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More on Fascism in Ukraine & the ISO

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Ukraine’s neo-Nazi opposition marching with a banner of Stepan Bandera, a Nazi collaborator of Ukraine during World War II and vicious anti-Semite.

Just hours after Return to the Source published Beer Hall Putsch Leftism: Ukraine & the ISO, America’s least favorite Trotskyite organization double-dipped and released another article about the Euromaiden protests in Ukraine that recently drove President Viktor Yanukovich from power. This time, International Socialist Organization (ISO) member Sean Larson was joined by Trotskyite relic Alan Maass in an equally backwards piece, A political earthquake in Ukraine.

I don’t want to rehash the critique because all of the points made in yesterday’s essay still stand. I also want to be clear that Larson and Maass’ article was not a response to the essay on Return to the Source, given they were probably written concurrently. Instead, I want to add a few points more to the original critique based on some of the differences I noticed between the ISO’s original piece and the new one. Read the rest of this entry

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Actually Existing Socialism in Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh, leader of the Communist Party of Vietnam

At Return to the Source, we frequently use the term ‘actually existing socialism’ to describe various countries that we identify as socialist. The term specifies ‘actually existing’ to highlight the need to approach socialism from a materialist, rather than idealist perspective. We would define actually existing socialism as the material manifestation of the socialist ideal. Imperfect as it may be, it is the reality of what it takes to build socialism in a world dominated by imperialism.

But what does actually existing socialism mean for revolutionaries in the 21st century, long after the fall of most of the socialist bloc? Five countries – Cuba, China, Vietnam, Laos, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) – survived the wave of counter-revolutions in the early 1990s, but their survival has forced them to make certain concessions and retreats to the market system in varying degrees.

Much to the dismay of many leftists, China, Vietnam and Laos have all pursued a path of development that emphasized the role of a heavily regulated market economy in continuing to build socialism. Cuba and the DPRK maintained planned economies more similar to the Soviet Union’s model, but even recently they have accepted strategic market reforms.

Though the market reforms of China and Vietnam have both led to tremendous economic growth, the actual implementation of these new economic policies is decidedly unique. For Trotskyites and left-communists, these market reforms are simply manifestations of state capitalist policies. However, a closer look reveals that these market reforms were deliberate policy decisions demanded by the masses to continue building socialism in a post-Soviet world. Read the rest of this entry

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