Commercial news reporters and pundits have lately made a great to-do about the 50th anniversary of Nikita Khrushchev’s famous “secret” speech denouncing Stalin’s leadership in the old Soviet Union. They credit the speech with beginning a process that eventually ended with the downfall of the entire socialist structure of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.
They may or may not have been right, and Khrushchev’s denunciations may or not have been right, but a much larger and more dangerous truth has been revealed in these 50 years. Stalin claimed (for that matter, so did Khrushchev) and progressives the world over claimed that imperialism, not socialism, was the greatest threat to world peace and prosperity.
Capitalism blamed socialism, the Soviet Union, Stalin and, later, Khrushchev.
Who was right? After the communist “threat” imploded, did world peace come? Were people no longer bombed and napalmed? Were the great land grabs of the previous 300 years finished? Were people no longer driven into poverty?
Or did capitalism continue doing what it had done since it became the dominant economic form on Earth? Did it continue grabbing up other peoples’ resources? Did it go on driving down the wages and benefits of American workers as well as those in other countries? Did it invent new “enemies” when it needed them to cover its aggressions and excuse its atrocities?
Did torture end? How about the destruction of the world environment? What about destroying the schools and opposing new scientific knowledge? How about the threat of nuclear holocaust? Was the “Cold War” the last war, or did war continue?
Jim Lane (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a labor activist in North Texas.