Ron Press anclondon at
Thu Mar 23 13:34:28 MST 1995

  Society has both form and content.

  The thing called socialism will have a certain content, jobs,
  food, education, pensions, security, health care. In spite of
  everything the USSR did have these things for the majority of
  its citizens.

  The remnants of the USSR today does not.

  What went wrong? It is simplistic nonsense to say STALIN. One
  might just as well say HITLER.

  What went wrong was more connected with the structure of the
  socialism in the USSR.

  Everything was vested in the Party. It was the VANGUARD, by law.

  When Gorbachov alone, decided that he would dissolve the party.
  It dissolved. Very strange for an all powerful, all knowing,
  vanguard. Where were the trade unions, the women's federation,
  the YCL, the environmentalists,???

  The structure had withered and was dead.

  ________________________________________________________ [ The
  challenge for Marxists is to rethink the structure of socialism.

   The content is much better understood and agreed. Many
  religious, trade union, environmentalists, intellectuals, agree
  that the basis of a better society is jobs, food, education,
  .... etc.

  What is this thing called democracy. Is it a system of soviets,
  ( Councils) ? Is it a parliamentary system.( John Major). Is it
  a beneficent dictatorship of the proletariat? (a Stalin )?

  At times of ferment and disruption, new forms of organisation
  emerge from the incipient chaos.  This happened time and time
  again in nature ( the formation of the first unicellular and
  later multicellular organisms. In the birth of human social
  systems. ( Capitalism after the dark ages, socialism after the
  first world war. The Paris commune.)

  South Africa's recent history abounds with new forms of

  To quote but one example.

  At the height of the murders and chaos in the years immediately
  after the unbanning of the ANC, and SACP. The women decided that
  thy must have a voice in deciding the future of  the governance
  of South Africa. They set up a women's forum. It had ANC, SACP,
  IFP, NP, Church, women all participating in discussions and
  drawing up a womens charter. A task which was successfully
  completed in the midst of murder and mayhem.

  CODESA is another example. As is the constitution of the
  government of national unity.

  I am not saying that South Africa is even on the road to
  socialism. All I am saying is that the organisational forms
  emerging there deserve study by Marxists.

  Parliamentary democracy is not democratic. The USSR became
  undemocratic, Democracy is a complex thing. It deserves study.

  We humans (Especially those brought up in the Judeo Christian
  Scientific culture) have a terrible tendency to simplify complex
  problems. With such simplification comes answers. But the
  critical step of reintegrating the answers into the original
  complexity fails us.

  Socialism failed in the USSR.>> Why?>> STALIN.

  Yes Stalin became paranoid. But did Socialism fail? Or was it
  the CPSU that failed Socialism? And was Stalin but one cog in
  the great mechanism that was badly constructed.

  Ron Press.


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