"The document of Comrade Cliff entitled The Nature of Stalinist Russia at first sight gives the impression of erudition and scientific analysis. However, upon careful examination, it will be observed that not one of the chapters contains a worked-out thesis. The method is a series of parallels based on quotations, and its basic weakness is shown by the fact that conclusions are not rooted in the analysis. From his thesis it is not possible to conclude whether Stalinist Russia remains a progressive system (despite its deformations), or whether for Cliff it has now assumed the same reactionary role as ‘individual’ capitalism or fascism. The weakness is sharply brought out by the fact that no practical conclusions emerge. Is Russia to be defended, or is the revolutionary party to be defeatist? Instead of the answer being rooted in and flowing from the analysis, it has to be worked out a posteriori.
"Despite the fact that Comrade Cliff asserts that the Stalinist bureaucracy is a new class, nowhere in his thesis is a real analysis made or evidence adduced as to why and how such a class constitutes a capitalist class and is not a new type of class.
"And this is not accidental. It flows from the method. Starting off with the preconceived idea of state capitalism, everything is artificially fitted into that conception. Instead of applying the theoretical method of the Marxist teachers to Russian society in its process of motion and development, he has scoured the works to gather quotations and attempted to compress them into a theory."
- Excerpt from the text