The role and contribution of the socialist system
1. The dramatic upheavals which have taken place during recent years were the starting point for an unprecedented anti-socialist offensive on the part of the various imperialist propaganda machines. Exploiting existing weaknesses and problems, but mainly launching a well-orchestrated propaganda smear campaign unprecedented in scope, they have always anted to take ideological and political revenge, to vitiate and nullify the enormous role and great contribution of the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries to the working people and to all mankind in their struggle for peace, progress and social emancipation. The historical truth, however, cannot be falsified. Despite the problems which may have existed in the socialist countries, the socialist system created in the 20th century attempted one of the greatest achievements of civilisation, to abolish the exploitation of man by man. It has proved its superiority to capitalism and offers great benefits to the working people's work and lives.
Socialism and capitalism cannot be compared on the basis of precisely the same criteria or outside the specific historic reality within which each one appeared and developed.
The capitalist system was nurtured in the bosom of feudalism, since the two systems were based on private ownership of the means of production, on the system of exploitation of man by man. The revolutionary forces, on the contrary, were forced to build a radically different social system as a break from the previous regime on the fundamental issue of ownership, and under conditions of capitalist encirclement. The Classics did not, could not, provide details of the building of the socialist society.
The source of accumulation for the capitalist system is capital, the exploitation of hundreds of millions of people in colonies and, beyond the cruel exploitation of their own people, the unequal treatment of migrants as well. For socialism, the basic source of accumulation is human productive force and its productivity. The criteria for comparing the two systems on the basis of consumer prototypes are also not the same. Capitalism distorts consumer criteria of quality of life, in contrast to socialism which has different priorities with respect to human needs in the modern age.
2. With the appearance and consolidation of the
contributed decisively, and on a world scale, to combating fascism, with the
historic participation of the
socialist system provided enormously important historic contributions to
eliminating hot spots of tension and war in favour of the peoples, such as: The
end of the war in
of the US-UK offensive against
3. The gains of socialism and the more general activities of the socialist system and the multiform solidarity of the socialist countries exerted a positive effect on the anti-dictatorial struggle of the Greek, Portuguese and Spanish peoples.
successive proposals, the systematic initiatives and the specific actions for
peace and disarmament which were made by the
Socialism also had a significant and multiform effect on all aspects of the capitalist system: in the economic, political and social fields. The achievements of the socialist countries forced the capitalist system to readjust and cede gains to the labour and trade union movement in the capitalist countries. These gains exerted a significant and varied positive, attracting force on working people and mass movements.
The appearance of socialism, initially in one country and then in a group of countries, and the socialisation of the basic means of production, at the same time meant securing the political and social rights and freedoms unprecedented for that time, as well as the satisfaction on a mass scale of many fundamental human rights such as the right to work, to free medical care and education, to the provision of inexpensive state services, housing and access to intellectual and cultural values.
uprooting of the terrible legacy of illiteracy and the elimination of
unemployment constitute two characteristic examples/11 In the Soviet Union,
more than 3/4 of the working people had acquired either post -secondary or full
secondary education when in the
the protection of cultural values and the monuments of culture and the historic
past were the responsibility of the
4. Socialist rule laid the foundations for abolishing the oppression of women, overcoming the enormous objective difficulties that existed. It ensured women equal rights in the economic, political and cultural realms; this does not imply that it was possible at that time to eliminate every form of inequality in relations with the opposite sex that had become entrenched over so many years of history.
The working person in the socialist countries did not suffer the anxieties and problems so familiar to the working people in the capitalist countries, both then and now, such as unemployment, the high cost of living, insecurity, employers' oppression, underestimation and contempt, and social criminality.(3)
5. The October Revolution inaugurated fraternal equality between nations and nationalities within the framework of an enormous multinational state and provided solutions to the national problem by eliminating national oppression in all its forms and manifestations. Responsibility, courage and political far-sightedness were needed to deal with one of the most difficult and complex problems of our century, based on the principle of the self-determination of nations up to and including the right to establish independent states.(4)
At the same time, the course of bringing together nationalities and minorities into a single state created the conditions necessary for every people to become conscious of their specific national identity and cultural particularity within the framework of the united socialist state, which was a natural phenomenon. Consequently, respect for these particularities has to go hand in hand with the course of unification. Otherwise, the ground is cleared for loosening or even dulling the sense of unity, particularly at moments when accumulated problems are not dealt with promptly and correctly, as was the case in the former socialist countries. At the critical moment, under conditions of general regression, ethnic features and particularities, with the proper handling by the imperialist and domestic anti-revolutionary forces, were easily converted into nationalistic and chauvinistic views, and old hostilities and discords cultivated during the pre-revolutionary years were revived, leading people and nationalities, who for the first time in their history had lived together peacefully and creatively for the previous seven decades, to civil strife and bloodshed.
6. The socialist countries made a serious effort to respond to the need for the internationalisation of life and to utilise its advantages based on the principle of proletarian internationalism in economic relations. With the establishment in 1949 of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA), a new type of international relations appeared, unknown until then, which was based on the principles of equality, reciprocal advantage and fraternal mutual assistance. Had it not been for CMEA, bilateral relations between the socialist countries would not have been able to contribute to their development. They would have been more vulnerable to the policies and economic pressures of the EEC and other imperialist countries.
CMEA paved the way for the establishment of international, sectorial economic organisations and joint ventures between the socialist countries. The more general contribution of CMEA to the development of relations between the socialist countries and the socialist system was considerable. Its member states started out at a low level of development, without the accumulated resources of the capitalist countries which had been acquired over their long histories on the basis of capitalist exploitation.
The indisputable achievements made by the socialist countries in comparison with their point of departure, but also in comparison with the lives of the working people in the capitalist world, prove that socialism has the inherent potentialities to bring about a constant improvement in people's lives and in the development of their personalities. As events have proved, these achievements are not accomplished automatically and mechanistically, but with the correct policy, at each phase and level of evolution, adopted by the communist parties and the organs of socialist rule, with the prerequisite that the people take an active part in building this new system. Mistakes and deviations, violations of principle, but also enormous difficulties due to the tough confrontation with the capitalist system, constitute factors which can slow down these processes and lead to stagnation.
Apart from and irrespective of the problems and weaknesses which appeared, objective but mainly subjective in nature, the 20th century will go down in history as the century which was marked by the first, great historic attempt by human society to throw off the bonds of capitalist exploitation of man by man and to acquire unparalleled, valuable experience so as to make the enormous leap to socialism on the way to a communist society.