Poland, Russia, Yugoslavia and the lessons of illusions

Julio Pino jpino at SPAMkent.edu
Thu Oct 5 11:11:17 MDT 2000

Johannes: I'll deal with Russia first. Yeltsin was the Moscow Party hack,
but did have substantial working class support around the country
(1988-1991),especially among the coal miners who hadn't been paid in months
or years.These strikes were aimed at Gorbochev, and arguably helped bring
him, and the USSR, down. Needless to say, When Boris was in power the
strikes continued, but now Yeltsin was faced with a much weaker trade union
opposition. Talk about slashing your own neck!
 Re Poland. Yes, the former Communists are the liberal reformers now, but
the biggest trade union in the country is not Solidarity(mercifully) but
the remnants of the old Communist trade union.I don't think a Popish Plot,
as alleged by many of JP II's biographers, brought Walensa to power.Too
much of the Polish and Western left was bedazzled by Solidarity in 1980,
just because it had a working class base.(Ask Daniel Singer, who belongs to
both categories.) But its program was a strange one for any alleged leftist
organization, because of what wasn't there:No thanks for the Soviet
liberation of Poland in 1945, no call for Poland to repudiate its foreign
debt to the IMF and private banks, no solidarity with workers in Central
America and South Africa.
   The odd thing about Yugoslavia is the US-financed opposition doesn't
even make a pretense of being on the left, or of representing the working
class, and it still receives a pass from some western leftists.
Julio Cesar

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