Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Castros’ Buckling

It took Lenin a little over three years to realize that his ideology would not produce economic development.  He augmented his Marxist ideology with the New Economic Policy (NEP).  The NEP was a re-introduction of free market economy into the rigid state run economy of the Soviet Union.  These first three years after the October seizure of power by the Bolsheviks are known as the period of War Economy.  Following this period, the NEP as a policy was adopted early in 1921.
I believe if it was not for the civil war which kept him occupied, Lenin would have realized the necessity of private enterprise much sooner.  In my opinion, Lenin was the ultimate politician, the least ideological among his Bolshevik peers and if he would have lived longer (died January 1924), the practical politician that he was, would have kept modifying his ideology.

After his death the struggle for the control of the Communist Party led to ideological squabbles. Side stepping the NEP, each faction focused to prove its ideological purity, creating the Soviet dysfunctional economy.  This morbid state under the constant pressures of the western powers became the symbol of the struggle for independence and the model of the path to progress. 
Every resistance to Western domination one way or another was channeled into this model or found alliance with this long drawn experiment with “communism”.  Every leader of an independence movement who broke from the Soviet Union or when the Western pressures were replaced with accommodation, sooner or later found their way to the NEP.  In hind sight, politics of the Cold War, led by the United States, only had a delaying effect on the buckling of the communists under the weight of their own ideology.
When the Sino-Soviet rift began in 1961 and the United States began normalizing its relations with the Chinese Communist Party in the early 1970s, it became the prelude to China’s economic reform movement at the end of the same decade under Deng Xiaoping.   Today, with its own billionaires China is way beyond the NEP.
Soon after the withdrawal of US troops, Vietnam was trying to normalize its relations with the United States, its supposed nemesis, following the footsteps of China with its own version of the NEP
It was only a matter of time before the Soviet Union and its East European satellite states would explode into pieces.  Among many, one blessing of the Soviet demise was the cutoff of some one billion dollar yearly subsidy which nurtured the Castro brothers in their communist toy bin.
The cutoff of the Soviet subsidies left the Cuban economy in shambles, a process that forced rethinking on Cuban leadership.   About a week or so ago the Communist Party of Cuba officially adopted its own version of the NEP, endorsing the free-market reforms that had begun earlier.  The lifting of sanctions on Cuba and ending of the last relic of the Cold War will only accelerate the reforms in Cuba.  It will not take long for the first millionaires to surface from within the Cuban Communists racing to become billionaires.  It is beyond the Castro brothers to stop it.  To their credit they have begun to grow up, realizing the inevitable.  If they can still grow up in their 80s there is yet hope for us!

1 comment:

Peter Colon said...

It seems to me that it is the critics of communism that have buckled under the relentless oppression of capitalist politics. If the (former) Soviet Union, China, Cuba, and Vietnam are all dysfunctional forms of socialism because they struggle in a free market world economy, then socialism has never had a chance to flourish. Also, shrewdly adapting to a changing political landscape isn't the same as compromising one's principles; i.e., exchanging the goal of communism for becoming a billionaire.