Cambodia Part 1

Alexandre Fenelon afenelon at
Wed Jan 5 14:29:02 PST 2000

----- Original Message -----

From: Hep Ingham

To: lbo-talk at

Sent: Wednesday, January 05, 2000 4:24 PM

Subject: Re: Cambodia Part 1

I think that Stalin and Mao were different from Pol Pot.

Where the Khmer Rouge set up killing factories, the PRC and USSR killed

mostly from incompetence and disregard. For the victims, of course, that

matters little, but historically I think it does make a difference.

As for Kampuchea being a manifestation of Marxism-Leninism, that's questionable.

It was, after all, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam which overthrew

that murderous regime.

-I would still make a diference between China and Stalinist

USSR. There was some logic in Stalin's policies. They

were a brutal and accelerated primitive acumulation.

The forced collectivization wasn't planned to increase

the agricultural output but to exploit peassant's. By doing

it the government had to resources to industrialize the

country (this may have saved USSR from Hitler's Germany

and probably saved the beloved De Long's liberal democracies

too, since a victory over Germany would be impossible

withouth USSR). Very brutal, but efficient. You can prove it

by looking at USSR GNP statistics from 1929-50. On the

other hand the Great Terror was not useful, but it was a

logical reaction against the internal oposition in the PCUS,

horrified with the results of those policies (there was many

votes against Stalin in 1934 PCUS Congress and more than

90% of the delegates were killed or arrested in the following

years). I don't know if there was a real alternative to Stalin's

policies. Probably it would have be possible to achieve

GNP growth rates a little worse with a much lesser human

cost, but I can't say this. On the other hand, I see no rationale

for The Great Leap Forward, mainly if you consider that

1956's collectivization was well accepted by peasants and

had a good effect in increasing agricultural output. Furthermore

China could rely on USSR technical support to develop its

own industry. So this policy was simply crazy.

There is one more thing. If you read Hobsbawn's Age of

Revolutions (1789-40) you will find a remarkable similarity

between suffering inflicted by England on India and Ireland

and Stalin's policies towards peasants. It doesn't excuses

Stalin for his crimes, but what I'm saying is that those disasters

were also caused by capitalist democratic countries in early

industrial age.

Alexandre Fenelon -------------- next part -------------- An HTML attachment was scrubbed... URL: <../attachments/20000105/56258b13/attachment.htm>

More information about the lbo-talk mailing list