Ladies in White

Why communism collapsed 25 years ago
BY CARLOS ALBERTO MONTANER ELBLOGDEMONTANER.COM
11/10/2014 6:01 PM 11/10/2014 6:01 PM

Twenty-five years ago, communism was symbolically buried. A crowd of
Germans filled with hope ran to the Berlin Wall and demolished it with
hammer blows.

It was as if they were pounding on the heads of Marx, Lenin, Stalin,
Honecker, Ceausescu and the rest of the theoreticians and tyrants
responsible for the longest of the many dictatorships that humanity has
endured.

Around that time, a rigorous book took stock of the experiment. Its
title: The Black Book of Communism. Our specie fertilized the paradise
of the proletariat with about 100 million cadavers.

The reaction was predictable. In the Soviet Union, in 1989, all of
Mikhail Gorbachev’s efforts to rescue the Marxist-Leninist model had
failed. In Hungary, a Communist Party led by Imre Pozsgay, a reformist
intent on liquidating the system, opened the nation’s borders so the
Germans in the GDR could go into Austria and thence to the radiant and
free Federal Republic of Germany.

In Czechoslovakia, Vaclav Havel and a handful of brave intellectuals set
up the Civic Forum as a response to the monochord barbarity of Gustav Husak.

In June, five months before the toppling of the Wall, the Poles had
participated in elections machiavelically conceived to corner the
Solidarity movement but, led by Lech Walesa, the democratic opposition
won 99 of the 100 Senate seats.

What had happened? The communist system had finally been defeated. The
countries that first implemented it and first cancelled it were
impoverished dictatorships, cruel and ineffective, that lagged visibly
behind the West in all levels of existence.

Communism was a horror from which anyone who could flee fled, while
those who remained no longer believed in the Marxist-Leninist theory,
even though they automatically applauded the measures imposed by the
leadership.

That is why Boris Yeltsin could dissolve the Communist Party of the
Soviet Union in 1991, with its 20 million members, without hearing a
single protest. Reality — not the CIA or NATO — had defeated that
barbaric and counterproductive way to organize society.

Aleksandr Yakovlev, the theoretician of perestroika, told me so, in his
large Moscow office, when I asked him why communism had collapsed.
“Because it didn’t adapt to human nature,” he said. Exactly.

What about the Chinese? The Chinese, more pragmatic, had come to that
conclusion earlier, after observing the driving and triumphant example
of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. They were the same Chinese, with a
different collar.

Mao had died in 1976 and the power structure immediately rehabilitated
Deng Xiaoping so he could direct the evacuation of the collectivist
madhouse built by The Great Helmsman, a cruel psychopath willing to
sacrifice millions of compatriots to put into practice his most
delirious whims.

By the time the Berlin Wall was toppled, the Chinese had spent a decade
tunneling silently toward an exit that eventually led them to an
incomplete prosperity without freedoms.

Why didn’t the communist dictatorships in Cuba and North Korea fall or
transform? Because they were based on centralized military dynasties
that did not allow the slightest deviation from the strongman’s voice
and will.

The Chief totally controlled the party, the parliament, the judges, the
military and the police, and more than 95 percent of the ragged economic
fabric, while firmly grasping the reins of the communications media.
Anyone who moved did not appear in the photo. Or ended up dead or
condemned to silence. The apparatus of power was only a conveyor belt
for the wishes of the beloved leader.

That prehistoric stubbornness has had a very high price. Cubans and
North Koreans have wasted one quarter of a century. If the two last
communist tyrannies had begun their transition to democracy at the
proper time, Cuba would now be at the vanguard of Latin America, without
rafters, Ladies in White or political prisoners, and North Korea would
be among the Asian tigers.

Lamentably, the Castro and Kim families opted to remain in power
whatever the cost. Their walls stood unassailable, defying reason and
defying the times.

Source: Why communism collapsed 25 years ago | The Miami Herald –
http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/op-ed/article3726109.html

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