There are a lot of discussions on the healthcare systems today. Capitalist ideologists try their best to prove that the state healthcare system is too expensive and can not be implemented. But history proved them wrong. How did socialism change the approach to the management of healthcare?
As a result of the October Revolution of 1917, an entirely new state was created in place of the Russian Empire, establishing a proletarian dictatorship. For the first time in history, the country’s resources and means of production were in the hands of the majority of the population, rather than a narrow stratum of the nobility and bourgeoisie. It was a state with different principles of development and a unique communist ideology.
As far back as 1903, Vladimir Lenin outlined the objectives of the state in the sphere of health protection in the 1st Program of the RSDLP. It stressed the necessity of establishing an 8-hour working day, banning child labor, arrangement of crèches in factories, state insurance for workers, sanitary supervision in factories, etc. But like any new country, Soviet Russia was faced with many problems in all spheres which had to be solved as effectively and promptly as possible. And one of the most serious problems was the lack of a healthcare system.
The political and human thought of Salvador Allende continues to be valid for the people of Latin America and the world, who struggle today for a more just and equitable society.
Salvador Allende is one of the most important and remembered personalities in the history of Chile. He was elected president of that country in 1970 to serve until 1976, but on September 11, 1973, Augusto Pinochet – in complicity with the United States – led a civilian-military coup against his government. That morning, President Allende died in the palace of La Moneda defending “the mandate of the people”, as he said in his last words.
The decision by President Joe Biden to withdraw “all U.S. troops” from Afghanistan (not really all, but you know how empires fold their occupation tents) was a major decision in the contemporary history of the U.S. empire since the end of the Cold War. The U.S. war in Afghanistan has lasted longer than the Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan and yet Western media never regarded U.S. involvement for what it was: an attempt to reshape the Middle East — and beyond — according to U.S. designs. Many of the facts regarding the background of the American intervention rarely make it into U.S. media narratives.
There is a big difference between the U.S. and Soviet experience in Afghanistan. The Soviet Union never invented exile groups and forced them on the native Afghan population to rule over them. In name only of course, as the U.S. military and the foreign service bureaucracy have really ruled the country. Just as in Iraq, the U.S. relied on puppets, with very little popular legitimacy in most cases, to rule in its name.
The material presented below is the work of great didacts, talented filmmakers and political analysts. Patricio Guzmán, the Chilean documentary filmmaker and author of The Battle of Chile (BOC), filmed literally in the teeth of the bloody Chilean counter-revolution, with his precious footage smuggled out of the country with the help of a brave anti-fascist, none other than Harald Edelstam, the Swedish ambassador (who had already distinguished himself in World War II by rescuing Jews and many anti-fascists from the Nazis), needs no introduction. The documentary, made with little money, and eventually completed with the help of Cuba, is a masterpiece of astute and precise storytelling. Indeed, Guzmán’s small team seems to be always wherever something critical is happening: * in the copper mines, where the workers, the country’s “labor aristocracy”, stupidly decide to oppose the Allende government; * surveying the critical truck owners’ strike that selfishly and myopically paralysed the country at a decisive moment (an ominous sign that, as Communist party leader Luis Corvalán feared, the middle and lower middle class had not been fully won over to the revolutionary project); * or within the Chilean Congress itself, where one naked betrayal after another seals Chile’s fate in accordance with plans already drawn up in the late 1960s (we now know for certain) in the US White House and in the sordid “intelligence agencies” entrusted with such tasks. All this in perfect coordination with Chile’s native oligarchy.
War against the Soviet Union was what Hitler had wanted from the beginning. He had already made this very clear in the pages of Mein Kampf, written in the mid-1920s. As a German historian, Rolf-Dieter Müller, has convincingly demonstrated in a well-documented study, it was a war against the Soviet Union, and not against Poland, France, or Britain, that Hitler was planning to unleash in 1939. On August 11 of that year, Hitler explained to Carl J. Burckhardt, an official of the League of Nations, that “everything he undertook was directed against Russia”, and that “if the West [i.e., the French and the British] is too stupid and too blind to comprehend this, he would be forced to reach an understanding with the Russians, turn and defeat the West, and then turn back with all his strength to strike a blow against the Soviet Union”. This is in fact what happened. The West did turn out to be “too stupid and blind”, as Hitler saw it, to give him “a free hand” in the east, so he did make a deal with Moscow — the infamous “Hitler-Stalin Pact” — and then unleashed war against Poland, France, and Britain. But his ultimate objective remained the same: to attack and destroy the Soviet Union as soon as possible.
Viewing the development of French trade and manufacturing between 1650 and 1820, Jeff Horn underscores their great success based largely on overseas markets. His evidence supports the view of Friedrich Engels and Perry Anderson that capitalism developed within the pores of the Old Regime. Yet Horn attempts to deny the leading role of the bourgeoisie in this advance. He claims that it was through the Old Regime system of economic privileges rather than the agency of bourgeois capital accumulation that such progress was made. This article rejects Horn’s exclusive preoccupation with the positive economic role of the privileges granted by the state. It reasserts the importance of the agency of the bourgeoisie in furthering economic development. Moreover, it contends that for all the economic gains made by the system of state privileges, such privileges were more than offset by the weight of rents on the peasantry and to the benefit of the nobility and Church imposed by this same regime of privileges. The distorted development that privileges imposed on economic and social life became an important factor behind the outbreak of the Revolution.
Though less famous than Varlin, Vallès, Flourens or Rossel, Gustave Lefrançais was the first president of the Paris Commune and the dedicatee of Eugène Pottier’s L’Internationale.
Born into an anti-Bonapartist family in Anjou in 1826, Lefrançais attended the teacher training college at Versailles from 1842, but was unable to find a job when he left: he was already banned from working on account of his scurrilous opinions. After temporarily replacing a colleague in Dourdan, where he tussled with the local priest, he had to resign himself to becoming a clerk for a Parisian businessman, who dismissed him when the revolution broke out in February 1848. His future life was exemplary for a nineteenth-century communist militant. Arrested even before the June days, he was sentenced to three months in prison and two years’ surveillance for possession of weapons, and sent to Dijon under house arrest. Exiled in London from 1851, he might have crossed paths in Soho with Marx, Mazzini or Louis Blanc. He founded a cooperative restaurant, ‘La Sociale’, before returning to Paris in 1853.Read More »
Even though the Commune lasted only 72 days, falling in an unequal struggle against the French counter-revolution, supported by the German war machine, it left an indelible mark in the history of the liberation struggle of the working class in France and the world.
The Commune provided the most important lesson and historical experience, proving that “the working class cannot simply seize a ready-made state machine and put it to work for its own ends,” as Marx noted in “The Civil War in France”. The proletariat must completely destroy it by creating a principally new state, a state of dictatorship of the people, of the working masses, which is true democracy, devoid of the exploitation of man by man.Read More »
Today is the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Paris Commune. The Commune (Council) was formed as result of what should be considered the first uprising and revolution led by the working class in history. This new class was the product of the industrial revolution in the capitalist mode of production that Marx and Engels first spoke of most prominently in the Manifesto of the Communist Party published in March 1848.
Before the Paris Commune, revolutions in Europe and North America had been to overthrow feudal monarchs and eventually put the capitalist class into political power. While socialism as an idea and objective was already gaining credence among the radical intelligentsia, it was Marx and Engels who first identified the agency of revolutionary change for socialism as the working class, namely those who owned no means of production but their own labour power.Read More »
On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the extraordinary experience of the Paris Commune, it is fundamental to draw a number of lessons from it. The measures a government takes regarding its Central Bank, the debts of working class people, public debt and private banks are decisive. If a popular government does not implement radical financial measures, it will be responsible for ending in failure, with possibly tragic consequences for the population. The Commune, an extraordinary and dramatic experiment, exemplifies this, and must thus be analyzed from this point of view.
The role of debt in the emergence of the Paris Commune(1)
It was the desire of the reactionary government to pay off its debt to Prussia and continue to repay existing public debts that precipitated the Commune experiment. Let us recall that it was Louis Bonaparte (Napoleon III) who declared war on Prussia in July 1870 and that that military venture soon ended in a total fiasco.(2) The Prussian Army beat the French Army in early September 1870, and imprisoned Napoleon III in Sedan, triggering the fall of the Second Empire followed by the proclamation of the Republic.(3) The payment of 5 billion francs was the condition laid down by Bismarck for signing the peace treaty and withdrawing the forces of occupation.Read More »