History and Historiography

Western Left Changed Significantly Since Creation of Soviet Union 100 Years Ago

Soviet Union
Soviet Union Credit: Flickr/ Серёжа Русский

Kirill Krasilnikov – The Left in Europe and the United States has undergone major changes over 100 years after the founding of the Soviet Union, moving away from the early 20th-century class-based politics and turning into the movement of professional managerial classes, while simultaneously preserving its guiding principle of “oppressed vs oppressor,” experts told Sputnik.

On December 30, 1922, five years after the October Revolution, the First All-Union Congress of Soviets in Moscow declared the creation one of the world’s first socialist state, an entity ostensibly build on Marxist precepts and dedicated to ushering a new era of Communism onto the world.

For almost 70 years, that state remained one of the key players in global affairs, captivating the thoughts of politicians, scholars, artists, journalists and many others, regardless of whether they cheered or condemned it. Its creators thought of it as a beachhead for a world revolution that was supposed to engulf the entire globe and even though those plans failed to become reality, the Soviet Union served as an organizational and symbolic center for the leftist movements in many countries that were inspired by what they considered a true alternative to the prevailing capitalist economic order.

“Soviet socialism was a blotted creature, providing ammunition to the permanent and inevitable anti-socialist campaigns, but its very existence indicated that an end to capitalism was more likely than the end of the world,” Goran Therborn, professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Cambridge, said, crediting the Soviet Union for is crucial part in “making a socialist horizon the prevailing part” of the leftist world culture in the 20th century and inspiring socialist movements in countries outside of Europe and North America.

In a similar vein, the Soviet Union had a major geopolitical effect on the world, playing major parts in the Spanish Civil War, World War II and the subsequent conflicts in Cuba and Vietnam, as well as helping to promote progressive social movements around the globe.


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