First published: Autumn 1991
This article was first published in Socialist Action in Autumn 1991. Its prognosis – that the reintroduction of capitalism would devastate those economies, reduce hundreds of millions of people to poverty and result in steps towards capitalist dictatorship – has been amply confirmed by events. The text is reproduced in full with only stylistic corrections.
Economic catastrophe is sweeping Eastern Europe and the former USSR with the reintroduction of capitalism. It is bringing the rise of racism, reactionary nationalism, and moves to capitalist dictatorship. Stalinism in Eastern Europe, by repelling the working classes from socialism, brought these countries to the brink of disaster. However, the subsequent assault on the working class and the violent moves of these societies to the right, which have accompanied the re-introduction of capitalism, completely discredited those in the West who believed that the events after 1989 in Eastern Europe – the introduction of capitalist governments – represented a way forward. Instead they confront the working class with the threat of the greatest defeats in its history and the unfolding of a period of unparalleled reaction in Europe – and internationally. In fighting the consequences of this for Eastern Europe and the former USSR the left, above all, needs an economic programme that both opposes the reintroduction of capitalism and is a planned alternative to the course launched by Stalinism. The most important of these historically was Trotsky’s economic policy for the Soviet Union – put forward directly against Stalin. This supplement outlines the economic positions of the Left Opposition in the USSR.