What are the CPUSA’s views on the USSR?

The subject of the USSR is a complex one. There was certainly an insufficiently developed democracy, but to dismiss over 70 years of their history developing socialism as completely undemocratic is a gross oversimplification. They practiced forms of economic democracy and worker involvement unknown in this country. They offered citizens many essential benefits that the drive to capitalism has destroyed.

When the “solution” is worse than the problem, it is not a solution. Capitalism has made life for the vast majority in the former Soviet Union and other former socialist countries much worse. All indicators of social health are deteriorating, such as the sharp rise in infant mortality, the decrease in longevity rates, levels of malnutrition and starvation, decreasing health care for most of the population, inadequate and overwhelmed social security and welfare programs. The problems they faced would have had a better chance of being solved by more socialism, not less!

I recommend six books to help deepen your knowledge of the accomplishments and shortcomings of the Soviet Union:

Heroic Struggle, Bitter Defeat by Bhaman Azad from International Publishers, 2000,

Blackshirts and Reds by Michael Parenti from City Light Publishers.

These are both valuable contributions to the discussion of what happened in the Soviet Union, why, and how that connects to the history of Soviet policies.

About issues of human rights and socialist development in the Soviet Union, see Human Rights in the Soviet Union by Albert Szymanski, Zed Books, 1984.

An earlier book of his, Is the Red Flag Still Flying, included an afterward that is a (very incomplete) start at an historical materialist analysis of Stalin’s role. (Symanski was an economist and a Maoist who set out to prove the Maoist thesis of “capitalist restoration” in the Soviet Union, but on examining the statistics and realities, came to the conclusion that the Maoists were wrong, that the Soviet Union was still primarily run in the interests of the working class. He used statistics and facts as reported by right-wing academicians, arguing that facts as reported by anti-communists could be used to prove progressive points with greater believability by anti-communist readers.)

Soviet Women ( Ramparts Press, 1975) and Soviet But Not Russian (Ramparts Press, 1985) by William Mandel and The Siberians by Farley Mowat are useful responses to the barrage of anti-communism directed at the Soviet Union and other socialist countries. (Note that for writing this particular book, Farley Mowat was barred from entering the United States in the 1980s! He wrote a short funny book about his experiences. The U. S. State Department finally backed down, at which time Mowat refused to enter! Other world-famous authors have been refused entry into the U.S. as “undesirable aliens,” including Nobel Literature Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez.)