On Russia

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Dec 13 09:31:58 MST 2001

>I have been following the conversation on Russia with interest.  Your points
>on Russian Nationalism are well taken, but with all due respect, I think
>Nestor is taking a roughly similar attitude to the SWP (US) on the fact that
>it's impossible for the West to re-establish Capitalist property relations
>without a very significant victory over the Russian workers and peasants and
>given the strength of Russia in pure military (nuclear) terms the importance
>that Russia retains to western military planners.

That doesn't make it right. A much more useful analysis is found in a
Monthly Review article "The Necessity of Gangster Capitalism" by Nancy
Holmstrom and Richard Smith. (http://www.monthlyreview.org/200holm.htm)

"The result was an unmitigated disaster. In the first year of reform,
industrial output collapsed by 26 percent. Between 1992 and 1995, Russia's
GDP fell 42 percent and industrial production fell 46 percent—far worse
than the contraction of the U.S. economy during the Great Depression.
Worse, pace Dr. Sachs, it has yet to recover. Since 1989, the Russian
economy has halved in size, and continues to drop. Real incomes have
plummeted 40 percent since 1991; 80 percent of Russians now have no
savings. The Russian government, bankrupted by the collapse of economic
activity, stopped paying the salaries of millions of employees and
dependents. Unemployment soared, particularly among women."

>Now, I think that we would all agree that the Russian population has
>suffered serious defeats, the question is have they been pushed so far back
>that they now stand behind, say US citizens in their class-consciousness.

I don't think the critical question is class-consciousness. It is whether
the "gains of October" have been repealed. I believe they have been.

>The argument posted by Mark Jones as to the failure of the adoption of the
>western model actually supports this analysis - if we view this failure as
>indicative of the internal dialectics. A similar argument could be raised in
>regard to the stand-offs current in the former Yugoslavia where the
>population still appear to have a belief in their ownership of the means of
>production (how quaint!).

Belief is superstructure. I am more interested in the base. I know people
who have had an arm amputated and think it is still there. This is quite a
pervasive phenomenon apparently.

Louis Proyect
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