The butcher washes his hands before weighing the meat

Union of Soviet Surrealism Republics, Viktor Mogilat, 2017

The butcher washes his hands before weighing the meat

The Forty-Fourth Newsletter (2018)

https://mronline.org/2018/12/29/the-butcher-washes-his-hands-before-weighing-the-meat/#lightbox/0/

Originally published: The Tricontinental (December 28, 2018)   | 
Dear Friends,

Greetings from the desk of the Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

It has been almost a year since we got off the ground. Our offices across the world humming with activity. You have received forty-four newsletters from us, eleven dossiers and one notebook and one working document. More is on the way as we enter our second calendar year.

Over the course of these newsletters, we have laid out some of the broad outlines of our concerns and our hopes. We have tried to confront the reality that we live in the Age of the Strongmen–the time of authoritarianism. The broad smiles of the neoliberals have faded. They had their moment to squeeze society and produce prosperity for the few. When the neoliberals squeezed society, wealth travelled upwards to the few and left the many bereft. It was in this condition of unbearable inequality that the Strongmen appeared. They promised jobs and an end to corruption, but what they actually delivered was social toxicity. It was easier to blame minorities for broad social problems than to actually try and solve them. The Strongmen continued the agenda of the neoliberals, but this time without a smile on their faces. They promised violence and they delivered violence. These are ugly times.

In 1935, the German Marxist playwright Bertolt Brecht wrote a short note on capitalism and fascism:

Those who are against fascism without being against capitalism are willing to eat the calf, but they are against the sight of blood. They are easily satisfied if the butcher washes his hands before weighing the meat. They are not against the property relations which engender barbarism; they are only against barbarism itself.

‘Property relations’ referred to capitalism–in which a small minority of the world’s population holds the vast mass of social wealth (land, labour and capital). This social wealth is used homeopathically to hire human beings and exploit nature not for any other reason than to make money from money, namely for profit. Concern for humans and nature does not drive the investment of this capital, greedy by its nature.

This capital stands apart from human life, eager to accumulate more and more capital at all costs. What drives the few–the capitalists–is to increase their profits by seeking higher profitability.

In cycles, capitalists find that there are no easy and safe investments that would guarantee profits. This crisis of profitability, as we showed in our first Working Document, leads to two kinds of strikes:

  1. First, a tax strike, where the capitalists use their political power to reduce the tax burden on themselves and increase their wealth.
  2. Second, an investment strike, where the capitalists cease investing in the productive sector but instead park their wealth speculatively to preserve it.

These strikes by the capitalists draw social wealth away from social use and dry up the economic prospects of very large numbers of people. With increases in automation and productivity, capitalists begin to substitute machines for workers or else displace workers by the efficiencies of the production process. In this case, investments are made–into machines and into workplace efficiencies–but these have the same impact on society as the investment strike, namely that there are less people employed and more people become permanently unemployed.

High rates of income and wealth inequality alongside dampened aspirations for a better life amongst large sections of the population create a serious crisis of legitimacy for the system. People who work hard but do not see their work rewarded begin to doubt the system, even if they cannot see an exit from the ‘property relations’ that impoverish them. Mainstream politicians who champion the ‘property relations’ and who call upon the desperate to become entrepreneurs are no longer seen as credible.

We hope to provide examples of a possible future that is built to meet people’s aspirations, share glimmers of this future that exist today. Examples of this can be found in our dossiers on housing cooperatives in Solapur (India) built at the initiative of women beedi workers and on the reconstruction of Kerala (India) after the flood. Look out for our work on the excluded workers of CTEP (Argentina) and on the cooperatives of the MST (Brazil).

The Strongmen enter where no such future seems possible. They belittle the mainstream politicians for their failed projects, but then they do not offer a coherent solution to the escalating crises either. Instead, the Strongmen blame the vulnerable for the dampened aspirations of the vast majority. Amongst these vulnerable are social minorities, migrants, refugees, and anyone who is socially powerless. The fangs of the Strongmen are flashed at the weak, who earn the anger of those who have high aspirations but cannot meet these aspirations.  The Strongmen draw on the frustrations of people without offering any reasonable exit from a situation of high inequality and economic turbulence.

One theory to explain the problem is that of underconsumption. The general tenor of this theory is that the goods being produced cannot be purchased by the mass of people, since these people do not have enough income to buy them. This is a problem of the demand-side. If there is a way to increase the money given to the mass of the people, then they can increase consumption and save capitalism from its crisis.

One approach toward this underconsumption problem is to increase the delivery of private credit to people who will then be urged–via advertisements–to live beyond their incomes. They will go into debt, but their consumption–it is hoped–will stimulate the economy out of a crisis. Eventually, these people will not be able to pay off their debts. Their debt will balloon and will create serious social problems. Governments will be forced to borrow to lift the burden off the backs of the banks–when the borrowers go bankrupt. The fact of this borrowing pushes the neoliberal governments to create further austerity programmes against social spending. The delivery of private credit to solve the problem of underconsumption typically ends up with social austerity.

A second approach toward this underconsumption problem is for the government to give an economic incentive to consumers through tax cuts or through a direct cash transfer scheme. Either way, the government turns over its money to the people and encourages them to buy goods and stimulate the economy. Once more, it is the government that goes into debt to solve capitalism. Once more, the debt will balloon, and the government will have to go into an austerity programme to appease the creditors and the IMF (when the IMF comes calling, little good results–as Celina della Croce, the Coordinator of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research makes clear in this recent article). Once more social austerity will result, and it will once more dampen the buying power of the public.

The cycle will continue.

Either individuals and families or the state go into debt so as to increase aggregate consumption and save capitalism from itself. By this method, capital itself is not asked to sacrifice anything. It is allowed to pursue the strategy of profitability.

Capital seeks to increase its profitability by various means, such as:

  1. Substitute machines for people or make people more efficient. This allows firms to hire less people, to take advantage of automation and productivity gains and to leverage their effective competition to wipe out their competitors.
  2. Transfer factories to areas where wage rates are lower and where regulations of the workplace and of the environment are suppressed.
  3. Decrease the tax burden by going on a tax strike, transferring their money to tax havens.
  4. Move capital from productive activities into finance, trade and rent-seeking activities.
  5. Buy up public assets at low costs and monetarise them for profit.

These strategies allow capitalists to increase their wealth, but at the same time impoverish other people and society.

People are asked to be patriotic. Capital is only asked to be profitable.

For the Left, this situation poses serious challenges. The first set of challenges is to find a way to organise people who find their society shattered and their expectations confounded. The second set of challenges include how to find a policy exit from this system and its limitations.

What are the challenges before us to organise the people against the intractable system?

Aspirations. Over the course of the past five decades, the capitalist media and the advertising industry have created a set of aspirations that have broken the culture of the working-class and the peasantry as well as the traditional cultural worlds of the past. Young people now expect more from life, which is to the good, but these expectations are less social and more individual, with the individual hopes often attached to commodities of one kind or another. To be free is to buy. To buy is to be alive. That is the motto of the capitalist system. But those who cannot afford to buy and who go into debt for their aspirations are also constantly disappointed. It is this disappointment that the Strongmen channel towards hatred. Can left movements channel this disappointment into productive hope?

Atomisation. State cuts of social services, the increased privatisation of social life and the astronomical increase of interaction with the digital world has increased atomisation of human interaction. Where people had previously exchanged ideas and goods, helped each other and inspired each other, now there are less and less venues for such face-to-face interactions. The fragmentation of society and the exhaustion of people to find survival has made it harder for the left to bring people together to create social change. Television and social media now dominate the world of communication. These are venues that are owned by monopoly capitalist firms. The left has always relied upon institutions of society to be its transmitters. As these social linkages fragment, the left dissolves. Can left movements help rebuild these institutions and processes, this society that is our basis?

Outsider. The Strongmen point their fingers at the ‘outsider’–the social minorities, migrants, refugees, and anyone who is socially powerless. It is against these people that the far right is able to build its strength. There can be no left resurgence without a firm and complete defence of the ‘outsider’, a total rejection of the fascistic ideas of hatred and biology that saturate society. It is harder to build a politics of love than a politics of hate. Can left movements develop a politics of love that attracts masses of people?

Confidence. Politics of the people is rooted in confidence. If the people do not feel confident in their activity to either reform or to change the system, then they will not be active. Waves of unrest often lead to increased confidence, but even here the point of emphasis is not the last person to join a protest but the first few people who built the network to build the protest. Social decay leads to a lack of confidence to make political change, particularly when the aspirational society suggests that the only necessary change is for everyone to become entrepreneurial. Can the left produce the sensibility that a future is possible and to engender confidence amongst people to fight to build that future?

Democracy Without Democracy. In societies where there is no democracy, this problem is not immediate. In such places, the immediate task is to win the fullest democracy. In those societies where democracy is the main form, or where there is at least an illusion of democracy, the oligarchy and imperialism have used many methods to undermine democracy, to dominate society without suspending democracy. The methods used are sophisticated, including to delegitimise the institutions of the state, to disparage elections, to use money to corrupt the electoral process, to use social media and advertising to destroy opposition candidates and to utilise the least democratic institutions in a democracy–such as an unelected judiciary–to erode the power of elected officials. Can the left defend the idea of democracy from this attrition without allowing democracy to come to mean merely elections and the electoral system?

Our research institute–Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research–is conducting investigations along these five lines.

Once you have organised people to push for a new world system, what is the policy framework that needs to be adopted? It is here that intellectuals must put their heart and soul into action. We need to think hard about the many creative ways to use our social wealth to solve the immediate problems of humanity–hunger, sickness, climate catastrophe. We need to find ways to uproot the basis of wars. We need to use our creativity to reconstruct the productive sector around forms such as cooperatives. We need to use social wealth to enrich ourselves culturally, making more physical places for us to interact, to produce culture and art. We need to use our social wealth to produce societies that do not force people to work to survive but that subordinate work to human ingenuity and passion.

It is cruel to think of these hopes as naïve. It tells us a lot that it is easier to imagine the end of the earth than to imagine the end of capitalism, to imagine the polar ice cap flooding us into extinction than to imagine a world where our productive capacity enriches all of us.

Our entire staff joins me in wishing you a happy new year.

Warmly, Vijay.

PS: (see below) we celebrate the birth of Manuela Sáenz y Aizpuru (1795-1856), the revolutionary who was born in Quito (Ecuador) and who would fight for Latin America’s independence alongside Simón Bolivar. After she saved his life, she was known as the Liberator of the Liberator.

Coarse Politics
| January 3, 2019 | 7:22 pm | Donald Trump, Syria | No comments

Coarse Politics

 – from Greg Godels is available at:
http://zzs-blg.blogspot.com/
How can it happen that an unpopular right wing US President can, in effect, call to end seven years of an undeclared war against the government of Syria, a UN member nation, inducing most of the liberal establishment to recoil and challenge the prospect of peace?

How is it that a Marine General who earned the sobriquets “Mad Dog” and “the butcher of Fallujah” can be canonized by large sectors of the left as a role model for reasoned sobriety and judgement?
How can US left icon, Noam Chomsky, often an outspoken opponent of US aggression, oppose the removal of US troops from Syria when the troops have no legitimate role in that country?
Surely, these sensible questions signal that some political thinkers have lost their way, that widely accepted, firmly planted political alignments have become unmoored.
On the surface, the Trump presidency and the intense, sharply divided response to it have forced all events or actions– from the most innocuous to the most menacing– into ill-fitting, pro- or anti-Trump boxes.
For example, the recent deaths of two young migrants in Federal custody have been laid at the doorstep of Donald Trump with his loud, vulgar, and racist anti-immigrant banter. While no tears should be shed for Trump, singling Trump out exculpates the bi-partisan, near-universal support for creating the draconian ICE in 2002. Further, it neglects the prior documented questionable deaths at the hands of ICE (107 deaths from 2003 to 2007, for example). Nor do the self-righteous Trump foes acknowledge the long enduring corruption and no-bid contracts plaguing ICE. Much of the anti-Trump crowd were silent during the Obama years when 2.4 million immigrants were deported by the “Deporter-in-Chief.” Of those deported in 2015, around 40% had no criminal convictions. Apparently, the plight of immigrants is only of interest to “resistance” liberals and their media cheerleaders when it can be used against Trump and his gang.
The current government shutdown– snagged on Trump’s insistence of funding for an anti-immigrant wall– has generated howls of indignation from the Democratic Party’s “resistance” fighters and the cable television warriors. They rightly see the Trump wall as a draconian affront to the dignity of immigrants and an hysterical response to exaggerated fears. And yet these same human rights indignados fail to acknowledge the infamous wall constructed by the Israelis to deny access to their Palestinian neighbors, stripping them of their dignity and their well-being. The parallel escapes them, achieving no traction in the corporate media.
Similarly, the brutal killing of Khashoggi, the Washington Post writer, at the hands of Saudi officials has become– thanks to Trump’s clumsy, outrageous defense of the Saudi Crown Prince– a stick to beat Trump.
Trump’s pathetic defense of Saudi criminality coincided– a remarkable coincidence– with the release of a study by a CIA-linked organization that announced that 85,000 children had been killed by the Saudi military and its allies in Yemen’s civil war. The shock wave rolling through the corporate media was worthy of Claude Rain’s wry movie discovery of gambling in Casablanca’s Rick’s Cafe.
Never mind that independent, but marginalized media has been chronicling Saudi atrocities in Yemen for the war’s nearly four-year duration. Never mind that US support for Saudi intervention, as well as actual clandestine US intervention, pre-date the Trump administration.
And there is the big lie of RussiaGate: unsubstantiated charges of interference in US domestic affairs lodged by the same US intelligence agencies and their cohorts that have mounted large-scale subversion, influence-peddling, corruption, and even military intervention in the affairs of uncounted governments for decade after decade.
The interminable Mueller investigation still gives hope to the liberals that Trump can be linked to the evil Russians as well.
It is easy to dismiss the inconsistencies, the selective blindness of US liberals as mere hypocrisy. Undoubtedly, it is that. But something deeper is behind the hypocrisy that commits liberals to side with the neo-conservatives, the FBI, the CIA and the other intelligence agencies that spy on our citizens, the war-mongering generals, and the monopoly media that gave us “weapons of mass destruction” and fairly elected Venezuelan “dictators.”
The hypocrisy emerges from the deeply embedded bi-polarity of the US political system and its ill-fit with the political realities of today. The two bourgeois parties that define US politics constitute a narrow continuum that can neither confine nor give coherent meaning to the ongoing crisis of decadent US capitalism. And two-party thinking casts little light on the crisis.
In today’s terms, the permitted political norms fail to explain and address Trumpism without resorting to conspiracy theories and bizarre alignments. Trump’s rise requires a wholesale examination and possible exposure of the profound corruption and dysfunctionality of the two-party system and its monopoly capitalist base. To explore Trump’s meaning (beyond his raging ego, his country club bigotry, and his unbounded ignorance) and delve into his administration’s restore-the-empire nationalism, its faux populism, and its inconsistent foreign policy requires a commitment to candor that the political leadership and the corporate media are not prepared to make.
The dramatic loss of legitimacy by the media, the two parties, the judicial system, the Congress, the banks, and other institutions over the last decade is a well-established fact substantiated by numerous polls. Yet poll respondents still show confidence in the military and the intelligence services. It is no wonder that political leaders and the corporate media cling to these institutions like long lost lovers. It is no wonder that politicians seek out veterans for office, wave flags at every opportunity, and promote unceasing militarism. It is no wonder that the media rely on stables of ex-generals and retired intelligence operatives. Rather than address the collapse of legitimacy, US rulers choose the road of sleazy opportunism.
The once widely touted and grudgingly accepted post-Cold War US global dominance is now challenged on many fronts. PRChina and Russia and other countries and blocs defy US demands and policies and assert their own interests. It’s a different world– less compliant than the world that GHW Bush found in rallying allies to the first war with Iraq. The ever-increasing number of international sanctions attest to the desperate attempts by the US to stem the tide of defiance. US elites in both parties and in the media refuse to recognize a world without US hegemony. Instead of striving for global parity, US elites resort to contriving aggressive, irredeemably evil villains.
Neither the political parties nor the corporate news/entertainment complex acknowledge the devastation wrought by the long continuing march of economic inequality and the catastrophic destruction rendered by the 2007-2008 crash upon the security and well-being of working people in the US. Blinded by stock market euphoria and class arrogance, elites in both parties neglected the interests of millions of voters who proved pivotal in the 2016 election. They prefer to dismiss grievances and lecture the working class on accommodating the stark, new realities of market morality.
Shrewdly, Trumpism advances its dishonest, unrealistic promises to the forgotten, its pledge to restore the US to greatness, its demand of global leadership, and its caricaturized scorn of real political cynicism and media shallowness. It appeals to a constituency unrecognized and unrecognizable by the liberal elites who have reduced political discourse to a very narrow conversation uncritically friendly to both monopoly capitalism and its institutions.
In the political void left by Democratic Party barrenness, the Trump circus thrives. With a Democratic Party beholden only to corporate interests. along with the issues troubling the bourgeoisie and petite-bourgeoisie, the attack upon the Trump malignancy takes the absurd forms that we witness daily.
While another election may send Trump packing, it will not magically reverse the many decades of bankrupt and decadent politics that opened the door to Trumpism. It is foolish to count on a corrupted Democratic Party leadership to pave a new course different from the tragic road travelled by both parties from Reagan to Trump.
Recall that many in Europe longed for a time when the embarrassing absurdity of Silvio Berlusconi would vacate the electoral scene. But without an authentic and committed movement against monopoly capital, Italy is today saddled with the equally ugly and perhaps even more dysfunctional Lega and Five Star Movement.
The lesson should not be lost on the US liberals who are prepared to sell their integrity to the enemy to secure the exit of Donald Trump.
Greg Godels
Back in the USSR: How People Used to Ring in the New Year
| December 23, 2018 | 9:24 pm | USSR | Comments closed

https://sputniknews.com/photo/201812231070940050-ussr-celebrating-new-york/

  • Back in the USSR: How People Used to Ring in the New Year
  • Back in the USSR: How People Used to Ring in the New Year
  • Back in the USSR: How People Used to Ring in the New Year
  • Back in the USSR: How People Used to Ring in the New Year
  • Back in the USSR: How People Used to Ring in the New Year
  • Back in the USSR: How People Used to Ring in the New Year
  • Back in the USSR: How People Used to Ring in the New Year
  • Back in the USSR: How People Used to Ring in the New Year
  • Back in the USSR: How People Used to Ring in the New Year
  • Back in the USSR: How People Used to Ring in the New Year
  • Back in the USSR: How People Used to Ring in the New Year
  • Back in the USSR: How People Used to Ring in the New Year
  • Back in the USSR: How People Used to Ring in the New Year
  • Back in the USSR: How People Used to Ring in the New Year
  • Back in the USSR: How People Used to Ring in the New Year
  • Back in the USSR: How People Used to Ring in the New Year
  • Back in the USSR: How People Used to Ring in the New Year
  • Back in the USSR: How People Used to Ring in the New Year
  • Back in the USSR: How People Used to Ring in the New Year
  • Back in the USSR: How People Used to Ring in the New Year
  • Back in the USSR: How People Used to Ring in the New Year
© Sputnik / Lev Ustinov
People dance at the New Year’s ball in 1974.

New Year was a special, long-awaited holiday for a Soviet person, as the preparations for the festivities turned into an almost heroic effort, which many people now remember that painstaking work with nostalgia.

The Soviet Union officially celebrated the New Year holiday for the first time in 1935. New Year’s traditions also appeared during Soviet times, people bought tangerines, made Olivier salad, and listened to the Kremlin’s chimes, during which it was obligatory to make a wish. Later, the tradition of the state leader addressing the country’s citizens a few minutes before midnight appeared.

Beware of Trumps bearing gifts
| December 23, 2018 | 8:45 am | Afghanistan, Donald Trump, Struggle for Peace, Syria | 1 Comment

By J. Thompson

Leftists and Peaceniks everywhere are celebrating Trump’s order to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan. It should be celebrated as it is the right thing to do.

Does this mean that people of conscience can now rest with this apparent victory?

Hell, no! Trump is still Trump. Fascism is still fascism. A wolf in sheep’s clothes is still a wolf. Evil is still evil. Genocide is still genocide.

Trump is pulling the troops out, but where will they go? Trump has given us some hints. He has shut down the government because he wants money for his shameful wall. He recently sent troops to the border with Mexico. Does he want to send more troops to the border? Is the US preparing plans to invade our neighbors to the South?

It is clear that the US has its sites set on Cuba, and Venezuela. What is the US preparing for the new leftist President of Mexico?

People of conscience need to prepare to oppose any further military aggression by the US. Otherwise, our fearful leaders will flush workers down the toilet of a devastating World War.

Black Alliance for Peace Says It’s About Time the United States Ends the Illegal Presence in Syria and Withdraws from Afghanistan
| December 22, 2018 | 7:17 pm | Africa, Donald Trump, Struggle for Peace, Syria | 1 Comment
DECEMBER 21, 2018—A real panic among the militarists and flunkeys of the military-industrial complex: They are concerned the U.S. president has gone completely off the ruling-class imperialist script. We find that hard to believe, since a move away from militarism and violence would indicate a fundamental departure from the very essence of the methods and strategy that created the United States. We are on land violently stolen from Indigenous peoples, then used to execute a brutal super-exploitation of enslaved African labor to amass imperialist wealth. That wealth was then used to ultimately elevate the United States to a world power after the second imperialist war in 1945.
But with the announcement by Trump that U.S. troops will be pulled out of Syria and troop strength reduced in the never-ending war in Afghanistan, the ruling-class propagandists pretending to be journalists at CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post and the rest, have sounded the alarm of pending doom for the empire if the bipartisan commitment to international gangsterism is abandoned by this president.
We in the Black Alliance for Peace don’t praise a U.S. president for ending the illegal subversion, invasion and occupation of a sovereign state that should have never been allowed in the first place by theoretical representatives of the people in the U.S. Congress. If the Trump administration is serious about the “full and rapid” withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria, we say it’s about time. We expect a full withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Syria, including the mercenary components referred to as “contractors.” We also say troop reduction is not enough—end the war in Afghanistan with a complete and total withdrawal of U.S. forces.
We denounce those elements in the corporate press, the establishment voices in the duopoly, and liberal and left acolytes of the warmongering ruling class who have taken upon themselves to confuse and manipulate the public into believing that permanent war is both rational and inevitable. The $6 trillion dollars of public resources transferred from the pockets of the people to the military-industrial complex over the last two decades to execute wars and occupations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, has also caused unspeakable misery for millions of people, the destruction of ancient cities, the displacement of millions of people—and now millions of lives eliminated by U.S. bombs, missiles, chemicals and bullets. All who have remained silent or have given direct or even indirect support to these bipartisan war policies are morally culpable.   We are extremely skeptical about the administration’s announcement—we know from painful experience and from our understanding of the history of this state, that the United States has never voluntarily withdrawn from one of its imperialist adventures. Therefore, the Black Alliance for Peace will continue to demand that the United States withdraw from Syria until every U.S. asset is out of the country.
The final resolution of the U.S.-led war in Syria must be determined by Syrians themselves. All foreign forces must recognize and respect the sovereignty of the Syrian people and their legal representatives.   If peace is a real possibility for the people of Syria, it is only the most cynical who would undermine that possibility for partisan political purposes. But we know that the lives of People of color means nothing for some of the loudest critics of Trump’s decision. Many of those same critics don’t see any contradiction in condemning Putin and the Russians while embracing Netanyahu and the Israeli apartheid state that fires live ammunition into the bodies of unarmed Palestinians.
But in the tradition of our ancestors who understood the infinite connection of all of humanity and who resisted systematic degradation, the Black Alliance for Peace will continue to raise our voice in support of peace. Yet, we know that without justice there can be no peace. We must struggle to obtain justice.
U.S. out of Syria! U.S. out of Africa! Shut down AFRICOM and all NATO bases! Reallocate the people’s resources from funding war to realizing the human rights of all people, not just the 1 percent!
Media contacts: Ajamu Baraka and , info@blackallianceforpeace.com
Trumpa Dumpa
| December 21, 2018 | 5:07 am | Donald Trump | Comments closed

Trump in his proper place

By J. Thompson

Trumpa Dumpa sat on a wall. Trumpa Dumpa had a great fall. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Trumpa back together again.

Note: Trumpa is Mexican slang for “pig face,” i.e. capitalist pig.

Back to USSR: Record number of Russians regret collapse of Soviet Union
| December 20, 2018 | 7:49 pm | Russia, USSR | 1 Comment

https://www.rt.com/russia/446894-ussr-nostalgia-russia-survey/

Back to USSR: Record number of Russians regret collapse of Soviet Union

Back to USSR: Record number of Russians regret collapse of Soviet Union
The number of Russians who want to go back to the USSR has reached 66 percent in 2018, setting a 15-year record, a fresh poll revealed.

It’s an 8 percent increase compared to last year when 58 percent of those surveyed said “yes” to the question if they regretted the fall of the Soviet Union, the Levada-Center poll said.

The numbers have never exceeded 65 percent since 2004, while the absolute record was set in 2000, when 75 percent gave an affirmative response. Levada-Center has started asking the population this question in 1992, a year after the USSR fell apart.

The majority of those nostalgic for the Soviet Union were people older than 55. However, in recent years such moods have also been growing among those aged between 18 and 24 years, the pollster said.

60 percent of the respondents also expressed the belief that the collapse of the USSR could’ve been prevented.

Also on rt.com ‘Learn some history, boy!’ Young Communist MP under fire for calling Gulag a ‘good thing’ The people mainly miss the Soviet Union because of the destruction of the joint economic system of its 15 republics (52 percent); the loss of a sense of belonging to a great power (36 percent) and the growth of mutual distrust and enmity among former countrymen (31 percent).

The increase in the number of those missing the USSR was triggered by this year’s pension reform, which increased the retirement age by five years, Karina Pipiya, a Levada-Center researcher, said.

“The people usually explain their nostalgia for the Soviet Union with mainly irrational perceptions about the strong economy and prosperity during that period, completely forgetting about the lack of essential goods and the food stamp system,” she said.

“Romantic attitude towards everything Soviet and lack of historic knowledge” among the younger generations may lead to dangerous consequences, including “rehabilitation of the Stalin’s Purge, rewriting history and complete devaluations of the democratic reforms [in Russia],” Pipiya warned.

1600 people from 136 towns and villages in Russia took part in the survey, which was carried out by Levada-Center between November 22 and 28.

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