[Marxism] Fwd: We have made today's Frankenstein with our own hands | openDemocracy
lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Sep 29 10:33:31 MDT 2014
The years of capitalism in Russia did not result in large-scale
capitalist construction; on the contrary – the country bankrupted and
effectively destroyed its industry, and built up its economy by
speculating on natural resources.
For Russians, all the problems of the economy stem from the loss of
imperial status and territories. Ukraine simply detonated the explosion,
which had been in preparation for a long time. What some people called
'Slav Reconquista' is already under way: the empire is regaining lands,
which it lost during perestroika. In the 1930s, Stalin restored
Catherine the Great's empire, which had been lost in the socialist
revolution, to its original size; the same is happening now.
In the 18th century, General Suvorov repressed the Polish uprising;
Brezhnev sent the tanks into Czechslovakia; Crimea has been annexed, and
now it is the turn of Donbas. The paradox of this restoration of
territory, the 'Russian spring,' is that it is accompanied by talk of
freedom. Thirty years ago, perestroika began with curses heaped on
Stalin's gulags and a passionate desire for Western-style democracy.
Today, Stalin has been virtually rehabilitated and democracy is
associated with the capitalists' plunder of Russia; and cursed accordingly.
Democracy and the market
Some quarter of a century after the destruction of the imperial police
state, the project to resurrect the Russian Empire became supremely
important for the population; a new wave of autocratic ideology spread
over the country – with all its bans, insinuations, persecution of
dissidents, and catcalls from the crowd. At that point those who called
themselves liberals and democrats suddenly became obvious victims.
Until then the liberals were cock of the walk. For 20 years, the Russian
government had been associated with democracy, and only gradually moved
away from democratic principles. The challenge to democracy came first
and foremost from the market, and this altered the social contract.
Democracy was said to need a liberal market, and links between democracy
and the market were considered natural. In reality, however, the
liberal-corporate world became the substitute for the social contract.
This should be unalterable and the relations between the citizen and
society should be limited by mutual responsibility. But the market knows
no limits and has little inclination to consider it has any
The market has replaced democracy, which for some time failed to notice
the substitution. The people, however, noticed the change quickly and
instinctively. The 'rabble', as the liberals called them, hated the
democrats for having impoverished them. They saw Russia' s devastation
as caused by the principles of human rights.
The liberal intelligentsia was hated for its easy money and arrogance.
Liberals were receiving big salaries in publishing for doing not much;
industry was bankrupt yet here the corporations were spending enormous
sums of money on publicity to convince people that the ruination of the
country was an essential step on the way to freedom. Unfortunately, the
age of liberalism in Russia came to an end, leaving behind no monuments
or achievements to its name.
And what about the vast sums of money, I hear you ask? No hospitals for
the poor were built, and there was no attempt to educate them either. It
went towards columns in glossy magazines, outright attacks on Stalin,
ridiculing supine Russians, and instilling the idea that the only
criterion for human fortune is market success.
Twenty five years ago the socialist barracks were knocked down in the
rush of progress (they liked that word then), and ordinary Russians were
robbed. Not that they were particularly prosperous before then. But
suddenly there were legal ways of taking away whatever remained to
people, and speculation became a worthy occupation. At that point life
was just ballast for the market, and anything that did not fit it died
the death. The new rich became the flagship of change; bourgeois tastes
became the criteria of justice and beauty; they had, after all,
successfully proved themselves in the market.
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