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Industrialization under Stalin

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Soviet cogitations: 25
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 05 Jan 2014, 00:40
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Post 28 Jan 2014, 09:13
Mabool wrote:
The Brezhnev stagnation happened because the Stalinist model of planning proved horrendously inefficient for anything that went beyond basic industrialization.

From 1950 to 1984, national income in the USSR multiplied 9.9-fold, and in the United States, only 3.1-fold. Soviet national income per head increased 6.5-fold, versus 2-fold for the US. Between 1951 and 1984, Soviet labour productivity growth averaged 6.0%, compared to 2.7% in the US. (Kuznetzov, 1985).

Mabool wrote:
Stalin installed a system in which the production of millions of different kinds of commodities would be directed by one central planning agency. This task is impossible to fulfill and it's not at all what a planned economy is supposed to look like.

As discussed in the thread about the supposed "impracticability of socialism", these notions as promoted by von Mises were thoroughly discredited by the USSR's rapid economic growth during the Depression, WWII and post-war.

Mabool wrote:
What this means is that Stalin launched a series of spectacular, ridiculous Gulag construction projects because he was an insane megalomaniac.

Let us not be confused by bourgeois falsification on the issue of Gulags.

One of the most extensive industrial camp projects was the building of the Baltic-White Sea Canal by prisoners, a vast enterprise whose three chief engineers were former "wreckers." At the completion of the project, 300 prisoners received scholarships, 12,000 were freed, and 59,000 had their sentences reduced. Such was the normal course of working class justice in the USSR. Therefore, if changes were made in some aspects of the system, there must have been reasons for it.
Cameron, Kenneth Neill. Stalin, Man of Contradiction. Toronto: NC Press, c1987, p. 128

All of these enemies of the people were as a rule assigned to so-called political isolation prisons, which were placed under the command of the NKVD of the USSR. Conditions in these political isolation prisons were particularly favorable. The prisons resembled forced vacation homes more than prisons.
In these political isolation prisons, inmates were afforded the opportunity of associating closely with each other, of discussing all political matters taking place in the country, of working out plans for anti-Soviet operations to be carried out by their organizations, and of maintaining relationships with people on the outside. The convicts were granted the right to unrestricted use of literature, paper, and writing instruments, the right to receive an unlimited number of letters and telegrams, to acquire their own personal effects and keep them in their cells, and to receive, along with their official rations, packages from the outside in any number and containing any type of goods.
Getty & Naumov, The Road to Terror. New Haven, Conn.: Yale Univ. Press, c1999, p. 423

Different kinds of camps and exile with widely varying features and regimens existed, indicating that gulag practice was not simply to hold or destroy innocent people. Prisoners were treated according to the nature and degree of the crimes for which they had been convicted. The NKVD colonel Almazov reported that inmates sentenced to administrative exile were often hired by the camps as free workers. The gulag administration did not need to house, guard, or feed such people, whose productivity was higher than that of the regular prisoners. And Avar man arrested in 1937 went to a state farm in Kazakhstan, part of a colony of such NKVD facilities. "We all worked very hard in the hope of eventual freedom." He recalled. Nor did he report any starvation at his site. A young Russian man arrested in the same year was sent to a factory in Archangel. Not kept under guard, he was taught how to use a powersaw for wood. "I learned and worked hard on this machine," he said later. This man was not a political prisoner; people in that category worked in the forests under guard and had a high mortality rate. Instead of being used for economic gain, politicals were typically given the worst work or were dumped into the less productive parts of the gulag.
The difference in treatment for the two categories of prisoners is also illustrated in the memoirs of Victor Herman. He contrasted the camps Burepolom and Nuksha 2, both near Viatka, in the north of Russia. In Burepolom there were about 3000 prisoners, all nonpolitical, in the central compound. They could walk around at will, were lightly guarded, had unlocked barracks with mattresses and pillows, and watched western movies. But Nuksha 2, which housed serious criminals and politicals, featured guard towers with machine guns and locked barracks and allowed no correspondence....
Earlier in the decade [the 1930s], prisoners and exiles more often worked at their specialties, as did a Russian man who lived near the Usbirlag after his arrest in 1933. At that time prisoners could shorten their sentences by overfulfilling the work norms. The newspaper Perekovka of the White Sea-Baltic Combine, marked "not for distribution beyond the boundaries of the camp," lists 10 prisoners released early in 1936 for good performance. Here were powerful incentives to work hard.
Other productive options were open to inmates at this point. In early 1935, the same paper mentioned a course in livestock raising held for prisoners at a nearby state farm; those who took it had their workday reduced to four hours. During that year the professional theater group in the camp complex gave 230 performances of plays and concerts to over 115,000 spectators.
Up to 1937 free men and inmates, though never politicals, were used as armed guards. Camp newspapers and bond drives existed until then; although it is ironic and cruel to collect money for the state from prisoners, it is at least an indication that they were still regarded as participants in society to some degree.

Thurston, Robert. Life and Terror in Stalin's Russia, 1934-1941. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1996, p. 102-104

For those who show by their conduct that they are amenable to correction every effort is made to prevent the development of a sense of social isolation; solidarity with the dominant group is cultivated in every possible way....
For those who show that they are incorrigible there is only one end -- elimination. Before that end is reached every effort is made to correct them. From the Soviet point of view that is the purpose of the colonies of kulaks and other "enemies of the public" at Archangel and in Siberia....
The emphasis upon the role of economic opportunity and industrial and social training in correction is found nowhere else. Even negative disciplinary measures are conceived as reformative in purpose. There is no punishment for retribution.
Davis, Jerome. The New Russia. New York: The John Day company, c1933, p. 236

Russia's penal code is based upon no sentimental humanitarianism. Like her other laws it is the outcome of cold logic working from certain premises looked upon as self-evident with the same assurance as that of the mathematician who accepts the axioms of geometry. These axioms are the fundamental Marxian and Leninist principles. From these grow the fundamental penological principles. These principles may be summarized as follows:
1. "Wrongs" are the results of long centuries of acculturation in a capitalistic society.
2. Some individuals are unable to adapt their habits to a new social order.
3. Others can more easily form a new habit pattern and thus can adapt themselves to a new order of things.
4. The purpose of "punishment" is to protect society.
5. Society should attempt to change the attitude of "wrong-doers" by every method known to modern pedagogical and medical science.
6. Those who cannot be "reformed" should be eliminated from society for its protection.
No sentimentality here; just cold logic. No tears over the possible mistakes made in selecting those to be eliminated; some risk must be taken for social protection. However, every effort must first be made to correct the wrong-doer....
The Soviet leaders recognize that a capitalistic society cannot at once be transformed culturally into a communistic one. Socialism is the intermediate stage....
During this period of restraint society has a chance to order the life of these persons most closely and if possible convert them into good members of society. The first task is to train them in industry. So the prisons are great trade schools. Recognizing that in the transition period of socialism the economic motive must be kept alive for the individual, the Soviet authorities provide that the prisoner must be paid practically the same wage as the free man, consideration being given to the cost of his maintenance....
More interesting still, instead of conducting their prisons on the theory that prison labor and free labor are in inevitable conflict, Russia arranges the closest connection between prison labor and free labor. The prisoner must be brought to realize the solidarity of all labor. He is not an outcast, but a part of the labor-force of the nation. If he is a member of a trade union upon being sent to prison he does not lose that connection. In fact the prisoner who shows by his industry and conduct that he is one with the great body of free workers may be sent from the prison during the later stages of his sentence to work in a factory....
In accordance with their theory of the purpose of confinement the Soviet authorities have done away with life sentences; the longest sentence is 10 years. If a man cannot be changed in that time he cannot be changed at all....
As indicated above, capital punishment is reserved for incorrigible criminals....
It is clear that the system is devised to correct the offender and return him to society. The means employed are associated labor, social pressure, education for a trade, education in Sovietism and in certain stubborn cases disciplinary treatment. In all these institutions the Code provides that there shall be no brutality, no use of chains, no deprivation of food, no use of solitary confinement, and no such degrading devices as interviewing visitors through screens. Prisoners are transferred from one institution to another as the authorities see improvement in attitude and conduct. Work for all is compulsory. Two days of labor counts as three days of the sentence for those who make good progress. Labor conditions in the prisons are controlled by the same labor code as governs free laborers. Those condemned to labor in these institutions are entitled to two weeks' furlough each year after the first 5 1/2 months. If they belong to the working class, this furlough is deducted from the sentence. The wages paid the prisoners are about the same as those paid free labor less the cost of maintenance. Those condemned to forced labor receive about 25% less. The prisoner may spend a greater proportion of his wages as he advances in grade. The institutions must be self-supporting, so careful management is required....
The educational work in the prisons is a unique feature. There is regular class work, recreation with an educational aim, wall-and printed newspapers, clubs, theatrical performances, sports, musical activities, and self-government in the most advanced grades. Every sort of stimulus and pressure is brought to bear to socialize (" sovietize") the inmates. In the institutions I visited, including old Czarist buildings and modern farm industrial colonies, I saw these activities carried on with great enthusiasm and earnestness. Perhaps the most interesting of all I saw was the GPU industrial colony outside a Moscow, called Bolshevo. Founded by the GPU for homeless children, it has become one of the most progressive correctional institutions for young offenders, both male and female, I have ever seen. With 2000 inmates, without walls and with very few guards, it appears to be a great industrial village....
The disciplinary measures are limited to reduction in grade with loss of privileges, limitation of the use of personal funds, isolation of the individual up to 14 days and in removal to an isolator where harsher treatment prevails. However, solitary confinement in Russia does not exist in our sense of the word. It is prohibited by Paragraph 49 of the Code. It consists of a stricter separation from the outer world, disbarment from outdoor work and from furlough.
Davis, Jerome. The New Russia. New York: The John Day company, c1933, p. 221-229[i]

More on Gulags:
— Crìsdean R.


In following the revolutionary road, strive for an even greater victory.
Soviet cogitations: 729
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Mar 2011, 14:10
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Post 28 Jan 2014, 23:07
Mabool wrote:
Except, you know, Stalin completely emasculated the Soviets, which constituted the backbone of the state under Lenin, and in 1936 he made this official with his constitutional reform which changed everything and turned the political system of the USSR into a caricature of bourgeois democracy, with ministries, a parliament and all, only without the democracy.
The political system did not change much from the 1924 to the 1936 Constitutions except to become more democratic, in line with the raised cultural level of the population. I have read Trotsky's "criticism" of the 1936 Constitution and it's absurd when you actually read up on the changes made and why they were made. The doctrine of the unity of state power existent in both the 1924 and 1936 Constitutions was the antithesis of bourgeois democracy, to give one example.

Also the Council of People's Commissars was renamed to the Council of Ministers in 1946. Its functions did not change.
Soviet cogitations: 4
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 17 Apr 2014, 01:38
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
New Comrade (Say hi & be nice to me!)
Post 08 Nov 2015, 23:36
I'm ressurecting this topic, but I get really amazed by the bitterness and lack of truth in the anti-stalinist stance. The bulk are simplistic and emotional charges. Not even the most simpleton stalinist (like some russian patriots) get to this.

Loz said that ANYONE could have done the industrialization, that's just some kind of provocation, hyper-statement. Anyone? Bukharin, for his very clear positions of low-paced development could not. Krondatiev, a bourgeois specialist, much more "prepared", could not with his theory of vertical cooperatives. It's good to remember this guys, the right deviationist, specially Bukharin, because they have this kind of critics are bukharinist, they too talk on behalf of the peasants against the collectivization. The truth is (including Trotsky, Preobazhenski and the left oposition with the "socialist primitive accumulation") that there's no rapid industrialization without collectivization. And collectivization is not a matter of "bad policy of bad people", it's a matter of class strugle - the "death toll" is not a number of "poor victims of a bad regime", but product of a conflict, a second civil war. Without that, USSR would be doomend in the WWII, a imperialist war that they're actually and actively preparing for since 1927. The industrialization of the capitalist world was much less eficient, capitalist-oriented and much more inhumane, murderous.

Loz sound like some management specialist talking from his armchair - "oh, he was incompetent, oh waste", but the result speak per se, most of problems are not "dictators fault", but structural problems. It's very simple to criticize from our positions, it's easy to forget that the USSR have a wild shortage of human resources, thats it, a shortage of good managers for a economy expanding vey very rapidly. Let's be minimally reasonable.

And yes, dictatorships happen, happen every time, for Marx sake, that's marxism, not some bourgeois speech about individual dictators. The industrialization was a big issue, not a "Stalin dictator issue", "new class issue".
Soviet cogitations: 256
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 02 Jan 2016, 14:43
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Post 14 Mar 2016, 21:48
Ya, you forgot literacy rate too went up 800%. Day care income had appeared in the gross domestic product statistics since 1919. Imagine the 'opulence of the common worker'. Where else can you find that in our own Philippines where productivity is stunted because instead of putting them in government or nationalized daycares, they hire unproductive maids to take care of their children. These maids watch TV the whole day.
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