ABSTRACT THECOLLAPSE OF THE SOVIET UNION AND THE STRUGGLE FOR THE REVIVAL OF SOCIALISM by Charles Onunaiju, director , Center for China Studies, Abuja, Nigeria.

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ABSTRACT THECOLLAPSE OF THE SOVIET UNION AND THE STRUGGLE FOR THE REVIVAL OF SOCIALISM by Charles Onunaiju, director , Center for China Studies, Abuja, Nigeria.

Objectively, imperialist militarism and hegemonism have run into troubled waters and its darkest counterpart, extremist Islamism, different in all respects from mainstream Islamic revivalism, is a throwback to primitive atavism. The claims of imperialism as custodian of universal values to which all mankind must key into, strikes a resemblance to extremist Islamism, that all mankind must subsume to authoritarian and totalitarian caliphate system, from where all political and moral values must emanate.

The conquest mind set of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant ISIL or Daesh and the regime change mantra of western imperialist capitalism, share a common world view of militaristic and hegemonic domination as a strategy to bring the world under control.

The collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic or the USSR, world’s first proletarian state, presented opportunity to imperialism and extremist Islamism the ideological scope to peddle their revisionist blue print that the world is overripe for a harvest of their political domination. The reality they are encountering in the resistance of workers and other toiling masses of the various nations, including the advanced capitalist nations strategically reinforces socialism as a force for critical moderation of the excesses of religious and secular extremism. The collapse of the Soviet Union was immensely significant.

President VladimirPutin of Russian Federation, one of the successor states of the former USSR called the collapse, the “greatest geo-political catastrophe of the twenty-first century”. But actually the collapse is in more respects more than geo-political catastrophe”.

The size of the debacle gave rise to extravagant claims by the political right. For these assortment of capitalist ideologues, nationalist irredentists and neo fascists, the collapse meant the cold war was over and capitalism has won. It signified “the end of history and that henceforth, capitalism would represent the highest form, the culmination of economic and political evolution.

However, for most people sympathetic with the Soviet Union project, the right wing triumphalism was premature and not ideologically valid. For them, according to two American scholars “the Soviet collapse had momentous implications but did not alter the usefulness of Marxism for understanding a world that more than ever was shaped by class conflict and the struggles of oppressed people against corporate power, nor did it shake the values and commitment of those on the side of workers, Unions, minorities, national liberation, peace, women and environment”.¹Continuing both scholars argued that “what had happened to socialism in regards to the former Soviet Union, represented both a theoretical challenge to Marxism and a practical challenge to the future prospects of anti-capitalist struggles and socialism”.²In spite of its many problems and beyond the fact, that Soviet socialism did not constitute the only conceivable socialist order, the loss of the Soviet Union was both colossal and staggering, to especially many who believe that a better world beyond capitalist exploitation, inequality, greed, poverty, ignorance and injustice is possible. Apart from been the embodiment of a new social order at the turn of the 20rh century and also inspiring anti-imperialist struggles leading to national liberations and social revolutions across the world, the Soviet state achieved an unprecedented level of equality, security, health care, housing, education, employment and culture for all of its citizens, in particular for the working people of factory and farm. In fifty years, the defunct Soviet Union moved from an industrial production that was only 12% of that of America to industrial production that was 80% and an agricultural output 85% of the US.

Even though Soviet per capital consumption was lower than in the US, no society at that time had ever increased living standards and consumption so rapidly in such a short period of time for all its people. Only under the banner of constructing socialism with Chinese characteristics with the leadership of the Communist Party of China, is similar feat, been achieved in contemporary times, with massive and qualitative improvement in Peoples living conditions been realized in the shortest time in history.

In the world context, the demise of the Soviet Union also meant an incalculable loss. It meant a considerable fracture of the anti-colonial and anti imperialist camp and dimmed the prospect of a model of how newly freed nations could harmonize different ethnic constituents and develop themselves without mortgaging their future to the United States or Western Europe.

Despite the collapse of the Soviet Union, the theoretical vigor and ideological resilience of the Marxism- Leninism, found a powerful expression and renewal in the creative and innovative acumen of the Communist Party of China, which ingeniously integrated its universal values to the specific conditions of China. The profound theoretical insight of the Communist Party of China culminated in the crystallization of a socialist modernization in the broad frame work of integrating the objective conditions as it exists in general terms and the context of specific possibilities. The Chinese Communist Party re-energize Marxism -Leninism, extending its frontiers beyond mere regime ideology, but a veritable scientific tool to apprehend and unravel the most complex social issues  in over whelming favor of the working people. Under the theoretical resourcefulness of the Chinese Communist Party, socialism has regained its superior ground, as the system of social and political organizations whose core values is dedicated to the greatest happiness of the greatest number of humanity.

 

In the immediate aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union, a triumphalist interpretation that Russia has a entered a path of democratic transformation and was reborn as a vibrant market economy turn into a sick joke, only within ten years. A United Nations report in 1998 said, “No region in the world had suffered such reversal in the 1990’s as have the country of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

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People living in poverty have increased by over one hundred and fifty million, a figure greater than the total combined population of France, UK, Netherlands and Scandinavia. The national income declined dramatically in the face of the most rampant inflation witnessed anywhere in the world.3 In his book, The Failed Crusade, Professor Stephen F. Cohen distinguished author of the magisterial biography of the key Bolshevik theoretician Nikolai Bukharin, argued that by 1998, the Soviet economy dominated by gangsters and foreigners was barely half the size it was in the early 90’s. Meat and dairy herds were a fourth of their size and wages were less than half.

Typhus, typhoid, Cholera and other diseases have reach epidemic proportions. Millions of children suffered malnutrition. Male life expectancy plunged to 60 years, what it was at the end of the 19thCentury. In Professor Cohen words, the nation’s economic and social disintegration has been so great that it has lead to the unprecedented demonization of a twentieth Century Country. Contemporary and 21st Century Africa, even with the paraphernalia of modern Statehood fit in more appropriately to the chaos of immediate post Soviet Russia, with the full compliments of human misery. The crisis and tragedy of Africa today is primarily due to adoption of a course of development which is neither indigenous capitalism nor scientific socialism.

According to one of Africa leading Socialist thinkers, Abdurrahman Babu, “the chosen doctrine is a hybrid animal, like a mule, a mixture of two social systems conceived by the subjective fantasies of those in power. Like the mule, this Africa hybrid has no historical role. It has neither a past or a future of its own. The poor masses of Africa are paying a heavy toll for maintaining this illegitimate, ahistorical beast”.5In the same vein, Professor Babu narrated that “Even in China, attempts were made before the revolution to proscribe Scientific Socialism as represented by the Chinese Communist Party, by declaring it an alien ideology unfitted to the Chinese situation. In January, 1939, the Kuomintang central executive, at the instigation of local feudalistic and British and America imperialism, adopted secret policies known as “measures for restricting the activities of alien parties”. However, according to Professor Babu, “the alien ideology was by then too much a part of the Chinese struggles to be affected by such futile and silly measures. No wonder, China today is making giant strides toward freedom’’.6 And these lines were written in 1981 as China was barely trying to launch its phenomenal reforms.

 

 

 

 

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