Do you think the USSR was a dictatorship?

I know to a some people this question might seem incredibly retarded. "No shit it genius, of course it was a dictatorship". However, I still think to some people (obviously most likely to MLs) the USSR, wasn't a dictatorship per se, so I want to hear your opinions on this.

would be nice to have some variety, don't want just leftcoms screaming how it was worse than nazi germany, just saying

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Functionally, yes. As are the states we call democracies in the West, tbh. In both cases you have democratic organs which accomplish very little and an oligarchy behind the scenes making most of the really important decisions.

this isn't what leftcoms think you retard

The only other socialists I've heard criticize the USSR so harshly are leftcoms, not saying all are the same, but they're the only ones I've heard reacting like this


The thing is Leftcoms unironically are even more authoritarian (have you read Bordiga?!) so they try to make an argument based on dogmatism (c o m m o d i t y production), because they can't argue along the lines of muh gorillions and muh dictatorship because they advocate the same.

To answer your question, no, the USSR was not a dictatorship, although the leadership became more and more alienated from the people after Stalin as time went on. This was one of the reason why the USSR could be so undemocratically dissolved, against the will of the people. Watch this:

Depends on what you mean by dictatorship. It was an oligarchy sure, and what democratic mechanisms there were were largely impotent.

Imo this was the ultimate reason for its failure, since an undemocratic regime is a breeding ground for corruption, which is really what killed it.

I don't know. If I had to guess, it wasn't. I don't think Holla Forums is very well read, and I know /marx/ is, so since I don't have a personally backed opinion, I'll go with /marx/ on this one.

They fucked up by not giving all the power to the soviets, but its system is so different from western bullshit that it just gets labelled as a dictatorship by people who dont understand it


Trot go die

fuck off liberal

Go post on /marx/ and see how well you can hold your ground.

/marx/ is good except for when Ismail the fucking turbo-revisionist tries to argue that China is still socialist because they have 50-something % state ownership of the economy.

"Leftcom" doesn't refer to any one leftist tendency, moron.


I’ve never even lurked there, but you have to admit that the statement in that famous screenshot was retarded as hell.

Ismail is an unironic brezhnev bro. Knows a lot of shit tho.

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The guy who was being responded to had a literal Leftcom flag, you idiot. I specifically mentioned fucking Bordiga too.

Just don't bring up China or Yugoslavia. I don't know what made him a Dengist or a Titoist, but seriously, he can still prove to you that the USSR was socialist in quite a convincing manner.

Which statement?

The democracies in the west were not dictatorships for the same reason the Soviet union wasn't. Yes they both have strong leaders, but these leaders have checks on their power from both without and within their own power structures. Neither are really democratic in my opinion, but neither are they truly dictatorships

The western liberal democracies are dictatorships of the bourgeoisie, the same way the Eastern Bloc was a dictatorship of the proletariat. In western democracies, private property and the freedom to contract wage labor is constitutionally enshrined, running a platform against this is not tolerated, and no matter who you are elect, they will always have to adhere to these principles. In a socialist state, capitalists are not allowed to run in elections, and only worker organizations nominate the candidates. Both systems of government have class character.

I don’t have the screen cap, but it basically argues that socialism is the rule of the bureaucracy because a bureaucrat ruling class is, according to the post, and inevitable outcome of planned economy.

who you are electing*

Well you can't have a planned economy and no bureaucracy, you can try to fight but eventually you need people to allocate stuff, just make sure that there is the greatest level of chohesion possible between producers and distributors. There was increased bureaucracy in the USSR once the profit motive was reintroduced, as state planning and production was forming an antagonism which needed more and more apparatchiks to harmonize.

But to say that bureaucracy = socialism is a bit odd. I would say though that socialism could be associated with everybody being a bureaucrat.

Ehhh sort of. I mean don’t get me wrong, they certainly aren’t genuine democracies, and the porkies definitely are the dominant class. That being said, it would be untrue to suggest that the proles have no bearing on politics in the west. It’s pretty obvious that politicians have to at least appear to care about their interests to get elected. They also have to take measures to curtail the voting power of the average person wherever possible (gerrymandering, voter ID laws, felons can’t vote, etc.) which they wouldn’t bother with if these democratic institutions were entirely impotent. It’s not so much that the proletariat can’t exercise political power in bourgie democracies, it’s more that

A) the power of the porkies is vastly disproportionate to their number given lobbyists, donations, think tanks, advertising, etc.

B) Getting proles to do anything politically is like herding cats. Mass numbers of people typically disagree on all kinds of issues, and even if you can get them to agree (which is a huge if) then you have the challenge of organizing them and turning those sentiments into victory in the legislature.

C) Cultural hegemony, ideological state apparatuses, etc. The average prole may not be satisfied with the status quo, but they still have general faith in the liberal capitalist system.

Rosa said a lot when she said “if voting changed anything they would make it illegal.” Because the fact is that voting does change things, and that’s why people like Pinochet showed up to make it illegal, which they wouldn’t have bothered to do if bourgeois democracy was truly incapable of challenging bourgeois power.

Yes, so is burgerland and yuropoor. By what data I've seen it was better than modern day russia and burgerland for the working class.

Of course not. Why would a dictatorship build a wall around their half of Berlin and stop anyone from leaving?


The USSR was a corrupt democracy.

Yes as evidenced by the invasion of Finland.

They had a type of democracy so technically not but it was pretty close under Stalin. Too much bureaucracy for sure though.

This, and it obviously varies from country to country. The bourg democracies of the Nordic countries, for example, has given plenty of niceties to the working class in the past so as to ensure stability, etc.

Class struggle exists even outside violent revolution; the mere possibility of the working class rising may be enough to affect the balance, class domination includes bribes to the poor and such.

The ultimate reason the USSR collapsed was post-Stalin revisionism, especially the introduction of 🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧markets🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧

Pretty sure massive corruption had something to do with it, hence why the black market was such a rampant problem, which disrupted planning and led to inefficiencies, shortages, etc.

If this is the case, we are faced with an interesting question: Why was everyone after Stalin a revisionist, and what empowered them to do this to the Soviet economy?

No references to the personal qualities of the people involved are allowed. We're Marxists, remember.

Tbh if your system is susceptible to total decay and degeneration just because a few corrupt elites got into positions of power then it was never socialism to begin with.

I think the cult of personality constructed around Stalin (despite his protestations) by the party machine essentially compelled any power-hungry successor to destroy his legacy, as a result destroying any allegiance to orthodox Marxism (as it comes to be associated with the prior leadership).

If the construction of a cult of personality can be prevented, and the leader considered to be more or less some kind of administrative figure, albeit a popular one, then perhaps revisionism can be prevented. In addition, it would be prudent to only promote those who are deemed "good Marxists" to positions of any power.

OK, so 'cult of personality' is your answer. That lends itself to another question, though: What factor compelled the party machine to construct this edifice? Whose interest did it serve?

I would suspect some attempt to shore up Soviet power in the transition from a charismatic Lenin to a less well-known Stalin, in addition to energising the public behind a central figure in times of hardship and fear.

Most societies under siege (which soviet society was; from within and without) adopt something similar.

OK I'm doing this whole 'ask a series of questions thing and even I think it's stupid. My point is that all of the problems you identify appear to be, in some sense, fundamental or structural problems, but the solutions you propose are all somehow personal or contingent. Like, you say the 'party machine' created the cult of personality, that the USSR's capitalist encirclement drove the policy, and that 'any power-hungry successor' would be 'compelled' to revisionism. These all seem like structural motivations, things quite apart from the will of any one person in a position of power. The problems you identify all seem to be inherent in the structure of the enterprise. However, the best solutions you can come up with are to 'somehow' prevent a cult of personality being constructed, and to otherwise stock the halls of power exclusively with 'good Marxists'.

From my perspective, you appear to counterpose huge, global economy-scale compulsions driving the leadership of your ML state toward capitalist entropy on the one side, and the iron will of 'good Marxists' on the other!

When I hear this sort of thing, I can't help but be reminded of the poor heads of the LDS Church. They rant and they rave and they decry the evils of pornography and they ask for a 'few good Mormons' to resist the temptation, but year on year reality refuses to submit and Utah perches itself of the top of the list of porn consumers.

This. The problem to me seems not that bad Marxists, revisionists, opportunists, etc got into power. The problem is that there were mechanisms for them to monopolize power and dismantle socialism at all. These mechanisms should never have existed in the first place.

Correct my little brainlet libsoc shit here if I’m wrong, but it seems to me what should have happened (at the very latest with Stalin’s death). First they should have either

This would be the bare minimum to ensure general accountability of the government to the people. After that

These would have had the effects of combating both corruption and the black market by making it easier to hold corrupt officials to account, removing the benefits of black market trading (you can’t make a buck on illegal sales if all the currency is non-transferable), and make the black market unnecessary by meeting the desires of the population legally.