On Russia

Donal donaloc at peterquinn.com
Thu Dec 13 10:34:51 MST 2001

D>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
>given the strength of Russia in pure military (nuclear) terms the
>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)

I trust your first comment is tongue in cheek, (I was trying to shortcut you
to a roughly similar argument). Moreover, I should point you towards the
relatively neutral stance on this issue within my first post. I am not
certain which position is right, I wish to see/discern the answer to this by
means of polemical discussion/analysis. Hence I asked you (who I respect)
for an opinion as I thought you missed/avoided Nestor's central point. Your
statistics on Russia (which I have snipped) demonstrate clearly the
'unmitigated disaster' unleashed by the fall of the SU. We would all agree
on this, you have clearly proven it; however, the central issue is not
whether the SU is but a shadow of itself now but whether it has the
potential to reassert itself in the future, this is measured (in the end) by
the revolutionary consciousness of the lower classes. From interviews on
TV/articles I've read, I think that the average Russian is fairly unhappy
given the lowering of socio-economic standards which they have experienced,
they also have a memory of owning the modes of production - that doesn't go
away easily.

L> 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the "gains of October" have been repealed.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.

I don't know if I fully agree with your last statement, although that would
need some study. I believe that Russia retains a large state-sector to this
day (albeit of very low productivity). It retains a nuclear capacity to blow
the world up (how many times?). Certainly, the gains have taken a battering
but we haven't seen the full-scale reversal so many had forecast in the
early 90s.

D> 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

L> Belief is superstructure. I am more interested in the base.

As far as I know it is proving rather difficult for the new Serb Govt, even
with support from the supporting TUs, to remove state share-ownership in the
social economy units. In the end, it is the people themselves who will write
history, we are the subjects of history not the objects. My point is we must
take account of the dialectical position in Russia before categorising her
as a finished super-power. I think that this is Nestor's point. It is the
risk of the rise of a revolution (from right or left) which so worries the
US. If I was them, I would disect the country repeatedly, but you would have
to approach it with caution until you get your nuclear defence up and

In solidarity,


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