[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.   

You write:

MERELY privatised? 


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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