--- On Sat, 2/21/09, Jim Farmelant <farmela...@juno.com> wrote:

> From: Jim Farmelant <farmela...@juno.com>

> The Socialist Workers Party (USA) has long been insistent
> that Russia remains a kind of "workers state." 
> Their formulations
> strike me as nutty, but I think that they have stumbled on
> to
> a facet of post-Soviet life that merits further
> exploration,
> which is that many aspects of the Soviet system have
> managed
> to survive the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Indeed, given
> the recent economic downturn which has now begun to
> impact Russia, it is quite possible that we might see
> Russia
> reverting back to Soviet-style economic and social policies
> in order to maintain order.  
> It also seems to be the case that the same is true for
> some of the other former Warsaw Pact countries as well.
> The Czech Republic for instance has since 1989 been
> governed mostly by rightwing governments that have
> been avowedly committed to neoliberal economic
> policies, and yet I have read that much of the social
> safety net that was built up under the Communist
> regime has remained more or less in place since
> 1989.  That indeed it has been the continuing
> existence of this social safety net that made it
> possible for the post-Communists governments
> to gain the acquiescence of the Czech masses
> in the creation of a market economy there.

CB: It is interesting that the social
safety net remained, because as I understand
it, neo-liberalism is supposed to strip
away welfare and the social safety net.
So, perhaps the name was "neoliberalism"
but the facts on the ground were not so

It really will be interesting to see
what happens now if the world wide
recession/depression  batters
what ever free-market institutions
that were actually established in
Eastern Europe, Russia and the rest
of the former Soviet Union. Their
stock markets are likely to be more
fragile and limited than those in the
US and Western Europe. A crash of
neo-phyte stock markets could be
their end or lead to their permanent
limitation.  Besides the social safety
net, how far could they really go
in privatizing basic means of production
and basic necessities
industries, such as food, utilities, mass
transit, water, gas, electricity, telephone?
Those are only half private in the
US. It probably wouldn't be a very
big step to nationalize them - permanently.
The same with the banking system.

 In Eastern
Europe, and countries like Latvia,
Estonia and Lithuania with no Russian
troops there anymore, there may be
little reason to resent socialist 
organization, socialist _self_organization
and self-determination.

Perhaps socialism will come as a
negation of the negation of the
first experience of socialism.

They don't have to call it
"socialism" or "communism" Just call it
"economic democracy and freedom"
or social democracy or
democratic socialism.

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