Thursday, July 18, 2019

The Largest Capitalist Challenge

Photo by Cepёҗa Pyccқий

This blog post will discuss the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, arguing that the revolution led to the rise of Communism and greatly challenged capitalist globalisation for seventy four years until the fall of the USSR in 1991.

The Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 in Russia consisted of Prime minister Alexander Kerensky fearing that the army will overthrow the provisional government in Russia at the time, as General Kornilov was unhappy with elites in place. This led to Kerensky and the government arming the Bolshevik party to protect them. However, it must be noted that the party was revolutionary, inspired by Karl Marx, and desired the overthrow of the government. They used their newfound strength to rid the government off their power by raiding the winter palace.

Their newfound power was used to establish a new government fuelled by Communist ideals and theories, inspired by Marx and Engels and adopted by Vladimir Lenin, the leader of the Russian government till 1924. Communist ideology took a different turn when Joseph Stalin came into power, establishing totalitarian ideals, with an attempt to expand outwardly through seeking different allies and spreading the communist ideology. All successive leaders that followed Lenin were also inspired by the Communist manifesto and Marxist ideals, with some leaders, such as Joseph Stalin, adapting the Marxist ideology into their own, naming it Stalinism, in his case.

The longstanding chase of establishing Communism at a global level has challenged capitalist globalisation because it consists of the revolutionary overthrow of the “bourgeois” as Karl Marx would call them, or the capitalist ‘fat cats’ if you will. This revolution is spearheaded by the “proletariat” or, the “hoi polloi” as we would be called in contemporary society. Communism advocated equality and the redistribution of resources across the globe, directly contradicting the capitalist world, and its desire to exploit nations in the global South. In contemporary society, we still see different movements emerge against capitalism. This shows the long standing resistance against the prevalent class divide and exploitation. Take Occupy as an example of an anti-capitalist movement against economic inequality, tying this in to the Communist desire to overcome the exploitation of the Global North towards the Global South.

Domestic Failure

Domestically, the regime failed due to Gorbachev’s reforms, the last leader of the USSR. Despite Gorbachev’s devoted ideals to Marxism, he respected the need for reform within the USSR as he realised that society had advanced and Communist ideals inspired by Marx and Engels hadn’t been fitting in contemporary society. His increasingly relaxed nature as leader of the USSR led to citizens feeling more comfortable with critiquing the government. Outward critiquing of governments was not allowed  under leaders such as Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin, as they were led by very strong ideological beliefs tied to Marxism, which incorporated tight controls of the population. These critiques, in turn, were one of the most important domestic factors that led to the demise of the Communist regime.

International Failure

The failure of communism must be discussed to represent just how strong capitalism is, especially with regards to destroying challenges that it faces.  First, the Soviet regime was dependent on revolutionary struggle on a worldwide scale, for its long term survival, which it did not manage to achieve. Capitalism’s strength in numbers and strong resistance towards the Communist ideology and spread was detrimental to the long term survival of Communism. As well as this, Communist leaders emulated a capitalist ideal, representing the strength of the model, as they became personifications of the state capitalist accumulation system.

Internationally, tying into the international challenges mentioned earlier, after 1945, the United States funded Sovietology, a study put forth to help the USA understand the enemy, the enemy being the USSR’s Communist pursuit. This was also followed by further action taken by the USA, such as President Reagan's successful attempt to isolate the Soviet economy from the rest of the world. As assumed, this threatened their economy greatly as their global trade was limited, threatening their Communist pursuit.


The October 1917 Revolution led to the rise of Communism; the greatest challenge to capitalist globalization till today. This is due to the revolution establishing a new ideology that could not work in tandem with Capitalism or its efforts to globalize and exploit the Global South. Communism advocated for equality and a riddance of working class struggle. If not for domestic or international failures, Marxist ideology was not detailed enough to establish a durable Communist regime, as he did not offer a step by step process of how to overthrow the bourgeoisie or how to implement communism after the capitalist regime has been overthrown.

Velislava Gateva

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