[OPE] Fwd: RE: Kyn against the New Socialism of the 21st Century

From: Paul Zarembka <zarembka@buffalo.edu>
Date: Sun May 09 2010 - 12:06:35 EDT


I have had a follow-up with Oldrich Kyn and here it is, with his
permission. From his reply I feel similarly about his views as I did
when we were together in Berkeley, i.e., non-dogmatic and quite willing
to exchange differing points of view. At that time, I myself was not a
marxist, but an anti-war Democratic.

Paul Zarembka

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: RE: [OPE] Kyn against the New Socialism of the 21st Century

From: Oldrich Kyn <okyn@bu.edu>
To: Paul Zarembka <zarembka@buffalo.edu>

--On 5/5/2010 3:55 PM -0400 Oldrich Kyn wrote:

> Paul,
> I do believe we are still friends, but at least according to me it does
> not mean necessarily that one has to fully agree with all the friend's
> ideas and believes. Sure my views have been changing in some respect, but
> what I remember from the time at Berkeley (November 1968 to June (?)
> 1971) is that you were not so dedicated Marxist at that time as you seem
> to be now, judging by your discussions on OP-L. By the way I tried to
> answer you directly on OP-L, but Levy did not allow me to place there my
> contribution. But again, nothing is perfect, so I am not surprised that
> people claiming to be Marxists do not necessarily respect all ideas of
> Marx. I have an interesting example how Marx can be used in this respect.
> Marx himself wrote once a strong denounciation of censorship. At the
> beginning of the "Prague Spring" in the 1960's there was an attempt to
> publish a book containning strong criticism of the Soviet-type political
> system imposed on Czechoslovakia after 1948. However, some of the
> orthodox Stalinist-Komunists were still in power at that time. So the
> editors of that book put the above mentioned Marx's article at the very
> beginning and as the result censors did not dare to stop it. And there is
> even more! One of my collegues at the Economics Department of Charles
> University had a wife working at the Central Censorship Office that was
> located only a few blocks from the building of our Department. In April
> 1968 the emploees of the Censorship office voted to cancel their own
> office and as the result Dubcek made all the censorship in Czechoslovakia
> illegal. When I immigrated to the USA at the end of that year, I was
> surprised to see that some kind of censorship still existed here.
> What were my views about socialism? First of all I want to stress that
> the term socialism has very many different meanings. It is not just one
> clearly defined social system. I was just 11 years old when the World War
> II ended. At that time most of the Czechs had such a bad experience with
> the previous system, that they freely woted for Social Democratic and
> Communist parties that put transition to the socialism as their goal.
> What was that bad experience?
> 1) The great depression of 1930's was extremely hard in Czechoslovakia,
> because Czech countries were one of the most industrialy developped
> countries in Europe and certainly the most developped in Austro-Hungarian
> Empire. Bohemia and Moravia had only approximately one third of the
> population of Austro-Hungary, but almost three quaters of its industry.
> After the brake of Austro-Hungary in several separate countries the
> previously internal business relations became international trade and
> that contributed enormously to the economic difficulties when the
> depression started.
> 2) Czechs also sufferd under the past political developments. It must be
> undersood, that especially Czech countries (Bohemia and Moravia) used to
> be for some time the most democratic countries in Central Europe. Just
> before the beginning of the Second World War Western Countries gave up
> part of Czechoslovakia to Germany by the Munich Agreement. As a result
> Nazi Germany not only took over the traditionaly Czech teritory of
> Suddetenland, but soon after occupied the rest of Czechoslovakia. I do
> vividly remember living under Nazi regime and can testifye that it was
> terrible.
> So between 1945 and 1948 the majority of Czechs and Slovaks accepted the
> idea of transition to socialism, but it was not the Soviet-type
> socialism, but rathe something simmilar to what has been forming in
> France, Italy or Grate Britain.
> The situation changed radicaly after the February 1948 Coup d'Etat that
> forced the Soviet-type System on Czechoslovakia. Soon it became clear,
> that this was not the system that we really wanted. It did not work
> economicaly well in the highly industrialy developped country and
> politicaly was totalitarian and not democratic. Already in the early 50's
> criticism of the system began to appear and in 60's it grew up
> considerably. Of course it was politically imposssible at that time to
> demand return to capitalism. Those who were in power before 1968 would
> not allow it. My view developed in understanding quite clearly, that
> central planning based on the material balances cannot work and therefore
> market mechanism schould be restored. That was what the economic reform
> of 1960's of which I was one of the main designers and leaders was
> supposed to do. Neither at that time nor now I believe that any system
> can be absolutely perfect. So maybe economically the market mechanism, or
> if you want to call it Capitalism can be improved by some combination
> with "Socialism", whatever it may mean.
> Oldrich
> ==========================
> Oldrich Kyn and I shared some time together at Berkeley - about the
> early 70s - and we could be considered friends. I would share the
> feeling that he was sympathetic (at that time) to improving actually
> existing socialism. Perhaps he is now being a bit opportunistic about
> his own history, or was not forthright at that time.
> Paul

(V23) THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF 9-11, Seven Stories Press softcover, 2008 2nd ed
====> Research in Political Economy, Emerald Group, Bingley, UK
====> Paul Zarembka, Editor www.buffalo.edu/~zarembka/

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Received on Sun May 9 12:19:58 2010

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