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Tags: glasnost | yeltsin | perestroika

Marxism a Nightmare, Not a Future

Marxism a Nightmare, Not a Future

(Petr Švec/Dreamstime)

Larry Bell By Monday, 09 March 2020 10:25 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

I recently enjoyed a visit by two friends, Dorothy McClellan, a Regents Professor at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi and exchange scholar at Moscow State University in 1982 and 1984-1985, and her award-winning filmmaker husband Nikola Knez.

"Tito’s License for Genocide," a screenplay written by Dorothy, directed by Nicola, and produced by iFilms LLC and the Croatian Film Institute, earned the 2018 Worldfest Houston Special Jury Award. The documentary traces mass slaughters of civilians and soldiers who fled Croatia and Slovenia at the close of World War II.

These infamous horrors have come to be known as The Bleiburg Massacre and Operation Slaughterhouse.

Most specific to this article, Dorothy also edited a book "Witnessing the Soviet Twilight: Accounts of Americans in the U.S.S.R. on the Eve of Its Collapse."

Released in 2014, it presents a collection of essays chronicling experiences and observations of U.S. visiting social scholars at leading Soviet universities regarding events leading up to Dec. 25, 1991.

On that day, the world’s largest country, covering 8,649,500 square miles, stretching across 11 time zones and 5 climate zones, with more than 250 million inhabitants representing 100 nationalities — was declared dissolved.

Observations shared by Dorothy and her colleagues overlap many of my own during and following that general period.

Beginning in 1988, I was among the first post-Cold War Americans to be invited to meet with top-tier Soviet space program academicians, engineers and cosmonauts.

Many had key roles in launching Sputnik and Yuri Gagarin, designing Russia’s early orbital stations, and establishing a remarkable record of other human spaceflight achievements.

These were economically and socially turbulent times that can be traced back to a Frankenstein monster command economy established by Leonid Brezhnev’s socialist ministries over an 18-year term until his death in 1982.

Inflation was horrendously burdensome, foodstuffs and consumer goods were scarce, public services such as medical care were deteriorating, and corruption by the mafia and public officials was blatant and widespread.

Communists and non-communists alike had become furious with the central economic ministries over their five-year plans administered through Gosplan a powerful bureaucratic machine which created necessity shortages, economic imbalances and corruption that made black markets inevitable.

Mikhail Gorbachev, who became the U.S.S.R.’s first president in 1990, introduced two major Brezhnev-era reform policies. Glasnost called for a more open consultative government and dissemination of information. Perestroika legitimized public criticism regarding a deepening economic crisis and social program failures.

Glasnost inherited an old Bolshevik-era socialist ruling group system, the Nomenklatura. Membership provided their elite families with superior medical services; better quality yet cheaper food; superior apartments, dachas and hotels; subsidized automobiles, vacation resorts and travel to foreign lands; use of VIP dining rooms; and other privileges.

Continually crumbling economic and social conditions soon ignited a series of events that fundamentally changed Russia’s political landscape.

In August of 1991, Communist Party hardliners held Gorbachev captive at his Crimea vacation dacha in an attempt to prevent him from signing a treaty that would transform the Soviet Union into a federation of independent republics.

Perceived as weak in that coup attempt, a disgraced Gorbachev resigned three months later.

A new president, Boris Yeltsin, was then catapulted to power as Gorbachev’s successor for literally standing up against the plotted coup atop a military tank outside the parliament building (Russian White House) on the banks of the Moscow River.

On Sept. 21, 1993, Yeltsin dissolved the Supreme Soviet altogether, and on Oct. 3-4, Russian troops shelled the White House and forcibly evicted opposition politicians. I vividly recall seeing the resulting armament and fire damage.

Yeltsin declared that drastic "shock therapy" actions were necessary to carry out needed economic reforms, establish a market economy, and prevent a return to past Marxist failures.

In December 1993, a new Yeltsin-engineered constitution passed in a national referendum granted enormous presidential power which continues to this day. He was elected to a second term as president in 1996, and was succeeded by former Soviet Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Boris Yeltsin’s tough love anti-Marxist policies have ultimately been validated.

As State University of New York-Buffalo Associate Professor James Lawler, a faculty exchange scholar at Moscow State University observes in Dorothy’s book:

"In the past, Marxism was viewed [in Russia] as a serious, but probably dangerous outlook, as in the media phrase, 'Marxist terrorists.' But now to be labeled 'Marxist' is to risk smiles and jokes, not unlike those reserved for serious believers in the flatness of the Earth."

Lawler adds, "But it isn’t just Marxists, to say nothing of Marxist-Leninists, who are consigned to history’s dustbin. Twentieth century liberalism, with its defense of government intervention in the economy and the promotion of the welfare state, is also only a short step behind Marxism as a candidate for historical obsolescence."

Let this be a renewed lesson here in America. Just as collapsed regimes in the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Cuba, Venezuela, and everywhere tragically illustrate, the road to Marxism – or socialism under any other name — leads to no future ever to wish for.

Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) and the graduate program in space architecture. He is the author of several books, including "Cyberwarfare: Targeting America, Our Infrastructure, and Our Future" (2020), "The Weaponization of AI and the Internet: How Global Networks of Infotech Overlords are Expanding Their Control Over Our Lives" (2019), "Reinventing Ourselves: How Technology is Rapidly and Radically Transforming Humanity" (2019), "Thinking Whole: Rejecting Half-Witted Left & Right Brain Limitations" (2018), "Reflections on Oceans and Puddles: One Hundred Reasons to be Enthusiastic, Grateful and Hopeful" (2017), "Cosmic Musings: Contemplating Life Beyond Self" (2016), "Scared Witless: Prophets and Profits of Climate Doom" (2015) and "Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax" (2011). He is currently working on a new book with Buzz Aldrin, "Beyond Footprints and Flagpoles." To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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Let this be a renewed lesson here in America. Just as collapsed regimes in the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Cuba, Venezuela, and everywhere tragically illustrate, the road to Marxism, or socialism under any other name, leads to no future ever to wish for.
glasnost, yeltsin, perestroika
Monday, 09 March 2020 10:25 AM
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