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New Left Review I/190, November-December 1991

G.A. Cohen

The Future of a Disillusion

It looks as though the Soviet Union, or the pieces that it may soon become, will embrace capitalism, or fall into a severe authoritarianism, or undergo both of those fates. [*] The present essay was produced, substantially, in 1989, and the above remark, and some further conjectures below, may now read somewhat strangely. But they belong to the mood in which the essay was written, and I cannot alter them without spoiling its integrity. I am deeply grateful to Arnold Zuboff, who spent many hours finding and removing faults in drafts of this essay. I also thank Jim Hopkins for support and criticism. The essay is published by permission of the author and Blackwell Publishers Ltd. It will be included in Jim Hopkins and Anthony Savile, Psychoanalysis, Mind and Art,Blackwell Publishers, Oxford, forthcoming 1992. That is not an original thought. While a certain amount of humane socialist rhetoric survives even now in the Soviet Union, few observers believe that from its present crisis there will emerge a state, or states, characterized by an attractive form of socialism. But it costs me a lot to endorse that unoriginal thought, and I want to explain why.

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G. A. Cohen, ‘The Future of a Disillusion’, NLR I/190: £3

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