The pros and cons of life in the Soviet Union

Peering through the mist of time.

Re: The pros and cons of life in the Soviet Union

Postby sledge » Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:30 am

Boba wrote:
sledge wrote:Yep left and Right they would not be able to exist side by side because they hated each other and there was a rivalry between Stalin and Hitler. The true ideals of Communism is not really bad as Lenin envision but Stalin grabbed power after Lenin's death through murder and mayhem. Stalin became the Tyrant and twisted communism for his own gain and killed more people than Hitler mostly his own people. He was very paranoid.

The leaders that followed him ran in what Stalin had built but not extreme until the 1980's when Gorbachev became president the new wave of communism leadership that caused the attempted overflow by the hardliners which marked the end of the Soviet Russia. But Corruption is still business as usual like in any other government.

There's an old saying that "Communism looks good on paper". However, it doesn't work is the real world. There are holes in the theory, such as motovation, too much power within the government, peoples quest for power. In concept, it's not a bad idea, IF you can get everybody to agree to and play by all the rules and participate accordingly. Unfortunately, that'll never happen.


Yep like in any dictatorship regime. I was just stating that in throry communism may work but dictators(leaders) always twist it around which happen with Stalin should have been called Stalinism? :lol:
Image
[b]DOCTOR WHO 5OTH ANNIVERSARY 1963 - 2013[/b]
User avatar
sledge
 
Posts: 922
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 6:18 am

Re: The pros and cons of life in the Soviet Union

Postby spot » Sun Aug 01, 2010 5:43 pm

Actually I suspect Stalin did the best possible job that could have been done in the circumstances. I agree a very large number of people died in the process but the Soviet Union was industrialized in time for Zhukov to turn the tide at Stalingrad, for Leningrad to hold out, for the Eastern Push to destroy German hopes of expansion at the expense of the Slavs. A bunch of pansy do-gooder lefties in charge wouldn't have stiffened the nation the way Stalin did in those fifteen years he had in charge. As for the final decade after the war, he was an old man surrounded by wolves - of course he was paranoid. Anyone would have been, and with good reason.

The bureaucratic communism which followed his death went in a great deal for liberalization and the pursuit of ideals. Like reaching earth orbit and subsequently establishing a space station, for example, with robotic missions around the inner solar system. All that from the mayhem and bankruptcy of the twenties? It was an astounding achievement.

I'd say that at any time during the entire Soviet period there were more people involved in grass-roots political debate, with practical power over their locality, than any form of Western democracy has empowered in modern times.
Image Pioneer100© Member
User avatar
spot
 
Posts: 276
Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2010 10:34 am
Location: Blighty

Re: The pros and cons of life in the Soviet Union

Postby Brian » Mon Aug 02, 2010 7:52 pm

spot wrote:Actually I suspect Stalin did the best possible job that could have been done in the circumstances. I agree a very large number of people died in the process but the Soviet Union was industrialized in time for Zhukov to turn the tide at Stalingrad, for Leningrad to hold out, for the Eastern Push to destroy German hopes of expansion at the expense of the Slavs. A bunch of pansy do-gooder lefties in charge wouldn't have stiffened the nation the way Stalin did in those fifteen years he had in charge. As for the final decade after the war, he was an old man surrounded by wolves - of course he was paranoid. Anyone would have been, and with good reason.


It's always risky to say things like "best possible job". Yes, Stalin industrialized Russia, but he did it at an enormous cost. Even setting aside the political purges, there are estimates that as many as 10 million people died from the famine in the Ukraine alone from Stalin's economic policies. If you count the 17 years between 1922 and 1939, I suppose you could argue that Stalin did an impressive job whipping the country into shape, but the policies he set in place certainly led Russia down a dark path.

The bureaucratic communism which followed his death went in a great deal for liberalization and the pursuit of ideals. Like reaching earth orbit and subsequently establishing a space station, for example, with robotic missions around the inner solar system. All that from the mayhem and bankruptcy of the twenties? It was an astounding achievement.

spot wrote:I'd say that at any time during the entire Soviet period there were more people involved in grass-roots political debate, with practical power over their locality, than any form of Western democracy has empowered in modern times.


I'm not sure where you get this from. The Soviet Union only had one political party, and membership in it was a privilege, not a birthright. Most people had no political empowerment whatsoever, and still less right to political debate. It was only with glasnost, in the mid 1980's, that the Soviet Union enjoyed anything close to freedom of speech and transparency in government. And, as it turned out, the Communist system they had (which Stalin, to a great extent, put in place) couldn't handle it, and collapsed.
"I guess the winter makes you laugh a little slower
Makes you talk a little lower
About the things you could not show her."

-- Counting Crows, "A Long December"
User avatar
Brian
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1913
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:02 pm

Re: The pros and cons of life in the Soviet Union

Postby spot » Mon Aug 02, 2010 9:45 pm

Brian wrote:
spot wrote:I'd say that at any time during the entire Soviet period there were more people involved in grass-roots political debate, with practical power over their locality, than any form of Western democracy has empowered in modern times.
I'm not sure where you get this from. The Soviet Union only had one political party, and membership in it was a privilege, not a birthright. Most people had no political empowerment whatsoever, and still less right to political debate. It was only with glasnost, in the mid 1980's, that the Soviet Union enjoyed anything close to freedom of speech and transparency in government. And, as it turned out, the Communist system they had (which Stalin, to a great extent, put in place) couldn't handle it, and collapsed.
I agree that party membership wasn't a birthright but in what way was it a privilege? It led to privileges, yes, but membership was based on meritocracy of a sort and included millions of people. One in twenty adult Soviet citizens? Something around that, give or take a bit[1]. Membership wasn't a passive matter either.

Beyond the party membership there was still a considerable involvement of the population at large in democratic processes, starting at the level of the workplace and the apartment block. The party went in a great deal for consultation. Whether people felt enabled to voice their honest opinion is a different matter, that's something barmaley might be able to tell us. He can take your "most people had no political empowerment whatsoever, and still less right to political debate" and tell us whether it matches his own memory.

There's one major barrier to discussing this topic and that's the filter imposed on any Western understanding of the Soviet Union by the barrage of anti-Communist propaganda which flooded Capitalist countries from 1950 onward. I may be mistaken but I think what you've written is pretty much toeing a propagandist line, whether you know it or not.



[1] wikipedia: "In 1986, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union had over 19 million members or approximately 10% of the USSR's adult population. Over 44% of party members were classified as industrial workers, 12% were collective farmers."
Image Pioneer100© Member
User avatar
spot
 
Posts: 276
Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2010 10:34 am
Location: Blighty

Re: The pros and cons of life in the Soviet Union

Postby Brian » Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:02 pm

spot wrote:
Brian wrote:
spot wrote:I'd say that at any time during the entire Soviet period there were more people involved in grass-roots political debate, with practical power over their locality, than any form of Western democracy has empowered in modern times.
I'm not sure where you get this from. The Soviet Union only had one political party, and membership in it was a privilege, not a birthright. Most people had no political empowerment whatsoever, and still less right to political debate. It was only with glasnost, in the mid 1980's, that the Soviet Union enjoyed anything close to freedom of speech and transparency in government. And, as it turned out, the Communist system they had (which Stalin, to a great extent, put in place) couldn't handle it, and collapsed.
I agree that party membership wasn't a birthright but in what way was it a privilege? It led to privileges, yes, but membership was based on meritocracy of a sort and included millions of people. One in twenty adult Soviet citizens? Something around that, give or take a bit[1]. Membership wasn't a passive matter either.

Beyond the party membership there was still a considerable involvement of the population at large in democratic processes, starting at the level of the workplace and the apartment block. The party went in a great deal for consultation. Whether people felt enabled to voice their honest opinion is a different matter, that's something barmaley might be able to tell us. He can take your "most people had no political empowerment whatsoever, and still less right to political debate" and tell us whether it matches his own memory.

There's one major barrier to discussing this topic and that's the filter imposed on any Western understanding of the Soviet Union by the barrage of anti-Communist propaganda which flooded Capitalist countries from 1950 onward. I may be mistaken but I think what you've written is pretty much toeing a propagandist line, whether you know it or not.

[1] wikipedia: "In 1986, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union had over 19 million members or approximately 10% of the USSR's adult population. Over 44% of party members were classified as industrial workers, 12% were collective farmers."


I'm a bit confused by your citation here. Doesn't it indicate that 10% were Communist Party members, rather than 20%? Regardless of what the privilege was based on (merit or class status), the fact is that Communist Party membership was still a privilege, not open to all who sought it.

There may have been some local democracy, but if you don't have empowerment in the big areas, does it really matter if you have empowerment in the small things?

I'm sure no one can truly escape their own cultural biases, but still, I think the assessment I gave above was fairly matter-of-fact. And I think that a one party system can't be democratic in any real sense, the way we in the West would understand the word.
"I guess the winter makes you laugh a little slower
Makes you talk a little lower
About the things you could not show her."

-- Counting Crows, "A Long December"
User avatar
Brian
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1913
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:02 pm

Re: The pros and cons of life in the Soviet Union

Postby spot » Tue Aug 03, 2010 4:28 am

My wikipedia sentence indicates that party membership was at that stage 10% of the adult population compared to my guess of one in twenty adults, or 5%, which would have been true in, say, the sixties and early seventies. Before the war it had reached around 4%. I don't think it ever got as high as 20% but perhaps you misread my ratio.

I think we need a thread on freedom as interpreted in the West. In what sense is a two-party system more accountable than a one-party system, for example, when both have policies which are to a large extent identical? How easy is it for national representatives to participate in a two-party state unless they have endorsement from one of the two parties? Perhaps we could take that ball and roll it in parallel with this one, the use of the word "freedom" on this site has had me baffled ever since I arrived and it does keep cropping up frequently.

"Communist Party membership was still a privilege, not open to all who sought it" isn't what I see when I look at the system in the Soviet Union. I do see entry to the Party as a matter of orthodoxy and participation, with a greater assumption of trust being given to people whose parents were party workers in good standing before them. I take it to have been on a par with qualifying to get into university, it took years of preparation, not everyone could achieve it and (in the case of Party membership) one was a lot more likely to be blackballed. Most members were hard-working intelligent citizens.
Image Pioneer100© Member
User avatar
spot
 
Posts: 276
Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2010 10:34 am
Location: Blighty

Re: The pros and cons of life in the Soviet Union

Postby Brian » Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:17 am

spot wrote:My wikipedia sentence indicates that party membership was at that stage 10% of the adult population compared to my guess of one in twenty adults, or 5%, which would have been true in, say, the sixties and early seventies. Before the war it had reached around 4%. I don't think it ever got as high as 20% but perhaps you misread my ratio.


Sorry. I just read that wrong. :oops:

spot wrote:I think we need a thread on freedom as interpreted in the West. In what sense is a two-party system more accountable than a one-party system, for example, when both have policies which are to a large extent identical? How easy is it for national representatives to participate in a two-party state unless they have endorsement from one of the two parties? Perhaps we could take that ball and roll it in parallel with this one, the use of the word "freedom" on this site has had me baffled ever since I arrived and it does keep cropping up frequently.


I see you have a separate thread on freedom, so I'll just limit myself here to a two party vs. one party system. At least in a two party system, you have a choice. In a one party system, where's the choice at all?

And to those who think both parties are the same, I ask this question: If we had a one party system, do you think we'd have debates about things like gays in the military and socialized medicine? If one party or the other ran the country completely, I don't think we would.

spot wrote:"Communist Party membership was still a privilege, not open to all who sought it" isn't what I see when I look at the system in the Soviet Union. I do see entry to the Party as a matter of orthodoxy and participation, with a greater assumption of trust being given to people whose parents were party workers in good standing before them. I take it to have been on a par with qualifying to get into university, it took years of preparation, not everyone could achieve it and (in the case of Party membership) one was a lot more likely to be blackballed. Most members were hard-working intelligent citizens.


Communist Party members were privileged. They literally got more goods and services than other Soviets. If that's not a privilege, I don't know what is. And according to this, party membership was something that could be inherited. Regardless of whether it was a meritocracy or whether you could inherit it, it was still an exclusionary club, meant for the elites in society.
"I guess the winter makes you laugh a little slower
Makes you talk a little lower
About the things you could not show her."

-- Counting Crows, "A Long December"
User avatar
Brian
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1913
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:02 pm

Re: The pros and cons of life in the Soviet Union

Postby sledge » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:46 pm

what is member's geenral feeling about Communism? good or bad as we'll already posted above Stalin Communism.
Recently i watched a documentary about North Korea and the regime controlling the country and brainwashing the people that's what I call extreme communism. Influenced by Soviet Russia.

This is the video i watched filmed by Dutch filmakers from youtube, runs for about 53 mins
Welcome to North Korea by Peter Tetteroo and Raymond Feddema / Documentary Educational Video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJ6E3cShcVU
Image
[b]DOCTOR WHO 5OTH ANNIVERSARY 1963 - 2013[/b]
User avatar
sledge
 
Posts: 922
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 6:18 am

Re: The pros and cons of life in the Soviet Union

Postby spot » Wed Aug 04, 2010 6:59 am

North Korea's an odd place, certainly. I've never been there and I've never spoken to a North Korean. The extent to which what's said about it is true or not isn't a matter I'd like to guess at. Korea used to be a country, it had a civil war some years after the Japanese occupation ended in 1945. The Russians may have had a precipitating hand in the civil war breaking out, again it's not easy to know whether it would have happened without Soviet support. Western military intervention in that civil war resulted in the current stalemate. Without that intervention, Korea as a whole would have become a communist country and developed from there. Given the stasis of the ceasefire North Korea's become politically frozen in time. There are a lot of what-ifs but you can be certain that a united communist Korea of the fifties wouldn't have developed into what North Korea is now.

International isolation puts any ruling system's back against the wall. It's happened too in Burma, it's what shores up the nationalist government in Iran, it prevents political development in all three countries. The common factor in all three is sanctions and subversion by foreign governments, I don't think communism as such is a factor in the state North Korea finds itself today. Picking extremes like this as a way of discussing the pros and cons of life in the Soviet Union, or equating communism in the Soviet Union with one side of a country (Korea) locked into an ongoing civil war for sixty years, doesn't take us very far.
Image Pioneer100© Member
User avatar
spot
 
Posts: 276
Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2010 10:34 am
Location: Blighty

Re: The pros and cons of life in the Soviet Union

Postby Brian » Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:27 am

spot wrote:International isolation puts any ruling system's back against the wall. It's happened too in Burma, it's what shores up the nationalist government in Iran, it prevents political development in all three countries. The common factor in all three is sanctions and subversion by foreign governments, I don't think communism as such is a factor in the state North Korea finds itself today. Picking extremes like this as a way of discussing the pros and cons of life in the Soviet Union, or equating communism in the Soviet Union with one side of a country (Korea) locked into an ongoing civil war for sixty years, doesn't take us very far.


I can't speak intelligently about Burma, but in the case of North Korea, I think you're reversing the causality. The sanctions are in place as a result of the regime's behavior, not the other way around.
"I guess the winter makes you laugh a little slower
Makes you talk a little lower
About the things you could not show her."

-- Counting Crows, "A Long December"
User avatar
Brian
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1913
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:02 pm

PreviousNext

Return to 24's History Chamber

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron