Ethics & International Affairs Volume 4 (1990): Special Section on Human Rights and Democratic Values: Marxism and Morality: Reflections on the Revolutions of 1989 [Abstract]

Dec 2, 1990

Can the momentous events in Tianamen Square and the revolutionary changes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe be seen as the inevitable triumph of one political ideology over another? Was there a political morality of "Official Communism"? The author identifies the features and framework within which Marxism endured, particularly as a promise of "political emancipation" whereby the individual would achieve "universal freedom" from capitalism and slavery through cooperation and struggle. Yet, ultimately, the pluralist-led events of 1989 demonstrated that protests were aimed at achieving justice, fairness, and identity in the name of the "people," a refutation of oppression and the arbitrary allocation of resources and advantages by the nomenklatura. The author contends that the Marxist morality failed because it didn't deliver on its promises.

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