Boris Yeltsin, leader of the Russian Federation, spoke to the US Congress as its honoured guest last week. He came to tell them what they were eager to hear: "It is the End Of Socialism".
It is a rare honour for a foreign head of state to be allowed to address Congress, an honour reserved in the past for men such as Winston Churchill. But this was a very special occasion for the legislators and leaders of American capitalism. They were honouring themselves, celebrating their victory over "communism".
Though it had the trappings of a reception for the head of a friendly state, Yeltsin's appearance in Congress resembled nothing so much as the ceremony on board a US battleship in the Pacific when the Japanese military leaders surrendered their swords to US General Douglas Macarthur in August 1945.
Yeltsin is a collaborator of the US, not a prisoner like the grim faced Japanese mass murderers who were thus surrendering to the American mass murderers, who had recently dropped atom bombs on two Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Nevertheless Yeltsin's role in Congress, like that of the beaten Japanese militarists surrendering to Douglas Macarthur, was to represent the defeated enemy in a ceremony marking the US's final triumph.
Yeltsin came to the Congress of the US capitalists and their representatives above all as a repentant communist.
He came to acknowlwdge to the US millionaires' Congress - where Senate seats are priced at about $25 million each, the sum that must be spent to secure election - that capitalism had triumphed. He came to reassure them that it was just and right that they should have triumphed.
To vast numbers of people throughout the world, Yeltsin's verdict on "communism" and "socialism" will be made to appear as the wise and unanswerable verdict of one who knows, the mature conclusion of a man who had spent nearly all his life as a communist and then "saw reason", bourgeois reason, the only possible reason.
This is the symbolism with which the stage-managers of America's showbiz politics sought to invest the ceremony in which they "honoured" Yeltsin, the better to honour and laud themselves. It will, they hope, work in the minds of millions to reinforce the idea that capitalism is eternal, the only possible system. Yeltsin knows! The communists have abjured communism! Don't even think of replacing capitalism.
That is the message Yeltsin and the US Congress have sent to the millions all over the world who believed in the "communism" they thought the USSR represented.
It is one more immense official lie.
Yeltsin knows nothing about socialism or communism. Yeltsin has never been a socialist, still less a communist. He has spent his entire adult life as a member not of a socialist or communist working-class party, but of the Stalinist ruling class in the former Soviet Union.
That ruling class persecuted communists, socialists, anarchists and rebellious workers and intellectuals. It used censorship, police beatings, jails, labour camps, mental hospitals, and ultimately the state-licensed killer's bullet in the back of the neck, to suppress socialism, communism, anarchism, and the faintest stirrings of working-class revolt.
They ruled through a political monopoly which gave them all power in the state and therefore collective ownership of the means of production "owned" by the state, which they in fact owned.
They called their association of police-state administrators and outright gangsters a party. But it was not a self-selecting politically motivated party. It was a cartel of the privileged elite, held together not by ideas or by a programme but by the material privileges which membership of the cartel gave them.
They called themselves socialists", “communists", and "Marxists", but in fact they operated in the countries they controlled as a viciously exploitative ruling class. Their real attitude to the people was like that of slave masters in the ancient world to the slaves. Through all their decades of rule, they embodied the very essence of all that socialism and communism exist to fight and overthrow.
Socialists! Communists! Hitler called himself a socialist. We live in an epoch of debased political coinage and institutional lies. Words alone tell us nothing. Judged by their foul deeds, these were not socialists, not communists, but Stalinists.
Yeltsin spent his life inside the Stalinist ruling class. It was their ideas, and their historical rationalisation for their own rule, not socialism, not communism, that Yeltsin grew up in.
Yeltsin is a renegade Stalinist, not an ex-socialist or ex-communist. Yeltsin knows nothing of socialism and communism. How could he?
It is Stalinism, socialism's murderous enemy, which has fallen, not socialism. t was Stalinism, not socialism, which came in the person of Yeltsin to genuflect before the priests and gods of US capitalism.
Socialism is dead? What would you know about socialism, Mr Yeltsin? How could you know? You never did.
Socialism now in the former USSR is still very weak. But it is more alive there now than it has been at any time since Stalin massacred the Bolshevik party 55 years ago. It will get stronger!
Editorial, S O 528, 25-6-92