Tag Archives: Thomas Kenny

Post-Soviet Russia: Death of a Nation

The following documentary film (in six parts) explores the consequences of the collapse of the Soviet Union for the Russian people. Whatever problems existed for Socialism in the Soviet Union, even during the period of revisionist leadership from 1956 to 1991, people were clearly better off. As Keeran and Kenny put it in their book Socialism Betrayed:

A brief review of the Soviet Union’s accomplishments underscores what was lost. The Soviet Union not only eliminated the exploiting classes of the old order, but ended inflation, unemployment, racial and national discrimination, grinding poverty, and glaring inequalities of wealth, income, education, and opportunity. In fifty years, the country went from an industral 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. Though Soviet per capita consumption remained lower than in the U.S., no society had ever increased living standards and consumption so rapidly in such a short period of time for all its people. Employment was guaranteed. Free education was available for all, from kindergarten through secondary schools (general, technical and vocational), universities, and after-work schools. Besides free tuition, post-secondary students recieved living stipends. Free health care existed for all, with about twice as many doctors per person as in the United States. Workers who were injured or ill had job guarantees and sick pay. In the mid-1970s, workers averaged 21.2 working days of vacation (a month’s vaction), and sanitariums, resorts, and childrens camps were either free or subsidized. Trade unions had the power to veto firings and recall managers. The state regulated all prices and subsidized the cost of basic food and housing. Rents constituted only 2-3 percent of the family budget; water and utilities only 4-5 percent… State subsidies kept the price of books, periodicals and cultural events at a minimum.

To look more closely at the causes of the collapse of the Soviet Union see Ludo Martens’ article, “Balance of the Collapse of the Soviet Union: On the Causes of a Betrayal and the Tasks Ahead for Communists“. This documentary clearly demonstrates what the complete restoration of capitalism has meant in a very concrete and material way.

Socialism Betrayed: Behind the Collapse of the Soviet Union

Lenin and Stalin, the architects of socialism in the USSR before the revisionist turn following Stalin's death

Lenin and Stalin, the architects of socialism in the USSR prior to the revisionist turn following Stalin's death.

The following interview with authors Roger Keeran and Thomas Kenny is from Marxism-Leninism Today and is a very interesting interview on the causes of the collapse of the Soviet Union. I have not yet read the book that this interview is discussing, but from the interview it seems that the authors ignore the ideological basis for capitalist restoration. In my opinion the authors miss a very important issue by not specifically addressing Khrushchev’s revisionist program of the two wholes (party of the whole people and state of the whole people) and three peacefuls (peaceful co-existence, peaceful competition, and peaceful transition), which forms the firm ideological basis for the total collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The interview nonetheless does well to discuss the two-line struggles that have characterized the entire history of the USSR. I would suggest that people see also the videos from Harpal Brar’s talks on Khrushevite revisionism and my article, Some Points on Stalin (and Mao).

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