In an attempt to vindicate the classical Marxist tradition, Callinicos argues that socialism in this tradition can only come from below, through the self-activity of the working class. Stalinism from this standpoint was a 'counter-revolution', erecting at the end of the 1920s a state capitalist regime on the ruins of the radically democratic socialism briefly achieved in October 1917. He further argues that the collapse of Stalinism at the end of the 1980s was only one aspect of a world-wide transition from nationally organized to globally integrated capitalism. The result is likely to be greater economic and political instability. Against this background socialism - in Marx's sense - is all the more necessary.
He concludes that the collapse of Stalinism should be less the moment to abandon socialism than to resume unfinished business.