Controversies in Soviet Social Thought: Democratization, Social Justice, and the Erosion of Official Ideology

Controversies in Soviet Social Thought: Democratization, Social Justice, and the Erosion of Official Ideology

Controversies in Soviet Social Thought: Democratization, Social Justice, and the Erosion of Official Ideology

Controversies in Soviet Social Thought: Democratization, Social Justice, and the Erosion of Official Ideology

Synopsis

Over the past several years observers have become aware of what might be called the "expansionary logic" of the reform debate in the Soviet Union. Punctuated by periods of reaction and retreat, successive phases of reform momentum have brought to the fore ideas and proposals that only months before had been considered too radically unorthodox for prudent discussion. In this account, Murray Yanowitch traces the dynamic evolution of reform thinking and the emergence of liberal and social-democratic schools of thought on several pivotal issues. He shows how the contemporary debate over a recurrent theme - workplace democracy - escalated into demands for democratization of the society and political pluralism, and how similarly time-honoured discussions of the problem of economic inequality took unexpected turns, leading to reconsideration of notions of social justice, attacks on privilege, and, ultimately, demands for destatization and property reform. The cumulative impact of these developments, Yanowitch shows, has not only delegitimated the monopoly of the Communist party but has destroyed the sacral character of Marxism-Leninism itself.
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