Friday, May 16, 2008

Moscow 2008...The Fruits of 'Freedom' ?

Thanks to US based blogger Nicholas for alerting me to this very disturbing video from what I presume must be some kind of Trotsykist punk band. It depicts the reality of existence for the hundreds of street orphans, the so called 'bezprizorniki', who now live completely feral existences on the Moscow Metro. Sixteen years on from being subsumed into the capitalist world, this is the reality of life in Moscow for many of these street kids. Some aspects of life in Russia, for some, may have improved, that is indisputable, but this video shows that the weak and the vulnerable are most definitely not better off.

The USSR had many many problems, but one thing that was widely acknowledged was that children were cared for and educated to an admirable standard, with the state intervening in families where either through alcoholism or abuse, parents were unable to cope with their responsibilities. When right wing free-market enthusiasts smirk over the triumph of 'capitalism' over socialism, they are cheering on the restoration of a system which is designed to force the weakest to the wall, watching this video shows just what that actually means in reality.


David Duff said...

Gabriel (if I may use the familiar), I would like you to take up a large glass of that stuff you make over there and call whisky, and then re-read slowly your following sentence:

"The USSR had many many problems, but one thing that was widely acknowledged was that children were cared for and educated to an admirable standard, with the state intervening in families where either through alcoholism or abuse, parents were unable to cope with their responsibilities."

On second thoughts, pour the 'whisky' away because I think you may have indulged too much when writing that line. On the other hand, perhaps, I just missed the irony in the phrase, "the state intervening in families" and it was just your puckish, Joycean sense of the absurd in bringing to mind the 30 million mums and dads with whom the Soviet State, er, intervened, in a terminal sort of way.

How very solemn of me not to get the joke!

gabriel said...

I was not referring to the criminal excesses of stalinism as you well know David, which are well documented by the way.I was referring to the norms of social care and welfare especially in the field of education. It is easy to forget that when we are focussing here specifically upon the circumstances of the children,and self evidently from the video, which you fail completely to comment upon, these ARE children of 7 or 8 years of age living ferally in the Metro system in Moscow. I am simply observing that this particular situation would not, for all its faults, have been permitted to occur in the USSR. The world is not black and white David, and there were many aspects of normal Soviet life that were superior to the alternative ushered in by the equally inflexible dogmatic outcomes of free market economics. Incidentally, since it was the Irish who invented uisce-baugh,and the Scots who produced their harsher and much less palatable copy, I would if I drank alcohol at all, which I do not any longer by choice, adhere to the original of the product...but we won't fall out on that one.

Anonymous said...

My wife works with someone from the ex-USSR. She is middle class and quite anti-Soviet, but when you ask her about Soviet childhood, she is full of praise. Every ex-Soviet I've ever met says the same. Whatever else the USSR did, they really did look after their kids well.

David Duff said...

"we won't fall out on that one"

Certainly not, er, so long as your paying, of course!

Nicholas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nicholas said...

Thanks for putting up the video. I could not resist and I see you could not either. I have to retort against Mr. Duff and his numbers which are clearly lumping too many dissimilar cases together, over-counting, misattribution, and blaming the system for problems outside of the systems control. This kind of counting was done by R. Conquest and is regarded as grossly inaccurate by many reputable scholars. This is not to deny great barbarity, mismanagement, callousness, and outright murder by the Stalinists-of Trotskyists first of all! But on the other hand we do not lose sight of the material and social gains created by the October Revolution which the bureaucracy was compelled to protect. Thus one needed to fight to defend the soviet Union as a degenerated workers state from internal counter revolution (1991-1992) and from external invasion(1918, 1941) but also seek to oust the corrupt bureaucracy that killed workers democracy.

Renegade Eye said...

There has been some militant strikes recently in Russia. The Mafia capitalism can't stop the dialectic.

David Duff said...

Nicholas, your argument is dangerously similar to 'Yes, I know about Auschwitz but Himmler loved animals, you know'!

For a typically dry, not to say downright astringent, summary of the way in which two political monstrosities, Communism and Fascism (the former winning by several miles in the murder stakes)have been dealt with by fashionable history, I urge you to read 'Deogolwulf's' post entitled "The Charmed Life of Communism" which finishes, thus: "with regard to barbarism, it matters more about which tribe you are in than about the degree of it. And, as I say, communism enjoys a charmed life."

Nicholas said...

David's Nazi metaphor has absolutely zero intellectual merit. All it is is silly. As for the rest no real understanding of any of the issues, just simple, dogmatic anti-communism which attempts to prettify both imperialist murder and Nazism.

David Duff said...

Er, sorry, Nicholas, could you say that again - "dogmatic anti-communism which attempts to prettify both imperialist murder and Nazism".

As you appear to be an expert capable of judging intellectual merit in others perhaps *you* would be kind enough to supply *your* estimates of how many people died under the USSR communist regime compared to Hitler's regime.

Nicholas said...

So what ever I come up with you are going to say Hitler was less therefore better. This is pointless. Like Bill O'reilly's "no fact zone"

David Duff said...

No, Nicholas, not "better", just different degrees of murderous inhumanity.

Anyway, I note that you refused the challenge so the "kind of counting [...] done by R. Conquest and [which] is regarded as grossly inaccurate by many reputable scholars" still stands.

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