Socialism betrayed

I have to agree with Mark Almberg (PWW 8/14-20) that “Socialism Betrayed” is indeed the most comprehensive Marxist analysis, so far, of the catastrophic collapse of the Soviet Union. However, I have to disagree with him about his characterization of Stalin’s “errors and crimes.”

It is an undisputed historical fact that under the leadership of Stalin the Soviet Union achieved miracles of progress that were unprecedented in the entire history of the human race. These fantastic feats were achieved under the most difficult circumstances with the Soviet Union literally under siege by external and internal enemies and confronting a life or death situation.

I want to add that there is still a widespread belief among some that Gorbachev’s nefarious “reforms” were a “noble experiment.” Absolute hogwash! Gorbachev and his cohorts, by their own admission, were agents of the bourgeoisie who skillfully wormed their way up with the sole aim of destroying the USSR.

Hazzim YousifDetroit MI

Socialism did not collapse

In his review of “Socialism Betrayed,” Mark Almberg puts too much credence in the authors’ statistical reasoning in explaining the “collapse of the Soviet Union.”

Socialism did not collapse; it was undermined and defeated by western capitalism. The Marshall Plan was the key factor. (Capitalists are willing to wait for decades because they are still eating regularly.)

The main thrust of the Plan was to create dissatisfaction among Russian workers by building up the consumer economy of West Germany. Germany, Poland and Russia were devastated in 1945.

The United States rebuilt West Germany, shipping in new industrial equipment to recharge its economy and produce consumer driven prosperity. The comparison between the struggles against poverty in the East and the imported prosperity of the West created widespread jealousy, and the desire to have the consumer goods which were available on the other side of the Wall.

Another major factor was the build-up of armaments. Based on exaggerated CIA reports of Soviet military might, the U.S. spent billions to develop and increase its ability to attack. For the capitalist countries this meant greater profits. The Soviets followed suit, producing planes and ships and tanks, rather than consumer products.

Socialism did not collapse. It was blind-sided.

Robert E. RossNew York NY

W stands for wrong

When do you cross over from the abyss of denial to finally recognize that every action taken only leads to wrong results? When you, as a hard-working single mom of three, lost your full-time job, did you recognize that the economy was spiraling in the wrong direction? When struggling and only finding part-time work without health care, did you know that this was all wrong for you and your family? When you learned of Bush’s record of crimes against nature, did you realize that this was not the future you wanted your children to inherit? Or did it all come apart for you when we crossed the milestone of more than 1,000 dead sons and daughters in a war — wrong in every way — with no end to tragedy and loss of life, that you made up your mind?

There cannot be four more wrong years with more wrong actions taken by this wrong president.

Teresita ValadezSacramento CA

‘Catastrophic success’

George W. Bush recently referred to his invasion of Iraq as a “catastrophic success.” The man does have a penchant for turning the memorable phrase. Or was he simply trying to be funny?

Yet, more than a thousand dead GIs aren’t funny at all. Every fallen soldier is a catastrophe for their grieving families, many of whom are beginning to publicly express their resentment. And some 7,000 wounded, blind and crippled veterans will remain a living testament to this president’s feckless leadership.

A catastrophic success? The increasing casualties, a growing insurgency, burning oil pipelines and prison torture, those non-existing WMDs, a dearth of civil reconstruction — indeed this whole forlorn exercise in imperial impudence proves to me that our failed president is the real catastrophe.

He’s actually losing the war in Iraq. I can’t wait to lose him in November.

Cord MacGuire Boulder CO

Bush failed on security

“Even though the Bush administration has identified failed states for acting as breeding grounds for terrorists, it is doing very little to improve those countries and reduce the risk they pose to national security,” according to a report produced by the Commission on Weak States and U.S. National Security. The report warns that if the United States fails to come up with a new development strategy, it will undermine its national security. The commission included 30 Republicans and Democrats who are experts in development and national security.

Forty years ago this December, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in his Nobel Peace Prize lecture, stressed the urgency of eradicating global poverty.

The U.S. commits 0.14 percent of its Gross National Income to development assistance, the lowest of all the industrialized nations. U.S. military spending amounts to 3.8 percent of our GNI and accounts for 47.5 percent of all military spending in the world. If military strength were the sole answer to security, we should be the safest country in the world.

But we’re not. It’s time to heed the advice of King and the commission and put together a strategy that makes America safe. The Bush administration has failed to do this. It’s time for a change.

Carol BraggVia e-mail