Sunday, July 13, 2008

Democratic Socialism is Capitalism Pt. 12

(This is the final section of Wu Bin's rebuttal of the social democratic advocacy carried out by Xie Tao and others. Links to the earlier sections are at the bottom of this post.)

12. Be sure not to forget the mistakes of the Soviet Union and the Eastern European countries

It has already been more than 10 years since the defeat of the Party and State in the Soviet Union and in the Eastern European countries. The “August 19” events of those years came to a premature end… Yeltsin launched a coup sitting atop a tank (right)…Gorbachev announced the dissolution of the Communist Party…the Red Flag over the Kremlin was lowered…the Secretary-general of the Romanian Communist Party, and his wife, were gunned down (below)…political power in more than 10 socialist countries fell one after the other, just like dominoes…these miserable scenes are still clearly before us!

After this shameless traitor Gorbachev had usurped the highest leadership of the Soviet Party and State, he proposed following the path of reforming the socialism belonging to the people and to humanity, the same thing, in fact, that Mr Xie Tao proposes. Later, following the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Gorbachev voluntarily confessed, saying “My life’s goal has been precisely the eradication of Communism”, “I had to get rid of the entire leadership of the Soviet Party and State, I had to get rid of the entire leadership of all of the socialist countries”, “my ideal was to take the path of the social democratic party”. This was, however, only a way by which to deceive people.

With the drastic changes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and the goal of Gorbachev’s mutiny achieved, the revisionists, imperialists and reactionaries were overjoyed, and the bourgeois rightists and running dogs of imperialism in our own country were also dancing with joy, gloating over the misfortunes of others. Mr Xie Tao was one of these people. He said: “A revolution that eliminates the system of private ownership, a social system characterized by a rejection of the advanced forces of production, in no matter how grand a name, has no future”, “Thus it can be seen that the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the wholesale changes in Eastern Europe, and China embarking on the road of reform and opening up, that all of these are defeats for ‘Leftist’ revisionism.”

We have already discussed whose failure it is in the end and it won’t be gone into again here. But one thing is clear, and that is that more than 10 years ago the Soviet Union and the Eastern European countries took the path of democratic socialism so highly esteemed by Mr Xie Tao, and the Eastern European Communist Parties fundamentally changed into social democratic parties, and looking back, there are no bright spots in the current circumstances of these countries; rather, there has been an increasing deterioration.

Everyone clearly recalls that after the 1980s, in those countries that had launched themselves into this new wave of “reform”, that it was done by revisionist bureaucrats and neo-liberal economists who copied and promoted the capitalist model of the West. Their so-called “movement for the transition to a market economic system” was a movement for the “transition” from public ownership to private ownership. The people of the Soviet Union and the Eastern European countries have paid a heavy price for this “transition”. This wave of “privatization” has not only dismembered and destroyed these fairly sound economic systems, causing a huge loss of state assets, and resulting in a serious deterioration of social and economic benefits, but has also brought about skyrocketing commodity prices, a decline in production, massive unemployment, a rapid decline in peoples’ living standards and a series of serious social problems.

Information on the first five years of privatization in Russia shows: “From 1992 to 1996, the Russian GDP fell by 50 percent and the national economy was set back twenty years”. In less than ten years national income and the scale of production of handicraft industry had more than halved compared to 1990, and the absolute degree of losses suffered by the country in the privatization reforms was ten times greater than that suffered during the war to defend the nation from the German fascist invaders. Now the greater part of Russian national wealth and national income is concentrated in the hands of the wealthy less than one percent of the population while the living standard of more than 80 percent of the people has dropped substantially compared to the period prior to the reforms, while 70 percent of the population can only just make ends meet. Forty million people live below the poverty line (out of a total population of 148 million). The life expectancy of the total population has declined by 7 years. The lives of the people are miserable beyond description.

The dozen or so countries that separated from the Soviet Union are in much the same situation as Russia and some are even worse off than Russia. An example is the several countries whose colour revolutions were brought to boiling point by the world media. After the privatzsation of the Ukraine, the number of unemployed people rose to over one million, and more than half of the total workforce has had to go abroad to make a living, labourers’ income is universally low, 66.7 per cent of the workers earn less than $US100 per month, agricultural workers earn less than $US70 per month and holding workers’ wages in arrears has become a common phenomenon.

Georgia’s situation is even worse than that of the Ukraine, with the families of Shevardnadze and other bureaucrats having the power to manipulate things, controlling Georgia’s economic lifeline and the majority of the wealth, while Georgia’s telecommunications and mobile phone services as well as several other relatively profitable industries are controlled by Shevardnadze’s daughter, son-in-law and other relatives. Results from a statistical survey have shown that more 1.5 per cent of the Georgian people are in control of more than 60 per cent of the national wealth. By contrast, ordinary Georgians depend on only wages of $US7 per month and can barely support themselves. In Georgia, 60 percent of the population are below the poverty line and the national unemployment rate has reached 15 per cent. Because of the deterioration of their living conditions, one fifth of the Georgian population have been forced to leave their homes and go abroad to make a living.

Kyrgyzstan’s situation is even worse than that of Georgia and the Ukraine. Kyrgyzstan’s per capita wages are only $US53 per month, while in the poverty-stricken regions of the south, the per capita wage is only $US20 per month and some primary school teachers’ salaries are less than $US15 per month, and many people simply cannot support their families, many cannot afford to eat meat, and many of the poor have problems finding food and clothing. Yet, while the ordinary labouring people are in dire straits, groaning in misery, those corrupt officials in power, those pot-bellied full-bowled “nouveau riche” and upstarts of all descriptions who have been greedily looting property and exploiting the people, have been leading lives of debauchery, wallowing in luxury and pleasure.

Under such irrational and unequal social systems, with contradictions constantly accumulating, with such dry tinder everywhere, and where the point of ignition has already been reached, with all this, social agitation and the regime-changing so-called “colour revolution” were inevitable. Not one of the socialist countries of Eastern Europe was spared this wave of privatization which universally carried the colour of colonialism. History has already recorded this important point: owing to the “shock therapy” of Sachs (a Harvard-trained neo-liberal economist – Trans.), the Eastern European countries were driven in one fell swoop into the abyss of “subsidiary capitalism”.

In recorded data, up until the year 2000, the proportion of foreign ownership in the industrial and banking sectors of the eastern European countries respectively was: Poland 35-40% (industry), 75% (banking); Croatia (no statistics available for industry), 85% ; Czech Republic 35%, 65% (purchase of residents’ private negotiable securities by foreign banks); Estonia, 60%, 80%; Hungary, 75%, 70%; and Slovakia, 25%, 40%. Take Poland as an example: up until 2003, “it would not take much effort for the proportion of industrial assets held by foreigners to surpass 60-70%”. According to Polish law, banks are not allowed to be sold to foreigners, but by the end of 2000, foreigners held 75% of Poland’s banking assets. For the Eastern European countries to realise rapid privatisation (e.g. Hungary took only five years), they went so far as to sell off State-owned enterprises to foreigners at extremely low prices. According to estimates, the sales price of factories and bank assets in Hungary and Poland was only about 10 to 20 percent of their actual market value. Therefore, in making great strides along the road to capitalism, the countries of Eastern Europe have sustained losses of around 90% of the capital accumulated over many years, and this outflow of 90% of their wealth has been the source of the profits for buyers from Western Europe. This sale of state-owned enterprises mainly to “foreign strategic investors” has had extremely serious consequences. The Eastern European countries have not only lost their existing wealth and created serious polarisation, but they have also lost their national independence in respect of future development. Under the circumstances of the Eastern European countries, the local people resemble immigrants in their own land hiring themselves out to foreigners to make a living, “foreign powers have not only taken the control of their economic assets out of the hands of the countries of Eastern Europe, they have also taken their political control, leaving them empty-handed, with neither assets nor votes, in another edition of the road to slavery” (Chrystia Freeland, Sale of the Century, October 2004, CITIC Publishing House).

In all of the above, the question that arises is that in confronting the revival of the spreading dregs of opportunism and revisionism, what should all the Marxist and revolutionary comrades do? Should we stand up and fight, and resolutely defend socialism? Ignore it, and be uncaring and indifferent? When researching materials for this article, I was much inspired by a sentence by Engels. In 1888, when W. Leibnicht and Bebel confronted at the critical moment the attempt by the “Possibilists”, led by Malon, Brousse and other opportunists, to seize the leadership of the international labour movement and make it leave the revolutionary orbit of Marxism, they did not undertake a resolute struggle with the “Possibilists” but adopted an attitude of compromise. (The Possibilists were a trend within the French working class movement that opposes revolution, saying that the movement should only try to do what was “possible”, i.e. take a reformist position – Trans.) In relation to this, Engels angrily criticised them, saying: “The Possibilists are busy, but our people are asleep” (quoted in Lenin, Collected Works Vol 12, “Preface to the Russian Translation of Letters by Johannes Becker, Joseph Dietzgen, Frederick Engels, Karl Marx, and Others to Friedrich Sorge and Others”). Are not the current type of opportunists and Xie Tao “busy”? Are not we Communist Party members “asleep”?

Chairman Mao pointed out: “The old Social Democratic Parties over the past several decades and modern revisionism in the past ten years and more …have simply denied that the several thousand years of human history is class struggle, have simply denied the class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, and have simply denied the proletarian revolution against the bourgeois and against the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. On the contrary, they are bourgeois, they are loyal running dogs of imperialism, they are one with the bourgeoisie and the imperialists, they persevere with the ideological system of bourgeois oppression of the proletariat and with the social system of capitalism, and they oppose the ideological system of Marxism-Leninism and the socialist social system. They are a group of anti-communist, anti-people counter-revolutionaries, and their struggle against us is one of life and death….Therefore, our struggle against them can also only be one of life and death” (People’s Daily May 17, 1967). This passage from Chairman Mao profoundly reveals the counter-revolutionary nature of democratic socialism and revisionism.

In this life and death struggle, we should conscientiously remember:

Only socialism can save China!

Only Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought can save China!

Democratic socialism and capitalism can only harm China!

(Completed on March 15, 2007)
Pt 1:
Pt 2:
Pt 3:
Pt 4:
Pt 5:
Pt 6:
Pt 7:
Pt 8:
Pt 9:
Pt. 10:
Pt. 11:

1 comment:

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