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Essay on “Collapse Of Communism ” Complete Essay for Class 9, Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Collapse Of Communism 

Outlines: The collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and in the Soviet Union, and the consequent political disintegration of the latter must rank as the greatest upheaval the world has experienced in the second half of the 20th century. So sudden and swift was this collapse, that even the most astute political observers and intelligence agencies were caught by surprise. And it happened without any profound cause, like a great war or a severe worldwide economic depression. Even the most wishful professional communist baiters had not imagined such an end to their foe.

Why did such a seemingly powerful and a durable system fail so suddenly and so totally? It is evident that a number of forces must have been gnawing at the foundations of this structure over a long period of time. Only the closed nature of the communist society hid it from outside view until the process acquired an unstoppable momentum. But what were these forces? What lessons can other nations learn from the failure of communism?

The first is that no system can work for long if it is contrary to human nature. The overwhelming majority of mankind is motivated by self-interest. Most people work to improve their living standards, their status in society, and for the welfare of their progeny. The success of any political or economic system lies in the degree to which it can harmonies this individual drive with the good of society as a whole. Communism defied human nature; it expected the individual to give up good acquisitive instinct and work for the general good of society.

Such an approach may succeed with small groups of highly motivated people, such as those belonging to a monastic order or an Israeli Kibbutz, but never with large masses of humanity. No system, however desirable or idealistic, can succeed if it flies in the face of basic human nature. Such an unnatural system will be either gradually reformed out of shape, as it is happening with our Congress socialism, or it would collapse altogether, as it happened with communism.

 The second great defect of the communist state system was that it was imposed on the Russians by a group of ruthless, determined people, led by Lenin, and later by Stalin. It was not a grassroots movement which finally attained power. Lenin and his colleagues consider themselves as idealists who were selflessly working for the people. And in a sense they were. But they believed that the people were too stupid and too immature to know what was good for them. As in the case of children, the people had to be coaxed to do what was ultimately good for them, however unpleasant it might be at the moment.

The result was quite predictable. The people, like children, had no qualms in abandoning the hated controls when the opportunity arose. In 1989 and 1990, in its hour of trial, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union found few people who were prepared to fight to save it. The masses remained indifferent or even hostile, since they had played no part in the growth or maintenance of the party.

Paradoxically, the communist parties which function in free societies are more stable. For example, the outfits in Kerala and West Bengal, having been gradually built up as a mass movement, have not been much affected by the failure of the Russian mentor. Parties built up by the active participation of the people neither have a spectacular growth nor collapse like a house of cards.

The third and greatest mistake the communists made was converting the Soviet Union into a closed society. Alternative political parties were not allowed; the press was just the mouthpiece of the rulers; freedom of discussion (even in private) was made impossible by the secret police; independent news from outside was denied to the people, and foreigners were prevented from directly contacting them. It was hoped that this would prevent the people from being polluted by “bourgeois thoughts.” The results, however, were, different from what was anticipated. Since the fear of public exposure and accountability were absent, the ruling class became highly autocratic, and adopted a luxurious lifestyle (Ceausescu was an example).

The massive failures and tremendous tensions at the level of the people never caught the attention of the rulers since independent channels of information did not exist. Industrial pollution, including nuclear, was allowed to reach levels which no free society would have tolerated. And ail this was done during the rule of a group which claimed it was acting in the general interest of the population.

The most horrifying aspect of this closed society was atrocities  could be perpetrated on the people with impunity. Millions of “Kulaks” perished in Stalin’s drive for ‘collectivisation’ if agricultural lands. (it is a sobering thought that Russia has today gone back to private farming. What for then did these millions die? Stalin’s purges and banishment involved human misery of great dimensions. But all this was coolly denied by the communists, including those of India.

All such reports were dismissed as “capitalist propaganda”. On the other hand, they painted a rosy picture of the life in the “Workers’ Paradise”. They got away with it as long as independent verification of facts was not possible. But today, with the “Iron Curtain” dismantled, the Russians themselves give details of the atrocities, which even the noncommunist press did not report earlier.

 For instance, the massacre of Katyne Forest, long denied by Stalin and his successors and now admitted by Mr. Boris Yeltsin himself. Such is the price the people pay for living in a closed society.

An open, democratic society which exchanges information with the rest of the world is absolutely essential for the well being of a nation. It prevents gross misrule and the perpetration of atrocities. Some of the Indian intellectuals blithely talk about the benefits of a “benevolent dictatorship” for India. This is absolute nonsense. Let them take a look at how nations such as Myanmar (Burma), Uganda and Pakistan have fared under dictatorship. Indian democracy, for all its faults, is safer than any dictatorship. Our relatively mild brush with autocracy during the emergency period should drive away any such delusions.

Another lesson of communism’s failure is that massive state control of the economy is self-defeating. It spawns corruption and inefficiency. Our experience with four decades of bureaucratic socialism confirms this. Fortunately, since we were a relatively open society and had not gone too far down the socialist route, we have now been able to change direction, though with some pain.

But this is nothing compared to the present trauma of Russia trying to change its system. One cannot help feeling that this great people (who can forget their heroic struggle against Hitler?) deserved a better deal than that imposed on them by their “comrades”.

All this is not to say that capitalism is the best possible economic system. American capitalism,. For example, with its inequities and exploitations, is far from ideal or even satisfactory. But the key point is that since the U.S. is an open 4nd democratic society„ its people have the opportunity to mull over the issues and gradually reform the system. The communists never allowed this to happen leading to their own ultimate downfall.

Any economic system would be acceptable as long as it i based on the consent of the people. Even among the democratic nations, economic systems range all the way from America capitalism to Scandinavian socialism. But the common factor is an open and democratic society.

Let the recent events in Eastern Europe and the erstwhile USSR, banish from our minds for even the wish for any dictator’ political system for India. In spite of our massive illiteracy a poverty, which surely is serious impediments to the effective functioning of democracy, an open, democratic society is still o greatest safeguard.

It is better that India gradually learns from its mistakes a reforms the system rather than opt for suicidal experiments with autocracy of any form. This is the cardinal message conveyed b the failure of communism.


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