[Marxism] Re: State capitalism -- addition
Octob1917 at aol.com
Octob1917 at aol.com
Sat Dec 18 17:32:21 MST 2004
In a message dated 12/18/2004 3:43:21 PM Pacific Standard Time,
suarsos at alphalink.com.au writes:
Well it's true that most people in Eastern Europe wanted the right to
strike, the right to express their views without ending up in jail, and
right to news media that weren't a total insult to the intelligence. My
East Berlin friend's father used to say, "what's the news, Tom, I
haven't had a chance to watch TV" - meaning West Berlin TV of course.
People only read East German newspapers for the weather and sport.
Wasn't "Actually Existing Socialism" just the most fabulous thing?
The question comes down to what your definition of a socialist state in
transition is. Is it a Utopia, or is it the first step in the advance of the
working class towards Utopia? The role of the Eastern Bloc, where
socialism/communism was imposed from without, along with that of the Soviet Union, has been the
single most divisive issue among Marxists and Marxist parties or organisations
worldwide. There is no doubt that in both the Soviet Union and throughout the
Eastern Bloc the population was not suficiently politicised or educated in
the system they were living under, its virtues and the sacrifices necessary to
continue its progress. A staid and paranoid bureaucracy were the architects of
their own demise as a consequence, evident with the speed and ease of their
collapse. The Cubans, Vietnamese and now Venezuelans have shown the way forward
by involving the people every step of the way. I have a Polish comrade, for
example, and he told me of how when he was at school there was hardly any
political orientation, no extensive education in Marx, no singing of the
International at school, etc.. Compare that to how kids in the US are indoctrinated from
day one in the greatness of their country, democracy and capitalism.
Not allowing strikes when the West was looking for any reason or excuse to
undermine the Eastern Bloc was, to my mind, understandable; harsh but
understandable; at least in my estimation.
Your use of the 'Solidarity' movement in Poland is unfortunate. Funded by the
CIA and the Catholic Church, this was a reactionary movement. Things may have
been hard then, but look at them now. Poland has some of the worst poverty
and unemployment in Europe, reduced to the status of a Third World economy.
Wonder how many of those workers would choose what they had before compared to the
state of their country now.
I take your point. My use of the world 'merely' here was silly. The point I
was trying to make, notwithstanding, was that there is still a welfare state of
sorts, though, as you state, one in which you have to almost jump through
hoops to qualify. I know this from personal experience. I was a recipient of
unemployment for many years in the UK, where increasingly they attempt to coerce
and intimidate you into going on these bogus courses which are an exercise in
humiliation and degradation.
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