John Milios: The Marxian Notion of the Asiatic Mode of Production as a Critique to Evolutionary Approaches to History

The Asiatic Mode of Production (AMP) refers to the structural elements of a special type of pre-capitalist societies: a) absence of private property of the means of production, b) collective organization (economic, political and ideological) of the ruling class in a despotic state, c) collective organization of the ruled-laboring class in (village) communities.
Theoretically, the concept of AMP is not compatible with the mechanistic - economistic version of Marxism, which practically eliminates class struggle from Marxist theory of social evolution, and conceives human History as an exact succession of society forms, fully pre-determined by technical progress (the “development of Productive Forces”). According to this scheme, (which was codified and formed to a dogma by Soviet Marxists under Stalin), there are “four stages” (primitive communism, slave-owning society, feudalism, capitalism) which all mankind was supposed to pass necessarily through, leaving thus no place for the AMP.
The concept of AMP is also connected with political dispute, since it makes clear that the absence of private property in the legal sense does not necessarily mean abolition also of class power and exploitation, or, in other words, that class exploitation of the laborers may attain collective forms
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