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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"The COMMIES are coming!"

Meanwhile, in wingnut-land (pseudo-intellectual division), we learn that the great issue of the day is not the misery inflicted by libertarians, Goldman Sachs, the Kochs, Fox News or Obama's continuing sell-out to the far right. No, the big problem facing the world is neo-Stalinism.
This includes the West’s penchant for moral relativism, which has been embraced with particular enthusiasm by Stalin apologists, who have, in the manner of Holocaust deniers, been working feverishly to establish the Man of Steel’s innocence, in particular for the mass bloodletting of the Great Terror.
What horseshit.

Over the course of more than four decades, I've never heard anyone on the left say a kind word for Stalin. The right's fantasy version of what liberals are like when speaking in private bears no resemblance to reality.

During the cold war, liberals grew so fearful of the "red" label that they all became afraid to say things that they knew to be true -- and even when talking amongst themselves, they gave lip service to things that they knew or suspected to be lies. Nearly everyone went along with even the unlikeliest right-wing pronouncements about the communist menace. For decades, the propagandists insisted that the Soviet Union had formulated long-range plans to infiltrate America's media, universities and government -- and after we had become debauched and degenerate and softened up, the Red Army would come pouring in from Mexico. We heard that scenario endlessly, and few liberals had the balls to call bullshit. Believe it or not, conservative crazies hauled out that beloved fantasy ("They're massing at the border right now!") for one last go in 1995.

It was always nonsense. The Russians never had such a plan. Here we are, a couple of decades past the fall of the USSR, and no-one has come up with a single document or "insider" account to prove that the Soviets had a plan to take over the world. (The absurd hoaxes proffered by nutcase defectors like Golitsyn don't count.)

The hard fact is that the USSR, for all its sins, had no offensive plans against the United States. They were playing defense. We invaded them. Moreover, our industrialists and financiers (especially Henry Ford, the John Birchers' idol) tossed tons of money at the Nazi party, precisely because they wanted Hitler to fulfill his stated goal of killing or enslaving the Russian people.

We can't let fear rule us any longer. The time has finally come for Americans to state out loud the simple truth: Stalin did not kill 30 million or 40 million or 60 million or 100 million Soviet citizens. (Throughout the cold war, the numbers kept increasing, depending on the boldness of the propagandist.) Even Robert Conquest -- who participated in William Buckley's notorious PBS propaganda broadcast Harvest of Sorrow (which relied on faked photographic "evidence") -- has finally admitted that Stalin did not create an intentional famine in the Ukraine. PBS never informed its viewers that Buckley was CIA and that Conquest, in all likelihood, also worked for the Agency. For the truth, go here: The famine was created by anti-communist guerrillas who burned crops.

Documents in the Soviet Archives prove that Stalin's reign was indeed bloody and awful. But he did not murder 60 million people, even though the right-wing fantasists have always insisted that we all say those words, under penalty of being called "apologists." From Wikipedia -- which, I hasten to add, is run by a staunch libertarian:
In light of revelations from the Soviet archives, historians now estimate that nearly 700,000 people (353,074 in 1937 and 328,612 in 1938) were executed in the course of the terror
Those numbers are bad enough. We don't need to make shit up.

Of course I condemn Stalin's monstrous behavior, as would any civilized person. The man was a certifiably paranoid dictatorial beast who, if he had lived longer, probably would have instituted a new anti-Semitic holocaust. But that assessment doesn't mean that I'm going to be cowed into the going along with the right-wing's hallucinated version of history. Stalin's very real tyranny does not give American reactionaries the right to pull "facts" out of their asses. You want to call me an "apologist"? Fuck you. I'm telling the truth and you're not.

On a related topic: I'm sick of right-wingers who invoke the spirit of George Orwell. Orwell was a proud socialist until the last day of his life. And he would have had nothing but contempt for today's teabaggers and Birchers. They are the ones who have displayed a mania for rewriting history to conform with the party line. See, for example, the post below this one -- particularly the section on the "revised" version of the California energy crisis.

(And I doubt that Orwell would have much cared for Chris Hitchens, who claims to be Orwell's greatest admirer.)

Almost without exception, everyone on the right lies. They lie and they lie and they LIE. From the "Protocols" hoax to the Warren Commission hoax to the Gulf of Tonkin hoax to the "Illuminati gonna getcha" hoax to Reagan's "welfare queen" hoax to the controlled demolition hoax (and yes, right-wingers did create that hoax) to the Iraq WMD hoax to the "Obama the Muslim" hoax to the "Stalin killed every living Russian in 1933 and then killed them all over again in 1934" hoax to the "all liberals believe in moral relativism" hoax to the daily hoaxes offered by Glenn Beck, the reactionary fear-mongers have proven that they prefer fantasy to reality. They lie to you, they lie to me, and they lie to themselves.
Funny thing, you should read Steve Waldman ( - he has a related theme on modern attitudes to Marxist analysis.

So I broadly agree with you. But its such an interesting topic let me try and add some silly observations.

1) In the ex-Soviet Union, its the old folk and the neo-fascists who are resurrecting Tovaritch Stalin's reputation. For the babushki, he helped make the trains run on time, and you didnt get Jewish speculati stealing everything in the country. For the skin heads, he helped make mother Russia strong.

2) I think Stalin was a very evil man. But in my reading about the ex-SU I came to believe that Stalin wasn't the bloodiest. We generally fail to understand quite how bloody Lenin was in the West.

Worth also noting that Stalin deported the entire Chechen nation to deal with their rebellious ways. I read somewhere that this eliminated 40% of the entire population. However the current Russian government appears to have killed off more like 60-70% of the population, so who is the more blood thirsty? Stalin or Putin?

Forgive my wittering on.

What was that missile gap business and who profited from that?

I remember air raid drills and 'duck & cover' as a kid, the fear was real and somebody made a shitload of $$$ off it.
Thx for linking me, Mr. Cannon.

Stalin probably killed about 3.3 million over the course of his 28 year rule. That's a lot of people indeed. Let the rightwingers replay that figure all they want.

There are many ways to kill a man. Malnutrition or starvation kills 14 million a year in the world, mostly in South Asia. Capitalism is responsible for all of this. The US invasion of Iraq killed over 1 million people. That's 1/3 as many as Stalin.

For some reason the deaths that capitalism causes don't count.
What about the Ukranian deaths from starvation over the issue of collective farms? I thought there were several millions of deaths in that case, from deliberate Stalin policy?

Missed the link discussing that issue. Nevermind!

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