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From The Socialist newspaper, 11 November 2009

20 years after fall of Berlin Wall, capitalist triumphalism turns rotten

THE WORLD'S leading politicians, past and present, gathered in Berlin this week to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989. The Wall was the physical barrier dividing the German city of Berlin and which symbolised the division of the world between western capitalism and the Stalinist dictatorships of the Soviet Union and the eastern bloc countries.

Dave Carr

Most of their speeches, and the acres of newsprint devoted to the subject, can be summarised as saying: 'Capitalism good; communism bad'.

This is despite the fact that capitalism is undergoing its most severe crisis since world war two and that the dictatorships in the east were not 'communist' or 'socialist'. Still, why let facts get in the way of a story!

Moreover, these 'leaders' remained somewhat coy about remembering the recent 80th anniversary of the Wall Street crash. Not surprising, given the current devastating economic crisis that is afflicting the majority of the world's population.

Global recession

In contrast to the Berlin 'celebration' Socialist Party members and trade union and community activists, gathered in London last weekend (see centre pages) to discuss, amongst other subjects, the causes and consequences for the working class and the workers' movement internationally of the collapse of Stalinism and the restoration of capitalism.

It was the bureaucratic impasse of these societies that pushed the working masses of these countries to protest and to seek a political alternative.

Tragically, in the absence of significant and politically conscious democratic socialist movements, there was a headlong rush into market-oriented societies. This has typically resulted in the emergence of ruthless capitalist ruling elites, a widening of inequality and the demise of social welfare provision in the former eastern bloc.

Politically, in the west, the seeming ideological triumph of capitalism has contributed, in the last two decades, to a shift to the right by leaders of the former social democratic workers' parties and trade unions.

However, the current global financial crisis has reminded the world that capitalism is a cyclical system of boom and bust and that unless it is consciously changed along genuine socialist lines by a movement of the working class then unemployment, poverty and environmental destruction will continue to plague the world.

For a comprehensive analysis of the collapse of Stalinism 20 years ago and its political legacy, read Peter Taaffe's article 'History: Stalinism and after' in this month's Socialism Today (see advert below), or read online at, www.socialistworld.net
See also on this website: 80th anniversary of the Wall Street crash - capitalist failure then and now.

Socialism Today

Socialism Today, November 2009

Socialism Today, November 2009

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In The Socialist 11 November 2009:

Fight for real jobs and free education


War and occupation

End the war in Afghanistan: Bring the troops back now!


Socialism 2009

Socialism 2009: An excellent weekend!


Postal workers strike

Postal workers force management back


Defend the four campaign

Unison witch-hunt: Defend the Four campaign gets a boost


Campaign for a New Workers Party

RMT conference on political representation


International socialist news and analysis

20 years after fall of Berlin Wall, capitalist triumphalism turns rotten

General Motors - no to 'divide and rule' in Germany

Ireland: 90,000 march against government cuts

United Socialist Party congress delegates defy difficult conditions in Sri Lanka


Socialist Party workplace news

Leeds bin strike - week ten

London bus strike

Strikes force concessions

Steelworkers get organised and score a victory over bonus payments

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College strike


Young People

Big business fights for fees: Students must fight back

Internationally young people fight for their rights


Socialist Party review

Reclaim the game by John Reid

Anti-fascists tactics - What happened in Newport?


 

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