Defining "socialist"

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Was the USSR truly socialist? I've read the industry was apparently 70% state owned, which would make it more state capitalist if anything. However for much of it's history it did fight to spread socialist ideology for the final goal of achieving socialism, and this is of course why every powerful capitalist country opposed them. It should also be noted that some including Orthodox Marxists do believe that state capitalism is perhaps a necessary step in the transitioning to true socialism, but I digress.

The question is, does socialism only exist after the workers have democratic control over the means of production? Or could the process of reaching for this specific goal in itself be considered socialism? Meaning, could you still call a country socialist even though the workers haven't gained control of production, though the government is moving towards this goal?



"does socialism only exist after the workers have democratic control over the means of production?"

That is correct, AFAIK. The USSR was socialist, but it was not communist. Communism -- the stateless, classless ideal society -- takes a good long while to build, and probably cannot be built at all in one country or even continent, surrounded by capitalist/imperialist forces. The USSR made fabulous progress toward the goal given where they started, in feudal misery. The degeneration apparently started with Kruschev.

I now disagree with my view that the USSR was more State capitalist. I've come to the conclusion that left-communism and anarcho-communism are idealistic, and infantile as Lenin said (of left-communism at least).
I consider myself a Marxist-Leninist now.

That is to say, the USSR was socialist, but revisionist after Stalin's death. Stalin's mistake was not doing enough to ensure that the counter-revolutionary overthrow of Socialism wouldn't take place after his demise, though I won't fault him for this as it was something he could've only really come around to after WW2. The problem was that after WW2 the Soviet Union had to undergo reconstruction so he couldn't very much focus on say a "cultural revolution". Regardless, Khrushchev was a scumbag revisionist and it was with him that the decline of the USSR began as he oversaw reforms that lead to a more capitalist/profit-prioritizing mode of production.

My view is that socialism is of course when the means of productions are owned and controlled by the workers.
In the USSR this was the case and a dictatorship of the proletariat was in place. Though the means of production were "state-owned", the workers had control over the state. In fact over 90% of the state members themselves were workers or peasants, and so the workers indeed did have control of the means of production.
To add to that, those in the Soviet Union also had a right to work, and while there were wages, it wasn't necessarily the same as the wage labour that we have in capitalism now. Surplus value I believe went towards bettering society rather than going into the pockets of capitalist parasites, and what individual workers were paid depended on the quantity/quality of their work:
"Article 40. Citizens have the right to work (that is, to guaranteed employment and pay in accordance with the quantity and quality of their work, and not below the state-established minimum), including the right to choose their trade or profession, type of job and work in accordance with their inclinations, abilities, training and education, with due account of the needs of society.

This right is ensured by the socialist economic system, steady growth of the productive forces, free vocational and professional training, improvement of skills, training in new trades or professions, and development of the systems of vocational guidance and job placement."


Tempcel wrote:
Communism -- the stateless, classless ideal society -- takes a good long while to build, and probably cannot be built at all in one country or even continent, surrounded by capitalist/imperialist forces.

This is true, communism is only possible if it's global. Currently it's capitalism that is global and a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie is in place.

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