WHAT WERE THE FAULT LINES OF THE PAST, WHAT ARE THOSE OF THE PRESENT & WHAT IF ANY ARE THE SIGNS OF HOPE FOR OUR COMMON FUTURE?
No matter what is said about the systems of the east that were given the name communism by western elites when the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact were still in existence, certain positive elements cannot be denied.
There was much that was ultimately negative about those societies and though no society that has ever been seen since cities first began being formed 10,000 or so years ago has ever been perfect, those given the epithet ‘communism’ did have some major faults.
But what were the positives that we never hear of now? What examples can be spoken of that existed within those societies that are absent in those of the West which are held up as almost a utopian dream by western elites?
Before discussing the above I would like to talk about some of the many semantic problems which arise in discussing these matters. First of these is the descriptive term communism. Those running things in the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact used the term socialism, communism was to come later when their societies had evolved far enough and the changes in progress had been fully realized. Secondly, can we really call those running things at each point in time either socialists or communists? Was Stalin a socialist for instance?
The overly ambitious are well known for speedily rising in any political food chain and often by dubious methods. The type of system they are rising within is quite irrelevant to such people as long as it is the most powerful they have access to.
For the reasons above (which correlate to democratic systems also) it becomes very complicated to assign blame when things go wrong within any society. Are the problems and abuses encountered primarily due to the system or are they most accurately associated with the type of individuals who reach the upper echelons of the system used in any particular system?
How many of those within the bureaucracy of the systems we are talking of could be considered the most faithful and idealistic adherents of them whether those systems are given the names democratic or communist? How long after the original initiation of these concepts of democracy and socialism does the required level of idealism to keep them on the straight and narrow exist? I suspect, considering the motivations of the average person, the priorities, temptations, seductions and personal needs for both individuals and their families, not long. And in the case of those with a criminal or sociopathic nature, the ideals do not truly exist at all.
Having said all this, let us turn first to the negatives of the socialist/communist as compared to the democratic/capitalist systems/societies.
The hierarchies of socialist/communist systems/societies tend to be relatively easy to climb for the overly ambitious/sociopathic as there is a need only to mouth the required mantras of doctrine while clawing oneself to the top by forming like-minded cliques and undermining those who are truly idealistic wherever possible.
The hierarchies of democratic/capitalist societies tend also to be relatively easy to climb for the overly ambitious/sociopathic as there is a need also only to mouth the required mantras of exceptionalist rhetoric while also forming like-minded cliques and undermining the truly idealistic wherever possible.
If anyone should ask what evidence there is of such pitfalls in the democratic/capitalist systems/societies then I would point to the great number of negatives seen over the past 80 years alone, the financial crashes, the corporate fraud scandals, the murderous regime-change policies of the neocons, the use of torture and subversion, the militarized police forces, the surveillance states, cancel culture and most recently the scandal of the Pandora Papers.
So, the same kind of insidious problems affect both (and arguable will affect any) form of political and social system/organisation.
A perfect system and society requires a requisite number of near-perfect individuals in order to adhere to its most idealistic principles. When such paragons do not exist in requisite numbers then the founding principles degrade rapidly from their original state and continue to fall until the negative outcomes become obvious to all.
The Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact nations, however, had more to contend with than the debilitating effects of the above. An entire grouping of nations were using every second of every day and all means possible to ensure these internal problems would be exacerbated to the nth degree and were using enormous economic and political power to ensure this occurred. The intelligence agencies alone were constantly identifying and enlarging the effect of all possible criminal/sociopathic and overly ambitious individuals over decades in a sustained effort to subvert any success those had who remained idealistic within these systems and societies.
But to return to the original purpose of this text, above and beyond what negatives existed common to both systems/societies discussed above, what can be said that is positive concerning the socialist/communist systems/societies of the Soviet Union and Warsaw pact?
These systems/societies at least at the surface level retained an adherence to the concept of world peace. (Even as early as the time of Lenin it appears that the world domination by force of socialist/communist ideals was regarded as out of the question). They emphasised national unity over individualism and in theory at least offered a society where everyone could have a decent life with adequate health care, employment, income, education, leisure time and hope for the future. These unifying elements and stated intentions if voiced in the West ring hollow, yet they were an integral part of the socialist/communist systems/societies.
The Soviet Union broke up into separate parts. The Warsaw Pact was dissolved. China moved to a hybrid system/society where state planning and free-market capitalism worked in tandem to further the idealistic goals previously expressed as described above in the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact nations. In Vietnam, Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua something similar in various forms are being attempted as seen in China. Only North Korea exists as a somewhat similar entity to the Soviet Union in the era of Joseph Stalin.
We stand now as a species threatened as never before by the most current and future pandemics and with the ever more obvious occurrence of climactic effects related to climate change. More than ever the world requires unity of purpose to face these threats and ameliorate their effects. With the West plunging every more rapidly into divisive individualism and self-seeking egotism, encouraged into endless ambition by the seduction of materialism via psychological condition by wraparound advertising any hope of unity is disappearing fast.
In the east, the desire for unity of purpose and a re-emphasis on idealism and the traditional building blocks of family, honesty, decency, work integrity and willingness to unify with others through trade and mutually beneficial agreements continue to produce the cohesive qualities which will be vital requirements to survive the threats now with us.
All in all, despite what are commonly regarded as the failures of the east in terms of more regulated societies and that are now called the pejorative term authoritarian, in my opinion in those lie the only realistic hope for the continued survival and hope for the future happiness of all mankind.