To the 85th Anniversary: the Great October and Chances to Rescue Human Kind

Investigation of the circumstances of the USSR and Soviet socialism collapse is now too politized and moves in the rut of Kremlinology

- The USSR was a fortiori doomed to downfall by Stalinism which naturally gave birth to Gorbachev…

- This conflicts with some facts, for with the Stalin Model the USSR carried out industrialization, defeated Hitler, rose from ashes and became the second more mighty power in the world!

One could have an impression that the World Socialism in 21st Century international symposium which just has been carried out in Beijing was devoted to 85th anniversary of the Great October Revolution. While in fact, the organizers (Chinese Academy of Social Science and some research institutes for social science) dated it for 16th congress of Chinese Communist Party, which is to be opened November 8. Though, the issue of the Great October and the Soviet Union born by it as well as discussions and controversies on Stalin could not help being one of the main subjects of the symposium. 

The “instigator” of these discussions was Moscow Lomonosov University professor Alexandr Buzgalin (whose opinion is presented the first), while Sitaram Yechury from India raised an objection to him. In the discussion, some of Chinese participants took the Busgalin side.

I want to quote the Beijing professor Chang Guanming: “While we are discarding superstitions and reviewing history, we cannot fail to find a deep connection between the Stalin Mode and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Stalin’s rule was only an extreme form of this model, which continued to run after he died. Of course, it was gradually softened, which the abolition of the most lawless practices and addition of moderate, reasonable elements. Although it was not as dreadful as before, its true nature did not change fundamentally. Michail Gorbachev’s reforms actually sparked the long pent-up internal contradictions, and those contradictions finally exploded the Stalin Model itself.”

I remember that at the symposium Reasons of the USSR Collapse and Consequences of it for Europe, which took place in Beijing a couple of years ago, I was surprised not with the simply “anti-Stalinist,” but with even anti-Soviet  mood of some scientists, both the Chinese and the foreigners.

The reason of this phenomenon seems to be that investigation of the circumstances of the USSR and Soviet socialism collapse is now too politized and moves in the rut of Kremlinology, while experts and judges of this investigation are Cold War activists who try to substantiate their rightfulness. By the way, in the Chinese People’s Republic, the fight against the USSR  and the CPSU (the Communist Party of the Soviet Union) was for about 25 years one of the main directions of foreign policy and ideological work (as well as fight against Maoism in the USSR).
As for the USSR (and the Stalin Model), there were many good words said about it. For example, professor Li  Xinggeng from Central Translation Bureau by the Central Committee of Chinese Communist Party (CPC) noticed that achievements made in socialist development by the Soviet Union proved the Superiority of the socialist system; a socialist system consisting of more then 10 countries which established after WW II was a force capable of contending with the capitalist system and actively guarding world peace; achievements of the socialist countries also had a great effect on capitalism (according to the Chinese researcher, the New Deal by Franclin D. Roosevelt in 1930s of the United States was actually from some successful experiences of the Soviet Union).

Praise to the Great October and Industrialization carried out in the Stalin years was also expressed by Jiang Qi, professor of East China Normal University (from Shanghai), Zhong Yaping, professor of School of International Relations of Chinese People University.

The USSR critics, however, were in majority. “At one time, especially when at war or preparing for war the Stalin Mode was significant and helpful because it could mobilize the social force to largest extern. Manpower, material resources, financial ability could be mobilized in a short time to carry out any project. But no matter how effective it was, it was undeniable that  the Stalin Mode is a deformed, faulty and unbalanced industrial structure and prevented the life standard of people from improving rapidly,” – Zhou Shangween, professor of Center of Russian Studies, East China Normal University, said.

Chjang Gunyung from Institute of Strategic and International Research by the Party School of CPC Central Committee, Li Hoibing from Uhan University, Chen Zhihua from Institute of World History by Academy of Social Science positively estimated only New Economic Policy (NEP) of the Soviet Union, while deviation from NEP was qualified by them as a mistake and the source of harm which was the planned economy. Some participants of the discussion could see no bright moments in Soviet history at all. They were even inclined to making the USSR more responsible for arms race, than the US.

In general, there was more negativism towards Soviet model at this symposium, than at that one of the year before last year. And there are reasons for it. This could be explained with peculiarity of this moment. Chinese Communist Party has come close to its 16th congress which has unusual aims. According to the experts, at this congress, the leadership of the party who reached their age limit will be replaced. The ideological forces of the party and the state are mobilized to secure the Deng Xiao Ping – Jiang Ze Min course directed to market reorganization of China.

While the experience of soviet planned economy now conflicts with the model of “socialism with Chinese character,” which is based on market economy (with accent on individual consumption as the mover of productive forces) and on maximal openness towards the (capitalist) world.

“Practical” character of some Chinese reports could be seen already from their titles: Chinaization of Marxism, its Evolution and Necessary Conditions for Success; Globalization and Building China Specific Socialism; On the New Variety of the Contemporary World Socialism Movement and the Rising of socialism with Chinese Characteristics; What is the Socialism with Chinese Characteristics?—And Discuss its Historical Status in the World Socialist Movement; On Juxapozition between Three Representations and the Renaissance of Socialism in 21st Century. It should be explained, that the word-combination “sange daibiao” (it is hard to translate, approximately “triple representation”) which was estimated in China as the Jiang Ze Min important contribution to theory of socialism, means that Communist Party of China represents, first of all, interests of leading productive forces development; second, leading culture of Chinese people; third, basic interests of broad people’s masses. This thesis (which does not correspond with the Mao Ze Dong purpose to rely on working class and poor peasants and to stake on class struggle) is now in the centre of ideological fight.
Foreign scientists from 10 countries, attending at the symposium, did justice to Chinese economy success. Though, their reports were also devoted to many other subjects. Some fresh ideas expressed at the symposium make think that Marxist thoughts not only have not died in the world as a result of last losses, but, vise versa, have now their rebirth.

Vadi Khabibi from Marxist Study Education Center of Cambridge (USA) expressed an unexpected, but a deep thought: the USSR collapse is the result of world capitalism crisis. According to him, now in the US, 25 percent of productive capacities do not work,  while in Japan – 30 percent. In the period of 1986-1996, the number of the unemployed grew twice in the world and reached almost 1 billion. Now, at least 30 wars are being carried at our planet. Once, Khabibi supposes, destabilization in Poland was caused by capitalist countries refusal (because of economical crisis) to import Polish steel.

Very realizable military threat to the Soviet Union from the capitalist world, the scientist continued, grew bigger with the growth of the capitalist problems, while the USSR internal troubles were multiplied because of the USSR efforts to strengthen its defence. “Does today’s decline of Russia says about the socialism fiasco? – the American asks. – On the contrary, the capitalism fiasco is obvious!”

A Chinese participant of the symposium, Lo Vandung from Marxism Institute of Chinese Academy of Social Science also spoke about deepening crisis of today’s capitalism. According to him, today, world currency overturn makes 2 trillion per 24 hours, though only 10 percent of this sum goes to trade and investments, while the rest 90 percent – to currency speculations.

Indian communist Sitaram Yenchury qualified the fight which started after the Great October victory as the conflict of two different civilization systems:

“The social and political emancipation gained by billions of people from capitalist and colonial oppression was the product of a “titanic clash” between imperialism and socialism during the 20th century”…

“Capitalism plunged the  humanity into two barbaric world wars claiming millions of lives. It produced and used nuclear weapons to demonstrate its inhuman superiority and plunged the world into a nuclear arm race with devastating consequences. It launched numerous wars to contain humanity’s advance to socialism, intervened in the internal affairs of independent countries, organized coups, foisted  reactionary and dictatorial regimes to suit its interests… In the other hand, the socialist revolutions and national liberation struggles  imparted a richer content to human civilization”…

The same, though from philosophical view, was said by Anatoly Shendrik from College of Arts and Social Science. In his well-reasoned report showing his great erudition and convincing logic, Socialism as Civilization Alternative, he proved the “Faust civilization” born by the western capitalism had no prospects for human kind, which could be seen in the consumption fetish, the society dehumanization, human being’s estrangement from spiritual values, nature and himself. The fact of the Soviet socialism death was estimated by him in this way:

“In fact, all anticommunist forces torpedoed the attempt of civilization breach, the attempt of establishing the civilization more perfect than the Faust civilization that really claims to leadership in the world forever and aspires to solve its own problems at the account of those who is not included in the “Golden Billion”…Socialism is the only project, which can and must be accepted by the mankind, if it wants to survive”.

So, “phantom of communism” which was noticed by Marx and Engels in the middle 19th century has not left the stage yet. The cause of the Great October is alive in the minds of many people and gives them hope.

Andrei Krushinsky

Translated by Vera Solovieva

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov