[Marxism] Furr

Andrew Stewart hasc.warrior.stew at gmail.com
Sun Aug 25 13:12:58 MDT 2019

Grover Furr and his quixotic quest to repudiate the entire indictment of Stalin is compromised rather unfortunately by his mixture of purported new insights with quite old Maoist “anti-revisionist” talking points that were tired and annoying in 1968. There is a serious need for a genuine analysis of the Soviet Union’s history that is not tethered to Trotskyist ideas (which I find to be simply unreasonable and altogether determinist) but Furr doesn’t deliver that, instead he charges at the windmills of “Khrushchevite revisionism” in a way that doesn’t even acknowledge how the economy under the different leaderships evolved over time. The reason why this is important (and why Furr fails) is because that is the primary reason for the collapse of the Soviet Union. Socialism Betrayed by Kenny and Keeran (published by International, the CPUSA label) makes a convincing case that the collapse was caused by the growth of the second economy, a black market that sprang up parallel to the command system that undermined the command system and eventually fostered a dual power standoff between the Soviet and capitalism in 1991. The genesis for this issue stems from two different wings of the Communist Party. Stalin’s centrism ended up being the left wing within the mainstream after the smothering of the Left Opposition. Bukharin was the right wing and wanted to continue the NEP rather than move towards forced collectivization and expropriation of the kulaks. Kenny and Keeran argue that Bukharin’s theories remained viable within the party long after he was killed and that first Khrushchev and later Gorbachev subsequently worked to reintroduce those policies under their tenures. Notably the recent major biography of Deng Xioaping argues that the same thing happened when Deng took power, he had studied in the Soviet Union when Bukharin was the major Comintern theoretician on economic matters. The difference between the collapse of the Soviet Union and the maintenance of the Chinese Communist Party was essentially the policy on dissent in mass uprisings by workers as these policies began to create further hardship for them, Alexander Cockburn pointed this out in a few pieces from the period:



Best regards,
Andrew Stewart 
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Message: 5
Date: Sun, 25 Aug 2019 13:46:53 -0400
From: Glenn Kissack <gkissack at nyc.rgkissack@nyc.rr.comr.com>
To: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition
   <marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu>
Subject: [Marxism] Furr
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> To start with, I am not going to spend $20 on anything written by Furr. I got bootlegged copies of Sunkara and Blumenthal's books to review for the same reason. I might consider that in Furr's case but Columbia does not have any of his books. Quelle surprise.

Louis: I understand your feelings. So just two final (I promise) questions about Grover Furr for the listserv:

1. Are any parts of his work valuable as a corrective to the anti-Soviet writings of people like Robert Conquest? As you wrote, Furr reads Russian and has worked with Russian historians in examining the Soviet archives. So has he made any valuable discoveries?

2. Have there been any scholarly refutations of his claims?

People like J. Arch Getty (Origins of the Great Purges), Robert Thurston (Life and Terror in Stalin?s Russia, 1934-1941), and others who were able to look in the newly opened archives, were able to correct some of earlier false and exaggerated claims about the Stalin period. Is Furr continuing in this tradition? 

It?s amazing to me how much Furr written about this period:

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=grover+furr&ref=nb_sb_noss_1 <https://www.amazon.com/s?k=grover+furr&ref=nb_sb_noss_1>


The problem I have is that many of the people (like Conquest) who have written about Stalin despised Soviet socialism and wanted to paint it in the worse possible light. People like Furr, Losurdo (and many of us, I believe) think that Soviet socialism was imperfect but did accomplish a lot, so we have reason to question the old anti-communist narrative.


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