- The global context of restructuring
Factors in the post-war growth of the capitalist economies. Isolation of the USSR. U.S. efforts to sabotage gas pipeline. Hewett on the “mystery” of Soviet success. Why are imperialists today positive about perestroika? Regressive changes in economic system. Glasnost today and in the Lenin period.
- How the imperialists see detente
“Hit ’em while they’re down.” Imperialists want detente – without real disarmament. Is a broader rapprochement possible? Effect on working class and oppressed people. Concessions and the class struggle. Lenin’s attitude toward Brest-Litovsk. Conducting state relations with hostile governments. Separate role of communist parties. Blurring the distinction between party and state. U.S.-Soviet relations in the Bush administration. Return of Kissinger’s influence. Arms treaties in the 1980s. The fate of detente in the Nixon administration. Playing the “China card.” What happened to the 1972 trade agreement? The Jackson-Vanik amendment and the most favored nation clause. Behind the opposition of the “Israeli lobby.” The Stevenson amendment restricting loans. Watergate and the abandonment of detente.
- Gorbachev’s world view
Gorbachev speech to UN discovers “universal human values.” Does scientific-technological revolution invalidate or confirm Marxist view of class struggle? The theory that socialism and capitalism are “converging.” Sakharov’s influence on Gorbachev’s thinking. How only one side is doing the converging. Gorbachev on the “world economy.” Engels on world market of the late 15th century. Global interdependence and capitalist exploitation. Need for a socialist commonwealth of nations. Capitalist anarchy of production can’t be controlled, it can only be abolished.
- Two revolutions and their thinkers
Gorbachev on French and Russian revolutions. How Marxists view the French philosophers. Was their great contribution “universal human values”? Ruthless ideological struggle against the ancien régime. The socialist Utopians and Robert Owen. Early communist experiments and the intransigence of the bourgeoisie. The absorption of politics by economics (the “withering away of the state”): Saint-Simon vs. the Soviet reforms. The French revolution and Lafayette. Use of terror. Jacobins, Girondists and monarchists. Gorbachev’s omission of Chinese, Cuban and other great revolutions.
- Crime and the reforms
Crime rate in USSR rises. Symptom of decay and social tension. A decline in “white collar” crimes? No, just a failure to report them. Private cooperatives and trade a haven for criminals. Lenin’s view of accounting and control done by masses. Gorbachev’s “democratization” leads to fewer inspectors. The Soviet state and “bourgeois right.” Laws on white collar crime are softened. Marxism on crime as an outgrowth of class society.