racism in East Europe

Justin Schwartz jschwart at freenet.columbus.oh.us
Mon Jun 12 19:33:13 MDT 1995


On the E. & E. Wuropean surprise at finding that there are American
socialists: my West European friends (when I lived in England and visited
France, Germany, elsewhere) didn't seem surprised. Socialists are just
part of the landscape, so they seemed only amazed that there are so few of
us. But East Europeans and Russians are another story. A Russian Jewish
women with whom I'd been corresponding for years was astounded,. on
visiting (and ultimately staying) here that I really was as Red as in my
letters. She said with some disapproval, "You remind me of my
grandparents--idealistic younbg revolutionaries who were killed by the
GPU." I took this as a great compliment. But  lots of Russians in
particular don't understand how anybody can be Red anymore. You can
understand their point of view, though.

--Justin Schwartz

On Mon, 12 Jun 1995, Jukka Laari wrote:

> On Mon, 12 Jun 1995, Lisa Rogers wrote:
>
> > I heard from Europeans, when I was in East Europe (...)
> > This of course is the spin that their [pre-89] news put on it, and
> > many people asked me, the only American they had talked to (...)
>
> Exactly where you were, and when? I'm just curious...
>
> > Just when I thought that they were properly dismayed by racism in
> > general, however, somebody would say, "I think that America's Black
> > problem is the same as our Gypsy problem,"
>
> Yes, there have been a gypsy problem for centuries... And in some parts
> of (eastern) Europe it has become more urgent, because the jewish problem
> funnily disappeared...
>
> > Now that I know a lot more about socialism and capitalism, I am
> > amazed at how uneducated many people were, mostly young people, that
> > I met.
>
> That's why I asked where you've been. On one hand, education in
> socialist countries was in several ways terrific - you've met civilized,
> well learned people to whom Goethe and Voltaire etc were daily fellows,
> and who wondered how anyone can read books like the ones by Stephen King.
> On the other hand, you've met those people from backwoods... But isn't it
> something like that everywhere?
>
> "Mostly young people": doesn't that implicate, that the soviet system
> was rather degenerated well before the fall (that is, the educational
> system didn't worked at all - or operated it too properly?)
>
> > When I told them that capitalism has some bad effects and that there
> > were socialists in US, they thought I was joking.
>
> There are lots of people in capitalist/western Europe who think just like
> that. I was amazed when I learned about American socialists and
> anarchists - I had believed that nearly all people west of east coast big
> cities are nigger-bashing whiteys, and that the rest are neurotic
> intellectuals (described by Philip Roth and Woody Allen)...
>
> Yours, Jukka Laari
>
>
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