[Marxism] Why did Soviet Socialism Fail?

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Fri Aug 3 10:19:39 MDT 2007

Socialists (and others) have naturally been interested in the rise
of the Soviet Union, the first workers state to survive any length
of time, from its first days, and have discussed, debated and 
argued over how and why it fell, was overthrown, imploded or which
ever explanation is given. Cubans are no exception. As someone who
was drawn into politics by the Cuban Revolution, and who chose to
join the Trotskyist Young Socialist Alliance, and later the U.S.
Socialist Workers Party as what I thought was the best vehicle to
defend Cuba, I'm fascinated by the readings and discussion on the
fall of the Soviet Union which have begun taking place in Cuba in
recent years. Anyone with a similar political background may find
this of special interest, too. 

This is to let readers know that a new article by Ariel Dacal Diaz,
who has been studying the fall of the Soviet Union for some time, has
just been published at the Cuban journal TEMAS, where this subject
has been taken up before, by him and others. It's just come out in
Spanish and it is going to be translated by CubaNews, hopefully in
about a week, unless someone who is truly inspired would like to take
it up and get it out faster. It's very long, and available in PDF
format (12 pages), or on my own site in HTML, but if you want to do
the translation, you can do it in Word, and I'll post it to the Web.

Naturally, thoughtful Cubans want to understand how and why their
principal ally and trading partner, the one whose existence
guaranteed the revolutionary island's survival for so many years,
collapsed and capitalism was then restored.

Some readers will find the footnotes particularly of interest, since
they include references to such authors as Frei Betto, Trotsky, Ted
Grant and Alan Woods as well as Lenin, Chistopher Hill and Hal
Draper. It's in the TEMAS for April-September 2007

Ariel Dacal Díaz ¿Por qué fracasó el socialismo soviético?

The HTML version also now at my site:

Ariel Dacal Diaz: USSR: The Frustrated Transition:

Alan Woods: Introduction to Russia: From Real Socialism to Real Capitalism

Why did Eastern European Socialism Fall?
(Panel discussion sponsored by TEMAS magazine)

Fidel Castro at the University of Havana November 17, 2005

Here is a conclusion I’ve come to after many years: among all the
errors we may have committed, the greatest of them all was that we
believed that someone really knew something about socialism, or that
someone actually knew how to build socialism. It seemed to be a sure
fact, as well-known as the electrical system conceived by those who
thought they were experts in electrical systems. Whenever they said:
“That’s the formula”, we thought they knew. Just as if someone is a
physician. You are not going to debate anemia, or intestinal
problems, or any other condition with a physician; nobody argues with
the physician. You can think that he is a good doctor or a bad one,
you can follow his advice or not, but you won’t argue with him. Which
of us would argue with a doctor, or a mathematician, or a historian,
or an expert in literature or in any other subject? But we must be
idiots if we think, for example, that economy is an exact and eternal
science and that it existed since the days of Adam and Eve, and I
offer my apologies to the thousands of economists in our country.

All sense of dialectics is lost when someone believes that today’s
economy is identical to the economy 50 or 100 or 150 years ago, or
that it is identical to the one in Lenin’s day or to the time when
Karl Marx lived. Revisionism is a thousand miles away from my mind
and I truly revere Marx, Engels and Lenin.

Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
writer - photographer - activist

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