Dear Uncle Joe

Chris Burford cburford at gn.apc.org
Thu Mar 23 00:01:52 MST 1995


The answer cannot be found unless the analysis also looks into why he was
loved by millions.

If the debate continues in an undialectical way, splitting off all the bad
side of Marxism onto Stalin, it will continue to go round in circles.

Just as Ralph cannot be understood unless we realise that some people must
love him, so Stalin's immense power cannot be understood unless Joe the uncle
as well as Joe the ogre, is analysed.

I do not feel in any way I want to be an apologist for the extremely
frightening things that happened in the Soviet Union, but unless things
are put into psychosocial context concretely how are we to make progress.

One part of the jigsaw puzzle is that all prisoners in all societies are
liable to gross abuses of their rights unless there are sophisticated control
measures. Look at what has happened in mental hospitals, with tens of
thousands having their brain physically mutilated in the democratic
countries this century.

And this century, it was a time when mans inhumanity to man was greatly
enhanced by technology for the first time. The role of technology in the
scale and the peculiar horror of the twentieth century must in a materialist
analysis be taken on board. Would the disaster in Rwanda have happened on
quite this scale without the combination of a) a rudimentary political party
system and b) radio?

Unless we make this sort of analysis we are condemned to view much of the
twentieth century as a story of ogres like Hitler and Stalin.

It is not a joke to notice that Stalin at least was also called Uncle Joe.
The love of millions for him was not a healthy love, but it was love, and
much more complex in its psychological significance that *only* the
result of successful marketing/propaganda.

Lets stop splitting off (to use psychodynamic language). Lets be dialectical
(to use marxist language).

Chris Burford

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
 > From owner-marxism at jefferson.village.virginia.edu Thu Mar 23 02:58:17 1995
 > Date: Thu, 23 Mar 1995 11:39:03 +0900
 > From: Guy Yasko <guyy at aqu.bekkoame.or.jp>
 > To: marxism at jefferson.village.virginia.edu
 > Subject: Dear Uncle Joe
 > Sender: owner-marxism at jefferson.village.virginia.edu
 > Reply-To: marxism at jefferson.village.virginia.edu
 >
 > In message <199503230105.UAA04721 at top.magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu>  writes:
 > > In defense of Uncle Joe.
 > >           I have become mildly distressed reading the mush about the
 > > so-called "crimes of Stalin".  Joe Stalin, "Uncle Joe" to the millions of
 > > European workers who waited for liberation by the RED ARMY during WW 2, was
 > > a revolutionary communist.  Attacks on Joe Stalin, whether from Rush or
 > > from some pseudo-leftist is in reality an attack on communism, workers'
 > > power.
 >
 > OK, but  I challenge you to explain how Stalin and Stalinism fostered workers'
 > power.  You'll have to explain why other revolutionary communists rebelled
 > against Stalin and Stalinism all over the world.
 >
 > gy
 >
 >
 >
 >
 >      --- from list marxism at lists.village.virginia.edu ---
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