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Q9. Success of Soviet Union and its achievements influenced political systems, colonialism and relations with other countries throughout the world. Comment.

The growing popularity of socialism and many achievements made by the Soviet Union led to a redefinition of democracy. Most people who did not believe in socialism also began to recognize that for democracy to be real, political rights without social and economic rights were not enough. Economic and social affairs could not be left to the capitalists. The idea of the state playing an active role in regulating the economy and planning the economy to improve the conditions of the people was accepted. The biblical idea, revived by the socialist movement and the Russian Revolution, ‘He that does not work neither shall he eat’, gained widespread acceptance, adding a new dignity to labour. The popularity of socialism also helped to mitigate discriminations based on race, colour and sex.

The spread of socialist ideas also helped in promoting internationalism. The nations began to accept the idea that their relations with other nations should go farther than merely promoting their narrow self-interests. Many problems which were considered national began to be looked upon as concerns of the world as a whole. The universality and internationalism which were fundamental principles of socialist ideology from the beginning were totally opposed to imperialism. The Russian Revolution served to hasten the end of imperialism. According to Marx, a nation which enslaves another nation can never be free. Socialists all over the world organized campaigns for putting an end to imperialism.

The new Soviet state came to be looked upon as a friend of the peoples of the colonies struggling for national independence. Russia after the Revolution was the first country in Europe to openly support the cause of independence of all nations from foreign rule. Immediately after the Revolution, the Soviet government had annulled the unequal treaties which the Czar had imposed on China. It also gave assistance of various kinds to Sun Yat Sen in his struggle for the unification of China. The Russian Revolution also influenced the movements for independence in so far as the latter gradually broadened the objectives of independence to include social and economic equality through planned economic development. Writing about the Russian Revolution in his Autobiography, Jawaharlal Nehru said, “It made me think of politics much more in terms of social change.”

 

UNDERSTANDING THE DIFFERENCES IN COMMUNISM AND SOCIALISM

 

  Communism Socialism
Definition
A theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, with actual ownership ascribed to the community or state. A theory or system of social organization based on the holding of most property in common, with actual ownership ascribed to the workers.
Philosophy
From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs. Free-access to the articles of consumption is made possible by advances in technology that allow for super-abundance. From each according to his ability, to each according to his contribution. Emphasis on profit being distributed among the society or workforce to complement individual wages/salaries.
Economic System
The means of production are held in common, negating the concept of ownership in capital goods. Production is organized to provide for human needs directly without any use for money. Communism is predicated upon a condition of material abundance. The means of production are owned by public enterprises or cooperatives, and individuals are compensated based on the principle of individual contribution. Production may variously be coordinated through either economic planning or markets.
Key Proponents
Karl Marx, Fredrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky. Robert Owen, Pierre Leroux, Karl Marx, Fredrick Engels, John Stuart Mill, Albert Einstein, George Bernard Shaw, Thorstein Veblen, Emma Goldman.
Religion Abolished – all religious and metaphysics is rejected. Freedom of religion, but usually promotes secularism.
Economic Coordination Economic planning coordinates all decisions regarding investment, production and resource allocation. Planning is done in terms of physical units instead of money. Planned-Socialism relies principally on planning to determine investment and production decisions. Planning may be centralized or decentralized. Market-socialism relies on markets for allocating capital to different socially-owned enterprises.
Political System No leader, directed directly by the people. This has never been actually practiced, and has just used a one-party system. Can coexist with different political systems. Most socialists advocate participatory democracy, some (Social Democrats) advocate parliamentary democracy, and Marxist-Leninists advocate “Democratic centralism”.
Social Structure All class distinctions are eliminated. Class distinctions are diminished.
Political Movements Leninism, Trotskyism, Marxism-Leninism, Maoism, Left-Communism. Democratic Socialism, Communism, Libertarian Socialism, Anarchism, Syndicalism.
Private Property Abolished. The concept of property is negated and replaced with the concept of commons and ownership with “usership”. Two kinds of property, personal property, such as houses, clothing, etc. owned by the individual. Public property includes factories, and means of production owned by the state but with worker control.
Way of Change Government in a Communist-state is the agent of change rather than any market or desire on the part of consumers. Change by government can be swift or slow, depending on change in ideology or even whim. Workers in a Socialist-state are the agent of change rather than any market or desire on the part of consumers. Change by the workers can be swift or slow, depending on change in ideology or even whim.
Ownership structure The means of production are commonly-owned, meaning no entity or individual owns productive property. Importance is ascribed to “usership” over “ownership”. The means of production are socially-owned with the surplus value produced accruing to either all of society (in Public-ownership models) or to all the employee-members of the enterprise (in Cooperative-ownership models).

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