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Ernest Mandel’s book is a study of Eurocommunism unlike any other. Written in the polemical tradition of Trotsky, its sweep extends well beyond the immediate prospects of the Communist Parties of Western Europe. Mandel traces the long historical process which has transformed the once embattled detachments of the Third International into the constitutionalist formations of “historic compromise” and “union of the people” today. He then goes on to argue that the national roads to socialism of contemporary Eurocommunism are the “bitter fruits of socialism in one country” in the USSR.
Mandel’s book contains trenchant and documented criticisms of the ideas of Santiago Carrillo in Spain, the economic policies of the PCI in Italy, and the PCF’s theories of the State in France. But it also sets these Western developments in the context of European politics as a whole—discussing the Russian response to Carrillo, the organizational attitudes of the CPSU to the Western parties, and the emergence of major dissident currents in Eastern Germany sympathetic to Eurocommunism.
From Stalinism to Eurocommunism represents the first systematic and comprehensive critique from the Marxist Left of the new strategy of Western Communism. It can be read as a barometer of the storms ahead in the European labour movement.