Special offer: 35% off 'The Contradictions of “Real Socialism”' by Michael A. Lebowitz

[For more articles by or about Michael Lebowitz, click HERE. For a free excerpt from The Contradictions of "Real" Socialism: the conductor and the conducted, click HERE.]

January 18, 2013 -- Since Monthly Review Press published Michael A. Lebowitz’s The Contradictions of “Real Socialism”: The Conductor and the Conducted it has generated quite a bit of discussion. Building on concepts he developed in The Socialist Alternative, Lebowitz examines the record of “real socialism”—the post-revolutionary societies of the 20th century, particularly in Russia and Eastern Europe. He makes a provocative argument that has implications for how we understand socialist planning and the struggle for socialism in the 21st century.

Now, Monthly Review Press is offering a special discount of 35% off the list price and has asked Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal to make this offer available to its readers. This offer is good until the end of January.

Just enter the code LEBOWITZ2013 when you check out, and you’ll receive the discount.

Here’s what people have been saying about The Contradictions of “Real Socialism”

In Socialism & Democracy, Victor Wallis writes:

The issue of “Real Socialism” has plagued the global Left since 1917. Michael Lebowitz brings to bear on it a sharp focus, informed not only by a thorough reading of Marx, but also by many years of activism, leavened by the extensive contacts he has gained with Cuban and Venezuelan protagonists during his recent years of residence in their respective countries.

The main empirical reference in his present book is to the Soviet experience, in particular, to its last three decades (the 1950s to the 1980s), by which time the regime’s structures and institutions were firmly in place. While the general stance of recognizing the contradictions of this period has a long lineage, Lebowitz’s particular approach to defining them is new and fruitful.

In Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, Doug Enaa Greene writes:

In his book, The Contradictions of Real Socialism, Michael Lebowitz offers a rigorous Marxist explanation of what went wrong in the USSR (and its allied countries). To Lebowitz (following Marx in this regard), a socialist society is one “that removes all obstacles to the full development of human beings” (p. 17). The countries of real socialism by contrast were caught in a tension between enterprise managers and planners and the vanguard which did not place human development first, thus ensuring its ultimate failure. Lebowitz’s approach is sweeping, thorough and fresh even while his work does raise several questions and problems.

And in Organizing Upgrade, David Cohen writes:

In The Contradictions of Real Socialism, Lebowitz continues the development of his vision of socialism by analyzing what happened in the Soviet Union and other European Socialist states during the period that they defined as “Real Existing Socialism,” which is basically the period from the demise of Stalin to the collapse in the 1990’s.

Here he applies his understanding of Marx’s theories of socialism to a real historical period. For me, the point in reading a book like this is to not only gather some understanding of socialist theory but to learn how “Real Existing Socialism” worked and what its achievements and its failures were. Is there anything in this analysis that can help us to understand our present situation in the U.S.? What is our vision of socialism, and what are we doing to realize it?

Join the conversation and order your discounted copy of The Contradictions of “Real Socialism”: The Conductor and the Conducted today!