The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

AV tech, streaming experience? We're searching for someone to manage the behind the scenes of an anti-imperialist podcast. help out
[USSR] [Environmentalism] [Texas]
expand

Debating Stalin

I'm writing in response to the article "Gulf Oil Spill: It's Capitalism, Stupid!", and wanted to address one issue within the article. In this prisoner's article, he states that "this type of disaster would have had a very small to nil chance of happening in the former Soviet Union (1917-1953) [The Lenin and Stalin era] or the socialist People's Republic of China (1949-1976), because those communist countries wouldn't have had to do the extensive drilling that the First World seems so caught up with. Why? It is exactly because the communist countries implement something called 'planned economics,' to meet human needs."

We must be careful what we teach in regard to a better government when using the Stalinist era. This individual's comment regarding "planned economics" is wrong, it was not implemented peacefully but through violence. He should read about Stalin's seven year plan and the collectivization of property and farms. History reflects that Stalin killed over 20 million of his own country men, so using him or that era as an example is misguided. Stalin was a tyrant, a pathological killer. I would not name his era as one of humanity's finer points, nor look up to his "planned economics" which cost so many of his countrymen's lives.

Additionally, the Soviet Union's record regarding ecological and environmental disasters is one of complete failure and surpasses the United States record on a grand scale, both under the Stalinist era and even today.

It is ok to believe in one form of government or a goal of government, but let's not distort the past to build a better future as this is nothing more than an illusion in which we all already live under in America.


MIM(Prisons) responds: The original author was correct to uphold the Soviet Union and China as examples of environmentalism. In 1942, under Stalin's leadership, the city of Moscow composted all of the waste of its 4,000,000 inhabitants. The biothermal process heated large "greenhouse farms" in the city, while the resulting compost was used as fertilizer.(1) With all the talk of "green cities" in the United $tates, there are no projects that rival what the Soviets were doing 70 years ago. Similarly, China and the Soviet Union had massive recycling programs for metal decades before such things became fashionable in the imperialist countries. Also note, that if one were to do a quantitative comparison of socialist vs. capitalist environmentalism, one must compare countries of the same time period, reflecting similar ecological knowledge.

This letter gives us a chance to debunk some myths about the Stalin era in the Soviet Union in general. First, we want to be clear that state capitalism, which was put into place in the Soviet Union after Stalin's death, does not reflect Stalinism or any form of socialism. Therefore this author is just confusing the issue by complaining about environmental disasters there today. Second, we must point out that the article in question never claims that planned economics was an entirely peaceful process. However, we must be very clear that it was Stalin's policies and practices that enabled the Soviet Union to industrialize the Soviet Union, defeat Hitler and put an end to fascism, in spite of the purposeful non-interference policy of countries like the U.$. who hoped to stand aside and let fascism wipe out communism.

This letter reflects the typical anti-Stalinist propaganda of the imperialist countries who like to claim that Stalin himself killed over 20 million people, as if one man could possibly be so powerful. The reality is that many people died during the fight against fascism, and in fact Stalin himself did order or oversee many deaths of spies and those suspected of being infiltrators for the fascists. In this way Stalin ensured that the Soviet Union was the only country free of a Fifth Column of fascist spies and infiltrators. This made it possible for him to do what no other country could even come close to accomplishing, in spite of the lack of development and widespread poverty in the Soviet Union, and defeat Hitler. The aggressive industrialization and collectivization reflected the needs of the Soviet Union at the time those policies were implemented.

This letter includes the usual imperialist propaganda of labeling Stalin a pathological tyrant rather than looking at his actions and evaluating them scientifically. It's easy to sling around names masquerading as political criticisms. But when we look closely at Stalin's record and his policies we can see a history of carefully evaluating the difficult conditions of the time and making decisions about what to do based on the reality of those conditions. When you have the fascists amassing on your borders, planning invade and massacre your population to put in place a system of tyranny and oppression, sometimes the best options to fight those fascists don't involve picking flowers and singing happy songs. Without industrialization the Soviet Union could not have defeated Hitler (even Hitler saw this) and with an active Fifth Column of spies the fascists would have had the inside track on Soviet activities. In wartime difficult decisions must be made, and the world is lucky that Stalin was a man able to make these decisions scientifically, without sentiment, or we could be living under global fascist rule today. As it was the Soviet Union lost more than 20 million people to the war against the fascists. The number of lives saved by his victory in the war is never something he gets credit for, but even deaths from starvation due to the conditions of war are something his critics like to count as if Stalin had personally executed every single person who died during his leadership.

For more on Stalin we recommend MIM Theory 6, The Stalin Issue.

notes: 1. Anna Louis Strong, The Soviets Expected It, Toronto: Progress Publishing, 1942, p.15.

chain
[Organizing] [Texas]
expand

Real Hope is in Historical Materialism

Reading the many articles in Under Lock and Key, I realize daily how hopeless our battle against injustice, inhumane conditions and the current American system itself, may seem. I continuously hear so many say we can't change it. They are wrong. They are weak and apathetic. We (prisoners and all Americans) must awake a revolution - no, not in the commonly accepted sense, not an attempt by one group to overthrow another to assume power. We need a revolution of the most profound kind, a revolution of the national soul and psyche, because if we continue to quietly submit to the injustices of this country, this system, with no opposition, then the limits of the tyrants will be absolute, acquiesced to by the very people who they oppress. Yes my brothers and sisters, it will be terrible to watch, torturous to be involved in, yet unquestionably destined to triumph if we (prisoners and Americans) will once again band together as one and rise to the call. I am certain of this because of my belief and faith in us, as prisoners, people, and Americans. William Faulkner once said, "It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last ding-dong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe man [and Prisoners] will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance." We are that Man and Woman. Rise to the call of freedom and justice.

MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree with this prisoner that it is important that we believe in humynity and our ability to rise above what we have accomplished (or failed at) in the past and create a society free of oppression. However, we do not just take this on faith, we base it in the history of humynity, the struggles of the oppressed always fighting to rise out of oppression. And we do not share this comrade's faith in "Americans". As a whole Amerikans are bought off with the profits of imperialism and have a material interest in maintaining this system of exploitation and oppression. It is not their humyn nature that will lead people to rise above oppression, it is their desire to fight their own oppression that will ultimately bring down imperialism. We can learn this lesson from history, and so we should not place false hope in the bought-off Amerikan population as a whole. With that said, we do work to win over the minority who will join the cause of the good of humynity, against their own material interests, and we will continue to educate and organize petit-bourgeois people to that end while working for and with the truly oppressed and exploited.

chain
Go to Page 1
Index of Articles