Authoritarian Collectivism and ‘Real Socialism’

Authoritarian Collectivism and ‘Real Socialism’

Twentieth Century Trajectory, Twenty-First Century Issues

By Jose Mauricio Domingues

Anthem Impact

The book discusses so-called real socialism and offers an alternative conceptualization of it as authoritarian collectivism, making use of an analytical methodology. It concentrates on the principles of ‘real socialism’ in its golden age but also assesses its present embrace of capitalism.

Paperback, 250 Pages


January 2022

£20.99, $24.95

  • About This Book
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About This Book

The book discusses so-called real socialism and offers an alternative conceptualization of it as authoritarian collectivism, making use of an analytical and developmental methodology, that is, presenting it in categorical terms as well dwelling on its genesis, development and demise. The political dimension stands out in the conceptual articulation, with ‘democratic centralism’ and the prominence of the Communist Party, working from the top down. The book concentrates on the principles of ‘real socialism’, particularly in the Soviet Union but also globally, analysing also its present embrace of capitalism, particularly in China, but also elsewhere, taking account of how those political principles remain however in place today. A new civilization was intended, which was supposed to be the first step in the journey towards communism, leading however to an oppressive sort of state/society articulation and to new forms of hierarchy and appropriation of material benefits by the political upper layers.

The historical genesis of Soviet ‘socialism’, through Stalinism and to post-Stalinism, furnished the model to be analysed, but its global spread in China, Vietnam, Africa, Cuba and elsewhere enriched the original experience, but at its core the political system and the state structure that allowed for the prominence of a powerful and exclusivist political bureaucracy was always reinstated. The failure of the system – economically and politically – to withstand the competition which the liberal and capitalist world sustained led to its disappearance in the Soviet Union and other countries or to a transformation that brought back capitalism, which is now combined with the former political structure. China is the foremost example of this new reality, which is however reproduced elsewhere.

The book closes with a discussion of the motivation of revolutionary actors, including communism, anti-colonialism and nationalism, the role of unintended consequences in history and what emancipation and socialism might mean today.


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Author Information

José Maurício Domingues has a PhD in Sociology from the London School of Economics. He teaches at UERJ (Brazil) and he received the Annelise Mayer Research Award of the Humboldt Foundation in 2018.


Anthem Impact

Table of Contents

Introduction; Chapter 1 Authoritarian Collectivism and the Political Dimension; Chapter 2 Political Command: The Elementary ‘Cell-Form’; Chapter 3 The Party-State and Political Commands; Chapter 4 The Law, Rights and the Judiciary; Chapter 5 The Nomenklatura: Political Power and Social Privilege; Chapter 6 Political Systems and Political Regimes; Chapter 7 Developmental Trends; Chapter 8 Authoritarian Collectivism and Capitalism Today; Chapter 9 Socialism and Communism; Chapter 10 Looking into the Future; References.


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