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What were the Soviet Union's flaws?

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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Resident Soviet
Post 12 Dec 2007, 08:20
NumberUnknown:

Quote:
I mean, back to reality, when a government owns the means of production directly, since when did the profits become evenly split? There's been discrepencies in income for Soviet citizens. Why?


I have found that many people raised in the Western tradition have trouble comprehending the concept of 'the state' in a socialist country as anything other than some sinister plot by a small group of individuals to lord over and control the people and the means of production. In the USSR, the ideal conception was that the state was made up of a group of public servants obligated to serve the public, as a vanguard of the workers. Now of course the reality didn't match up precisely with the ideal, not in the late period and not in the Lenin/Stalin period, but that doesn't mean that the top bureaucrats or Party leadership in the Soviet system could be compared on an institutional level to the elites of western capitalist countries.

Discrepencies in income were based on the conception that in the socialist transition period, the quick equalization of income was an impossibility in light of existing social relations.

Quote:
Who watched the watchers? How many times were there public movements to impeach their leaders, or bureaucrats, or politicians? I think my point is what was the check and balance on a government that had no competition?


Politically active individuals within society would be able to work through the Party to check the top leadership and maintain the public interest. This was also done through various organizations, most prominently among them the various unions for all different kinds of workers. I must agree that the checks which existed weren't sufficient, as evidenced by the Gorbachev period and the Party's failure to stop his revisionist and destructive efforts (although I already discussed this institutional problem in my first post in this thread).
"The thing about capitalism is that it sounds awful on paper and is horrendous in practice. Communism sounds wonderful on paper and when it was put into practice it was done pretty well for what they had to work with." -MiG
Soviet cogitations: 3448
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 26 Jun 2006, 15:59
Ideology: Other Leftist
Party Bureaucrat
Post 12 Dec 2007, 20:32
The flaws of the soviet union can largely be traced to stagnation in the central bureaucracy which held to much power unchecked. I feel encouraging participatory democracy by allowing the Soviets to hold onto more powers wiould fight political apathy and combat the potential damage of corruption. I also feel a system of allowing public oversight of government, allowing individuals to check their governments activity on a voluntary or jury-duty-like basis (subject to court rulings on "sensitive" information, ofcourse) to help expose corruption or inefficiency, would be an improvement on a simple vote-and-forget style representative government.

Quote:
Since when was Anarchism the only stateless ideology? Communism is classless, stateless society based on common ownership of the means of production. Moreover, Lenin did not advocate the socialist state; try reading The State and Revolution... it's quite critical, bro. And it uses the words of Marx and Engels both, and I daresay this proves that Marxism entails no State and nor does Lenin's extension.


Marxist-Leninists certainly seek the destruction of the Bourgeoisand Feudal states, and our objective is a stateless society... eventually. Both Lenin and Marx, however, recognised the need for the proletariat to build a state of their own with which to smash the bourgeois. The state is simply the means by which a class exercises political power over its enemies in orderr to enforce and improve its economic dictatorship.

I also advise rereading The State and Revolution, as it appears you misinterprited some rather important parts. I'll link to the most obvious one:
http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1917/staterev/ch01.htm#s4
The moment one accepts the notion of 'totalitarianism', one is firmly locked within the liberal-democratic horizon. - Slavoj Žižek
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 09 Dec 2007, 18:33
Pioneer
Post 12 Dec 2007, 21:54
Quote:
Marxist-Leninists certainly seek the destruction of the Bourgeoisand Feudal states, and our objective is a stateless society... eventually. Both Lenin and Marx, however, recognised the need for the proletariat to build a state of their own with which to smash the bourgeois. The state is simply the means by which a class exercises political power over its enemies in orderr to enforce and improve its economic dictatorship.


I think you have misinterpreted me entirely. Of course I believe in the Workers' State as a transition period, just as Lenin advocates in the State and Revolution, and I have never said I believed this State to be speedily abolished. The State itself is indispensable to a sucessful revolution, the bourgeoisies themselves have shown us what a great organ of "class rule" the State can be. I am in complete agreement with you.

I criticise the Soviet Union for not being a Workers' State that worked towards having no State. Instead, people such as Stalin were allowed to rule against Lenin's wishes. Perhaps I am wrong, perhaps Lenin simply died before the State could disappear, and instead of Trotsky (who I believe would lead the Soviet Union to become a true Commune) and therefore creating a permanent State.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 12 Jan 2008, 23:14
New Comrade (Say hi & be nice to me!)
Post 12 Jan 2008, 23:42
A single word, I'm afraid, can sum up the long list of flaws the Soviet Union had and that magic word is none other than: corruption. Blood-thirsty, power-hungry corruption is what fueled the inevitable fall of the Soviet Union.

I'm afraid that from the moment Stalin stepped into office and committed all the atrocities that he committed - the Holomodor, among others - the USSR was doomed to fall eventually. Any nation that has made the U.S. shake in their boots, however, is worthy of the utmost respect one can provide.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 21 Mar 2007, 14:12
Pioneer
Post 13 Jan 2008, 00:42
As already mentioned- fascism.
Yes some of the economic policies were vaguely socialist (poorly implimented) but at its core under Stalin at least it was a fascist state.
After him....yeah it was better. But just insofar as Portugal was better then nazi germany.
"I'm not a fascist I'm a priest, fascists dress in black and tell people what to do while priests..."
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 12 Jan 2008, 23:14
New Comrade (Say hi & be nice to me!)
Post 13 Jan 2008, 00:45
The state would have been as if not more fascist under Lenin had he lived to the same age Stalin has. Lenin was as much of a murderer as Stalin - he was no better - but what distinguished them from each other was that one was a wise man and the other a paranoid lunatic gone a muck. A lot of things that occurred under Stalin's tyranny would have occurred regardless had Lenin lived. I'm a bit regretful to say this but the Soviet Union would have evolved a bit more stably under Trotsky; to the point that it'd probably still be around.

If there's one thing I know, it's to never mess with mother
nature, mother-in-laws and mother freaking Ukrainians.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Jun 2005, 23:39
Politburo
Post 13 Jan 2008, 02:21
Quote:
I'm a bit regretful to say this but the Soviet Union would have evolved a bit more stably under Trotsky; to the point that it'd probably still be around.

What is this based on?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 12 Jan 2008, 23:14
New Comrade (Say hi & be nice to me!)
Post 13 Jan 2008, 03:00
I am basing my allegations on the fact that Lenin's Testament stated that Trotsky would be the one to usurp the power and become the leader of the USSR. He was, in fact, the most popular Bolshevik at the time; Stalin sabotaged his ascendancy to the throne, he wasn't a popular man and we all know he was quite a bit coo-coo in the head.

It is my belief that if things had gone along as Lenin had planned, the pieces played by Trotsky would've set a much stronger foundation for future generations of Soviet leaders. Unlike Stalin, Trotsky was not a corrupt bastard and was (almost) completely sane. He had his wits about him but it was relatively impossible for a Jew to take the power without a bit of elbow grease, regardless of Lenin's will.

If there's one thing I know, it's to never mess with mother
nature, mother-in-laws and mother freaking Ukrainians.
Soviet cogitations: 6887
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Nov 2007, 08:37
Unperson
Post 13 Jan 2008, 04:03
Stalin didn't kill nearly as many people as he is attributed.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 19 Mar 2005, 20:08
Embalmed
Post 13 Jan 2008, 04:18
Uh-oh. It begins.
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"Bleh, i don't even know what i'm arguing for. What a stupid rant. Disregard what i wrote." - Loz
"Every time is gyros time" - Stalinista
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 18 Sep 2004, 16:21
Politburo
Post 13 Jan 2008, 04:22
Quote:
I am basing my allegations on the fact that Lenin's Testament stated that Trotsky would be the one to usurp the power and become the leader of the USSR.

I don't suppose you can quote the exact passage in which Lenin predicted this, can you? No, I didn't think so.


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He was, in fact, the most popular Bolshevik at the time;

False. That was Bukharin; Lenin described him as "the darling of the Party".

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Stalin sabotaged his ascendancy to the throne,

"Ascendancy to the throne"? Are you serious? Do you think Lenin was bequeathing the Soviet Union to his favourite courtier like some feudal Tsar?


Quote:
he wasn't a popular man and we all know he was quite a bit coo-coo in the head.

Thank you for your psychiatric diagnosis, Professor Ukrainian Trident.


Quote:
It is my belief that if things had gone along as Lenin had planned, the pieces played by Trotsky would've set a much stronger foundation for future generations of Soviet leaders.

How, precisely? Stalin in the 1930s was following almost exactly the same policies which Trotsky was proposing back in the 1920s. In a very real sense, 'Stalinism' is 'Trotskyism'. What policies would Trotsky have pursued in the 1930s different from Stalin's policies?

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Unlike Stalin, Trotsky was not a corrupt bastard and was (almost) completely sane.

Stalin was hardly corrupt; when he died, they found twenty years' worth of uncashed salary cheques in his desk. And what evidence do you have that Stalin was insane?

Quote:
He had his wits about him but it was relatively impossible for a Jew to take the power without a bit of elbow grease, regardless of Lenin's will.

The Bolsheviks were not noticeably anti-Semitic; in fact,. many of the leading Bolsheviks in the 1920s and 1930s were Jewish. Kaganovich, one of Stalin's closest allies up to Stalin's death, was Jewish. Molotov's wife was Jewish. What are you talking about? And what do you mean by "elbow grease"? Bribes? Intimidation? Mutual masturbation?
"Comrade Lenin left us a great legacy, and we fucкed it up." - Josef Stalin
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Soviet cogitations: 3448
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 26 Jun 2006, 15:59
Ideology: Other Leftist
Party Bureaucrat
Post 13 Jan 2008, 14:10
Quote:
I am basing my allegations on the fact that Lenin's Testament stated that Trotsky would be the one to usurp the power and become the leader of the USSR.


False, many of trotsky's supporters have often claimed this but no where in the "testament" does Lenin state Trotsky should be appointed General-Secretary. He gives an appraisal of both men, states that the inevitable conflict between them could cause a split, and recomends the CC remove Stalin from the post of General Secretary. Putting Trotsky in his place wouldn't seem to decrease the chance of a split, infact that kind of shake up could have dramaticly increased the chances, which was not Lenin's intention.

Quote:
He was, in fact, the most popular Bolshevik at the time;


Completly untrue, while he was certainly one of the most skilled Bolshevik leaders of the time he was never popular with the rest of the party, many of whome still viewed him as an outsider.

Quote:
Stalin sabotaged his ascendancy to the throne,


This isn't a monarchy, its not Lenin's decision who ultimaly succeeds him. Its also worth pointing out that Stalin already held the highest post in the party while Lenin was alive, so he didn't "sabotage" anything of the sort. And once again, there's no evidence that Lenin wanted Trotsky to become GS, he seemed to advocate a more neutral candidate be found.

Quote:
he wasn't a popular man and we all know he was quite a bit coo-coo in the head.


He was never particuarly unpopular within the party cadre, and I don't think you're qualified to give a psychiatric assessment.

Quote:
It is my belief that if things had gone along as Lenin had planned, the pieces played by Trotsky would've set a much stronger foundation for future generations of Soviet leaders.


Again, you've misinterpreted Lenin's testament, or at the very least made a large assumption based on it. Economicly Trotsky didn't really advocate anything different from Stalin, Trotsky's opposition seemed to more focus on Stalin's political style than anything else. His critisism of the M-R pact also gives rise to the question of whether the Soviet Union would have even survived the war.

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Unlike Stalin, Trotsky was not a corrupt bastard and was (almost) completely sane.[/quote

Again, you're in no position to make such an assesment.

Quote:
He had his wits about him but it was relatively impossible for a Jew to take the power without a bit of elbow grease, regardless of Lenin's will.


So are we to believe now that Stalin usurped Trotsky's throne and that the reason Trotsky wasn't elected GS was because of racism within the CC (a number of whome had Jewish ancestory)?

Your starting to sound like an irrational conspiracy theorist, who was read some very childish properganda about the SU and Stalin, taken it as unquestional fact and then discovered the Trotsky alternative, and has assumed that all the facts must support comrade Trotsky's great plans.
The moment one accepts the notion of 'totalitarianism', one is firmly locked within the liberal-democratic horizon. - Slavoj Žižek
Soviet cogitations: 6887
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Nov 2007, 08:37
Unperson
Post 13 Jan 2008, 18:51
Trotsky advocated an immediate spread of the revolution to other countries, while Stalin wanted to build socialism in a single given country. I usually saw that as the primary difference.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 18 Sep 2004, 16:21
Politburo
Post 13 Jan 2008, 18:57
Quote:
Trotsky advocated an immediate spread of the revolution to other countries, while Stalin wanted to build socialism in a single given country. I usually saw that as the primary difference.

Precisely. This is why when Stalin won the power struggle and Trotsky was exiled, most bourgeois newspapers in the West actually expressed relief that the 'moderate' Stalin had won over the 'extremist' Trotsky. The fact that this view has reversed itself is an intriguing quirk of history....
"Comrade Lenin left us a great legacy, and we fucкed it up." - Josef Stalin
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 21 Oct 2004, 21:15
Party Member
Post 13 Jan 2008, 21:20
I believe when Ukrainian Trident was referring to Trotsky as the most popular Bolshevik, he meant mass popularity, not within the Party. That very well may be true, as Trotsky was a major figure in the Soviets themselves, not just a Party member.

Potemkin wrote:
This is why when Stalin won the power struggle and Trotsky was exiled, most bourgeois newspapers in the West actually expressed relief that the 'moderate' Stalin had won over the 'extremist' Trotsky. The fact that this view has reversed itself is an intriguing quirk of history....
That's very interesting - and quite ironic. Silly bourgeois just can't make up their mind
"Shake your chains to earth, like dew / Which in sleep had fall'n on you: / YE ARE MANY-THEY ARE FEW." - Percy Bysshe Shelley, 'The Masque of Anarchy'
Soviet cogitations: 6887
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Nov 2007, 08:37
Unperson
Post 13 Jan 2008, 22:59
It was a stupid idea and would have led to the collapse of the country. The Soviet Union almost collapsed in the early 20s after losing the war with Poland, then the Baltic rebellion, Central Asia still out of control, and the Far East still at risk. An attempt to continue revolutionary expansion would have been disasterous.

The only possibility for this to have worked would have been to place Frunze in charge of the Western Front war with Poland, instead of Tukhachevsky. A major victory in Poland would have kept the internal situation far more stable, and given a border with impoverished and destabilized Germany which was a powderkeg of it's own.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 29 Apr 2008, 01:32
Pioneer
Post 14 Jun 2008, 09:30
I like multi-party Worker Democracy. Several communist parties.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 29 Nov 2004, 20:06
Party Bureaucrat
Post 14 Jun 2008, 12:06
1. Not enough ideological work towards the masses.
2. Revisionism.

I believe both strongly lent a hand in the fall of the Soviet Union.
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Soviet cogitations: 6887
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Nov 2007, 08:37
Unperson
Post 15 Jun 2008, 09:33
How about military overspending?
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Soviet cogitations: 2870
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Nov 2005, 17:55
Party Bureaucrat
Post 15 Jun 2008, 12:21
Aisde from soviet78's comments about too much power concentrated in hands on the General Secretary, another unfortunate flaw was the Soviet Union's adoption of superpower responsibilities at the expense of building socialism. After WWII, the USSR did support some international revolutions, but on many occasions, its geopolitical positioning made its policy stagnant and its bureaucracy increasingly conservative. In the 1970s and 1980s, it was often Cuba that drove the revolutionary agenda (in Latin America and Africa) and dragged the USSR along.

Of course, the superpower politics also led to military overspending, as excessive nuclear stockpiling somehow became a priority and a matter of global balance of power.
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