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Stalin's Place in New Russian History.

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Soviet cogitations: 237
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Jul 2014, 21:53
Ideology: Other Leftist
Pioneer
Post 26 Aug 2014, 21:56
Quote:
Well, arguably Kamenev, Zinoviev, Trotsky. Suffice it to say that there were elements of the party, at all levels, that were more interested in the global ramifications of the revolution than in their home country. Now whether they were simply wrong politically or national traitors is a matter of judgement, and obviously the non-communist Stalin supporters will argue that their lack of interest in Russia while being part of the country's leadership makes them traitors.


False dichotomy. Lenin too viewed the revolution in Russia as a step into global revolution. He hoped, just as trotsky, that the revolution would reach Germany. The jump between expecting to export the revoltion and being a traitor of "your own country" (as if this meant something for Marx) is ideology and a way to justify Stalin killings and hold over power. No. If in a marxist organization you have to resort to killing and prosecuting your political enemies, then this marxist organization is not marxist at all. Democratic centralism ditacted that everything should be discussed at all levels. This means that, had Trotsky (and others that got killed) simply be wrong (because believing revolution should be exported at that momment in time means just a policy mistake, not an intentional treason of URSS) they would very well be convinced or ignored in those internal party debates. Nope. You dont need to kill everyone that does not agree with your line if you simply intend to make a point about how to run the country. But, you do kill your oponents if you want to get rid of the whole democratic process of debating against someone who thinks differently. And thats exactly what Stalin did. He destroyed internal party democracy, becouse he wanted power for himself. If by holding such power he incidentally industrialized Russia etc, this is only by accident, because in destroying party democracy he seed the roots of later URSS downfall and the incapacity of URSS to trully reach more advanced socialism. Thats why Stalin propaganda machine portrays them as traitors, to legitimize their killings.

Quote:
Nothing strange about it at all. Because while Stalin was a Marxist-Leninist in theory and in practice, he also oversaw industrialization, the war effort, postwar reconstruction, turning the USSR into a genuine world power, etc. That nationalist reactionaries cling to the non-ideological, 'great power building' aspects of his rule is natural for them, but leftists don't forget that all this was achieved because Stalin was a communist.


You dont need to be a communist to oversaw industrialization (and thats the only point i concede about Stalin's rule, but making the assertion that we cant know if had Stalin not get to power, others would not produce the same industrialization etc), neither need to be a communist to oversaw the war effort (with all the mistake i point in earlier posts). If you dont destroy your military like Stalin had done in the purges, you might very well have a much stronger post war Russia. Russia sacrifice was party due to Nazism, but in some part due to Stalin's own needs. Like i said earlier, ideology tries to paint the interests of a single group of persons as if it was the interests of all people. So the purges where not in the interests of the majority but of the small group of Stalin's supporters. Many people took part of the purges and the whole process genuinely thinking that they were doing the best for Russia. The purges made URSS pay a high price in lost lives and material destruction that was not needed to happen. There were alternatives. But just like Liberals use the expression "there is no alternative" to justify modern capitalism, stalinists tend to portray everything Stalin done as if there was no alternative to Stalin. Becouse thats another aspect of ideology, to portray the agenda of a certain group (the set of ideas about how to reach a certain objective) as if it was the only way to reach those objectives, effectively lending the nobleness of the objectives to the cruel means employed.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Aug 2010, 14:21
Party Bureaucrat
Post 26 Aug 2014, 23:10
Saying that there is some alternatives is in no way different, in terms of ideology, than saying that there is no alternative. The ideologist is the guy who pretends to be right without even being able to prove his point with hard facts, someone who has integrated the dominant ideology in his brain. For example the guy who says that Stalin put all his troops westmost, ignoring that the Soviet plan was organized on 3 lines of defense (hard fact), and not only one, is an ideologist. But it's not the worst. The worst is when this guy writes an endless lampoon with the pedantic feeling that he would have been a better general than any Soviet general, and a better leader than Stalin himself.

If Stalin had faced a simple situation: left you have 90% of dying according to a perfect analysis based on the available data, and right only 10% of dying, he would have gone right. But what would have happened if he went right and died nonetheless? You would have a bunch of ideologists who would write whole books to explain that Stalin made a mistake, that he should have gone left. This is exactly the situation. We have a war, a complex war, with a lot of fog, with probably tons of data going directly to the Kremlin, but some people who know nothing about the available data of the time, believe that they can know better than Stalin or the Soviet generals (including this unfortunate Voroshilov). This is ridiculous and arrogant.

Criticizing Stalin politically is one thing. Stalin lacked Lenin's political ingenuity and is partly responsible for Krushchev. But criticizing Stalin on his military action is a totally different matter, and most will fail on this slippery slope.
Last edited by OP-Bagration on 26 Aug 2014, 23:23, edited 3 times in total.
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"Fishing is part of agriculture" Gred
"Loz, you are like me" Yami
"I am one of the better read Marxists on this site" Gred
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Nov 2007, 06:31
Embalmed
Post 26 Aug 2014, 23:16
No offense, but the only times I've heard 'cosmopolitan' used is by left-wing nationalists in reference to actual Marxists, and Stalinists in reference to a national minority not loyal to the 'Soviet' identity and scattered across nations (so, cosmopolitan, and ironically what the nationalists argue is so jewish about communism).

It kind of bugs me Soviet78 is using it now.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Aug 2010, 14:21
Party Bureaucrat
Post 26 Aug 2014, 23:42
Cosmopolitanism is clearly opposed to internationalism, as in internationalism there is the idea of nation. So actual marxists can't be cosmopolitans. There is A LOT of cosmopolitans amongst communist ranks. Marxists believe that we should do everything possible to erase borders between nations, and national differences, but they don't believe that those borders, those differences, don't exist, or that they don't matter in the present situation. Cosmopolitanism and chauvinism are two deviations, the first one on the left, and the second on the right. Most of us tend sometime to deviate a bit on the left or on the right, but if you deviate completely, that's quite a problem.
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"Fishing is part of agriculture" Gred
"Loz, you are like me" Yami
"I am one of the better read Marxists on this site" Gred
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Soviet cogitations: 5137
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Nov 2007, 06:31
Embalmed
Post 26 Aug 2014, 23:48
There can be the idea of a nation, but that doesn't mean it'll have any power (more like there'll be a level above a regional soviet, a national one, that's about it). There certainly won't be any state for it, and national citizenship is just a manifestation of monopoly and property (not to mention a pointless parallel to a global system & economy) not to mention in today's world it doesn't even necessarily correlate to being truly a national (in the sense of shared history, ethnicity, etc.)

The problem is the extremely loaded meaning of 'recognizing nations exist'. Also, I've never read anything by Marx or Lenin about recognizing borders exist or whatever, that sounds even more loaded.

You realize there will be absolute free flow of labor and a global economy with world socialism, right?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Jul 2014, 21:53
Ideology: Other Leftist
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Post 27 Aug 2014, 00:32
Quote:
Saying that there is some alternatives is in no way different, in terms of ideology, than saying that there is no alternative. The ideologist is the guy who pretends to be right without even being able to prove his point with hard facts, someone who has integrated the dominant ideology in his brain. For example the guy who says that Stalin put all his troops westmost, ignoring that the Soviet plan was organized on 3 lines of defense (hard fact), and not only one, is an ideologist. But it's not the worst. The worst is when this guy writes an endless lampoon with the pedantic feeling that he would have been a better general than any Soviet general, and a better leader than Stalin himself.


Three failures :

1 - Saying that there was alternatives is simply stating the obvious : Stalin not rising to power, Trotsky becoming the party leader etc. Having no party leader at all, etc. So many alternatives that i cannot even count all !
2 - Oh ! Three static lines of defense that Stalin itself mingled with and transfered troops to the westmost one. The whole point of the discussion is just that. Being static lines of defense is bad in itself, having the first line with most troops is worse and having no higly mobile strategic reserves (the tank armies) is the worst possible situation. Yet, thats precisely what happened, the worst possible.
3 - Now you use the uttmost red neck defense : "Who do you think you are ?". The answer is simple : Who cares ? Who cares if i happen to think that i know more than a russian ww2 general ? What does this change ? Nothing. Besides that, i talk with hindsight and from the liberty of not having a political compromise with Stalin. Maybe those generals were clouded by their own political prejudice and political loyalty to Stalin. That changes nothing. An error is an error. And what was done was wrong. Would i see the error and say that it was not an error just to pretend humbleness ? Who does this serve ? None. So lets get back to the topic.

Quote:
If Stalin had faced a simple situation: left you have 90% of dying according to a perfect analysis based on the available data, and right only 10% of dying, he would have gone right.


Stalin was faced with a simple situation : Ideologically he thought that the other socialists were too weak and the situation at URSS needed a thougher response. He feared that others would not implement that thougher solution, so he went on to grab power in the way he knew that power should be grabed (becouse a tyrant never understand the value of democracy, he thinks that all others want to become tyrants too). So he preempties everyone and grab power himself. Below that intelectual reasoning lies is a deeply weak and fearfull person that can only see power and leadership as the result of an absolute ruler. Better be the absolute ruler than let other be, becouse if the other is the absolute ruler I will be the absolutely subjected subject.

Quote:
But what would have happened if he went right and died nonetheless? You would have a bunch of ideologists who would write whole books to explain that Stalin made a mistake, that he should have gone left. This is exactly the situation. We have a war, a complex war, with a lot of fog, with probably tons of data going directly to the Kremlin, but some people who know nothing about the available data of the time, believe that they can know better than Stalin or the Soviet generals (including this unfortunate Voroshilov). This is ridiculous and arrogant.


I never pretended Stalin was an all knowing entity not clouded by prejudice and shortsightedness that all men (including me) are subject to. But, Stalin's "errors" were not simple unintentional ones, like you pretend they to be. Like i said a thousand times, when you have a political strugle within the ruling group, the part that wins writes history, and they usually think that they are correct, they tell the history from their own point of view. Had they dont believed that they were correct and that their plans were not in the best interest of the majority, they would not dare to rise to power to start with. Thats how ideology works. They first must think that they are right, to later act upon their ideas of what should be done, just to win the political game play, find excuses to supress the losing side, and present all that as if it was all in the name of the major good. Ideology presents the objectives and ideas of a single group as if it was the answer to the problems of all persons. After presenting itself as the answer to all problems, first to the creators of the ideas itself (becouse you cannot defend something that you dont believe), them later to others. So, after that twist, all that oposes the ideology becomes - by consequence - enemies of all people.

For example : Stalin decided about socialism in a single country. First Stalin says to himself "We must develop socialism in Russia alone", he becomes convinced about that idea, then later he tells that idea to others, by convincing others Stalin himself becomes convinced that this idea is the best for all russians, then automatically whoever oposes that idea becomes a traitor to Russia itself. Thats how ideology works. This can be applied to various decisions in any period of history, and to various Stalin's choices. Its the way things happen.

But, have we proof that that was the only possible solution ? Is that something that can be falsified or tested ? Nope. We dont have spare URSSs to test this to exaustion. So we can not know precisely. All we can say is that Stalin's group won the political strugle within the party and decided to implement Stalin's agenda.

But then how do we criticise it ? Simply by connecting the dots, the causes and the effects of all choices done by Stalin. We can compare what happened in URSS to what was proposed by Lenin or Marx. And we find that Stalin's concentration of power lead to an increase in alienation. The cult of personality lead to the increase in commodity fetichism. Instead of intelectual and cultural emancipation, Stalin rule recreated Tsarist political mindset of an absolute despot. Besides this is the whole structure that is built around an absolute ruler, all the social energy that society spends to keep that structure in place. When Stalin rises to power, he must automatically turn his own permanence in power - part of his own political agenda - into an official state policy. So, society ends up spending time and effort in persecution of not only enemies of the proletariat (their true class enemies, the former burgeoise and the former tsarist elements who have historical reasons to betray socialism) but those who are not enemies of the proletariat at all but members of an alternative group that happens to defend an alternative agenda to solve URSS problems at that specific place and time.

Stalin and the state becomes one. Socialism is confused for stalinism. So the society ends up giving up an usefull part of itself just to satisfy an absolute ruler. This happens in the arts (when socialism realism is the norm), the science (when we have loonies like Lysenko and his unscientificial ideas) and the national defense (when we have like of Voroshilov comanding the army). Power is taken from the proletariat just to be later used against it, spliting it into camps of loyalty to the ruler and traison against the ruler.

So in other words you cannot cite Stalin's acomplishments as an excuse to Stalin's errors. Because you cannot prove that Stalin's was the only correct mean to solve URSS problems. But you can say that history never fails, in a sense that whatever happens, is what was possible to happen at the time.

So whats the point of criticizing Stalin ?

Simply because we dont discuss Stalin as a simple intellectual leisure. We do that because Stalin's way can still repeat itself. Thats the whole point of studying history, to avoid that the mistakes of the past repeat again, indefinitely. Stalin is still a political element in Russia right because it can still be used as a justification for some ideas. Putin himself being in power (in a way or other) mimmicks Stalin in that sense (but he is not Stalin, he cannot be). Russian apathy towards tyranny steems from a long past of tyranny, that Stalin, Kruschev and all leaders since repeated. Yeltsin was no more democratic than Stalin. So Russian culture of absolutism is a weapon that can be used for one side or other. We as socialists cannot close our eyes to this. Socialism wants to end all tyrannies. If we excuse one tyranny, we cannot dennonce it later. The ends dont justify the means, because is precisely at the means used that seeded the roots of socialism destruction in URSS. What is ignored today, becomes the crysis of tomorrow.

Quote:
Criticizing Stalin politically is one thing. Stalin lacked Lenin's political ingenuity and is partly responsible for Krushchev. But criticizing Stalin on his military action is a totally different matter, and most will fail on this slippery slope.


You say that i am the arrogant ridiculous one. Yet in the whole topic you just ignored my points and pretend that you are right. Now you declare that anyone who does criticism against Stalin's military record will inevitabily fail. Yet you failed to provide a better explanation for what happened during WW2. Who is the arrogant one ? I believe you are. So what ?

I dont care if you are arrogant, ridiculous, etc. Because in the end of my life, i will be dust just as you. Who cares ? My point here is to debate, for me you are a nickname in a screen, just like i am a nickname on a screen for you. Why should i care ?

Back to the point, i dont need to add anything because i am still waiting for your answer to the points i raised about the war.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
Philosophized
Post 27 Aug 2014, 00:41
Quote:
Western academics accusing Stalin and the Soviet regime of antisemitism.

Now you're being totally dishonest. The "cosmopolitan's" campaign was antisemitic to the core. And please stop with those "Western academics" tirades. If you look at hardcore MLs ( Stalinists ) today they'll all quote "Western academics" because Russian sources are mostly either obscure and unknown to the rest of the world or complete garbage.

Quote:
Well, arguably Kamenev, Zinoviev, Trotsky. Suffice it to say that there were elements of the party, at all levels, that were more interested in the global ramifications of the revolution than in their home country. Now whether they were simply wrong politically or national traitors is a matter of judgement, and obviously the non-communist Stalin supporters will argue that their lack of interest in Russia while being part of the country's leadership makes them traitors.

You know that K. and Z. opposed the October, right? Not to mention that they sided with Stalin eventually. And what about Trotsky? There's no person besides Lenin that did more to preserve Soviet power.
So pray tell, how exactly did Trotsky considered Russia strictly as a log for the fires of global revolution, and didn't really care about the fate of the country or its people. I've never heard of any such positions of L. Trotsky, other than from schizophrenic Stalinists.
And what about those other "elements"? They must have maid some manifestos, or proclamations or something. So let's see them.

Quote:
Yes, please do. I'd genuinely like to see some.

My stomach is too weak right now for that. Let's just mention the "Stalinobus" guy, a self-declared fascist, then the singer Harchikov ( who combines the prayers to Stalin with zoological antisemitism in his songs ) or that infamous old KPRF MP guy, don't remember his name right now.

Quote:
For me, it's Nazism's emphasis on racism.

A thoroughly anti scientific and useless differentiation. You can't have fascism without racism. Inb4 Mussolini saying something about Jews and race being unimportant.

Quote:
Nothing strange about it at all. Because while Stalin was a Marxist-Leninist in theory and in practice, he also oversaw industrialization, the war effort, postwar reconstruction, turning the USSR into a genuine world power, etc. That nationalist reactionaries cling to the non-ideological, 'great power building' aspects of his rule is natural for them, but leftists don't forget that all this was achieved because Stalin was a communist.

Hah, Stalin was a ML! What a surprise, seeing that there was no "Marxism-Leninism" before Stalin.
My point was that there are people who customarily combine "Stalinism" with extremely reactionary opinions, and that can't be a coincidence, because it isn't.




Quote:
Cosmopolitanism is clearly opposed to internationalism, as in internationalism there is the idea of nation. So actual marxists can't be cosmopolitans. There is A LOT of cosmopolitans amongst communist ranks. Marxists believe that we should do everything possible to erase borders between nations, and national differences, but they don't believe that those borders, those differences, don't exist, or that they don't matter in the present situation. Cosmopolitanism and chauvinism are two deviations, the first one on the left, and the second on the right. Most of us tend sometime to deviate a bit on the left or on the right, but if you deviate completely, that's quite a problem.

I'm not even going to argue with you here. I'm just saying that in the modern ( Russian ) context a "rootless cosmopolitan" in the most cases ( and especially in this one ) means- Jew. It's no secret that Stalinists played on let's say Trotsky's Jewish ethnicity in their propaganda during the massacres in the 30s.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Jul 2014, 21:53
Ideology: Other Leftist
Pioneer
Post 27 Aug 2014, 00:49
Quote:
Cosmopolitanism is clearly opposed to internationalism, as in internationalism there is the idea of nation. So actual marxists can't be cosmopolitans.


Nation is not the same thing as State. And we cannot know if the future language, culture etc will be an global one. Right now we see national differences being overcome by a global culture. I am myself here using a language that is not of my nation. Even more, Marx was no nationalist. Under Hegel the state was seem as the solution to personal differences. He was a nationalist. Marx exposed the concept of the State as the concretization of the power of a classe over other (the burgeoise class over the proletariat). So the usefullness of the state lies in its capability to lend legitimacy to the opression of the proletariat by the burgeoise. So he proposed that the state be taken by the proletariat in a revolution to implement the ditactorship of the proletariat. But this was an interim solution. In the end we should strive for the end of the state and not its perpetuation. So yes, we are cosmopolitan, in the sense that our ultimate goal is to unite humanity into a single entity, a great family. Not in searated states.

Quote:
There is A LOT of cosmopolitans amongst communist ranks. Marxists believe that we should do everything possible to erase borders between nations, and national differences, but they don't believe that those borders, those differences, don't exist, or that they don't matter in the present situation.


They matter only in the sense that the State itself created the problems that you pretend to solve via national states. When the french organized a national state, one of the results of the national state was the selection of french as the national language (for examplçe). The same or germans etc. So the state recreates itself via education and ideology. The result is something like : Brazillians like futball, i am a brazilian, so i like futball. The state is not only a formalization of the real differences among peoples, but is the reproduction of the differences into those who are not different. Thats how we have african tribes that, being of the same etnicity, now think that they are different. In Europe, under middle ages, if you walked from prussia to france, listenning and learning the dialects as you walked, you will detect that a french cannot understand a east prussian, but an west prussian can understand a east prussian, a bavarian can understand an west prussian (but might not understand an eastern one). In other words, differences that are credited to nationality are just gradual differences that where explored and amplified by the creation of German and French national states. The state, via formal education (or via media), elects one specific dialect as its official one, reproduces that dialect into the students mind, making ideologically equal all those that happen to live in the said state, but at te same time makes all those that are outside this state become different. Later this separated difference is used as reason for wars and exploitation among nations etc. So the state you propose to solve international differences is itself the root cause of what it proposes to solve. It the culprit and not the solution.

Quote:
Cosmopolitanism and chauvinism are two deviations, the first one on the left, and the second on the right. Most of us tend sometime to deviate a bit on the left or on the right, but if you deviate completely, that's quite a problem.


No, chauvinism, nationalism, is the Stalinist deviation. The true deviation of socialism.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Jul 2014, 21:53
Ideology: Other Leftist
Pioneer
Post 27 Aug 2014, 01:01
Its a funny twist. The once most known objective of marxism (the international revolution) becomes treason to socialism, and socialism in a single country becomes loyalty to socialism !

If you are interested in the international ramifications of the russian revolution you become a traitor. If you undermine the internationalization of the revolution you are a true marxist !

And the stalinists dont even see the irony !

Obedience is liberty.
Poverty is richness.
Famine is social justice.
Etc.

The ideal becomes so much more important than reality (fetichism) that you can produce in reality a result that is diametrically oposed to what you expected, yet, people still try to convince us that the result was achieved !

Spirit of a world without spirit !
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Mar 2010, 01:20
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Forum Commissar
Post 27 Aug 2014, 05:01
In the future just edit your previous post when you want to add something else before anybody has responded.



Just briefly ... I'd like to remind everybody to be polite and civil in these threads.

I don't care if somebody puts a lot of effort into a post. If they can't refrain from including insults and ad homs I'll start trashing entire posts.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Jul 2014, 21:53
Ideology: Other Leftist
Pioneer
Post 27 Aug 2014, 05:20
Do you care if the insults are not direct but can be infered from the context ?

Because even in a court of law some insults i received would be recognized as insults, even without being direct ones. Like this :

Quote:
...but some people who know nothing about the available data of the time, believe that they can know better than Stalin or the Soviet generals (including this unfortunate Voroshilov). This is ridiculous and arrogant.


It can be clearly inferred that it was a insult at me, but indirect so as to look as if it was against no one. Like i said earlier i dont care to be insulted. It matters nothing. Insults can only hit someone who believe them. But i do care about suffering injustice.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Mar 2010, 01:20
Ideology: None
Forum Commissar
Post 27 Aug 2014, 06:23
I've told Op-B privately to behave himself. I don't expect angels, but have always felt that it was a sign of intellectual insecurity if somebody leaps to the insults too quickly.

You are perfectly entitled to report posts or PM me if something comes up. There's absolutely nothing wrong with expecting a decent standard from your fellow debators.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Aug 2010, 14:21
Party Bureaucrat
Post 27 Aug 2014, 11:41
The plan established 4 fronts and 2 strategic echelons . The first strategic echelon comprised 186 divisions and the second one (on the Dnepr and Dvinar rivers, far beind the borders) comprised 51 divisions. Moreover, the first strategic echelon comprised 3 operational echelons. On this echelon, light forces were on the border, and bigger forces were supposed to defend "in depth". The idea was that the second and third operational echelons were supposed to counter-attack, and then the second strategic echelon would come behind and crush the German armies. This would be done thanks to the enormous Soviet mechanized divisions established after the German invasion of France, each comprising 36,080 men and 1031 tanks. And this is what our friend AldoBrasil calls "static lines of defense", in an attempt to defame Stalin and his generals, although he had no idea before this discussion that there was 3 lines of defense, and actually more if we comprise strategic and operational echelons plus the reserves. Then he complains because we say that he never supports his claims with hard facts.

The funny thing is that the situation he describes, of a country which would put all his troops on the borders, without mobile mechanized divisions, and without any strong reserves, exactly corresponds to the French situation. Although I believe that the French could have lasted a bit longer if they had had the courage to defend Paris.

Quote:
I'm not even going to argue with you here. I'm just saying that in the modern ( Russian ) context a "rootless cosmopolitan" in the most cases ( and especially in this one ) means- Jew. It's no secret that Stalinists played on let's say Trotsky's Jewish ethnicity in their propaganda during the massacres in the 30s.

Maybe they did but I don't have an example in mind. However I wouldn't blame a communist if he attacked someone on the basis of religion. As much as I could attack a comrade because he is a christian. For example we often mock comrade Marie-George (less than 2% at the 2007 presidential election) because she comes from a christian religious background and it clearly affects her political ideas. But if we attacked a comrade because of his jewish origin, we would be called antisemitic. People are often unable to understand the difference between criticizing religion, religious culture, and attacking someone on a racial basis. The Jews in Russia might have been more cosmopolitan than other groups! It doesn't mean that someone who will criticize cosmopolitanism will be against jews in general. Some probably were, but it's not a reason to stop criticizing cosmopolitanism or blaming Soviet78 because he used this concept.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Resident Soviet
Post 27 Aug 2014, 13:17
Wow, this is a hot topic.

AldoBrazil wrote:
False dichotomy. Lenin too viewed the revolution in Russia as a step into global revolution. He hoped, just as trotsky, that the revolution would reach Germany. The jump between expecting to export the revoltion and being a traitor of "your own country" (as if this meant something for Marx) is ideology and a way to justify Stalin killings and hold over power. No. If in a marxist organization you have to resort to killing and prosecuting your political enemies, then this marxist organization is not marxist at all. Democratic centralism ditacted that everything should be discussed at all levels. This means that, had Trotsky (and others that got killed) simply be wrong (because believing revolution should be exported at that momment in time means just a policy mistake, not an intentional treason of URSS) they would very well be convinced or ignored in those internal party debates. Nope. You dont need to kill everyone that does not agree with your line if you simply intend to make a point about how to run the country. But, you do kill your oponents if you want to get rid of the whole democratic process of debating against someone who thinks differently. And thats exactly what Stalin did. He destroyed internal party democracy, becouse he wanted power for himself. If by holding such power he incidentally industrialized Russia etc, this is only by accident, because in destroying party democracy he seed the roots of later URSS downfall and the incapacity of URSS to trully reach more advanced socialism. Thats why Stalin propaganda machine portrays them as traitors, to legitimize their killings.


I'm not even going to argue with you Aldo. I happen to agree with you on the negative impact of lack of party democracy in the KPSS structure. As to whether Stalin physically eliminating his enemies was bad, you won't get any argument out of me on that front either. The later practice of pensioning off one's enemies, sending them abroad, or giving them some trivial job -like running a power station, has proven to be just as effective. I will say this though: the intrigues, counterintrigues, betrayals and trials at the highest level of power in the USSR at the time should not be simplistically and moralistically judged; this was a high stakes game, for the first successfully established socialist country in the world, and where it was to go. One error on behalf of an overzealous revolutionary could have turned the whole world against the USSR, resulting not only in the death of the revolution but of Soviet Russian civilization as well. Let's not pretend that the leaders over whom Stalin gained an upper hand were any more principled or gentlemanly, or that they could not have contemplated the destruction of their own political enemies. The experience of the civil war proves this.

AldoBrazil wrote:
Instead of intelectual and cultural emancipation, Stalin rule recreated Tsarist political mindset of an absolute despot.


This wasn't so much a decision based in political narcissism as it was a recognition of Russia's relative backwardness and the problems of trying to build a new society in a country where most people couldn't even read. Kagarlitsky, who is not a Stalinist, has pointed out that Stalin understood that this was a temporary phenomenon, and by the early 1950s there were plans to radically change the power structure and to separate the party from the state. Furr, who is a Stalinist, goes into more detail about the plans for this separation. Even though the latter didn't happen, the more educated the population became, the more impossible the Stalinist cult of personality became; it was first watered down significantly from the 60s to the early 1980s, and then from the early 1980s on basically ended completely. But simply because it looks ridiculous from our own contemporary perspective does not mean that it should be primitively savaged and criticized given its role in its own time, in its own place (the poor, underdeveloped, undereducated country of Russia). The experiences of the Stalin period cannot be emulated nor repeated in any country because the material conditions for their repetition no longer exist. Whatever superficial similarities may exist in Putin's approach, they are based largely on Kremlin image makers, and the population's hope for a government that is free of corruption and the liberal values and influences that have caused so much pain and suffering over the last 20 years. Needless to say, the links between Stalin and the present Russian regime are pitifully weak.

Conscript wrote:
No offense, but the only times I've heard 'cosmopolitan' used is by left-wing nationalists in reference to actual Marxists, and Stalinists in reference to a national minority not loyal to the 'Soviet' identity and scattered across nations (so, cosmopolitan, and ironically what the nationalists argue is so jewish about communism).

It kind of bugs me Soviet78 is using it now.


Sorry Conscript. I genuinely don't mean it this way. Actually I'm formulating an entire thread dedicated to the tremendous contributions which Jews brought to the Soviet Union. I'll post it sometime this month hopefully. It's really just a bunch of names, along from some stats from an old thread on the subject.

I'm using this term just like I use the word 'regime', without a negative meaning. I find it most aptly describes the nature of this camp that didn't care about Russia so much, describing both contemporary liberals, and the small sect of non-patriotic socialists, Trotskyists and anarchists that I have come across in my studies of Russian radical leftism. In my conception cosmopolitanism is negative because it places some abstract revolutionary ideals or revolution in general above the interests of your people (in whose interest you are supposed to be fighting). It reminds me of the tendencies among some leftists to support the Syrian rebels, or the Maidan, just because it is viewed as revolutionary, regardless of the negative consequences of its realization which were foreseen by pretty much everyone else at the time.

...

Loz, I'm not being dishonest. I'm simply giving a simplified answer to a simplified and ridiculous question. The cosmopolitan campaign being 'antisemitic to the core' is one opinion, with some minor basis in reality at the societal level, incompletely cleansed of pre-Soviet Russian attitudes, but absolutely no concrete evidence at the state level. As to Russian sources, you and I both know that they are obscure because there is no interest in presenting 'the Russian academic point of view' unless it coincides with the dominant narratives in Western academia. 'Complete garbage' is what I would call those American academics who continue to use Cold War narratives in a world where archival statistics, cultural openness and the opportunity to learn from Russian lived experience exists, but is systematically ignored.
"The thing about capitalism is that it sounds awful on paper and is horrendous in practice. Communism sounds wonderful on paper and when it was put into practice it was done pretty well for what they had to work with." -MiG
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