Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

The U.S.S.R. is not socialist

First Published: Unity, Vol. 6, No. 15, October 7-20, 1983.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.

The Soviet Union, along with the United States, is one of the world’s two superpowers. They desperately compete with one another for world domination. They possess the most powerful national economies, the largest conventional and nuclear arsenals, and their increasing hostility could touch off World War III.

The U.S. claims to be a democracy, while the U.S.S.R. claims to be socialist. Neither is true.

The actions of the U.S.S.R. show that it is not a socialist country. In international affairs, the Soviet Union is an expansionist power. In 1968, Kremlin leaders invaded Czechoslovakia, deposed the government and permanently occupied the country. In 1980, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, occupied the country with 100,000 troops and is still fighting against the stiff Afghani resistance. The U.S.S.R. also backs Cuba and Viet Nam in their military adventures in other countries. Altogether the Soviets now have some 700,000 troops stationed outside their borders, far more than any other country in the world.

Domestically, a bureaucratic elite controls the state, dominating all political and economic power. The elite enjoys special privileges and lives off the exploitation of working people. They have become self-perpetuating, with their children attending special schools and going on to top party and state jobs like their parents.

Politically, there is no democracy in the U.S.S.R. Dissidents are regularly thrown into prison or internal exile for long periods of time. Current Soviet Party Chairman Yuri Andropov, while head of the KGB secret police, devised the particularly repressive practice of sending political opponents to mental institutions.

Over the past 20 years, the non-Russian peoples have suffered from national oppression. They have been subjected to forced migration and assimilation programs. They have had their language and cultural rights stripped away.

The new Soviet leaders have restored women’s oppression as well. In 1981, the Soviet leadership banned women from 460 job categories, forcing women back into the home or lower paying jobs. Soviet women continue to receive less wages for comparable work and are forced into certain traditional women’s jobs. With few reliable contraceptives available, women frequently have 8-10 abortions, and cases have been reported of up to 40 abortions.

These gross features of the Soviet Union today show how far it has deviated from the socialism that existed under Lenin and Stalin. While socialism will be constructed in different ways in different countries according to particular conditions, there are some basic principles which distinguish socialism from other social systems.

Economically, there should be public ownership of the main means of production, distribution of income according to work, economic planning and the elimination of class exploitation. Today in the U.S.S.R. the bureaucratic elite is not paid according to their work, and they live off the exploitation of working people.

Politically, the working class should rule through the dictatorship of the proletariat, with working people enjoying full socialist democracy. There should be the right of self-determination for all nation in a multinational state and full equality for national minorities. Clearly, there is no democracy in the Soviet Union today so there can be no question of working class rule.

In foreign affairs, a socialist country should carry out a policy of proletarian internationalism, uphold the right of self-determination and sovereignty of all nations, support national liberation and socialism, and oppose imperialism. Again on all these counts, the foreign policy o the Soviet Union is characterized by the violation, not the upholding, of these principles.

Beginning with this issue, UNITY will be publishing the opinions of various authors about the nature of the Soviet Union today. Below, Bill Silverstone analyzes the Soviet economy and how Soviet workers are exploited by the ruling elite. In the future, we will be printing article on national oppression in the U.S.S.R., fascist ideology in the Soviet Union, the Kremlin’s violations of national sovereignty and an analysis of Soviet foreign policy.

UNITY offers these articles in order to stimulate discussion and debate within the movement. There are many questions that require further study, including the exact nature of the Soviet class system. We welcome our readers’ comments, criticisms and contributions to this important topic. All articles in this series will represent the views of the authors and not necessarily those of UNITY.