[Marxism] Re: State capitalism -- addition

Tom O'Lincoln suarsos at alphalink.com.au
Sun Dec 19 15:14:31 MST 2004

Joe, thanks for a measured reply to a pretty aggressive post from  me. A
briefly response below:

Me: "Few people who actually lived there had any such  llusions."

Joe: "How do you know? did you happen to conduct a census? ..."

It's a judgement, of course. I was there in the sixties, and again in 1989.
Plus we saw what the people actually did when they got the chance --
tearing down the Wall and voting for anyone but the regime. Not in one or
two places, but all over the place. 

This doesn't mean no one had illusions of any kind. In the post-WW2 years
it was possible to hope that some kind of decent life would eventually be
achieved -- similar to illusions in post-war America. In the Brezhnev era
there was even some modest prosperity alongside the tender attentions of
the KGB.

Later on these illusions were replaced by illusions in the west and the
market. Solidarity, which began as a real workers' movement with a
socialist wing, degenerated after its 1981 defeat into a pro-western force.
The East German democracy movement, which initially had socialist
tendencies, was overwhelmed by the (false) appeal of western affluence. 

Nowadays, after the bitter experience of "actually existing capitalism"
there is some nostalgia for the old days when at least you were guaranteed
a job. In Indonesia there is similar nostalgia for the Suharto era "when
things were stable". It's a common syndrome.

But did any significant number of people think they in terms of a "first
step to utopia"? Hardly.

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