Speculative presence – 8
Okay, I don’t want to literally blow up the world.
But I do want to establish an alternative timeline that ends with the Soviet Union realizing a fully developed communist society before 1990, rather than collapsing into an oligarchic-gangster-fascist state run by former KGB operatives or whatever the latest pop theory says happened there.
To remove the collapse of the Soviet Union from my timeline, naturally, I have to remove the benighted leadership of General Secretary Gorbachev and his program of perestroika.
But this means I have to remove about two decades of economic stagnation in the Soviet Union from the timeline under the incompetent management of General Secretary Brezhnev, which made the benighted leadership of General Secretary Gorbachev appear historically necessary, i.e., the necessary form, in hindsight, taken by the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Which brings me back to General Secretary Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev, (born 15 April 1894, died 11 September 1971), revisionist, tankie extraordinaire and the proverbial “drunk uncle in the middle of my wedding” of modern communism.
If few communists want to be identified with Stalin today, it’s because of Khrushchev, who, in 1956, gave a secret address detailing what he said were the crimes of Stalin. So it is odd that, despite Stalin’s infamy, no one identifies with the guy who denounced him.
That is, it’s odd until you realize that a lot of the things people claim to be the crimes of “stalinists”, like the invasion of Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan, the Berlin wall, etc., were committed not by Stalin, but by the people who denounced Stalin.
The tankies, like those who hate them, hate Stalin.
Stalin never invaded anyone who didn’t attack the Soviet Union first.
But commies fight over complete bullshit. And commies will still fight even in my speculative fictional alternative future communist society over complete bullshit.
That’s another thing that makes my speculative fictional alternative future communist society interesting: people just do dumb shit that makes no sense because — dumb.
But back to Sergeyevich. Yes, he denounced Stalin, but I don’t hold that against him. I don’t have a dog in that fight. I wasn’t there. He invaded Hungary and I wasn’t there either. It probably was the wrong thing to do, but he did it. Proletarians don’t always do the right thing. Sometimes they do evil shit too.
Which is why proletarian women will tell you to never leave your drink untended when you use the bathroom at the club.
My reason for saving Sergeyevich is rather selfish. I need Sergeyevich in this story because he seems to be the last figure in the Soviet Union’s leadership who realizes the connection between labor and communism. After he is removed from his position as General Secretary, things quickly go down hill to collapse.
After Sergeyevich is removed, the Soviet leadership reneges on its commitment to reducing hours of labor and its stated goal of a fifteen hours work week by 1980. The reason for this about face may be that the workers gain increasing social power to resist the demands of the enterprise management.
It is possible that both the management of the enterprises and the military are concerned that emphasis on heavy industry will be lost as workers demand more consumer goods.
This is just speculation on my part, of course. But I can use it to fill in the gaps in the narrative.
I want a different outcome. I want the Soviet leadership to stick to its commitment to reducing hours of labor. This means the military has to stand down. Sergeyevich, who was present during the Great Patriotic War, can force them to stand down.
Moreover, the Soviet Union has the weapon to guarantee its survival in the face of US military aggression. To prove it, Sergeyevich orders a full scale demonstration of Tsar Bomba.
Although it won’t be known for decades, the event creates two world timelines.
In timeline one, history unfolds as we know it and the Soviet Union collapses.
In timeline two, the Soviet Union goes on to create the first communist society, with all the implications that event has for the world market.
The narrator follows timeline two, of course. So we get to spend a lot of time watching the Soviet Union develop into a fully communist society. Then, quite by accident, the shocking discovery of timeline one occurs in 2020. The discovery is not a surprise to us, of course. We know we are here. But what will they make of us? How will they explain what has happened.
And what, if anything, will they try to do about it?