The changes taking place in the Soviet Union under Gorbachev have generated a host of interpretations. In this controversial book, Ernest Mandel shows that commentators have signally failed to provide lasting insight into Soviet society in the age of perestroika. To begin with, most were so dazzled by Gorbachev's charisma and his bold tactics that they failed to investigate the barriers to change which still existed, or to consider the social forces capable of bringing about a revolutionary transformation.
Although glasnost has made spectacular advances, the power of the Soviet nomenklatura has so far survived intact. Despite the spread of democratic debate and the growth of nationalist movements, a formidable bureaucracy — based on the top levels of the Party, state administration and security forces — has never relinquished its grip. Mandel argues that, without broad popular involvement and a willingness to concede basic democratic rights like national ..If-determination, the whole project of reform ill be doomed. However, he remains optimistic hat a newly awakened workers' movement and public opinion may yet seize the initiative and rive the bureaucracy beyond perestroika.
Distinguished not only by its original analysis of events which have confounded so many analysts but also by the mass of information on Soviet economic problems, on bureaucratic privilege, and on the forms of worker resistance o which they have given rise, this substantially revised edition will be indispensable reading.