Should we celebrate the fall of the Soviet Union

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Tue Jul 14 06:58:41 PDT 1998

>No shit. Same could be said of the average Nicaraguan in the 80's
>finding his country transformed into Spain, or the average Cuban in the
>90's awakening in Japan.
>Can we stick to meaningful comparisons here? Like West Germany vs. East
>Germany, Cuba vs. Haiti, and such.
>Enrique Diaz-Alvarez

I am not really interested in these sorts of comparisons myself, since they usually conceal rather than reveal real differences. For example, to compare the economies of West and East Germany on the basis of measurable indicators would reveal that West Germany was superior. Any idiot can figure this out.

What is of more interest is the particular circumstances that attended East Germany after WWII. The amount of capital that was available, the historical level of industrial development prior to the war, Russian decisions to transplant E. German machinery and keep it non-industrial according to treaties concluded by Stalin and the West. Etc., etc., etc.

The main thing that should interest LBO-talkers like ourselves is that imperialism did not exist in the former Soviet bloc. The United States pillaged Central America, while the USSR was a beneficiary to Eastern Europe over the long haul. One of the reasons that the USSR bureaucracy became lured to the notion of perestroika is that it involved cutting subsidies to Eastern Europe. Gorbachev thought that these countries should have political and _economic_ independence. In my study of Nicaragua in the final years of Sandinista rule, it became crystal clear that the Soviet Union did not want Nicaragua to become "another Cuba" was that it was not in her economic self-interest. Cuba was a burden.

The United States has never acted altruistically. All it does is bleed countries dry. Right now American oil companies are winding down their operations in Ecuador. They leave behind an ecological and economic mess. Local fisherman and farmers are ruined and a suit is being prepared against Exxon, et al. Since the government of Ecuador is one of our satellites, I don't expect much success.

Louis Proyect


More information about the lbo-talk mailing list