Wednesday, February 25, 2009

on market "reforms" in russia

from naomi klein's excellent book on neo-liberalism from the 1950s to the present, "The Shock Doctrine," on the rise in ethnic hatreds and proto-fascism in russia in recent years:

"It is a bitter irony that when shock therapy was prescribed in Russia and Eastern Europe, its painful effects were often justified as the only way to prevent a repeat of the conditions of Weimar Germany that led to the rise of Nazism. The casual exclusion of tens of millions of people by free market ideologues has reproduced frighteningly similar conditions: proud populations that perceive themselves as humiliated by foreign forces, looking to regain their national pride by targeting the most vulnerable in their midst." (p. 450)

and more, on the threat of president allende (of chile) to the US in the early 1970s:

"washington always regarded democratic socialism as a greater threat than totalitarian communism, which was easy to vilify and made for a handy enemy. in the 60s and 70s, the favored tactic for dealing with the inconvenient popularity of developmentalism and democratic socialism was to try to conflate them with stalinism, deliberately blurring the clear differences between the worldviews. . . Despite the CIA-funded propaganda campaign painting Allende as a Soviet-style dictator, Washington's real concerns about the Allende election victory were relayed by Henry Kissinger in a 1970 memo to Nixon: 'The example of a successful elected Marxist government in Chile would surely have an impact on -- and even precedent value for -- other parts of the world, especially in Italy; the imitative spread of similar phenomena elsewhere would in turn significantly affect the world balance and our own position in it.'" (p.451).

In other words, the US Cold War fight was as much against moderate socialism as it was against Stalinism.

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