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Thread: The Legacy of Stalin and Stalin's U.S.S.R

  1. #31
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    Default Re: The Legacy of Stalin and Stalin's U.S.S.R

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Lord View Post
    With more accurate figures coming to light even the most hardened anticommunist academic these days is hard put to arrive at an estimate of "excess deaths" in the Soviet Union during the 1930's that exceeds 5 million. This includes everything collectivisation, famine, labour camps, executions, etc. The majority of this is attributed to collectivisation. While a great deal less than the many tens of millions that used to be bandied about willy nilly this is still a great many people and would be equivalent to about 3% of the 1930 population. (I cannot comment on the accuracy of these "excess deaths" studies as I have no expertise in this field but would note that even with supposedly more accurate information available since the collapse of the Soviet Union they still vary greatly). It is possible that the Soviet Union would have been able to make the gains and be in a position to withstand foreign aggression, etc. without any harsh measures being adopted but this is unlikely in my estimation. Collectivisation, for example, was certainly required it seems to me if socialism was to be built. That the Kulacks resisted is an unfortunate fact of history. What can be said for sure that policies enacted, the laws passed, etc. in order to build socialism were not the doing of one man... and to put the responsibility for everything on his shoulders and label him a mass murderer is just trite. Any loss of life the accrued was in the course of a people trying to build a new society. Anyone who thinks that a socialist society will be built anywhere on this planet with significant loss of life is living in cloud cuckoo land.

    What is of interest to me is why the 1930's in the Soviet Union is the subject of so much research in "excess deaths" compared to, say, Russia in the decade after the collapse of the Soviet Union. I would note that at no stage in it's history did the population of the Soviet Union decline yet after the collapse of the Soviet Union the population of Russia dropped at an alarming rate for over a decade, at about a 0.5% annual rate, or some 750,000 to 800,000 people a year. The increased mortality rate which significantly underlay this decline was a result of specific policies introduced (see link below) sometimes called "Shock Therapy." Yet no one seems to be doing studies determining "excess deaths" in Russia, or the Ukraine (even worse) as another example and pointing to those in charge of the IMF as mass murderers.

    http://www.thelancet.com/journals/la...005-2/fulltext

    I also hope someone will do a study of "excess death" rates in Greece sometime in the future.
    This is crazy crazy stuff.

    Socialism is only possible if we kill off a section of the population essentially is what this is saying.

    Outrageous that this can be accepted without being challenged.

    If this was the talk of a Fascist everybody would be screaming murder. Wasn't Hitler trying to 'build a new society' where Jews and disabled people and homosexuals weren't necessary? Sounds to me like this is advocating the killing of capitalists or men of property, which while an understandable sentiment, is still somewhat insane.

    It seems to me that this type of view supports such a thing as 'necessary' while anybody opposing the killing of said groups of people is 'living in cloud cuckoo land'.

    Am I the only one who finds this view sickening, to put it mildly?

    I often wonder how working class or humane some supposed communists are when they come out with stuff like this. Attacking what you see as revisionism is one thing. Saying the killing of people is inevitable is another.

    No person of the left would advocate the killing of anyone as inevitable. Indeed no right minded human being would.
    Last edited by Apjp; 05-03-2015 at 01:03 PM.

  2. #32
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    Default Re: The Legacy of Stalin and Stalin's U.S.S.R

    Quote Originally Posted by Apjp View Post
    Your politics come across as pretty extreme attaching labels to everyone you don't like in a fairly pejorative and snobbish way.

    I think moderators should not be allowed to get away with this. It's also unfair on CF(the target of this post) who has not claimed to be a 'Trotskyite' afaik but a socialist.
    Trotskyite is not a term of abuse. It is simply another way of saying Trotskyist which those who follow Leon Trotsky are happy to be acknowledged as. I change it not to abuse anyone but to be more accurate in terminology as something that ends in "ist" (Marxist, chemist, physisist, etc.) generally indicates an adherence to something scientific.

    I cannot say that CF has ever claimed to be a "Trotskyist" but that is what her positions have consistently been ever since I started posting on this site and that is a long time ... so I am not attaching any "label".

    Quote Originally Posted by Apjp View Post
    I am interested in Stalin's role or non-role in the Warsaw Uprising and the decision taken by the Red Army to wait on the edge of the city while the Nazis blew it to bits when they could probably have moved in much earlier and saved thousands of civilians' lives.
    The facts of this have been pointed out so many times it is simply astonishing to see someone still raising this old canard.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apjp View Post
    Also if I am allowed make another request, we should probably look at his relations with Tito as they are interesting in the context of Soviet Block and Socialist Block politics after the war.
    Stalin did not have "relations with Tito", he was not that way inclined to my knowledge. The relations of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia I would be happy to join you in looking at.
    Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the (female dog) that bore him is in heat again. Bertolt Brecht

  3. #33
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    Default Re: The Legacy of Stalin and Stalin's U.S.S.R

    Stalin's Foundations of Leninism is essential reading for anyone who wants to get an accurate grasp of his perspective on things, and his ideology. As already mentioned, Marxism and the national question is also of the utmost importance, and a demonstration of Stalin's theoretical importance (I've even heard someone from a Militant background say it was Lenin who wrote it, a backhanded compliment if ever there were one).

    If you are look for a book about Stalin's thought, Erik Van Ree has written a well-regarded book called The Political Thought of Joseph Stalin that takes him seriously as a thinker. It's in paperback. Ree seems to be an ex-Maoist, and there is something of the personal rejection of his past, but it is a serious book. Probably the best place to start if you are interested in what people have written about Stalin's ideas.

  4. #34
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    Default Re: The Legacy of Stalin and Stalin's U.S.S.R

    Yugoslavia post-war compared to the USSR is definitely worth a look.

    Most of what I'm reading now though is focusing on Polish history, which I might open a thread on at some point, but it overlaps with Russian and Soviet History a good bit too.

    I still do not understand your comment regarding killing being a necessity when creating a Socialist State. Would any other socialist care to take on that view or am I alone in thinking it's too much?

  5. #35
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    Default Re: The Legacy of Stalin and Stalin's U.S.S.R

    Quote Originally Posted by Apjp View Post

    Socialism is only possible if we kill off a section of the population essentially is what this is saying.
    No it's not.
    Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the (female dog) that bore him is in heat again. Bertolt Brecht

  6. #36
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    Default Re: The Legacy of Stalin and Stalin's U.S.S.R

    Quote Originally Posted by Garibaldy View Post
    Stalin's Foundations of Leninism is essential reading for anyone who wants to get an accurate grasp of his perspective on things, and his ideology.
    Yes, very clear and accessible.

    If you are look for a book about Stalin's thought, Erik Van Ree has written a well-regarded book called The Political Thought of Joseph Stalin that takes him seriously as a thinker. It's in paperback. Ree seems to be an ex-Maoist, and there is something of the personal rejection of his past, but it is a serious book. Probably the best place to start if you are interested in what people have written about Stalin's ideas.
    Haven't heard of it. Will have a look.
    Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the (female dog) that bore him is in heat again. Bertolt Brecht

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    Default Re: The Legacy of Stalin and Stalin's U.S.S.R

    Quote Originally Posted by Apjp View Post
    Yugoslavia post-war compared to the USSR is definitely worth a look.

    Most of what I'm reading now though is focusing on Polish history, which I might open a thread on at some point, but it overlaps with Russian and Soviet History a good bit too.

    I still do not understand your comment regarding killing being a necessity when creating a Socialist State. Would any other socialist care to take on that view or am I alone in thinking it's too much?
    I do not see that as a necessity. Capitalism depends on the labour of the working class. Hence, if the working class withdraws its labour from the system, it can be brought down. That's obviously a big "if", but, still, I see no reason in principle why violence is necessary to bring down capitalism. As for building a socialist society, there have been other Socialist countries which didn't see violence on anywhere near the scale that was seen under Stalin. Cuba would be a good example (although they are moving away from Socialism at the moment).

  8. #38
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    Default Re: The Legacy of Stalin and Stalin's U.S.S.R

    Cork University prof. has book on Stalin banned by the Sorbonne Library. Wtf.

    http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland...ne-313579.html
    Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the (female dog) that bore him is in heat again. Bertolt Brecht

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    Default Re: The Legacy of Stalin and Stalin's U.S.S.R

    [QUOTE]
    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Lord View Post
    Trotskyite is not a term of abuse. It is simply another way of saying Trotskyist which those who follow Leon Trotsky are happy to be acknowledged as. I change it not to abuse anyone but to be more accurate in terminology as something that ends in "ist" (Marxist, chemist, physisist, etc.) generally indicates an adherence to something scientific.

    I cannot say that CF has ever claimed to be a "Trotskyist" but that is what her positions have consistently been ever since I started posting on this site and that is a long time ... so I am not attaching any "label".
    It is not that long since you professed never to have read anything by Trotsky, so unless that has changed I'm not sure how you could judge on that. You can hardly be basing it either on uncritical admiration for the politics and practice of the SP and SWP.

    It would be correct to say that I generally think Marx and Lenin were the most important developers of socialist theory, but what I would aspire to is scientific socialism, rather than an ideology attached to one or other individual.
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
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  10. #40
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    Default Re: The Legacy of Stalin and Stalin's U.S.S.R

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Lord View Post
    Cork University prof. has book on Stalin banned by the Sorbonne Library. Wtf.

    http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland...ne-313579.html
    That is pretty bad - published by Yale, black listed by the Sorbonne.

    Any Sorbonne students or staff reading here who would make a complaint ?
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

  11. #41
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    Default Re: The Legacy of Stalin and Stalin's U.S.S.R

    Quote Originally Posted by Ceannaire View Post
    I do not see that as a necessity. Capitalism depends on the labour of the working class. Hence, if the working class withdraws its labour from the system, it can be brought down. That's obviously a big "if", but, still, I see no reason in principle why violence is necessary to bring down capitalism. As for building a socialist society, there have been other Socialist countries which didn't see violence on anywhere near the scale that was seen under Stalin. Cuba would be a good example (although they are moving away from Socialism at the moment).
    It is generally the other way around - capitalist states carry out violence against peoples who make any attempt to move towards socialism.

    Soviet Russia, that had only just got out of WW1, had to defend itself on 15 fronts from foreign backed White armies.

    At the other end of things, the Greek people are being threatened with starvation for electing a reformist socialist government.
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

  12. #42
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    Default Re: The Legacy of Stalin and Stalin's U.S.S.R

    Stalin had about 20,000 books in his personal library. Many of these were copiously annotated. These are in the process of being digitalised and made available on-line. You will need to read Russian though.

    An aspirant Bolshevik intellectual, Stalin was an avid reader. His reading focussed naturally on left-wing publications but from an early age he devoured the classics of Russian and western fiction - Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Gogol, Chekhov, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Schiller, Heine, Hugo, Thackeray and Balzac. In the 1920s much of Stalin’s reading concentrated on the writings of his rivals in the struggle for the succession to Lenin – Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev and Bukharin. Another preoccupation was the history of revolutionary movements in other countries. In the 1930s his attention switched to Soviet literature – to the post-revolutionary writings of Maxim Gorky, Alexander Fadeev, Aleksei Tolstoy, Iliya Ehrenburg, Isaac Babel and Mikhail Shokolov. Aside from revolutionary writings and fiction, Stalin also had enduring interests in History, Philosophy, Economics, Linguistics, Science and military affairs. After the Second World War he made a number of notable interventions in debates about genetics, military strategy, socialist economics and linguistic theory.
    http://www.stalindigitalarchive.com/...nd/node/135125
    Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the (female dog) that bore him is in heat again. Bertolt Brecht

  13. #43
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    Default Re: The Legacy of Stalin and Stalin's U.S.S.R

    Quote Originally Posted by Garibaldy View Post

    If you are look for a book about Stalin's thought, Erik Van Ree has written a well-regarded book called The Political Thought of Joseph Stalin that takes him seriously as a thinker. It's in paperback. Ree seems to be an ex-Maoist, and there is something of the personal rejection of his past, but it is a serious book. Probably the best place to start if you are interested in what people have written about Stalin's ideas.

    Comprehensive review here:

    http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews/review/
    Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the (female dog) that bore him is in heat again. Bertolt Brecht

  14. #44
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    Default Re: The Legacy of Stalin and Stalin's U.S.S.R

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Flower View Post
    For that to be at all useful

    a) it would need to be sourced or linked, so some idea of context could be got e.g. - Did all of this come from one or two speeches? Did Lenin himself change his position on any of the contested questions ? Or is it representative of a consistent and constant disagreement between Lenin and Trotsky throughout the whole of Lenin's life ?

    b) it would need to be on a thread about Trotskyism.

    I would warmly invite you to start one, based on your post, if you like.
    You are absolutely correct CF

    Most of the quotes come from the period of 1911 and before - some go back to 1903.

    All of been answered on numerous occasions in the past - the most comprehensive reply I have read is here -
    https://www.marxists.org/archive/gra.../lat/index.htm

    And you are correct - the thread is about Stalin and the best critique of Stalinism is the 'Revolution Betrayed' that I linked to earlier.

    Trotsky also wrote an incomplete biography of Stalin (he was assassinated before he could finish it) and even in its incomplete state it deals comprehensively with the life and evolution of Stalin.

    https://www.marxists.org/archive/tro...940/xx/stalin/

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    Default Re: The Legacy of Stalin and Stalin's U.S.S.R

    Quote Originally Posted by Ceannaire View Post
    I do not see that as a necessity. Capitalism depends on the labour of the working class. Hence, if the working class withdraws its labour from the system, it can be brought down. That's obviously a big "if", but, still, I see no reason in principle why violence is necessary to bring down capitalism. As for building a socialist society, there have been other Socialist countries which didn't see violence on anywhere near the scale that was seen under Stalin. Cuba would be a good example (although they are moving away from Socialism at the moment).
    What happens when the "system" starts bashing the heads of the working class in for refusing to serve? Fanciful stuff (sadly) the idea that they will just peaceful accept their loss of power and privilege. Revolutions are violent affairs.

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