Republican voters and the right-wing election criminals who’ve moved America onto easily-rigged electronic voting systems are primarily to blame for the fall of the center-left to center-right Democrats on Tuesday. However, a good deal of the fallout ought to come down on the heads of the Dems themselves as well. Had they actually been responsive to the will of the American left and, during their open shot behind the wheel since 2009, stopped the wars, laid down substantial regulations on big business, dramatically raised taxes on the rich, dramatically extended benefits to the middle and lower classes — in short, had they actually delivered some of the “change” they had hyped so much — they might have garnered much more support going into the midterms. Instead, they chose to let opportunity after opportunity slip by them, contenting themselves, perhaps, with the anticipation of such dubious luxuries as chastising their increasingly disillusioned base after Inauguration Day for not having backed strongly enough their sold-out version of democracy in November, or pointing a crooked finger at independent and “third” party candidates who might have shown the audacity of standing up and rocking the boat, thereby “spoiling” the victories that, of course, belonged to the Dems and the righteous and well funded Dems alone, no questions asked. It has now become the fate of the American people to suffer another round of devastation from the unfathomably corrupt and nauseatingly smug Republican Party. On its current course, the U. S. will, sooner or later, fall apart completely and America will be left with terrible social problems and very little political-economic infrastructure with which to address them.
There were people who predicted that the Soviet Union would eventually be dissolved before the process of dissolution began with the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989. Authors often credited with having predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union include Andrei Amalrik in Will the Soviet Union Survive Until 1984? (1970), French academic Emmanuel Todd in La chute finale: Essais sur la décomposition de la sphère Soviétique (The Final Fall: An essay on the decomposition of the Soviet sphere) (1976), economist Ravi Batra in his 1978 book The Downfall of Capitalism and Communism and French historian Hélène Carrère d’Encausse. Additionally, Walter Laqueur notes that “Various articles that appeared in professional journals such as Problems of Communism and Survey dealt with the decay and the possible downfall of the Soviet regime.” In the United States, chiefly among conservatives, the politician most credited with predicting the collapse of the Soviet Union is President Ronald Reagan. Many of the predictions made before 1980 about the fall of the Soviet Union were considered by those who uttered them as a somewhat remote possibility rather than a probability. However, for some (such as Amalrik and Todd) the idea was much more than a passing thought. In the case of Ludwig von Mises, he called the soviet collapse an absolute certainty, however he failed to give any reasonable timeframe to test his prediction. Conventional wisdom discounted a collapse U.S. analysts Predictions of the Soviet Union’s impending demise were discounted by many, if not most, Western academic specialists, and had little impact on mainstream Sovietology. For example, Amalrik’s book “was welcomed as a piece of brilliant literature in the West” but “virtually no one tended to take it at face value as a piece of political prediction.” Up to about 1980 the strength of the Soviet Union was widely overrated by critics and revisionists alike. In 1983, Princeton University professor Stephen Cohen described the Soviet system as remarkably stable. In a symposium launched to review Michel Garder’s French book: L’Agonie du Regime en Russie Sovietique (The Death Struggle of the Regime in Soviet Russia), which also predicted the collapse of the USSR, Yale Professor Frederick C. Barghoorn dismissed Garders book as “the latest in a long line of apocalyptic predictions of the collapse of communism.” He warns that “great revolutions are most infrequent and that successful political systems are tenacious and adaptive.” In addition, the reviewer of the book, Michael Tatu, disapproved of the “apocalyptic character” of such a forecast and is almost apologetic for treating it seriously. Predictions of Soviet collapse Other analysts, organizations and politicians who predicted the Soviet Union’s collapse included: Ludwig Von Mises The Austrian economist Ludwig Von Mises predicted the unsustainability and eventual collapse of the Soviet system in his 1921 book Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis, published months before Lenin implemented the New Economic Policy reintroducing partial property rights. His analysis was based on the economic calculation problem, a critique of central planning first outlined in 1920 journal articles. We may admit that in its initial period a socialist regime could to some extent rely upon of the preceding age of capitalism. But what is to be done later, as conditions change more and more? Of what use could the prices of 1900 be for the director in 1949? And what use can the director in 1989 derive from the knowledge of the prices of 1949? Leon Trotsky One of the founders of the USSR, later expelled by Stalin, Trotsky devoted much of his time in exile to the question of the Soviet Union’s future. In time, he came to believe that a new revolution was necessary to depose the nomenklatura and reinstate working class rule as the first step to socialism. In 1936 he made the following prediction: In order better to understand the character of the present Soviet Union, let us make two different hypotheses about its future. Let us assume first that the Soviet bureaucracy is overthrown by a revolutionary party having all the attributes of the old Bolshevism, enriched moreover by the world experience of the recent period. Such a party would begin with the restoration of democracy in the trade unions and the Soviets. It would be able to, and would have to, restore freedom of Soviet parties. Together with the masses, and at their head, it would carry out a ruthless purgation of the state apparatus. It would abolish ranks and decorations, all kinds of privileges, and would limit inequality in the payment of labor to the life necessities of the economy and the state apparatus. It would give the youth free opportunity to think independently, learn, criticize and grow. It would introduce profound changes in the distribution of the national income in correspondence with the interests and will of the worker and peasant masses. But so far as concerns property relations, the new power would not have to resort to revolutionary measures. It would retain and further develop the experiment of planned economy. After the political revolution – that is, the deposing of the bureaucracy – the proletariat would have to introduce in the economy a series of very important reforms, but not another social revolution. If – to adopt a second hypothesis – a bourgeois party were to overthrow the ruling Soviet caste, it would find no small number of ready servants among the present bureaucrats, administrators, technicians, directors, party secretaries and privileged upper circles in general. A purgation of the state apparatus would, of course, be necessary in this case too. But a bourgeois restoration would probably have to clean out fewer people than a revolutionary party. The chief task of the new power would be to restore private property in the means of production. First of all, it would be necessary to create conditions for the development of strong farmers from the weak collective farms, and for converting the strong collectives into producers’ cooperatives of the bourgeois type into agricultural stock companies. In the sphere of industry, denationalization would begin with the light industries and those producing food. The planning principle would be converted for the transitional period into a series of compromises between state power and individual “corporations” – potential proprietors, that is, among the Soviet captains of industry, the émigré former proprietors and foreign capitalists. Notwithstanding that the Soviet bureaucracy has gone far toward preparing a bourgeois restoration, the new regime would have to introduce in the matter of forms of property and methods of industry not a reform, but a social revolution. Let us assume to take a third variant – that neither a revolutionary nor a counterrevolutionary party seizes power. The bureaucracy continues at the head of the state. Even under these conditions social relations will not jell. We cannot count upon the bureaucracy’s peacefully and voluntarily renouncing itself in behalf of socialist equality. If at the present time, notwithstanding the too obvious inconveniences of such an operation, it has considered it possible to introduce ranks and decorations, it must inevitably in future stages seek supports for itself in property relations. One may argue that the big bureaucrat cares little what are the prevailing forms of property, provided only they guarantee him the necessary income. This argument ignores not only the instability of the bureaucrat’s own rights, but also the question of his descendants. The new cult of the family has not fallen out of the clouds. Privileges have only half their worth, if they cannot be transmitted to one’s children. But the right of testament is inseparable from the right of property. It is not enough to be the director of a trust; it is necessary to be a stockholder. The victory of the bureaucracy in this decisive sphere would mean its conversion into a new possessing class. On the other hand, the victory of the proletariat over the bureaucracy would insure a revival of the socialist revolution. The third variant consequently brings us back to the two first, with which, in the interests of clarity and simplicity, we set out. World War II In 1941 Adolf Hitler of Nazi Germany decided to attack the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa); he reportedly said to his generals, “We have only to kick in the door and the whole rotten structure will come crashing down.” In June 1941 the German Wehrmacht invaded Soviet controlled territories, and the Red Army surrendered and retreated. Military observers around the world watched closely. It appears that most of them shared Hitler’s opinion, expecting Germany to win, destroy the Soviet system, and establish its New Order in Europe. Very few American experts thought the Soviet Union would survive. British analysts also shared this view. Negative predictions had an important impact on Franklin D. Roosevelt; while the United States was not at the time at war, he favored the Allies (Britain and the Soviet Union), and decided to try to avert the collapse of the USSR by supplying them with munitions through Lend-Lease, and also to pressure Japan not to attack while the USSR was so vulnerable. The Red Army held the line at the outskirts of Moscow and predictions changed to “uncertain.” Early Cold War George Orwell George Orwell, author of Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four, wrote in 1946 that “the Russian regime will either democratize itself or it will perish”. He was regarded by US historian Robert Conquest as one of the first people who made such a prediction. According to a Conquest article published in 1969, “In time, the Communist world is faced with a fundamental crisis. We can not say for certain that it will democratize itself. But every indication is that it will, as Orwell said, either democratize itself or perish… We must also, though, be prepared to cope with cataclysmic changes, for the death throes of the more backward apparatus may be destructive and dangerous”. George Kennan American diplomat George F. Kennan proposed his famous containment theory in 1946-47, arguing that, if the Soviet Union were not allowed to expand, it would soon collapse. In the “X” telegram he wrote: [T]he main element of any United States policy toward the Soviet Union must be a long-term, patient but firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive tendencies… Soviet pressure against the free institutions of the Western world something that can be constrained by the adroit and vigilant application of counter-force at a series of constantly shifting geographical and political points, corresponding to the shifts and manoeuvres of Soviet policy. The United States would have to undertake this containment alone and unilaterally, but if it could do so without undermining its own economic health and political stability, the Soviet party structure would undergo a period of immense strain eventually resulting in “either the break-up or the gradual mellowing of Soviet power.” Kennan later regretted the manner in which his theory was received and implemented, but it nevertheless became a core element of American strategy, which consisted of building a series of military alliances around the USSR. Zbigniew Brzezinski Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor to Jimmy Carter, predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union on several occasions. In a 2006 interview, Brzezinski stated that in his 1950 master’s thesis (which has not been published) he argued that “the Soviet Union was pretending to be a single state but in fact it was a multinational empire in the age of nationalism. So the Soviet Union would break up.” As an academic at Columbia University, Brzezinski wrote numerous books and articles that “took seriously the option of collapse”, including Dilemmas of Change in Soviet Politics (1969) and Between Two Ages: America’s Role in the Technetronic Era (1970). Dilemmas of Change in Soviet Politics contained fourteen articles dealing with the future of the Soviet Union. Six of them, by Brzezinski himself, Robert Conquest, Merle Fainsod, Eugene Lyons, Giorgio Galli, and Isaac Don Levine, considered “collapse as a serious possibility although not immediately.” On the other hand, in 1976 Brzezinski predicted that the politics of the Soviet Union would be practically unchanged for several more generations to come: “A central question, however, is whether such social change [modernization] is capable of altering, or has in fact already altered in a significant fashion, the underlying character of Soviet politics. That character, as I have argued, has been shaped largely by political traditions derived from the specifics of Russian / Soviet history, and it is deeply embedded in the operational style and institutions of the existing Soviet system. The ability of that system to resist de-Stalinization seems to indicate a considerable degree of resilience on the part of the dominant mode of politics in the Soviet context. It suggests, at the very least, that political changes are produced very slowly through social change, and that one must wait for at least several generations before social change begins to be significantly reflected in the political sphere.” In 1989, shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Soviet power throughout Eastern Europe, Brzezinski published The Grand Failure: The Birth and Decay of Communism in the Twentieth Century. In that work he wrote: “Marxist-Leninism is an alien doctrine imposed on the region by an imperial power whose rule is culturally repugnant to the dominated peoples. As a result, a process of organic rejection of communism by Eastern European societies – a phenomenon similar to the human body’s rejection of a transplanted organ – is underway.” Brzezinski went on to explain that communism “failed to take into account the basic human craving for individual freedom.” He argued there were five possibilities for USSR: Successful pluralization, Protracted crisis, Renewed stagnation, Coup (KGB, Military), and The explicit collapse of the Communist regime. Option #5 in fact took place three years later, but at the time he wrote that collapse was “at this stage a much more remote possibility” than alternative #3: renewed stagnation. He also predicted chances of some form of communism existing in Soviet in 2017 was a little more than 50%. Finally when the end did come in a few more decades, Brzezinski wrote, it would be “most likely turbulent.” Charles de Gaulle Only a handful of thinkers, ranging from Charles de Gaulle to the Soviet dissident Andrei Amalrik, foretold the eventual dissolution of the Soviet Union itself, and even they saw it as likely to happen as a result of disastrous wars with China or pressures from the Islamic Soviet states of Central Asia.” On 23 November 1959, in a speech in Strasbourg, de Gaulle announced his vision for Europe: Oui, c’est l’Europe, depuis l’Atlantique jusqu’à l’Oural, c’est toute l’Europe, qui décidera du destin du monde. (“Yes, it is Europe, from the Atlantic to the Urals, it is Europe, it is the whole of Europe, that will decide the destiny of the world.”) This phrase has been interpreted in various ways—on the one hand, as offering détente to the USSR, on the other, as predicting the collapse of communism throughout Eastern Europe. Konrad Adenauer Konrad Adenauer has been cited predicting the reunification of Germany as early as the 1950s, but according to Hans-Peter Schwarz, in the last few years of Adenauer’s life he repeatedly said that Soviet power would last a long time. In 1966, at the Christian Democrats’ party conference, Adenauer stated his hopes that some day the Soviets might allow the reunification of Germany. Some analysts say it might be considered a prediction: “I have not given up hope. One day Soviet Russia will recognize that the division of Germany, and with it the division of Europe, is not to its advantage. We must be watchful for when the moment comes… we must not let it go unexploited.” Whittaker Chambers In a posthumously published 1964 book entitled Cold Friday, Communist defector Whittaker Chambers predicted an eventual Soviet collapse beginning with a “satellite revolution” in Eastern Europe. This revolution would then result in the transformation of the Soviet dictatorship. Michel Garder Michel Garder was a French author who predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union in the book L’Agonie du Regime en Russie Sovietique (The Death Struggle of the Regime in Soviet Russia) (1965). He set the date of the collapse for 1970. Détente RAND corporation In 1968 Egon Neuberger, of the RAND Corporation, predicted that “[t]he centrally planned economy eventually would meet its demise, because of its demonstrably growing ineffectiveness as a system for managing a modernizing economy in a rapidly changing world.” Robert Conquest In the book Dilemmas of Change in Soviet Politics, which was a collection of authors edited by Zbigniew Brzezinski, Robert Conquest in his section, “Immobilism and decay”, saw “the USSR as a country where the political system is radically and dangerously inappropriate to its social and economic dynamics. This is a formula for change – change which may be sudden and catastrophic.” Conquest also predicted the fall in his book, The Nation Killers: The Soviet Deportation of Nationalities (1970). Sun Myung Moon Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church repeatedly predicted that Communism was inherently flawed and would inevitably collapse sometime in the late 80′s. In a speech to followers in Paris in April 1972, he stated: “Communism, begun in 1917, could maintain itself approximately 60 years and reach its peak. So 1978 is the borderline and afterward communism will decline; in the 70th year it will be altogether ruined. This is true. Therefore now is the time for people who are studying communism to abandon it.” Andrei Amalrik Prominent dissident Andrei Amalrik wrote in his book Will the Soviet Union Survive Until 1984?: There is another powerful factor which works against the chance of any kind of peaceful reconstruction and which is equally negative for all levels of society: this is the extreme isolation in which the regime has placed both society and itself. This isolation has not only separated the regime from society, and all sectors of society from each other, but also put the country in extreme isolation from the rest of the world. This isolation has created for all—from the bureaucratic elite to the lowest social levels—an almost surrealistic picture of the world and of their place in it. Yet the longer this state of affairs helps to perpetuate the status quo, the more rapid and decisive will be its collapse when confrontation with reality becomes inevitable. Amalrik predicted the collapse of the regime would occur between 1980 and 1985. The year in the title was after the novel of the same name. Soviet authorities were skeptical. Natan Sharansky explained that “in 1984 KGB officials, on coming to me in prison” when Amalrik’s prediction was mentioned “laughed at this prediction. Amalrik is long dead, they said, but we are still very much present.” Marian Kamil Dziewanowski Historian Marian Kamil Dziewanowski “gave a lecture titled ‘Death of the Soviet Regime’ at the Russian Research Center at Harvard University. The same lecture was delivered at Cambridge University in England in 1971 and 1979. The text of the lecture (titled ‘Death of the Soviet Regime: a Study in American Sovietology, by a Historian’) was published in Studies in Soviet Thought. In 1980, he “updated this study and delivered it as a paper at the International Slavic Congress at Garmish; titled ‘The Future of Soviet Russia,’ it was published in Coexistence: An International Journal (Glasgow 1982).” Emmanuel Todd Emmanuel Todd attracted attention in 1976 when he predicted the fall of the Soviet Union, based on indicators such as increasing infant mortality rates: La chute finale: Essais sur la décomposition de la sphère Soviétique (The Final Fall: an Essay on the Disintegration of the Soviet Sphere). Bernard Levin Bernard Levin drew attention in 1992 to his prophetic article originally published in The Times in September 1977, in which an uncannily accurate prediction of the appearance of new faces in the Politburo was made, resulting in radical but peaceful political change. Daniel Patrick Moynihan Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan in a series of articles and interviews from 1975 onward discussed the possibility, indeed likelihood, of the breakup of the Soviet Empire. But Moynihan also expressed the view that liberal democracy, too, faced an uncertain future. He argued in January 1975 that the Soviet Union was so weak economically, and so divided ethnically, that it could not long survive. However he said it “might have considerable time left before ethnicity breaks it up.” By 1984 he argued “the Soviet idea is spent. History is moving away from it at astounding speed.” Some of his essays were published as Secrecy: The American Experience in 1999. Samizdat Various essays published in samizdat in the early 1970s were on similar lines, some quite specifically predicting the end of the Soviet Union. Polish samizdat papers Late Cold War Raymond Aron David Fromkin wrote of Raymond Aron’s prediction, “I know of only one person who came close to getting it right: Raymond Aron, the French philosopher and liberal anti-Communist. In a talk on the Soviet threat that I heard him give in the 1980s at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, he reminded the audience of Machiavelli’s observation in The Prince that ‘all armed prophets have conquered and all unarmed ones failed.’“ But what happens, Aron asked, if the prophet, having conquered and then ruled by force of arms, loses faith in his own prophecy? In the answer to that question, Aron suggested, lay the key to understanding the future of the Soviet Union.” Ravi Batra The economist Ravi Batra predicted the collapse of the USSR in his 1978 book The Downfall of Capitalism and Communism. Randall Collins In 1980 the sociologist Randall Collins presented his paper “The future decline of the Russian empire” at the University of South Florida and at Columbia University and published his predictions in the book “Weberian sociological theory” (1986). Robert M. Cutler In 1980 the political scientist Robert M. Cutler published an article “Soviet Dissent under Khrushchev” that concluded it was likely that in the generational elite turnover after Brezhnev died (1982) the Soviet regime would seek to increase public participation (Gorbachev’s glasnost), foresaw that the Communist Party’s rule would be challenged in Central Asia (the 1986 rioting in Kazakhstan before the Baltic republics erupted), and pointed out that Party leaders at the local level would go their own way if the Party did not give them a reason to remain loyal to the Moscow center. Robert Gates Steward Brand said when introducing the work of Philip Tetlock that Brand’s partner had given a talk in the 1980s to top CIA people about the future of the Soviet Union. One scenario he raised was that the Soviet bloc might break up; a sign of this happening would be the rise of unknown Mikhail Gorbachev through the party ranks. A CIA analyst said that the presentation was fine, but there was no way the Soviet Union was going to break up in his lifetime or his children’s lifetime. The analyst’s name was Robert Gates. Werner Obst In 1985 German economist Werner Obst published a book entitled “Der Rote Stern verglüht. Moskaus Abstieg – Deutschlands Chance” (The Red Star is dying away. The decline of Moscow is the chance of Germany), Munich: Wirtschaftsverlag Langen-Müller/Herbig, third edition in 1987, in which he predicted the collapse of the Soviet bloc and the reunification of Germany within the immediate future for about 1990, based on the analysis of economical statistics and trends. Ronald Reagan United States President Ronald Reagan made conflicting predictions of Soviet power. Throughout his 1980 election campaign and first term in office his public view was that the Soviet Union had been growing in power relative to the United States. In 1981 he stated that “the Soviet Union has been engaged in the greatest military buildup in the history of man” and the next year stated that “on balance the Soviet Union does have a definite margin of superiority” compared to the U.S. military. The Reagan administration used the perceived strength of the Soviet Union to justify a significant expansion of military spending. David Arbel and Ran Edelist in their study Western Intelligence and the Collapse of the Soviet Union argue it was this position by the Reagan administration that prevented the American intelligence agencies from predicting the demise of the USSR. CIA analysts were encouraged to present any information exaggerating the Soviet threat and justifying the military build up, while contrary evidence of Soviet weakness was ignored and those presenting it sidelined. At the same time Reagan expressed a long range view that the Soviet Union could eventually be defeated. On March 3, 1983, United States President Ronald Reagan told the National Association of Evangelicals in Orlando, Florida: “I believe that communism is another sad, bizarre chapter in human history whose last — last pages even now are being written.” In his June 1982 address to the British Parliament he stated: It is the Soviet Union that runs against the tide of history by denying human freedom and human dignity to its citizens. It also is in deep economic difficulty. The rate of growth in the national product has been steadily declining since the fifties and is less than half of what it was then. The dimensions of this failure are astounding: A country which employs one-fifth of its population in agriculture is unable to feed its own people. Were it not for the private sector, the tiny private sector tolerated in Soviet agriculture, the country might be on the brink of famine. …Overcentralized, with little or no incentives, year after year the Soviet system pours its best resource into the making of instruments of destruction. The constant shrinkage of economic growth combined with the growth of military production is putting a heavy strain on the Soviet people. What we see here is a political structure that no longer corresponds to its economic base, a society where productive forces are hampered by political ones. …In the Communist world as well, man’s instinctive desire for freedom and self-determination surfaces again and again. To be sure, there are grim reminders of how brutally the police state attempts to snuff out this quest for self-rule – 1953 in East Germany, 1956 in Hungary, 1968 in Czechoslovakia, 1981 in Poland. But the struggle continues in Poland. And we know that there are even those who strive and suffer for freedom within the confines of the Soviet Union itself. …What I am describing now is a plan and a hope for the long term – the march of freedom and democracy which will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash heap of history as it has left other tyrannies which stifle the freedom and muzzle the self-expression of the people. And that’s why we must continue our efforts to strengthen NATO even as we move forward with our Zero-Option initiative in the negotiations on intermediate-range forces and our proposal for a one-third reduction in strategic ballistic missile warheads.” Analyst Jeffrey W. Knopf has explained why Reagan went beyond everyone else: “Reagan stands out in part because he believed the Soviet Union could be defeated. For most of the Cold War, Republican and Democratic administrations alike had assumed the Soviet Union would prove durable for the foreseeable future. The bipartisan policy of containment aimed to keep the Soviet Union in check while trying to avoid nuclear war; it did not seek to force the dissolution of the Soviet empire. Ronald Reagan, in contrast, believed that the Soviet economy was so weak that increased pressure could bring the Soviet Union to the brink of failure. He therefore periodically expressed confidence that the forces of democracy ‘will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash heap of history’.” Anatoliy Golitsyn In 1984, Anatoliy Golitsyn, an important KGB defector published the book New Lies For Old, wherein he predicted the collapse of the communist bloc orchestrated from above. He warned this collapse was part of a long-term deception strategy designed to lull the West into a false sense of security, abolish all containment policies, and in time finally economically cripple and diplomatically isolate the United States. Among other things, Golitsyn stated: “The ‘liberalization’ [in the Soviet Union] would be spectacular and impressive. Formal pronouncements might be made about a reduction in the communist party’s role; its monopoly would be apparently curtailed.” “If [liberalization] should be extended to East Germany, demolition of the Berlin Wall might even be contemplated.” “The European Parliament might become an all-European socialist parliament with representation from the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. ‘Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals’ would turn out to be a neutral, socialist Europe.” Collaborating opinions can be found in the archive of classified documents, collected by Vladimir Bukovsky, a defector also. P.R. Sarkar The Indian spiritual leader, P.R. Sarkar, predicted in the 1980s that Soviet Communism would fall with “a few blows from the hammer”. He cited “inner and external stasis” as major weaknesses of communism. Why were Sovietologists wrong? According to Kevin Brennan: “Sovietology failed because it operated in an environment that encouraged failure. Sovietologists of all political stripes were given strong incentives to ignore certain facts and focus their interest in other areas. I don’t mean to suggest that there was a giant conspiracy at work; there wasn’t. It was just that there were no careers to be had in questioning the conventional wisdom… There were other kinds of institutional biases as well, such as those that led to the…”Team B” Report.” Seymour Martin Lipset and György Bence write: “Given these judgments of the Soviet future made by political leaders and journalists, the question is why were they right and so many of our Sovietological colleagues wrong. The answer again in part must be ideological. Reagan and Levin came from rightist backgrounds, and Moynihan, much like the leaders of the AFL-CIO, from a leftist anti-Stalinist social-democratic milieu, environments that disposed participants to believe the worst. Most of the Sovietologists, on the other hand, were left-liberal in their politics, an orientation that undermined their capacity to accept the view that economic statism, planning, socialist incentives, would not work. They were also for the most part ignorant of, or ignored, the basic Marxist formulation that it is impossible to build socialism in impoverished societies.” Brzezinski’s 1969 collection, Dilemmas of Change in Soviet Politics demonstrates this point, of “the fourteen contributors…Two-thirds (four out of six) of those who foresaw a serious possibility of breakdown were, like Levin, Moynihan, and Reagan, nonacademics. Three quarters (six out of eight) of those who could not look beyond system continuity were scholars.” – the Wiki Hive Mind
[END] Permalink: How High Is the Democratic Horse?
-Jim Hightower (for whom the 9/11 inside job concept is not completely taboo) to Bill Moyers, 30 April 2010 After Bush II, after Bush I and Reagan, after Ford and Nixon, the Republican Party should never be trusted again, no matter how they re-brand themselves, never. That leaves the U. S. with one major political party: the Democrats. Although this is a deeply flawed party which is deserving of contempt and scorn for a variety of reasons, recent history is proof that a Democrat-led America is an America on much better ground economically and socially (unless, perhaps, you are a billionaire, in which case, you are probably not reading this). This is why I am giving a general endorsement to the Democratic Party this election and calling on everyone who can vote to help keep the Republicans out of office. While “third” parties can and should be organized — Vermont, for instance, is home to a very large Progressive Party which occupies several seats in the state legislature — they cannot be organized to win in a matter of weeks. If a candidate does not have a commitment from a significant portion of the electorate going into the election, he has little hope of realizing power as a result of it, and power is the objective when it comes to seeking office. While planning for the long term, we must work with what we have in the short term, and it should be obvious to all that while their priorities must ultimately be changed in many areas, the Democrats are a much easier party to work with than their only major competitor. While voting is simple, a one day activity, organizing for the medium to long term requires a much more sustained involvement. You might be surprised, however, how much you can accomplish at a local, county or even state level with the concerted efforts of even a few dozen individuals. Following are two speeches by Mary Elizabeth Lease from the original populist movement in the “gilded age” of the late 19th century, which, along with the progressive movement of the early 20th century, contributed significantly to the much-needed reforms of the New Deal. May her words be an inspiration to us today as we work to create a better world. Courtesy of History is a Weapon: “Wall Street Owns the Country” (ca. 1890):
This is a nation of inconsistencies. The Puritans fleeing from oppression became oppressors. We fought England for our liberty and put chains on four million of blacks. We wiped out slavery and our tariff laws and national banks began a system of white wage slavery worse than the first. Wall Street owns the country. It is no longer a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, but a government of Wall Street, by Wall Street, and for Wall Street. The great common people of this country are slaves, and monopoly is the master. The West and South are bound and prostrate before the manufacturing East. Money rules, and our Vice-President is a London banker. Our laws are the output of a system which clothes rascals in robes and honesty in rags. The [political] parties lie to us and the political speakers mislead us. We were told two years ago to go to work and raise a big crop, that was all we needed. We went to work and plowed and planted; the rains fell, the sun shone, nature smiled, and we raised the big crop that they told us to; and what came of it? Eight-cent corn, ten-cent oats, two-cent beef and no price at all for butter and eggs-that’s what came of it. The politicians said we suffered from overproduction. Overproduction, when 10,000 little children, so statistics tell us, starve to death every year in the United States, and over 100,000 shopgirls in New York are forced to sell their virtue for the bread their niggardly wages deny them… We want money, land and transportation. We want the abolition of the National Banks, and we want the power to make loans direct from the government. We want the foreclosure system wiped out… We will stand by our homes and stay by our fireside by force if necessary, and we will not pay our debts to the loan-shark companies until the government pays its debts to us. The people are at bay; let the bloodhounds of money who dogged us thus far beware.
Speech to the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (1890):
Madame President and Fellow Citizens:- If God were to give me my choice to live in any age of the world that has flown, or in any age of the world yet to be, I would say, O God, let me live here and now, in this day and age of the world’s history. For we are living in a grand and wonderful time-a time when old ideas, traditions and customs have broken loose from their moorings and are hopelessly adrift on the great shoreless, boundless sea of human thought-a time when the gray old world begins to dimly comprehend that there is no difference between the brain of an intelligent woman and the brain of an intelligent man; no difference between the soul-power or brainpower that nerved the arm of Charlotte Corday to deeds of heroic patriotism and the soul-power or brain-power that swayed old John Brown behind his death dealing barricade at Ossawattomie. We are living in an age of thought. The mighty dynamite of thought is upheaving the social and political structure and stirring the hearts of men from centre to circumference. Men, women and children are in commotion, discussing the mighty problems of the day. The agricultural classes, loyal and patriotic, slow to act and slow to think, are to-day thinking for themselves; and their thought has crystallized into action. Organization is the key-note to a mighty movement among the masses which is the protest of the patient burden-bearers of the nation against years of economic and political superstition… Yet, after all our years of toil and privation, dangers and hardships upon the Western frontier, monopoly is taking our homes from us by an infamous system of mortgage foreclosure, the most infamous that has ever disgraced the statutes of a civilized nation. It, takes from us at the rate of five hundred a month the homes that represent the best years of our life, our toil, our hopes, our happiness. How did it happen? The government, at the bid of Wall Street, repudiated its contracts with the people; the circulating medium was contracted in the interest of Shylock from $54 per capita to less than $8 per capita; or, as Senator [Preston] Plumb [of Kansas] tells us, “Our debts were increased, while the means to pay them was decreased;” or as grand Senator [William Morris] Stewart [of Nevada] puts it, “For twenty years the market value of the dollar has gone up and the market value of labor has gone down, till to-day the American laborer, in bitterness and wrath, asks which is the worst-the black slavery that has gone or the white slavery that has come?” Do you wonder the women are joining the Alliance? I wonder if there is a woman in all this broad land who can afford to stay out of the Alliance. Our loyal, white-ribbon women should be heart and hand in this Farmers’ Alliance movement, for the men whom we have sent to represent us are the only men in the councils of this nation who have not been elected on a liquor platform; and I want to say here, with exultant pride, that the five farmer Congressmen and the United States Senator we have sent up from Kansas-the liquor traffic, Wall Street, “nor the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.” It would sound boastful were I to detail to you the active, earnest part the Kansas women took in the recent campaign. A Republican majority of 82,000 was reduced to less than 8,000 when we elected 97 representatives, 5 out of 7 Congressmen, and a United States Senator, for to the women of Kansas belongs the credit of defeating John J. Ingalls; He is feeling badly about it yet, too, for he said to-day that “women and Indians were the only class that would scalp a dead man.” I rejoice that he realises that he is politically dead. I might weary you to tell you in detail how the Alliance women found time from cares of home and children to prepare the tempting, generous viands for the Alliance picnic dinners; where hungry thousands and tens of thousands gathered in the forests and groves to listen to the words of impassioned oratory, ofttimes from woman’s lips, that nerved the men of Kansas to forget their party prejudice and vote for “Mollie and the babies.” And not only did they find their way to the voters’ hearts, through their stomachs, but they sang their way as well. I hold here a book of Alliance songs, composed and set to music by an Alliance woman, Mrs. Florence Olmstead of Butler County, Kan., that did much toward moulding public sentiment. Alliance Glee Clubs composed of women, gave us such stirring melodies as the nation has not heard since the Tippecanoe and Tyler campaign of 1840. And while I am individualizing, let me call your attention to a book written also by an Alliance woman. I wish a copy of it could be placed in the hands of every woman in this land. “The Fate of a Fool” is written by Mrs. Emma G. Curtis of Colorado. This book in the hands of women would teach them to be just and generous toward women, and help them to forgive and condone in each other the sins so sweetly forgiven when committed by men. Let no one for a moment believe that this uprising and federation of the people is but a passing episode in politics. It is a religious as well as a political movement, for we seek to put into practical operation the teachings and precepts of Jesus of Nazareth. We seek to enact justice and equity between man and man. We seek to bring the nation back to the constitutional liberties guaranteed us by our forefathers. The voice that is coming up to day from the mystic chords of the American heart is the same voice that Lincoln heard blending with the guns of Fort Sumter and the Wilderness, and it is breaking into a clarion cry to-day that will be heard around the world. Crowns will fall, thrones will tremble, kingdoms will disappear, the divine right of kings and the divine right of capital will fade away like the mists of the morning when the Angel of Liberty shall kindle the fires of justice in the hearts of men. “Exact justice to all, special privileges to none.” No more millionaires, and no more paupers; no more gold kings, silver kings and oil kings, and no more little waifs of humanity starving for a crust of bread. No more gaunt faced, hollow-eyed girls in the factories, and no more little boys reared in poverty and crime for the penitentiaries and the gallows. But we shall have the golden age of which Isaiah sang and the prophets have so long foretold; when the farmers shall be prosperous and happy, dwelling under their own vine and fig tree; when the laborer shall have that for which he toils; when occupancy and use shall be the only title to land, and every one shall obey the divine injunction, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.” When men shall be just and generous, little less than gods, and women shall be just and charitable toward each other, little less than angels; when we shall have not a government of the people by capitalists, but a government of the people, by the people. Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you.
As for the Farmer’s Alliance spoken of by Lease, here is a link to the Proceedings of the Farmers and Laborers Union of America, at St. Louis, Mo., December 3-7, 1889. Where would America be today had these people and others like them never come together? [END] Permalink: Wall Street Owns the Country