The foreboding of 1991

Earlier I cited a text from Stalin that can now – in hindsight – be seen as an unwitting prophecy of 1989 and 1991, when capitalist encirclement finally took its toll and sought payback for 1917. Now another text that may be seen as a foreboding of the ‘shock therapy’ visited on much of Eastern Europe in the 1990s:

In point of fact, what would the abolition of the monopoly of foreign trade mean for the workers? For them it would mean abandoning the industrialisation of the country, stopping the construction of new mills and factories and the expansion of the old ones. For them it would mean flooding the U.S.S.R. with goods from capitalist countries, winding up our industry because of its relative weakness, an increase in unemployment, a worsening of the material conditions of the working class, and the weakening of its economic and political positions. In the final analysis it would mean strengthening the Nepmen and the new bourgeoisie in general. Can the proletariat of the U.S.S.R. agree to commit suicide like that? (Works, vol. 10, pp. 115-16)

Now we can add the production of an unemployed labour force for deployment in western Europe at much lower pay.


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