Compare and Contrast



“monstrous” Stalinism:

– Superpower
– Social Justice
– Industrialisation
– State for the People
– Free Medicine
– Free Education
– Free Housing
– Yearly Price Reduction
– Progress in Science
– Law and Order

“beautiful” Putinism:

– Miserable Colony
– Social Inequality
– Destruction of Factories
– State for the Oligarchs
– Paid Medicine
– Paid Education
– Housing Mortgages
– Yearly Price Increase
– Degradation of Science
– Corruption and Lawlessness

In the Spirit of Saint-Just: With Nazbols One Exchanges Not Words, But Lead.

When the Stalin Society of North America was formed, its founding members fully expected that we would be the focus of concerted attacks by reactionaries, liberals and anti-communists; but little did we expect the onslaught of outright lunatics and provocateurs that we would have to deal with.  The most recent example of the latter came in the form of an article written by one Mr. Gearoid O’ Colmain in the June 29, 2016 edition of the American Herald Tribune.

We replied to Mr. O’ Colmain’s mixture of reaction, homophobia, pseudo-science, and Nazbolism in the article Reactionary Anti-Gay Article Posing as “Marxist” Advocates “Conversion Therapy” And Attacks the Stalin Society of North America.

It now appears that Mr. O’ Colmain wishes to continue the attack:

We are done with Mr. O’ Colmain, and ordinarily, we would scrape our shoe and march on; however, he has raised a couple of points that we feel we need to bring to the attention of our friends and supporters.

  1.  In his latest hack-piece, Mr. O’ Colmain asserts that the events in Ferguson, MI in 2014 when the African-American and working class community rose up in anger and outrage over the murder of Michael Brown by a white police officer were “Soros-funded.”
  2. Mr. O’ Colmain, again in his latest piece, claims to support the legacy of Comrade Enver Hoxha and upbraids the Stalin Society of North America and others for supposedly “failing” to follow suit.  Curiously, no party, organization, or international grouping which upholds the “Hoxhaist” tradition seems to have ever heard of him.

That said, we are done.  We have said all there is to say on this matter.  For, to paraphrase the great French Revolutionary, Louis Saint-Just:

With Nazbols one exchanges not words, but lead.



Trotsky on Lenin & Leninism

Courtesy of Stalin Society of Pakistan

In “April 1913 Trotsky wrote a letter to Nikolai Chkheidze, Chairman of the Duma Menshevik fraction, in which he said:

“And what a senseless obsession is the wretched squabbling systematically provoked by the master squabbler, Lenin . . , that professional exploiter of the backwardness of the Russian, working class movement. . . The whole edifice of Leninism at the present time is built up on lies and falsifications and bears within it the poisoned seed of its own disintegration”.
(L. Trotsky: Letter to Nikolai Chkheidze, April 1913, cited in: N.Popov,:, “Outline History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union”; Volume 1; London; n.d.; p. 289).

Sixteen years later Trotsky did not challenge the authenticity of the letter:

“My letter to Chkheidze against Lenin was published during this period (i.e., l924- Ed.). This episode, dating back to April 1913, grew out of the fact that the ‘official Bolshevik newspaper then published in St. Petersburg had appropriated the title of my Viennese publication, ‘The Pravda — a Labour Paper’. This led to one of those sharp conflicts so frequent in the lives of the foreign exiles. In a letter written to Chkheidze, I gave vent to my indignation at the Bolshevik centre and at Lenin. Two or three weeks later, I would undoubtedly have subjected my letter to a strict censor’s revision; a year or two later still, it would have seemed a curiosity in my own eyes. But that letter was to have a peculiar destiny. It was intercepted on its way by the Police Department. It rested in the police archives until the October revolution, when it went to the Institute of History of the Communist Party”.
(L. Trotsky: “My Life”; New York; 1970: p. 5l4-5)


NOTE: Complete transcript of the Letter (1913) can be found in “Revolutionary Democracy” Journal, Vol.XX, No.1 (April, 2014)


Viva Stalin.



those sons of bitches

didn’t give me a chance to put on my coat

they shoved and jostled me out

one slugged me in the chest

another scumbag spit on me


they took me to a deserted street

near the railway station

in a police car van

and they told me now you can leave


I knew exactly what that meant



I should have yelled at them

but I died crying VIVA STALIN!

(Author unknown.  Chile)


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


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


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


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:

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:

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!


* 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.


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!


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.


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. . .