From wall to wall, the reign of capital

What’s going on here is not unification but subjugation.

Heiner Müller, Der Spiegel (30/07/1990)

Oh, it’s all so long ago, isn’t it? When the wall came down I was 12 years old and crazy about belongings and about the world. I was embarrassed about coming from the GDR. I was embarrassed about going into shops in West Germany and being a grey and dark-blue complex of drab timidity amidst all the colours. With my first western money I bought myself a neon-coloured rucksack and a cassette recorder. I was already more colourful when I travelled with my mother in a packed train to Oberhausen in West Germany to see the acquaintances who had for years been sending us parcels for feast days and birthdays. I ate yoghurt for the first time, and liked it, and I draped myself in colours. Autumn colours were chic at the time: purple, ochre, etc.

Maybe I’d just lost interest in politics. If only I knew. At any rate Ernst Thälmann (the leader of the Communist Party who was later shot in Buchenwald) had recently been my hero, I’d wanted to be like him, and I’d thought about how he had managed to fashion a little inkwell with the bread that a prison warder had given him, fill it with milk and thus have a source of invisible ink that he could eat straight away if he had to. I wondered about that, and a moment later I wondered what it would be like to live with Martin Lee Gore (of synth-pop band Depeche Mode). I papered my room with posters of him, I dreamt about him, I was, even though I wasn’t quite a grown-up, Martin Lee Gore’s wife.

You probably didn’t know that before, but now you do. What I didn’t know for a long time: I was a torment to my parents, because capitalism now gripped me as firmly by the hand as the Pioneer Organisation had done before. As soon as it was there I was its willing talking doll, its passionate advocate, and I was right at the front of the queue of people buying and coveting consumer goods. I appropriated externals as if nothing else existed, and spent all my time observing who had what, and who had more, and established without much difficulty that we had less. To be precise, that was how things had seemed to me even before the wall came down, but now the differences were getting bigger. I couldn’t see what was being lost. I’ve only come to see it recently. I could see only what I didn’t have, and I was busy making demands and seeing those demands become reality. I never made any political demands, so for example I never complained in a public place about the new and much more visible distribution of money and opportunities; instead all my demands were made on my parents.

So I think I spent the years of growth after the fall of the GDR shopping. I barely knew how to do anything else but seek out those swiftly erected tent constructions full of cardboard boxes that contained all kinds of wonderful and desirable-looking cheap clothes, and later the new branches of large chains, afternoon after afternoon, and looking, wanting, buying. In retrospect I hold my hand up in front of my nose, because it smells of smoke. I remember that the nearby block where the Vietnamese guest-workers lived was said to be on fire. It’s clear in my memory that the fire had been started deliberately. I see people running, I see the excitement, I sense it, but perhaps it wasn’t even on fire, I’m not sure. But I remember very clearly that something was on fire somewhere for a while.

Heike Geissler, The Guardian (03/11/2019)

The opening of the Berlin wall on December 9th, 1989 – the east german authorities declared visits to west germany permissible, after weeks of social unrest – marked the symbolic and effective end of the “socialist block” of eastern europe and finally of the soviet union.

The immediate calendar of events, of course, extends far wider than this fatidic date (the rise and repression of the polish Solidarity labour union in 1981, polish labour strikes again in 1988 eventually leading to Solidarity‘s national election victory in 1989, reforms to the political system of hungary in the same year, with the country’s communist party abandoning its leading political role – with east german nationals then escaping to west germany through hungary-, the declaration of sovereignty by the baltic republics of the soviet union, reforms in the soviet union under Gorbachev, and so on). And yet something far greater was literally, physically, coming to an end, and which events tended to occlude: the bolshevik revolution – or the bolshevik appropriation and domination of the russian revolution – of 1917 and all that it had inspired throughout the 20th century.

We do write not to celebrate the “accomplishments” of the soviet union, for the latter’s creation was the very destruction of the revolution (with all of its horrors). However, at the same time, it is criminally impossible to erase the memory of the many who gave themselves so generously to the cause of world revolution under the banners of communist parties, without being stalinists, trotskyists, maoists, or any other sect that one cares to cite. And predictably, the fall of the Berlin wall would be the occasion for all of the ideological clergy of the “west” to announce the victory of “freedom”, indeed, the “end of history” (thereby, endeavouring to erase it), for from that moment on, our future of material abundance would be assured by enlightened, technocratic management.

Prophecy invariably fails, history stubbornly persists (though not history with a capital “H”) and the much heralded victory was but the beginning of new violence, of new, less constrained, forms of oppression and exploitation.

(For former east germany, it would mean one of the largest transfers and/or destruction of “state-public” wealth to private hands – to essentially west german capital – in modern history, with its accompanying social dislocations. What is celebrated as “unification” the de facto colonisation of the “east” by the “west”. See, for example, “The Economic Anschluss of the GDR”, in Le monde diplomatique, 11/2019)

We thus mark the date of November 9th as announcing the end of a particularly perverse form of political-state violence – for carried through in the name of a “socialist revolution” -, but also to keep alive the memory of the oppressed who made the many stolen revolutions of the last century, and to understand that the relations of hierarchical and dominating power which structure Capital remain fully in place, with new walls rising up everywhere and constantly, for the reign of Capital depends upon the building of walls.

To share, reflections on the end of a history

Germans like anniversaries; they give such a clear shape to history. At these times you can simplify complicated things a bit, smooth out the contradictions. The GDR, which repeatedly comes back to life on these dates, long ago became a kind of museum country. These days hardly anybody wants to know what the East German state was really like; instead the same stories are told over and over again, about very brave civil rights activists or very nasty Stasi people. Normal people seldom appear in these stories, and the German Democratic Republic has long since rigidified into a historical caricature.

That is primarily because west Germans don’t want to know anything at all; they simply want confirmation that they were on the right side and east Germans were on the wrong side. West Germans also like it when you’re grateful to them for sharing their wealth and their constitution with us [former east Germans]. If you’re not grateful enough, west Germans get angry.

For their part, east Germans stopped explaining themselves ages go. Sometimes they still point out hesitantly that it didn’t rain all the time even in the GDR, that even under a dictatorship people were able to fall in love. That a genuinely normal life was possible even in a non-normal country. But then people in the west start wailing that the dictatorship is being played down, the GDR is being nostalgically transformed. So east Germans fall silent again, because what’s the point?

Maxim Leo, The Guardian (03/11/2019)

Re-visiting the east … and popping in at Marx’s

Gilles Dauvé (libcom.org 15/02/2007)

Apart from North Korea and Cuba, no country calls itself socialist any more. So why bother about old debates on the nature of the USSR? Since capitalism rules the world, what else is there to know?! A great deal.

It’s crucial to understand why Russia was capitalist in 1980, or 1930, or 1920, if we wish to understand what capitalism really is, and what can and must be revolutionized in Russia as well as in Britain in the XXIst century.

Capitalism is not just a system of domination whereby a minority of bourgeois or bureaucrats force the masses to work and earn them wealth. In 1950, in Prague as in Chicago, money was buying labour, which was put to work to valorize sums of money accumulated in poles of value called companies or corporations. These firms could not go on unless they accumulated value at a socially acceptable rate. This rate was certainly not the same in Prague as in Chicago. Czech firms worked as separate units but (unlike Chicago-based firms) had no private owners that could sell or manage them at will. Still, a Czech company manufacturing shoes did not just produce them as objects supposed to fulfill a function: it had to make the best profitable use of all the money that had been invested to produce them. Value formation mattered as much in Prague as in Chicago. Those shoes weren’t given free to the Chicago or Prague pedestrian who would then have tried them on, put them on and walked away. In both towns, the pedestrian paid for his shoes or went barefoot.

Of course, the Czech State could decide to subsidize shoes and sell them at a low price, i.e. below production cost. But in each country, value had to be finally realized on the market. Czech planners kept bending the rules of profitability, but they couldn’t play that game for ever. These rules always asserted themselves in the end, through poor quality, shortages, the black market, etc. The State protected the Prague company against bankruptcy. But that was artificial. Limiting competition helps maintain social cohesion: over-limiting competition stifles productivity. No-one can fiddle the logic of valorization for too long. One firm, ten firms, a thousand could be saved from closure, until one day it was the whole society that went bankrupt. If the Belgian or French State had kept bailing out every unprofitable company from the early days of industrialization, capitalism would now be defunct in France or Belgium. In short, the ‘law of value’ functioned in very different ways in bureaucratic and in market capitalism, but it did apply to both systems. (Nobody denies the capitalist nature of Bahrein or Togo, though these capitalist forms are quite different from the British or Italian ones.)

Just like its Western versions, the rise and fall of State capitalism depended on class oppositions and compromises, at the centre of which was the necessity to put labour to profitable work. In the USSR and in Eastern Europe after 1945, this took the particular form of constant political repression coupled with protected jobs (both in the factory and in the collective farm), which achieved value accumulation in spite of low productivity. After all, Russian bureaucratic capitalism did work for over 60 years.

The whole system did not collapse because it got too repressive and the people had had enough, but when the class compromise ceased to be socially productive – especially when it could not stand the pressure of a world market dominated by a much more dynamic West.

1989 certainly heralded a different historical era, but not the dawning of a renewed communist (= in the sense of Marx, not Stalin or Dubcek) movement. The fall of the Berlin Wall opened up a spate of economic reshuffling, workers’ militancy and democratic pressure, and left little room for a critique of capitalism as such. Since 1989, in most ex-Comecon countries, the class struggle has indeed developed but led neither to real Western style reformism (which Eastern capitalisms are unable to satisfy), nor to significant radical minorities. The evolution of Poland or that of Serbia provides ample proof of the way working class militancy either withered or was channelled into national (sometimes nationalist) perspectives. Often, workers have to fight not for higher wages, but merely to get their wages paid: this is true in the Czech Republic as in Kazakhstan.

We’re not suggesting that ‘Eastern’ proles would be more backward than others. In Western Europe, in North America and Japan too, ‘anti-capitalism’ mainly presses for more social justice, and only a tiny fraction of it is revolutionary. Actually, this is an important point we’d like to make, although it can’t be developed here for lack of space: everywhere, reform is still the order of the day .

Re-visiting State capitalism is no academic debate. What’s at stake is the nature of capitalism and communism. If the Politburo and KGB could not bend the logic of productivity and profitability, Right or Left well-wishers won’t be able to put real checks on it either. The present economic stagnation (and often decline) of nearly all ex-Comecon countries does not come from the rapacity of bureaucrats turned bourgeois (no more than unemployment and low wages in the West are due to excessive greed on the part of the bosses and shareholders). There simply isn’t enough room for most Czech or Russian companies on the world market. Capital is uncontrollable: it manages its managers. The analysis of bureaucratic capitalism tells us what capital really is: not just the imposition of work and shopfloor or office discipline, but the selling of one’s labour power, of one’s life, in exchange for money. Work as an activity separated from the rest can’t be free. Money can’t be equally or fairly shared or re-distributed. As long as money exists, there never will be enough of it for everyone. Nothing short of the suppression of wage-labour will deeply change our lives.

One question arises, though. How does the vision of people like Marx relate to the monsters that called themselves Marxist in the XXth century ? There is a connection indeed. State organized capitalism is undoubtedly contrary to the spirit of Marx’s lifelong activity and writing, but it could claim to be faithful to some of its aspects. Let’s just give one example. Capital’s volume I does not end with an utterly communist conclusion (how to get to a world without commodity, State and work), but on the expropriation of the expropriators through the socialization of capitalism brought about by historical necessity. Now, this is not enough to warrant the SPD taking part in the management of Germany after 1918, let alone the suppression of Kronstadt or the Gulag. But this is certainly far from the clear affirmation of communism that we read in Marx’s early texts and in his numerous notebooks on the mir and ‘primitive’ societies that he kept in his later years (none of which, as we know, he made public) .

In the late 1960’s and in the 70’s, we weren’t the only ones to go back to Marx, as we thought it necessary for a better understanding of what we were experiencing. The essays collected here are part of this effort. This meant a return to the whole of revolutionary history and thinking, and included the Left opposition to the IIIrd International (the ‘Italian’ and ‘German-Dutch’ Lefts), but also pre- and post-1914 anarchism4. We were and still are convinced that (contrary to Marx’s statement in one of his weakest works), a veritable split happened in the mid-XIXth century within the revolutionary movement between what became stultified as Marxism and anarchism. Later of course the split got worse.

The reader of this book will realize that we’re not adding little bits of Bakunin to big chunks of Marx (or vice-versa). Such a patchwork would look like an irrelevant puzzle. We are only trying to assess both Marx and Bakunin as Marx and Bakunin themselves had to assess, say, Babeuf or Fourier.

It is hard to deny the progressivist dimension in Marx: he shared his time’s belief in today being ‘better’ than yesterday, and tomorrow surely better than today. He held a linear view of history, and built up a deterministic continuity from primitive community to communism. Basically, he reconstructed early history as if, when human groups had been able to produce more than was necessary for immediate survival, this surplus had created the possibility of exploitation, hence its historical necessity. A minority forced the majority to work and grabbed the riches. Thousands of years later, thanks to capitalism, the huge expansion of productivity creates another possibility: the end of exploitation. Goods of all kinds are so plentiful that it becomes absurd to have a minority monopolize them. And the organization of production is so socialized that it becomes pointless (and even counterproductive) to have it run by a handful of rulers each managing his own private business. The bourgeois were historically necessary: then their own achievement (the growth of the modern economy) turns them into parasites. Capitalism makes itself useless. History has thus moved from scarcity to abundance.

True, such an evolutionary pattern was never actually written down by Marx, but it is the underlying logic beneath a lot of his texts and (what’s more important) a lot of his political activity. It was no accident or mistake if he supported the German national bourgeoisie or clearly reformist union or party leaders: he regarded them as agents of the positive change that would eventually bring about communism. By contrast, he looked down on such insurrectionists as Bakunin whom he thought stood outside the real movement of history.

It’s interesting to note that major anarchist figures, like Kropotkin and Elisée Reclus (both renowned professional geographers) also supported deterministic views, with an emphasis more on social organisation than production. To them, the worldwide spread of industry and commerce created a potential universal human and open society where ethnic differences, borders and States were made meaningless.

In Marx’s case as in Kropotkin’s, ‘society’ ceased to be the result of relationships between beings and classes, and revolution was supposed to be bound to happen because of a universal drive towards a unified humankind. This was more a technological explanation of history than a social one.

The deterministic Marx, however, was not the whole Marx, who showed a long-standing deep interest in what did not fit within the linear succession of historical phases. He wrote at length about self-organizing peasant communes with collective ownership of land, and clearly envisaged the possibility of skipping the capitalist stage in Russia. Whatever Kropotkin thought of Marx, quite a few ideas of the Russian anarchist echo those of the famous London exile.

Yet, as we know, those insights were later discarded by reformist and revolutionary Marxists alike. Marxism became the ideology of economic development. According to it, since capitalism gets more and more socialized, there’s little need for revolution: the organized masses will eventually put a (mainly peaceful) end to bourgeois anarchy. To sum it up, socialism does not break with capitalism: it completes it. Radicals only differed from gradualists in that they included the necessity of violence in this process. Lenin made much of the fact that big German konzerns and cartels were already organized and centralized from the top: if bourgeois managers were replaced by working class ones, and this rational planning was extended from each private trust to the whole of industry, the general social fabric would be altered5 . This was no breakaway from the commodity and the economy.

Our return to Marx around 1970 probably failed to realize how much Marxism owed to Marx.

Any economic definition of communism remains within the scope of the economy, i.e. the separation of the production moments from the rest of life. Communism is not a society that would properly feed the hungry, nurse the sick, house the homeless, etc. It can’t be based on the fulfillment of needs as they exist now or even as we might imagine them in future. Communism does not produce enough for everyone and distributes it fairly among all. It is a world where people get into relationships and into acts that (among other things) result in them being able to feed, nurse, house… themselves. Communism is not a social organization. It is an activity. It is a human community.

Gilles Dauvé, June 2002.

This is a preface to the Czech edition of Eclipse and Re-emergence, to be published by Solidarita (ORA-S).

Of course that energy dissipated in the end, and we are now back in a situation in Europe in which we no longer have a warm welcome for refugees who manage to get over its walls, we no longer want to learn from them. Instead Europe has slipped into a xenophobic rigidity that wants separation rather than unification. So we need new collective experiences that will give us back the strength that the politicians – as privileged people who can travel freely – have systematically tried to steal from us. We need people in the streets who will physically work for change. It wasn’t capitalism that won in the fall of the Berlin Wall, but a human need for freedom. Our future is much too precious to be left to politicians and their empty words.

Norman Ohler, The Guardian (03/11/2019)

The Soviet Union versus socialism

Noam Chomsky (libcom.org 29/04/2011)

In this article, which was written close to the end of the cold war, Noam Chomsky argues against the association of socialism with Bolshevism.

When the world’s two great propaganda systems agree on some doctrine, it requires some intellectual effort to escape its shackles. One such doctrine is that the society created by Lenin and Trotsky and molded further by Stalin and his successors has some relation to socialism in some meaningful or historically accurate sense of this concept. In fact, if there is a relation, it is the relation of contradiction.

It is clear enough why both major propaganda systems insist upon this fantasy. Since its origins, the Soviet State has attempted to harness the energies of its own population and oppressed people elsewhere in the service of the men who took advantage of the popular ferment in Russia in 1917 to seize State power. One major ideological weapon employed to this end has been the claim that the State managers are leading their own society and the world towards the socialist ideal; an impossibility, as any socialist — surely any serious Marxist — should have understood at once (many did), and a lie of mammoth proportions as history has revealed since the earliest days of the Bolshevik regime. The taskmasters have attempted to gain legitimacy and support by exploiting the aura of socialist ideals and the respect that is rightly accorded them, to conceal their own ritual practice as they destroyed every vestige of socialism.

As for the world’s second major propaganda system, association of socialism with the Soviet Union and its clients serves as a powerful ideological weapon to enforce conformity and obedience to the State capitalist institutions, to ensure that the necessity to rent oneself to the owners and managers of these institutions will be regarded as virtually a natural law, the only alternative to the ‘socialist’ dungeon.

The Soviet leadership thus portrays itself as socialist to protect its right to wield the club, and Western ideologists adopt the same pretense in order to forestall the threat of a more free and just society. This joint attack on socialism has been highly effective in undermining it in the modern period.

One may take note of another device used effectively by State capitalist ideologists in their service to existing power and privilege. The ritual denunciation of the so-called ‘socialist’ States is replete with distortions and often outright lies. Nothing is easier than to denounce the official enemy and to attribute to it any crime: there is no need to be burdened by the demands of evidence or logic as one marches in the parade. Critics of Western violence and atrocities often try to set the record straight, recognizing the criminal atrocities and repression that exist while exposing the tales that are concocted in the service of Western violence. With predictable regularity, these steps are at once interpreted as apologetics for the empire of evil and its minions. Thus the crucial Right to Lie in the Service of the State is preserved, and the critique of State violence and atrocities is undermined.

It is also worth noting the great appeal of Leninist doctrine to the modern intelligentsia in periods of conflict and upheaval. This doctrine affords the ‘radical intellectuals’ the right to hold State power and to impose the harsh rule of the ‘Red Bureaucracy,’ the ‘new class,’ in the terms of Bakunin’s prescient analysis a century ago. As in the Bonapartist State denounced by Marx, they become the ‘State priests,’ and “parasitical excrescence upon civil society” that rules it with an iron hand.

In periods when there is little challenge to State capitalist institutions, the same fundamental commitments lead the ‘new class’ to serve as State managers and ideologists, “beating the people with the people’s stick,” in Bakunin’s words. It is small wonder that intellectuals find the transition from ‘revolutionary Communism’ to ‘celebration of the West’ such an easy one, replaying a script that has evolved from tragedy to farce over the past half century. In essence, all that has changed is the assessment of where power lies. Lenin¹s dictum that “socialism is nothing but state capitalist monopoly made to benefit the whole people,” who must of course trust the benevolence of their leaders, expresses the perversion of ‘socialism’ to the needs of the State priests, and allows us to comprehend the rapid transition between positions that superficially seem diametric opposites, but in fact are quite close.

The terminology of political and social discourse is vague and imprecise, and constantly debased by the contributions of ideologists of one or another stripe. Still, these terms have at least some residue of meaning. Since its origins, socialism has meant the liberation of working people from exploitation. As the Marxist theoretician Anton Pannekoek observed, “this goal is not reached and cannot be reached by a new directing and governing class substituting itself for the bourgeoisie,” but can only be “realized by the workers themselves being master over production.” Mastery over production by the producers is the essence of socialism, and means to achieve this end have regularly been devised in periods of revolutionary struggle, against the bitter opposition of the traditional ruling classes and the ‘revolutionary intellectuals’ guided by the common principles of Leninism and Western managerialism, as adapted to changing circumstances. But the essential element of the socialist ideal remains: to convert the means of production into the property of freely associated producers and thus the social property of people who have liberated themselves from exploitation by their master, as a fundamental step towards a broader realm of human freedom.

The Leninist intelligentsia have a different agenda. They fit Marx’s description of the ‘conspirators’ who “pre-empt the developing revolutionary process” and distort it to their ends of domination; “Hence their deepest disdain for the more theoretical enlightenment of the workers about their class interests,” which include the overthrow of the Red Bureaucracy and the creation of mechanisms of democratic control over production and social life. For the Leninist, the masses must be strictly disciplined, while the socialist will struggle to achieve a social order in which discipline “will become superfluous” as the freely associated producers “work for their own accord” (Marx). Libertarian socialism, furthermore, does not limit its aims to democratic control by producers over production, but seeks to abolish all forms of domination and hierarchy in every aspect of social and personal life, an unending struggle, since progress in achieving a more just society will lead to new insight and understanding of forms of oppression that may be concealed in traditional practice and consciousness.

The Leninist antagonism to the most essential features of socialism was evident from the very start. In revolutionary Russia, Soviets and factory committees developed as instruments of struggle and liberation, with many flaws, but with a rich potential. Lenin and Trotsky, upon assuming power, immediately devoted themselves to destroying the liberatory potential of these instruments, establishing the rule of the Party, in practice its Central Committee and its Maximal Leaders — exactly as Trotsky had predicted years earlier, as Rosa Luxembourg and other left Marxists warned at the time, and as the anarchists had always understood. Not only the masses, but even the Party must be subject to “vigilant control from above,” so Trotsky held as he made the transition from revolutionary intellectual to State priest. Before seizing State power, the Bolshevik leadership adopted much of the rhetoric of people who were engaged in the revolutionary struggle from below, but their true commitments were quite different. This was evident before and became crystal clear as they assumed State power in October 1917.

A historian sympathetic to the Bolsheviks, E.H. Carr, writes that “the spontaneous inclination of the workers to organize factory committees and to intervene in the management of the factories was inevitably encourage by a revolution with led the workers to believe that the productive machinery of the country belonged to them and could be operated by them at their own discretion and to their own advantage” (my emphasis). For the workers, as one anarchist delegate said, “The Factory committees were cells of the future… They, not the State, should now administer.”

But the State priests knew better, and moved at once to destroy the factory committees and to reduce the Soviets to organs of their rule. On November 3, Lenin announced in a “Draft Decree on Workers’ Control” that delegates elected to exercise such control were to be “answerable to the State for the maintenance of the strictest order and discipline and for the protection of property.” As the year ended, Lenin noted that “we passed from workers’ control to the creation of the Supreme Council of National Economy,” which was to “replace, absorb and supersede the machinery of workers’ control” (Carr). “The very idea of socialism is embodied in the concept of workers’ control,” one Menshevik trade unionist lamented; the Bolshevik leadership expressed the same lament in action, by demolishing the very idea of socialism.

Soon Lenin was to decree that the leadership must assume “dictatorial powers” over the workers, who must accept “unquestioning submission to a single will” and “in the interests of socialism,” must “unquestioningly obey the single will of the leaders of the labour process.” As Lenin and Trotsky proceeded with the militarization of labour, the transformation of the society into a labour army submitted to their single will, Lenin explained that subordination of the worker to “individual authority” is “the system which more than any other assures the best utilization of human resources” — or as Robert McNamara expressed the same idea, “vital decision-making…must remain at the top…the real threat to democracy comes not from overmanagement, but from undermanagement”; “if it is not reason that rules man, then man falls short of his potential,” and management is nothing other than the rule of reason, which keeps us free. At the same time, ‘factionalism’ — i.e., any modicum of free expression and organization — was destroyed “in the interests of socialism,” as the term was redefined for their purposes by Lenin and Trotsky, who proceeded to create the basic proto-fascist structures converted by Stalin into one of the horrors of the modern age.1

Failure to understand the intense hostility to socialism on the part of the Leninist intelligentsia (with roots in Marx, no doubt), and corresponding misunderstanding of the Leninist model, has had a devastating impact on the struggle for a more decent society and a livable world in the West, and not only there. It is necessary to find a way to save the socialist ideal from its enemies in both of the world’s major centres of power, from those who will always seek to be the State priests and social managers, destroying freedom in the name of liberation.

Originally published in Our Generation, Spring/Summer, 1986

  • 1.On the early destruction of socialism by Lenin and Trotsky, see Maurice Brinton, The Bolsheviks and Workers’ Control. Montreal: Black Rose Books, 1978, and Peter Rachleff, Radical America, Nov. 1974, among much other work.

SPIEGEL: Do you think socialism has a future?

MÜLLER: Yes.

SPIEGEL: And where is it?

MÜLLER: It lies in the simple fact that capitalism does not have a solution for the problems of the world.

Heiner Müller, Der Spiegel (30/07/1990)

Rostropovich at the Berlin wall, in 1989 …

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