Soviet and US Economy

Jim heartfield Jim at
Sun Jul 19 08:12:24 PDT 1998

In message <35B1DF7A.69D97CF at>, Mark Jones <Jones_M at> writes
>The fact is that a great many people made those kinds of predictions.
IE that the soviet union would collapse.
>Two weeks after the October Revoltuion, The London Times predicted that
>the 'feeble' coup led by the 'obscure anarchist-pacificist Ulyanov'
>not last out the year.
You miss the point. The difference between Hillel Ticktin and the Times is that in the case of the Times the wish was father to the thought. In the case of Ticktin the analysis came first. Unlike the Times Ticktin did not predict perennially the collapse of the USSR, but analysed that actual process as it started to unfold, in the seventies.

Notably the Times, soon abandoned its original wish-fulfillment position to adopt the equally false view that the Soviet Union was a monolith that would never be overthrown. Both Times' versions were impressionistic. Ticktin's was analytic.
>I notice a surprising degree of unanimity on LBO-talk (surprising to me
>anyway) about the proposition which Doug and others have forcefully
>advanced, that the fall of the Soviet Union was a disaster for all of us
>(excluding LM, perhaps).
You misunderstand the current state of affairs. The collapse of the soviet union has indeed led to a collapse of the left. But that only indicates the extent to which the left was parasitic upon the soviet and trapped within its model of socialism. The truth is that a Stalinist inspired left would never win out over capitalism. The ideological disarray that is made explicit by the collapse of the USSR was already implicit in the defeat of Marxism by Stalinism in the thirties.
>Actually, I did not spend all my life actively
>supporting Khrushchev and Brezhnev.
(Just Stalin, presumably)
> But I never made it a task of my
>life to attack the Soviet Union and to do everything in my power to
>hasten its destruction,
In other words you kept silent while mosntrosities were committed in the name of Marxism, and you fostered the false view that socialism = soviet union. You know full well what you did better than I. I can only hear the guilty warble in your voice. I'm happy if you keep all your hideous compromises and sell-outs secret: They would just turn my stomach.
> as, for example, Hillel Ticktin has done. The
>idea that Ticktin was motivated by a disinterested love for the common
>people of Russia or a deep desire to salvage the honour of Marxism does
>not seem plausible,
Obviously it would not seem plausible to someone like you. But anyone who is familiar with Ticktin's work, his books on Apartheid in South Africa, his journal Critique, his prodigious critiques of imperialism and capitalism will know that it is so.
> since he is such a clever chap anyway and always
>knew what he was doing and what the likely consequences were.
What is that supposed to mean, you weasel? That he was an agent of MI5? You haven't lost the scummy smear-tactics that you learnt defending the Stalinist gerontocracy. According to this warped logic, any criticism of Yuri Andropov is aid to the enemy. What rubbish. How could anyone expect socialism to succeed that did not distinguish itself from this brutal and barbaric regime? It is a sharp contrast from Marx's view of a revolution that must always check itself and subject itself to criticism, taking nothing for granted. To you any criticism is dangerous. But the real danger is the absence of criticism. It was that spirit that led Stalin and Beria to denounce every critic as an agent of Fascism, because it was 'objectively' the case: a recipe for enforced stupidity.

>People can judge for themselves whether the results of his
>efforts and the efforts of the CIA, MI5, Nato, the yellow
>press, etc etc -- ie, the destruction of the USSR -- were generally
>beneficial or not.
Other-worldly. Hillel Ticktin overthrew the Soviet state? Wake up. The soviet people withdrew there support for the state and it collapsed. US foreign policy at the time and since has been to prop it up, so much did they fear the collapse.

What Ticktin did was to make sure that Marxism did not go down with the Soviet state. All of your laughable hymns of praise to the Great Helmsman Stalin could not save a society that was without any real potential for growth, and consistently failed to meet the most basic needs of its people. What Ticktin did was to save Marxism from its aboslute association with Marxism, for which task you ought to get down on your hands and knees and than him.
>It was almost impossible that the Soviet Union should survive, and as
>we all know, Lenin himself did not expect it. That's the thing which
Well, I don't suppose one will be forthcoming from you, so I propose the following: The survival of the soviet regime, and the extension of its influence in Eastern Europe and China, was principally due to the collapse of imperialism in those areas. The bureacratic-military regime that rushed to fill the vacuum was wholly dependent for its success on the failures of the West, rather than any intrinsic qualities of dynamism of its own. The collapse of the Eastern bloc coincides with the greater internationalisation of capital in the seventies, as imperialism tried to stave off its internal slow-down through the world market. That renewed pressure for new markets toppled the house of cards that Stalin built.
>Predicting its downfall was always a very easy (and
>profitable) thing to do.
It is quite grotesqe to suggest that Ticktin or anyone else is somehow a profiteer, because he tells the truth that you prefer to seal your ears and eyes to. Hillel Ticktin is an underpaid lecturer at Glasgow University. Most of his money was sunk into Critique. He is far from being one of the pampered bureaucratic elite that Mark Jones has been toadying to for all of his adult life. -- Jim heartfield

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