GDR and PDS, M-O-U-S-E...

billy elgin billy_e11 at
Wed Mar 17 12:34:35 PST 1999

Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 11:42:59 +0100 From: "Johannes Schneider" <Johannes.Schneider at> Subject: Re: GDR and PDS

Alex wrote:

>Where are you
>coming from politically? Are you an independent marxist, bureaucratic
>collectivist, workers stater, flowing free and easy with the
breeze,etc? Ah, Billy you like definitions and categories. Though definitions are basically non-dialectically they are sometimes usefull for the economics of the mind. Just to give you some in hint, I am coming from a Trotskyte background.

Yes, I'm very anal retentive, but I prefer it to being too loose and flowing with the breeze...

>Personally, my politics are close to the Fourth International
There are so many of them... I assume you mean the USec.

Yep, I'm a USec-er.

> but I'm
>relatively new to socialism and while I dont think that the fall of the
>GDR or the Soviet Union was a positvie development I still have
>questions about how the working classes in those countries could have
>organized to overthrow the bureacracies, given the political
>dictatorships that were in place there.

Did you ever consider the idea that developments in given society might have positive and negative aspects at the same time. It seems you are holding the position of a 'deformed workers state'. When arguing against anti-communist prejudices this position is quite good, but when arguing positively what socialism should look like taking the GDR or the Soviet Union as examples of albeit 'deformed' workers state does not sound very impressive.

To question one: yep. To question two: yep, I'm a deformed workers stater (Ooh, I'm numbering my responses that's pretty anal retentive, isnt it?). However, Leon and the boys did say that the bureacracy was a parasite on the workers state, that it was dictatorial (eg all those Trotskyists et al murdered by the Stalinists in Siberia), etc. So I'd say that Leon's et al's stance on repression in the Soviet Union was fairly impressive. The Soviet Union, the GDR etc werent socialist (according to worker staters) because the working class class didnt have control of the state but that there was working class power as administered by the bureacracy. A Trotkyist genius in my organization expounded on this very topic today. T.G. compared the Soviet Union to a bureacratized union. eg workers didnt control most of the planning and coordinating of the 1997 UPS strike against UPS, the militant bureaucrats did for the most part, but we still struck the company and won contractual gains. Workers power with a lack of workers control.

>The PDS sounds like the Russian CP- lots of bureaucratic leftovers and
>not a lot of potential for independent politics.

No, they are not as bad as that. Certainly they are no anti-semites like the CPRF. Quite contrary the PDS and especially there leader in parliament were the victims of anti-semitic campaigns. Furthermore you have to keep in mind that the CPRF is much firmer rooted within Russian society than the PDS in East Germany. There is no equivalent to the Russian 'Red Directors' in East Germany.

Interesting. Know anything about the potential of Komsomol? According to the article I posted, they were pissed at the CPRF for running non-party candidates for regional (?) office against Komsomol candidates and alienated because the CPers were such a bunch of Menshevik-Stalinist retreads.

According to an article I read in Dollars and Sense, by the time of the break up of the Soviet Union, the CPSU was predominantly pro-capitalist but there were anti-capitalist sections of the party too. Would you have any idea of the proportion of leaners toward revolutionary socialism in the CPRF? in the PDS? Or are the revolutionaries (loosely defined) in the RSB, etc?

Alex Get Your Private, Free Email at

More information about the lbo-talk mailing list