Queue waiting to enter a store, a typical view in Poland in the s Socialism had been gaining momentum among working class citizens of the world since the 19th century.
The ambitious aim of Archie Brown's work is to provide a reliable account of how and why these states came about, their longevity, and what caused their downfall. Although he belongs to the liberal mainstream, Brown appears well suited for the task: Brown differentiates between the idea of "communism" with a lower case "c" based on an egalitarian and stateless society, and "Communist" systems with a capital "C".
He attempts to define Communism as a system in which power is monopolised by a centralised party, a centrally-planned non-capitalist economy, and an ideological commitment to the international spread of communism.
But as he seeks to apply this definition, Brown's liberal preconceptions become problematic. Brown argues that the initial deficiencies of Communism led to its final downfall.
Lacking democratic rights and economically inferior to the West, the final nail in the coffin was provided with the declining power of the USSR. As Brown puts it, "If it ceased to be Communist, it was clear that the survival hopes for Communism in all other Warsaw Pact countries were minimal.
Instead the credit for why this ended up as a remarkably peaceful process is given to the reform-minded leadership of the USSR, and in particular to Brown's favourite Communist, Mikhail Gorbachev. Brown's admiration for Gorbachev reflects his emphasis on the role of ideas and great leaders, to the detriment of material forces and collective struggles as driving forces of social development.
Having said that, Brown's book is a stimulating read, which provides valuable insights to socialists interested in developing a deeper understanding of "Communist" systems.
And for those comrades who find Brown's arguments superficial, there are excellent writings within the Socialist Workers Party tradition from Alex Callinicos, Chris Harman and Mike Haynes.The history of communism encompasses a wide variety of ideologies and political movements sharing the core theoretical values of common ownership of wealth, economic enterprise and property.
The Rise & Fall of Communism. Vintage, London, The Rise and Fall of Communism - Kindle edition by Archie Brown. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading The Rise and Fall of Communism/5(32).
Feb 25, · The Revolutions of and the Fall of the Soviet Union Gorbachev believed that a better Soviet economy depended on better relationships with the . The Rise and Fall of Communism archie brown. To Susan and Alex, Douglas and Tamara and to my grandchildren Isobel and Martha, Nikolas and Alina.
Contents Lech Wałesa, and the Rise of Solidarity Reform in China: Deng Xiaoping and After The Challenge of the West part five: Interpreting the Fall of Communism.
The Rise and Fall of Communism in Russia Book Description: Distinguished historian of the Soviet period Robert V. Daniels offers a penetrating survey of the . Since , historians have been monumentally challenged to explain the collapse of the Soviet Union and Communist rule in Russia.
But a deeper problem, less often addressed, is the real nature of the Soviet system that was finally swept away.