The communist movement has had a significant influence on modern democracy, although its impact may not always be apparent on the surface. One important aspect to consider is the propaganda surrounding the interchange of the economic term “capitalism” with the political term “democracy.” This propaganda attempts to associate the flaws and shortcomings of capitalism with the concept of democracy itself.
In reality, the achievements attributed to democracy are often the result of compromises between capitalism and the communist movement during the 20th century. These compromises aimed to address the social and economic inequalities inherent in capitalism, while preserving democratic principles. The introduction of labor rights, social safety nets, and progressive taxation are some examples of such compromises.
However, in recent years, the influence of corporations and billionaires has started to erode these hard-fought achievements. Wealth inequality is increasing, and the power of money in politics is distorting the democratic process. These developments have fueled a growing sentiment that capitalism, in its current form, is failing to address the problems it promised to solve.
Seems that the only way to truly resolve the problems of capitalism is through a return to the principles of communism. However, it is important to note that the concept of communism has been misrepresented and misunderstood. True communism does not entail an authoritative regime or the suppression of individual freedoms. Instead, it aims to establish a society where wealth and resources are distributed equitably, and the needs of the many outweigh the desires of a few.
We can easily find the impact of the communist movement into:
- Worker’s Rights and Labor Movements: The rise of communism and socialist movements in the early 20th century put pressure on Western democracies to address issues of workers’ rights and improve labor conditions. Social democratic parties emerged in several Western countries, leading to the implementation of labor laws, collective bargaining rights, and regulations to protect workers.
- Women’s Rights: The Soviet Union, particularly during the early years after the Russian Revolution, emphasized gender equality and women’s rights. This had an impact on the feminist movements in Western democracies. For instance, women’s suffrage movements gained traction in various Western countries in the aftermath of World War I, partly due to the influence of socialist and communist ideas.
- Education for All: The Soviet Union’s emphasis on education and literacy as a means of building a socialist society inspired Western democracies to prioritize education for all. In the post-World War II era, several Western countries expanded access to education, implementing policies for free or affordable schooling and improving literacy rates.
- Healthcare and Medical Policies: The Soviet Union’s emphasis on healthcare and its provision to all citizens served as a model for some Western democracies. This influenced the development of national healthcare systems in countries like the United Kingdom with the establishment of the National Health Service (NHS) in 1948.
- Social Welfare Policies and Pensions: The fear of communist influence and the rise of socialist parties in Western countries contributed to the adoption of social welfare policies and pensions for the elderly. These measures aimed to address income inequality and provide a safety net for citizens in need.
- Public Housing and Affordable Housing Policies: The Soviet Union’s commitment to public housing projects influenced some Western democracies to invest in affordable housing programs. In the aftermath of World War II, many European countries implemented ambitious public housing projects to address housing shortages and improve living conditions.
- Civil Rights Movement: The global attention towards the issue of racial discrimination during the Cold War era led to the civil rights movement in the United States. While this movement was primarily a domestic response to systemic racism, the broader context of the Cold War and the Soviet Union’s criticism of racial segregation in the U.S. influenced the U.S. government to take steps towards desegregation and advancing civil rights legislation.