Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Brutality and Violence under the Stalinist Regime by Ludvik Kowalski

The above comprises several excerpts from Hell on Earth: Brutality and Violence Under The Stalinist Regime, sent me by the author Ludvik Kowalski.

Professor Kowalski:

I suspect that if I read your book I would agree with most of what you wrote In your excerpts, you write, In France today, many citizens are still reluctant to look closely at the Vichy period; in Austria many people still pretend that their country was a victim of Nazi aggression; and in Japan political leaders still frequently downplay the atrocities committed by Japanese troops in China, Korea, and Manchuria in the 1930s and 1940s. In the United States, too, many tragic aspects of history--the enslavement of blacks, the campaigns against American Indians, and the internment of Japanese-Americans at the start of World War II--have often been glossed over. Difficult as the process of historical reckoning may be for these Western countries, it is even more onerous in Russia....''

Innocent people became victims of murderous ideologies. In my opinion, Germans and Austrians were no less victims of Nazism than Russians and Poles were victims of Communism. The wings of Satan were peculiar ideologies. . . “

In the note you are responding to, , I suspect you understood something slightly different from what I had in mind when I wrote, “Stalin did X, Y, and Z. But Foley, Furr and Jameson would conclude, “therefore Stalinism was good.” We on the other hand would look at these same facts and conclude, “therefore Stalinism was evil.”

You write about people who would probably agree with Foley, Furr and Jameson, when you say, For some reason I think of them as professional propagandists, probably trained to teach Marxism-Leninism at Soviet Universities. These are probably the same people who would tell me, “Unfortunately, one cannot make an omelet without breaking the egg.” And they would repeat that the omelet received by Soviet people is much better, and more plentiful than omelet received by working people in capitalist countries. They would quote what Engels wrote about miserable conditions of workers in England and insist that present situation is even worse.”

I think you are wrong in calling them “professional propagandists.” I have been studying these people off and on for several years. They are true believers. They believe what they write. They could read where you describe Stalin’s acts “X, Y, and Z” and pronounce them good – not good in an immediate sense, not good to the people who were being treated as they were, but good and necessary in an ultimate sense. The term “propaganda” doesn’t fit what these people are doing. They are speaking from their hearts and describing what they believe.

In earlier notes I mentioned Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dhorn speaking at an SDS reunion. You can listen to them speaking in You Tube videos: Notice especially Dhorn when she is sad over the passing of the Soviet Union but hopes for a better Communism in the future. Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dhorn aren’t engaging in propaganda. They are speaking from their hearts. They still love Marxist-Leninist ideology. There is no state, no ideal entity for them to praise now that the USSR has failed, but they can still oppose Liberal Democracy, especially Liberal Democracy as exemplified by the US.

What you encountered may sound just like earlier Soviet propaganda, but it is important today not for the positive things it says about the Soviet Union and what it did in such places as Poland, but in the negative things it is doing to undermine Liberal Democracy. For if Liberal Democracy fails (and that is the fervent hope of modern anti-American Leftists), then perhaps there can be a resurgence of Marxism-Leninism – not quite that, as Dhorn would say, but something even better, a better Communism.

In criticizing the two totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century, we shouldn’t forget that the victorious Liberal Democracy has weaknesses as well. The biggest one has to do with its vaunted democracy. We have seen in democratic elections in Algeria and Palestine that the bad guys got elected. And if enough Leftist educators in the US teach enough children to be Leftists, then the bad guys could be elected here as well. When the Islamists won the election in Algeria they announced that from then on Allah would be running the country so there would be no further need of elections. That could happen here.

In a few days a Leftist may be elected president of the US. Hopefully, he isn’t as far left as the two who helped launch his career, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dhorn, but he is further left, further along the road of accepting the ideas of Foley, Furr and Jameson, than anyone we ever elected president of this nation. And that isn’t a good thing. Liberal Democracy is not something we should let slip away through lack of interest.

Lawrence Helm

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