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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

An enemy of the people

MIKHAIL GORBACHEV is dead. He was 91. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres says “the world has lost a great world leader, committed to multilateralism, and a tireless defender of peace”. Imperialist leaders such as Joe Biden, Boris Johnson and the rest of the Western pack mourn the passing of an old friend. Sir Keir Starmer calls him a “great figure” who will “forever be remembered”.

In the West you’d think a saint had died – but on the Russian street Gorbachev is hated. He’s the traitor who restored capitalism and broke up the USSR for the benefit of the Western corporations and the black-marketeers who emerged from the shadows to become the oligarchs that plunder the country today. He achieved nothing apart from bringing unemployment and poverty back to what was once the Soviet Union.

Gorbachev didn’t come from nowhere. He wormed his way to the top of the Soviet Communist Party posing as a “reformer” to become the idol of the Eurocommunists in Britain and the rest of Western Europe.

In fact, the basis of post-war revisionism was laid down at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). The vicious attack on Stalin by Nikita Khrushchev had two main effects within the world communist movement. In the West it opened the door to the fallacy of Trotskyism, which until then had been confined to small groups drawn from the middle strata, and encouraged social-democratic illusions within the mass communist parties of Western Europe.

In the East, the loss of confidence in the masses led to the rejection of the concept of the leading role of the working class. This, in turn, created a climate of compromise and defeat and led to the conditions that counter-revolutionary traitors successfully exploited in the end.

Throughout the international communist movement it reinforced the drift towards social-democratic strategies and the abandonment of Marxist-Leninist thinking.

Some communists were confused by Gorbachev’s false promises and his watch-words of glasnost and perestroika that presented essentially social democratic, anti-communist ideas and policies as “new thinking” and a creative development of Marxism. In turn, that helped to create the conditions that allowed the revisionists, liquidators and outright agents of imperialism to strengthen their position organisationally at every level of the Soviet party.

The lack of a consistent and sustained attack on Euro-communism by the CPSU leadership in the 1970s should have alerted the sound elements in the international communist movement to the pending danger emanating from the revisionist factions in the CPSU.

Instead, the rise of Mikhail Gorbachev and his clique was the beginning of the counter-revolutionary offensive. It was a co-ordinated offensive masterminded by imperialists. It ended with the collapse of the USSR.

The bitter lesson of that defeat for communists, the working class and progressive humanity has to be taken to heart. Revisionism, if it is not defeated and rooted out, will inevitably give rise to the eventual liquidation of the party.

They say it’s wrong to speak ill of the dead. But, as Russian communist leader Gennady Zyuganov said this week, that doesn’t apply to major politicians. “I believe that Gorbachev was one of those rulers in the thousand-year history of Russia, who brought not only the peoples of our country, but also all allies and friends, absolute misfortune, grief and misfortune,” he said. “I consider it a great tragedy that he came to the crucible of political power…”