The Demise of the ‘Red Menace’

Marc Mulholland

in Bourgeois Liberty and the Politics of Fear

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199653577
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744594 | DOI:
The Demise of the ‘Red Menace’

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The Communist States rested upon worker acquiescence as the most solid social base of assent. However, as they developed economically, it became imperative to promote the interests of the technical (and cultural) intelligentsia. This could not be pursued consistently, however, without alienating workers and encouraging dissidence. Communist Parties evolved as unstable amalgams of intelligentsia and ideological elites seeking to curry worker favour. In Communist China, the weakness of the proletariat allowed for more radical experimentation, with the voluntarist radicalism of the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution ultimately giving way to state directed market economics. Increasing economic sclerosis in the Soviet bloc, combined with international pressure, combined to break the Communist monopoly and transform the intelligentsia into a new bourgeoisie. The collapse of Communism allowed for democratic revolution in the developing world constrained within bourgeois limits: the fall of Apartheid in South Africa being a striking illustration.

Keywords: intelligentsia; Hungarian Revolution; Prague Spring; Great Leap Forward; Cultural Revolution; 1989 Revolutions; apartheid

Chapter.  8754 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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