40 Helpful Tips For Anti-Communists

Thanks to Dustin for this.

by J. Slavyanski

1. Constantly insist that Marxism is discredited, outdated, and totally dead and buried. Then proceed to build a lucrative career on beating that supposedly ‘dead’ horse for the rest of your working life.

2. Remember, any unnatural death that occurs under a ‘Communist’ regime is not only attributable to the leaders of the state, but also Marxism as an ideology. Ignore deaths that occur for the same reason in non-Communist states.

3. Communism or Marxism is whatever you want it to be. Feel free to label countries, movements, and regimes as ‘Communist’ regardless of things like actual goals, stated ideology, diplomatic relations, economic policy, or property relations.

4. If there was a conflict involving Communists, the conflict and all ensuing deaths can be laid at the feet of Communism. Be careful when applying this to WWII. Fascist movements who fought against the Soviets or Communist partisans are fine, but try not to openly praise Nazi Germany. Save that for private conversations if you must do so.

5. You decide what Marxism “really means”, and who the rightful representatives of Communism were. Feign interest that Trotsky was somehow robbed of power by Stalin, despite the fact that you hate him as well.

6. Constantly talk about George Orwell. Quote from Animal Farm or 1984. Do not worry about the fact that Orwell never set foot in the Soviet Union and both of those books are novels.

 7. Quote massive death tolls without regards to demographics or consistency. 3 million famine deaths? 7 million? 10 million? 100 million deaths total? You need not worry about anyone checking your work, which is good for you seeing that you probably haven’t done any.

8. Everyone ever arrested under a Communist regime was most likely innocent of any crime. Communists only arrested harmless poets and political prophets who had a beautiful message to share with the world.

9. Everything Stalin did or didn’t do had some sinister ulterior motive. Everything.

10. Keeping with the spirit of #9, remember that Stalin was an omnipotent being, perhaps an incarnation of the Hindu deity Vishnu, who had full awareness of everything going on in the Soviet Union and total control over every occurrence which took place between 1924 and 1953. Everything that occurred during that time was the will of Stalin. Stalin knew the exact details of every criminal case that took place during that era and out of his boundless cruelty, had tons of innocent people shot for no reason regardless of where they were or their position in life. Being omnipotent, he was not dependent on information passed up from tens of thousands of subordinates.

11. Constantly attack ‘Communist’ regimes for actions that occur in capitalist regimes up to this very day.

12. Claim that Marxism is utopian because of its description of a possible future society. Alternately claim that Marxism failed because it never gave a detailed description of how a Communist society would look. Do not pay attention to the massive contradiction here.

13. Start referring to Marxism as being some kind of religious faith, Messianic, or whatever other spiritualist bullshit you can come up with. When people point out that you can draw similarities between virtually any political ideology and other religions, ignore them.

14. Remember the one-two anti-Communist attack: Attack the post-Stalin system on economic grounds, and claim it just doesn’t work. Since an informed opponent will most likely point out that actual socialist economics did indeed work during the Stalin era, and in fact worked very well, attack that era on human rights grounds.

15. Two words - Human nature. What is human nature? For your purposes, human nature is a quick explanation why political ideas or systems you don’t like are wrong.

16. Bolshevik revolutions were carried out with violence and bloodshed. Bourgeois revolutions were all carried out by democratic referendums, and there was no violence whatsoever.

17. Use words like ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ constantly. Do not accept any challenge to define these terms.

 

18. Communists can be for or against whatever is popular in your particular area. If you are preaching to a right-wing crowd, Communists are for degeneration and homosexuality. If you are preaching to a more mainstream audience, Communists were homophobic. Essentially, Communists are for moral degeneration and puritanical prudery at the same time. Again, do not notice the contradiction.

19. Constantly flog Stalin over the Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement, while totally ignoring massive support and collaboration with Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan on the part of America, Britain, and France, long before the war and even after in some ways. As usual, do not allow your opponent to examine the context of the non-aggression pact.

20. Praise the newfound “freedom” of Eastern Europe. Ignore the massive depopulation via migration, plunging birthrates, huge alcohol and drug problems, political instability, civil wars, ethnic cleansing, sex trafficking and child prostitution, organized crime, high suicide rates, unemployment, disease, etc. Who cares about all that when you have freedom of speech?!

21. Constantly talk about the culture of fear in Communist nations, about that ‘knock on the door’ in the middle of the night. Ignore the ‘kick in your door in the middle of the night, stick a shotgun in your back, and haul your ass out of bed etc. because you are suspected of dealing,’ a normal occurrence in the American War on Drugs.

22. Attack Communists for suppression of religion. Attack Islamic fundamentalists for not being secular. What contradiction?!

23. Do not notice the irony that the US is currently fighting an incredibly expensive, losing war against an opponent which it funded, supported, and even handed its first victory in Afghanistan.

24. What should you say when confronted with all the continuing and often worsening problems in the world today, and asked for a solution? FREEDOM!! (Repeat as necessary until your opponent goes away)

25. Nothing from “Communists” can be trusted. Unless it somehow works in your favor, ala Khrushchev’s ‘Secret Speech’ from 1956, or anything Trotsky wrote.

26. Communist leaders were ‘paranoid’ for devoting so much time to security against counter-revolution. Ignore the mountains of evidence, including the restoration of capitalism in the East Bloc, that this threat was indeed real.

27. Communist regimes were never popular. If proof is presented in various cases to show otherwise, claim that the people were brainwashed. Make no effort to consider the budgetary and logistic constraints on such an undertaking.

28. Communist propaganda is crude and primitive. If someone mentions Red Dawn or worse, mentions the J. Edgar Hoover-endorsed comic book series known as The Godless Communists, run away.

29. Praise secularism in the name of ‘freedom’ and ‘pluralism’ until faced with a Communist. Then play the religion card.

30. Atrocities and other bad things that happen under non-Communist regimes are the fault of individual ‘bad people’. Anything bad that happens under a ‘Communist’ regime is the fault of the ideology and system. And Stalin.

31. Being an anti-Communist means not having to have any sort of ideological consistency whatsoever. Preach populist left-wing pseudo-socialism 90% of the time, and then compare the capitalist system to “Stalin’s Russia”(if you never really studied the subject, just read 1984 and Animal Farm). Bitch about capitalism 99% of the time, but balk when someone suggests Communism as an alternative. Far right wing Fascist? Constantly bitch about cultural degeneracy under capitalism, while remaining fanatically opposed to Marxism for no discernable reason save for your affinity for historic nationalism.

32. If you’re an anarchist, keep pointing out the ‘failure’ of Marxism while ignoring the fact that your ideology has a 100% failure rate throughout its entire history. Blame those failures on Communists, or stronger military powers. Ignore the fact that the most wonderful society is worthless if it can’t defend itself from reaction.

33. Neo-Nazi? Communism is Jewish!! Debate over.

34. Neo-Hippy? Tibet!

35. Constantly condemn the genocide that allegedly occurred under Mao, while ignoring the US’ relations with China established by Nixon, and the massive role capitalist China has played in the modern US economy. When you want to talk positively about China, it’s a capitalist country. If you need to criticize it, it’s still ‘Communist’.

36. Claim Marxism is not empirical. Neither are neo-liberalism, ‘democracy’, or ‘freedom’, but don’t worry about that.

37. Always insist that despite the location, country, historical era, past experience, and all other factors, Communists must want to recreate a modern-day copy of Stalin’s Russia, and all that entails according to you. Do not notice the inherent idiocy in this concept, such as your particular country being already industrialized, and not having a historical problem of severe backwardness.

38. Learn to use the magic word ‘totalitarian’. This word allows you to link two ideological opposites, Communism and Fascism.

39. Ignore the fact that socialist states experienced more economic problems parallel to the number of market reforms they made.

40. When challenged about numbers or historical context, resort to labels like “ruthless tyrant”, “cruel murderer”, and such. Remember, people like Stalin were mass-murderers because of all the people they killed, and we know they killed all those people because they were mass-murderers. It totally tracks!

 

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  • Guest - balzac

    Here is excerpt from an interview with Gyorgy Lukacs, from 1970, whose thoughts have informed my views on this matter (also see "What is Orthodox Marxism?"):

    Lukacs: The logic of capitalism tends to coincide with the logic of the social process itself, thus spreading out and engulfing the whole life of society. We have passed from the partial capitalism of the last century to today’s generalized capitalism. In this respect, Marxism, far from being exhausted, has hardly even begun. In any case, and paradoxes aside, Marxism must be developed as we study things that Marx was not able to study.

    Interviewer: I don’t understand. how is it possible for Marxism to be the only and necessary framework for the revolutionary movement if the framework itself is not complete?

    Lukacs: The framework is complete. Marxism is complete as an essential approach to the global study of
    society in historical transformation. It is complete in its mode of analysis and its criteria for establishing the theoretical hierarchy of what constitutes society. But completeness of method doesn't mean that one can find everything in Marx. The specific ingredients are supplied only by long, patient research on the basis of Marxist method. Here is where the Marxists themselves have gone astray. They have taken the easy route, restricting themselves to repeating things they don't understand and stressing tactics above and against theory.

    Interviewer: You are saying, in other words, that sociology must study Marx, must learn well the lessons of Marxism.

    Lukacs: Yes, but the trouble is that today there are no Marxists. We simply do not have a Marxist theory.
    Believe me, today it is necessary to do what Marx did for the capitalism of his time... Socialism also needs a continuing critical and demystifying analysis, and this must be done on the world scale. No one is doing this. No one thinks of it. What is happening is grotesque. Lacking a theory, Marxists are condemned to trail along after daily events. Collective movements erupt and are called "spontaneous" - the movements of students, the young, and so forth - and then the Marxists run to catch up with the events, to understand them after the fact. Their theory is little more than a rationalization of their surprise...
    Marxism, conceived as it should be conceived, that is, as a general theory of society and history, no longer exists. It came to an end some time ago. In its place we have Stalinism, and will continue to have it for some time to come. Stalinism has been described in many stupid ways, but in fact the situation is simple: Whenever action is put ahead of and in opposition to history, the result is Stalinism. Stalinism is more than an erroneous interpretation or a defective application of Marxism; it is the negation of Marxism. Under Stalinism, there are no theorists, only tacticians.


    The whole thing is accessible here, in PDF form:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/6973985/Conversation-with-Gyorgy-Lukacs-Franco-Ferrarottis-Interview
    "What is Orthodox Marxism?", from 1919, accessible here:
    http://www.marxists.org/archive/lukacs/works/history/orthodox.htm

    I also would like to add that I have no interest in detaching theory from the Marxist practice itself, or that I am under the false belief that theory is only created in a vacuum and thus incapable of error. But to argue against the need for theoretical exploration - and to label such practice as 'revisionist' - is as much the negation of Marxism as a theory detached from practice.

  • Guest - nando

    <blockquote>"I also would like to add that I have no interest in detaching theory from the Marxist practice itself, or that I am under the false belief that theory is only created in a vacuum and thus incapable of error. But to argue against the need for theoretical exploration – and to label such practice as ‘revisionist’ – is as much the negation of Marxism as a theory detached from practice.</blockquote>

    I agree.

    I think that there is a confusion repeatedly injected into the question of "theory and practice." It is that "practice" is understood to be our own <em>direct</em> activism. That is an extremely narrow (almost miopic) view of practice.

    Further some people argue that (a) the purpose of theory is imply to illuminate our own <em>direct</em> practice (what we say to people tomorrow, what we take up tomorrow), and (b) that our own direct political practice is the key arena for developing and testing our theory.

    This is a highly impoverished and mistaken view that obstructs the actual development of theory, and ultimately rejects theory itself. It is as impoverished as the idea that "mass line" is about "what we say to the people we meet" (when, in fact, mass line is a method of communist leadership -- for developing strategic programs, national policies, methods of work for parties/armies/governments, etc. not mainly some feedback look for our own immediate micro-conversations.)

    Theory (especially perceptive insightful theory) is rooted in practice -- in an ultimate sense, in the sense that our theory is connected to reality, and our ability to understand reality requires protracted interaction with reality -- but that doesn't mean that our communist theory hangs from our <em>own</em> immediate political activism.

    Mao pointed out three arenas of social practice: class struggle, scientific exploration and production. Human practice is a sweeping and multilayered set of experiences.

    And we (meaning communists in 2010) already have tons of practice -- even when our own organizations are rather primitive.

    We have a whole century of socialism and revolution that we are standing upon. And (as the quote from Lukasc points out) the experience of socialism has been terribly undertheorized -- even when Mao has fought to sum up the Soviet and Chinese experience, it remains very undertheorized. And the discussion (even here on Kasama) is tremendously impoverished (in part by the same approach that argues theory emerges from our own direct experience) -- where the discussion of what socialism is, and what restoration was, and what we are attempting to bring about under new conditions is constantly reduced to simplistic assertions and stubborn self-delusions.

    (There are those who argue that critical examination of our own history is idealist, utopian or anticommunist -- and I suspect they really don't want any critical examination, period, and really prefer useful mythologies to serious understandings. Over and over, they deploy anger and unsult as a warning to "don't touch a hair on the tiger's ass." But none of that will work -- here on Kasama or anywhere else on the planet. People simply demand a real examination of our social practice -- past and present -- and in the absence of state power, the material basis for imposing aging mythologies simply doesn't exist.)

    I think we can and should get beyond all that.

  • Guest - Todd

    Very good! I enjoyed your writing, Mike. Much of what you wrote reminds me of something I posted on my website over a decade ago: http://www.scn.org/~toddt/com.html

  • Guest - Otto

    I'm old enough to remember the cold war, growing up in the 1950s when these arguments were dished out to us as fact and we were expected to believe all the horrors of communism and the nightmarish world that awaited us if we didn't defend all our freedom and democracy.

    I was too young to understand "freedom and democracy." Today I understand those terms even less but I realize I don't understand them or that I don't see these things practiced around me.

    rob said
    "is criticism possible?
    a lot of what you say is true, but many of the criticisms are valid as well. presumably, at least, some of what is alleged to have happened under stalin did happen. are we not allowed to say that ‘ the moscow trials were show trials’?
    does saying this make one an anti-communist?"

    It all depends on who you say it to. A frank discussion among those who really want to understand Marxist history is not anti-communism.Going on Glen Beck's program and asking these questions would amount to anti-communism.

    On the other hand you can go on his show and ask him if he really sees no difference between Stalin's "show trials" and the first few years of the Sandinista Revolution. My guess is he can't tell the difference and he can't even tell Fidel Castro from Barack Obama.

    Given enough examples and information, Beck and his kind will tie their own noose. But is the public educated enough to understand the contradictions?

    I do know how to tell if a person is a socialist or communist. If he of she calls himself/herself a communist on the Glen Beck show, he/she probably doesn't have a job to go back to in the morning after.

  • Guest - Arslan Amirkhan

    The American Party of Labor's web address is http://americanpartyoflabor.org.

    [[<strong>Moderator note:</strong> We cannot find the 40 tips on this site. Why exactly should this site be cited?]]

  • Guest - rob

    <blockquote>It all depends on who you say it to. A frank discussion among those who really want to understand Marxist history is not anti-communism.Going on Glen Beck’s program and asking these questions would amount to anti-communism. - otto</blockquote>



    i agree completely. however, many of us have had these kinds of conversations with anarchists, who are on our side, as well as some left liberals. take chomsky, for instance,he says that the russian revolution was a military coup, yet apart from this, most of his criticism of US imperialism communists would agree with. or even different marxist tendencies, ie some trotskyists etc. surely we dont want to alienate these people.

    another problem is that we often get trapped into a history lesson, about what really happened. for myself, i admit there are a lot of things i really dont know, and i am not sure that 'you' do either. the moscow trials is an example, the cultural revolution and the gang of four is another. i really dont know enough to know what to think, and unless one is a dedicated historian, i dont see how one can know. ie i dont know chinese and i have never been to china.

    i find a big problem when talking about communism is talking about the interpretation of various historical events. this is ok, but a bit tedious and most people cannot be bothered. the past is gone after all. is there a way round this?

  • Guest - entdinglichung

    after the 39 articles of the Church of England now a 40 article catechism by J. Slavyanski ;-(

  • Guest - Seamus

    Overall i liked '' 40 Helpful tips '' but it does show a , Yes, Stalinist slant . Of course it's grossly intellectually dishonest to attrubute to Stalin every unnatural death from 1924 to the 1950 's (including those killed by the German army and their Ukrainian and Russian collobrators in WW 2 ! )
    BUT-T-t (and it's a pretty big But ! ) he did have killed or imprisoned hundreds of thousands of opponents or even those who were even remotely perceived to be opponents ! He did turn over to the Gestapo at least hundreds of German CP exiles .
    He did occupy part of Poland in collabration with Hitler etc etc etc .
    He and his successors did do more to discredit ''communism '' than every anti-communist academic or journalist combined .
    It's really too bad that he died in luxury in the Kremlin instead of in a prison cell .

  • Guest - ( )

    Seamus I recommend you (and any other interested person) to read the following to improve your understanding of Stalin:

    http://clogic.eserver.org/2005/furr.html
    http://www.mltranslations.org/Britain/StalinBB.htm
    http://www.plp.org/books/book1.pdf
    http://www.marxists.org/archive/bland/1999/x01/x01.htm
    http://www.northstarcompass.org/nsc9912/lies.htm
    The Road to Terror (J. Arch Getty)
    Stalin: Revolutionary in an Era of War (Kevin McDermott)

  • Guest - Arslan Amirkhan

    Seamus demonstrates how prevalent anti-Communist memes are even amongst those who would call themselves socialists.

    First off, many people were imprisoned because traitors within the NKVD happily arrested anyone they could find in an attempt to appear vigilant. Stalin's personal inquiry into this ended up in automatic appeals and liberation for tens of thousands of people who were falsely accused. This is a large issue with many aspects, but the best source on this is J. Arch Getty, who characterizes the purges as a panicked reaction from above and below. Many decisions in this matter were taken while Stalin was not even present, and at times against his recommendations(e.g. he suggested Bukharin should only be expelled from the party).

    Second, claims of NKVD/Gestapo collaboration have been attacked even by anti-Stalinists such as the historians at the "human rights" organization Memorial. Third, he did not occupy "Poland", he occupied Galicia and Western Belarus, both of which had been seized by Poland with the Treaty of Riga in 1922. This treaty ended the Soviet-Polish war, which was started by the Poles. They also returned a territory of Lithuania to that country, which had also been occupied by Poland. This was crucial because the Germans had a plan to take all of 1939 Poland, which would have put them dangerously close to Moscow. Despite the so-called "secret protocols" of the M-R pact, the Germans attempted to take Galicia and made it as far as Lvov(capital of that region).

    The idea that Stalin "discredited" Communism is to accept the bourgeoisie's characterization of those events, and you would be naive to think that they would ever give you a pat on the head for whipping Stalin's corpse. After all, many key bourgeois anti-Communists insist that the "horrors" of Communism are inherent in the system.

    As for the APL, the article may not appear on the site but it is somewhere on the Red Phoenix site, which is the publication of the APL. http://theredphoenix.wordpress.com

  • Guest - rowlandkeshena

    @Arslan Amirkhan:

    I just went through the entire Red Phoenix website and did not find the article. Searching for it on the internet I found it on the website Eastern Star (http://rationalred.blogspot.com/2007/08/guide-to-anti-communism.html) as an article from about 3 years ago. Checking other sites, they reference Eastern Star as the original source. The site seemed seems to be APL aligned, so I imagine that is where any confusion may have come in.

  • Guest - another world is possible

    “after all, didn’t mao say that ‘homosexuality is a petit bourgeois deviation that will disappear after the revolution’?”

    What are you, a liberal ?

  • Guest - Daymon J. Hartley

    Daymon J. Hartley I knew the defense of Stalin would create a firestorm. I hope this discussion will help to shed some light on why the
    defense of Stalin is the defense of the science of Marxism-Leninism. I remember the story of the guy who trained his dog to hate the word Stalin. He could starve the dog for a couple of days and then place a raw steak in front of him and when he said "That's Stalin!" the dog wouldn't touch it.
    That is how the American people have been conditioned to react to Stalin and the word Communism. It was Stalin at the head of the Soviet Red Army and as an ally of the U.S. who led in the defeat of Hitler and Nazism. Facts
    are stubborn things.
    Essay from W.E. Dubois:
    http://www.mltranslations.org/Miscellaneous/DuBoisJVS.htm

  • The problem here is primarily one of method. There are questions where the Soviet Union during the Stalin period is criticized where I am inclined to defend it, other areas where I think the criticisms are justified, and many areas where despite being reasonably well read I'll admit I frankly still don't know enough to sort out what I believe. A big part of the problem is that virtually all of the supposedly ML defenses of Stalin and the CPSU during the Stalin period are transparently subservient to this task and pursue it to the exclusion of really weighing a large and contradictory body of evidence and acknowledging the inherent complexities and contradictions in any historical process. Whatever acknowledgement of errors there is (and most often there is none) is of a token and superficial sort, like the inclusions of the wart on his chin in Mao's official portraits. This sort of defense of Stalin has, in my view, as much to do with a scientific approach to communist theory as astrology and it makes me distrust the evidence I encounter in these pieces unless I have seen it cited elsewhere.

    There is a crying need for a serious revolutionary communist analysis of the Stalin period that doesn't simply regurgitate old verdicts -- whether bourgeois, Trotskyist or Stalinist, that considers the enormous flood of new archival materials following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

    There is something comically encapsulated in the blaming of massive repression against hundred of thousands on "traitors inside the NKVD." This is what can only be called a conspiracy theory that reflects a fundamentally anti-scientific approach. And the question of Stalin's "presence" for particular decisions is largely irrelevant to the real question which is the nature of the regime as much as of the man.

  • Guest - worker antagonism

    A lot of the discussions around the past history of "really existing socialism" seem to get very moralistic, Ie was Stalin a "great man" or a "criminal", I think its better to approach things from a examination of the class forces involved.
    Was the USSR in 1930 or whenever under the effective control of the mass of people?
    were there consistent and rapid moves toward the abolition of exploitation and inequality in the labor process?
    was the health and safety of the people, prioritized over accumulation of capital?
    did the Soviet state act in a proletarian internationalist manner towards revolutionary movements worldwide?
    were bureaucratic state structures like the judiciary and professional police force overturned?
    etc..
    as far as i know the answer to all of these questions is no.
    that however does not make liberal demonization of the USSR any less absurd, Robert Conquest and Ludo Martens deserve each other.

  • Guest - Seamus

    To oppose Stalin's incredibly bloody legacy is to be '' Anti-Communist '' ? And while some ''abuses'' did occur it was the fault of '' Traitors'' ?
    There is a mountain of evidence documenting the fact that from the late 20's on the USSR was a police state in which the working class had no power . Au Fucking Contraire say defenders of Stalin it was a vibrant Socialist society albeit under harsh conditions and constant external threats . Oh yeah then please list one important debate within society that openly occurred . Or name any internal struggle that occurred within the CP.
    Or if '' Comrade Stalin '' wasn't a megomanical dictator name any open critic of Stalin (who didn't receive the classic 'answer ''of the NYVD to crticlal questions , a ''ounce of lead '' in the nape of a prisoner's neck!
    You ever heard of the '' Red Orchestra '', the incrediably heroic spy ring within occupied Europe ? Do you know what happened to the leader of the group ? After he was liberated from a Nazi Concentration camp he returned to the Soviet Union expecting a hero's welcome . Instead after beatings and torture he spent the next decade in a prison Labor camp before finally being freed (along with hundreds of thousands of other unjustly accused prisoners ) by the nasty 'revisionist '' Khruschev !
    I could go on and on but the historical verdict is indisputely in !

  • Guest - Arslan Amirkhanov

    Seamus, all you are doing here is regurgitating the same old anti-Communist claims without any critical eye, and basically proving my point. J. Arch Getty once suggest that the entire history of the Soviet Union should be studied again from the very beginning. Your comments here, supposedly based on a "mountain of evidence" show only that you haven't spent much time reading any evidence, at least nothing significant that came out of the archives in the last 19 years. You say name one debate that took place in society? Oh let's see, maybe on the 1936 constitution? Thousands of meetings took place throughout the Soviet Union on this subject, totally open to the public. Compare that to the secretive manner in which the US Constitution was debated.

    Moreover, it is well known that the Soviet people wrote hundreds of thousands of letters to various papers and leaders, including Stalin himself, expressing their opinions and often complaining about everything from major policies to problems with individual managers. Seems to me if everyone was afraid of a bullet to the back of the head, they would have stopped writing letters like that.

    No debate within the CP? What the hell do you think the debate over NEP and collectivization were? Did you ever read Stalin's Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR? That was in response to a huge debate over a simple textbook on political economy. Plenty of people got into debates with Stalin, and some even convinced him- this was especially true of his military commanders.

    The fact is your knowledge of Soviet history is clearly based on out-dated propaganda. If anyone here can read Russian, I suggest you look up the story of Panteylon Ponomarenko, he was one of many officials personally told by Stalin to "stop the repression" in various areas of the Soviet Union, as it was apparent that local officials were out of control. Ponomarenko went to Belarus, where he found people had been arrested for the most ridiculous reasons. Stalin had given him full authority to review all cases and free anyone at his own discretion, which he did.

    Now I want to answer the claims made by Worker Antagonism

    "Was the USSR in 1930 or whenever under the effective control of the mass of people?"

    Was this even possible at the time? A revolution does not happen when you want it to. You build with the bricks you have.

    "were there consistent and rapid moves toward the abolition of exploitation and inequality in the labor process?"

    Compared to Russia before and today? Absolutely. Clearly you need to read more on this subject.

    "was the health and safety of the people, prioritized over accumulation of capital?"

    Yes. Who was accumulating capital privately in the USSR?

    "did the Soviet state act in a proletarian internationalist manner towards revolutionary movements worldwide?"

    Maybe not as much as possible but again, this is in hindsight.

    "were bureaucratic state structures like the judiciary and professional police force overturned?"

    Again, do you think this was possible in the conditions of the time? It is the liberals and ultra-leftists who act as if these repressive structures weren't necessary at the time. The fact is that there were plenty of people in the USSR who had a bone to pick with the system and were willing to bring it down and restore capitalism. J. Arch Getty found evidence that there was indeed a secret Trotskyite bloc within the USSR. Military historian Chris Bellamy acknowledges that there was a chance that Tukhachevsky might have carried out a coup in favor of Germany, if not in the late 30s, some time after the invasion of 1941.

    The problem is that you people are looking at this situation with the benefit of hindsight. Do you really think that future revolutionaries will not have to deal with such monumental problems as Bolshevik Russia did? Even I have a bone to pick with many of Stalin's actions and mistakes, but I also realize that I was not in his position in the 1930s or during the war. I suggest everyone here read what Michael Parenti wrote on the subject in his book Blackshirts and Reds. Basically he points out that the rollback of Soviet democracy first under Lenin and then somewhat continued under Stalin was not done simply because they were maniacal power-mad figures. It was a response to internal and external threats(which is the same characterization Getty has given). These threats are real; many people are not fully aware of what happened immediately after the Russian revolution, as well as the military threats and conflicts which occurred in the inter-war period. William Blum also points out that conditions in the USSR were largely a reaction to external threats. It's not like after 1917, the rest of the world said, "Socialism? Interesting. Let's sit back and see how this goes!" No, 14 countries invaded the USSR, they supported internal insurrections, they enacted blockades, etc.

    If anyone here still thinks they know enough about this topic, who can explain why I am still seeing the old meme "Stalin invaded Poland with Hitler"? In virtually every English language book on the subject, there is little if any mention(more often none at all) that "Eastern Poland" consisted of non-Polish territory seized by Poland. Those that mention the Polish-Soviet war never mention who started it, or how far the Poles actually got(Kiev).

    If want to criticize Stalin, by all means do so- but also consider the conditions of the time, consider what it was like without the benefit of hindsight, and most of all realize that the history of the USSR does not boil down to Stalin. This is something that even defenders of Stalin rarely appreciate. Once it comes down to Stalin good or bad, they are accepting the bourgeoisie's frame of debate.

  • Guest - worker antagonism

    @Arslan Amirkhanov
    "“Was the USSR in 1930 or whenever under the effective control of the mass of people?”

    Was this even possible at the time? A revolution does not happen when you want it to. You build with the bricks you have."
    in short you asking if socialism was possible at the time, because socialism entails ALL political power in the hands of the formerly exploited strata,which make up the mass of the people, I for one think it was.
    regardless that is not an effective argument against a position asserting the USSR to have had a exploitative class nature at the time.
    "“were there consistent and rapid moves toward the abolition of exploitation and inequality in the labor process?”

    Compared to Russia before and today? Absolutely. Clearly you need to read more on this subject."
    I do need to read more on the subject, can't disagree there, and since you know Russian, you certainly have an advantage.
    However I have read enough to know that the Soviet system at the time was based on bureaucratic administration, inequality of wages, piece work and quota systems designed to encourage ruthless competition, and what amounted to a colonial "unequal exchange" with the countryside implemented in order fuel rapid industrialization, you can argue that all this was "historical necessity" if you want,I would be inclined to disagree.
    "“was the health and safety of the people, prioritized over accumulation of capital?”

    Yes. Who was accumulating capital privately in the USSR?"
    no the health and safety of the people, particularly that of the peasantry was not prioritized over accumulation, quite the reverse.
    Fitzpatrick for one compares Soviet rural policy to the enclosures in England.
    as for "private capital", capital is capital, whether its formal legal status be state, corporate, or individual ownership, the object of socialist revolution is to create a rupture in the reproduction of capital as a social relation, not merely to shift legal title of ownership.
    “were bureaucratic state structures like the judiciary and professional police force overturned?”
    you seem to think that a mass democratic society would be incapable of providing for its own security, plenty of early bourgeoisie societies provided for their own security without much in the way of a bureaucratic state apparatus ( Jacksonian America and Switzerland come to mind), one would think a socialist society whose survival is not conditional upon holding the majority in bondage,(quite the reverse) would be able to do the same at least as well.

  • Guest - Seamus

    Actually most of my sources are based on the many books and articles by Communists who have well documented the gross perverson of Socialist thought and practice under Stalin , his trusted Hit man Beria and others . A few that immediately pop into mind are : The various histories of the '' Red Orchesta '', '' The Revolution betrayed '' By Leon Trotsky (Who was supposed to be in '' League with Fascism '' !!! Name one genuine historian anywhere, anytime , that believed that ! ) , "' And Red is the Colour of our Flag '' Oskar Hippe , German Communist resisitance fighter , '' This i cannot forget '' Anna Larina (Bukharin's widow ) , The books by the Roy Mednevev etc etc
    And don't forget that Stalin had the majority of those revolutionaries who comprised the Bolshevik Central Committee in 1918 murdered and also elimanated the majority of the Red Army's General staff ! (The Nazis were defeated in spite of Stalin certainly not because of him )
    A few posts ago One Stalinist disciple wrote that the notorious Moscow (Show ) Trials weren't even needed because the defendants had '' confessed '' !
    One would think that all of the debates in recent years over torture in by the US occupiers or their allies in iraq have proven, aside from the basic immorality, the total unreliabilty of any ''confessions '' obtained by such savage methods . So after being beaten daily for weeks on end , (Usually in freezing strip cells ) , often having your wife and kids threatened with simialr treatment , and maybe electrobes attacked to your balls to finish your surrender , of course you would confess (or die , as more than a few did )
    This is a '' New society '' ? I don't think so . IF we ever again have a true Socialist revolution it will die stillborn if we even consider using such inhuman methods .

  • Guest - Arslan Amirkhan

    Wow Seamus, I was an idiot for thinking that we should trust in actual documents from the Soviet archives when I could have just read what Trotsky and his followers wrote!!!

  • Guest - Arslan Amirkhan

    "in short you asking if socialism was possible at the time, because socialism entails ALL political power in the hands of the formerly exploited strata,which make up the mass of the people, I for one think it was.
    regardless that is not an effective argument against a position asserting the USSR to have had a exploitative class nature at the time."

    Socialism entails this but it doesn't mean that you can have it immediately, because of internal conditions of the times. If you are fighting for socialism because you think you can establish that kind of system immediately upon overthrowing the bourgeoisie, you had better give up now.


    "I do need to read more on the subject, can’t disagree there, and since you know Russian, you certainly have an advantage.
    However I have read enough to know that the Soviet system at the time was based on bureaucratic administration, inequality of wages, piece work and quota systems designed to encourage ruthless competition, and what amounted to a colonial “unequal exchange” with the countryside implemented in order fuel rapid industrialization, you can argue that all this was “historical necessity” if you want,I would be inclined to disagree."

    It was a historical necessity, or at least it appeared to be at the time. As I said, we can look back on those days and say that this or that decision or policy was wrong, but we must also consider how things looked to decision makers in those times. Also you are only looking at one side of the story here. There have been many eyewitnesses to attest to the improved conditions of Soviet workers. They were able to lodge grievances against managers, who were not allowed to do the opposite.


    "no the health and safety of the people, particularly that of the peasantry was not prioritized over accumulation, quite the reverse."

    People needed to be fed, and housed- capital in this case, was essential to the health and safety of the people, if not for day-to-day survival, because the Germans later attempted to exterminate them.


    "as for “private capital”, capital is capital, whether its formal legal status be state, corporate, or individual ownership, the object of socialist revolution is to create a rupture in the reproduction of capital as a social relation, not merely to shift legal title of ownership."

    Capital was in the hands of the state, it was used for the benefit of the people. This was the best they could ask for at the time.


    "you seem to think that a mass democratic society would be incapable of providing for its own security, plenty of early bourgeoisie societies provided for their own security without much in the way of a bureaucratic state apparatus ( Jacksonian America and Switzerland come to mind), one would think a socialist society whose survival is not conditional upon holding the majority in bondage,(quite the reverse) would be able to do the same at least as well."

    Gee, if Jacksonian America and Switzerland did it, why shouldn't the Soviet Union have been able to do it? It's not like they were a threat to the entire capitalist world order at the time, and it is certainly logical to compare the ex-Russian Empire to Switzerland!!

  • Guest - balzac

    Worker Antagonism, you bring up one of the most important points of any debate about Stalin and Soviet development after Lenin - relations between industrial and agrarian production. There were a number of different positions on "socialist accumulation", the most commonly referred to being the Preobrazhensky-Bukharin debate. The political economy which was eventually settled on was one which heavily favored industrial over agrarian development and led to antagonism between rural and industrial workers. In retrospect this was a very obvious mistake (it led to the famines which would be occurring on-and-off until 1937) and alienated the radical peasantry along with the conservative. It is an unfortunate piece of history that the industrially-oriented Soviet leadership did not put in the effort to understand agrarian/peasant radicalism which, despite being rooted in a very different base (agrarian anarchism, with its long Russian history, would include Kropotkin, Bakunin, and even Leo Tolstoy), was quite compatible with a communist project.
    Intellectually speaking, there was a huge history of both misunderstanding and ignoring agrarian radicalism, and one could, in a very large way, attribute the antagonisms of the forced collectivizations and resultant famines as the failure for many Soviet thinkers to tackle the problems outside of industrialization itself. Bukharin was lumped as a "conservative" for his choice to equivocate the needs of peasants and rural development with urban industrial development. Lenin was a middle figure in this debate and spoke of a "peasant attitude", which basically meant that he understood that the radical peasants had a different form of social organization but that he had not taken the necessary time to understand it and synthesize it with industrial Marxism. Trotsky was at the other end of it and had no interest whatsoever in understanding any possible cooperation between industrial and agrarian relations and favored for pushing the industrial form of organization into a system which was completely unsuited for it. Stalin eventually chose to implement the Trotsky method and, of course, the results were disastrous (one of my favorite quotes from Lukacs refers to this and summarizes by saying something like: "...and so you see, Stalin was a Trotskyist, and Trotsky a Stalinist.")
    The decision to push a political economy that favored (very) rapid industrialization obviously had some important historical motivations behind it (i.e. the fact that the USSR was under constant attack throughout the 20s) and cannot be attributed to a "bad" "evil" Stalin or even a "bad" "evil" Trotsky, but rather a culture of thinking which chose to disconnect itself from the majority of Russian anticapitalist radicalism. This, too, was a large part of the culture of both Marxists and the world at the time - one of scientific and logical positivism, as well as an unquestioned universal (industrial) progress - at the negation of ways of being considered outdated (i.e. being an agrarian worker of any sort). The failure here was more a failure to engage with ideas and different ways of being (industrial vs agrarian) and not some pathological desire for power and social control. (Though it could be argued that the early failures of these plans for socialist accumulation led to the greater disasters of the purges and the blaming of failures on internal enemies rather than bad economic policies.)

  • Guest - balzac

    To quickly expand on that last point, the historical failure of much of Soviet ideology can be interpreted as emerging from this particular historical moment where the failure of an economic policy (they were, after all, attempting to do something which had never been done) was blamed first on the people who were unable to deliver the expected results (the peasants) and then the planners of that policy (Preobrazhensky was arrested, refused to confess, and executed by the NKVD in 1937) but never really on the policy itself. Previously, internal enemies had been those who sought a bourgeois capitalist restoration, but at this point they became those who were unable to carry out the desired changes, regardless of how feasible those changes were. The enemy, in this way, became the people themselves, or those whose suggested ideas (like Preobrazhensky - who genuinely thought a socialist accumulation which privileged industry could easily succeed) in some ways failed. It is not difficult to see how this sort of thing could a produce a way of thinking where anyone could very well be an "enemy" of communism - from apolitical peasants who really only wanted "land and bread" to even the most unassailable communists themselves.

  • Guest - worker antagonism

    @Arslan Amirkhan
    "Socialism entails this but it doesn’t mean that you can have it immediately, because of internal conditions of the times. If you are fighting for socialism because you think you can establish that kind of system immediately upon overthrowing the bourgeoisie, you had better give up now."
    "socialism entails this but not immediately",I don't see how its possible to maintain a practically useful or logically consistent understanding of socialism from that perspective, especially since in terms of the structure of the social formation you either have the proletariat negating itself as a class and imposing communism or the reconstitution of bourgeoisie rule.
    "Also you are only looking at one side of the story here. There have been many eyewitnesses to attest to the improved conditions of Soviet workers. They were able to lodge grievances against managers, who were not allowed to do the opposite."
    I don't doubt there was a great deal of improvement especially for industrial workers, however there were also improvements in the living conditions of large segments of the industrial working class under the New Deal, that does not mean the New Deal was socialist.

    "People needed to be fed, and housed- capital in this case, was essential to the health and safety of the people, if not for day-to-day survival, because the Germans later attempted to exterminate them."
    as I am sure you know from Marx, the means of production and reproduction of a given society, only become capital under certain historically determinate conditions, ie the expropriation of the producers from the means of production.
    the question at hand is if the USSR in the 30's was reversing that expropriation.
    "Capital was in the hands of the state, it was used for the benefit of the people. This was the best they could ask for at the time."
    thousands upon thousands of Bolsheviks, Left SRs and Anarchists who sacrificed themselves to bring about the revolution, would have disagreed that it was "the best they could ask for at the time", not to mention that the "benefit of the people" is a pretty vague formulation when the "people" concerned have no real say in what constitutes "benefit" to them.
    "Gee, if Jacksonian America and Switzerland did it, why shouldn’t the Soviet Union have been able to do it? It’s not like they were a threat to the entire capitalist world order at the time, and it is certainly logical to compare the ex-Russian Empire to Switzerland!!"
    if you can't secure socialism without a bureaucratic state apparatus standing over and above the social body then socialism is going nowhere fast.
    @Balzac
    interesting post,you most likely have already, but read Marx's letter to Vera Zasulich, its amazing.

  • Guest - balzac

    W.A. - Thanks for posting that letter; I actually previously read it only in the context of a large research project (where all that information and analysis I posted before came from) and never really had time to step back and evaluate it. Ironically, it was actually around the time that I was doing this research that I became a Marxist (for the second time - I actually stepped away from it when I was around 19 or 20 for a few years because I kept encountering only dogma) because I realized that not only was critical thought welcomed in Marxist thought (and by none other than Marx himself!), but that it formed the very core of the Marxist analytical framework! The irony, of course, being that I became a Marxist again when I saw specific shortcomings and unexplored avenues in Marxism - and along with that, the desire to expand Marxist thought to incorporate those ideas, not to treat them reductively or colonize them with some ahistorical, non-situational perspective.

    But yes, thanks for posting that, because it is quite beautiful, as you put it, and when you are doing a lot of academic research, you rarely take the time to appreciate those sorts of things. So this was also a second chance.

  • Guest - Radical Eyes

    Often on this blog, we see people bringing out that pithy, but powerful mao-phrase:
    "No investigation, no right to speak."

    In dealing with the history of the Communist movement, and in particular the history of what actually transpired in the Soviet Union during the period of Stalin's leadership, it would appear that we need to revise this guiding phrase a bit. This is because so much of what has been written--and read--in the way of "investigations" into this period are themselves in part or in full works of propaganda. (Most often they are "anti-Stalinist" and/or anticommunist, less often "pro-Stalin.")

    On top of this layer of "classic" works, there have further emerged several generations of scholars who are not themselves setting out to serve narrowly propagandistic ends--at least not consciously--, and many of whom may even be "of the left" in one sense or another, but who nonetheless continue to build upon the --far from objectively verified, and often utterly falsified--accounts of previous generations of propaganda. Even where these scholars may bring new theoretical approaches and subtle thinking to the old questions, they often remain on the terrain of "happenings" constructed by the unreliable and often thoroughly dishonest "scholarship" of earlier eras.

    This then leads us to the situation we are in, where many honest, smart, radical, socialist and/or communist people (like those on this site) feel that they have in fact carried out "investigation" that entitles them to speak. Unfortunately, however, much--I am tempted to say MOST--of the time, what these people have in fact read has not been based in anything like a critical, objective, or independent "investigation" into the evidence surrounding the various claims and conter-claims about the "crimes" or "accomplishments" of Stalin and the Soviet Union under his leadership. (And yes yes, no study is ever totally objective or totally independent of course...)

    So then, for the moment, we might ammend Mao's phrase to the following:
    "No investigation that does not include a critical discussion of actual EVIDENCE, no right to speak."

    Note: I for one would not put myself forward as anything like an authority on this topic. (I do not read Russian for one.) However, I do at least have the intellecutal honesty and humility to admit when I don't really know the answer to questions of great importance. Also the patience to put up with discussions of evidence and arguments that emerge from even those quarters whom I may not share political assumpions with at the outset.

    So then, I think that generally we would all be better off--in this discussion and in others--if we did two things (among many others!):

    1) Stop pretending that we are sure about things that we are not sure about at all. (Admit our ignorance, as a prelude to launching real investigation and delving into discussion.)

    2) When we feel that we DO know something, and that we hve conducted an investigation that warrants our speaking with some authority, to the extent possible CITE the sources and accounts and/or specific evidentiary cases involved, so that others can read and evaluate those sources and their claims.

    I realize that doing all of this can be quite a bit more challenging and time consuming than simply spouting off passionately held beliefs that have been passed down to us in various ways, including ways that we are not even conscious of. But I believe that in matters of history--that is debating what actually happened--considerations of EVIDENCE need to be front and center. Appeals to "everyone knows" or "common sense" have no bearing in such a truth-process.

    I for one would love to see Kasama generate a critical discussion around a growing reading-list dealing with what befall the Soviet Union during the Stalin period, (not to mention perhaps one on China under Mao as well!).

    P.S. One scholar in the US who at least does deal with actual archival evidence is Grover Furr. I would recommend that people involved in this discussion take the time to read through some or all of Dr. Furr's articles. Several of these can be found at the journal Cultural Logic www.clogic.eserver.org . (I will post links to specific articles in a follow-up post.)

  • Guest - Radical Eyes

    http://clogic.eserver.org/2005/2005.html
    Two long articles dealiing with Stalin and the struggles around the Constitution of 1936

    Grover Furr, "Evidence of Leon Trostky's Collaboration with Germany and Japan"
    http://clogic.eserver.org/2009/Furr.pdf

    Grover Furr and Vladimir Bobrov, "Nikolai Bukharin’s First Statement of Confession
    in the Lubianka"

    http://clogic.eserver.org/2007/Furr_Bobrov.pdf

    PS I do not put forth Dr. Furr's work because I think that it is anythiing like "the final word on the topics it engages, but because, in my view, his work at the very least does ave the virtue of engaging archival evidence that for the most part has not been available for those who do not read Russian.

  • Guest - Otto

    I meet people all the time who think communism is OK, but they don't like Stalin. They believe the propoganda and the claims of killings. But they don't feel that way about every other communist.
    I admit that Stalin contributed to Marxist theory and revolutionary politics. But he did kill some people with whom it doesn't seem like it was necessary to do that. According to Roxane Witke Jiang Quing didn't like Stalin. I highly admire Jian Quing (江青).
    So what do I tell people? Should I tell them Stalin is essential to communism and just learn to like it, or should I just let them hate Stalin, but think that communism is OK?

  • Radical Eyes posted links to the work of Grover Furr -- whose research into the Stalin purges ends with the conclusion that the defendants were guilty as charged.

    This is a conclusion very different from I have reached from my own investigation of the material available to me.

    It is helpful (i suppose) for someone with energy and passion to gather all the material that could possibly substantiate the charges made in those 1930s showtrials. Whether the attempt succeeds or not can help us reach our own conclusions.

    My own tentative conclusion is that Grover's essays fail to make their case. That he piles words upon words for page after page --- but at the end, he presents no evidence for his specific thesis.


    So, let's take a second to put it on the table:

    I just tried reread Grover's essay "“Evidence of Leon Trostky’s Collaboration with Germany and Japan." It is very lengthy (the first ten pages just talk abbut what it is going to do, etc.) But this time, I didn't finish it -- after 60 pages (out of 170) I called off the reread.

    Here is my verdict (from my first read, and this second attempt): There is literally no there there. No scrap of evidence that these charges were true: i.e. that Trotsky et all were Nazi and Japanese agents.

    Put a bit harshly: Grover Furr's stuff on the trial (in particular) feels like trying to make heads or tails out of a 911 conspiracy "proof." It is strains to make a case that can't be made, and so it comes apart at the seams on close examination. And (like 911 conspiracies) it claims that there is a vast multicontinent conspiracy that has strains credibility and has left behind no paper trail.

    Grover claims (boldly, even angrily) to have "Evidence of Leon Trotsky’s Collaboration with Germany and Japan" -- OK, let's ask for that evidence. What is it?

    <b>What were the Legal Charges:</b>

    To be clear, the legal charges in the Soviet trials were simply vague "collaboration" with Nazi Germany -- the charge was that Trotsky, Bukharin, and dozens of others were paid Nazi agents who consciously sent assassins and saboteurs around the Soviet Union to kill people (especially government leaders, and especially Stalin), disrupt industry, prepare for Soviet defeat in war, overthrow the socialist system, restore capitalism, and to help Japan and Germany carve up the Soviet Union.

    Those are the charges.

    Now, let's ask Grover and his essay: what is the evidence presented?

    <b>Some Background</b>

    Here is the short story: There were opposition groups within the Soviet Party (several different flavors). I think there was sharp line struggle over policy and direction. I think that (in general) the proposals of Trotsy, Radek, Bukhanin and Zinoviev were not good ones in the 1920s.

    My own (Maoist) understanding is that there was sharp two line struggle in the Soviet Union -- and that Trotsky and Bukharin represented particular lines (in opposition to the policies and views of the Stalin group). And in general, i think the lines represented by Trotsky and Bukharin would have been disasterous for revolution in the Soviet Union -- and I tend to think that many of the policies proposed by Stalin were better than the opposition groups.

    (As an aside: I have had much more trouble identifying a specific line associated with Zinoviev -- he does not seem to have represented a specific line (with a specific set of proposals), but to have joined the oppositional activities generally led by others.)

    But my own investigations have let me to say that by the time these diverse oppositional forces came to trial in the late 1930s, the Soviet government was making up (literally fabricating) <em>legal</em> charges and their claims of "evidence" -- and NOT dealing with the oppositionists on the basis of line. They were not exposed among the people on the basis of their ideological and political line -- but were accused of being spies, assassins, a "Fifth Column," traitors etc.

    (In the late 20s, Stalin wrote a work on line "On the Opposition" which I think is substantive and worth reading. But a decade later that is no longer the approach).

    In any case, I have never been able to find any credible evidence that these <em>political</eM> oppositions were Nazi agents, and that they were executed for being oppositionists (and were not, in general and overall, spies, saboteurs, assassins and paid agents).

    Grover's work does not deal with line -- that isn't what he raises. He is dealing with those legal charges. He claims to have evidence that these people were guilty of the charges they were imprisoned or executed for: espionage, treason, assassination of Kirov, attempted assassination of Stalin, plans to help Germany and Japan carve up the Soviet Union etc.

    Ok, what is it?

    <b>So..... A Simple Request</b>

    As <em>anyone</em> reading this essay found any sign of convincing evidence there that those specific charges of "Nazi agent" were true?

    Leaving aside the well-known "confessions" (given by people facing execution, imprisonment and threat to their family).... what evidence is Grover talking about? I (honestly) can't find any.

    1) We all know they formed political opposition groups that wanted to challenge and replace the current leading group around Stalin. (That is not controversial, or surprising -- such struggle over power and direction has always existed under socialism. Evidence of oppositional activity by various political leaders of the Communist Party is not, obviously, evidence of paid collaboration with a foreign, Nazi enemy.)

    2) We all know that various defendants in the various trials accused Trotsky and others of being being Nazi spies (and we all presumably understand that confessions can be coerced from prisoners facing execution, or whose families are threatened.) So confessions are not evidence, unless there is independent corroborating evidence.

    3) We all know there were some networks of spies within the Soviet Union (and counterrevolutionaries in some places that collaborated with the Nazis after they invaded Soviet territory). But I am not familiar with any evidence that these spy networks were <em>specifically recruited and directed</em> by Trotsky, Zinoviev, Radek, Tukachevsky, etc.


    So let me ask, simply, if anyone else waded through Grover's essay: what "evidence" is he talking about in the title of his essay?

    Can you post here simply (not surrounded by 170 pages of truly mind-numbing filler) the evidence that Grover claims to have?

    Give us three or four pieces of evidence in a simply list of bullet points. Or even one clear, convincing piece of evidence will do.

    Was there evidence of a meeting where Trotsky (or his go-betweens) met with German agents? The memoirs of a Berlin handler? A record of espionage reports in Japanese archives? A list of saboteurs in an org chart in Soviet archives? A bank account? A description of how these networks of assassins were directed, paid, recruited with any evidence? Commentary by british double agents tumbling on the conspiracy? A pay stub?

    If there was a conspiracy of diverse forces reaching from Mexico to Paris, to Moscow to Tokyo, there must be all kinds of evidence left behind in the archives of multiple governments?

    Just one scrap of clear evidence, stated simply, here. Is there any?

  • Guest - PatrickSMcNally

    Just a fourth point which I think should be added to the list of "We all know" points:

    4) We all know that Trotsky did occasionally suggest analogies to the way that Lenin returned to Russia in 1917.

    Lenin was given a trip on a sealed train by the Kaiser. The earliest contacts between the German General Staff and Lenin appear to have begun in 1916 when Berlin was looking for some way of breaking the impasse on the eastern front. It's quite plausible that Trotsky may have envisioned a similar scenario eventually occurring, with deadlock on a Nazi-Soviet front leading Hitler to seek out some way of aiding Stalin's political enemies. As it happened, the military nature of the Second World War was so different from the First that no such analogy ever held. But one can find some statements by Trotsky which indicate that he thought this would be possible. The catch is that, to the extent that he ever considered this, he rather implied that it would only occur after a stalemate on an eastern front had formed in the midst of war.

    There is nothing to suggest that he ever had any prewar contacts, just as Lenin had no prewar contacts with the Kaiser.

  • Patrick writes:

    <blockquote>"There is nothing to suggest that [Trotsky] ever had any prewar contacts [with Nazi Germany]..."</blockquote>

    Yes, that is also my understanding.

    If anyone has any contrary evidence, I would like to ask that they share it.

    Patrick writes:

    <blockquote>"We all know that Trotsky did occasionally suggest analogies to the way that Lenin returned to Russia in 1917. Lenin was given a trip on a sealed train by the Kaiser."</blockquote>

    I suspect that we <em>don't</em> all know that what you are saying is true. Patrick, please quote and cite one or two of the places where Trotsky said such things, so others can evaluate them.

  • Guest - Radical Eyes

    I hope to post a response over the next week that takes up Mike's challenge to concisely point people towards the key pieces of evidence that Grover Furr cites in support of his conclusions re: Trotsky and the Oppositionists collaboration with Germany and Japan.

    In the meantime, I wanted to share this link to a recent interview that Dr. Furr has done with a paper in Georgia (the former Soviet Republic). http://chss.montclair.edu/english/furr/georgiantimesinterv0910.html

    That his work has been getting serious attention in Russia and the former Soviet Union may not speak to the validity of Dr. Furr's arguments, but it does speak to the continuing importance and relevance of this topic.

  • Guest - PatrickSMcNally

    I assume that we do all know that Lenin took a German train to Russia, so the only issue is where Trotsky alluded to it and what someone might infer from this. In the 9th session of his trial which John Dewey organized, Goldman brings up the question:

    <blockquote>
    "Now, a question has been asked many times in reference to this point. I would like to have you clear it up. Lenin accepted aid from the German Kaiser in the sense that he accepted permission of the Kaiser to go through Germany to Russia. Would you accept that aid?"</blockquote>

    Trotsky mocks the question with:

    <blockquote>"To go to Russia? Hitler would help me with pleasure in this direction – to go to Russia."</blockquote>

    There's a bit of an exchange and Trotsky mainly concentrates on making the point that when Lenin did this he did it out in the open, but Trotsky never actually disclaims the idea of doing something similar himself later. His only point is that if it is to be done, it should done out in the open. The exchange on this point is here:

    http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1937/dewey/session09.htm

    Trotsky made several clear references to Lenin taking aid from the Kaiser, such as in the biography which he wrote for the Encyclopedia Britannica:

    <blockquote>
    "The revolution of Feb. 1917 found Lenin in Switzerland. His attempts to reach Russia met with the opposition of the British Government, and he decided to travel through Germany. The success of this plan gave occasion to Lenin’s enemies for a fierce campaign of slander, which, however, was powerless to prevent him from assuming the leadership of his party and shortly afterwards of the revolution."</blockquote>

    http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1939/xx/lenin02.html

    From the way that he avoided giving Goldman a straight answer of "no, I would never take aid from Germany in the way that Lenin did" people like <a href="/http://www.ebook3000.com/politics/Another-View-of-Stalin_44082.html" rel="nofollow">Ludo Martens [in "Another View of Stalin"]</a>have sought to argue that Trotsky was keeping this option open.

    I think a reasonable case can be made that he was leaving it open there, provided that we understand that this is completely different from actually having ongoing relations with Hitler through a backdoor somewhere. If he actually had such relations ongoing in secret, it would have made more sense to openly state that he would never do anything similar to the way that Lenin cut a deal with the Kaiser. For me, the fact that Trotsky avoided giving Goldman such a straight-up "no" counts against the argument that he was a Nazi agent. It only shows that he wanted to keep himself a certain leeway open in case the opportunity to do something like Lenin's trip from Switzerland arose later on.

  • Radical Eyes writes:

    <blockquote>"That his work has been getting serious attention in Russia and the former Soviet Union may not speak to the validity of Dr. Furr’s arguments, but it does speak to the continuing importance and relevance of this topic."</blockquote>

    It may say something about Russian politics (and the great symbolic importance of Stalin in some debates there).

    In the politics we face there is a challenge to get socialism and communism a "second look" -- after many people have (falsely) assumed it is a dead letter. In that effort, there is a major component of upholding the positive experiences of both the Soviet Union and China. But I suspect there is no reason or basis to uphold the <em>methods</em> employed in the late 1930s in Soviet Russia -- those are mainly a negative experience (for many reasons), and rested on a mistaken theory about the nature of class struggle under socialism, and how capitalist restorationist forces were emerging.

  • Guest - PeopleB4profits

    Bringing up Stalin as a reason why Communism doesn't work is like bringing up Bush or Th Electoral College to why democracy doesn't work. It's a false generalization. And Communism isn't nonempirical. The Paris Commune is a great example, as is Chile and many other countries. The author just is sick of, as most of us are, of being labeled genetically and falsely of what other people have done in the past under the banner of Communism.

  • Just a note:

    Literally thousands of people have visited this post in the last few days. <a href="/http://old-fox.livejournal.com/293856.html" rel="nofollow">Overwhelmingly coming from Russia</a>.

    Just want to say: Hi! and Welcome!

  • Guest - alex

    It's obvious that there's no logical aim of our evolution as humaniterian civilization instead of communism. Money - lots of money - can not be the final purpose of mankind. Buy or sell - what's for? To buy more and more? And what's next?

    sorry for my bad English

  • Guest - Rye

    "18. Communists can be for or against whatever is popular in your particular area. If you are preaching to a right-wing crowd, Communists are for degeneration and homosexuality. If you are preaching to a more mainstream audience, Communists were homophobic. Essentially, Communists are for moral degeneration and puritanical prudery at the same time. Again, do not notice the contradiction."

    Uh, Lenin decriminalised homosexuality and Stalin criminalised it again. That's not a "contradiction", that's historical fact. Lenin was of course right to do so, and was remarkably progressive given his era, but historically, communism has been pretty poor at liberating the masses from their chains before attaching some others when it becomes expedient.

    "38. Learn to use the magic word ‘totalitarian’. This word allows you to link two ideological opposites, Communism and Fascism." The ideological opposites that were allied in the beginning stages of WW2? It's hardly contentious that Stalin saw parallels in Hitler's Germany that he felt close enough to ally with and totally miss the precursors to Barbarossa.

    "15. Two words – Human nature. What is human nature? For your purposes, human nature is a quick explanation why political ideas or systems you don’t like are wrong." Look up the Lucifer Effect by Philip Zimbardo, the Milgram Experiment and Dunbar's number. There's three examples of human nature that pose serious problems to any international and unified desirable communist "endgame".

  • Rye writes:

    <blockquote>"It’s hardly contentious that Stalin saw parallels in Hitler’s Germany that he felt close enough to ally with and totally miss the precursors to Barbarossa."</blockquote>

    On the contrary, it is a challenged (and mistaken) view.

    The Soviet Union attempted to contain Germany through alliances with Britain and France. When Britain and France tried to egg Hitler on to attack in the East, the USSR reached a non-aggression pact with Germany that bought them time.

    To be permanently outraged by the USSR-German treaty, requires (I assume) some lack of appreciation in the real commonalities between (say) German and British imperialism.

    That short lived German-Soviet agreement had nothing to do with non-existent similarities between fascism and communism (any more than Churchill's wartime alliance with Stalin had to do with similarities.) These were geopolitical alignments of states (and in this case, states of profoundly different characters).

  • Guest - Anticomunista

    Thank you for letting me know. I got some recipe to understand communists people. One thing,forgive me. It can be true that gays are communists but few are not. It can be 2 percent gays who are not communists. Thanks, lol. I love you.

  • Guest - Trace Hunter

    @Anticomunista: It can be true that people who think calling someone gay is an insult are not themselves gay. 2% are not.

  • Guest - Red Fly

    Zing! Nice one, Trace Hunter.

    Maybe Kasama should let a few more of these posts by reactionary scumbags through, just for a bit of amusement now and then.

  • Guest - Matt

    There's a lot of "oh yeah but the imperialist states did worse stuff" in here, which isn't really a very good defense of communism.

  • Guest - Josh

    What the fuck?

    I'm an anarchist, and this is insane bullshit. Why are you defending opportunistic, genocidal regimes?

  • Guest - Trotsky's unborn son

    In reply to: Guest - Josh

    Thank you, Josh. There's so many ignorant shitheads in this comment section.

  • Guest - Patrick

    You sir, are in the wrong place...

  • Josh: Care to elaborate? It is hard to answer your comment in its current form.

  • Guest - mf

    Hey Mike, take a look at the last comment over at the Russian site you posted above. The poster, "Amerikkkan7070", writes (roughly):

    "Hey, I'm using Google Translate but I gotta tell you guys Mike Ely is a dangerous liar. He's guilty of all of these anti-communist tips and slandering comrade Stalin. Don't be fooled by the Kasama Project.."

  • Guest - Rienzi

    I'm Russian (was born in Leningrad and all life has lived in this city).... I am sorry for my bad English, but I SHOULD tell that my late grandmother living at Stalin all life said to me that Stalin was the best governor in the history of Russia! At us in Russia the same dirty Antistalin propagation as well as all over the world is now conducted, but the majority of the population till now combine Stalin the great politician. Recently I read the Constitution 1936 and I wasn't left by sensation of that on how many it is democratic - much democratic than the Constitution of the USA or modern Russia..... According to the Constitution of 1936 - the USSR - parliamentary republic, and Stalin de jure practically had no power.... Stalin was considered as the head of the USSR only because it worked really hard, was the most formed (now I read Stalin's works though presently to get such literature not simply - everything that is written them ingeniously), possessed the greatest authority!!

  • Guest - timthesocialist

    Reblogged this on <a href="/http://communistdaily.wordpress.com/2012/03/10/480/" rel="nofollow">The Communist Daily</a> and commented:
    Saw this a long time ago, thought I should reblog it, as it is awesome. Read, and enjoy.

  • Guest - Laissez-faire

    This is an interesting tactic for sheltering one's ideology from criticism. If I were Mormon, I could make a similar list anticipating all the standard and valid criticisms. In doing so, I create the appearance of having delegitimized the criticism by anticipating it. This is the appeal to expectation fallacy--essentially, "I knew you were going to say that. Therefore, you are wrong." You also commit the No True Scotsman Fallacy. Keep the sheeple bleating.

  • Guest - BryonJ.

    you know i understand that this is a joke, but i think it sends a message that can be misinterpreted. it kind of implies to me that any criticism of communism is somehow anticommunisitc. but the thing that attracted me to communist thought was its relentless critique of itself. From Marx's critique of capitalism and utopian socialism, Lenin's critique of the Left Communists, to the current debate between the various modes and models of communism (i.e. Zizek, Badiou, Bosteels, Hardt and Negri, etc.) Communists are not afraid to take on those who are undoubtedly communist and critique their positions.This is in direct oppositon to capitalism, where one blindly follows the lead of the apologists of the system without ever questioning the assumptions and actual results of capitalism. Plus i like to take the middle way of truth: that it probably lies somewhere between the two extreme positions of Stalinophilia and absolute anti-Stalinism.

  • Bryon writes:


    <blockquote>"i like to take the middle way of truth: that it probably lies somewhere between the two extreme positions of Stalinophilia and absolute anti-Stalinism."</blockquote>

    If truth could be found by triangulating between available narratives, the world would have given us all an easy road to wisdom.

    There is however no shortcut. And we are forced to (as Mao said) "study critically, test independently."

  • Guest - jp

    the middle path idea incorrectly presumes two alternatives. there are never only two.

  • Guest - Soul

    Such a satire, though a lot of the info your advising being ignored due to weakening your point is completely untrue as well, and if you had researched into it you could simply overturn the counters far easier. This was humorous both because it's bad anti-communist advice and a lot of the parts that "support" communism are completely misinformed too. I assume everyone else is laughing at the use of the word communism already though. Last communist system were Native American tribes after all. Communal ownership and a borderline anarchic bureaucracy of government. Socialism FTW!

  • Is no criticism justified?

  • I like that there is a Guest named Otto. His opinion is a bit like mine. I especially like that joke at the end. Of course We do have a right to express cirisizm of communist governments. I honestly think communism is more of the idea than a state today. Kim Jong Un gives his people a lot of free stuff...but not much democracy or free speech at all. So it's a mixed bad, as many governments end up if we look at them realisticaly.
    Stalin did kill people when it wasn't necessary, but he saved the economy of that country. His contributions ALMOST over come his short-commings.

  • Guest - Trotsky's unborn son

    In reply to: otto

    You are so fucking stupid it's laughable. Are you a communist? Why the fuck are you justifying the horrendous crimes by Kim Jong Un and Stalin? Two authoritarian leaders that never, NEVER supported communism. You see, the laughable contradiction here is that communism is a "stateless society". So how the fuck can you be an authoritarian like Stalin in a communist society?

    It's leftists like you who ruin the reputation of communism. You, and the dictators who claim to be communists.

  • Pick a Kim, any Kim. Who needs to know anything! Kim Jong Un, in office for what, two years? and already guilty of horrendous crimes? Perhaps you can list them? Oh wait, anti-communism thrives on assertion. There's a completely legitimate discussion to be had about the nature of the DPRK. But you haven't engaged that discussion, you're just repeating facile nonsense. Also, we try to be comradely here even when we have differences of opinion. Don't call people "fucking stupid."

    0 Like Short URL:
  • What do you mean by "justifying crimes?" What part of my comment did I actually say that. You sound like Republicans. Ask the People of East Germany if they were better off after the wall came down. They will tell you they were annexed and that is all. As for communist, I support people in such places as India where they are making progress in forming a new society. If you are some kind of Anarchist Communist then where have your revolutionaries succeeded? Revolution will never come about from some utopian anarchist fantasy. Neither will communism.

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  • Guest - tobin

    In reply to: Guest - Trotsky's unborn son

    Have just seen Eagleton's so-called defence of Marxism where he makes the same crass assessment of Mao and Stalin as 'mass murderers'. Like the clown described as 'T's unborn son' he waves the red flag in order to oppose it because he has a utopian vision of socialism untouched by historical exigencies and any form of praxis, however imperfectly realised. Trots are history's losers and are always whingeing that 'It's all very well in practice - but will it work in theory?'

    0 Like Short URL:
  • I just realized that this thread is so old that I may have actually left the above message I responded to in the above message. If that is the case, i really had very little new to say about these things. You can even disregard if so desired. I think this subject has been argued before and since on this site.

  • Guest - Kapil Sangwari

    Wow,
    I am so glad to see this, I have been saying exactly all this, but not in this organised manner, thanx a ton for this.

  • Guest - redanarchist

    Everything else was good, but you really had to take shots at anarchists? Solidarity comrades, not infighting.

  • Guest - Pratik

    Pretend that the crimes or shortcomings you attribute to or point out in a communist state don't exist in your own beloved party-democracy. There, I summarized it for you.

  • Guest - Trotsky's unborn son

    The author of this article is completely ignorant to the definition of communism. If you're a communist, you should never have to defend trials that were made in "communist states" – because per definition, there has never been a true communist state. Communism is per definition a stateless society, yet I see a lot of communists and leftist defending totalitarian societies and historically totalitarian states by trying to justify their horrible crimes.

    Never, NEVER, defend ex-Yugoslavia or Soviet, or even China. That's as ludicrous as defending North Korea today. They claimed to be socialistic or communist. But why would you take their word when they're obviously totalitarian? Look at Congo, they claim to be democratic – does any western democratic nation agree? Not by any stretch of the imagination, no. Because they're still a completely totalitarian state.

  • Guest - Trav

    In reply to: Guest - Trotsky's unborn son

    So do you follow the PLP line that upholds the theory that society should go directly from capitalism to a stateless communist society? You seem to want to dismiss every single serious attempt to build socialism that has ever occurred in the history of the world on the grounds that they have not met the standards of the stateless utopia you envision. You apparently think that you can uphold communism without upholding any actual communist efforts. Your Platonic Communism does not exist and no serious Marxist theorist has ever thought to assess historical experiences as if it did.

  • Guest - Nanu

    It's interesting to note that (despite point 13) the post, in general, applies to religious states as well. That is, one can replace "Communism/Marxism" with "Islam/Hindutva" and the arguments are still good.

  • Guest - Etular

    Point 32 is solely dependant on how you view "failure" or, even more importantly, "success".

    Anarchism as an ideology in and of itself is arguably almost completely focused around localities, and a lot of work has been done within those various localities. Infoshops do exist, and we have our communes. Yes, ideally, we would like a world revolution - much like yourselves - but we focus a lot more on our grassroots achievements. The fact that we do have local influences, have held certain localities during wartime etc. is an achievement for us.

    On the contrary, the Communists - with their international aim - have arguably been less successful, in spite of having more ground. Countries exist, but you haven't been able to "unite" the workers of the world under your banner, and in many cases have even failed in gaining recognition. "Communism" still incites fear into people, even following the Cold War, with many such countries facing embargoes. Much like ourselves, you've yet to achieve your universal aim of a classless, stateless "higher phase communism"; but unlike ourselves (thus, being the distinction between a statist Communist and an Anarcho-Communist), many of your countries aren't even making steps towards that.

  • Guest - Trav

    In reply to: Guest - Etular

    So you will overthrow international capitalism with infoshops and farmers markets? "Communism" may in fact instill a certain fear in people, as you say, Karl Marx even suggested that certain people ought to tremble at the very prospect, but do you really think that "Anarchism" really has a better reputation? I've found that, rightly or wrongly, it is most often associated with anarchy among the general population in my neighborhood.

  • Guest - in this thread

    in this thread: gulag and stasi apologism

  • Guest - Socialist guy

    Communism can and will work, but it didn't in Soviet Russia simply because Russia skipped the capitalism stage..

  • Guest - Darwin26

    i'm with guest Kapil ~ thanks to all for posting on this thread ~ i trust the dust will settle only to be scattered and to return perhaps more enhanced than before :) The article cements as well as reveals.
    i'm with guest Trav on anarchism, To me the hooded hudlums/anarchists are just Libertarians in disguise.
    Native Americans were the last 'Communists' no property rights per se but acquisitions were important on many levels, still their for of governance was unable to protect them from Imperialism and Capitalists.
    Human nature being such as it is i want a governance that can establish and maintain a quality Judicial sys. and that would require voting
    i don't understand #'s 33 or 34???

  • Guest - The_Philosopher

    The Communist ideology should not be limited to a certain epoch. It should always evolve to adapt to the current or future conditions.

  • Guest - Aaaaaaa+

    32. If you’re an anarchist, keep pointing out the ‘failure’ of Marxism while ignoring the fact that your ideology has a 100% failure rate throughout its entire history. Blame those failures on Communists, or stronger military powers. Ignore the fact that the most wonderful society is worthless if it can’t defend itself from reaction.

    Guess we just gotta have more guns the next time y'all ML's come around.

    Note also that you guys also have a 100% failure rate.