So. The 100th anniversary of the October Revolution. We are all children of that revolution because so much of what we do was defined by it.
It’s more than probable that the Western capitalism would not have embraced the welfare state and would not have accommodated the wishes of organized labor like it did if it remained completely uncontested by any existing state ideology. This possibility is supported by the retreat of the welfare state and the weakening of labor after the collapse of the Soviet system.
On the other hand, the uncontestable failure of the Soviet alternative makes it very hard for the Left to try to articulate any way forward that lies outside seeking cosmetic changes to the dominant capitalist ideology.
The most enthusiastically pro-capitalist and rabidly Ayn-Randian folks don’t come from Wall Street. They come from the ranks of those who stood in 3-hour lines for toilet paper in the USSR. And this is the greatest testimony to the utter failure of the Soviet system to compete with seductive capitalism. Whether the Left will be able to restore itself from the crushing blow of the Soviet failure remains to be seen. But the number one prerequisite for that is knowing and understanding the legacy of the October Revolution.