[Marxism] What was "white" and "European" about Soviet "socialism"

Joaquin Bustelo jbustelo at bellsouth.net
Sun Nov 19 14:42:50 MST 2006

Gregory Meyerson: what is specifically "white" and "european" (are these 
the same?) about soviet style socialism?

The specifically white, European character of Soviet bloc socialism became
quite evident in its unravelling. The leading bureaucratic layer and to a
large degree the masses, too, wanted to be part of the privileged
imperialist camp rather than casting their fate with the majority of
humanity, the peoples of the Third World. That's what it came down to.

Despite the ostensible offcial "solidarity" the USSR and East European
countries never put themselves out for Third World countries fighting

I beliee that careful examination will show that at least to some degree,
the Soviets and others in  many cases partook of the exploitation of the
Third World through the mechanism of "market prices" and unequal exchange.

And even in cases where trade deals deviated from "world market" prices,
such as in the barter agreements of Cuban sugar for Soviet oil, these may
have been better for Cuba than other options, but did not represent at all a
sacrificeor "subsidy" on the Soviet's part. While the price for sugar
implicit in the market deals (about 50 cents a pound, if I remember right)
was several times taht of the "world market," which is in reality a residual
market for dumping, it was in line with the internal EU price and, perhaps
more to the point, each fifty cent pound of sugar the USSR bought relieved
it from having to produce its own beet sugar at a cost of more than $1 a

I believe, a critical re-examination of Marxist economic theory will
discover that exchanges between imperialist and colonial and semicolonial
countries inherently involves the transfer of surplus value to the
imperialists, and insofar as they functioned in the world market as
industrially advanced countries, these benefits accrued to the USSR and
other East European states. But even if not, the functioning of the USSR in
relation to the world economy needs to be re-examined. This is not a new
idea, 30 years ago Che was raising these same issues in public. 

This also helps us to understand the profound de-moralization (in various
senses of the word) that led to the collapse of "really existing" East
European socialism. Why single out its white/European character? Because it
is true. 

The evolution or, if you want, degeneration of the Chinese workers state has
been strikingly different. They have not tripped all over themselves to join
imperialist military alliances and political blocs, nor to set up secret
torture centers for the CIA, etc., nor to adopt all sorts of political
changes demanded by the imperialists to facilitate their penetration and the
establishment of their political/ideological hegemony. I am not saying all
these policies have been right, but that they have been very DIFFERENT from
those of the white/European ex-workers states. And, on the whole, my
impression (although I'm no sinologist) is that they are guided by defense
of China's interests as refracted through the bureaucracy that still rules
that country.


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