作者:Carlos Martinez(卡洛斯·马丁内斯)
出版社:LeftWord Books
The issue of maintaining a workers’ state and preventing the political domination of pro-capitalist ‘liberals’ is arguably the most important lesson to be learned from the collapse of the USSR.
P152 / 2022-07-14 13:52
Martin Jacques (2012) states the case succinctly:’We should think of China’s communist regime quite differently from that of the USSR: it has, after all, succeeded where the Soviet Union failed
P150 / 2022-07-14 13:47
Without the existence of a socialist bloc in Europe,many states were left with no option but to swallow the brutal logic of neoliberalism, or what Samir Amin called ‘the system of generalized monopolies’
The balance of power in the world changed sharply, with the overwhelming majority of European socialist states being replaced by right-wing governments and incorporated into NATO (despite the promises made by the US and West Germany that there would be no eastward expansion of NATO). The economic crisis occasioned by the Soviet collapse also led to the demise of socialism in Mongolia.
P146 / 2022-07-13 17:53
It is now widely believed that US-led finance capital knowingly directed the post-Soviet Russian economy into disaster so as to:1) thoroughly wipe out the economic roots of socialism by replacing it with gangster anarcho-capitalism; and 2) to prevent the Russian Federation from becoming a serious competitor to US post-Cold War hegemony.
P143 / 2022-07-13 17:44
History teaches us that a defeated revolution has to pay an extraordinary toll in blood. The victorious ruling class demands payment for the anxiety it experienced, for all the interests that were affected,or that were threatened. But it not only demands payment for present debts; it also seeks to collect, in blood, payment for future debts. It tries to annihilate the revolution down to its very roots.
P140 / 2022-07-12 22:51
As an aside, it is worth noting that the basic history of German partition and the Berlin Wall continues to be wilfully misrepresented. In the negotiations over the status of post-war Europe at Yalta and Potsdam, the Soviet Union and its allies in the German Communist Party (KPD) had pushed strongly for a unified German state that would have multi-party elections,that would be prevented from rearmament and that would be committed to neutrality. This approach considered both the wishes of the German people and the Soviet Union’s need to avoid another major war.Anxious to maintain a military foothold in Germany, the United States and Britain worked with right-wing forces in the western zone (including many former Nazis) to set up a separate state in western Germany: the Federal German Republic (FRG), established in May 1949.
P131 / 2022-07-12 22:32
political reforms should have attempted to build on and improve the existing system.
P111 / 2022-07-10 22:33
The political freedoms available in the West are much constrained owing to the correlation between wealth and power. Ordinary citizens have the right to vote, but their choice is nearly always restricted to two or three pro-capitalist, pro-imperialist parties, between which there is little substantive difference
P110 / 2022-07-10 22:31
‘Free speech’in the advanced capitalist countries is a piece of attractive icing beneath which lies a bitter cake of plutocratic repression. Via its nonopolization of the mass media, the ruling class dominates the field of ideas comprehensively.
P110 / 2022-07-10 22:27
As we know from historical experience, common sense, and scientific analysis, no reform can be implemented successfully without a well-developed programme and precisely defined goals; a team of vigorous and highly intellectual reformers; a strong and effective system for controlling political phenomena; thoroughly developed and carefully considered methods of instituting the reforms; the mobilization of the mass media to explain the meaning, goals, and consequences of the reforms for the state as a whole and for the individual person in particular for the purpose of involving as much of the population as possible in the reform process; and the preservation and development of the structures, relations, functions, methods, and lifestyles that have earned the approval of the people.
P108 / 2022-07-10 22:22
By 1989 the common pride in the Soviet global role that had existed only a few years before was no longer there. It had been replaced not only by a lack of faith in the Soviet system, but also by a conviction that its leaders squandered their resources abroad while people at home lived in poverty.
P95 / 2022-07-10 15:52
Peaceful evolution was said to be the ‘soft twin’ of hard containment
P86 / 2022-07-07 13:29
The existence of the so-called dissidents has been made possible exclusively by the fact that the enemies of socialism have geared the western press, diplomatic, as well as intelligence and other special services to work in this field. It is no longer a secret to anyone that dissidence has become a profession of its own kind, which is generously rewarded with foreign currency and other sops that differ but little, in effect, from what the imperialist special services pay to their agents.
P85 / 2022-07-07 12:49
Combined with the military escalation, the US also pursued a ‘peaceful evolution’ strategy, stepping up its support for the dissident movement in the USSR and for assorted ‘pro-democracy’ (pro-capitalist) movements in Eastern/Central Europe. Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty spearheaded a round of intense ideological warfare, fomenting nationalism, opposing Soviet foreign policy, and giving a platform to dissidents and free-market fundamentalists.
P84 / 2022-07-02 22:14
the CIA and the Pentagon ‘abandoned the idea of the mere “containment” of communism in favour of using military force to push back against its exertions – even when these were met with massive popular support’. All the states under attack had an urgent need for military and civilian aid, which the Soviet Union had little choice but to provide.
The USSR was becoming over-extended, spending up to 30 per cent of its GDP on arms and sponsoring its allies to the tune of tens of billions of dollars each year. This spending may well have been unavoidable – it is hardly reasonable to deny the state of siege imposed on the socialist world by the capitalist world – but it inevitably had an adverse impact on domestic living conditions.
P84 / 2022-07-02 16:03
Capitalism has a built-in advantage over socialism in areas of production that do not directly benefit people. In a capitalist economy, an arms race creates demand (for high-tech weaponry),which stimulates investment, which creates profit, which keeps the ruling (capitalist) class happy, which in turn keeps its governments stable. In a socialist economy – oriented specifically to meeting people’s needs rather than generating profit for a small minority- an increased focus on military development requires divestment of resources from other areas of production – ‘diverting material and human resources from the civilian to the military economy, to meet the challenge of Western military pressure, as Stephen Gowans (2012) put it. Given slowed economic growth, plus ongoing problems with food production, housing provision and light manufacturing, the arms race caused genuine difficulties for the USSR. These served to make the ruling (working) class less happy and the domestic political situation less stable.
P80 / 2022-06-30 11:45
Such people stood to gain from a transition to capitalism. Capitalism would allow them unchallenged ownership of the means of production; it would give them the opportunity to accumulate enormous wealth without having to worry about attracting unwanted attention from the state. Furthermore, this wealth could be legally passed on to their children.
P78 / 2022-06-30 10:51
The sections of the population most affected by disillusion and ideological deterioration were academics, managers and Party bureaucrats-the party-state elite, as Kotz and Weir refer to them.Not only were they more aware than others of how the country’s economic position was declining vis-à-vis the West, but they had to suffer in the knowledge that their counterparts enjoyed far greater perks and privileges.
P77 / 2022-06-30 10:50
The need to widen democracy and allow greater individual freedoms is a complex problem for socialist states under siege. In a world dominated by imperialism, a socialist leadership has to carefully balance responding to the legitimate demands and needs of the people with not creating structures that can easily be leveraged by hostile states to destabilize and to spread disinformation.
P75 / 2022-06-30 10:43
And yet closing the gap proved difficult. The United States had a number of advantages that enabled it to sustain steady growth throughout the 1950s and 1960s: unlike the Soviet Union, it was not devastated by war; unlike in the Soviet Union, wars and military expenditure constituted an economic boost rather than a drain; unlike the Soviet Union, it benefited immensely from the exploitation of people and resources in the developing world; and unlike the Soviet Union, it felt no particular obligation to privilege the basic needs of the masses over the exploration of new markets and technologies.
P72 / 2022-06-30 10:37
Enormous investment in Western Europe via the Marshall Plan provided lucrative avenues of investment for US capital, whilst establishing a solid anti-communist bloc to counter the huge prestige of the Soviet Union, and creating an economic bond that would force Western Europe to unite behind US leadership.
P71 / 2022-06-30 10:30
While the capitalist system becomes more and more entangled in insoluble contradictions, the socialist system develops on a steadily upward-moving line, without crises and catastrophes. The general crisis meant that capitalism had lost its economic vigour and would no longer be able to innovate; it was no longer capable of generating progress, of developing the productive force. ‘A characteristic feature of the general crisis of capitalism is chronic under-capacity working of enterprises and chronic mass unemployment.’
P70 / 2022-06-30 10:27
it is reasonable to assume that Khrushchev’s criticism of Stalin was motivated by a desire to introduce progressive political changes consistent with developing socialism in new circumstances. His methods, however, were disastrous. It should have been possible to make political changes without launching a severe frontal attack on Stalin and all that he represented. Stalin was the most prominent Soviet leader from 1924 until his death in 1953. In other words, Stalin led the USSR for twenty-nine of the thirty-six years of the USSR’s existence. To criticize him so harshly, to tear down a personality cult so suddenly, meant to cast doubt on the entire Soviet experience to that point; it meant to delegitimize the extraordinary achievements of the CPSU and the Soviet people during the Stalin era.
P61 / 2022-06-29 13:55
The personality cult around Stalin (and that around Lenin) served the function of winning the support of the peasantry and the new working class. In lieu of the peasants’ fundamental involvement in making the socialist revolution, the Bolshevik regime had to be personalized for it to win their loyalty. The personality cult serves a key social function when circumstances don’t allow for the much slower development of the class-conscious understanding and struggle needed to win people to a socialism without individual heroes.
P58 / 2022-06-29 13:46
The personality cult around Stalin (and that around Lenin) served the function of winning the support of the peasantry and the new working class. In lieu of the peasants’ fundamental involvement in making the socialist revolution, the Bolshevik regime had to be personalized for it to win their loyalty. The personality cult serves a key social function when circumstances don’t allow for the much slower development of the class-conscious understanding and struggle needed to win people to a socialism without individual heroes.
P58 / 2022-06-29 13:46
For a people’s revolution to survive, it must seize state power and use it to (a) break the stranglehold exercised by the owning class over the society’s institutions and resources, and (b) withstand the reactionary counterattack that is sure to come. The internal and external dangers a revolution faces necessitate a centralized state powerthat is not particularly to anyone’s liking, not in Soviet Russia in 1917,nor in Sandinista Nicaragua in 1980.
P57 / 2022-06-29 13:42
Collective belief in the values and foundational stories of a given society is a key survival factor for that society. This is why all societies go to great lengths to preserve these values and stories,to spread them through education and propaganda systems, and to present them as being universal and indisputable. Modern capitalism, with its extraordinarily powerful media and sophisticated means of propaganda, promotes its own beliefs and values, and we are exposed to these from the cradle to the grave.
P54 / 2022-06-29 13:32
the economic problems fed into a general sentiment of dissatisfaction that reduced the masses’ confidence in socialism and, therefore, their willingness to fight for it when it came under attack.The economic problems also created a stratum of people who felt they would do better under conditions of capitalism: people running small businesses in the informal sector who would benefit from freer markets; and managers and intellectuals who saw socialism as an impediment to a life of privilege.
P53 / 2022-06-29 13:30
The United States forced the USSR to divert huge resources into an ‘arms race’ that it could ill afford. Capitalism is actually far superior to socialism when it comes to the industry of death and destruction: in an economy aimed at furnishing profits for corporations, a large market for high-value single-use products like nuclear bombs is a wonderful thing, hence the position of the military- industrial complex at the heart of United States government. In an economy focused on serving the needs of the masses, devoting scarce resources to military technology means diverting resources away from producing food, housing, infrastructure, clothing, art, education and consumer goods.
P49 / 2022-06-29 13:19
In the early post-war years, shoddy goods did not constitute the biggest problem for Soviet families, but expectations started to change, in no small part due to the increasing availability, penetration and sophistication of US propaganda. Many Soviet citizens felt envious of the consumer goods apparently enjoyed by people in the West, perhaps not always understanding that the idealized picture painted by the movies had its counterpart in horrific poverty, in the vulnerability of credit-driven consumption and in the ruthless domination of the neo-colonies by monopoly capital. The higher echelons of Soviet society — doctors, scientists, academics, bureaucrats — recognized that their counterparts in the West enjoyed a higher standard of living, and many started to feel that socialism was an obstacle to wealth.
P45 / 2022-06-28 17:45
The United States had an unfair advantage over the USSR in its post-war development. It suffered very little impact from the Second World War in terms of lives lost or infrastructure damaged; in fact, its manufacture of arms and supplies (including those supplied to the Nazi war machine) brought in handsome profits, along with the debt dependency it imposed on post-war Europe. All this meant that it was uniquely situated to invest massively in research and development, and to establish a very proftable domination over a large part of the developing world. Furthermore, via the so-called Washington Consensus, the United States established itself as the unchallenged leader of an international division oflabour that brought economies of scale and a wide-ranging interchange of ideas in the worlds of science and culture.
P43 / 2022-06-28 16:44
Without access to financial resources, industrial enterprises could not update their equipment, introduce new technologies, or take advantage of the most recent achievements in science and engineering. The scientific establishment itself, except for the defence branches, lost the stimulus for development that should have been provided by demand for new projects and technical innovations.
P41 / 2022-06-28 16:30
At ground level, with a heavy emphasis on annual production targets, there was minimal incentive for risk- averse enterprise managers to introduce sweeping technological changes, and in the absence of a centrally-mandated and society-wide information revolution, computerization was somewhat marginalized.
P41 / 2022-06-28 16:28
the plan tended to encourage a mindset of quantity over quality. ‘Under pressure to get quantitative results, managers often cut corners on quality. … For instance, since state buyers of meat paid attention to quantity rather than quality, collective farmers maximized profits by producing fattier animals. Consumers might not care to eat fatty meat but that was their problem. Only a foolish or saintly farmer would work harder to produce better quality meat for the privilege of getting paid less.’
P36 / 2022-06-28 16:18
Compared to the late 1920s, the Soviet economy of the 1950s was infinitely more complex and therefore more difficult to tightly plan. In the aftermath of the devastation of war and a widespread feeling that the Soviet people had earned an easier life in a context of ‘peaceful coexistence, there was some re-focussing towards the production of consumer goods, meaning a far greater range of items to produce. A linear increase in the number of goods to produce meant an exponential increase in the complexity of the plan, which became increasingly fragile.
P35 / 2022-06-28 16:15
Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.
P10 / 2022-06-28 12:08