b. 1937 in South Africa
He then lived and studied in the Soviet Union, where his PhD thesis, which was critical of official Communist Parties, was rejected. In 1965 he began teaching at Glasgow University, which later appointed him Professor of Marxist Studies.[
Summing up his work, Ticktin says: "My work on the political economy of the USSR showed … it to be inherently unviable, and nothing to do with socialism, while not being capitalist. My work on capitalism — or the West — has been to demonstrate the nature of the decline of capitalism, discussing finance capital and the importance of the Cold War" – platitudes!
Ticktin says that the current regime in Russia “is neither the old Stalinism nor yet a developed capitalism, but seems to be a mixture of both”. That’s not saying much, for every regime has traces of some other, often opposite regime. Moreover, that’s not a Marxist analysis of a state at all, for it implies that a state can be both Stalinist and capitalist.
Ticktin recognizes that “the ruling social groups at work in Putin's Russia are, firstly, the state section of the elite and secondly, finance capital. Both have emerged from the former ruling elite in the USSR”. Hence, there was no change of elites, a necessary precondition for a change in nature of state. We have a continued process of decay and degeneration of the old.
Behavior of capital in Russia is not typical for capital in other countries. For example, Ticktin writes: “In the period after the end of the Soviet Union, however, the old elite were not interested in establishing themselves as a new industrial bourgeoisie. They wanted to acquire capital as rapidly as possible with a view to using the wealth acquired for ostentation and luxury as well as for the power that came with such wealth. Hence they valued rapid acquisition through the quick sale of assets, security of ownership through export of their capital to the West, the hiring and establishment of forms of armed protection which merged with criminal gangs, and the use of extractive industries to enable them to acquire dollars, which could be banked in Western banks. Investment, reinvestment of profits and borrowing in order to renovate, extend and deepen capital were limited to what was immediately necessary. The reason for this approach is partly due to the fact that the elite doubted—and still doubt—that the post-1992 political settlement is sufficiently robust to safeguard their acquisition of state assets”. He concludes: “an analysis based on the simple operation of the law of value and thus of capitalist accumulation will not allow an understanding of the laws underlying the movement of the surplus product”.
Thus, even where there is capitalist production in the former Soviet Union, it is not a long-term capitalist project, but one aiming at making “a quick buck” and getting out fast. Capital does not feel secure in the former USSR, and reason lies in its lack of control over the state machine, and hence the insecurity of private property.
Ticktin shamefully says – against the howl of almost all “socialists” who call the former USSR “capitalist” – “There is no name for this process of political economic disintegration other than the process of the disintegration of Stalinism”. So, he agrees that the regime is still Stalinist.
Hillel has nothing to say about what is to be done. Intelligentsia he sees as acting mostly as cheerleaders for the ruling group. And without them there can be no socialist consciousness, no “awakening” to socialism.
The transitional epoch may be defined as the epoch in which the bourgeoisie cannot re-assert itself in the manner in which it requires and in which it ruled before the twenties of this century, but the working-class cannot itself take power
Under socialism it is clear that consciousness will play a much bigger role since it is a planned and therefore consciously directed society. The closer society comes to that stage the greater must be the role of consciousness