Gorbachev, Occhetto and the Withering Away of the Socialist State

Louis R Godena louisgodena at ids.net
Thu Oct 3 17:51:29 MDT 1996


Hugh starts in on Richard Bos (again),  and tells us that neither *he* nor
his ilk  would be caught dead supporting Gorbachev,  and for that matter:

> Nor would any
>orthodox Trotskyist.

Sadly,  he admits,  not all Trotskyists are created equal,  however:

> the USec followed the Mandelist line of tailing Gorbachev
>in the hope that the forces he represented would be forced in spite of
>themselves to take revolutionary measures.

and closes by asking facetiously:

>Richard, tell us *what* you were praising in Gorbachev, and why it was
>wrong, and for what reasons you decided to distance yourself from his line.

Well, it just so happens that I supported Gorbachev far longer than probably
anyone else in the CPUSA,  or at least longer than anyone would now care to
admit.   My support,  however,  is a matter of public record.    I have no
room for plausible denial.

 "Marxism Not Dead,  Godena Insists" was the headline on the front page of
the *Worcester Telegram & Gazette*,  Tuesday,  July 30, 1991.   The article
went on:

"...The Soviet Communist Party gave President Mikhail S Gorbachev a
surprising victory Friday when it approved a new party platform moving away
>from years of traditional Marxist doctrine.

But rather than rejecting the ideals of Karl Marx,   Godena said Gorbachev's
changes are an attempt to replace outmoded dogma with a more fluid and
democratic form of socialism.

'Its a rethinking of the precepts that have grown up around the Marxist
faith,'  Godena said.   'He's saying let's not view Marxism-Leninism as a
stated deadhand doctrine that we repeat like an incantation.

....In the final analysis,  I think the people of Eastern Europe will never
give up the socialist ideal...'"

This was less than three weeks before the abortive August 20 coup against
Gorbachev.

I made similar public statements to the *Boston Globe*,  the *Lowell Sun*,
and the *New York Times*,  among many others.    I do not regret doing so.
I still feel that Gorbachev was basically a good man who was overwhelmed by
the sclerosis,  ennui,  demoralization and corruption that suffused the
elite ranks of the CPSU.   I, like many others,  hoped--naively,  vainly,
foolishly--that he could somehow "humanize" Soviet Communist bureaucracy and
"save" socialism in the first country of its birth.

History,  however,  rarely offers such theoretically neat solutions.    I
admit supporting Gorbachev,  and expect to be judged,  and judged harshly
for it.    I did not,  at least,  pose with the General Secretary for two
minutes in the lobby of the UN building,  as other Communists did,  and then
sell my photograph in the same manner that the Apache Geronimo sold buttons
off his coat to tourists on the train taking him to exile in Oklahoma.    My
feelings on the situation were at least sincere.

And for that I have no regrets.

So,  lay off Richard,  Hugh.


Louis (G)



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