A Future for Socialism in the USSR?

Justin Schwartz

Abstract


The fate of socialism is linked to the crisis in the USSR, the first nation to profess socialism as an ideal. But as the Soviet Union prepares to drop "socialist" from its name, it is opportune to inquire whether there is a future for socialism in the USSR. Whether we think so, however, depends in part on whether we think it had a past. "Actually existing socialism" - we need a new term, perhaps "formerly existing socialism" - is not socialism as historically understood, for example, by Marx, involving a democratically controlled economy and a state subordinate to society. The Soviet system is not socialist in this sense but is essentially Stalinist, both in its historical origin and its character, involving a command economy and a dictatorial state.

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