As the World Turned Upside Down
Left Intellectuals in Yugoslavia, 1988-90
Publisher: Monthly Review
Date Written: 01/07/2017
Year Published: 2017
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX21136
An account of the author's experiences and reflections meeting left intellectuals, primarily during conferences in Yugoslavia between 1988 and 1990.
Excerpt: For decades, we had staked out various positions on "actually existing socialism," a debate where sometimes static arguments on both right and left were ritually reenacted. Now the process was going off the rails in an unknown direction. A tired tale was transmuting into a thriller.
At first, for the left, it was all good. From 1985, we focused anew on the news from the USSR. We felt our hopes raised by the prospects of glasnost and perestroika. Mikhail Gorbachev spoke of socialism as we wanted it to be and with all the weight of the great Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). Socialism with a human face. Socialism with an honest voice. Socialism with an outstretched hand. Socialism with economic efficiency. When Gennady Gerasimov, witty and articulate foreign affairs spokesman, was asked in 1987 what was the difference between the Prague Spring and Soviet glasnost-perestroika, he replied "nineteen years." We grasped here at every detail of the news from there.