indus­trial export power


  • The capi­ta­list mode of produc­tion is fully deve­lo­ped and perme­a­tes and shapes all aspects of society”: Due to these factors – but also due to their geogra­phi­cal loca­tion and special poli­ti­cal role – these count­ries repre­sent an excep­tion amongst the former colonies.
  • Examp­les: South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore

Graf’s second method for cate­go­riza­tion rested on an analy­sis of state power in the count­ries follo­wing capi­ta­list deve­lo­p­ment: How and to what extent is bour­geois state­hood deve­lo­ping in these count­ries? He iden­ti­fied three gene­ral forms:30

Poli­ti­cal cate­go­riza­tion: accor­ding to the class nature of the state (1980s)

The natio­nal-bour­geois state

  • Those states in which capi­ta­list deve­lo­p­ment is rela­tively advan­ced and the bour­geoi­sie is largely able to exer­cise poli­ti­cal power alone.
  • Examp­les: India, Paki­stan, Egypt (post-Nasser), Brazil, & other Latin Ameri­can states

The feudal-bour­geois state

  • Count­ries in which feudal rulers evol­ved into a capi­ta­list class or share power with an emer­gent bour­geoi­sie. State power often takes the form of a monar­chy and is prone to colla­bo­ra­tion with imperialism.
  • Examp­les: Morocco, Jordan, Nepal, and much of the Arabian Peninsula

The proto-bour­geois state

  • States in which the indi­ge­nous bour­geoi­sie is in a rela­tively low stage of forma­tion and must ther­e­fore exer­cise poli­ti­cal power in alli­ance with petty-bour­geois inter­me­diary clas­ses or pre-capi­ta­list ruling clas­ses. As a rule, the stron­gly deve­lo­ped bureau­cra­tic bour­geoi­sie is the core of this alliance.
  • Examp­les: many Sub-Saha­ran states such as Zaïre, Nige­ria, Ghana (post-Nkru­mah)

While the degree and inten­sity to which these states are depen­dent on foreign impe­ria­lism varies, Graf stres­sed (in 1988) that they are all still “depen­dent and subor­di­nate compon­ents of the capi­ta­list world econo­mic system”.31

The Iranian-DDR scho­lar Parviz Khalat­bari propo­sed a diffe­rent method, namely, to focus on the rela­ti­ons of produc­tion in agri­cul­ture as the crite­rium for cate­go­ri­zing the deve­lo­ping states.32 This was due not only to the fact that rela­ti­ons in agri­cul­ture varied greatly across the tricon­ti­nent (much more so than rela­ti­ons in dome­stic indus­tries), but also because of the signi­fi­cance of agri­cul­ture in the natio­nal econo­mies of the libe­ra­ted states. As a rule, agri­cul­ture was by far the largest sector of the economy and made up a considera­ble portion of the count­ries’ exports. Khalat­bari iden­ti­fied three groups accor­ding to this criterium:


  1. Land mono­po­li­zed domestically
    • Count­ries in which a nume­ri­cally small class of indi­ge­nous landow­ners hold a mono­poly over land owner­ship and exploits the land­less peasant masses.
    • Examp­les: India, Iraq, Egypt, Brazil, Vene­zuela, Colom­bia, etc.
  2. Land coll­ec­tively owned by village communities
    • Count­ries in which the land is coll­ec­tively owned by tribal village commu­ni­ties and is divi­ded up amongst the peasant fami­lies to work. There is gene­rally no private owner­ship of the land but a tempo­rary right of tenure.
    • Examp­les: much of Sub-Saha­ran Africa
  3. Land owned and control­led by foreign capital
    • Foreign owner­ship of land is parti­cu­larly prono­un­ced and much of the agri­cul­tu­ral sector is thus embedded into the repro­duc­tion process of the “metro­po­li­ses” rather than the deve­lo­ping coun­try itself. Land workers are exploi­ted by foreign firms, often on large plantations.
    • Examp­les: Kenia (30%), Alge­ria (40%), Mada­gas­car (over 50%), Hondu­ras, Guate­mala, etc.

The issue with all three of the vari­ants iden­ti­fied by Khalat­bari is that they produce little agri­cul­tu­ral surplus for the dome­stic economy and are rarely linked to the natio­nal indus­tries. Vari­ant 1, which was the most wide­spread throug­hout the tricon­ti­nent when the colo­nial system collap­sed, is able to produce a surplus, but it is gene­rally consu­med unpro­duc­tively by the (semi-)feudal land­lords. Vari­ant 2 is largely based on subsis­tence farming and thus unable to produce a signi­fi­cant surplus. Vari­ant 3 sees the surplus sipho­ned out of the coun­try by foreign capi­tal. As such, land reform is iden­ti­fied as the cardi­nal ques­tion of the second phase of natio­nal libe­ra­tion in many countries.

IV. The liberated states with socialist orientation

There was a smal­ler number of libe­ra­ted states (appro­xi­m­ately 20 by the early 1980s) in which leading poli­ti­cal forces had reco­gni­zed that further capi­ta­list deve­lo­p­ment of the natio­nal economy and contin­ued inte­gra­tion into the capi­ta­list world system would make it impos­si­ble to solve the basic social problems confron­ting their socie­ties. The leaders of this group of states thus spoke out in favor of a deve­lo­p­ment orien­ted towards socia­lism. While their concep­ti­ons of socia­lism often varied greatly from one another, Soviet and DDR scho­lars grou­ped these count­ries toge­ther under the term “states with socia­list orien­ta­tion”.33

This concept was tied to the theory of “non-capi­ta­list deve­lo­p­ment” (NCD), which had its roots in Marx and Engels’ studies of Russia’s histo­ri­cal deve­lo­p­ment as well as the Comintern’s deli­be­ra­ti­ons on the natio­nal ques­tion in the 1920s. Commu­nist and workers’ parties elabo­ra­ted on the theory after the collapse of the colo­nial system in the 1950s and refi­ned it after deca­des of praxis in the second half of the 20th century. The basic premise was that the libe­ra­ted count­ries – despite their (pre-)feudal rela­ti­ons of produc­tion – could circum­vent the capi­ta­list stage of deve­lo­p­ment with the help of the socia­list states and create the objec­tive and subjec­tive precon­di­ti­ons for socia­lism without having to endure the dicta­tor­ship of the bour­geoi­sie. It was iden­ti­fied as “one of the main ways in which form­erly colo­ni­zed peop­les could approach the socia­list revo­lu­tion” in the current epoch.34

Socia­list scho­lars drew on the expe­ri­en­ces of the Mongo­lian People’s Repu­blic (MPR) and the Central Asian Soviet Repu­blic as successful prece­dents for the stra­tegy of NCD. These states had progres­sed from feudal rela­ti­ons to socia­list rela­ti­ons through a tran­si­tio­nary period of “anti-impe­ria­list, anti-feudal trans­for­ma­tion” (approx. 1921 to 1940). With the assis­tance of the RSFSR, they had then advan­ced through a period of socia­list cons­truc­tion in the 1950s and 1960s to estab­lish a signi­fi­cant indus­trial base. While many of the insights gained from this prac­ti­cal expe­ri­ence could be infor­ma­tive for revo­lu­tio­nary govern­ments in the newly libe­ra­ted states across Africa and Asia, socia­list leaders and scho­lars also reco­gni­zed that the start­ing points of the former colo­nies diffe­red in seve­ral signi­fi­cant ways:

  1. Mongo­lia had not been inte­gra­ted into the capi­ta­list world market to the same extent that many former colo­nies in Asia and (parti­cu­larly) Africa were. The rela­ti­ons of depen­dency in the libe­ra­ted states made the chall­enge of driving out foreign capi­tal far more difficult.
  2. The MPR had shared a border with the Soviet Union and the latter had provi­ded signi­fi­cant econo­mic, poli­ti­cal, and mili­tary support to Mongo­lia. Apart from DR Afgha­ni­stan, the libe­ra­ted states embar­king on the NCD path were often isola­ted from both the USSR and from one another. States like Ghana, Mali, Tanz­a­nia, and Ethio­pia were surroun­ded by states pursuing a contrary path of development.
  3. The 1921 Mongo­lian revo­lu­tion had been led by a party with very close ties to the inter­na­tio­nal commu­nist move­ment. They star­ted with a firm theo­re­ti­cal groun­ding in scien­ti­fic socia­lism and appre­cia­ted the law-gover­ned nature of socie­tal change. This was some­thing that most of the plura­list natio­nal libe­ra­tion move­ments did not start with, although many began to move toward scien­ti­fic socia­lism as the diffe­ren­tia­tion process within the natio­nal libe­ra­tion struggle inten­si­fied (e.g., in PR Congo, PDR Yemen, PR Angola, PR Mozam­bi­que, etc.).

Such factors made NCD in the libe­ra­ted states more vulnerable to impe­ria­list inter­ven­ti­ons and dome­stic coun­ter­re­vo­lu­tion. As Tyul­pa­nov obser­ved (see above), socio-econo­mic condi­ti­ons in the former colo­nies were far more condu­cive to capi­ta­list deve­lo­p­ment than socia­list cons­truc­tion. The path of NCD thus proved tortuous and fraught with contra­dic­tions in the libe­ra­ted states. Some of these problems will be explo­red here along­side the gene­ral deve­lo­p­men­tal dyna­mics of the socia­list orien­ted states.

A. The economic base: The path of non-capitalist development

The start­ing point for these states was the same as those libe­ra­ted states pursuing capi­ta­list deve­lo­p­ment: they were depen­dent multi-secto­ral econo­mies inte­gra­ted into the inter­na­tio­nal capi­ta­list divi­sion of labour. The diffe­rence lay in the poli­ti­cal orien­ta­tion of the leading party, which expli­citly sought to decou­ple from the impe­ria­list world system and elimi­nate capi­ta­list explo­ita­tion dome­sti­cally. The imme­diate tasks were of “gene­ral-demo­cra­tic” nature: “the conso­li­da­tion of poli­ti­cal inde­pen­dence, the carry­ing out of agra­rian reforms in the inte­rest of the peas­an­try, elimi­na­tion of the remnants of feuda­lism, the uproo­ting of impe­ria­list econo­mic domi­na­tion, the rest­ric­tion of foreign mono­po­lies and their expul­sion from the natio­nal economy, the crea­tion and deve­lo­p­ment of a natio­nal indus­try, impro­ve­ment of the living stan­dard, the demo­cra­tiza­tion of social life, the pursu­ance of an inde­pen­dent and peaceful foreign policy, and the deve­lo­p­ment of econo­mic and cultu­ral co-opera­tion with the socia­list and other friendly count­ries.“35

The stra­tegy of non-capi­ta­list deve­lo­p­ment gene­rally included the follo­wing econo­mic measures:

  • Gradual natio­na­liza­tion of the foreign mono­po­lies and the crea­tion of a strong state sector. Foreign and (at a later stage) dome­stic trade were to be brought under state control. These poli­cies would faci­li­tate the progres­sive intro­duc­tion of manage­ment and plan­ning in the natio­nal economy.
  • The steady rest­ric­tion and control over the private capi­ta­list sector, although taking care not to stifle the progres­sive poten­tial of the natio­nal bour­geoi­sie, espe­ci­ally in the light indus­tries and produc­tion of consu­mer goods.
  • A rigo­rous agra­rian reform in the inte­rests of the working peas­an­try to break the power of the feudal landow­ners and tribal/clerical leaders and help to increase agri­cul­tu­ral produc­tion – the main­stay of accu­mu­la­tion in the libe­ra­ted states. The long-term objec­tive was often to orga­nize agri­cul­tu­ral produc­tion and landow­ner­ship under a coope­ra­tive-based system.

Socia­list scho­lars were wary to empha­size that such poli­cies did not lead to the estab­lish­ment of unique non-capi­ta­list rela­ti­ons of produc­tion.36 NCD did not repre­sent a “third way” between capi­ta­lism and socia­lism, but rather a tran­si­tio­nary phase in which pre-capi­ta­list and capi­ta­list rela­ti­ons of produc­tion would be progres­si­vely repla­ced through a series of inter­me­diate stages that could lead to the crea­tion of socia­list rela­ti­ons. The spon­ta­neous deve­lo­p­ment of commo­dity produc­tion was to come under conscious direc­tion the revo­lu­tio­nary-demo­cra­tic state so as to prevent the emer­gent bour­geoi­sie from usur­ping power. In short, NCD was a way of fulfil­ling the histo­ri­cal role of the capi­ta­list mode of produc­tion – laying the poli­ti­cal, mate­rial and socio-econo­mic foun­da­ti­ons for socia­lism – without relin­quis­hing poli­ti­cal power to the bour­geoi­sie. This was a vola­tile process that, as explo­red further below, requi­red finely tuned rela­ti­ons between poli­tics and econo­mics, between the base and the super­s­truc­ture in the libe­ra­ted states.

B. Class differentiation within the national liberation movement

“A decisive criter­ion for these count­ries – where the power rela­ti­ons are not yet clearly defi­ned in class terms, where not only social but also poli­ti­cal rela­ti­ons are in tran­si­tion – is that the dome­stic bour­geoi­sie does not hold a mono­poly on poli­ti­cal power.”37

The social struc­ture of these count­ries was simi­lar to those in the other libe­ra­ted states: the main clas­ses of the capi­ta­list mode of produc­tion were often only in embryo­nic form, urban inter­me­diary clas­ses domi­na­ted the poli­ti­cal centers of the coun­try, and the peas­an­try made up the vast majo­rity of the popu­la­tion. Because of this social situa­tion, it was not the working class, but “revo­lu­tio­nary demo­crats” from the intel­li­gent­sia or mili­tary such as Kwame Nkru­mah, Abdel Nasser, and Fidel Castro who typi­cally came to enjoy hegem­ony in the natio­nal-demo­cra­tic parties that emer­ged out of the libe­ra­tion move­ment and began stee­ring these states down the NCD path. While some revo­lu­tio­nary demo­crats then adopted scien­ti­fic socia­lism (e.g., Nkru­mah and Castro), others remained distanced and even parti­ally hostile towards commu­nism (e.g., Nasser).

The basic pre-condi­tion for socia­list orien­ta­tion was a) that the bour­geoi­sie did not domi­nate the balance of power amongst the dome­stic clas­ses and b) the revo­lu­tio­nary wing of the natio­nal libe­ra­tion move­ment prevai­led against the conser­va­tive and refor­mist wings, and began forming vanguard parties.38 These “wings” had crysta­li­zed within libe­ra­tion move­ments in the years follo­wing natio­nal inde­pen­dence.39 While inter­nal contra­dic­tions had typi­cally been overs­ha­dowed during the colo­nial era by the common antago­nism with impe­ria­list rule, the diverse clas­ses united in the libe­ra­tion move­ment became incre­asingly conscious of their speci­fic social inte­rests as the coun­try began to deve­lop. This rapid diffe­ren­tia­tion process – which we have previously explo­red concre­tely in revo­lu­tio­nary Mali – gene­rally led to the forma­tion of three poli­ti­cal factions in the govern­ments of the socia­list orien­ted states:

  1. The right, which sought to prevent a further deepe­ning of the revo­lu­tion or even roll back certain poli­cies. Their social basis typi­cally rested on the bureau­cra­tic and commer­cial bourgeoisie.
  2. The left consis­ted of revo­lu­tio­nary demo­crats who progres­si­vely adopted scien­ti­fic socia­lism as their poli­ti­cal philo­so­phy. They were often sustained by trade unions and mass move­ments such as youth and women’s organisations.
  3. The centrists, who oscil­la­ted between the right and left wings, regar­ding both as unneces­sary extremes.

Simi­lar to its role during the anti-feudal strug­gles in the late 18th and early 19th century in Europe, revo­lu­tio­nary demo­cracy in the libe­ra­ted states reflec­ted a parti­cu­lar radi­cal tendency of the petty bour­geois urban strata. As a poli­ti­cal force, revo­lu­tio­nary demo­crats tended to initi­ally waver between bour­geois and prole­ta­rian class lines. In the natio­nal libe­ra­tion context, this often found its expres­sion in what Soviet scho­lars refer­red to as “non-prole­ta­rian concep­ti­ons of socia­lism”. Theo­ries of “Afri­can socia­lism” or “Arab socia­lism” often down­played dome­stic class antago­nisms and trea­ted the state as a neutral instru­ment that could be used to bene­fit all clas­ses in the newly libe­ra­ted states. Over time (and espe­ci­ally through the expe­ri­ence of inten­si­fied poli­ti­cal strug­gles within the newly libe­ra­ted states), many left-wing revo­lu­tio­nary demo­crats moved away from such natio­nally speci­fic concep­ti­ons of socia­lism and adopted a class analy­sis into their poli­ti­cal programmes.

As Kwame Nkru­mah of Ghana wrote in one of his last works, Class Struggle in Africa:

“The term ‘Afri­can socia­lism’ is […] meanin­g­less and irrele­vant. It implies the exis­tence of a form of socia­lism pecu­liar to Africa and deri­ved from commu­nal and egali­ta­rian aspects of tradi­tio­nal Afri­can society. The myth of Afri­can socia­lism is used to deny the class struggle, and to obscure genuine socia­list commit­ment. […] While there is no hard and fast dogma for socia­list revo­lu­tion, and speci­fic circum­s­tances at a defi­nite histo­ri­cal period will deter­mine the precise form it will take, there can be no compro­mise over socia­list goals. The prin­ci­ples of scien­ti­fic socia­lism are univer­sal and abiding, and involve the genuine socia­li­sa­tion of produc­tive and distri­bu­tive proces­ses.”40

In a simi­lar vein, Congo­lese leader Marien Ngou­abi argued the follo­wing at a 1975 confe­rence in Dakar, Senegal:

“[T]here is only one socia­lism, scien­ti­fic socia­lism, the science deve­lo­ped by Marx and Engels. In its capa­city as a science, it finds appli­ca­tion ever­y­where, in its gene­ral laws, but in parti­cu­lar areas which depend on time and place, certain laws, less gene­ral, do not apply and are modi­fied as a result. […] We could, in these condi­ti­ons, speak of Afri­can paths to socia­lism, not of Afri­can socia­lism”.41

Revo­lu­tio­nary demo­crats who embra­ced scien­ti­fic socia­lism during the struggle for social revo­lu­tion in their count­ries: Fidel Castro (Cuba), Kwame Nkru­mah (Ghana), Madeira Keita (Mali), Marien Ngou­abi (Congo-Braz­z­aville), and Samora Machel (Mozam­bi­que).

C. Revolutionary state power and the development of vanguard parties

State power was the ques­tion of non-capi­ta­list deve­lo­p­ment. As formu­la­ted by the 1960 Moscow meeting of commu­nist and workers’ parties, the libe­ra­ted states pursuing NCD were in the process of crea­ting a new kind of state power, the “natio­nal-demo­cra­tic state”. This was concei­ved as a tran­si­tio­nal form of state power in which anti-impe­ria­list united fronts were led by a core group of revo­lu­tio­nary demo­crats. Buil­ding off Leni­nist theory at the 7th Comin­tern Congress in 1935, the Chinese commu­nist Wang Ming had concep­tua­li­zed the class charac­ter of this revo­lu­tio­nary state in former colo­nies: It would be “essen­ti­ally an anti-impe­ria­list govern­ment, but not yet a revo­lu­tio­nary-demo­cra­tic dicta­tor­ship of the prole­ta­riat and the peas­an­try. In addi­tion to repre­sen­ta­ti­ves of the prole­ta­riat, repre­sen­ta­ti­ves of the other clas­ses who parti­ci­pate in the struggle for natio­nal libe­ra­tion … will enter this govern­ment.” Importantly, this natio­nal-demo­cra­tic state was unders­tood as a tran­si­tio­nal pheno­me­non that, through a series of inter­me­diary stages, could evolve into the kind of people’s demo­cra­cies that had cons­truc­ted socia­lism in Eastern Europe and Asia.

“The natio­nal-demo­cra­tic state is an instru­ment, but at the same time a reflec­tion of the compli­ca­ted and contra­dic­tory over­all social rela­ti­ons. It thus objec­tively conta­ins a degree of incom­ple­ten­ess, move­ment, and dyna­mism – of lower and higher levels of deve­lo­p­ment. In its charac­ter, its acti­vity, and its forms and methods of exer­cis­ing power, there is a concen­tra­ted reflec­tion of the degree of class struggle and of the share of power that each class holds. The formula of natio­nal demo­cracy as a tran­si­tio­nal model is inten­ded to capture precis­ely this contra­dic­tory move­ment on the basis of class struggle.”42

The coming to power of revo­lu­tio­nary demo­crats thus repre­sen­ted an initial quali­ta­tive shift in the power rela­ti­ons; it was the socio-poli­ti­cal start­ing point for NCD. Yet in this regard, the first phase of NCD was a “revo­lu­tion from above” initia­ted for the people by young mili­tary offi­cers or intellec­tu­als with passive popu­lar support.43 In the context of inten­si­fied inter­nal poli­ti­cal struggle and increased exter­nal pres­sure from the West, the progress of NCD requi­red more than just passive popu­lar support. The remnants of the old colo­nial bureau­cracy had to be repla­ced by a new revo­lu­tio­nary cadre. The social base of the revo­lu­tio­nary-demo­cra­tic state had to expand; the working masses had to be actively enga­ged in the manage­ment and defense of NCD. This would require the educa­tion and poli­ti­cal acti­va­tion of the largely illi­te­rate masses. As Abdel Nasser descri­bed it in 1964, it was neces­sary to advance from “the stage of ‘revo­lu­tion for the people’ to the stage of ‘revo­lu­tion carried out by the people’”.44

This contra­dic­tion between the initial “revo­lu­tion from above” and the need to anchor state power in the working masses vexed many revo­lu­tio­nary demo­crats and was iden­ti­fied as one of the main sources of stagna­tion or even rever­sal of NCD.45 From the mid-1960s on, parti­cu­larly in Africa, there was a growing reco­gni­tion amongst left-wing revo­lu­tio­nary demo­crats that the loosely orga­ni­zed nature of the natio­nal-demo­cra­tic parties was no longer able to advance the revo­lu­tio­nary process. A deter­mi­ned and unified vanguard party closely connec­ted with wage labou­rers and the peas­an­try was needed to conti­nue down the NCD path and defend the gains from exter­nal aggres­sion and the bureau­cra­tic bour­geoi­sie at home. Initia­ti­ves to form vanguard parties could be seen throug­hout the tricon­ti­nent.46 In states like Guinea, Mali, and Tanz­a­nia, there were attempts to trans­form mass parties into vanguard parties. In other states like Congo-Braz­z­aville, Benin, Syria, and Alge­ria, the mili­tary played a key role in advan­cing the forma­tion of new vanguard parties and had vary­ing degrees of success. Socia­list scho­lars – inclu­ding many from the “Third World” such as Walter Rodney – iden­ti­fied the forma­tion of a vanguard party of the working people as an “objec­tive neces­sity” for the successful tran­si­tion to socia­lism, although the exact proces­ses would differ in each coun­try.47

Thus, while the first stage of NCD could be initia­ted from above with the help of the mass party, the second phase requi­red the revo­lu­tio­nary demo­crats to muster “the inner strength for one’s own trans­for­ma­tion”. This was the para­dox of NCD: the vanguard party was often formed after the revo­lu­tio­nary process had begun.

“Ulti­m­ately, the problem of the forma­tion of the vanguard party is the problem of the ideo­lo­gi­cal and poli­ti­cal conso­li­da­tion of the propon­ents of non-capi­ta­list deve­lo­p­ment. The ques­tion of the crea­tion of such parties is a part of the gene­ral poli­ti­cal struggle for one or the other paths of deve­lo­p­ment. For this very reason, the comple­tion of NCD and the tran­si­tion to the socia­list stage of the revo­lu­tion are impos­si­ble without the realiza­tion of the leading role of the vanguard party.”48

D. Categorizing the liberated states with socialist orientation

Due to the tran­si­tio­nal and very vola­tile nature of NCD, it was diffi­cult to cate­go­rize the states with socia­list orien­ta­tion. The level of produc­tive forces varied greatly and, despite exten­sive efforts, none of these states had been able to free them­sel­ves from impe­ria­list depen­dency by the end of the 1980s.49 In some cases, the depen­dency of these states had in fact deepe­ned in the 1970s and 1980s, as the West began to incre­asingly deve­lop econo­mic mecha­nisms (e.g., “Wandel durch Handel” and debt traps) along­side their poli­ti­cal and mili­tary stran­gu­la­tion techniques.

Socia­list scho­lars began diffe­ren­tia­ting these states based upon the deve­lo­p­ment of their super­s­truc­ture. In a lecture at the 1984 confe­rence “Theo­re­ti­cal deve­lo­p­ment problems of the young natio­nal states on the path to socia­lism”, the Soviet profes­sor for State and Law V.E. Cirkin outlined a cate­go­riza­tion that proved both conten­tious and influ­en­tial in the socia­list states. He iden­ti­fied the most gene­ral, funda­men­tal traits of revo­lu­tio­nary-demo­cra­tic power in the libe­ra­ted states as follows:50

  1. It arises as a result of the poli­ti­cal victory of a demo­cra­tic revo­lu­tion of the people.
  2. It embo­dies multi-class power: it does not repre­sent the poli­ti­cal rule of one class of society or of an alli­ance of rela­ted or friendly clas­ses, but rather a bloc of diverse or even oppo­sing social forces (of the working people and a part of the non-working people), which has emer­ged in the struggle for gene­ral demo­cra­tic goals and repres­ents “the people” at a speci­fic histo­ri­cal moment of a country.
  3. It conta­ins the seeds of socia­list revo­lu­tion.
  4. Conflicts of inte­rest between the working clas­ses and the non-working members of the demo­cra­tic bloc increase with the deepe­ning of the revolution.

Conside­ring this, Cirkin concludes that there is no clear quali­ta­tive boun­dary between revo­lu­tio­nary-demo­cra­tic and socia­list power. Only once the revo­lu­tio­nary-demo­cra­tic state has exhaus­ted all of its progres­sive poten­tial can the tran­si­tion to a socia­list state follow. This is a protra­c­ted and contra­dic­tory process; it took two deca­des in Mongo­lia (1921–1940), but the condi­ti­ons there were much more favorable.

Soviet lite­ra­ture iden­ti­fied two main types of revo­lu­tio­nary-demo­cra­tic state: the natio­nal-demo­cra­tic and popu­lar-demo­cra­tic, both of which could be seen in Africa and Asia.

Two forms of revo­lu­tio­nary-demo­cra­tic state power on the path towards the socia­list state

The natio­nal-demo­cra­tic state


  • The first stage of non-capi­ta­list deve­lo­p­ment (although some libe­ra­ted states have stagna­ted at this stage).
  • After two deca­des of expe­ri­ence since this concept was deve­lo­ped in 1960, the follo­wing can be said:
    • This state emer­ges through natio­nal-demo­cra­tic revo­lu­tion. Hegem­ony is exer­cised by non-prole­ta­rian layers of working people. Petty bour­geois clas­ses domi­nate the bloc of demo­cra­tic forces. The exploi­ting clas­ses still belong to the bloc.
    • The natio­nal-demo­cra­tic party is still rela­tively weak in its exer­cise of power: The party does not play the main role in the poli­ti­cal system, the state appa­ra­tus does.
    • Socio-econo­mic reforms are of an over­all natio­nal nature: socia­list elements are only weakly repre­sen­ted in them.
    • Foreign policy is still charac­te­ri­zed by oscil­la­ti­ons between capi­ta­list and socia­list states
  • Examp­les: Ghana (until 1966), Mali (until 1968), Egypt (until the early 1970s), Soma­lia (until the late 1970s), Jamaica (until 1980), VDRJ (1969–1972), Congo-Braz­z­aville (1963–1969). To the present day (1988, at the time of publi­ca­tion): Alge­ria, Afgha­ni­stan, Burma, Seychel­les, Tanz­a­nia, Nica­ra­gua, etc. 

The people’s demo­cra­tic state


  • A mature, deve­lo­ped form of the revo­lu­tio­nary-demo­cra­tic state: “it is on the thres­hold of growing into a socia­list state and is its imme­diate prede­ces­sor, although this process is histo­ri­cally protracted.”
  • Its gene­ral charac­te­ristics are:
    • It emer­ges out of a popu­lar demo­cra­tic revo­lu­tion when hegem­ony belongs to non-prole­ta­rian forces (often of mili­tary or intel­li­gent­sia orig­ins) that have adopted scien­ti­fic socia­lism: “Since this is the ideo­logy of the working class, the leading role of these forces can argu­ably be unders­tood as a speci­fic, indi­rect form of working-class hegem­ony, or at least as an approach, an element of this hegem­ony, a step towards it.”
    • As such, this state is not to be fully equa­ted with the people’s demo­cra­cies seen in Eastern Europe and Asia : the working class did not exer­cise direct hegem­ony in the people’s demo­cra­tic revo­lu­tion; the role of the working masses in shaping state policy is still underdeveloped.
    • In the demo­cra­tic bloc, the working class domi­na­tes, the petty-bour­geois strata have a certain influence, and the exploi­ting clas­ses have prac­ti­cally no posi­tion of power.
    • A vanguard party of the working people opera­tes as the ruling party. It is in the process of deve­lo­ping towards a vanguard of the prole­ta­riat, towards a commu­nist party. This vanguard plays the leading role in state and society: there is a rejec­tion of bour­geois consti­tu­tio­na­lism.
    • In the struc­ture of the state appa­ra­tus, the old forms and insti­tu­ti­ons still exist, but they are filled with a new content; howe­ver, new insti­tu­ti­ons prevail, which is why the entire state struc­ture is deve­lo­ping accor­ding to a new scheme of connec­tions and relationships.
    • Socia­list elements are beco­ming incre­asingly important in socio-econo­mic transformations.
  • Examp­les: Angola, Benin, Congo, Mozam­bi­que, PDR Yemen, Ethiopia.

The process of natio­nal-demo­cra­tic –> people’s demo­cra­tic –> socia­list state is achie­va­ble if inter­nal or exter­nal reac­tion can be successfully suppres­sed. In the late 1980s, these people’s demo­cra­cies were still in the early stages of forma­tion. One of the major policy shifts brought about by Gorbachev’s doctrine of “New Thin­king” was to wind down support for the socia­list orien­ted states and focus on rela­ti­ons with larger capi­ta­list states in the “Global South” like Brazil or Argen­tina. The disso­lu­tion of the Soviet Union and the socia­list world system brought the pros­pect of non-capi­ta­list deve­lo­p­ment to an end. As premi­sed in the concept of the “revo­lu­tio­nary world process”, once one pillar fell, the others fell apart as well.

V. Reflections

Revi­si­ting these analy­ses from the 20th century today, there are seve­ral inte­res­t­ing points to criti­cally reflect on.

Firstly, on the methodology:

Central to the dialec­ti­cal mate­ria­list method of Soviet-DDR scho­lar­ship was the ques­tion of class struggle, both inter­na­tio­nally and dome­sti­cally. To under­stand deve­lo­p­ments in the “Third World”, it was neces­sary to deter­mine the charac­ter of the epoch, to grasp how the main contra­dic­tion – that between capi­tal and labour – was being concre­tely expres­sed at each level globally. For the newly libe­ra­ted states, this meant under­stan­ding their speci­fic posi­tion in the capi­ta­list inter­na­tio­nal divi­sion of labour, exami­ning the balance of class forces within each coun­try, analy­sing the rela­ti­ons of produc­tion upon which society was deve­lo­ping, and iden­ti­fy­ing how oscil­la­ti­ons in policy were reflec­tions of the inter­na­tio­nal and dome­stic class struggle.

When study­ing this inter­ac­tion of poli­ti­cal, social, and econo­mic factors, the socia­list scho­lars deve­lo­ped cate­go­ries to capture the under­ly­ing tenden­cies unfol­ding in diffe­rent states. Capi­ta­list or socia­list orien­ted deve­lo­p­ment; natio­nal-bour­geois or feudal-bour­geois state power; the natio­nal-demo­cra­tic or people’s demo­cra­tic state – these were deter­mi­ned by the concrete condi­ti­ons of the class struggle in each coun­try, which were of course always chan­ging and liable to both setbacks and sudden advances.

Secondly, on the ques­tion of capi­ta­list states in the Global South:

This is a conten­tiously deba­ted ques­tion amongst progres­sive forces today. Can a bour­geois state that is foste­ring capi­ta­list rela­ti­ons of produc­tion play a progres­sive role on the world stage? Soviet and DDR scho­lars concluded that they could. The caveats and incon­sis­ten­cies were always unders­cored, but socia­list scho­lars did argue that these states often had an objec­tively anti-impe­ria­list effect inter­na­tio­nally, espe­ci­ally when state power was natio­nal-bour­geois in charac­ter. For exam­ple, India was objec­tively narro­wing the play­ing field for impe­ria­lism when leaders such as Nehru or Indira Gandhi pushed agen­das such as the Non-Aligned Move­ment or the refu­sal to support the West’s efforts to over­throw the Soviet-allied govern­ment in Afgha­ni­stan. These anti-impe­ria­list tenden­cies were incon­sis­tent and vola­tile because the subjec­tive factor was weak in these capi­ta­list-orien­ted states. In other words, socia­list scho­lars empha­si­zed that the strength of a “Third World” state’s confron­ta­tion with impe­ria­lism ulti­m­ately depen­ded on this subjec­tive factor, on the poli­ti­cal leadership’s orientation.

Thirdly, on the pros­pects of socia­list deve­lo­p­ment in the so-called under­de­ve­lo­ped states of the Global South:

In the socia­list-orien­ted states of the late 20th century, the (subjec­tive) poli­ti­cal factor was advan­cing, despite the signi­fi­cant econo­mic chal­lenges faced by these states. The tran­si­tion of some natio­nal-demo­cra­tic states to people’s demo­cra­cies exem­pli­fied this dyna­mic. Here, states led by revo­lu­tio­nary demo­crats grew progres­si­vely closer to the socia­list world system and helped to not only create obsta­cles for impe­ria­lism, but to actively suppress it. For instance, by faci­li­ta­ting the armed libe­ra­tion struggle in Central Africa and West Asia.51 What hampe­red these states most was their objec­tive socio-econo­mic situa­tion: due to their isola­tion from the socia­list count­ries in Europe and Asia, their colo­ni­ally defor­med econo­mies, the rela­tively under­de­ve­lo­ped socia­list inter­na­tio­nal divi­sion of labour at the time, and the sheer strength of the impe­ria­list camp, it proved immensely diffi­cult to break out of neoco­lo­nial dependency.

Finally, on the contrast with the contem­po­rary anti-impe­ria­list struggle:

Today, with the roll­back of the Octo­ber Revo­lu­tion and the wider socia­list world system, the subjec­tive factor is undoub­tedly weaker (i.e., less socia­list orien­ted) than it was in the 20th century. At the same time, the poli­ti­cal and econo­mic deve­lo­p­ment of certain “Global South” states – espe­ci­ally the BRICS – has gived rise to new tenden­cies that are objec­tively crea­ting obsta­cles for US-led impe­ria­lism. This is evident, for exam­ple, in the West’s inabi­lity to bring about regime change in Syria or the erosion of France’s poli­ti­cal and econo­mic control over West Africa.

In this sense, the anti-impe­ria­list struggle from the last century has almost been flip­ped on its head: whereas anti-impe­ria­lism had previously been driven by strong subjec­tive forces that were signi­fi­cantly restrai­ned by their econo­mic reali­ties, today the streng­the­ned econo­mies of some “Global South” states are objec­tively limi­ting the scope for impe­ria­lism without being driven by expli­citly anti-impe­ria­list and anti-capi­ta­list govern­ments.52 This rather para­do­xi­cal situa­tion is a symptom of the deep crisis that the commu­nist and working-class move­ments have been mired in since 1990.


[1] This term was only rarely used by scho­lars in the USSR and DDR. It is used throug­hout the rest of this text as a short­hand for Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

[2] The “Third World” mislea­din­gly implies that there is a bloc of states opera­ting outside of the syste­mic conflict between capi­ta­lism and socia­lism. While the states in the tricon­ti­nent indeed occu­p­ied a special place in the inter­na­tio­nal capi­ta­list and socia­list systems, they did not (and could not) operate outside of them. The term “Global South” is geogra­phi­cally proble­ma­tic and says nothing about the class charac­ter of diffe­rent states. “Deve­lo­ping states” is limi­ted by its rela­tive nature; there are no states that are not developing.

[3] Lenin, Impe­ria­lism, the Highest Stage of Capi­ta­lism (1917).

[4] “Moscow Decla­ra­tion” (1960).

[5] Tyul­pa­nov used a simi­lar logic for those libe­ra­ted states pursuing socia­list-orien­ted deve­lo­p­ment (which will be explo­red further below): their condi­ti­ons and start­ing point diffe­red greatly from the tran­si­tion to socia­lism under the dicta­tor­ship of the prole­ta­riat, so the laws formu­la­ted in the poli­ti­cal economy of socia­lism could not adequa­tely apply here either.

[6] This thesis was chal­len­ged by scho­lars like Imma­nuel Waller­stein, who argued that there was only one world system, and the socia­list states held a certain posi­tion within it. Socia­list scho­lars like Tyul­pa­nov unders­tood that the two world systems were not strictly sepa­rate enti­ties but argued that the laws gover­ning the capi­ta­list and socia­list systems were funda­men­tally of a diffe­rent character.

[7] The United Nati­ons used this term “deve­lo­ping states” at the time. A number of socia­list scho­lars adopted it, although they warned that it tends to obfus­cate the exploi­ter and the exploited.

[8] S. Tyul­pa­nov, Poli­ti­sche Ökono­mie und ihre Anwen­dung in den Entwick­lungs­län­dern (Frankfurt/Main: Verlag Marxis­ti­sche Blät­ter, 1972), pg. 23.

[9] Author coll­ec­tive, Staats­recht junger Natio­nal­staa­ten (Berlin: Staats­ver­lag der Deut­schen Demo­kra­ti­schen Repu­blik, 1988), pg. 34.

[10] Tyul­pa­nov, pg. 27.

[11] In German the term is Zwischen­schich­ten. The Indian Marxist Aijaz Ahmad used the term “inter­me­diary clas­ses” to describe the same phenomenon.

[12] Tyul­pa­nov, pg. 30.

[13] This term was used by socia­list scho­lars to diffe­ren­tiate the states that gained their inde­pen­dence after the collapse of the colo­nial system (post-1945) from those colo­nies that had gained their inde­pen­dence in the previous century (e.g., much of Latin America) and the count­ries that had not formally lost their sove­reig­nty during the colo­nial era but were still subju­ga­ted to impe­ria­list depen­dency (e.g., China and Iran).

[14] Author coll­ec­tive, Staats­recht junger Natio­nal­staa­ten (1988), pg. 61.

[15] Author coll­ec­tive, Staats­recht junger Natio­nal­staa­ten (1988), pg. 64.

[16] Empha­sis added. Tyul­pa­nov, pg. 66.

[17] Author coll­ec­tive, Staats­recht junger Natio­nal­staa­ten (1988), pg. 67.

[18] Author coll­ec­tive, Staats­recht junger Natio­nal­staa­ten (1988), pg. 66.

[19] Tyul­pa­nov, pg. 30.

[20] Author coll­ec­tive, Staats­recht junger Natio­nal­staa­ten (1988), pg. 71.

[21] Author coll­ec­tive, Staats­recht junger Natio­nal­staa­ten (1988), pg. 71.

[22] Author coll­ec­tive, Staats­recht junger Natio­nal­staa­ten (1988), pg. 72.

[23] Author coll­ec­tive, Staats­recht junger Natio­nal­staa­ten (1988), pg. 69.

[24] R. A. Ulka­now­ski, Der Sozia­lis­mus und die befrei­ten Länder (Berlin: VEB Deut­scher Verlag der Wissen­schaf­ten, 1973), pg. 291.

[25] Cited in Author coll­ec­tive, Staats­recht junger Natio­nal­staa­ten (1988), pg. 69.

[26] K. Brutenz, Die befrei­ten Länder in der Welt von heute (Berlin: Dietz Verlag, 1981), pg. 48.

[27] It is worth noting that Brutenz (deputy chief of the CPSU’s Inter­na­tio­nal Depart­ment since 1975) was a close ally of Alex­an­der Yako­v­lev (the “godfa­ther of glas­nost”) and would later become a key theo­re­ti­cian of Gorbachev’s “New Thin­king” in inter­na­tio­nal poli­tics, which, among other things, sought to signi­fi­cantly reduce Soviet support for the socia­list orien­ted states in the tricon­ti­nent. This view was not shared by most DDR scho­lars and SED poli­ti­ci­ans at the time. Gene­rally, there needs to be closer exami­na­tion of the impact of “New Thin­king” in the socia­list states’ inter­na­tio­nal analy­ses and policies.

[28] Tyul­pa­nov, pg. 33.

[29] Author coll­ec­tive, Staats­recht junger Natio­nal­staa­ten (1988), pg. 71.

[30] Author coll­ec­tive, Staats­recht junger Natio­nal­staa­ten (1988), pg. 75.

[31] Author coll­ec­tive, Staats­recht junger Natio­nal­staa­ten (1988), pg. 71.

[32] P. Khalat­bari, Ökono­mi­sche Unter­ent­wick­lung: Mecha­nis­mus – Probleme – Ausweg (Frank­furt am Main: Verlag Marxis­ti­sche Blät­ter, 1972), pg. 107.

[33] Origi­nally, only the term “non-capi­ta­list deve­lo­p­ment” was utili­zed to describe the process unfol­ding in these states, but socia­list scho­lars were never satis­fied with it, for it merely deno­ted a nega­tion of capi­ta­lism. As such, the term “states with socia­list orien­ta­tion” was adopted in the 1970s.

[34] Author coll­ec­tive, Sozia­lis­ti­sche Orien­tie­rung natio­nal befrei­ter Staa­ten (Berlin: Staats­ver­lag der Deut­schen Demo­kra­ti­schen Repu­blik, 1985) pg. 7.

[35]  “Moscow Decla­ra­tion” (1960).

[36] Tyul­pa­nov, pg. 36.

[37] E. Dummer and E. Langer, Inter­na­tio­nale Arbei­ter­be­we­gung und revo­lu­tio­nä­rer Kampf (Berlin: Dietz Verlag, 1973), pg. 357.

[38] Author coll­ec­tive, Sozia­lis­ti­sche Orien­tie­rung natio­nal befrei­ter Staa­ten (1985), pg. 30.

[39] The Portu­guese colo­nies are an excep­tion to this rule because the diffe­ren­tia­tion process within the move­ment unfolded during the rela­tively prolon­ged struggle for independence.

[40] K. Nkru­mah, Class Struggle in Africa (London: Panaf Books, 1970), p. 26.

[41] M. Ngou­abi, Vers la cons­truc­tion d’une société socia­liste en Afri­que (Paris: Présence Afri­caine, 1975), p. 32–34. [Trans­la­ted by the author]

[42] Helmut Mardek, “Der Platz der Arbei­ter­klasse in den staats­theo­re­ti­schen Vorstel­lun­gen der revo­lu­tio­nä­ren Demo­kra­tie“ in Nicht­ka­pi­ta­lis­ti­scher Entwick­lungs­weg Aktu­elle Probleme in Theo­rie und Praxis (Proto­koll einer Konfe­renz) (Berlin: Akade­mie-Verlag, 1973), pg. 184.

[43] C. Mähr­del und N.A. Simo­nija, Beson­der­hei­ten der Heraus­bil­dung von Parteien und ihrer Wech­sel­be­zie­hun­gen zum Staats­ap­pa­rat in Ländern nicht­ka­pi­ta­lis­ti­scher Entwick­lung, in Partei und Staat in den Ländern mit sozia­lis­ti­scher Orien­tie­rung (Berlin: Akade­mie Verlag, 1974) pg. 11.

[44] Cited in C. Mähr­del and N.A. Simo­nija (1974), pg. 11.

[45] Many commu­nists (also those in the former colo­nies) iden­ti­fied the fail­ure to expand the social basis of the revo­lu­tio­nary-demo­cra­tic state as a serious vulnerabi­lity in count­ries where NCD had been smothe­red or broken off – E.g., Egypt, Ghana, Mali, Sudan, Soma­lia, etc.

[46] Parti­cu­larly advan­ced forms of vanguard parties could be found in the PR Congo, PDR Yemen, PR Angola, and PR Mozam­bi­que, but forma­tion proces­ses were also under­way in many other states inclu­ding Benin, Alge­ria, Egypt, Mada­gas­car, Tanz­a­nia, Guinea, and at a time Burma.

[47] “How the trans­for­ma­tion of the natio­nal demo­cra­tic parties into parties of scien­ti­fic socia­lism will take place, how and when the Marxist-Leni­nist parties will emerge where they do not exist — to speak of this would be prema­ture. What is indis­pu­ta­ble is merely that the gradual turning away from capi­ta­lism in the process of the anti-impe­ria­list and anti-feudal struggle can be initia­ted in the natio­nal-demo­cra­tic stage of the revo­lu­tion under the leader­ship of revo­lu­tio­nary demo­cracy, but the successful conclu­sion of this process and the tran­si­tion to socia­list cons­truc­tion and later the guaran­tee of the full victory of socia­lism are impos­si­ble without the party of scien­ti­fic socia­lism, without the leader­ship of the working class.” Ulja­novsky in Problems of Peace and Socia­lism, 1970, iss. 06.

[48] C. Mähr­del and N.A. Simo­nija (1974), pg. 60.

[49] Author coll­ec­tive, Staats­recht junger Natio­nal­staa­ten (1988), pg. 35.

[50] V. E. Cirkin, Die Entwick­lung der Staats­macht in den Ländern sozia­lis­ti­scher Orien­tie­rung, in Asien, Afrika Latein­ame­rika, 1984, iss. 12 (Berlin: Akade­mie Verlag, 1984), pg. 225 – 233.

[51] The People’s Repu­blic of Congo, led by the Congo­lese Party of Labour, worked closely with the Cubans to support the People’s Repu­blic of Angola and combat the US proxies in the coun­try. The People’s Demo­cra­tic Repu­blic of Yemen helped arm the Pales­ti­nian resis­tance and supported the Marxist-led Dhofar Rebel­lion in Oman.

[52] China is some­what of a special case amongst the BRICS states, but regard­less of how one charac­te­ri­zes its natio­nal economy today, China is curr­ently not leading an inter­na­tio­nal effort to over­turn global capi­ta­lism, as the USSR had.


Autoren­kol­lek­tiv, Partei und Staat in den Ländern mit sozia­lis­ti­scher Orien­tie­rung (Berlin: Akade­mie Verlag, 1974).


Autoren­kol­lek­tiv, Sozia­lis­ti­sche Orien­tie­rung natio­nal befrei­ter Staa­ten (Berlin: Staats­ver­lag der Deut­schen Demo­kra­ti­schen Repu­blik, 1985).


Autoren­kol­lek­tiv, Staats­recht junger Natio­nal­staa­ten (Berlin: Staats­ver­lag der Deut­schen Demo­kra­ti­schen Repu­blik, 1988).


K. Brutenz, Die befrei­ten Länder in der Welt von heute (Berlin: Dietz Verlag, 1981).


E. Dummer and E. Langer, Inter­na­tio­nale Arbei­ter­be­we­gung und revo­lu­tio­nä­rer Kampf (Berlin: Dietz Verlag, 1973).


P. Khalat­bari, Ökono­mi­sche Unter­ent­wick­lung: Mecha­nis­mus – Probleme – Ausweg (Frank­furt am Main: Verlag Marxis­ti­sche Blät­ter, 1972).


Helmut Mardek, “Der Platz der Arbei­ter­klasse in den staats­theo­re­ti­schen Vorstel­lun­gen der revo­lu­tio­nä­ren Demo­kra­tie“ in Nicht­ka­pi­ta­lis­ti­scher Entwick­lungs­weg Aktu­elle Probleme in Theo­rie und Praxis (Proto­koll einer Konfe­renz) (Berlin: Akade­mie-Verlag, 1973).


Moscow Decla­ra­tion (1960).


S. Tjul­panow, Poli­ti­sche Ökono­mie und ihre Anwen­dung in den Entwick­lungs­län­dern (Frankfurt/Main: Verlag Marxis­ti­sche Blät­ter, 1972).


R. A. Ulka­now­ski, Der Sozia­lis­mus und die befrei­ten Länder (Berlin: VEB Deut­scher Verlag der Wissen­schaf­ten, 1973), S. 291.