Gorbachev, Occhetto and the Withering Away of the Socialist State

Hugh Rodwell m-14970 at mailbox.swipnet.se
Sat Oct 5 18:43:41 MDT 1996


Louis G, the most chivalrous of opponents, defends a buddy:

>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.

True.

>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.

Nothing facetious about it. The questions still stand.

Then Lou tells us of his own support for Gorbachev, based very much on
faith -- most of his argument is couched in terms relating to religion,
"dogma", "faith", "doctrine", "incantation". He rounds off with faith in
the socialist ideals of the peoples of eastern Europe, but doesn't go into
the relationship between that ideal and Stalinism:


>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...'"

The failure of Gorbachev is laid at the door of the bureaucracy:

>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.

As the Finnish-Swedish poet Elmer Diktonius said:

        Tame birds are filled with longing -- wild ones fly.

        Tamfaaglar laengtar, vilda flyger.

Only the organized revolutionary force of the working class would be
capable of turfing out the bureaucracy and saving the socialist economic
foundations of the world's first workers' state.


>My feelings on the situation were at least sincere.

This speaks volumes in relation to the motives underlying other peoples
positions. You wouldn't care to indicate who, or what currents, were
insincere in your view, Louis?


>And for that I have no regrets.

Of course not, but since when is sincerity a touchstone for the value of a
political standpoint?


>So,  lay off Richard,  Hugh.

This is some non sequitur!

Is Louis trying to draw my fire, or what?

I criticize positions, not people. Sometimes people project a very
"personal" image of themselves in their writing, and it can be difficult to
disentangle the individuals from their ideas in the heat of argument,
especially when opponents personalize and goad quite shamelessly. This kind
of battle is no great problem to understand.

Occasionally, however, there are rather special circumstances. Some
subscribers cover a terrible political line with a list image of sweetness
and light. The English (or however Richard wishes to define himself) seem
particularly adept at this. This is why I occasionally have my heavy boots
on when dealing with posts by Chris B or Richard.

So no special privileges for Richard, I'm afraid.

I'm not even sure he wants any.

Cheers,

Hugh




     --- from list marxism at lists.village.virginia.edu ---




More information about the Marxism mailing list