socialism


Volatile Hydrocarbons, Volatile Politics: The Historical Context of Venezuela’s Economic and Social Crisis

Bandera_de_Venezuela_en_el_Waraira_Repano 2.jpgVenezuela wasn't always burning out of control. Even before the rise of Hugo Chavez nearly twenty years ago and the tangible abundance brought about through his social welfare initiatives, Venezuela had a reasonable claim as a model of economic success in Latin America. Further, it was blessed with an abundance of a key natural resource, petroleum, as can be seen below in maps found in the U.S. Congressional Serial Set.

Detail from Map 24. Hydrocarbon mineral products (petroleum, natural gas, etc.). [Resources and the Caribbean region. January 1, 1905]

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Special map showing producing [oil] fields, Venezuela, 1930.

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Volatile Hydrocarbons, Volatile Politics: The Historical Context of Venezuela’s Economic and Social Crisis

New and Improved: Personal and Political Reform in Socialist States

Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-L0822-0026,_XX__Olympiade,_DDR-Turnerinnen,_Training Caption Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-L0822-0026. Gahlbeck, Friedrich. CC-BY-SA 3.0.jpgEast and West, self-improvement is a human project in which the state has a vested interest. In the West, the idea of a liberal education resulting in conscientious, informed citizens has been the goal. In socialist states, the tendency has been to link the personal with the political taken collectively rather than individually.

In this month’s highlights from Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports, 1957-1995, we offer a selection of best practices drawn from countries in which the U.S. government had a healthy interest.


Residues of the Islamic Religion and Methods for Eliminating them

Voprosy Filosofii (Problems in Philosophy) No. 5, May 1961

The United States is just the latest nation where Islam has become a political issue. Communism has always had an argument with organized religion as leading to “false consciousness” and inhibiting adherence to proletarian goals and identity.

This report relates the proceedings of a conference in Dagestan wherein the rationale and methodology is laid-out for eliminating the Islamic religion from the Soviet population. And they don’t mince words:

New and Improved: Personal and Political Reform in Socialist States

A Day at the (Space) Races: Gherman Titov and Vostok-2 Raise the Stakes of Manned Space Flight

“Socialism is the launching platform from which the Soviet Union shoots off its cosmic ships.” —Nikita S. Khrushchev

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On 6 August 1961, less than four years after Sputnik and not quite four months after Yuri Gagarin's historic orbital flight, Gherman Titov accomplished a flight of over seventeen orbits, lasting more than a day. This achievement had the desired effect of serving notice to the United States that Soviet space exploration was neither a fluke nor a stunt, but a sustained program to demonstrate the technical superiority—and by extension, the socio-political potency—of socialism over capitalism. In these documents from the current release of Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports, 1957-1995, we offer direct quotations from Titov himself, scientists, a journalist, even a farmer witnessing Titov's landing.

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Preparation for Man's Flight into Cosmic Space

Vestnik Akademii Nauk, SSSR (Herald of the Academy of Sciences, USSR), No. 6, 1961. 16 p.

A Day at the (Space) Races: Gherman Titov and Vostok-2 Raise the Stakes of Manned Space Flight

Cuba on the Threshold of Socialism: “…the economy is hard, it is hard, it does not cry.”

From the United States’ 1962 embargo until the present-day reestablishment of diplomatic and economic relations, Cuba has struggled to find a secure economic footing. This month’s highlights from Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports, 1957-1995, show the magnitude of that undertaking from the perspectives of then-Prime Minister Fidel Castro, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, and in its fundamentals relating to the food supply. 

 

Television Interview with Fidel Castro

Revolucion (Revolution) – 26 April 1962 

“…the economy is hard, it is hard, it does not cry. Then, this is the problem. It is almost Communist, but it happens that we are building socialism and there are still many persons who are not even on the threshold of socialism...”

Prime Minister Castro states this in the beginning of this excerpted interview, then elaborates on the challenges his nation faced with regard to education and public health. It’s clear that he was deeply concerned with the human aspect of development, and the interview format lends greater focus to his remarks than can be easily drawn from his more lengthy speeches. 

 

Regulations on Food Rationing in Cuba

Hoy (Today) – 13 March 1962 

“6 lbs. of rice per person, per month, throughout the country;…One 2-lb. chicken (net weight) per person, per month.”

A chicken in every pot, perhaps, but by law only once each month—this is socialism at its roots. These three brief documents lay out the essentials of food rationing during the early years of Cuba’s centralized economy. 

 

Cuba on the Threshold of Socialism: “…the economy is hard, it is hard, it does not cry.”

Islam in the Soviet Union: Translated Reports from the Joint Publications Research Service

Source: Perry-Castañeda Library Map CollectionFrom an earlier release of Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports, 1957-1994, we recently highlighted five reports concerning religion and atheism in the USSR in the 1960s. The September 2014 release of JPRS also includes translations from the Soviet Union on this same broad topic with particular attention paid to Islam.

Entry on “Islam” in Great Soviet Encyclopedia

Click to open in PDFThis seven-page entry translated from the Great Soviet Encyclopedia includes sections on the origin of Islam, Islam in the feudal period, and Islam in the period of capitalism. The first paragraph makes it clear how the writers of the encyclopedia regarded Islam and religion in general. They state that Islam…

…like other religions, has always played a reactionary role, being in the hands of the exploiting classes a weapon of spiritual oppression of the workers.  It was used by foreign colonizers for the enslavement of the peoples of the East.

Islam in the Soviet Union: Translated Reports from the Joint Publications Research Service

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