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State Socialism After Stalin. The Logic of Post-Stalinism The Timeline The Command Economy The Politics of State Socialism.

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Presentation on theme: "State Socialism After Stalin. The Logic of Post-Stalinism The Timeline The Command Economy The Politics of State Socialism."— Presentation transcript:

1 State Socialism After Stalin

2 The Logic of Post-Stalinism The Timeline The Command Economy The Politics of State Socialism

3 The Logic of Post-Stalinism

4 Stalinism was unviable --Extreme degree of state control over society – hard to maintain, permanent emergency rule --War was no longer on the horizon; capitalism was stabilizing: the challenges of peace and prosperity --Communist elites needed more normal, stable regimes in which they would be secure from challenges both from above and from below Changes were inevitable: they were in the interests both of the rulers and of the ruled BUT: Stalinist features at the foundation of communist power --Bureaucracy reigns as the New Class; no interest in sharing power --One-party systems --Control of information --Mechanisms of repression (security services, the military)

5 From the death of Stalin to the collapse of communism: In each communist country: attempts to develop viable political-economic systems which would: --secure the dominance of communist elites, and --make state socialism attractive – or at least acceptable - to the masses Return to the past was impossible Options for the future: --National Stalinism (Albania, Romania, China) --Reform socialism --Liberal capitalism

6 National Stalinism would simply prolong the agony. Reform socialism required a strong commitment to democracy from the ruling elites. They needed to take big risks with democratization But the fear of losing power prevented them from taking such risks Or, when some of them would venture risky democratic strategies, Soviet hardliners would intervene (Hungary, 1956, Moscow, 1964, Czechoslovakia, 1968, Poland, 1981, Moscow, 1991) Ultimately (in 1989-91), the elites opted for capitalism

7 The Timeline The Thaw: 1953-1964 The Conservative Era: 1964-1985 Reforms and Collapse: 1985-1991

8 1953-1964: THE THAW 1953: Stalin’s death, first moves towards liberalization in USSR and Eastern Europe 1956:  The rise of Nikita Khrushchev  The 20 th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party: Khrushchev’s secret speech denounces Stalin  Upheaval in Poland  The Hungarian revolution and its suppression 1957: Stalinists attempt to overthrow Khrushchev 1961: Khrushchev renews his anti-Stalinist campaign; new Party programme promises the beginning of full communism within 20 years 1962: The Cuban missile crisis. The Novocherkassk massacre 1964: Khrushchev is deposed by conservatives

9 1964-1985: THE CONSERVATIVE ERA 1964: Leonid Brezhnev becomes the head of the Soviet Communist Party 1965:  Limited market reforms announced in USSR  First public trials of dissidents 1966: Hungary introduces New Economic Mechanism 1968:  Protests and repression in Poland  The Prague Spring and its suppression 1969: The Sino-Soviet military conflict 1970: In Poland, worker protests lead to the fall of Gomulka 1971-72: The start of détente between the USSR and the West 1979: Détente is over; the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan 1980-81: The rise of Polish Solidarity; martial law is imposed 1982: Brezhnev’s death and the succession crisis 1985: Mikhail Gorbachev becomes General Secretary


11 The Command Economy Please see the following links: PLANNED ECONOMY FACTS AND INFORMATION Modern Corporation PLANNED ECONOMY FACTS AND INFORMATION Modern Corporation

12 The Politics of State Socialism

13 Basic methods of social control* authority (the power of command) exchange (the power of deal) persuasion (the power of idea) moral codes (the power of belief) Each political-economic system relies on a specific combination of these methods Under state socialism, the power of command dwarfed all other methods  The command economy and one-party rule reinforced each other  Extreme centralization of economic and political power  Fear of exchange – the specter of capitalist restoration  Inefficiency and social discontent * See Charles Lindblom, Politics and Markets, Basic Books, 1976

14 The Communist Party under state socialism The system’s core The principle of hierarchy (“democratic centralism”) The Party leadership controls all mechanisms of the state, including economic management Assuring the mass base through Party membership Control of information (little or no media freedom, heavy use of propaganda, control of the cultural sphere) The key role of security organs  Cannot be used against Party leadership  Use of force only under extreme circumstances  Manipulation of political processes  Surveillance, informer networks  Preventive measures against dissent

15 The Soviet society: new classes, new expectations, new relations and structures The ruling class (NOMENKLATURA)  Ambivalent social status: the question of ownership  Does not need a dictator – WHY?  Increasingly confident of its power and right to rule  Big, diverse, interested in decentralization – WHY?  Reformers, Stalinists, pragmatic conservatives

16 A new society Increasingly urbanized Rapidly growing educational levels Class struggle is declared over Raised in the spirit of democratic expectations (even if within the limits of official ideology) Demanding higher living standards Women, youth, intellectuals: new social demands Development of nationalist sentiments Citizens losing fear of the state

17 The essence of the reform process States and societies created by the communists enter into a process of complex interactions: --between the rulers and the ruled --between different social groups --between internal and external forces Both conflicts and accomodation Challenges to political leaders Open-ended outcomes Successes and failures

18 The main components of the reform process – addressing the system’s flaws DECENTRALIZATION LIBERALIZATION MARKETIZATION DEMILITARIZATION OPENING TO THE WORLD The outcome depended on many factors – both internal and external State socialism had to prove its viability under conditions of peace

19 Decentralization Achieving rational distribution of power between different levels of communist state structure Within the USSR:  More power to national republics Within the Soviet bloc:  Loosening of Soviet control over Eastern Europe Limits:  Fear of loss of control  Requires liberalization  The dynamics of nationalism

20 Liberalization Reducing state domination over society New society expects the state to be democratic – serving the people (influence of ideology – both communist and Western) The international environment fosters those expectations No mass repressions; lesser role for security organs Relaxation of controls over cultural life Development of pluralism within the ruling party How far could communists go down this road?

21 Marketization Restoration of elements of market systems Considerations of economic efficiency Growing consumer demands Interests of managers, entrepreneurs Problems: Does the revival of market forces make restoration of capitalism inevitable? What do the people want – capitalism or socialism? ALTERNATIVE MODEL – MARKET SOCIALISM

22 Demilitarization Reducing the burden of military expenditures Dismantling the “battle order” (partial) War is not inevitable Counterfactors: Power of the military-industrial complex The international environment (competition with the West, upheavals in the Third World) Persistence of militarized thinking

23 Opening to the World Wider participation in the global economy Peaceful coexistence with capitalism Arms control and disarmament Wider cultural and human contacts with foreign countries Counterfactors: Moscow feared loss of control over Eastern Europe Dangers of ideological “contamination” International advocacy of human rights challenged communist rulers

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