USSR and Russia

glevy at glevy at
Thu Jun 15 04:53:58 MDT 1995

I was trying to see whether some of the issues associated with this topic
could be expressed in terms that would receive wide support, even from
those who identify with the CP.  Scott's response suggests that I was
being too hopeful in this regard.  Despite Scott's claim that it
represented "comic book simplicity or onesidedness", I was trying to
apportion responsibility to a number of factors and groups.  I guess we
will just have to agree to disagree, as Justin suggested yesterday.

A few brief points:

1) Scott wrote:
> As to the brutally etc. for 70 years - Just as deadpan as your bald
> assertion I say hogwash. In the worst days of Stalin the class and
> nationalities had more political and economic freedom than any where else in
> the world. Doesn't mean Stalin was good, but it does mean that knocking down
> a onesided caricature is not very helpful in figuring out what was really
> wrong.
A quite remarkable paragraph from Scott.  As long as Marxists continue to
apologize for Stalin and ignore the contradictions of former Soviet
society, we will never approach agreement on this question.  I could go
on about the **millions** of people who died in the Russification
program, purges, and collectivization drive, but I won't.  Other members
of the list will, no doubt, be able to see through Scott's argument.
2) Scott wrote:
  And why did
> these *ruthless suppressors of the people w/ 70 years of experience* make so
> many incredibly stupid mistakes in planning their coup.... It was a phoney
> coup.

Even those with experience can miscalculate.  The idea that it was a
"phoney coup" doesn't logically follow from this or the other assertions
you make.

3) Scott:
Masses saw a window of opportunity,' like
> this was some kind of popular revolt - give me a break. The people on the
> tanks then - are the same people that *did* use live shells to murder close
> to a thousand in the white house later. And they are the entrepaneurs of
> today's russia.
Total rubbish and nonsense.

4) Scott:> >
 Millions of honest, well intentioned Communists,
> workers and others grappled with trying to make socialism work - including
> in the leadership. There is a lot of history that shapes the particulars of
> Societ history and comic book simplicity or onesidedness will not really
> help explain it.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

5) Concerning who made socialism into a "dirty word", Scott wrote:

> Yeah and those of my elk are the ones who did it here. Not Yeltzin and Bush
> who made socialism a dirty word?!?! What the hell do you think the
> multibillion dollar US and Imperialist propaganda machine is - a paper
> tiger? It's *bad* socialists that are the primary cause of anti-communism
> and anti-socialism - give me a break. There is a class war and there is an
> ideological struggle and contrary to what some here would like to believe
> its primary form is not between different views of socialism (even in
> socialist countries) - its between capitalism and socialism. How very
> convienent to sit on the sidelines and wash your hands and be pure. It kind
> of reminds me of how the NY Times used to run stories every once in a while
> about how the SU wasn't really living up to Marx and Lenin's ideas - they
> were oh so concerned about the purity of socialism too.
OF COURSE, capitalist propaganda is largely responsible for making
socialism into a "dirty word."  Scott, however, continues to deny the
role that the CPSU and the former Soviet leadership had in discrediting
The meaning of "socialism" in the USSR had no small role -- but not the
**primary** role -- in discrediting Marxists in the eyes of the masses
for over 50 years!

6) I wrote:
> >12) NO ONE on this list celebrates the suffering of the Russian people
> >today.
> Scott:
> Excuse me. I thought when people on this list said it was a good thing that
> the SU was overthrown they meant they were in favor of it.

You weren't listening.>

7) Scott:>
> My, you are so generous with your stern medicine for other peoples
> suffering.
I didn't prescribe the medicine.  I would have favored other medicinal
cures.  But, I would not have made the Russian people force swallow my
medicine -- even if it was for "their own good."

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