BY STEPHEN GOWANS, What’s Left
Khrushchev’s revisionism refers to claims by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev that:
• Socialism can be brought about by peaceful, constitutional means within capitalist democracies.
• Socialist and capitalist countries can coexist peacefully.
Was he right? Did he really believe these claims?
Socialism, if it is understood as a publicly owned, planned economy, has yet to be brought about through peaceful, constitutional means within capitalist democracies, or elsewhere, and it is difficult to imagine conditions under which it ever could be. In order for socialism to be achieved at the ballot box, the wealthy and powerful who dominate the state, including its police, security, and military apparatus, would have to stand idly by as their private productive property—the basis of their wealth and privileges—was denied them and brought under public control. This is unrealistic. We cannot imagine slave owners peacefully standing by, as their slaves set themselves free, nor feudal lords peacefully accepting their serfs’ expropriation of their estates. Unless we believe that capital-owners are somehow unique, we should not imagine that they would be any less likely than other ruling classes to use the repressive apparatus of the state to preserve their privileges and beat back challenges from a subordinate class that seeks to abolish private productive property. Continue reading »
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