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Issue #1927      August 10, 2020

Soviet history shows socialism is the only path to peace, progress

This article originally appeared in Tribune November, 1949.

Thirty-two years isn’t long for a new social order to show what it can do, but it has been long enough for the Soviet Union to demonstrate that she has all the answers which workers in capitalist countries are seeking.

Not all the time has been available to the builders of the new Socialist order to demonstrate its potentialities in peaceful construction.

Only in the past four if its thirty-two years of existence has the world’s first Socialist State been free from war itself and from the imminent threat of war.

And yet it has been able to demonstrate that Socialism will free humanity from the afflictions that workers have never avoided under capitalism.

Splendid future

It can lead humanity forward to a richer and more splendid future than the capitalist world dares to dream of.

Figures published by the Soviet Central Statistical Board reveal once again what the capitalist press of all lands is desperately anxious to conceal – the rapid rate of growth in Soviet industry from month to month, from quarter to quarter.

As a Soviet writer puts it:

“The annual volume of industrial production in the USSR is expressed in hundreds of billions of rubles and a very additional per cent stands for thousands of tons of coal, tens of millions of metres of fabrics, hundreds of complicated machine tools.

“An increase of one per cent requires tremendous effort.

“All the more remarkable, then, is the fact that in nine months of 1949, industrial output rose by twenty per cent, as compared with the corresponding period of 1948.

“This is not a chance phenomenon. Statistical data for all the post-war years shows that the annual pace of growth was never below eighteen per cent.

“Such a pace has no parallel in the history of industrial development in the capitalist world. It is only possible in the Land of Socialism, where private ownership of the means of production does not exist and national economy is developed on the basis of a unified socialist plan.”

Socialism has beaten Capitalism at its own game. All that has induced most people in the past 100 years to accept capitalism was that it developed production at a hitherto unprecedented pace.

Now the Soviet system has shown that even the marvels of capitalist production at its fastest can be surpassed by Socialism.

Staggering output

The figures show that Soviet industry is growing at the rate of twenty-five per cent a year. Every four years the total output is being doubled. Not even boom-time America, with the Fords, Carnegies, and Rockefellers in their villainous heyday, could show such results.

But that isn’t all. As the Soviet writer says, Soviet expansion has been steady, without pauses or breaks, and certainly without catastrophes. It will continue that way.

Amazing at any period, Soviet post-war production gains added significance from the chaos of the surrounding capitalist world.

Socialist economy rears its mighty structure next door to the graveyard of Marshallised Europe.

War-devastated Russia had already surpassed by twenty-six per cent the pre-war production figures by September, 1948. Not one Western European country had yet recovered its pre-war level. American threats have devalued the pound sterling, striking at the financial foundations of half the capitalist world.

Gloom in USA

Unemployment has doubled in Western Europe in the first six months of 1949 – the triumph of Socialist economy is striking home with increasing force on 3,000,000 unemployed Italians, nearly 500,000 Britons, 1,500,000 western Germans, hundreds of thousands of Belgians and Frenchmen.

America has done this to her satellites without solving her own problem. The Journal of Commerce admits that industrial output in USA dropped by at least twenty-three per cent in the past twelve months.

The American outlook as summed up by the London Daily Mail’s New York correspondent:

“There’s gloomy talk of 10,000,000 unemployed by Christmas; of the worst economic paralysis since the great depression. Rainbow Land is grey with anxiety and American output will drop this month to the lowest level for the last three and a half years [...]”

The workers’ job under Socialism isn’t merely secure; it is increasingly pleasant. Soviet advances in the quality of industrial technique have been as impressive as qualitative output.

Picks and shovels have given way to machinery; good machinery to better. And now the era of “automatisation” – the use of self-regulating machinery which can perform a large variety of intricate operations without human intervention signalises man’s mastery or what, under capitalism, is his enemy and taskmaster – the machine.

A “living appendage of machine” – nobody has ever bettered Marx’s description of the degraded position of the worker under capitalism. But, under Soviet Socialism, machinery is the friend and servant of man.

In a famous speech Stalin pointed out that alone among revolutions the Soviet revolution not only smashed the fetters of capitalism and brought the people freedom “but also succeeded in creating the material conditions of a prosperous life for the people. Therein lies the strength and invincibility of our Revolution.”

If the Revolution was invincible then (1935) what is it today when the people are not only assured of necessities but of what most capitalist workers have to call luxuries?

(In the third quarter of 1949, eighteen per cent more consumers’ goods were sold than in the corresponding quarter of 1948. The people were able to buy ten per cent more radio sets, fifty-seven per cent more gramophones, 100 per cent more watches).

Pay up, prices down

They buy the goods because they have the money and because prices are low. Real wages doubled in 1948 alone – the result of steadily increasing wage-rises, and several successive all-round price-reductions of thirty per cent or more.

Capitalist builders have reached the point where they openly admit they can’t build houses for the workers because workers can’t pay “economic” rents.

They have resigned this sphere to capitalist governments whose “housing programs” are bitter farces to broken families and young married couples living in frustrated separation.

To them the message of this Soviet anniversary is that the land which has abolished capitalism was able to produce 1,600,000 dwellings (at the rate of one a minute) between 1946 and 1948 and the rate is still increasing. Variety and elegance of the new homes doesn’t suffer, but even improves, with the increasing output. Rents are not more than five per cent of incomes.

There are two hundred million Russians who would be only too pleased to answer the heart-broken plea of NSW Health Minister Kelly for someone to tell him how he can build some more hospitals.

Kelly might not care for the solution but twenty years after the overthrow of capitalism (and capitalist politicians) in Russia there were nearly seven times as many doctors as before, with corresponding increases in hospital accommodation.

Soviet workers didn’t have to battle with a capitalist High Court to get free medicine. That has been theirs since the Revolution, together with completely free health and dental services and other concessions which add at least thirty-eight per cent to the money value of the average income.

Socialism, said Engels, is mankind’s leap forward from the realm of necessity into the realm of freedom. Seeing the use the Russians have made of their freedom it isn’t surprising that the workers of the whole of the rest of the world, with China and the People’s Democracies in the vanguard, are eagerly preparing for the same historic advance.

Next article – Australia hails victory

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