The Address Edit
"Sisters, Brothers, Comrades both present and future, I welcome you. I understand that many of you are curious, apprehensive, and even perhaps fearful of what will be said today, and no wonder. This is, after all, the first public address made by the General Secretary since the Drowning of Warsaw. There have even been if what I have been told is true, rumors that I do not exist, and the USSR is being run by, depending on the story, the capitalists, the ghost of Trotsky, or sentient computers. I am afraid that I will have to disappoint those of you who would have preferred such a situation, though, I believe that Trotsky's ghost can be found wandering his museum in Mexico if you wish to have additional proof.
One hundred years ago today, the October Revolution began. It was founded on the Marxist ideal that it should be the workers, the producers, who enjoyed the benefits of their own labor. Not the wealthy landowners who never worked a day in their lives, and yet held the lives of those who did in their hands. That ideal is still very relevant today, as corporations gain rights above those of citizens in the USA. Apparently, the right to free speech extends to the purchasing of elections there. Though I mock this development as the natural outcome of the shortsighted capitalism that our longtime rival espouses, we also are responsible for this to a degree. Though it was necessary after the chaos of the Awakening Insurrections, our seclusion, and absence from the world stage removed the alternative to capitalism that prevented the worst of its excesses. As long as we existed as a viable and preferable alternative, the capitalists did not dare allow themselves the worst of their desired excesses, knowing that always if they pushed their workers too far, we would be there to support the revolution. Today, I announce that we once more shall fulfill that duty, and furthermore, I announce the recreation of ComIntern. Now, and forevermore, all those who wish for a more equal future can be assured that we will assist them in creating it, as is our duty.
But for us to fulfill that duty, we must truly exist as a preferable alternative. We must be an example of freedom and equality that the capitalists will envy and desire to match, in vain. And for too long, we have failed in this task. For too long, we have been bound by the shackles that the first General Secretary laid on our civilization from the very beginning. Even Lenin, the one who started it all, was shortsighted and obsessed with his own ideas of revolution and order. Such shortsightedness has resulted in suffering on an unimaginable level, such as the Holodomor, the insult that is North Korea, and the horrors that Mao Zedong inflicted upon his own country. Thus, we must return to communism as it was intended to be, not this twisted autocracy that hides under communism's guise. Perhaps, however, I judge the founders of our country too harshly. They were, after all, trying to create a society under circumstances that Marx himself never foresaw. Marx believed that the revolution and creation of communism would occur in an industrialized country, which Russia was not at the time. Furthermore, and most critically, the society Marx called for had no state.
My very existence then is a product of the contradiction of the state. For, in this world dominated by nations governed by a single state, should we not have one ourselves we would be hopelessly incapable of organizing, coordinating, and defending ourselves as they do. A stateless society can only exist when there are no threats to it, otherwise, it is doomed to fall. And yet, the existence of a state is in direct opposition to the idea of a classless society. For with a state, comes politicians, rulers, a class above all the rest. As long as we have a state, we cannot achieve communism as Marx intended it. But, should we not possess one, then we would not achieve it before being conquered by those who would see it remain a dream. This contradiction has proven to be the greatest problem that we must overcome to achieve our goal. But, I believe that we can overcome it.
We cannot eliminate class, not as we are. Until the day when the Soviet Union faces no external threats, the state must remain. But if classes cannot be eliminated, then we must eliminate the borders between them. If politicians are necessary, then there must be no barriers to prevent our citizens from becoming them if they so wish. Education must be free to all, the tri-net must become an uncensored source of information and place of discourse, all must have access to the materials and tools they require to achieve the position in society that they desire. A daughter of a farmer must know that the only thing she must do to become a scientist is to avail herself of the resources available to her. The son of a doctor must not be prevented from becoming an agricultural worker simply due to the position his family occupies.
In conclusion, these changes will require a revolution as great as the one our ancestors undertook one hundred years ago. It is my hope that they will be less destructive. But they are necessary if we are to fulfill the role we have chosen to take in this world. Our history is one fraught with pain and anguish produced by the contradiction between reality and our ideals, and if we wish to survive, we must resolve that contradiction. I believe that we are capable of that. This is the nation that fought off the most barbaric assault ever seen in the history of the world. This is the nation that, after losing fifty civilians and soldiers for each soldier that our rival lost, rose to match them within ten years. We are the people who have survived for centuries living in a land too harsh for others to bear. Our history is one of overcoming suffering, of overcoming adversity, and even though this challenge is a great one, we shall, once again, overcome."
Reaction to the speech was mixed. On one hand, many outside the Soviet Union saw it as a sugarcoated declaration of war on their way of life. ComInterns support of revolutionaries was one thing that had not been missed at all during the years of its absence, and its recreation was met with a great deal of anger. Within the Soviet Union, the speech met similarly mixed reactions. While the choice not to speak the name of Stalin and thus uphold the policy of damnatio memoriae which had been previously viewed as a simple concession to appease the Ukranian SFSR was met with praise, as was referring to the famines of 1930-33 as a genocide, the rest of the speech was met with a healthy degree of skepticism, and some worry. Aside from Gorbachev's short-lived attempt at reform, the Soviet Union had seen very little progress away from Stalinism since the initial period of de-Stalinization. The speech was thus taken with several barrels of salt, and seen by many to be simply more platitudes and guarantees from a government that did not intend to fulfill them. Few objected to the ideas within the speech, but most expected little to come of it.
That expectation was not borne out, though others were. The next few months saw almost a third of the party structure being arrested on corruption charges, culminating in the abolishment of the position of General Secretary. The government itself did not escape unscathed, with several entire departments, including the majority of GosPlan being shut down entirely due to being redundant and inefficient due to the advent of computers. This "second great purge" lasted for three years and by the end, very few of the original party upper echelons were left in their positions, the rest either arrested or "voluntarily" retired. Though many decried it as simple consolidation of power on the level of Stalin, simply whitewashed and with fewer deaths, the support of the KGB, especially its metahuman division, all but ensured that any resistance, armed or otherwise, would be swiftly dealt with. This did nothing to dispel the worries of many. But, those worries were irrelevant, as by 2020 there were few left both willing to and capable of objecting to the radical changes in the economy proposed by the Eighteenth Five-Year Plan.