[lbo-talk] Russia's economy

Carrol Cox cbcox at ilstu.edu
Wed May 9 18:14:09 PDT 2007

andie nachgeborenen wrote:
> No, Chris admitted, maybe in a side post to me, that
> Putin was a classic Russian strongman and that was
> what was necessary nowadays. So maybe the issue is
> whether that Russians are _unnecessarily_ oppressed,
> but Chris has stipulated by implication that they are
> oppressed, if maybe less than under Yeltsin and in any
> event happily. Anyway, when Christ raises the issue,
> and it is a hard one, that the Russians (or anyone)
> consents to what from a socialist pov looks like
> oppression, the happy slaves problem arises. Does
> consent legitimate all things?

I think "happy slaves" grossly distorts some important issues. Invoking serfs is equally distorting. Let us consider only free men & women (free from direct servitude of any sort). Only then the serious political issues implicit here brought to the fore.

Let us take as a premise that all humans desire and struggle for freedom (leaving "freedom" an undefined term, at least initially). Now what we call bourgeois democracy _may_ be the closest approximation so far achieved. And bourgeois democracy has a fucking horrible record. That is one of the reasons I oppose so sharply calling Bush et al "fascist": it serves to disguise this horrendous record of bourgeois democracy in serving human freedom. Everyone on this list can surely list the horrors. It was bourgeois democracies that reduced Africa to its present status. It was a bourgeois democracy that superintended the genocide of Indians in the u.s. It was a bourgeois democracy that that created the situation summarzied in the phrase, "the open veins of Latin America." It was a bourgeois democracy that oversaw the the repression of unions in the u.s. (with rather high death rate as Doug has pointed out). It is in a bourgeois democracy that systematic torture is practiced (still today) in so many police departments. It was a bourgeois democracy that forcefed women agitating for the vote, destroying the minds of many of them. American slavery. The conquest of the Philippines and the slaughter triggered that is still going on today. I doubt that Hitler and Stalin combined ever destroyed as many human lives as has bourgeois democracy over the last two centuries.

So keep happy slaves out of it. What about happy citizens (or subjects) protected against the worst horrors which bourgeois democracies tend to impose on other peoples (and on all too many of their own people). The people of Iran are beyond any shadow of a doubt freer than the people of Iraq or Colombia. The struggle for freedom is an enormously complex struggle not to be reduced to a few formulae, and certainly not to be equated with the mere achievement of what is probably already a past episode in human history, bourgeois democracy.


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