marquit at physics.spa.umn.edu marquit at physics.spa.umn.edu
Sun Apr 16 18:57:46 MDT 1995

      The issues of democratization raised by Gorbachev had to be
   raised althought they may have been raised too late to avoid
   the ensuring collapse.

      The distortion of Lenin's concept of democratic
   centralism, especially in regard to the accountability
   of the party leadership in the USSR and other European
   socialist countries to the bodies that elected them,
   led to the stifling of self-criticism within the parties
   and inflexibility in economic planning.

      As a result, when in the midseventies the economies
   economies could no longer continue to grow at the
   necessary pace as in the past, largely through the increase in
   the labor force and borrowed technology, but required dramatic
   increases in productivity through technological innovation,
   the symptom of economic crisis emerged. Inability to guarantee
   supplies of raw materials and semimanufactured goods to the
   industrial plants meant that workers could not be paid on
   the basis of the quantity and quality of their labor, since
   they had to be paid whether or not the plants were producing
   on schedule. This further undermined productivity, apart
   from the general demoralizing consequences that result from
   the inability to apply one's labor productively.

   The context in which Gorbachev raised the issue of
   democratization, while initially correclty focussed on its
   relationship to economic structure, ignored the important
   issue of the re-establishing the working-class character of
   the proletarian state and the need to resurrect the party's
   vanguard role in shaping proletarian class consciousness.
   The need for theoretical reeducation within the party was
   ignored and the party's political role was reduced to a
   concentration on economic pragmatism.

   The end result was that Gorbachev and his supporters moved
   into what in the end amounted to a right social-democratic
   position--a concept of socialism deprived of its political-
   economic content and international relations based on
   alliance with imperialism.

   Erwin Marquit
marquit at physics.spa.umn.edu

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