Gorbachev and Workers' Control of Industry
cwellen at pen.k12.va.us
Fri Oct 4 00:17:45 MDT 1996
Greetings to all comrades from Wei En Lin
Louis Godena said:
"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
And for that I have no regrets."
I wonder how many have read Gorbachev's book PERESTROIKA. The theory
behind it was, I believe, correct.
Gorbachev believed in returning power to the Soviets, to the
democratically elected committees of workers, farmers, and soldiers. He
believed in returning to the ideals of the Bolsheviks, which inspired
the masses to support them in 1917 and overthrow the old order.
Gorbachev explains this in his book, but unfortunately he did emphasize
it sufficiently in his speeches.
I doubt that Gorbachev was a social-democrat, or a revisionist; but I am
not sure why he failed to carry his plan into action.
Surely if he had really turned control of industry and the state over to
the working class, he would have alienated the West far more than
Perhaps he wanted to convince the West he was a Western-style democrat;
while holding out for the possibility of returning power to the worker
in the long run.
In any case, I agree with Louis Godena that he was overwhelmed by
circumstances. Without realizing it perhaps, he opened up Russia
sufficiently to allow the world-wide capitalist currents to take
advantage of the confusion and power vacuum he had inadvertently
created. Gorbachev was exceptional, but not up to the task which faced
him. He is neither a hero nor a villain.
He was lucky to get out of the situation alive.
In China, the verdict is almost unanimous that his mistakes were
enormous. Virtually everyone, even those who want China to become a
democracy, believes that Gorbachev is not to be emulated.
Wei En Lin
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