Heeding the Times from Harry Antonides' Desk

The Comrades Have Seen the Future, And It Doesn't Work

April 1, 1990 -

It is now abundantly evident that Marxist dogma is a recipe for oppression and misery. The collapse of communist regimes presents an agonizing problem to those who cling to this dogma. Why do the predictions about the coming workers' paradise always turn out to be false? The attempts of the true believers to answer that question demonstrates anew that Marxism is an ideology that makes its adherents impervious to reality.

Canadian Dimension, a Winnipeg-based magazine dedicated to the defence of Marxism, recently tried to put the best possible face on the developments in Eastern Europe. In discussing the crisis of what it calls "bureaucratic socialism," which has been "unable to break through to a more complex level of economic development," the editorialists insist that with all its faults, socialism "has led to the modernization of many economically backward countries, including the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, China and Cuba." They continue:

We are tired of hearing about Cuba's supposed economic problems when the stunning truth is that it has managed an annual average growth rate of percent since 1959, a high degree of social development, racial and economic equality, and a firm commitment to international solidarity. The Cuban achievement will continue to be a beacon to the countries of Latin America and Africa at the mercy of imperialism. ("Is There a Future for Socialism?," Canadian Dimension, March 1990, p. 3) 

No doubt, this information would surprise most if not all Cubans and those inhabitants of African and Latin American countries which follow the Cuban route. But no matter, the Canadian Dimension armchair Marxists bravely soldier on. They gleefully report that capitalism with its "catastrophic degradation of the environment," etc., is also in serious crisis, and they conclude that the "potential for social revolution burns more brightly than ever." They inform us that the workers under communism "have experienced forty years of full employment, limited but real rights in the workplace, comprehensive if inadequate standards of social services and social security, and subsidized housing, transportation and food. The events in Poland, Czechoslovakia and the GDR demonstrate that the working class in these countries has developed a considerable sense of its autonomous interests. Only time will tell, but we doubt that these advantages are going to be surrendered without a struggle."

Canadian Dimension is convinced that the overturning of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe does not signal the historical bankruptcy of socialism itself but "these new conditions present extraordinary opportunities for the renewal of socialism." It foresees a time of upheaval and change, but the gains made under socialism will never be surrendered by the people of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, we are assured.

While the Canadian Dimension editorial writers may rest secure in their abiding faith in socialism, their pontification about a system that has proved to be barbarously cruel would be greeted with utter contempt by the very people who are the subjects of this editorial. But such is the perversity of the Marxist delusion, especially if it can be practiced from the safety and comfort of the editorial boardrooms and university lecture halls in one of the most open and tolerant countries in the world.

This article originally appeared in Comment magazine, a journal founded by Harry Antonides. Find all of Harry’s pieces, and thousands more, at http://www.cardus.ca/comment