Tag Archives: USSR

10-year-old Samantha Smith’s journey to the Soviet Union

Much of what follows is adapted from the Wikipedia article about Samantha Smith:

In November 1982, 10-year old American schoolgirl named Samantha Smith wrote this letter to Soviet leader Yuri Andropov.

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CP of Greece (KKE) on the operation of distorting the history of the Second World War in education

The following is the intervention of the Communist Party of Greece in the 4th European Communist Meeting on Education:

Historical research is a particularly useful tool for the contemporary struggle for socialism as it can contribute to the revival of the communist ideology under the conditions of the victory of counterrevolution and enable the communists to draw valuable conclusions for the full fledged development of the class struggle. For that reason, the bourgeoisie takes care for itself intensifying the ideological attack and the mechanisms for the assimilation of the people’s consciousness, unfolding an intense and elaborated effort for the “revision” of history. In this effort bourgeoisie is supported by opportunism that launches a great assault on historiography so as to adapt the facts of the past to its intentions and needs for the management of the system.

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Revolutionary Students Union presentation on the Kronstadt Rebellion

The following video presentation is from the UVU Revolutionary Students Union. The presenter gives a passionate defense of the Bolsheviks in the suppression of the ultra-left Kronstadt sailors rebellion. Be sure and watch the Q&A videos, which go beyond the Kronstadt rebellion to discuss the Bolsheviks’ struggle against the Makhnovites in the Ukraine:

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Langston Hughes: Goodmorning Stalingrad!

The following poem honoring the battle of Stalingrad, where the Soviet Union turned back the tide of Fascism during World War II, is by the great revolutionary African American poet, Langston Hughes:

Goodmorning, Stalingrad!
Lots of folks who don’t like you
Had give you up for dead.
But you ain’t dead!

Goodmorning, Stalingrad!
Where I live down in Dixie
Thinkgs is bad —
But they’re not so bad
I still can’t say,
Goodmorning Stalingrad!
And I’m not so dumb
I still don’t know
That as long as your red star
Lights the sky,
We won’t die.

Goodmorning Stalingrad!
You’re half a world away or more
But when your guns roar,
They roar for me —
And for everybody
who want to be free.

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Soviet Film: Three Songs of Lenin (1934)

This 1934 film, directed by Dziga Vertov, is structured around three Russian folk songs and skilfully used archive and original footage to celebrate the revolutionary life and legacy of Lenin. H G Wells described this film as “one of the greatest and most beautiful films I have ever seen”. The first song, ‘My face was in a dark prison’, concerns the life of a young Muslim woman. ‘We loved him’ deals with Lenin’s life and death. The third song ‘In a big city of stone’, shows the accomplishments of socialism. Using the previously unpublished verses by W H Auden, the film becomes an even more eloquent tribute to Lenin. This film was made ten years after Lenin’s death, when the CPSU(B) under the leadership of Stalin was carrying forward the line of Lenin in building socialism in the USSR. (description from the Stalin Society – UK)

Harry Haywood: Trotsky’s Day in Court

The following examination of Trotskyism by the great African American Marxist-Leninist, Harry Haywood, is from “Trotsky’s Day in Court”, Chapter 6 of Black Bolshevik: Autobiography of an Afro-American Communist (1978), which takes place while Harry Haywood is studying in Moscow at the KUTVA, The University of the Toilers of the East. For a more thorough Marxist-Leninist examination of Trotskyism, read M.J. Olgin’s outstanding 1935 book, Trotskyism: Counter-Revolution in Disguise, which is perhaps the best treatment of the subject:


Trotsky’s Day in Court

Apart from our academic courses, we received our first tutelage in Leninism and the history of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in the heat of the inner-party struggle then raging between Trotsky and the majority of the Central Committee led by Stalin. We KUTVA students were not simply bystanders, but were active participants in the struggle. Most students – and all of our group from the U.S. – were ardent supporters of Stalin and the Central Committee majority. 

It had not always been thus. Otto told me that in 1924, a year before he arrived, a majority of the students in the school had been supporters of Trotsky. Trotsky was making a play for the Party youth, in opposition to the older Bolshevik stalwarts. With his usual demagogy, he claimed that the old leadership was betraying the revolution and had embarked on a course of “Thermidorian reaction.” (1) In this situation, he said, the students and youth were “the Party’s truest barometer.” (2)

But by the time the Black American students arrived, the temporary attraction to Trotsky had been reversed. The issues involved in the struggle with Trotsky were discussed in the school. They involved the destiny of socialism in the Soviet Union. Which way were the Soviet people to go? What was to be the direction of their economic development? Was it possible to build a socialist economic system?  These questions were not only theoretical ones, but were issues of life and death. The economic life of the country would not stand still and wait while they were being debated.  

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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.