Reviewed by S. Avram
Socialism Betrayed : Behind the Collapse of the Soviet Union – 2010 By Roger Keeran and Thomas Kenny –iUniverse rev date : 10/06/2010
Socialism Betrayed: Behind the Collapse of the Soviet Union is an exceptional scientific outlook seeking the causes as well as meaning of the foundering of the first workers state. The seminal importance of the collapse gave rise to a variety of claims about the future of mankind, the meaning of which sought to declare the “end of history” and capitalism’s final and absolute global dominance within the evolution of human society. However, most people sharing a deep understanding of Marxist theory and its implications did not take part in this neoliberal triumphalism.
(P.XV Introduction ) “For those who believe that a better world-beyond capitalist exploitation, inequality, greed, poverty, ignorance and injustice – is possible, the demise of the Soviet Union represented a staggering loss”
The first successful worker’s state accomplishments represent astonishing advances in the organization of human socio-economic relations, exemplified by the elimination of racial discrimination and classes, abject poverty, exploitation, wealth inequality and gender disparity. The growth in living standards recorded, represented some of the utmost examples of collective human determination in history. (P.XVI Introduction) “In fifty years, the country went from an industrial production that was only 12 percent of that in the United States to industrial production that was 80 percent and an agricultural output 85 percent of the U.S”
The investigation of the collapse is pursued by the authors through a great example of application of dialectical thought. The context in which certain formations within the Communist Party of The Soviet Union came to create an ideological opposition, is scrutinized from the onset of the October Revolution and its contradictions. Amongst the first dialectics of the historical working class movement is laid out clearly in the beginning of the book. Contrary and in competition to the Communist ideal and its advancement of history, the Social Democratic trend of reversal and compromise was present within the historical party itself. (P.1 Chapter 2) “The crisis that came upon Soviet society (in the 1980s) was due in large measure to the crisis in the Party. Two opposing tendencies existed in the CPSU –proletarian and petty bourgeois, democratic and bureaucratic”
The thinkers enunciate concisely within the first chapter of the work, what will clearly be explained through the thesis. The conclusion of the investigation demolishes all the reactionary ostentatious claims that came to dominate the Western hegemony and its ideological institutions. The Soviet Union’s collapse, as we shall soon see was not because of severe internal crises which lead to popular revolt. The demise is correctly attributed to the politics of the General Secretary of the CPSU of those times, none other than the architect of destruction and reaction Mikhail Gorbachev. (P.2 Chapter 2) “The collapse of the Soviet Union did not occur because of an internal economic crisis or popular uprising. It occurred because of the reforms initiated at the top by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) and its General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev”
The thesis goes on to demonstrate and diagnose the social problems and issues within the party itself that rose long before the Cold War era. Falsely caricatured in Western ideology of practicing non democratic policies as well as inflicting a monolithic intolerance for different ideas, the authors explain how even before the revolution, the Communist Party contained multiple tendencies. As all leaders through history are ultimately representatives of currents and movements that have a social base which upholds and empowers them, Gorbachev’s rise to power is investigated and traced to an already existing ideological current within the party. (P.3) “Gorbachev did not invent his policies out of whole cloth but rather his policies reflected trends in the Party that had earlier been represented in part by Nikolai Bukharin, Nikita Khrushchev and others”. Besides Gorbachev’s ideology, the problems that he was facing as well as the devastating solutions offered, represented the leader’s attempt to uphold the interests of segments of the Soviet population with an invested interest in ideas of “free market” and private enterprise. Although there is a clear continuity in ideology starting from Bukharin and continuing with Khrushchev, the problems faced, their social base as well as the policies adopted were distinct as Soviet society developed. As societal changes occurred progressively by the mid 1970’s, the segment of the population most invested in capitalist ideas centered around private property and market economy were none other than the entrepreneurs of the second economy. This latter, was an important factor progressively accumulating underground, tolerated by a growing ossified administration. At the same time, Gorbachev went through a series of misguided reforms that were explicitly counter revolutionary and anti-Leninist (P.3) “Gorbachev’s foreign policy retreats, cultural liberalization, weakening of the Party and market incentives went to lengths never contemplated by his precursors”.
In their detailed inquiry, the authors go on to explain in detail the lives, socio-economic context and ideology of all the right wing opportunist main exponents as well as their intertwining, complex interactions, influence and ascent to leadership. Starting with a history of Nikolai Bukharin who is rightfully exposed (P.5) “Nikolai Bukharin represented a petty bourgeois or right wing solution to socialism’s way forward.” Having never hold a leading position within the party, he would prove to be an unstable thinker, moving from the extreme left to the extreme right if the Communist political spectrum. His positions were very close to the Western ideal of Social Democracy. This is a clear portrait of a thinker who would later veer towards preferring a capitalist solution instead of supporting the nascent proletarian movement. One of the earliest abandoners of the class struggle, Bukharin is drawn out in opposition to Stalin who correctly saw that the revolution will intensify after the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. (P.7 Chapter 2) “Bukharin viewed the NEP concessions to the peasants, the market and capitalism as a long term policy; Stalin viewed them as a temporary expedient that the revolution had to jettison when able “. Other important issues and differences are detailed here, from Stalin’s emphasis on speeding industrialization to the national question. In practice, the success of the first two five year plans implemented correctly through Leninist policies are outlined (P.10 Chapter 2) “In the first two five year plans, industrial production grew at an average annual rate of 11 percent. From 1928 to 1940, the industrial sector grew from 28 percent to 45 percent of the economy. Between 1928 and 1937, heavy manufacturing output share of total manufacturing output grew from 31 percent to 63 percent. The illiteracy rate dropped from 56 percent to 20 percent”…” Moreover, in this period, the state began providing free education, free health services and social insurance, and after 1936 the state gave subsidies to single mothers and to mothers with many children.” These accomplishments are unprecedented and represent immense societal progress through human history.
As the ideological diverse background is set, we are next presented with an examination of Nikita Khrushchev’s policies and their divergence from Stalin’s. We are again revealed some fascinating history of the CPSU and some of its internal struggles, after World War II. One of such struggles was between Georgi Malenkov and Andrei Zhdanov. (P.11) “Both men had impeccable revolutionary credentials”. The former was responsible for the Party and government personnel and operation, while the latter had headed the Party’s ideological work and had been in charge of heroically defending Leningrad against the German onslaught. These two key characters, disagreed about postwar policies and priorities. “Zhdanov thought the promising prospects for international peace should govern Party policies…Moreover the Party should emphasize improving living standards and increasing consumer goods”. He also campaigned against ideological shortcomings in culture and “private farming”. Nikita Khrushchev, the Party leader in the Ukraine was targeted by Zhdanov for admitting new members in a lax way as well as committing what was denounced as “bourgeois nationalist” errors. In opposition, Malenkov believed in prioritizing the development of the basic industry as the international thereat remained ominous. This placed Malenkov’s views in line with Stalin’s and against Bukharin. Having initially agreed with Zhdanov, Stalin came to side with Malenkov after the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan signaled aggressive anti-Soviet policies from the American spectrum. These divergences and struggles over the direction of socialism continued after Stalin’s death. The book goes on expounding the different events in the aftermath of Joseph Stalin’s demise. Perhaps the most infamous of these happenings was the delivery of the 1956 “secret speech” and its unbalanced approach that was condemned and dismissed by leaders such as Vyacheslav Molotov, Georgi Malenkov, Lazar Kaganovich and K. E Voroshilov. These figures opposed the biased discourse that gave Stalin no credit for his positive contributions or admit to the necessity of some implemented measures. The speech proved to be a diplomatic disaster in that it fueled uprisings in East Germany as well as Hungary. As tendencies in the Party continued moving, the opposition to Khrushchev’s rhetoric blocked some of the nouveau leader’s impulsive tendencies. (P.13) “Subsequently, Khrushchev himself presented a more evenhanded view of Stalin, even telling his opponents on the leadership ‘All of us taken together aren’t worth Stalin’s shit’…” The policies of Khrushchev are further exhibited, as the background and fostering environment for further revisionism that will culminate with a grim conclusion (P.13 Chapter 2) “Khrushchev represented an approach to building socialism that often resembled Bukharin and Zhdanov and foreshadowed Gorbachev”. The policies illustrated encompass the entire spectrum from ideology to economics, culture, foreign affairs and economics. In a dialectical approach that sees both the accomplishments, good ideas and reforms as well as the detrimental plans and tendencies which lead to the Party implementing Khrushchev’s early isolation and early retirement, the writers denounce the continuation of certain policies supported by tendencies which would later find leadership in Mikhail Gorbachev. Some of these affairs are exemplified in Khrushchev’s belief in an easy and quick path to communism, political relaxation and “consumer communism”. One can see the tendency of abandoning class struggle internationally and the premature relaxation of discipline and vigilance within. (P. 14 Chapter 2 ) “Khrushchev favored incorporating a range of capitalist or Western ideas into socialism, including market mechanisms, decentralization, some private production, the heavy reliance on fertilizer and the cultivation of corn and increased investment in consumer goods. A brilliant history of the leader’s personal history and socio-economic as well as cultural background brings into light a lot of
Khrushchev’s beliefs and motives and his interpretation of Marxist policies. The work approaches and analyzes key events and the actions taken as well as their consequences that would take shape, linger on and accumulate, thus setting the environment for further ruinous reforms such as for example Glasnost.
Next, we are presented with the period of the ascent to power as well as policies of the Leonid Brezhnev administration. This era represented an intermediate path between the two main tendencies afore mentioned of the Soviet politics. Later on, Brezhnev will become the scapegoat of Gorbachev and his faction, taking the blame and ridicule for most issues within the Soviet Union. (P.25 Chapter 2) “They ridiculed his poor health, expensive tastes, personal vanity and political weakness. Brezhnev became the symbol of stagnation and corruption”. Although this view is historically unbalanced, it did have some grounds in existent reality. The administration’s goals were: balance, peace and quiet as well as absence of conflict, portrayed as “terrified of reform”. The policy of office rotation implemented by Khrushchev was now replaced with a new one centered around “stability of cadre”, thus resisting a lot of changes in personnel. Besides the ossification stated, the cadres in this era are shown to be of ill health and well beyond retirement age (P.25, Chapter 2) “Many in his leadership suffered from advanced age and disability”. Although a lot of the criticisms of this period are valid, most of the Soviet Union’s issues were a continuation and exacerbation of those nascent in the Khrushchev’s era. Brezhnev did take some measures in order to reverse some of these policies. Centralized planning made a comeback as did stricter Party admission standards and a more unitary organization to replace the division between industrial and agricultural reforms. The international policy of the period was given significant dedication by the administration (P.26, Chapter 2) “Brezhnev’s policies showed a firm commitment to international solidarity. He achieved military parity with the U.S and aided the socialist countries in Eastern Europe and Cuba, the revolutionary struggles in Vietnam, Nicaragua, Angola, Afghanistan and elsewhere, and the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa.”
Irrespective of Khrushchev’s unpredictability and the astray policies implemented as well as Brezhnev’s relative stagnation, the thesis expounds that the Soviet economy continued to grow vigorously. (P.27, Chapter 2) “In the 1950s the Soviet Union developed at twice the rate of most advanced countries. Between 1950 and 1975, the Soviet industrial production index increased 9.85 times…., while the U.S industrial production index increased 2.62 times”. The scientific advancements, education and formation of science personnel as well as the launch of Sputnik can be seen as great examples of the vast progresses achieved. Socially, the work week was set at 40 hours, wages increased together with the living standards and a universal pension system was put into place. “The gap in the level of economic and social development between the Soviet Union and the USA was rapidly closing”….”In large measure, the economic gains were made possible by the concentrated investments in natural resources and heavy industry initiated by Stalin”.
Although there were real problems within the centralized planning system than needed modernizing, the chances to address these became more promising with the rise to the position of General Secretary of Yuri Andropov. A figure with impressive personal qualities as well as a concrete foundation and knowledge of the Marxist-Leninist doctrine, Andropov had a clear vision of the problems facing the Soviet Union at the time and his ideas of reform resolute. Tragically, this leader’s health issues became apparent rapidly, his developing serious kidney problems that culminated in his demise within fifteen months.
However, the year of his tenure proved to be hopeful and promising its direction being a distinct one from the devastating path chosen by Gorbachev. The work then proceeds to picture the story behind the personal development and growth of Yuri Andropov.
The background story punctuates some exceptional qualities that amongst others included Andropov’s partisanship against the German occupation of Karelia as well as his impressive external policy functions varying from Ambassador of Hungary and culminating with the Chairman of KGB in 1967, a post occupied by the leader for fifteen years. His other salient traits of character included polyglotism as well as very high work standards and steadfastness. (P.34, Chapter 2) “Communists took hope in Andropov’s grasp of the problems, his ideas for reform and his decisive implementation of changes”….”….Andropov planned the renewal of socialism, understanding that it needed some deep, qualitative changes.”.
In Practice, the concrete analysis of the Soviet Union’s problems and Andropov’s policy proposals were focused on economic approaches. Most importantly, due to a stagnating year(1982) he outlined the main economic problems facing the country then (P.35, Chapter 2 ) “inefficiency, waste, poor productivity, a lack of labor discipline, slow growth in living standards and an insufficient quantity and quality of some consumer goods and services –particularly in housing, health care and food”. Into tackling these issues, Andropov’s approaches were distinct from those of Khrushchev. As exemplified in the thesis, the living standards meant much more than a reduction to a competition with the West considering only material things and income growth. Rather the socialist standards were meant to aim beyond that : “ the growth of the consciousness and cultural level”, “reasonable consumption” , “ a rational diet” , “quality public services”, and “a morally and aesthetically adequate use of free time”. (P.36, Chapter 2) “According to Andropov, poor planning and outmoded management, the failure to utilize scientific and technological innovations, reliance on extensive rather than intensive methods of production, and the lack of labor discipline caused the economic shortcomings.” He therefore called for the acceleration of scientific progress (uskorenie). He envisioned the modernization of production through use of information and computer technology, together with the implementation of commissions that would use resources rationally. The policies and ambitious but realistic plans of the Andropov era are greatly outlined here, a salient one being the position against wage leveling dating back to the Khrushchev. The Andropov administration clearly sought to intensify work quality and involvement through incentive and stimuli. The external affairs of this period were also upright and radically different from the retreats and concessions that would later plague the Gorbachev administration. (P.37) “In his first speech as General Secretary, Andropov said Soviet foreign policy will remain ‘exactly as it was’.” Another important aspect that would set the Andropov administration in ideological opposition to that of Gorbachev, is that of the leader’s growing concern for the increasing broadcasts of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, platforms which served as ideological anti-communist psychological weapons of the West. The growing of the black market/ second economy and its implications was approached very tough-mindedly by the cabinet which had no sympathy for what was referred to as “the plundering of people’s prosperity.” These are only a few of the ideas started in this era, all the issues and the subsequent proposed solutions are detailed in the book. Some of Andropov’s economic developments continued after his demise but most remained solely in their proposed project mode. The next tenure of Konstantin Cherneno is briefly touched upon here, as an insignificant period lead by a mediocrity. This will sum up all the political leadership before the main responsible for the state’s devastation took power and annihilated all progress.
As demonstrated, irrespective of imperfect internal and external policies the Worker’s State will have survived if not for a series of enormously damaging measures implemented by Mikhail Gorbachev. The tragic consequences will serve as the utmost destructive and delusional example of right wing opportunism in the history of Communism.
Before concluding and detailing the Gorbachev period, the work goes on to expound another important factor that built up the environment of the Socialist defeat: The Second Economy. As two main tendencies are delineated hitherto, the economic basis for the bourgeois ideology of the party progressively grew after 1953. The capitalist relations that developed came to slowly parallel the socialized state economy. At first, the parallel market involved farmers and workers in the primary economy who spent time making illegal money in legal or illegal private activities. (P.44, Chapter two) “Increasingly, however, in the post war years, the second economy embraced more and more people and accounted for more and more of their income and in effect re-created a petty-bourgeois stratum.” As it slowly increased within, the second economy would prove to be the most corrosive element of the Khrushchev and Brezhnev eras. As such, come the Gorbachev era, the black market came to replace the primary economy in many aspects. Its growth, effects and devastating consequences as well as inundation of both the social and political classes is illustrated elaborately in the book. Some of the ramifications varied from underground exploitation and formation of a hidden bourgeoisie, this latter’s corruption and involvement with greedy Party personnel, to the advent of new ideological superstructures that would later intertwine with Western imperialist forces in order to sabotage and demolish the powerful worker’s structure built on the efforts and integrity of the Proletariat. As we demonstrated, through sustained right-wing opportunism sometimes gauchely applied, other times fallaciously chasing social democratic chimeras, Gorbachev turned out to be the deluded instrument of Western imperialism and the hubristic grave digger of the Soviet Union.
The rise to power and personal background of Mikhail Gorbachev are treated sequentially as the authors scientifically painted the backdrop of the era. At the beginning of his mandate in 1985 the new leader came to rule a country that faced many longstanding problems. Gorbachev’s policies will exacerbate the troublesome situations into a crisis past any point of recovery. Perestroika, instead of bringing about a functional and efficient socialism, destroyed the Soviet Union and left in its stead an amalgamation of balkanized countries dominated by a new brutal, lawless and oligarchical capitalism which will plunder an increasingly impoverished population. (P.66) “Gorbachev and his defenders said that he inherited a society in crisis. This was false. In any conventional sense, the Soviet Union had not sunk into the throes of a crisis. In 1985, its economic problems did not approach the inflation and instability of Germany in the 1920s or the depression in the United States in the 1930s. The popular discontent was also minor, irrespective of the existent issues that included some waiting lines, shortages and quality of consumer goods. As the authors of the thesis investigate and cite certain voices in the KGB such as Oleg Kalugin, the system never encountered any serious opposition theretofore. Discontent must have arisen as an effect and not the cause of the applied reforms. Scientific details, statistic numbers and studies are brought up in the work in order to support the aforesaid context. Most importantly (P.67) “As late as 1990, only a small minority favored a transition to a capitalist system….only 18 percent favored the encouragement of private property”. There were, however many issues that needed to be addressed through reform as we see in this chapter: from the said internal economic concerns, through system corruption, Party cadre ossification all the way to external affairs amongst which were the infamous and ongoing imperialist overspending campaigns of Ronal Raegan as well as the counterrevolutionary guerillas in Afghanistan and the US sponsored Solidarity movement in Poland. Most problems are detailed in the book and it is imperative to read the data and series of historical events as the solutions put forward by the Gorbachev administration will prove to be self- sabotaging and unrealistic.
The following collapse was very hard to predict at the time of Gorbachev’s assuming of the General Secretary role due to his appearing promising resolve and steadfastness in reform and a sense of urgency reminiscing those of Yuri Andropov. The unraveling of events as well as rushed fixes rapidly degenerated into resolute and catastrophic right opportunism when in practice. We are therefore presented with a detailed portrait of the upbringing, cultural and socio-economic background of Mikhail Gorbachev. As is dialectically correct and of utmost importance for the reader must understand the personality of the leader as well as his vision. A child from a modest background born in the village of Privolnoye located in an area dominated by agriculture, Gorbachev embarked on an intellectual journey towards Moscow where he attended Lomonosov State University in 1950. Here, he particularly focused on studying the Western intellectual tradition and public speaking, obtaining a law degree. It is as a student that Gorbachev joined the Communist party and married. After his graduation, Gorbachev moved to the city of Stavropol where he would remain for the next twenty years. P.73 “Instead of practicing law, Gorbachev undertook the line of a Party professional and became known for his devotion and hard work.” He dedicated his time to get a second degree in agronomy. It is important to note that Gorbachev reportedly sympathized with the Czech leader Alexander Dubcek “whose reforms led to the Soviet intervention in 1968.” Notwithstanding this, Gorbachev steadily rose to power and became the first secretary of the Stavropol region at the age of thirty nine. Progressively increasing through the Party as propelled by his vaulting ambition, energy and personality, the book presents us how the foreman managed to succeed in spite of theoretical lacunas and questionable ideals. He was also the youngest member of the Politburo which created an image of freshness and vitality. Presenting himself as a strong proponent of reform, Gorbachev advanced his plans forward to the Central Committee in December1984. These will be the now infamous catastrophic measures that will eventually sabotage the Worker’s state beyond repair. P74 “Glasnost (openness) in public communications and perestroika (restructuring) of the economic system.” Educated, charming and well acquainted and favored by well-positioned patrons such as Andropov himself, Gorbachev managed to hide his shortcomings behind perceived youth, vigor and influence. Moreover, the foreman was also well traveled and acquainted with the policies of Western Europe and Canada, while at the same time lacking in internal experience (P.74) “He also lacked experience with the military, foreign affairs, industry, science, technology and the trade unions. Though he liked to toss out quotations from Lenin, he lacked a deep knowledge of Marxist theory and Soviet history, both of which he distorted to suit his purposes.” Armed with sources and documentation from the era, the authors do not shy from exposing the leader’s faults of character: “vain, condescending, and ruthless to subordinates but deferential to the powerful and worldly.”
The economic, social and foreign affairs measures employed by Gorbachev were misleading, as we are demonstrated further in the work. Initially appearing to follow in the steps of Andropov, he went further in some of his campaigns initially, while showing no signs of the sudden veers towards right opportunism that ensued. These are vastly and meticulously explained in the book within the next few chapters. When internationally pressured, Gorbachev unnecessarily conceded to Western imperialist hegemony through humiliating retreats while abandoning the international class struggle. Internally, he supported the interests of the nouveau underground bourgeoisie and the second economy as a delusional attempt to have both the socialist economy and private market run side by side. This was done under the influence of false ideals of social democracy likely induced by his connections and possible sympathies towards revisionist schools of thought such as Euro-communism. Named perestroika, the only restructuring achieved was the undermining of the internal and international proletariat.
Culturally, glasnost invited the fostering of false ideals amongst the population, under the pretense of openness to freedom of expression, thus encouraging and promoting the anti-socialist press that will currently act as a superstructure to the second economy and its exploitative interests. Glasnost was also a floodgate of Western imperialist ideological influx that would confuse and manipulate the population towards counter- revolutionary aims.
(P.143) “Gorbachev tried to manage his worsening political position by maneuvering, vacillating, improvising and dissembling. As mass discontent rose in 1989-1991, the Soviet people mocked his wordy speeches about ‘new turning points’ and ‘decisive tests’ and laughed bitterly at his attempt to portray catastrophes as advances. Gorbachev frantically sought to stabilize the USSR, to reassert control, without abandoning policies that were de-stabilizing every aspect of economics and politics.”
(P.144) “ No attempts at stabilization succeeded, save one. Gorbachev achieved stability, of a kind, in foreign relations by turning Soviet foreign policy upside down. In the final years of perestroika, Gorbachev abandoned socialist and Third World allies, while seeking political support and financial credits from the West. By late 1991 the Soviet Union had evolved into a compliant junior partner of the US.
On the background of the shattering state, Boris Yeltsin seizing every opportunity to win over a part of the disgruntled population, rose to power, ultimately annihilating the Soviet state. During the last days of his tenure, Gorbachev abandoned all principles of Leninism: class struggle, international support for Communism and anti-imperialism, sought to elevate the second economy and private property as solutions to existing issues, lambasted the anti-revisionist wing of the Party and invited ideological corruption. As a culmination counter-revolutionary revisionism, Boris Yeltsin managed to project himself as a radical solution: an end to Gorbachev himself and the reversal of history through the depredation and ultimate disintegration of the Soviet Union. A return to a state of plunder, barbarism, poverty, violence, political Machiavellianism and ruthless oppression. The consequences of the disintegration of the first successful Worker’s state are immense and still echo through all the working class today. From those exploited directly within the Western countries, through the super exploited in the Third World, from the amplification of toil and wage enslavement, diminishing of worker’s rights, increasing of child labor as well as ideological domination and its psychosocial upshots, all who fight for a world centered around humanity’s interests and against greed and the planet’s extermination have suffered a gigantic setback. It is due to the contradictions inherent to capitalism that the global Working Class will have the chance to rise again and liberate the world from exploitation and its own destruction.
In one of the most comprehensive and essential analyses from within the Socialist movement, Roger Keeran and Thomas Kenny succeed into clarifying the exact causes of the Soviet Union’s demise. The disastrous disintegration not only can be most optimally scrutinized through the scientific lens of Marxism Leninism, but the series of errors, misrepresentations and slips can serve as a frame for continuous study. The challenges of Socialism competing with the most versed and forceful imperialist forces are almost universal and need to be heeded and corrected by any present or future serious Communist vanguard party.
Irrespective of all missteps taken by Khrushchev through Bukharinist thought, it is the culmination of the catastrophic Gorbachev self-sabotaging steps towards capitalism that lead to the ultimate defeat of the working class. The real issues simmering in the underground of the first workers state are very well summed up in here: consumerism and infiltration of capitalist ideology lead to the development of a parallel economy tolerated by a growingly corrupted party. Social Democracy has always been an ideology competing to interpellate the consciousness of the working class. Opportunism within the Soviet Communist movement sought to move towards the Western Social Democratic ideal, ultimately seeking a mirage. Instead of what was perceived as a side step towards an existing ideal, counter-revolutionary reality demonstrates clearly that compromising towards a form of capitalism will simply lead to a reversal of progress and not a peaceful mélange and coexistence with imperialism. Class struggle was and will forever be central to any past, present and future Socialist country. Dialectically investigated here, one can observe how the internal, uncontrollably growing underground forces within the Soviet Union sought and ultimately succeeded to outmaneuver and dominate a progressively weakened party that partially abandoned its ideals. This was achieved through international coalescing with the dominating global bourgeoisie and its imperialist tentacles. Directly from the capitalist base burgeoning as a basement economic force, all the way to the political superstructure fighting for its ideals through self-liquidating all internal anti revisionist elements, through sabotaging the Party by voicing and stimulating the anticommunist part of the media, all the way to abandoning the international duties of the workers’ state to bolster anti-imperialist movements, the bourgeoisie managed to erode and ultimately steamroll the proletariat into submission.
The work is a wonderful illustration which portrays an anatomy of post Secret Speech revisionism, right opportunism and their dire local and international consequences. Its seminal importance lays in that it breaks new ground into scientific Marxism Leninism. It analyzes the flagrant but completely avoidable mistakes of future Socialism. The still existing socialist states: Vietnam, Laos, Cuba, North Korea and China show that notwithstanding violent imperialist pressure, workers states can survive within a hostile global environment. Thus keeping capitalist compromise at a minimum is clearly the path towards the future.
In China the compromises may have been too extreme and only time will tell if a reversal will take place, but the point is still certain: idealizing capitalist strategies varying from markets, private property to consumerism and failure to stand up to imperialism is a certain path towards betrayal of the working class.