The End of the Beginning
Lessons of the Soviet collapse
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) – a workers' and peasants'
state – lasted a mere seventy years. It has been gone for a quarter of a
Existing socialist states face many of the same external pressures that
the Soviet Union faced; future socialist states will too. In addition to
interference from the imperialist world, the socialist experiments thus
far have faced a number of internal problems: how to maintain economic
growth in the face of constantly changing needs and expectations; how
to maintain revolutionary momentum through the second, third and
fourth generations of the revolution; how to balance a revolutionary
internationalist foreign policy with the need to maintain peaceful
coexistence with the capitalist world; how to avoid economic and diplomatic
isolation and to take advantage of the latest global developments in science
In trying to locate solutions to such problems, the details of the Soviet
collapse constitute some of the most important historical data we have
available. The more our movement can learn about the Soviet experience,
the better prepared we will be to prevent historic reverses and defeats
in future, and the better equipped we will be to develop a compelling,
convincing vision of socialism that is relevant in the here and now.
Carlos Martinez goes back to the legacy of the USSR, traces the lessons to
be learned from this crucial socialist experiment and provides a challenging
narrative of its collapse.