The ruling circles here drew the wrong lessons when the Berlin Wall came tumbling down. What struck me at the time was their self-congratulatory spirit, overweening hubris, and unrealistic ambitions to construct a unipolar world in the 21st century. Socialism was dead, they said, while the superiority of capitalism was undeniable and the status of the U.S. at the top of the global power heap without any serious challenge for the foreseeable future. An era of global peace and prosperity, these “winners” of the Cold War loudly proclaimed, lied ahead. How wrong they were, thanks in large measure to their own class shortsightedness, selfishness, and revenge. Nearly thirty years after the “Fall,” the world is more unstable, more unequal, more violent, and more undemocratic. A promised golden age never arrived; an authoritarian global resurgence of the right did.
Indeed, democracy and democratic governance are under siege and humanity faces multiple crises, some existential in nature and demanding immediate solution. While much has to be done, a first step turns on the defeat of Trump and his right wing Republican acolytes next year in the voting booth.
I should add, to avoid any ambiguity, that this class offensive actually began in the mid-1970s and continued thereafter. Thus, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent collapse of existing socialism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union were not so much the beginning of this offensive as an unexpected opportunity to give it new tempo and scope as well as imbue it with greater ambition.