Archive for the Stalin Category

The Anti-Empire Report #122 by Wm. Blum: “The Cold War Revisited” – debunking myths about Soviet Union and Stalin [Williamblum.org]

Posted in CIA, George W. Bush, Haiti, India, Iraq, Somalia, Stalin, US imperialism, USA, USSR, Yugoslavia - former FRY on January 24, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Excerpt from Anti-Empire Report #122

November 7, 2013

* The Cold War Revisited *

…I’ve written the Introduction to a new book recently published in Russia that is sort of an updating of my book Killing Hope. Here is a short excerpt:

The Cold War had not been a struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union. It had been a struggle between the United States and the Third World, which, in the decade following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, continued in Haiti, Somalia, Iraq, Yugoslavia and elsewhere.

The Cold War had not been a worldwide crusade by America to halt Soviet expansion, real or imaginary. It had been a worldwide crusade by America to block political and social changes in the Third World, changes opposed by the American power elite.

The Cold War had not been a glorious and noble movement of freedom and democracy against Communist totalitarianism. It had typically been a movement by the United States in support of dictatorships, authoritarian regimes and corrupt oligarchies which were willing to follow Washington’s party line on the Left, US corporations, Israel, oil, military bases, et al. and who protected American political and economic interests in their countries in exchange for the American military and CIA keeping them in power against the wishes of their own people.

In other words, whatever the diplomats at the time thought they were doing, the Cold War revisionists have been vindicated. American policy had been about imperialism and military expansion.

Apropos the countless other myths we were all taught about the Soviet Union is this letter I recently received from one of my readers, a Russian woman, age 49, who moved to the United States eight years ago and now lives in Northern Virginia:

I can’t imagine why anybody is surprised to hear when I say I miss life in the Soviet Union: what is bad about free healthcare and education, guaranteed employment, guaranteed free housing? No rent or mortgage of any kind, only utilities, but they were subsidized too, so it was really pennies. Now, to be honest, there was a waiting list to get those apartments, so some people got them quicker, some people had to wait for years, it all depended on where you worked. And there were no homeless people, and crime was way lower. As a first grader I was taking the public transportation to go to school, which was about 1 hour away by bus (it was a big city, about the size of Washington DC, we lived on the outskirts, and my school was downtown), and it was fine, all other kids were doing it. Can you even imagine this being done now? I am not saying everything was perfect, but overall, it is a more stable and socially just system, fair to everybody, nobody was left behind. This is what I miss: peace and stability, and not being afraid of the future.

Problem is, nobody believes it, they will say that I am a brainwashed “tovarish” [comrade]. I’ve tried to argue with Americans about this before, but just gave up now. They just refuse to believe anything that contradicts what CNN has been telling them for all their lives. One lady once told me: “You just don’t know what was going on there, because you did not have freedom of speech, but we, Americans, knew everything, because we could read about all of this in our media.” I told her “I was right there! I did not need to read about this in the media, I lived that life!”, but she still was unconvinced! You will not believe what she said: “Yes, maybe, but we have more stuff!”. Seriously, having 50 kinds of cereal available in the store, and walmarts full of plastic junk is more valuable to Americans than a stable and secure life, and social justice for everybody?

Of course there are people who lived in the Soviet Union who disagree with me, and I talked to them too, but I find their reasons just as silly. I heard one Russian lady whose argument was that Stalin killed “30, no 40 million people”. First of all it’s not true (I don’t in any way defend Stalin, but I do think that lying and exaggerating about him is as wrong)*, and second of all what does this have to do with the 70s, when I was a kid? By then life was completely different. I heard other arguments, like food shortages (again, not true, it’s not like there was no food at all, there were shortages of this or that specific product, like you wouldn’t find mayo or bologna in the store some days, but everything else was there!). So, you would come back next day, or in 2-3 days, and you would find them there. Really, this is such a big deal? Or you would have to stay in line to buy some other product, (ravioli for example). But how badly do you want that ravioli really that day, can’t you have anything else instead? Just buy something else, like potatoes, where there was no line.

Was this annoying, yes, and at the time I was annoyed too, but only now I realized that I would much prefer this nuisance to my present life now, when I am constantly under stress for the fear that I can possibly lose my job (as my husband already did), and as a result, lose everything else – my house? You couldn’t possibly lose your house in Soviet Union, it was yours for life, mortgage free. Only now, living here in the US, I realized that all those soviet nuisances combined were not as important as the benefits we had – housing, education, healthcare, employment, safe streets, all sort of free after school activities (music, sports, arts, anything you want) for kids, so parents never had to worry about what we do all day till they come home in the evening.

* We’ve all heard the figures many times … 10 million … 20 million … 40 million … 60 million … died under Stalin. But what does the number mean, whichever number you choose? Of course many people died under Stalin, many people died under Roosevelt, and many people are still dying under Bush. Dying appears to be a natural phenomenon in every country. The question is how did those people die under Stalin? Did they die from the famines that plagued the USSR in the 1920s and 30s? Did the Bolsheviks deliberately create those famines? How? Why? More people certainly died in India in the 20th century from famines than in the Soviet Union, but no one accuses India of the mass murder of its own citizens. Did the millions die from disease in an age before antibiotics? In prison? From what causes? People die in prison in the United States on a regular basis. Were millions actually murdered in cold blood? If so, how? How many were criminals executed for non-political crimes? The logistics of murdering tens of millions of people is daunting…

Full report link, with footnotes: http://williamblum.org/aer/read/122

Anti-communist propaganda crushed — Review of Anne Applebaum’s “Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-1956” [Ericwalberg.com / Globalresearch.ca]

Posted in Anti-communism, CIA, Czech Republic / Czechoslovakia, GDR / East Germany, Hungary, Nazism, Poland, Stalin, US imperialism, USA, USSR on February 18, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Eric Walberg

Feb. 17, 2013

[Excerpted]

The period following WWII in eastern Europe is considered to be a black one, best forgotten. All the pre-war governments had been quasi-fascist dictatorships which either succumbed to the Nazi onslaught (Poland) or actively cooperated with the Germans (Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria). The Soviet liberation was greeted with trepidation by many – with good reason for the many collaborators. Within a few years of liberation, eastern Europe was ruled by austere regimes headed by little Stalins.

As in France and Italy, women who consorted with the Germans were treated with contempt. There was a rash of rape as millions of Soviet soldiers filled the vacuum left before the post-war occupation structures were established. The Soviet soldiers had been motivated by an intense hatred of the Nazis, and their revenge was worse than that of the American, British etc soldiers, none of whom at lost their loved ones and homes or had faced invasion of their homelands. The chaos did considerable damage to post-war relations and soured the prospect of building socialism to many who otherwise would have given the new order that was imposed on them a chance. ‘Imposed’ is certainly the operational word, as the Soviets gave security and policing to their local communist allies.

As in all wars, there were no winners (except those lucky soldiers who emerged unscathed with lots of booty). The east European communists had been decimated by Stalin’s pre-war purges. The liberal and rightwing forces were persecuted. War does not discriminate between good and bad property. As in all upheavals, farsighted bad guys step forward, play along on the winning side, and reap their rewards.

Given this deadly scenario and the subsequent Cold War, it is surprising just how much positive resulted from the Soviet occupation of eastern Europe, and despite author Anne Applebaum’s unremitting anti-communism (her “Gulag” won the Pulitzer Prize in 2003), it keeps peaking through her Iron Curtain.

Applebaum focuses on Poland, Hungary and East Germany, clearly because they experienced uprisings following Stalin’s death in 1953 (sparked by liberal reforms that spun out of control instigated by – of all people – NKVD chief Lavrenti Beria). They are very different cultures and their post-war experiences are very different, despite following a scenario written in Moscow, including both the good (social welfare and anti-capitalism) and the bad (‘red terror’ and dogmatic imitation of Stalinism).

She drew on dozens of personal interviews of east Europeans who were either key figures in the period of ‘high Stalinism’ as she calls it or simply people who lived their lives, worked and supported (or didn’t) the regime they lived under, and now in their waning years, were glad to reflect on what happened, how they functioned. Appelbaum’s husband is Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, and her treatment of Poland is particularly detailed.

Yes, people were persecuted unjustly, though it was mostly leading political figures who suffered, or people who refused to read the writing on the wall and spoke out (heroically or foolishly, a judgment call) during the wave of purges which began in the late 1940s…

…What comes through in the interviews is just how positive the whole post-war period was for the majority of the people, how the communist program gave great opportunities to the vast majority in education, work and health care. How despite the ‘high Stalin’ show trials and inanities of the period, such as the slavish naming of a new socialist town Sztalinvaros in Hungary, a then-young worker on a woman’s brigade now remembers trudging through the mud and living in damp barracks “with immense nostalgia”, though she later became somewhat disillusioned as an activist. (She protested – and was chastised for it – against the campaign to convince workers to go into debt to buy ‘Peace Bonds’ which she saw as just a hidden tax.)

Just as the communists created myths and enshrined them in their history books at the time, the victors in the Cold War are now writing their own version of history. Yes, Warsaw’s wedding cake Palace of Culture, a ‘gift’ from Stalin, and nearby dreary apartment blocks, spoiled the skyline. But the communists also had the old city in Warsaw meticulously reconstructed.

And how to explain Alexander Dymschitz, head of the cultural division of the Soviet Military Administration in post-war Berlin, who insisted that artists get the coveted “first” ration card, a larger piece of bread and more meat and vegetables? Asked why, Dymschitsz declared, “It is possible that there is a Gorki among you. Should his immortal books remain unwritten, only because he goes hungry?”

The whole socialist ‘experiment’ in eastern Europe lasted only four short decades, and considering the animosity of the West (and many locals), was a remarkable success in raising economic and cultural standards. Applebaum sneers at the trials of “wreckers” and saboteurs, but from day one, the US and its by-then subservient client states in western Europe repressed their own communists, and the CIA waged an undeclared war on the socialist bloc, parachuting in émigrés to blow up bridges, wreck equipment and even spread crop diseases.

Applebaum’s meticulous research stopped when it comes to any of this, though there is lots of documentation. For example, the CIA funded Ukrainian fascist leader Mykola Lebed (a Nazi collaborator and murderer of Jews and Poles) from 1949–91 to carry out black ops against the Soviet Union from his front organization Prolog in New York. According to CIA director Allen Dulles, he was “of inestimable value to this Agency and its operations”.

The most spectacular instance of US subversion in the Cold War was the 1980s CIA plan to sabotage the economy of the Soviet Union. A KGB turncoat gained access to Russian purchase orders and the CIA slipped in the flawed software, which triggered “the most monumental non-nuclear explosion and fire ever seen from space”. The KGB never practised this kind of black ops, despite hysterical propaganda to the contrary.

Neither does Applebaum admit the real state of opinion in eastern Europe about this whole period. An October 2010 poll in Berlin among former East Germans revealed that 57% defend the overall record of the former East Germany and 49% agreed that “the GDR had more good sides than bad sides. There were some problems, but life was good there.” Only 30% of Ukrainians approve of the change to democracy (vs 72% in 1991), 60% of Bulgarians believe the old system was better. The disastrous effects of the collapse of the Soviet Union on life expectancy, especially of men, which fell from 64 to 58, is well known.

Compare this with the 60% of Americans in 2010 who said they feel the country is on the wrong track (albeit down from 89% in 2008 during the closing days of Bush II rule).

Iron Curtain also ignores the devastating effect of the collapse of the socialist bloc had on the world at large. By unleashing the free market from the 1980s on, inequality between the richest and poorest nations increased from 88:1 (1970) to 267:1 (2000). The US was henceforth able to invade countries everywhere at will, as indeed it has done, killing millions of innocent people and patriots now dismissed as the ‘enemy’. But this is of no concern to Applebaum from her comfortable perch in Thatcherite London at the Legatum Institute, nor of her staunchly anti-communist hubbie in Warsaw. Nor of other rewriters, financed by the likes of Soros’s Open Institutes.

What is most irritating in Iron Curtain, apart from its cliched Churchillian title, is its assumption that all readers will accept that the term ‘totalitarian’ applies – uniquely – to the socialist bloc, that “totalitarian education would eliminate dissent; that civic institutions, once destroyed, could not be rebuilt; that history, once rewritten, would be forgotten.” A 1956 US National Intelligence Estimate made just months before the collapse of the Hungarian communist order, predicted gloomily (and a tad enviously) that over time dissidence in eastern Europe would be worn down “by the gradual increase in the number of Communist-indoctrinated youth”.

The alert reader, unburdened by “Intelligence”, will find many such glaring hints that ‘totalitarian’ really has much more to do with the West, with its seductive materialist ‘me’ culture, fashioning people oblivious to the welfare of their society. Post-WWII western Europe was promised apple pie in the sky, and got it thanks to the Marshall Plan aimed at winning the new Cold War. Once the socialist bloc was no longer, the apple pie disappeared, as we see in the collapse of living standards across Europe (the US as well), there being no competition anymore to the real totalitarian system, where protests are easily absorbed.

Not so the dictatorships of eastern Europe, which were brittle, far from totalitarian. The spontaneous re-emergence of unsanctioned institutions in Hungary after the death of Stalin is particularly impressive. The “totalitarian personalities” that Applebaum conceives of are rather found every day in Walmart queues or on 4th of July celebrations.

While young Poles, Germans and Hungarians were at the forefront of their new socialist orders, they were also – just as in the West – at the forefront of rebellion against what many saw as the stifling status quo. For the most part, Polish bikiniarze or Hungarian jampecek, the counterparts of American rockers and British teddy boys, hadn’t experienced the horrors of the war, had little sense of the 1930s as a period of communist ferment, and found western mass consumer culture much more appealing than the modest socialist one stressing personal responsibility and solidarity with the victims of imperialism around the world…

…When the baby boom hit especially Czechoslovakia in the 1960s, it resulted in an explosion of creative energy, and a delayed unraveling of the by-then tattered ‘high Stalinism’ there, but once again context intervened. In retrospect, if the Prague Spring had been allowed to blossom, Czechoslovakia would have been quickly absorbed by the West, and the Cold War eastern dominoes would have fallen much sooner.

But 1968 was the high point of European social democracy, and who knows what might have resulted from a melding of the two systems at that time? That the fall came in 1990 at the height of neoliberalism meant that capitalism at its totalitarian worst called all the shots, and there is little to crow about by the 99% of us – East or West. Alas, this is far from the minds of the neoliberal victors as they churn out their history books.

Full article link: http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-iron-curtain-the-crushing-of-eastern-europe-1944-1956/5318851

In guise of exposing corruption, New York Times aims blow at China [Workers World]

Posted in Capitalist media double standard, China, China-bashing, CIA, Corporate Media Critique, Corruption, CPC, CPC Central Committee (CPCCC), Deng Xiaoping, Lenin, Mao Zedong, Pentagon, Premier Wen Jiabao, Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, Stalin, State Department, US imperialism, USA on November 4, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Fred Goldstein

Nov 2, 2012

= Crisis in China, Part 13 =

The New York Times has committed an act of journalistic aggression against China. On Oct. 25, it splashed across the top of the front page a three-column article, complete with color photos, claiming that relatives of Wen Jiabao have gotten extremely rich because of their relationship to the outgoing Chinese premier.

This blast of exposure comes just days before the opening of the Communist Party Congress, which is to preside over a once-in-a-decade change in the top party leadership.

The Times claims that the article, which supposedly documents the collective amassing of $2.7 billion by Wen’s relatives, has been worked on for a year and that now the story is “ready to go.”

There has been much speculation as to the motives of the Times, particularly whether the article was politically motivated on behalf of one faction or another in the Chinese leadership. Only subsequent information can reveal anything about such speculation.

It is ironic that the Times is trying to undermine Wen, who has been the most prominent of those in China’s top leadership promoting “reform and opening up.” Wen is also the harshest enemy of Bo Xilai, because Bo was trying to slow down the march along the capitalist road, promote the welfare of the workers and the peasants, and revive the socialist spirit and the culture of Mao Zedong. Wen denounced Bo and warned of a possible return to the Cultural Revolution.

The fact that the Times opened up an attack on Wen could also signify that it is trying to ally with forces further to the right than he — those who want to use the campaign against corruption to push further toward introducing capitalist political parties in China.

At this point speculation must be put aside and the world must await further clarification concerning this attack. But one thing stands out about the timing of the article and the prominence given to it, regardless of its accuracy: It is a flagrant act of imperialist intervention in the political process in China at a critical moment.

What also stands out is that it is the height of hypocrisy for the Times — a mouthpiece of U.S. capitalism and imperialism, which is the font of corruption at home and abroad on a monumental scale — to expose corruption in China. Washington, the State Department, the military-industrial complex, the CIA, the giant monopolies and banks — all bribe and corrupt officials at home and abroad in the quest for contracts, policy changes, special laws favoring corporations, arms sales, etc.

This is a case of a thief crying thief. And the last thing the workers and peasants of China need is for the corporate predators behind the New York Times to stand as a watchdog over the virtue of their country.

* Capitalism breeds corruption in China *

It is widely known both inside and outside China that ever since Deng Xiaoping opened up the door to capitalism and imperialist corporate penetration, under the slogan “socialism with Chinese characteristics” or so-called “market socialism,” the acquisitive bourgeois spirit has spread throughout China among sections of officialdom and the Communist Party.

The practice of using party or government positions for personal gain is prevalent, from the local to the highest levels. This has bred cynicism and alienation and gone a long way to erode the socialist spirit that prevailed in China until the death of Mao.

Demonstrations against various forms of corruption or the results of corruption have spread throughout China — especially demonstrations against government officials making land deals with developers at the expense of the peasants.

Under Deng and his successors, capitalist market relations were elevated to become the principal means of stimulating economic development. Socialist social relations were sacrificed to market-driven development of the productive forces in the name of “modernization.” Even the great state-owned enterprises and state economic planning exist within the framework of capitalist market mechanisms.

Legitimatizing capitalism, exploitation and profit-seeking leads inevitably to corruption.

* Want to root out corruption? Return to socialist road *

The road to rooting out corruption in China lies along the path of restoring the early socialist traditions of the Chinese Revolution. This is hardly a prescription the New York Times would advocate.

During the early period of the Chinese Revolution, and especially during the Cultural Revolution, whatever its excesses may have been, the quest for personal wealth was frowned upon, and the collectivist, egalitarian, anti-bureaucratic spirit animated the Maoist sections of the party and had a great following among the masses.

During the Cultural Revolution, the Paris Commune model was revived with the direct leadership of the masses in politics and administration. Government officials were subject to recall. Salaries were limited. Party members and officials were to participate in the life of the masses. The workers were empowered politically, while the peasants had been organized into communes early in the revolution.

With regard to corruption, Russian revolutionary leader V.I. Lenin in 1917 followed the Paris Commune model. No party member, no matter his or her status, could receive a salary higher than that of the highest-paid worker. It was called the law of the maximum. It was later removed by Stalin. Under Lenin limited privileges were granted to experts on a provisional basis, until such time as the workers could develop sufficient expertise on their own. This was also later reversed.

For years moderate and right-wing elements within the CPC have used the argument that “modernization” requires having capitalists and capitalism, with all its “efficiencies” and expertise. But they were held in check by Mao and the forces around him on the left.

This argument is a rationalization for allowing the rise of privileged elements. The workers and peasants can achieve miracles of modernization and socialist construction if they are given the opportunity. That would put China in a much stronger position vis-a-vis capitalist restoration, counterrevolution and imperialism. This subject requires much more extended analysis at a future time.

But for now, suffice it to say that the New York Times is the greatest champion of further capitalist reform and further imperialist penetration in China. The last thing it would want to see is a mass campaign to restore the socialist spirit in China, with the empowerment of the workers and peasants, which is the true way to root out corruption at all levels.

This gratuitous blast against corruption involving Wen Jiabao, even if every word is true, is carried out in the service of undermining China’s socialist heritage and promoting the further development of capitalism.

Goldstein is the author of “Low-Wage Capitalism” and “Capitalism at a Dead End.” More information is available at http://www.lowwagecapitalism.com. The author can be reached at fgoldstein@workers.org.

Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Article link: http://www.workers.org/2012/11/02/in-guise-of-exposing-corruption-new-york-times-aims-blow-at-china/

Hiroshima and The Glorification of American Militarism [Globalresearch.ca]

Posted in Hiroshima, Japan, Media cover-up, Nagasaki, Okinawa, Stalin, Truman, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, USSR, World War II on September 1, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Dr. Gary Kohls

August 16, 2012

August 6, 9, 2012 was the 67th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the whole truth of which has been heavily censored and mythologized starting with the news of the event that created understandable joy because of the end of that awful war.

Hundreds of millions of Americans took in, as gospel truth, the heavily edited stories about the end of the war. To the average American, the war’s end was such a relief that there was no questioning. For the soldiers who were particularly war-weary, no moral questions were raised regarding the justification of their use.

The immediate history was written by the victors, of course, with no balancing input from the losing side.  But, several decades later, after intensive research by unbiased historians, we now know that the patriotic narrative contained a lot of false information, often orchestrated by war-justifying militarists – starting with General Douglas MacArthur. MacArthur, aka “the American Caesar”, successfully imposed a virtual total censorship of what really happened at Ground Zero. One of his first acts after taking over as viceroy of Japan was to confiscate and/or destroy all the unpleasant photographic evidence documenting the horrors of the atomic bombings.

Back in 1995, the Smithsonian Institute was preparing to correct the pseudo-patriotic myths by staging an honest, historically-accurate 50th anniversary display exploring all sides of the atomic bombings. This provoked serious right-wing reactionary outrage from veterans groups and other “patriot” groups (including Newt Gingrich’s GOP-dominated Congress) the Smithsonian felt compelled to remove all of the contextually important aspects of the story, especially the bomb-related civilian atrocity stories. So again we had another example of powerful politically-motivated groups that falsified history because of a fear that “unpatriotic” truths, albeit historical, would contradict their deeply-held beliefs – and intolerable psychological situation for many blindered superpatriots.

The Okinawa bloodbath could have been avoided

The Smithsonian historians did have a gun to their heads, of course, but in the melee, the mainstream media – and their easily brain-washable consumers of propaganda – ignored a vital historical point. And that is this: the war could have ended as early as the spring of 1945 without the August atomic bombings, and therefore there could have been averted the 3 month bloody battle of Okinawa that resulted in the deaths of thousands of American Marines with tens of thousands of Japanese military casualties and uncounted thousands of Okinawan civilian casualties.

In addition, if the efforts had succeeded at ending the war via early Japanese efforts for an armistice, there would have been no need for the atomic bombs nor for an American land invasion – the basis of the subsequent propaganda campaign that retroactively justified the use of the bombs.

President Truman, was fully aware of Japan’s search for ways to honorably surrender months before the fateful order to incinerate, without warning, the defenseless women, children and elderly people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, who had not been given a choice by their militarist, fascist government about going to war..

That top-secret intelligence data, de-classified in the 1980s, showed that the contingency plans for a two-stage US invasion of the mainland (the first one no sooner than November 1, 1945 and the second one in the spring of 1946) would have been unnecessary.

Japan was working on peace negotiations through its Moscow ambassador as early as April of 1945 when the battle of Okinawa was just starting. Harry Hopkins, President Truman’s close advisor, was aware of Japan’s desire for an armistice. He cabled the president from Moscow, saying: “Japan is doomed and the Japanese know it. Peace feelers are being put out by certain elements in Japan.”

Truman’s team knew of these and other developments because the US had broken the Japanese code years earlier, and US intelligence was intercepting all of Japan’s military and diplomatic messages. On July 13, 1945, Foreign Minister Togo said: “Unconditional surrender (giving up all sovereignty, thereby deposing Hirohito, the Emperor god) is the only obstacle to peace…”

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The Western Welfare State: Its Rise and Demise and the Soviet Bloc [The James Petras Website]

Posted in Anti-communism, Capitalism crisis early 21st century, China, Czech Republic / Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Italy, NATO, Stalin, Trade unions, USSR, Vietnam on July 13, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

07.04.2012 :: Analysis

Introduction: One of the most striking socio-economic features of the past two decades is the reversal of the previous half-century of welfare legislation in Europe and North America. Unprecedented cuts in social services, severance pay, public employment, pensions, health programs, educational stipends, vacation time, and job security are matched by increases in tuition, regressive taxation, and the age of retirement as well as increased inequalities, job insecurity and workplace speed-up.

The demise of the ‘welfare state’ demolishes the idea put forth by orthodox economists, who argued that the ‘maturation’ of capitalism, its ‘advanced state’, high technology and sophisticated services, would be accompanied by greater welfare and higher income/standard of living. While it is true that ‘services and technology’ have multiplied, the economic sector has become even more polarized, between low paid retail clerks and super rich stock brokers and financiers. The computerization of the economy has led to electronic bookkeeping, cost controls and the rapid movements of speculative funds in search of maximum profit while at the same time ushering in brutal budgetary reductions for social programs.

The ‘Great Reversal’ appears to be a long-term, large-scale process centered in the dominant capitalist countries of Western Europe and North America and in the former Communist states of Eastern Europe. It behooves us to examine the systemic causes that transcend the particular idiosyncrasies of each nation.

The Origins of the Great Reversal

There are two lines of inquiry which need to be elucidated in order to come to terms with the demise of the welfare state and the massive decline of living standards. One line of analysis examines the profound change in the international environment: We have moved from a competitive bi-polar system, based on a rivalry between the collectivist – welfare states of the Eastern bloc and the capitalist states of Europe and North America to an international system monopolized by competing capitalist states.

A second line of inquiry directs us to examine the changes in the internal social relations of the capitalist states: namely the shift from intense class struggles to long-term class collaboration, as the organizing principle in the relation between labor and capital.

The main proposition informing this essay is that the emergence of the welfare state was a historical outcome of a period when there were high levels of competition between collectivist welfarism and capitalism and when class-struggle oriented trade unions and social movements had ascendancy over class-collaborationist organizations.

Clearly the two processes are inter-related: As the collectivist states implemented greater welfare provisions for their citizens, trade unions and social movements in the West had social incentives and positive examples to motivate their members and challenge capitalists to match the welfare legislation in the collectivist bloc.

The Origins and Development of the Western Welfare State

Immediately following the defeat of fascist-capitalist regimes with the defeat of Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and its political allies in Eastern Europe embarked on a massive program of reconstruction, recovery, economic growth and the consolidation of power, based on far-reaching socio-economic welfare reforms. The great fear among Western capitalist regimes was that the working class in the West would “follow” the Soviet example or, at a minimum, support parties and actions which would undermine capitalist recovery. Given the political discredit of many Western capitalists because of their collaboration with the Nazis or their belated, weak opposition to the fascist version of capitalism, they could not resort to the highly repressive methods of the past. Instead, the Western capitalist classes applied a two-fold strategy to counter the Soviet collectivist-welfare reforms: Selective repression of the domestic Communist and radical Left and welfare concessions to secure the loyalty of the Social and Christian Democratic trade unions and parties.

With economic recovery and post-war growth, the political, ideological and economic competition intensified: The Soviet bloc introduced wide-ranging reforms, including full employment, guaranteed job security, universal health care, free higher education, one month paid vacation leave, full pay pensions, free summer camps and vacation resorts for worker families and prolonged paid maternity leave. They emphasized the importance of social welfare over individual consumption. The capitalist West was under pressure to approximate the welfare offerings from the East, while expanding individual consumption based on cheap credit and installment payments made possible by their more advanced economies. From the mid 1940’s to the mid 1970’s the West competed with the Soviet bloc with two goals in mind: To retain workers loyalties in the West while isolating the militant sectors of the trade unions and to entice the workers of the East with promises of comparable welfare programs and greater individual consumption.

Despite the advances in social welfare programs, East and West, there were major worker protests in East Europe: These focused on national independence, authoritarian paternalistic tutelage of trade unions and insufficient access to private consumer goods. In the West, there were major worker-student upheavals in France and Italy demanding an end of capitalist dominance in the workplace and social life. Popular opposition to imperialist wars (Indo-China, Algeria, etc.), the authoritarian features of the capitalist state (racism) and the concentration of wealth was widespread.

In other words, the new struggles in the East and West were premised on the consolidation of the welfare state and the expansion of popular political and social power over the state and productive process.

The continuing competition between collectivist and capitalist welfare systems ensured that there would be no roll-back of the reforms thus far achieved. However, the defeats of the popular rebellions of the sixties and seventies ensured that no further advances in social welfare would take place. More importantly a social ‘deadlock’ developed between the ruling classes and the workers in both blocs leading to stagnation of the economies, bureaucratization of the trade unions and demands by the capitalist classes for a dynamic, new leadership, capable of challenging the collectivist bloc and systematically dismantling the welfare state.

The Process of Reversal: From Reagan-Thatcher to Gorbachev

The great illusion, which gripped the masses of the collectivist-welfare bloc, was the notion that the Western promise of mass consumerism could be combined with the advanced welfare programs that they had long taken for granted. The political signals from the West however were moving in the opposite direction. With the ascendancy of President Ronald Reagan in the US and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in Great Britain, the capitalists regained full control over the social agenda, dealing mortal blows to what remained of trade union militancy and launching a full scale arms race with the Soviet Union in order to bankrupt its economy. In addition, ‘welfarism’ in the East was thoroughly undermined by an emerging class of upwardly mobile, educated elites who teamed up with kleptocrats, neo-liberals, budding gangsters and anyone else who professed ‘Western values’. They received political and material support from Western foundations, Western intelligence agencies, the Vatican (especially in Poland), European Social Democratic parties and the US AFL-CIO while, on the fringes, an ideological veneer was provided by the self-described ‘anti-Stalinist’ leftists in the West…

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“The Ghost of Goebbels: Historical Revisionism and World War II” by Wayne Madsen [Strategic Culture Foundation]

Posted in Belarus, Capitalism crisis early 21st century, Czech Republic / Czechoslovakia, Fascism, Germany, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Nazism, Poland, Russia, Stalin, U.K., Ukraine, US imperialism, USA, USSR, Wall Street, Wayne Madsen Report, World War II, Yugoslavia - former FRY on August 11, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

26.01.2011

An expected outgrowth of the world’s steady descent into total and extreme capitalist control is the increasing tendency by some historians and their accomplices in the media to re-invent certain aspects of history.

Although the history of the Middle East and colonialism have been favorite playgrounds for the historical revisionists, it is World War II and the role played by the Soviet Union in the war that has attracted the attention of most of the alterers of history, both professional and amateur. As we recall the Nazi attack on the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, the 70th anniversary of which we now remember, it is important to note that the “revisionism” of the events of that day began with chief Nazi German propagandist Joseph Goebbels and the disappearance of historical facts “down the memory hole,” as George Orwell put it in 1984, is carried on to this day by Goebbels’s ideological heirs who are mainly funded by the barons of Wall Street through various tax-free right-wing “think tanks” and research institutes in the West.

Although the revisionists claim that the 1939 Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact and its secret protocol to divide eastern Europe into respective German and Soviet spheres of influence somehow made Soviet leader Joseph Stalin a “partner” of Hitler, little attention is paid to secret German-British talks in 1939 that would have divided the world into German and British spheres of influence while making common cause against the Soviet Union.

Goebbels’s ideological heirs would have everyone believe that Stalin and German Fuhrer Adolf Hitler were on the same ideological plane and were conniving to jointly conquer the world. This revisionist account is meant to mask the goals of the Western industrialists at the time. Many of the world’s wealthiest capitalists, including the German-descent British royal family, wanted Hitler to stamp out Soviet Communism and had no problem with the Nazis’ “long march East.”

The pandering of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain to Hitler at the 1939 Munich Conference, which saw the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia, was seen in the eyes of many British and American industrial barons as the remnants of Czechoslovakia being safe from Soviet Russia. That same mind-set would exist as Nazi troops invaded Poland, the Baltic states, Yugoslavia, and then, the USSR, itself. Not until December 7, 1941, and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, would the western industrial barons decide it was time to support the war effort against the Axix Powers, albeit reluctantly.

Certainly, Britain was not alone in its secret campaign to align with the Nazis against the Soviet Union. U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, who enraged many capitalists and Republicans by establishing diplomatic relations with the USSR after he took office in 1933, found himself almost ousted in a coup d’etat in 1933 arranged by Wall Street robber barons intent on declaring a state of national emergency and placing Roosevelt under virtual house arrest. The plot was discovered by retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler and communicated to the U.S. Congress where details of the plot remained secret until 1970. Among the chief coup plotters was Prescott Bush, the father and grandfather, respectively, of two later U.S. presidents. Prescott Bush was a chief Wall Street banker for German Nazi-owned businesses in the years leading up to and following the outbreak of World War II.

In 1936, U.S. ambassador to Berlin, William Dodd, wrote to Roosevelt to warn him that the threat posed to him in 1934 by the Wall Street-Nazi alliance remained as such two years later. Dodd wrote:

“A clique of U.S. industrialists is hell-bent to bring a fascist state to supplant our democratic government and is working closely with the fascist regime in Germany and Italy. I have had plenty of opportunity in my post in Berlin to witness how close some of our American ruling families are to the Nazi regime . . . A prominent executive of one of the largest corporations, told me point blank that he would be ready to take definite action to bring fascism into America if President Roosevelt continued his progressive policies. Certain American industrialists had a great deal to do with bringing fascist regimes into being in both Germany and Italy. They extended aid to help Fascism occupy the seat of power, and they are helping to keep it there. Propagandists for fascist groups try to dismiss the fascist scare.”

The words of Dodd: “propagandists for fascist groups try to dismiss the fascist scare” ring true today. Wall Street of the 1930s and 1940s owned the major media outlets, including the large publishing houses, that gave notoriety to the revisionist commentators and historians of their day. The situation remains much the same today.

There is the distinct danger that soon, the historical revionists will not be content in putting Stalin and Hitler on the same level. With global media in the hands of a select few capitalists, it is forseeable that Stalin will be re-assessed as the reason Hitler had to conquer most of Europe and Hitler will be painted favorably. There are already signs that this historical revisionism is taking place among the right-wing political parties of Europe that are adopting many of the planks of the neo-Nazi movement, including the meme that Hitler had no choice to invade eastern Europe and the Soviet Union to protect the world against Bolshevism. That argument of the capitalists is nothing new but it is one, 70 years after the invasion of the USSR by the Nazis, that should have long ago been discarded into the ash bin of fascist propaganda.

Final Statement

Adopted by the International History Conference Commemorating 70th Anniversary of the Outbreak of 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War (Sevastopol, June 15-17, 2011)

We, the assembled representatives of historical research communities and civil societies of Belarus, Latvia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine participating in the Sevastopol International History Conference commemorating 70th Anniversary of the outbreak of 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War, regard the War and our Victory as one of the most tragic and at the same time heroic pages in the common history of our nations.

We are increasingly alarmed with the current rise of revisionism of the history of World War II in the West and in several post-Soviet republics where incendiary political considerations outweigh commitment to historical accuracy.

We consider it absolutely unacceptable to draw the Great Patriotic War against fascism as a ‘fight of two totalitarian regimes’, to deny the justified and liberating nature of that war for our nations, to depict the Red Army’s liberation mission in 11 European countries as ‘Soviet occupation’.

We state that the concept ascribing ‘mutual responsibility’ for unleashing the war to ‘the Nazi and Soviet regimes’ lacks any historical and moral foundations. As historians, we are aware that the responsibility for that devastating war rests fully with the Western powers. Until now the diplomatic archives in London keep guarding the secrets of the British-German talks held in June 1939 on the division of the world into Great Britain’s and Germany’s spheres of influence, aimed to deter Soviet Union from taking part in shaping the future of Europe.

While Hitler’s military machine was destined to exterminate [the] Soviet Union as a ‘hotbed of Bolshevism’, today…Nazism is sometimes being portrayed as a ‘natural response to the red threat’. This is an [utter] lie contradicting recognized historical facts.

We claim that all civilized nations should officially outlaw any endeavors to justify fascism, Nazi criminals or collaborationists. Any revisions of the Nuremberg Tribunal[‘s] outright statements condemning fascism are totally inadmissible.

The present round of revisionism is supposed to provide an ideological backing for “anti-totalitarian” appeals like the notorious OSCE Parliamentary Assembly resolution adopted on July 3, 2009 calling for a trial over the Soviet Union’s allegedly ‘criminal past’. Such campaigns, provoking territorial claims against Russia and compensation demands for ‘damages caused during Soviet occupation’ trigger imminent and far-reaching dangerous consequences for the European security, still not adequately assessed by the short-sighted instigators of these campaigns and their blind contractors.

A distorted view on the meaning and the results of World War II and Russia’s Great Patriotic War would pave the way for a new division of Europe and the world with catastrophic consequences. This is why we are calling upon the academic community for a fair and unbiased research of the period of 1941-1945 in the name of historical truth and our common future. The sacrifices of millions of Russians in the defeat of Fascism and the devastation wrought in the war must not be perverted for current political narratives. Such actions only serve to cause division within Europe, and prevent the advancement of peace and unity amongst peoples.

Edited by Zuo Shou

Article link: http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2011/06/21/the-ghost-of-goebbels-historical-revisionism-and-world-war-ii.html

Stalin Caught in Liberal Cobweb [Strategic Culture Foundation]

Posted in Anti-communism, Chile, Fascism, France, Germany, Nazism, Pinochet, Psychological warfare, Russia, Stalin, U.K., US - Nazi connection, US imperialism, USA, USSR, Winston Churchill on June 30, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

6.21.2011

by Nil Nikandrov

Progressive revision of the principal results of…WWII [is] a very dangerous sign. Never before [have] the endeavors to depict Hitler and Stalin as equally responsible for unleashing the war…been so obstinate, purposeful and bluntly hostile towards Russian people and Russian state…

No doubt that the propagandistic identification of Stalin as a totalitarian-style leader is aimed to justify the secret diplomatic maneuvers made by the West in the late 1930s to provoke German-Soviet conflict. The appeasement policies and permanent British and French concessions to Berlin eventually prompted the aggression of the Nazi monster. Following a series of military triumphs in Europe, on June 22, 1941 Nazi Germany invaded Russia and started realizing Operation Barbarossa supposed to defeat and break down the USSR. Another top secret Nazi plan Ost proposed to ‘depopulate the barbarian country’ turning the survivors into lunatic [sic] manpower serving…the German ‘masters’.

Most likely the liberal hawks among historians and sovietologists ‘specialized’ in Stalin’s period are preparing basis for a new blitzkrieg, now without bombings and tank attacks. Today Hitler’s strategic schemes are being realized using new media technologies, manipulations of facts and senses, demonization campaigns against Soviet leaders, first of all Stalin, being portrayed as ‘war criminals who avoided Nuremberg’.

The brainwashing is going on in a systematic, comprehensive, aggressive manner. Principal intellectual centers elaborating [a] contemporary version of Generalplan Ost are located in the United States and the UK. They obviously do not suffer any shortage in resources. The allegation that the USSR was a totalitarian state equally responsible for the outbreak of World War II with Nazi Germany is being routinely knocked, hammered, drummed into the heads of Americans, Europeans, Asians and even citizens of the post-Soviet countries.

They want Russia as the successor of the USSR to admit equal responsibility with Nazi Germany for the onset of the global drama. Apparently the consent of the new Russian elites to ‘de-Stalinization’ of the Soviet history would eventually lead to enormous and totally unfair compensation claims from the ‘occupied’ countries. The West believes that concessions and capitulation – habitual stereotype behavior of the Russian ruling class since Gorbachev – are inevitable now as well. They are convinced that the Russian elite’s private financial considerations would outweigh the national interests of the country again.

The anti-Stalin rhetoric by the troops of historians, political scientists and commentators inside Russian generously nurtured by Western donors already dominates the public discourse. They insist on ‘Stalin’s guilt to be expiated’, his ‘criminal accord with Hitler’, ‘Eastern Europe occupation’, ’40 million of repressed/assassinated’ in the USSR. I remember a surprised Chilean journalist saying to me once: ‘If I believe everything they talk about Stalin, Pinochet comparing to him would represent a sample of a righteous humanist.’

Collecting materials for my book about prominent Soviet intelligence agent Iosif Grigulevich who was stationed in South America in 1940-1946, I spent a lot of time reading war-time newspapers in libraries of Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Santiago de Chile and Caracas. These sources irrefutably testified that for Latin Americans Stalin used to be a symbol of Soviet heroic resistance to Hitlerism and a beacon of social progress and historical optimism. In that epoch, even Stalin’s fiercest opponents could not think of likening him to Hitler.

Communists were indeed the staunchest fighters against fascism at the time. That is why US intelligence networks were seeking contacts with the leaders of communist parties in Latin America to engage them in uprooting the fascist underground there. Stalin approved the dissolution of the Comintern in 1943 to strengthen Soviet Union’s ties with the Allies. He voiced [sic] for the dialog and trust-building in the post-war period, but the West responded with Churchill’s notorious Fulton address which marked the beginning of the Cold War. At that moment, Stalin was branded as an enemy of the Western civilization, and what we witness today is essentially the same approach and the same perception.

Edited by Zuo Shou

Article link: http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2011/06/21/a-web-of-liberal-intrigues-around-stalins-name.html