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Short article on the true figures of Stalin's repressions


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#21 Varangian

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Posted 12 July 2003 - 03:24 PM

Comintern was not the only international socialist organization. Trotsky had considerable prestige and influence, otherwise, why would Stalin have ordered his murder 1/2 the world away. Trotsky was a menshevik during the Plekhanov debate of the '90s. I agree that bolshevism was a departure from the traditional Marxist view, but Marx had been long dead. Lenin's description of the international division of labor is acceptable Marxist analysis. Trotsky's theory of permanent revolution is also based on dialectical materialism. By no stretch of the imagination, however, can you claim Stalin's 'socialism in one country' is anything but revisionism.
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#22 Stakhanov's Car

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Posted 12 July 2003 - 03:49 PM

By no stretch of the imagination, however, can you claim Stalin's 'socialism in one country' is anything but revisionism

***

True, but he industrialised the Soviet Union and won the War. (Well, the people did under his leadership!) Nothing else mattered. Because there would have been nothing left had the enemy won. Trotsky was a clever man and a brave one too. But, he was a truly lousy politician and an equally lousy Russian! After the Tenth Party Congress' ban on "factions" (which Trotsky supported!) any divergent views became an anathema to the nomenklatura. After Collectivisation, the party lost it's last vestiges of intra-party democracy. The rise of fascism made any criticism, whatever the source or the intentions, a liability. Trotsky, like Bukharin and many other distinguished thinkers, never grasped that the refusal to "disarm" amounted to giving succour to one's enemies. Stalin even tried to save Bukharin's life three times but the Party demanded blood. Trotsky never understood "Partiinost", he thought it didn't apply to him. He was wrong it applied to everyone. How long would Stalin have lasted if he hadn't articulated what the nomenklatura were saying? Not very long!

There was only one effective international socialist body and that was the USSR and it controlled one sixth of the globe! Who cares what a few scattered and disparate intellectuals were up to at the time!

If, Stalin had a direct hand in Trotsky's assassination then it was done purely out of spite; a personal characteristic which he had an abundance of.
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#23 Varangian

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Posted 12 July 2003 - 04:07 PM

Trotsky's prestige was always strongest outside Russia, as a writer and theorist. In the 30's, there was a strong socialist movement outside Russia ( Mao in China, the IWW in America, and various groups in western Europe). I agree that Stalin's industrialization of the USSR during this period enabled it to withstand Hitler's invasion, but by then, the 2 systems had more in common than differences.
If you want to rehabilitate Stalin's reputation, that's your business. But don't try to make him a hero of the people. He belongs more in the tradition of Muscovite despots that goes back to the Tatar khans, than to the international socialist struggle.
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#24 Stakhanov's Car

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Posted 12 July 2003 - 05:01 PM

He belongs more in the tradition of Muscovite despots that goes back to the Tatar khans, than to the international socialist struggle.

***

Some truth in what you say. I am not actually interested in "rehabilitating" Stalin but rather the people who carried out what became known as "Stalinism". Stalin was just one cog in the machine. People pay him far too much respect. He was never a "dictator". The Party was too powerful, Soviet society too complex and the country too vast for one man to have absolute control. It is too simplistic and owes more to the vanity of intellectual commentators than anything else.
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#25 Varangian

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Posted 12 July 2003 - 05:46 PM

Fair enough. The party did enfranchise a far greater number of people than the previous system (and since). My concern is for the future of the left. Nostalgia for the good ole' days of Stalin may be tempting to some, but it obscures the lessons of history.
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#26 machlud haul

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Posted 21 July 2003 - 12:26 PM

Slightly off topic, but what the hell, let's have one for the road!

A restoration would be an interesting attempt in today's conditions - what would Stalin actually do? Or more interestingly what would Lenin do? Obviously not what the "communists" in the official party are doing which, basically, is absolutely nothing. Without a strict orthodoxy of doctrine, everything is surrendered however fiery and defiant the irrelevant rhetoric. Words don't count, nostalgia warms the heart, lifts the spirit and changes nothing. What is actually to be done? Ok, I suppose it's just wounded pride, just a bit of Soviet contaminated old fashioned, honest illiberal Russian nationalism. (We know the quality.) But is it even then any better? "These fragments I have shored against my ruins" - lots of words, lots of attitude: it is more therapy than serious argument. But how serious is even argument when THIS is the grand, awful subject? Only action counts. Anything else is just words, just therapy. It makes you feel better no doubt: at least in words there is a sort of counterattack, at least participation in a nostalgic sacrament. This is true comfort, this is reassurance - were they living in comfort, in reassurance? Action is the only currency. It is fascinating to observe these believers, so carefully shielding themselves from the harsh light of reality, dealing then in the wrong currency, having no credit, using the humanist language of the enemy, logically failing. You are not supposed to debate facts, you are supposed to create them! Useless! (You don't even honor your subject: I suspect you wouldn't enjoy the lash at all...) But anyway, if you should ever get bored of your garbage, contemplate Yeats contemplating history:

Hearts with one purpose alone
Through summer and winter, seem
Enchanted to a stone
To trouble the living stream.
The horse that comes from the road,
The rider, the birds that range
From cloud to tumbling cloud,
Minute by minute change.
A shadow of cloud on the stream
Changes minute by minute;
A horse-hoof slides on the brim;
And a horse plashes within it
Where long-legged moor-hens dive
And hens to moor-cocks call.
Minute by minute they live:
The stone's in the midst of all.

Or, say Wallace Stevens - or maybe even my personal favourite, Charles Sorley going so clear eyed to his death: the list is long and the quality certainly high. Very crisp, clean air, not totally comforting landscapes, true, but breathtakingly beautiful nevertheless. There is a certain grandeur in unblinking honesty and openness - try it once, my friends and comrades!
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#27 machlud haul

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Posted 22 July 2003 - 04:09 AM

No, it was just one for the road: the office air conditioned and boring and commerce not a very meaningful master. A little sport to lighten a heavy day. But I doubt if the vegetation ever would abound with forms for you - and if it doesn't, the game is already up, almost before it began. That is truly a detailed exploration in the meaning of the word failure. But not my area or great concern, just one for the road. Enjoy your discussions!
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#28 machlud haul

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Posted 22 July 2003 - 07:58 AM

Hi! (A Stevensian beginning!) It's quite an impersonal "you" - free for adoption though, so if you feel the need, go ahead. But a good point about the job: there is a certain urge to change the track altogether. Would there be a way of living that would be outside the most feverish, meaningless change? A more valuable, more constant life to be lived? Well, I know there is, but I am not a fanatic or without attachments. It is not easy to be free of a civilization (you should undoubtedly know). If you feel the contempt, it must be for a reason, if not, there should not be much to protest. Well, be that as it may: aren't you ever curious about the experience in history, the emotions, the deeds behind the figures and footnotes? It seems that a failure of intelligence is often a failure of imagination - curious! So, as you can see, another fairly disposable day here - it is a veritable tragedy to sacrifice such hours to such activities! Eliot, I suppose, made poetry out of that conflict, but I am preaching boringly about delusions that anyone with intelligence will know to be such in any case. What would Nietzsche say? There is something in that ranting that even though makes a connection - a demand for absolute independence, maybe. Am not an expert, read a biography of Himmler lately and the disgusting Nietzschean demotic was very discernible in that particular slaughterhouse. So, don't attempt this at home: he's perfect for anti-liberalism - curious that a certain bit of him seems not. I suppose I am trying to map out the true parametres of meaningful life, trying simultaneously to retain a certain Humean scepticism about the effort - and the conclusions. All the same, this cannot be done for you by the civilization. (There I would suspect many would need some lessons - you can adopt this accusation too if you feel like it.) Uncomfortable is that I think that it is not possible for any person either, this sort of independence. So, I think I am mistaken in any case to some degree at least, not about history which is relatively objective in its broad outline, in its dyings and killings, but about the capabilities. In which way we are and are not limited by structures outside any control - can you say?

Edit: one also too many
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#29 Stakhanov's Car

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Posted 03 September 2003 - 12:23 AM

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#30 lolomarsei

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Posted 16 December 2004 - 10:18 AM

no, communism is not for sharing women
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