Hammer and sickle boulevard

(To Gino Lanzara)
19/08/21

If we wanted to give an idea of ​​the passage of time and the events that have characterized it, we could have recourse, with a certain (im) forgivable indulgence to cinema, to the power of the images and passions that inspire. The historical parable of the hammer and sickle could find an initial image and inspiration from the frames of Reds1, continue to shoot the Parade of Victory of 1945, with the bow of the captured Nazi banners, pass for the comedy noir With Stalin dead, another is made2, more recent but mercilessly descriptive of the political state immediately following Stalin's death, up to The concert3, cross-section of contemporary Russian reality.

Of course, presenting the most recent aftermath of communism and real socialism cannot be limited to Moscow, given the physiological connotation devoted to internationalism, but wanting to identify a more ideal and certain place of election, the Red Square continues to offer a perfect setting.

In the face of the unforgettable Hollywood romanticism of Reed's 10 days, Soviet communism, to be considered also under the Brezhnevian meaning of real socialism, collapsed between '89 and '91, putting an end to the aspirations aimed at the ideal realization of a possible socialism, but still to be built after more than 100 years.

Opponents of the Kremlin had no hesitation in highlighting the gulag, forced colonization, lack of democratic control, armored in Budapest and Prague, which the red aedos have contrasted with the calls for collective education and health, science and progress, the fight against Nazi-fascism; without trivializing, but starting from the narration that Guareschi makes of it, which gives journalistic dignity to trinariciutismo, can be considered Luigi Salvatorelli4, which defines Lenin as "A two-faced herm ... a definition that befits the entire regime he created ... Not to mention ... the atrocities of the Stalinist regime"; Tiziano Terzani5, which following the coup against Gorbachev describes the unraveling the USSR, destined to suffer late the fate already befell the multiethnic empires in 1918; Carl Schmitt6, according to which a philosophically positive evaluation of Lenin should still be given, to cui the realization counts, not what is accomplished; Eric Hobsbawm, with his century short to be read in its entirety, also and above all the parts still to be interpreted in the light of the conclusions that he himself draws, freeing the Marxian idea from any responsibility too simplistically because it is no longer bound to the historical process.

It is a pity that the heavy consequences remain alive, with the burden falling on anyone who has become the spokesperson for instances producing real effects in a context in which the references to the transnational socialist brotherhood have not had the desired effects, a sort of socialist patriotism object of rereading according to the circumstances, as happened at the death of Stalin, with the cancellation of the toponymy and the demolition of the monuments.

In short, taking into account that it was not enough for real socialism to have tried to impose a narrative of transnational brotherhood to coagulate masses, however, still mindful of tanks, trials and executions, it is evident that this is a political phenomenon that cannot be dismissed quickly.

With the fall of the Berlin Wall, not only the political debacle of real socialism occurs, but also of a rationalism that has aimed, too simplistically, at a society that is more just, but based on mandatory rules.7 preceded by a revolution triggered by the violent clash between social classes including one, and pluribus unum, destined to conquer hegemony; the Soviet Union is therefore the first political experiment of real socialism planetary, an experiment exportable, by its very nature, everywhere.

The yearning for a just society is undoubtedly fascinating, it has always been so already from the words of Tommaso Campanella8, yet something does not have worked, probably the fact that man cannot be reduced to a set of needs, because he bears an infinitely wider complexity, an aspect that can be recognized in the interclass vision given by the PCI, which empty a party not only attached to the working class.

The historical process of the transition from capitalism to socialism, as reiterated by Brezhnev, should have constituted the transition to real socialism, a political attempt whose failure was certified by the last hammer and sickle flag on the Kremlin, and by not being able to transmit the need for cultural hegemony as opposed to demagogy and populism. But it is precisely from this perspective realistic that the many post-war events of the last century should be read, starting with the Hungarian revolutionary '56, which Fanfani stigmatized by saying "... the day will come when it will be clear that in the recent Hungarian tragedy the rebellion of the victims and the apparent triumph of the oppressor marked the first decline of an unnatural and inhuman system ...", to continue with Dubcek and the '68 Prague.

We arrive at 89; the beginning of the end of the Soviet system begins before the fall of the Berlin Wall in November, and is dated February 1989, when the Polish government meets the opposition of Solidarity, to suffer a bitter electoral defeat in June that leads to the non-communist executive by Tadeusz Mazowiecki: the transition process to a market economy begins.

It is a domino effect: the other Soviet-style European regimes fall. Moreover, Poland has always assumed a decisive role in highlighting the gaps and illegitimacy of the governments imposed by the Kremlin thanks to the active and constant presence of the Catholic Church; not surprisingly, Cardinal Wyszynski9 is known, in the Stalinist era, as theInterrex, demonstrating the political, cultural and social relevance of the Catholic Church.

On August 31, 1980, Solidarność comes to light, with an economic crisis in the background which, on the basis of government measures, in addition to the dismissal of worker Anna Walentynowicz, leads to the strike in the port of Gdansk. The electrician Lech Wałęsa, not new to these activities, rises to a leader by specifying his intentions in 21 postulates, including the right to strike and freedom of expression and the right to establish trade unions. Despite the reaction of the government led by General Jaruzelski, Solidarność, which avoids direct confrontation in the square, increases its popularity so much that it forces the executive to establish a dialogue, with the Church as a mediating force then amplified by the elevation to the papal throne of Karol Józef Wojtyła welcomed, in 79, in Poland, by at least a quarter of the national population10. On the occasion of the presidential elections, Wałęsa is subsequently elected obtaining 75% of the votes. The Pope's return in 1983 inaugurates a Vatican strategy of the double oven, on the one hand uncompromising, on the other negotiating through the Secretary of State Cardinal Agostino Casaroli.

German reunification11 prepares the disintegration of the Comecon first12 which, in the face of the change in economic systems, requires an unprecedented and very heavy payment of transactions in hard currency, and then of the Warsaw Pact.

The fall of real socialism highlighted a feared truth, namely that the regimes concerned possessed nothing more than a generic reference to Marxian ideas, thereby legitimizing the assumption that the role of ideology depended on its imposition and not because it was sincere and immediate. collective inspirational feeling.

But it is within Mother Russia that the failure of the attempt to restore the communist regime leads to the collapse and dissolution of the CPSU, with the fall of President Gorbachev, and the rise of Boris Yeltsin. In fact, it is an implosion so violent that it shattered the balance that had polarized the world into two blocks. In the 90s, the Baltic Republics handed over the gauntlet to the Kremlin by proclaiming independence, and resisting Russian military coups.13.

The political map of compromise is attempted: while the nomenklatura shows all its incredulous indecision, while the regimes collapse, Gorbachev proposes a referendum for the formation of a federation of sovereign republics, in an attempt to preserve territorial integrity. The outcome of the consultation is positive, but the problems get complicated: Yeltsin's success strengthens a presidential power hostile to the Kremlin. Glasnost and perestroika are defeated, the economic crisis is raging in a country on the verge of bankruptcy, the Gorbachev-Yeltsin dualism creates institutional voids in which the premises for a coup d'etat are insinuated which, punctually, takes place before the signing of an agreement that it subtracts, or at any rate severely limits, the Kremlin's powers.

Tanks descend on Moscow streets, Gorbachev, observed from the shadows of Khrushchev, Nagy, Maléter, Dubcek, is under arrest at his dacha in Crimea, Yeltsin hurries back to White House, seat of government and parliament. It is a tragic comedy of errors, staged by amateurs who, probably, would never have passed the exams of the old Iosif Stalin.

Those responsible for the coup set up an emergency committee, decide on a state of siege, dismiss Gorbachev, but allow Yeltsin to organize his resistance. Unexpectedly, the military talks to the people, while Yeltsin surrenders himself to history by climbing on one of the tanks stopped in front of Parliament to incite the Russians to rebellion, already aided by the refusal of the armed units to open fire.

Yeltsin takes the reins, Gorbachev, hero only for one night, resigns as secretary and prepares to leave the scene, surrendering himself to oblivion. The Soviet agony will continue with further declarations of independence14, until the officialization of the birth of the Community of Independent States.

In December the Soviet Union dissolves, victim of a series of issues dragged on by the 900 and the selfishness of a ruling class accustomed to governing without evaluating the effects of its decisions. Meanwhile, Yugoslavia is disintegrating, triggering a conflict. In 1992 the division of the Soviet Union into 15 republics led to the creation of as many coins, first as substitutes for the ruble and then as national convertible currencies.

In 1993 Czechia and Slovakia separate, but in Russia it is not over, it is there Nemesis: On October 4, 93, Russian tanks fire at the Russian parliament; at noon the special forces storm the building, putting an end to the crisis between parliament and President Yeltsin, a supporter of the transformation of the Russian economy into a market economy, with privatizations from which the nomenklatura largely benefits.

Faced with poverty and hunger, rooted in the stagnation that began in the 70s, parliament tried to limit presidential powers; in the face of the initiatives undertaken, there was only an armed solution, opposed by thousands of Muscovites. According to a 70-year old script, with a new assault and hundreds of victims, a de facto crisis that has persisted since '91 ended.

The road to Putin's seizure of power in '99 is marked. Eastern European countries are being reintegrated into the global economy, becoming, at various times, members of the EU. While NATO is expanding to the East, in violation of the agreements between Bush and Gorbachev at the time of German reunification, in '91 the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development was established in London, necessary for the economic transition to a market economy and privatization.

History proceeds, with the endorsement of hyper liberalism, austerity and contemporary unconditional globalization, with free and uncontrolled movements of capital and labor in a world without borders, until the economic crisis of 2007-08, the most serious of the modern age. . Despite this the left, electorally, loses; if it is true that the success of socialism was based on the disadvantages of capitalism, the memory of the Soviet system which recalled authoritarianism, lack of political democracy, economic inefficiency and the creation of a large foreign debt remains vivid.

In light of the reservations nurtured on the Chinese model branded - as an economic-political oxymoron - as state capitalism15 in a market economy, it is difficult to think of alternative socialist forms, capable of controlling migration and globalization, encouraging employment.

Franco de Felice, already in '96, argued that in the protected area of ​​international competition there was more the left than the right, tending to represent the most affected social sectors. Among the most accredited witnesses of the decline of real socialism is Augusto del Noce, an anti-fascist philosopher who more than others warned about the possible secularization of society, not fearing to go against the tide in pointing out the crisis of the systems of real European socialism, and affirming that, in the final part of the 900th century "a new Marxist or Enlightenment consciousness has not been formed or whatever you prefer, but only an emptiness of ideals has been determined"16; it therefore seems justifiable to be able to say that a new (and eventual) socialism will have nothing to do with the utopias of the late nineteenth century, remaining itself a utopia that touches upon the principles and values ​​of liberal individualism where, in any case, a irresistible incompatibility with liberalism.

We do not intend to make hasty judgments on such a complex issue, we just need to awaken interests and curiosities about a historical political phenomenon of rare importance, and of equally significant decline. We started with films, we can end with a piece by Giorgio Gaber, Someone was a communist. While you may not like it, both the reasons for a choice, and above all the ending, "And on the other the seagull, without even the intention of flying anymore, because by now the dream has shrunk", could give some more ideas.

And if it was not really appreciated, too do not blush, given hue and motivation, it could accompany a sweetly twilight moment.

1 Directed and starring Warren Beatty on inspiration from John Reed's book, The ten days that shook the world.

2 is a 2017 film directed by Armando Iannucci. Film adaptation of the comic novel Stalin's death by Fabien Nury and Thierry Robin, the film, in the form of a black comedy, tells the events that followed the death of Iosif Stalin in 1953.

3 is a 2009 film directed by Radu Mihăileanu. In 2010 he won the César Awards for Best Film Music and Best Sound. It also received a nomination for the 2011 Magritte Awards in the best co-production category.

4 History of the 900

5 Good night Mr. Lenin

6 The dictatorship

7 elimination of private property, housing and work for all, centralized management of the economy and means of production, absolute lack of internal dissidence.

8 Italian philosopher, theologian, poet and Dominican friar. Tried by the Inquisition for heresy in 1594, he was confined to house arrest for two years. Accused of conspiring against the Spanish rulers of Calabria in 1599, he was tortured and put in prison, where he spent 27 years. During that period of confinement he wrote his most significant works, including The city of the sun, a utopian tale where it describes an egalitarian theocratic society in which property is shared.

9 Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, considered by the leaders of the Polish Communist Party, Władysław Gomułka first and Edward Gierek after, as the "true social interlocutor of the country"

10 John Paul II, on his first trip to his land since his election as Pontiff, which took place only a few months earlier.  “Let your Spirit come down! Let your Spirit come down! And renew the face of the earth. Of this land! "

11 de facto on 9/11/1989, de jure the 03 / 10 / 1990

12 de jure in September 1991, but in fact since the beginning of 1990

13 Lithuania

14 Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Armenia, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan

15 Troskyists, workerists and social democrats deny the socialist character of the Chinese regime with various arguments

16 The People 1975