‘International’ & V. I. Lenin
(click on all pictures to enlarge)
Seventeen years after the Soviet Union started breaking up, we are still feeling the after-effects. The greatest tragedy of the latter half of the 20th Century was the break-up of this mighty superpower, which had such tremendous potential. Whatever its faults, it was a counter-balance to U.S. and Western imperialism, and the Socialist countries gave a lot of aid to Third World countries, now having to go cap-in-hand to institutions like the IMF and World Bank which saddle them with huge debts. The break-up of the USSR resulted in wars and violence which are still continuing.
The latest flare-up is in South Ossetia, a province of the former Soviet Socialist Republic of Georgia where a lot of ethnic Russians live. Another Georgian province in the north west of that country also has a lot of ethnic Russians living there, as do many other former Soviet Socialist Republics, including the three Baltic States which started the break-up of the Soviet Union.
I have one immediate reaction when I see these wars and violence on the news: they should have all stayed in the Soviet Union, including the three Baltic republics which started the rot! The same for the former Yugoslav republics, who went thru even more terrible wars and genocides. It saddens me that peoples bound together by Socialism for so many decades have learnt nothing, and now apparently hate each other.
J. V. Stalin, son of Georgia
Joseph Stalin must be turning in his Red Square grave to see the violence tearing apart Georgia. The fighting has reached very near Gori, the Georgian city just outside South Ossetia which was Stalin’s birthplace. It is tempting to say, were he still in the Lenin/Stalin Mausoleum, he would rise out of his glass coffin and knock their silly heads together. That his home republic of Georgia would want to break away from the Soviet Union would have been unthinkable in his day – Georgian separatists would have been promptly dispatched to the Siberian saltmines!
Flag of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Georgia
Lenin/Stalin Mausoleum, as was
Czechoslovakia split into two separate states for no good reason, whilst on the other hand the German Democratic Republic allowed itself to be swallowed up whole and raped and plundered by the Federal Republic of (West) Germany. I’m all for reunification, but why couldn’t the GDR have expanded Westwards to include all of Germany? There would then have been no need for the Berlin Wall or the border installations between East and West.
Just the rantings of a crazy old Stalinist, you are saying, and yes you are maybe right. I was a Stalinist once. But now I’m just an old Socialist who knows there were grave faults with the USSR and the Socialist countries, but who believes they also achieved a great deal for their people. Not least of these was friendship between the different ethnic groups which made up the vast Soviet Union, and Yugoslavia.
Yes, of course Stalin was a monster, and the corruption which ultimately destroyed the Soviet Union had already set in even before he came to power. But Socialism is the only way forward for the world, capitalism is unstable and can only survive by constant wars to boost its stop-go economy. By injecting vast sums of public money into the arms industries, in wartime the capitalist countries manage to kick-start their failing economies again, until the next slump.
I have stated elsewhere on this site, and my previous one (see link to The Unorthodox Website) how Socialism could have been reformed and made more democratic in the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and the other Socialist countries. They could have become genuine multi-party democracies under Socialist Constitutions, and could have promoted healthy competition in a Socialist Market Economy by adopting Yugoslav-style worker and consumer cooperatives.
As it is, the Soviet and other peoples of the former Socialist countries have lost all the security Socialism gave them – full employment, good education, good health services, subsidized social housing, a guaranteed pension in old age, etc. – and they now have to face the horrors of capitalist instability and the constant threat of ethnic wars and violence.
It seems to me they’ve thrown away everything that was good about the old system, and kept everything that was bad – the corruption, the same old politicans and bureaucrats, the same old ruling classes.
Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx
I hope one day they’ll all come to their senses, and along with the rest of the world, we’ll start marching forward again along the road Marx and Engels mapped out, towards the inevitable next stage of humankind’s evolution – worldwide Socialism and peace, and optimistically in maybe hundreds of years from now if society is mature enough, the self-governing society of Communism.
I am not sure if the last utopian stage of society’s evolution is ever possible, but Socialism certainly is. Yugoslavia proved it, and it worked pretty well until ethnic rivalries tore that federation apart.
As for the old GDR, I still miss it despite its faults. The first Socialist state on German soil is sorely missed, and along with some other Eastern European countries, it already had the basis of a genuine multi-party democracy in the coalition parties which made up its National Front government in the Volkskammer – People’s Parliament.
The people of Gori, of Georgia, so proud of Joseph Stalin for his positive achievements (and there were many, but at a terrible price) in making the Soviet Union into a mighty superpower, should surely be clamoring to re-establish a new Socialist super-federation, albeit a more democratic one than the old Soviet model.
As with all progress, we learn from the mistakes of the past and build on them. But to tear down all that Lenin and Stalin built, and return to warring mini-states is crazy.
Georgia and the other former Soviet States and former Socialist countries should quit their attempts to join the U.S. dominated NATO alliance, which is an aggressive, outdated imperialist organization which should have been scrapped along with the Warsaw Pact decades ago. Can’t the Georgians and others see that encircling Russia with hostile NATO states is part of the U.S. plan to tear apart its next objective, the Russian Federation itself?
As they gaze at the statues and birthplace of Joseph Stalin in Gori, let the Georgian people remember that, whatever his crimes, he for nearly 30 years led the Soviet peoples, held them together and raised them from a backward nation of peasants to a mighty superpower.
The Soviet Union is no more, destroyed in a moment of madness that swept the world, but the march of history is inevitable. It must be re-established in a new format, learning from the mistakes of the past. Georgians can solve the problems in their republic by rejecting NATO and forging a new close alliance with the Russian Federation, with a view to establishing a democratic multi-party Socialist successor to the Soviet Union.
The peoples of Eastern, Central and indeed Western Europe may one day wish to join them if successful democratic Socialism can be established, sweeping away the corrupt ruling cliques. A federation of Socialist states, ever voluntarily expanding like the EU as more states clamor to join. Perhaps one day a democratic Socialist Union encompassing the entire world, marching forward to the ultimate goal of Communism?
Is this just the last dream of an old man gone finally mad? If so, perhaps it couldn’t be any madder than the world I see around me in my old age!
Stalin stautes in Gori, Georgia (his birthplace)