The latter half of the 1980s has witnessed a warming trend in East-West relations, the success of which can be attributed in large measure to Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev's efforts at international glasnost along with a domestic reform movement known as Perestroika. But how should these two important changes be understood within the broader limits of theoretical Marxism and the political realities of revolutionary bolshevism? Here Svetozar Stojanovic, one of Eastern Europe's most astute political and social observers, offers an original synthesis of philosophy, sociology, political science, and history as he critically analyzes and evaluates Marxism, bolshevism, and contemporary communism with an eye toward the prospects for real liberal reform. As a political dissident and a member of the internationally known Praxis group, whose critical assessments of Eastern European communism incurred the wrath of the Yugoslav government, Stojanovic is in a unique position to evaluate objectively the current of reform that has swept the Soviet Union and its satellites.
In "Perestroika", he transcends Marxist revisionism to distinguish himself as an intellectual on the cutting edge of the post-Marxist era. In this extraordinary work, Stojanovic questions and analyzes the real legacy left by Karl Marx to those who would establish nation-states in his name. What are the practical and theoretical risks of a thorough-going reform of Stalinist socialism? A significant new theory of class is offered, one that distinguishes 'ruling' from 'dominant' classes in an effort to better understand the social, political, and economic dynamics of contemporary socialism. How can the Soviet state move from the ashes of Stalinism to 'Real Socialism'? What are the dangers of a conservative backlash against such efforts at reform? In the end, Stojanovic contends that there is a realistic systemic-structural chance for liberal reform of the communist state.