Chris Doss responds to Nestor G. about Russia

Nestor Gorojovsky nestorgoro at
Wed Sep 24 15:15:15 MDT 2003

El Miércoles 24 de Septiembre de 2003 a las 16:20,
Jurriaan Bendien dijo sobre Chris Doss responds to Nestor G. ab que:

> What do you value
> more, lots of consumer goods or total cradle-to-grave job security? That's a
> matter of personal taste.

a) I think that the question is wrong. In view of facts, what one
would have to ask is "what do you value more, lots of consumer goods
or higher probabilities of an early grave?"

b) On the other hand, I agree that I am considering, say, Russia 1975
against Russia 2003, mainly because Russia 1995 and Russia 2003 are,
from a _structural_ point of view, one and the same thing as compared
to Russia 1975.

c) Not that I worship Russia 1975. But it is easy to speak of false
options when _your own_ lifespan is not at stake.

And, of course, I am completely sure that the "middle class" are
better off. This is always the same with semicolonies. It is on this
ground that the opposition to Chávez has grown, and the opposition to
Vargas, and the opposition to Perón, and the opposition to Villarroel
that hang him from a lamp post at Murillo Square. It is also from
this ground that opposition to Allende brought Pinochet to power
(can't you remember Kissinger expressing that the "truck owners were
the heroes of the day"?)

> I would say that life is better today for that percentage of the population
> that is lucky enough to be in the "middle class."


> The rest of people have considerably less buying power than they
> did in the Soviet era, but then again there is more of a variety of
> goods and the goods are of higher quality. Living standards in the
> rural areas are very very very low.

What's good in the "variety of goods and [their][...] higher
quality", if the mass of population can only watch them through the
shop windows, is an arcane to me. But I am probably a dynosaur

As to:

> All this has to be qualified because, after all, most Russians own their own
> apartments and pay virtually nothing for utilities, and own their own garden
> plots, so you can get by with much less than you could in the West. Hell,
> must urbanites own their own summer home. Many pensioners will rent out
> their apartment in the city, live at the dacha in the country and use the
> rent money to buy whatever they don't grow themselves.

These are remnants of what you call "Russia 1975". Perhaps the Putin
regime will not allow capitalism to advance towards these areas. But
I would not place bets on it. Every semicolony needs a relatively
well to do layer of urbanites and middle class which can be used
against truly popular governments.

It seems that the battle against the kulak is still on the agenda!!!!

> The attitude toward the USSR seems to be a largely generational thing.
> People over 60 think it was great, people who are middle-aged are ambivalent
> (I don't know anyone over 35 who doesn't feel nostalgic) and people in their
> 20s tell me I have an idealized attitude toward the Soviet Union (even
> through they're too young to actually remember it in detail). Of course
> things are more nuanced than this; Soviet imagery is very fashionable in
> Russian youth pop culture, after all, where it is associated with vague
> feelings of patriotism and nostalgia for a vanished ideal. I have met
> 20-somethings who have utter contempt for Gorbachev, Putin and Yeltsin
> (well, absolutely everyone has utter contempt for Yeltsin) and adore Stalin.

Take what follows as merely a metaphor, but Chris makes me think that
Russians are in strong need of a 19/20 december which puts things
clear. Recent surveys in Argentina show that people in their 30s are
the single age layer who still somehow believe in the neoliberal
tenets. Youth and people above 40 reject them _in toto_. Before 19/20
December, 2001, this was unthinkable.

Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
nestorgoro at

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"Sí, una sola debe ser la patria de los sudamericanos".
Simón Bolívar al gobierno secesionista y disgregador de
Buenos Aires, 1822
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