Mea culpa; please don't

Charles Brown CharlesB at
Fri Oct 16 07:22:14 PDT 1998


No need to apologize. For one thing, I did not write it but relayed someone else's thoughts.

Secondly, I myself think it is important to criticize Stalin, though not unfactually which is what happens with some of the , what I call , CIA/Wm. F. Buckley, jr. History Services.

It is a very contradictory process, but one must denouce Stalin's crimes and yet see that the Soviet Union was not all Stalin. Real history is very, very contradictory and gives us amazingly conflicting events to comprehend. I don't feel I have a full understanding of the horrors yet , yes, achievements of Stalin's regime. How could such terrible crimes be linked with actual progress ?

This demonstrates that history has an objective aspect, a non-anthropocentric dimension. It is hard science and soft science in a unity and struggle of opposites.

But in the end, why not just do the revolution next time with a thousand times more democracy ? I call it freedom and liberation communism. We must try to do better, learn from the mistakes of Stalinism AND MAKE CHANGES in the movement. How do we create leadership from the ranks in the revolutionary organizations and working class as a whole ?

I want to thank you for responding to the post which breaks some taboos on the left.

Charles Brown


>>> Brett Knowlton wrote

I didn't read you post carefully enough. I read the lines:

>"And state socialism surpassed most of the capitalist world in economic
growth >and social justice. The socialist world-system was a great success, betrayed >by the Communist regimes in the 1980s. Stalin didn't betray the Revolution but >rather advanced state socialism and in so doing bettered the lives of hundreds
>of millions of human beings."

toward the beginning and started making assumptions.

>Is the converse of this: "Who cares if you live in poverty if you are
>politically free"? That is the promise of capitalism, isn't it? In fact,
>social justice is measured in the leveling of income.

Just for the record, I think we should strive for both political freedom and income + wealth equality and more egalitarian and democratic production relations. I thought social justice required all of these - not just material equality. I misinterpreted your use of the term.

>First, nobody is praising Stalin. I can recognize his accomplishments
>without denying his failings. Other people are all too willing to step up
>and make all sorts of wild claims about Stalin. Just because I focus on
>his accomplishments does not mean that I endorse his negatives and his
>excesses. What this argument by Brett says, Charles, is that any sort of
>objective analysis of the macroeconomics of the socialist world-system in
>comparison to the capitalist world-system between 1960 and 1978 that does
>not engage in ideological polemics against Stalin is somehow "praising a
>communist thug." See how deeply anti-communism has infected the left?

You are right. As I said, I jumped to conclusions and judged your piece unfairly. I didn't mean to imply that comparing capitalist countries with state socialist/communist countries is invalid unless Stalin is properly chastised. Such comparisons are indeed valuable, and after rereading your post I retract my earlier remarks.

Perhaps its a good thing that I've reached my limit. I've done nothing but put my foot in my mouth today.


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