note by David Black: The Nature of the Stalinist Parties – a document of several thousand words – was published in the internal discussion bulletin of the Socialist Review Group in May 1951, with five sections:
1 The Importance of the Nature of the Stalinist Parties for our Movement
2 The Classical Trotskyist Position
3 The Stalinist International as the Instrument of the State-Capitalist Bureaucracy
4 The Social Composition Of The Stalinist Parties
5 Political Conclusions
Hillman concluded that the SRG could make no impact on the membership of the Stalinist British Communist Party, which he sought to show was becoming increasingly petit-bourgeois. Therefore, he argued, the SRG should concentrate on building in the Labour Party. In practical terms, as Ian Birchall has suggested, Hillman was more in tune with Shachtmanite ‘Third Campism’ than James/Boggs/Dunayevskaya. The ‘immovability’ of the CP membership proved to be a temporary phenomenon; but it was only shaken up by world events (especially Hungary) rather than pressure from the Far Left. As regards Dunayevskaya, I should point out that her later analysis (from 1953 onwards) was markedly different to that of ‘State-Capitalism and the World Revolution’ (1950). The latter, in my view, while important, was wrong on a lot of things (such as the national question), and inadequate on others (especially philosophy).