Why is it safe, in the USSR, to walk the streets alone at night? What is it like to live on a communist-run collective farm — stripped of all your land except for a garden plot around your house? To bring our readers the answers to these questions, we continue in this issue, the fourth in a series of eyewitness reports on Soviet power.Moscow,USSR
THE BIG question confronting all nations today is the need for effective world government.
What kind of government shall it be? Who shall run it? How can it be achieved?
All human life is at stake. Either there will be a World Government capable of enforcing peace, capable of making rebellious nations submit to law, or human life will be wiped off the face of the earth!
The big struggle today between the USSR and the United States is not the question of Vietnam, or the Middle East. The big question is what form of government shall dominate the world?
The Ultimate Source of Government This is an age when men don't know who rules in earthly affairs. People in the West take it for granted that government is derived "from the consent of the governed." Here in the Soviet Union it is believed — after fifty years of communist indoctrination — that all power proceeds from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union as the vanguard of the working class.
Whether in the West or in the Soviet Union, human beings seem to reason that the ultimate source of government authority is from MAN. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The ultimate source of all authority is GOD.
Almost everyone today is as ignorant of this fundamental truth as was Pontius Pilate over 1900 years ago. Pilate reasoned that his authority derived from his appointment to office by Caesar. Jesus corrected him. Here is the account of that important conversation. It is found in John 19:10-11.
"Then saith Pilate unto him [Jesus], Speaketh thou not unto me? Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?" Jesus answered firmly, and with respect: "Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above."
The ABOVE is God!
God is Supreme Ruler in the Universe. He ordained the way man should live. That way is summarized in the one word love. It is further amplified in love toward God and neighbor. Love toward God and neighbor is manifested in ten primary areas — the ten points of the Ten Commandments.
But man has rebelled against God's Law from the beginning. At the tower of Babel men decided to form their own government in defiance of the government and law of God. God decreed that if that is what men were intent on, they could go on their own way, and write their own lessons through hard, bitter experience. But God set a limit on human rebellion. He has allowed human beings six thousand years to go the ways that seem right to man, but which end in sickness, sorrow, poverty, suffering, war, revolution and death (Proverbs 14:12).
There is a way that seems right to Communists. There is a way that seems right to the Western Democratic nations. Yet, tragically, neither know THE WAY that is right — the way that would bring humanity peace, joy, prosperity and abundant well-being. THE WAY that would end crime, privation, fears and worries.
The Crime Problem Throughout the world the United States has earned the reputation of a nation overrun with crime. Crime and sex are paraded before the public in movies, on television and radio — and exported by American business interests. Large districts of almost any major American city are unsafe to walk through at night — and, all too often, during the day.
In the early years of the Soviet regime, a skyrocketing crime wave developed. The Soviets at least had the good sense to put the rights of the victim ahead of the criminal. Today — though the cause of crime has not been removed by Soviet planning — it is possible to walk the streets of the USSR at night and feel safe.
When we first arrived in Kiev, the capital of the Ukrainian SSR, we mistakenly shied away from its many dimly lit streets. We soon learned different. It is safe — even for women — to walk the streets of the Soviet Union at night, both in the Russian republics and in Soviet Central Asia. Not in years have we experienced the relaxed feeling of knowing that the shadows passing us are ordinary citizens — not criminals lying in wait.
The Soviet Union does have its problems with workers stealing from the state, with drunken brawlers and pickpockets (my inner coat pocket was slit on a crowded bus by a pick-pocket in Moscow). But woe be to the man or woman who appears before the courts for a second or third offense! It's off to the corrective forced labor camps — or death!
No political or economic system devised by man will ever prevent crime. Man can only curtail it. Soviet dreamers, who thought Communism would be the perfect environment, have found to their sorrow that Communism does not prevent crime from occurring. Communism cannot remove the root cause of crime human nature. It will take the Kingdom of God — the Government of God — the Law of God — and the Spirit of God to do it. And that Government is coming soon to set this war-torn, revolt-ridden world aright!
Stripping the Peasant of Land Communist theorists, beginning with Karl Marx, believed that if all things were shared in common, people would soon learn to be unselfish, wholly considerate of others. They thought that their brand of "new economics" would alter human nature. Most Communists still believe in their theory — even though it isn't working!
Communism is a devilish counterfeit of the Kingdom of God and the Spirit of God. It takes the Spirit of God to impart the new nature that ultimately will totally replace human nature. The apostle Peter explained it: "According as His divine power bath given unto us all things that pertain unto life... whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the DIVINE NATURE, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (II Peter 1:3-4).
No man-devised economic system — or political system — no man-devised religion — no human government on earth can achieve that! Communism can't. The decadent Western nations can't. Only God can impart to man what he lacks — a divine nature.
But the world is in rebellion against God's rule. Man wants to try his own ways in opposition to God's way — and yet he wants the very results that only God's way can bring.
This spirit of hostility against God is manifest all over the world. Here in the Soviet Union it appears in a special form. In its efforts to remake man, the Communist 'Party has totally altered man's social and economic environment. The Party began, in 1917, with the help of landless peasants, the liquidation of the land owners — many of whom were oppressors.
But the peasants — who, in 1917, marched under the banner: "Land to the peasants" — soon discovered what Communism meant. The land that they thought would be theirs was to be taken over by the State in the name of the people!
Soviet land today is collectively owned "by the people" — says the official Party statement. But it is administered by the State and its bureaus under the direct supervision of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Communists, of course, believe that their dictatorship is justified since, in their eyes, they have the one true scientific answer to all the world's problems. The results prove otherwise.
Communist Party members are in charge of all collective and state farms. One of their primary functions is the direct management of the farms. But a more important function — often overlooked by Western visitors — is the education of the peasants in Communist thought and planning. Peasants on collective farms are still allowed very small private garden plots around their homes. To induce him to give up even these small gardens to State ownership, the Party sends out ministers of propaganda.
We recently met one of these men in Pendjikent, Tadjik SSR. His beaming smile appears at the beginning of this article. A self-assured man, he is convinced that Communism is the wave of the future. The collective farm he manages (pictured on these pages) is very backward. Its Uzbek and Tadjik laborers have been happy with their way of life ever since Cyrus the Great marched through the country 25 centuries ago! This farm is improving. But the human nature of its staff and workers has not changed. Pride, vanity, frustration were written over the faces of the men who greeted us on this farm — the same pride, vanity and frustration that plagues all the world.
Communism will not change that. But God can — and will!
EDITOR'S NOTE: We are in receipt of a letter from Moscow commenting upon this series. We thought it would interest our readers. It is printed here with our brief comment following:
Dear Mr. Hoeh,
Your article, "Unfinished Revolution", printed in the December issue of The PLAIN TRUTH, contains a number of considerable inaccuracies which distort the Marxist, communist views on such important questions as the revolution, the state and democracy.
Quoting a certain Polish defector in this article you speak of "the master plan of the Soviet Union which calls for the overthrow of the noncommunist world between 1970 and 1980", and assert that the Soviet Union "openly admits it is plotting the overthrow of every non-communist government".
Maybe this defector did say something like this in the striving to justify his action and to get an American passport more quickly. Actually, however, these assertions have no real grounds whatsoever.
Marxists-Leninists are against the export of revolution. As far back as the twenties the Russian Communists, and later also the Communists of other countries, condemned the so-called theory of "permanent revolution" advanced by Leon Trotsky which supposed the transfer (i.e., the same export) of revolution to other countries. The Marxists-Leninists maintain that in order to overthrow capitalism and successfully carry out a socialist revolution in any country there must exist the necessary objective conditions, the chief of which is the desire of the majority of the population to carry out such a revolution.
Furthermore, in our epoch Marxists-Leninists consider it possible to carry out socialist transformations without a revolution — by peaceful, parliamentary means. Here again, this is up to the people of each country.
Now regarding the state and democracy.
You quote, as some "shocking definitions" the words of Lenin to the effect that "the state is a machine for the oppression of one class by another". This is indeed so. But it should be taken into account that Lenin had in mind not only the socialist state, as you are trying to impress upon the readers, but any state and even all the states from ancient times to our day.
Are not the court, procurator's office, the police, army and home security bodies inalienable attributes of modern states (both socialist and capitalist) for the purpose of "oppression and violence"?
For instance, has the Soviet state ceased to be an instrument of oppression although it has no antagonistic classes of exploiters and exploited? No, it has not. Whom does the Soviet state oppress at the present time? All kinds of criminals: thieves, gangsters, hoodlums and other socially and morally dangerous elements, unfortunately, still exis