Thursday, February 22, 2018
Are we really better since the end of the Cold War? Part 1
By SJ Otto
Before the end of the cold war, 1991 or maybe 1992, there were lots of communist and socialist parties all over the world. They fell into two categories; those that were pro-Soviet Union and those that were anti-Soviet
Union. That might seem simple
enough, but the anti-Soviet Union parties seemed endless. There were lots of
them. But in the eyes of the
press there was just one "Communist Party." In almost all news
magazines and newspapers there was just that one "Communist Party."
It was pro-Soviet US Union. If people only read
mainstream newspapers they would never know there were other communist parties
in the . United States of
We can also say that communism in general was almost always treated as if it were
Soviet Union communism.
For a while there was a "Red China," an evil menace that was just as
bad as the evil Soviet Union. And by the end
of the 1970s
became the "good communist country." They were OK. China
It is hard to say when the Cold War actually ended. Did it end when the Berlin Wall came down? Did it end when Boris Yeltsin (Борис Ельцин) stood down a pro-communist coup? All we can really say for sure is that it ended.
This article looks at two things. The fist is how the end of the cold war effected other communist and socialist movements that were not directly supported or supportive of Soviet Communism. The other is how the fall of the
Soviet Union affected workers
There have been many democratic socialist parties, such as Socialist Party USA and Democratic Socialists of America. There were also many Marxist-Leninist parties opposed to the Soviet Union. We can safely say they were all against the
and most other communist parties.
Marxist-Leninist division took place in almost every country where ML parties existed. For example, in
Peykar was a Maoist
party that resembled the US Revolutionary Communist Party. Their pro-Soviet party was called the Tudeh Party. Iran
Then there was the actual Communist Party USA. That was the official
supported and supportive communist party. That was the communist party that
news organizations all referred to anytime someone wanted to speak of the pro-Soviet
communist party. The
mainstream press was not interested in covering or even acknowledging the
existence of other communist parties or tendencies. They all wanted the
American public to believe that there was only one kind of communism and that communism
was exemplified by the Soviet Union, which was often simply referred to as US .
Gus Hall was the leader of Communist Party USA. When he died The New York Times described him this way:
Gus Hall, the zealous lifelong Communist who led the American branch of the party from the cold war through political oblivion in the post-Soviet era, died on Friday at
Lenox Hill Hospital in .
He was 90 and lived in Manhattan . Yonkers
The son of an impoverished
Hall became radicalized early, beginning a career as a union and Communist
Party organizer during the Depression. J. Edgar Hoover once described him as
''a powerful, deceitful, dangerous foe of Americanism.'' Minnesota
He served eight years in prison for his political views, ran for president four times and never apologized for or wavered from the increasingly marginalized ideology he championed.
By the end of his life he had become a lonely Communist stalwart in a post-Communist world. Those who sought him out for interviews at party headquarters on
West 23rd Street in found a genial white-haired man
presiding over ''a museum of history,'' as he put it. Pictures of his family
shared space with a portrait of Lenin (a gift from Leonid I. Brezhnev); a wood
sculpture from Fidel Castro and a tapestry of Karl Marx, courtesy of Erich
Honecker, the former leader of Manhattan ...... East
........Mr. Hall was first elected general secretary of the Communist Party,
, in 1959, when the federal
government considered the organization an outpost of the Kremlin and all its
members potentially dangerous subversives. U.S.A.
And from the Los Angeles Times we see what most Americans saw when Hall Died:
Gus Hall, the lumberjack, iron miner, steelworker and union organizer whose name became synonymous with the American Communist Party, which he led for 40 years, has died at the age of 90.
The L.A. Times don't even give the full name of his party and most news outlets didn't do that either. None of these sources hint that there are any other communist people or groups besides Communist Party USA.
There were a lot of communists here in the
US, as myself, who did not like a lot of the
baggage the Soviet Union had. We didn't like
the lack of democracy, the lack of freedom of speech and the general lack of
political liberties that the Soviet Union just
didn't seem to have. There were other problems, mainly with imperialism. The
Soviet Union tried to oppose
imperialism, but its own actions were imperialistic. The Soviet Union invaded US Afghanistan, Hungary,
and sent troops to other parts of its alleged empire. The Soviet Union tried to
put nuclear missiles in Czechoslovakia .
It gave extensive military hardware to many nations in Africa and it had
military bases in such countries as Cuba . The Ethiopia Soviet
Union directly controlled the affairs of many Easter European
nations and sent in troops when its orders seemed to be slipping. It is easy to
see much of these actions as imperialism.
At first it appears that many communists and socialists are in agreement with the
mainstream politicians who constantly complain about Soviet expansionism and
the lack of freedom in the Soviet Union. It
would be easy to mistakenly believe that these two political positions are
either the same or similar. That belief is wrong. All we have to do is look at
such leaders as Francisco Franco or Spain, Augusto Pinochet of Chile or the Mohammad Reza Pahlavi Shah of Iran (حمدرضا پهلوی,), to see that political liberty is not the main goal
of the .
The main goal is capitalism. Each of
these leaders defended the free-enterprise system and the US empire. Each of these leaders
replaced democratically elected leaders. Curtailment of freedom was perfectly
acceptable to the US US and
long as these leaders supported the and its interests abroad. That
interest always included free enterprise and the international capitalist
class. Support of such leaders goes back for more than a century. Today the US US sheds crocodile tears for the people who are
denied freedoms in North
(Democratic People's Republic) Korea and . And yet the Syria US is fine supporting the undemocratic regime of
Since the fall of the Cold War
That brings us to modern times. The
Union is gone. There are still a lot of Marxist-Leninist amd
socialist groups. There are Trotskyists all over Facebook. But are we better off
without the Soviet Union? Is there more
democracy in the world? Is there more freedom in the world under the single
leadership of the
than having two competing empires? The answer to all of that is NO! US
Today the top 1 percent, or those $billionaires who own most of the country’s wealth, are acting as if they suddenly have a green light to go after all laws that support workers. Worker’s rights are under attack. What we have to consider is that capitalism was threatened by the idea of a communist revolution where workers would get everything and the ruling class would cease to exist. But with the
Soviet Union gone, the
attitude seems to be that the whole idea of communism is dead. The capitalist
act and talk as if communism and all possibilities of communist revolution are
dead. That means the capitalists can do what they want. There are no
constraints. For example the $billionaire Koch brothers, David and Charles, are
out to destroy unions. They want to defang workers and leave them completely at
the mercy of their employers. Elisabeth
Garber-Paul, of Rolling
"Really, what we would like to see is to take the unions out at the knees, so they don't have the resources to fight," says Scott Hagerstrom, the Michigan director of Americans for Prosperity – a group heavily funded by the Kochs – in a damning clip from the film. And it seems to sum up the Kochs' approach to unions: Americans for Prosperity were integral to the 2011 union-busting fight in
, and American Legislative Exchange
Council (or ALEC, which works closely with the brothers) has drafted the model
anti-union legislation used to slash collective bargaining rights for workers
in 36 states. "They do not want to have safety regulations," says
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, in the
film. "They do not want workers to be able to negotiate wages and
And we only have to look as far as our President Donald Trump, to see this attitude in action. In the past presidents have been professional politicians that represent members of the ruling class. Now we have a president who got rid of the middle man, an actual $billionaire, a man who is actually part of the 1 percent, is now running the country. And it is like seeing a child take over the candy store. Regulations to protect workers and consumers are being plundered to let the capitalist class do what it wants, getting everything it wants at the expense of the common worker. Just recently Trump appointed Mick Mulvaney to the Consumer Protection Agency. Mulvaney has made it clear he plans to get rid of as many rules as he can. This is a man who watches out for corporations, not the consumer. For Trump and Mulvaney consumer protection is obsolete. They will do what is best for the big banks and corporations—once again at the consumer’s and working classes’ expense.
The results of all of this are fairly obvious. According to Premilla Nadasen, of the Washington Post:
“But since the 1970s, the safety net has been diminished considerably. Labor regulations protecting workers have been rolled back, and funding for education and public programs has declined. The poor have been the hardest hit. With welfare reform in 1996, poor single parents with children now have a lifetime limit of five years of assistance and mandatory work requirements. Some states require fingerprinting or drug testing of applicants, which effectively criminalizes them without cause. The obstacles to getting on welfare are formidable, the benefits meager. The number of families on welfare declined from 4.6 million in 1996 to 1.1 million this year. The decline of the welfare rolls has not meant a decline in poverty, however.
Instead, the shredding of the safety net led to a rise in poverty. Forty million Americans live in poverty, nearly half in deep poverty — which U.N. investigators defined as people reporting income less than one-half of the poverty threshold. The
has the highest child poverty rates — 25 percent — in the developed world. Then
there are the extremely poor who live on less than $2 per day per person and
don’t have access to basic human services such as sanitation, shelter,
education and health care. These are people who cannot find work, who have used
up their five-year lifetime limit on assistance, who do not qualify for any
other programs or who may live in remote areas. They are disconnected from both
the safety net and the job market. United States
In addition to the reduction of public assistance and social services, the rise in extreme poverty can also be attributed to growing inequality. To quote the U.N. report: “The American Dream is rapidly becoming the American Illusion, as the
… now has the lowest rate of
social mobility of any of the rich countries.” In 1981, the top 1 percent of
adults earned on average 27 times more than the bottom 50 percent of adults.
Today the top 1 percent earn 81 times more than the bottom 50 percent.” U.S.
As to how much the end of the cold war affects the actions of $billionaires and the rest of the 1 percent is questionable. It can’t be proven that the end of fear of a worker’s revolution has caused the greed and oppression of
ruling class today. But they do act as if there is now NO DANGER in pulling out
all the stops to make America
a paradise for them and near slavery for those at the bottom. America
But there are those who believe the cold war did affect the way the
treated its citizens. For example from Shad's
Not all aspects of the cultural conflicts of the Cold War were negative. One of the worst blemishes on American culture of the time was racial inequality. Despite being freed from slavery approximately 80 years before the end of WWII, blacks were still second class citizens in the South and discrimination was common in varying forms almost everywhere. While change for blacks and other minorities came slowly, it did eventually come. President Truman “noted that if the United States were to offer the ‘peoples of the world’ a ‘choice of freedom or enslavement’ it must ‘correct the remaining imperfections in our practice of democracy” (Foner 857). Beginning in the early 1950s states began establishing fair employment commissions, they passed laws banning discrimination, and black voter registration began to rise….
……..President Johnson not only disliked injustice, he understood the international repercussions that came along with
perceived hypocrisy. In turn, he helped pass The Civil Rights Act of 1964
banned discrimination in public and many private accommodations. While it would
not be accurate to say the civil rights movement happened because of the Cold
War, the backdrop of the Cold War helped people to realize that aspects of
American society were in contrast to the values we were professing to stand for
and changes were needed. While cultural effects of the Cold War were primarily
domestic, political battles between the Soviet Union and the America
were mostly fought on an international stage. United States
And it is no surprise that the Koch brothers have worked to reverse these advances, made in response to the cold war. Again from Rolling Stone:
During the 2012 election, an organization called True the Vote called itself a "citizen-led effort to ensure free and fair elections." Their tactic? Placing mostly white "poll-watchers" in polling places, many of them in minority areas, which led to complaints of voter intimidation. The funding came from Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity. What's worse, ALEC, which counts roughly 20 percent of all state legislators as members, also drafted a model Voter ID bill and used its ranks to disseminate it across the country. Now, 41 states have introduced more than 180 such bills, which could mean that over 21 million people could be denied their most basic right as a citizen. "The reason that you target somebody's voting rights," Ben Jealous, the former head of the NAACP, says… "is it makes it easier to take away the rest of their rights.
So today we have rampant inequality, corruption at the top and just plain greed at levels never seen since the 1930s. Most Americans, over the last century, bought all the cold war fear mongering of “commies trying to take away their freedom and democracy.” What they didn’t notice was the fear their leaders had of a society where people are equal. That terrified the ruling class way more than any loss of freedom or democracy. Today such leaders behave as if there is nothing to fear at all. And that isn’t so good for the rest of us.
To be Continued=>
 There are massive amounts of anti-communist propaganda and literature that describes the extreme fear of US Politicians and pundits. For just one example see: How should the United States Confront Soviet Communist Expansionism?