Monthly Archives: June 2016

More On “How many divisions does the Pope have?”

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Although we have previously busted the myth that Stalin is reputed to have said “How many divisions does the Pope have?” as having been voiced by German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, we have discovered an even earlier version of the same sentiment, only this time attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte:

“And how am I to treat him?  Am I to treat him as though he has 200,000 men?”

Alfred Vandal, L’avenement de Bonaparte, II, p. 470

Reactionary Anti-Gay Article Posing as “Marxist” Advocates “Conversion Therapy” And Attacks the Stalin Society of North America

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An article by Gearóid Ó Colmáin in today’s American Herald Tribune

(http://ahtribune.com/history/1027-homo-sovieticus.html)

claims that homosexuality is “one of the many perversions promoted by the bourgeoisie and their (the USSR’s) petty-bourgeois opponents– a ruling class phenomenon of social rather than biological origin.”  Mr. Ó Colmáin, a “journalist and political analyst” who contributes to Russia Today, Sputnik, Al-Jazeera, and other news agencies, also attacked the Stalin Society of North America for its article Homosexuality in the USSR where we endeavor to place the  question of the Soviet Union’s views on homosexuality within a historical materialist context.

The article in question may be found here:

http://www.stalinsociety.org/2015/04/08/homosexuality-in-the-ussr/

Mr. Ó Colmáin states

The Stalin Society of North America have done an important service to the public in defending the life and works of Joseph Stalin against the mountains of lies diffused by soviet revisionists and Sovietologists such as Robert Conquest and Timothy Snyder,but they are undermining the cause of communism in criticising soviet policy on sexuality by citing the work of the child rapist and fraud Alfred Kinsey. . . *

To suggest, as the Stalin Society of North America has done, that today all communists should support the LGBT movement is utter nonsense. Instead, communists should be promoting the work of NARTH and researching soviet methods of rehabilitating the emotional disorder referred to as homosexuality. . .

Those who are against the demonisation of Muslims should recognise that the views of the Syrian Arab Republic and the Islamic Republic of Iran on sexuality are correct, progressive and a strong reflection of the anti-imperialist ethos of both states. . .

No one can call himself a communist and support the reactionary LGBT movement. There will be no rainbow flags in a socialist state but the red banner of the proletariat!

The author claims that “communists should be promoting the work of NARTH (National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality),” NARTH, a pseudo-scientific organization advocates “conversion therapy” to compel gays to adopt heterosexuality. This organization is linked with right-wing religious fundamentalist groups. Its website contains a list of “theological resources” against homosexuality. NARTH has been cited by The Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate-group. NARTH has been charged with racism by the National Black Justice Coalition. One of its Advisory Board members, Gerard J. M. van den Aardweg, is on record as claiming that “homosexuality is being imposed on the world by the freemasonry international.”  Gerald Schoenewolf, another member of NARTH’s Advisory Committee, writes that “Africa at the time of slavery was still primarily a jungle… . Life there was savage … and those brought to America, and other countries, were in many ways better off.”

Information on NARTH may be found here:

https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/intelligence-report/2012/narth-becomes-main-source-anti-gay-%E2%80%98junk-science%E2%80%99

https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/intelligence-report/2007/anti-gay-organization-narth-publishes-essay-gay-rights-and-political-correctness

As for offering Syria and Iran’s position on gay rights as a model for communists to follow, it should be noted that Article 520 of the Syrian penal code prohibits having homosexual relations, i.e. “carnal relations against the order of nature”, and provides for up to 3 three-years imprisonment.  Likewise, homosexuality is criminalized by Articles 108 -140 of the Iranian criminal code.  Individuals convicted of “sodomy” in Iran may be sentenced to public flogging or death by hanging.

The Stalin Society of North America utterly and emphatically rejects such reactionary filth hiding under a mask of Marxism-Leninism.  Mr. Ó Colmáin’s views have nothing in common with the emancipatory science of Marxism-Leninism and are nothing but repulsive crypto-fascist Nazbolism.

We, in the Stalin Society of North America stand for nothing less than than total liberation and an end to all forms of oppression.

Down with reactionary and anti-working class homophobia!

Down with Nazbolism and pseudo-science!

Forwards to socialism and human liberation!

GAYCOMMIES

* We nowhere cite the work of “child rapist and fraud Alfred Kinsey.”  We mentioned Kinsey’s groundbreaking work in passing.

 

 

Kotkin’s Stalin: Prospects and Perils.

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by Pabian Micek

All rights reserved to the author.

Those with more nuanced perspectives on the Soviet experience often have not
considered it worthy of their time to breakdown and critique the unbelievable myriad of
bourgeois media hit­jobs regarding Joseph Stalin, the “biography of a monster” has
become a veritable genre unto its own which has two historic trends: The tendency to
further and further emphasize Stalin’s personality and character to explain what
transpired, and to exponentially increase the number of alleged victims with every
account. The pseudo­psychoanalytic angle of attributing Stalin’s alleged brutality to
early childhood trauma is a compelling narrative angle, not because it is actually
particularly insightful, but because it syncs nicely with a market that demands stories of
monsters that defy all reason and hold nothing sacred, of brutality that fits into a mold
that had historically been designed only for the Nazis­­ a mold that now seems suitable
to any modernist project that proposed an alternative to liberal society.
Within these conditions, those scholars who fall outside of the increasingly
homogeneous ideological paradigm of Soviet scholarship are delighted to finally have
an English language biography of Stalin that imposes somewhat of a reality check on a
field that has bloomed into the absurdity of books like Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands,
wherein the trend of replacing scholarly merit with slander, anti­communist popular
sentiment and sensationalist marketability mushrooms. This comparison is apt as
Kotkin’s book hardly remains focused on Stalin himself, but expertly constructs its
narrative among historical and political conditions with a breadth of resources and detail
any socialist historian would envy… yet there are deep problems with Kotkin’s book that
extend beyond those we might presume of liberal scholar writing on the person who has
come to symbolize the most profound threat to liberal democracy in the 20th century.
I thought it would be prudent to run through some of the political lessons we as
Marxist­Leninists can derive from Kotkin’s book, as well as point the serious issues at
stake that many leftist commentators tend to gloss over.

The Good.

Kotkin’s book has been hailed by some on the left as it shows that “the
communists were communists, and Trotskyism is delusional.” The depth of
contemporary reaction has created a situation where even pointing to the fact that Stalin
was a Marxist at all (at least as he understood it) is a step forward, and Kotkin’s
evidence and arguments are certainly compelling in this regard. Numerous liberal
figures have attempted to posit that Stalin (and often even Lenin) were simply power
hungry individuals who took advantage of turbulent times in order to rise through the
ranks and achieve elite status. Kotkin disproves this throughout the entire book, citing
Stalin’s continual dedication to Marxism, the way he placed ideology above all even in
conditions wherein it was to his detriment, his humble style of living even upon
assuming power, in how significantly his methods departed from other dictatorships
where it is clear that a the leader figure utilized his position for personal gain, etc. In this
regard he contends with Trotskyite rhetoric that pushes the line that Stalin’s
opportunism had diverted the USSR from the “true socialist path”, and more significantly
(and unfairly) away from Marxism as practiced by Lenin.
Unlike nearly every other bourgeois biographer and historian, Kotkin understands
something of Marxist Ideology. He points to the fact that ultimately Stalin was an
internationalist, and the criticisms of “socialism in one country” miss the significant factor
that this position was only intended to safeguard the revolution while awaiting capitalist
economic fall­out (as occurred in 1929 right on schedule) and/or inter­capitalist war as a
result of imperialist rivalry (as occurred during the Second World War, resulting in the
significant expansion of Socialist countries). Kotkin goes into impressive detail about the
issues surrounding questions regarding national determination, the sharpening of class
struggle after the creation of a socialist state, the block of classes theory in the
developing world… essentially all of the relevant Marxist ideological questions
necessary for understanding the turbulent history of Bolshevism.
Kotkin paints a full and fair account of Trotsky that many Marxist­Leninists could
benefit from, showing his strength as an orator, his merits (and flaws) as commander of
the red army, his popularity among certain segments of youth and students within the
Soviet Union… and most importantly the absurdity of the idea that Trotsky had the
capacity to unify and lead the Soviet Union in Stalin’s stead­­ and furthermore that he
would have attempted to take a significantly different direction than Stalin, had he such
an opportunity. Many who have read Trotsky’s denunciation of Stalinism in The
Revolution Betrayed and presumed him to be the figure dedicated to a democratic
version of socialism would be surprised to read his writings on terror during the civil war
period which look remarkably similar to what they criticize in Stalin’s later tactics. For
instance, statements such as: “The dictatorship of the proletariat is expressed in the
abolition of private property in the means of production, not in workers control over
industry or other participatory forms of decision making.” (My emphasis) are a far cry
from the Trotsky we think we know. Trotsky’s later critiques when put in context become
clear products of his waning power within the structure of Soviet power, solidified via
numerous political defeats at party congresses throughout the years.
Kotkin also manages to thoroughly disperse the mythology surrounding Lenin’s
“final testament”, pointing not only to the trouble of its authenticity (Lenin was nearly an
invalid at the time of its alleged composition, and it was sent out missing authentication
via signature and stamp as Lenin’s other documents had been) but also to its reception,
(on the assumption it was authentic). Kotkin uses the transcripts of the congresses to
show how the document was discussed in detail and even openly published after
awhile. Stalin even attempted to follow the directives of the “testament” several times by
resigning, for which he was unanimously compelled to remain at his post… unanimously
meaning that even Trotsky voted for him to remain as general secretary. Not to mention
that Lenin had actually created the general secretary position for Stalin, who visited him
regularly during his dying days (Trotsky would not visit a single time, and would not
even attend the funeral). The “testament” has had its days in the sun, and it is perhaps
times for Trotskyites to find some more substantive criticisms.
Outside of resolving some of this inter­leftist squabbling about succession (as if
Lenin solely decided the question rather than the congress who elected Stalin by a wide
margin­­ and this before the period his opponents would claim signal his consolidation
of power) Kotkin signals that Stalin’s leadership was essential to the survival of the
nascent Soviet state: “Ultimately , the principal alternative to Stalin was the willing
abandonment or unwilling unhinging of the Bolshevik regime.” (Kotkin, 732) He
emphasizes Stalin’s remarkable political ability, commitment to Marxist ideology and
desire to create an independent socialist state at all costs. Kotkin rightfully criticizes
Stalin on some of the mistakes he did make, such as occasionally problematic
comintern policy in China and poor strategy/brutality in the Southern border states.

The Bad

Kotkin is a painfully unapologetic liberal. Most of his explicitly liberal declarations
come as proclamations near the end, he presumes his audience will take these
statements as self­evident. Some of these statements profoundly embarrassing: “To be
sure, socioeconomic class was (and remains) undeniable [what a concession!]. But the
construction of a political order on the basis of class, rather than common humanity and
individual liberty, was (and always will be) ruinous.” (Kotkin, 737) I hardly need to take
this sentence apart for anyone with even a basic understanding of how capitalism
actually functions, but suffice it to say that capitalism is undeniably a political order
based on class (which few would deny), and secondly historians should perhaps avoid
playing the fortune teller. His political points become almost parodies of libertarianism,
defending “the market” in the abstract and even stating that the kulak class could “help
to lift up others” in a kind of proto­capitalist agrarian version of trickle down economics.
This is not accidental, but endemic to Kotkin’s approach. His true reasoning for
disparaging Trotsky and showing that Stalin was a “real Marxist­Leninist” is to show that
socialism as an ideology is beyond saving regardless of who is at the helm. Where­as
many have attempted to save socialism from itself by creating alternative historical
fantasies, Kotkin soberly points to the success of the Soviet Union as the failure of
Marxist ideology. He describes Marxism as “nonsensical”, and ultimately to the
detriment of the budding Soviet government and even Stalin himself. Kotkin paints
foreign hostility to the USSR as a result of Soviet paranoia and essentially implies that
the imperialist nations would have been fine with their Soviet neighbor, had the USSR
not acted so belligerently (Kotkin, 444). This formula comes up time and time again, that
if the communists had not acted and believed in, you know, communism, they would
have been more successful at building a productive state. Kotkin is at a somewhat
paradoxical point here as he simultaneously recognizes that the Bolsheviks were
sincere in their ideological bent and in attempting to build Socialism, and yet cannot
seem to understand that the measure of “success” he is proposing as an alternative
would presume abandoning that goal. To follow Kotkin’s line of reasoning, one has to
already believe that liberalism is an eternal truth and Marxism an aberration, proving the
cliched adage that history is written by the victors. Capitalism’s global triumph is
essentially substituted as a claim for its validity, a position which capitalism’s
contemporary and historic crises significantly complicate.
Kotkin makes startling oversights that are none­the­less replete amongst
bourgeois scholars, such as drawing comparative economic statistics between late
Tsarist Russia and the early Soviet state, completely ignoring the somewhat
complicating factor that World War 1 had taken place between these two periods.
(Kotkin. 333) Ignoring the complications of the NEP period and the civil war, Kotkin
essentially suggests that economic disasters of the the 1920s were entirely the result of
Soviet policy, despite that the NEP period would perhaps be more indicative of the
problems associated with the allowance capitalism, even given its temporary and
strategic utilization.

Kotkin profoundly misinterprets and recasts various episodes of the 1920s. The
seventh chapter which compares the early Soviet government to a form of dadaism
could really use the hand of an art historian. The essential (and relatively
unsubstantiated) claim is that Bolshevism acted in a dada­esque fashion by making
ridiculous decrees like naming the unemployed Pestkowski as the new governor of the
central bank, and even describes the situation as “anarchic.” Yet within the same
chapter he points to the deliberate construction of the Bolshevik dictatorship, the fact
that the Bolsheviks efforts were plausible as they were operating within a decidedly
socialist landscape, and most significantly ignoring Bolshevism’s relationship to native
avant­garde movements such as Futurism which provide a far more substantial
template for exploring the relationship between utopian art movements and political
revolution. This relationship has been explored and substantiated in detail by numerous
scholars such as Gutkin and Clark. Kotkin’s complete lack of understanding regarding
contemporary Slavic studies is one of his biggest weakness throughout (a weakness
that I would argue is part of the insular nature of the contemporary history discipline.)
Kotkin relies on tired tropes that have unfortunately never been weeded out of historical
method, the most striking of which is the “great man” theory, but his reliance on this
stereotype is perhaps even more heinous than prejudicial.

The Ugly.

Despite considering a wide breadth of historical, ideological and economic detail
surrounding the figure of Stalin, Kotkin is unable to divorce himself from the most
profound limitation of liberal scholarship: the idea that great men with enough
determination are responsible for making history happen. Kotkin’s method is not limited
to Stalin himself, but poses Stolypin, Bismarck and Sergei Witte in the position of “what
if” Napoleons. His commitment to the idea that “alternatives to history are always
possible” is profoundly ahistorical and ideological. But Kotkin does not leave it here.

The ridiculous final coda includes what is as its essence fascist apologia, despite
the obligatory statement that “does not meant to uphold Italian fascism in any way as a
model.” (Kotkin, 725) Essentially the structure of the chapter points to the problems of
Socialism as a model, defends the market and shows how Mussolini was able to act as
an efficient dictator by following his prescribed method of allowing the “successful
people” to bring the country up. The conclusion of the book is that Stalin’s idiosyncratic
authoritarian methods allowed him to accomplish what he did not because of Marxism,
but because of his mastery of Marxist argumentation and rhetoric. Marxism is actually
shown as a detriment and almost the sole source of the degradation of Stalin’s
otherwise remarkable capabilities. “ ‘Stalin illustrates the thesis that circumstances
make the man, not the man the circumstances.’ Utterly and eternally wrong.” (Kotkin,
739) Essentially we are being given a version of realpolitik… it would be far too
generous to call it a version of right ­Hegelianism. It is is a reincarnation of “the will to
power,” the idea that history is made by a single person acting with impeccable
determination­­ an argument that starts to look more and more pro­fascist as the book
goes on.

While this has been quick and unsubstantive, I hope to have shown the danger in
promoting Kotkin’s book, despite that it might initially seem useful. Kotkin’s interview
with Slavoj Zizek has certainly placed it within the orbit of leftist considerations, and its
refreshingly complex and original qualities have made it stand out among a sea of
pathetic slander and mediocrity masquerading as scholarship. Yet Kotkin’s premise
never truly departs from the most fundamental presumptions of liberalism, and we can
expect to see the next volume on collectivization being a far more damning and
conventional portrayal. This volume seems more sympathetic primarily as it covers the
early years where­in Kotkin hints that Stalin was not yet the man he would become.
Marxist-­Leninists should of course utilize the provided resources he has compiled
(particularly regarding historic debates around Trotskyism), but should understand the
book as a slight improvement on a genre that has reached rock bottom.

We Have a Winner!

$_57

We are very proud to announce the winner of this year’s Stalin Society of North America Essay Competition.

The winner is Pabian Micek for his article, Kotkin’s Stalin: Prospects and Perils.

As this year’s winning essay, Comrade Micek will:

  1.  Have his essay published on the SSNA website.
  2.  Have hisessay published as an SSNA pamphlet.
  3.  Be invited to contribute articles for publication by the SSNA.
  4.  Be granted free SSNA membership.
  5.  Be awarded and SSNA 2016 calendar.

and

6.  Win a copy of Grover Furr’s latest work, Trotsky’s “Amalgams.”

We heartily congratulate Comrade Ztachelski for his fine submission; and thank the other comrades who offered essays for consideration.

And now. . . 

Why Does the Pseudo-Left Hate Grover Furr?

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Reblogged from:  Espresso Stalinist (https://espressostalinist.com/2016/06/09/why-does-the-pseudo-left-hate-grover-furr/)

by Espresso Stalinist

All rights reserved to the author.

Grover Furr is an American professor and author. He has taught at Montclair State University in New Jersey for over four decades, and has written essays, articles and books on Soviet history in both Russian and English. Though his body of work covers a wide variety of topics, his most famous writings study the period of Soviet history under Joseph Stalin, particularly regarding controversies around the Moscow Trials, the Katyn “massacre,” the events in Poland in 1939, the murder of Sergei Kirov, the Ukrainian famine and Khrushchev’s “secret speech.” Furr’s research on the history of communism, Soviet history and the historical falsifications told against socialism is some of the most remarkable, ground-breaking and enlightening in the world. He uses a very precise and admirable document-based approach to research that is exceedingly valuable and hard to find elsewhere.

This approach, unsurprisingly, has won him more than a fair share of enemies and critics, not only on the right but the left as well. Those on the left who attack Grover Furr are the most peculiar of his critics. Professor Furr is someone that sets about examining historical allegations used to attack socialism, and in his published books and articles finds and publishes objective documentary and archival proof that it is not true, or at least deceptive. In other words, he spends a great deal of time and effort countering bourgeois propaganda about Marxism-Leninism. What has been their response? To attack him. One would think someone who speaks Russian, has translated Russian documents and has access to the archives would be of interest to those looking to learn about the history of socialism. One would further think, that a sincere person who considers themselves a socialist or a Marxist would thank Grover Furr for finding proof that a large portion of what we are told about Stalin and the U.S.S.R. are lies.

We live in an age where most Marxist or progressive academics who dare to challenge the status quo are fired, sidelined, driven out of academia or simply deemed irrelevant. Only a fool would pretend that academic repression isn’t a reality. Yet, when it comes to the brave, bold and challenging works Furr has published, critics universally dismiss them without reviewing the evidence he presents. In discussions, I have never heard them say, “No Professor Furr, I disagree with your thesis statement, and wish to make a counter-thesis. Here are my facts, arguments and sources backing it up.” Instead, what I hear over and over is his work dismissed as “absurd,” “insane,” or Furr himself labeled as a “crackpot” or “Stalinist.” There is almost always an attempt to link his methods of research to anti-Semites and fascists, or even outright call him a “Holocaust denier,” implicitly comparing Soviet history with Nazi Germany.

Why do his critics almost universally behave in this manner? The answer is simply: because they can’t refute anything he says.

For all Furr’s research has contributed to our understanding of Soviet history and to refuting the lies told about life in socialist countries, his critics and opponents have not offered any meaningful refutation of his works or even engaged with the evidence contained therein. When pressed to sum up his theses, the evidence he presents to support them, and then to offer counter-evidence and refutations of their own, silence fills the space. Very few, if any of his critics are capable of defining what specific points of his works they disagree with or can prove false. Often they assert things that are already addressed in the article in question. The opponents of Furr’s research, whatever their ideological differences may be, all share one common thread that over time is rendered impossible to miss. For all their ranting and raving, not a single one directly challenges him on the sources or attempts to refute his argument. There is a concrete reason for this – opposition to Furr’s research comes from knee-jerk anti-communism.

The pseudo-left’s endless venom towards Furr’s work is entirely (no, not partially, or even mostly, but from what I have seen, entirely) devoid of counter-criticism, counter-evidence, contrasting research or engagement in any way, shape or form with Furr’s work. At the present time, there are no scholarly refutations of Grover Furr’s work. Hostile reviews, on the other hand, are plentiful. Nor is there any lack of critics who chant “give us more evidence,” demanding a larger amount of evidence to their satisfaction – which of course, is a level of evidence that will never exist, no matter how much of it there is. Another consistent pattern with his critics is that they assume that an author must be able to prove the meaning of their research to the satisfaction of a hostile or skeptical critic in order to be considered valid. If the author fails to accomplish this task, it proves that he or she doesn’t understand what it means, and furthermore their failure to do so is definitive proof that the entirety of the research is consequently meaningless.

The debate on Grover Furr is always about form – the person, his writing style, his alleged motives, his allege dishonesty or lack of qualifications, and never about content – the evidence presented, what it shows, and whether it’s true or not. The infantile pseudo-left responds to science with provocation, facts with hostility, reason with insults, ideological questions with personal attacks, and the deep questions posed by Furr’s work with shallow criticisms. This is not to say that anyone who has criticisms of Furr’s work is automatically opposed to socialism. Far from it – criticism is an essential part of being a Marxist-Leninist. But by and large the criticisms of Grover Furr are not made from a principled standpoint.

“No one takes Grover Furr seriously” is the refrain. Yet, John Arch Getty, Robert Thurston, Lars Lih and many others have praised Furr’s work while disagreeing with his politics. One does not have to completely share Furr’s worldview to find a great deal of value in his essays, articles and books. In fact, any serious researcher, Marxist or not, can learn a great deal from the evidence he gathers to back up his viewpoints, evidence that is almost never studiously read or studied by those who violently denounce it. If the idea that Furr is not a serious academic is a legitimate position to take, then there should be criticisms of his scholarship. Perhaps not surprisingly, I haven’t heard a single argument as to why Grover Furr is an unacceptable source of information other than his opinions aren’t popular. If his arguments themselves cannot be addressed, then his critics have no right to reject the citing of his work.

Much is made of Furr’s “academic credentials,” or alleged lack thereof, to write about the subjects he chooses. He is an English professor they say, and therefore cannot be considered an authority on history. These noble knights dedicated to the defense of “credible” capitalist academia you see, must speak out against Furr. Yet, these same people have no problem with the works of Noam Chomsky, a linguist who writes an endless parade of books on a wide variety of subjects outside of his field, such as criticizing U.S. foreign policy, economy, science, immigration and the Cold War. Anyone who is familiar with Chomsky’s work knows his views are fairly traditional anarchism combined with Enlightenment-era classical liberalism. They are not friendly to socialism, and certainly no threat to anyone in the ruling class. Speaking out against imperialism in of itself is not a particularly radical act, especially when you’re not criticizing it from a Marxist perspective. Many far-rightists and libertarians speak out against U.S. foreign policy as well. Why the double standard? What is the difference between Furr and Chomsky? Quite simple, really. Chomsky is the poster boy of left anti-communism, of a “safe” and defanged leftism deprived of anything not acceptable to the bourgeoisie. Meanwhile, Furr’s research attempts to refute popular anti-communist propaganda instead of accepting it. The pseudo-left would rather back the petty-bourgeois cause than the proletarian one, because they are “radicals” stuck in that method of thinking.

It is is absolutely inarguable that the modern view of the history of socialism has been shaped by those who despise it, and yet phony leftists have no trouble upholding the most vile smears against Soviet, Eastern European and Chinese history. In an atmosphere where the highly dubious works of Robert Conquest and Richard Pipes are upheld as a dogma and treated as material to be seriously engaged with or even refuted, Furr’s work is singled out by both reactionaries and the pseudo-left for outright dismissal and slander.

When denial is not enough, general charges are invented, such as the allegation his presentations of history are “conspiracy theories.” This has also been used to describe the works of other Marxist-Leninist scholars, such as William Bland. I stress again that until there are refutations, one cannot accept these charges. After all, with all the history of capitalist plots we’ve learned, can one seriously accept this level of argumentation? Are the facts true, or not? Blanket cries of “Stalinist” directed against Furr mean nothing. If critics have counter-evidence, then let them step forward and present it. This should not be an unreasonable demand for a Marxist – or for anyone, really.

When Furr speaks of opposition conspiracies within the Soviet Union, or of holes and outright falsifications in the official story of Katyn, these are treated with the utmost skepticism. The idea that the defendants of the Moscow Trials may have actually been involved in terrorist conspiracies to overthrow the Soviet government and assassinate officials is seen as nonsense. Yet, when we are presented with stories of a heinous conspiracy involving J.V. Stalin and a substantial number of other high officials to themselves assassinate Zinoviev, Bukharin and a number of others through judicial means, then this “conspiracy theory” is adopted as the default correct position. It follows that it is easier to go along with the dominant narrative – that is, that of the bourgeoisie – regarding the history of socialism than it is to objectively challenge these ideas.

With the fake left, the formula could not be more simple: U.S. Cold War propaganda is upheld, pro-communist scholarly research is not. Every charge against the socialist countries is true; every defense of socialism is akin to Holocaust denial. Those who would agree, at least in words, that the history of the Soviet Union is falsified by capitalist scholars and reactionaries, and that socialist leaders are routinely subjected to outright slander are declared “insane,” their research or conclusions “absurd,” and derided as “crackpots” or “Stalinists.” The critics do not review the evidence or engage with the thesis; they merely dismiss it. They do not present counter-evidence; they merely assert it. Furr’s fake “left” opponents claim that Furr is “not credible scholarship” only because they don’t agree with it. Furr is only a “crackpot” because they don’t like what he has to say. In their view, scholarly research that counters the bourgeois propaganda narrative of history should be cast aside, silenced, devalued, delegitimized, hidden from the public view and ultimately, destroyed.

It seems to me the “left” needs to look in a mirror and stare itself straight in the eye, and ask: what have we come to, if we cannot refute these works? What exactly does it say, when the entire pseudo-left cannot refute someone who is supposedly “a crackpot with no academic credentials?” What does it say, when they cannot even define the actual content of his work when asked, yet they have already declared it false on the whole? What does it say, when they have no evidence to counter Furr’s claims, but rely on attacking Grover Furr the person?

Any allegations that his works are “below criticism” are disingenuous. If they are worthy of such hostility, then they are worthy of honest criticism. If only all of us checked their facts and cited their sources for all to see like Furr does, rather than rest on our own preconceived notions and prejudices, perhaps the American left wouldn’t be in such a precarious position these days.

The pseudo-left’s hatred has nothing to do with honesty. This is because of anti-communism, not political disagreement, not ideological difference, not a problem with Furr’s research or his conclusions, not an issue with his methods, or legitimate criticism of his evidence. It is a liberal and reactionary view that anything anti-Soviet and anti-Stalin must be true, while anything that challenges that view must be attacked, smeared, demonized, ridiculed and silenced. When evidence is not engaged with or dismissed, and the person themselves is slandered, it is not principled disagreement, it is not ideological difference – it is hate and prejudice.

The question stands: why does the pseudo left hate Grover Furr? The answer becomes plain: they hate Grover Furr precisely because his works challenge the hegemony of the Trotsky-Khrushchev-Gorbachev-Cold War anti-communist anti-Stalin paradigm, the dominant paradigm of the bourgeoisie. In other words, they hate Grover Furr because he is a good communist in an age filled with fake ones. They hate Grover Furr because he is an honest researcher in an age filled to the brim with propaganda. They hate Grover Furr because he has evidence for the conclusions he draws and presents it openly, rather than relying on emotionalism. They hate Grover Furr because he challenges the bourgeois anti-communist understanding of Soviet history. These days pseudo-leftists are not just dishonest or liberal; they are avowed anti-communists.

Anti-Stalin Mythbusters. . .

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Myth Number Six:  Stalin said “It isn’t the people who vote that counts.  It’s the people who count the votes.”

SOURCE (possible): Boris Bazhanov and David Doyle, Bazhanov and the Damnation of Stalin, 1990.

TARGET OF MYTH: Everyone.  Implying that Soviet elections were fraudulent and Soviet institutions corrupt.

REBUTTAL: Literary evidence.  Investigation of the “source” and similar statements previously made by others.

CONTRARY EVIDENCE:  There is no evidence for Stalin ever saying this.  The very nature of the quote itself is suspicious, considering that it depends on a pun on the word “count/counts” having the dual meaning of to enumerate something and something being of value/importance.  This strongly suggests an English language rather than a Russian language source for the quote.  The earliest version of the quote comes from 19th century New York City political machine boss, William “Boss” Tweed who is reputed to have said “As long as I count the votes, what are you going to do about it?”  Another version of the quote comes from Tom Stoppard’s 1972 play, Jumpers, where a character says “It’s not the voting that’s democracy; it’s the counting.”  The only source for Stalin saying anything even approaching “It’s not who counts the votes. . . ” is Bazhanov’s book (first published in 1980 and translated into English in 1990).  But, even here, what Stalin is reputed to have said is quite different.  Bazhanov cites Stalin as supposedly saying:

“You know, comrades,” says Stalin, “that I think in regard to this: I consider it completely unimportant who in the party will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this — who will count the votes, and how.”

However, this quote seems to evidence Stalin’s concerns to prevent electoral fraud.  The exact opposite intention of the “Who counts the votes. . . ” quote.

CONCLUSION: This “quote,” whose purpose is to cast aspersions on Soviet political institutions, is so prevalent as to qualify as a Goebbelsian “Big Lie.”  The earliest versions of the quote come from a 19th century American politician and a modern British playwright.  The quote itself is a pun that works in English, not Russian.  And the only source for Stalin saying anything remotely near the quote, actually cites him as saying the opposite of what the quote implies.

STATUS: Busted!

Anti-Stalin Mythbusters. . .

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Myth Number Five:  Stalin said “Death solves all problems.  No man, no problem.”

SOURCE: This quotation is repeated in many bourgeois ‘history’ books, school text books, TV programs etc.

TARGET OF MYTH: Everyone, with the aim of making Stain appear sinister and villainous.

REBUTTAL: Literary evidence.  Statement from originator of myth.

CONTRARY EVIDENCE:  “No man, no problem.” Comes from a work of fiction, the novel Children of the Arbat (1987) by Anatoly Rybakov where he had a FICTIONAL Stalin say it.  In his later work, The Novel of Memories, Rybakov admitted that there was no source for the quote and that he had made it up as fictional dialog.

CONCLUSION: Various “journalists,” “biographers” and “historians” have repeated this fictional quote, the purpose of this is to paint a picture of Stalin as cynical, sinister, and malevolent. Frequently, this “quote” is accompanied  are accompanied by “psychological” speculations about Stalin being “paranoid” or “cruel.”

STATUS: Busted!