Soviet Trade Unions and Propaganda
Soviet Trade Unions and Propaganda

Soviet Trade Unions and Propaganda

January 1 st 1984

The Soviet embassy in Ottawa emits a steady stream of news releases and reports extolling the virtues of life in the Soviet Union. It is worthwhile to take a closer look at this material and to compare it with reality.

A news release of December 12, 1983 issued by TASS in Moscow quotes Valentin Makeyev, secretary of the Central Council of Soviet Trade Unions, as saying: "Our conception of human rights includes the right to life as its most important and indispensable element. . ." The basis of the freedom of the personality here [under socialism] is the elimination of exploitation, the abolition of the private ownership of the means of production, and the placing of political power into the hands of the working people. . . . The Soviet people do not know the feeling of fear of the morrow, the fear of becoming unemployed and homeless, of living without medical assistance and without social security in old age."

Soviet publications harshly accuse the United States of aggressive policies and invariably depict American society as oppressive and one in which human riqhts are systematically violated, in contrast to the freedoms enjoyed under the U.S.S.R.'s constitution. A TASS news release of December 8, 1983 quotes Valentin Ruben, Chairman of the Soviet of Nationalities, as saying: "no one in our country has been or can be convicted for thoughts and views, even if they contradict the generally accepted views. It is not 'dissidents' that are prosecuted by law but anti-social criminals."

Another Soviet trade union official, S. Shalayev, in a speech printed in Pravda on October 12, 1983, claims that Soviet trade unions have a say in the distribution of national income and many other issues, although, he admits the appropriate state organization must make the final decision Shalayev states that the role of trade unions, in keeping with Communist doctrine, is in the first place to function as a school of Communism. "The Soviet trade unions will be faithful to communist ideals in the future, too, undeviatingly following the Leninist course in unity with the Party," says Shalayev. And so it goes. The Soviet embassy will gladly provide you with a stream of propaganda. Just write to the Press Office of the U S.S.R. Embassy at 400 Stewart St., Apt 1108, Ottawa, ON K1N 6L2 and ask to be placed on the mailing list.

The truth is, of course, entirely different from what the official publications proclaim. Instead of freedom and democracy there is, as many witnesses and victims have testified, constant oppression and manipulation. The Big Lie is an essential part of totalitarianism. As the Polish born Leszek Kolakowski has written, Communism needs the lie in order to destroy people's ability to distinguish between truth and falsehood. When that awareness disappears, the state can determine what is "true." Recent events in Poland have clearly revealed the deception of Communist totalitarianism. Kolakowski observes: "Indeed, the fact that the Communist tyranny in Poland no longer even tries to assert its legitimacy, and that it has been compelled to appear ithout ideological disguise in naked acts of violence, is itself a spectacular symptom of the decay of a totalitarian power system" (Leszek Kolakowski, "Totalitarianism & the Lie," Commentary, May 1983, p. 38).

Harry Antonides
Harry Antonides

Harry Antonides came to Canada in 1948, initially working as a farm hand and railway labourer. After over a decade working in a chemical plant in Sarnia, Ontario, Harry joined the newly forming Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC) in 1962 as a field representative. By 1970 Harry became director of research and education. In 1974, he was a founding member of the Work Research Foundation (now Cardus) and publisher of their sole publication, Comment magazine. A prolific writer and dynamic speaker, Harry delivered lectures all over North America and published numerous articles, reviews, and essays. He is author of several books on Christianity, labour, and economics, including Multinationals and the Peacable Kingdom (1978) and Stones for Bread: The Social Gospel and its Contemporary Legacy (1985). Harry is retired and lives with his wife Janet in Willowdale, Ontario.


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