All told, I tend to be a strong believer that large groups of people are pretty good at achieving and maintaining social, political and economic systems that are pretty comfortable for them. That is, I’m a believer in collective conscious or unconscious cooperation that groups engage in to achieve goals that may be conscious or unconscious.
First step in overthrowing communism…. crash the economy.
I live in a good example of that. When Soviet Socialism was forced upon Poland in 1944 people did not mind a tremendous amount – there was a strong movement towards something like socialism across Europe just after WWII that has largely been pushed down the memory hole. And the country was in such ruins that for a few years economic and social progress was very fast. But in less than 10 years the bloom was off the Socialist Rose which led to the first uprisings against communism in 1956 which were met with violent repression (Poland and then Hungary).
Thus began a long process (in Poland and other countries in the region) where the majority of people began sabotaging the system in various ways whether small or large, public or private, economic, political or artistic. The government began a cycle of loosening then tightening and then re-loosening social and economic restrictions and by the late 1970s the communist system was essentially dead and spent most of the 1980s on artificial life-support until the plug could finally be pulled in 1989.
Contrast that with the Russian Republic of the former USSR. There’s no evidence that any significant percentage of ethnic Russians in the Soviet Union were strongly unhappy with the USSR and since they gained their unwanted post-Soviet country they’ve been fairly successful at rebuilding a Soviet style of governance that the population is comfortable with (as horrifying as that sounds). Does this mean I think they unconsciously made the decision to make sure that post 1991 Russia was a social and political failure so that a Strong Man could pick up the whip and hold it over them and keep them in line (like the Party Leader before him and the Tsar before him). Essentially yeah.
I do believe that sometimes these unconscious goals might be wrong-headed or badly planned or dysfunctional and then the fall out can be long and dispiriting. In Latin America there have been attempts to build European style social welfare states but the attempt is made without the necessary social and educational and economic infrastructure they collapse quickly (Venezuela) or messily (Brazil) and just surviving ends up becoming the new goal.
Mostly, I don’t believe that people are helpless pawns at the individual or societal level and that more often than not societies work for their members, it’s just that the goals that individuals or societies have might not make much sense to outsiders.