[Marxism] Getting Over State Socialism's Crimes

Roger Raven rogergen at tpg.com.au
Sat Feb 3 18:26:21 MST 2007

A positive and thoughtful contribution that made an important point rather more clearly than I had.

It is perhaps worth adding that whether fascism did or didn't similarly improve life expectancy is of lesser significance.    Marx himself acknowledged that there were positive aspects to capitalism; his issue was with the negatives.

State socialism doesn't need to be unique in extending life expectancy; the fact is that it was a great improvement on capitalism at the time.   While we in the capitalist West also enjoy excellent life expectancy, it has substantial fallen following capitalist restoration in Eastern Europe.

However, the Nazis were not rivals in this matter.   Health did worsen under the Nazi regime even prior to the Hitler War.   To quote an academic:
  "Trends in mortality, nutritional status and food supply are compared to other living standard indicators for the Weimar Republic (1919-1933) and for the early years of the Nazi regime (1933-1937).   The results imply that Germany experienced a substantial increase in mortality rates in most age groups in the mid-1930s, even relative to those of 1932, the worst year of the Great Depression.

   The reason for this adverse development was caused by the fact that military expenditures increased at the expense of public health measures.  In addition, food imports were curtailed, and prices of many agricultural products were controlled.  There is ample evidence that this set of economic policies had an adverse effect on the health and nutritional status of the population."


see:  Autarchy, market disintegration, and health: the mortality and nutritional crisis in Nazi Germany, 1933-1937   at   http://www.uni-tuebingen.de/uni/wwl/baten%20wagner%20EHB1-1pp1-28%20reprint.pdf
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Graham M. 
  To: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition 
  Sent: Saturday, February 03, 2007 8:52 PM
  Subject: Re: [Marxism] Getting Over State Socialism's Crimes

  Trotsky argued, in 'The Revolution Betrayed' and in essays published at
  other times, that the consolidation of the Stalinist regime in the USSR was
  the result of imperialist pressure on the Soviet workers' state.   So the
  crimes committed by Stalin and his governing apparatus were actually crimes
  attributable not to socialism but to the crippling effects of the capitalist
  encirlement.   The destruction of workers' democracy, the blood purges of
  the 1930s, and the Gulug can be seen as results of the political
  expropriation of the working class carried out by a bureaucratic layer
  'balancing' between imperialism and the Soviet proletariat.

      All the crimes that have been catalogued in this exchange are really
  attributable to capitalism and/or its bureaucratic agencies governing the
  workers' states.   My own personal belief is that socialists have no need to
  cover over the crimes of Stalinism, as these may be understood in the
  context of the global class struggle.   These are not crimes of socialism,
  but crimes committed by regimes hostile to authentic socialism and
  democratic rights.   Someone once aptly said that: 'The bourgeoisie has no
  need to spread any lying propaganda about Stalinism, because the truth is
  bad enough'.

     I am not convinced by the argument concerning longevity under Stalinism.
  Other forms of totalitarianism have produced fit and healthy populations.
  I'm not sure of the statistics, but I suspect that longevity during the
  Third Reich in the 1930s would have marked an improvement over figures for
  the Weimar republic.

                                                  -Graham Milner

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