Monday, November 9, 2009

If you're as sick as I am ...

... of all the self-congratulatory hooplah plastering every possible bourgeois media outlet celebrating the 20th anniversary of the end of the Berlin Wall, you might find this interesting.

According to an international poll conducted for the BBC to gauge world opinion 20 years after the demise of the socialist countries in Europe, "Opinion about the disintegration of the Soviet Union is sharply divided." Western Europeans applaud it. Strong majorities in Egypt and other poor countries--and in Russia and Ukraine-- say it is "mainly a bad thing."

Check out my comrade Greg's finely honed observations about the German Democratic Republic at his blog Absent Cause.

In Germany, it seems there's growing interest in the writer Peter Hacks, who lived in the GDR and never turned against communism. I hadn't known about him and, having waded through this heavily anti-communist New Yorker blog post about him and the renaissance of his work, I'm going to check out whether any of his stuff is available in English.

My own view, in case anyone cares and in case it isn't clear by now, is that the Soviet Union, GDR, Yugoslavia and other European and Central Asian countries that were trying to build socialism were flawed workers' states. Despite the flaws--and they have been so exaggerated, so many of them simply fabricated and much of the rest so enormously distorted by 92 years of masterful imperialist propaganda that the only honest attitude a pro-communist partisan can take is to distrust any critique that comes from any source except a defender of these comrades' heroic efforts and sacrifices before, during and after World War II--enormous gains were made that immeasurably improved the lives of the masses of people. In the years since the end of those first attempts to build socialism, conditions of life in the formerly socialist countries have deteriorated sharply for the vast majority. Infant mortality is up. Life expectancy is down. The situation for women, always the central marker of the justness of any society, has worsened dramatically. And so on.

So celebrate all you want, imperialism and all those you've managed to sucker into believing your lies. The workers will rise again, in eastern Europe and central Asia no less than Latin America, where our class is already more and more engaged in many countries, no less than Nepal where the armed struggle continues, no less than Ethiopia and Afghanistan where nascent workers' states were overturned by U.S.-funded and -armed counterrevolutionaries, no less than South Africa, the Philippines, and even, no, especially, in the headquarters of Japanese, western European and U.S. imperialism.

This seems a good moment to send a shout-out to Read Red's friends in the former socialist republics of Europe and central Asia. I've noticed that this blog has been getting more and more visits from people in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Georgia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan. Perhaps it's just coincidence. I prefer to think they are kindred spirits who've somehow heard about this little outpost of flawed but earnest attempts at communist literary thought. Welcome, sisters and brothers! I'm happy to know you're checking in, keeping me honest as I keep trying my best to read red.