Communism in Eastern Europe Essay
In the years that followed the Second World War, there was a call from communists to take control of various countries. Notably, East Europe was a region where the call by communists was more pronounced. Various countries in Eastern Europe decided to follow the communist calls and established communist governments. It should be noted that this had various impacts on these countries. Communists were proponents of cooperation among members of the society to ensure that they produced what the society as a whole needed. It was the philosophy of communism that the welfare of the society should come first before any individual is considered. Furthermore, communists believed that it is the moral duty of every member of the society to care for others and this will make people work hard. As a result, it was pointless to make people compete in the hope that they will increase their productivity.
On the same note, communism required people to contribute to society according to their ability while each person was to be allocated resources according to his or her need. Similarly, communism demands that in addition to the wages that employees receive, the profits made should be distributed among members of the workforce. Moreover, it is the idea of communists that the markets have various imperfections and thus cannot perfectly meet the requirements. Consequently, the government intervened to guide the market. On the same note, communist leaders advocated for equal opportunities for all people. Also, workers were expected to have a say at their places of work. These ideas reduced the living standards of people living in Eastern Europe compared to the rest of the continent.
On the same note, the communist governments enhanced the education systems of their countries. There was a common need to invest in the education sector and nobody was against this idea. Moreover, many leaders were dictators and they commanded what they wanted to be done. The implemented education structures were thus strong and they have stood the taste of time. Another impact that communism had on Eastern Europe was the disregard of human rights. Many dictators are known to rule by the fist. Consequently, basic human rights were violated in various instances and this was the order of the day. Up to date, some of these countries are struggling to implement the human rights convention.
Arguably, people were not free to talk their mind as it regards political issues. What the government said was taken to be superior. Those who dared to go against the government were sent to prison. As a result, many people avoided talking ill of the government even when they were sure that policies taken by the government were disastrous. There was also ethnic tension that was castigated by the outright favor of some ethnic groups. In some countries, various ethnic communities were banned from talking their mother tongue. This was done in the name of fostering national unity. These groups do not relate well to date.
Communism did not go without resistance though people had welcomed it in the beginning. There were a lot of inequalities not only in terms of income, but also in the living standards. As a result, various groups of people started advocating for reforms in the way resources were distributed as well as the mode of governance that was used. The working class people united in solidarity to push for what they thought belonged to them. Notably, the solidarity was successful in their quest. Among the factors that made the solidarity successful were the worsening economic conditions in the soviet economies.
Though the communist countries witnessed flourishing economic performance in the initial years up to around late 1970s, things changed to the worse. Poverty levels started going up while business was doing badly. Similarly, the proportion of debt as a percentage of the total production was increasing. Consequently, people became disdainful of the communist leaders and were ready to do anything that would extricate them from the harsh conditions. Therefore, when the call of solidarity was made, there were a lot of people ready and willing to be part of the movement. On the same note, communism had lost popularity among people, especially the Poles, who saw it as a way by which Russia was colonizing them. They saw it as a foreign mode of governance that was imposed on them which they should do everything to resist. To them, solidarity was a way of fighting against the evils in society.
In addition, the Polish government had oppressed the church very much. According to the communist government, the church was a way through which the western capitalists wanted to eliminate communism. However, people were strongly attached to the church and the government failed to recognize this. Therefore, when people realized that the church was also involved in the solidarity fight, they decided to fully engage themselves. People were of the idea that the church was a way of advocating for national unity.
Moreover, people had lost trust in the communist government. Most of the promises that the communist government made were not fulfilled. However, solidarity provided an alternative by addressing the specific issues that needed urgent remedy. Additionally, solidarity presented itself to people as being honest, a virtue that people were looking for. Moreover, the action of the Polish government to kill demonstrators who were complaining about price increase gave solidarity an upper hand. That depicted clearly the cruelty of the communist government. On the same note, the solidarity had workers and was able to paralyze production and other functions through striking. They controlled the means of production.
It should be noted that though solidarity was able to significantly weaken the communism government, it was not their aim. Solidarity was never formed to replace the government even though it eventually ended having a majority in parliament. The main aim of solidarity was to change some aspects of government which was undermining the ordinary people. Solidarity’s aim was to improve the way government addressed various issues that affected common citizens in the country. It was formed to act as a voice of people through which workers could present their grievances to the government. People were tired of what they saw as oppression and needed a way of correcting the government. Arguably, solidarity was meant to be a trade union that would check the government and correct it whenever possible.
When communism fell, solidarity was compelled to take a political role. It is crucial to note that this precipitated the fall of the organization, given that it was never prepared for politics. Their political involvement led to internal disagreements, and some leaders resigned. As a result, the popularity of the organization fell. Similarly, the thirsty for power among the leaders of solidarity after the fall of communism made them to fight against each other. As a result, they destroyed one another, and consequently, solidarity’s popularity failed.
Arguably, though people wanted to eliminate communists from an authority, the joy did not last long. Instead, a host of other problems followed. To begin with, capitalism brought with it the struggle of each person to survive. As a result, a wide income gap among citizens of these countries has been generated. There are those who are extremely rich, while others are languishing in poverty. Those who took power after the fall of communism were out to enrich themselves at the expense of the ordinary citizens.
On the same note, the move by various countries to radically replace the communistic structures with capitalistic ones was not immediately successful. Instead of witnessing the benefits that had been witnessed in other capitalistic countries, the reverse was the case. Poverty levels increased among the citizens compared to the preceding years. On the same note, unemployment rates went high due to lack of money to implement various policies. Consequently, living standards declined in the years that followed the fall of communism.
As a matter of fact, the rest of Europe has not been willing to accept the countries from East Europe as part of their group. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the countries from East Europe is lower than those of countries west of the continent. Moreover, East Europe countries encountered significant barriers when they wanted to join various global organizations. They were required to provide assurances that communistic tendencies had been eliminated.
There have also been tensions among various ethnic groups in some countries. Those ethnic groups which felt they were oppressed during the communism years of rule want to be given priority in various issues. They tend to look at the ethnic groups that were favored as enemies of democracy. There are also high crime rates mostly perpetrated by organized gangs. This is an inevitable result of disparity in income.
Notably, the newly elected leaders and politicians after the fall communism gave a lot of promises to the citizens. They were sure that communists were misusing public resources and that is why they were unable to deliver. Unfortunately, these leaders were also unable to deliver. As a result, people lost hope in the new governments. This led to resistance from people against the leaders. Moreover, massive corruption came into being after the exit of communist leaders. People soon lacked confidence in their governments.
Another problem that faced the East European countries after the fall of communism is the rise of the right-wing politicians. These were radical politicians who criticized every move of the government. Protests then became inevitable with the governments finding it difficult to satisfy the needs of people. The result was a lot of distrust of the authorities as well as anything to do with them.
The emergence of communism seemed to bring relieve to the people of Eastern Europe who had suffered greatly during the Second World War. However, people quickly discovered that communism had its downturns which were, probably, more than the advantages. Consequently, they struggled to replace communism with capitalism. The transition was not so smooth either. Nevertheless, it should be known that in the quest for good governance some risks have to be taken.
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In the years that followed the Second World War, there was a call from communists to take control of various countries. Notably, East Europe was a region where the call […]