Stalin, Hero or Villain?
Posted 09 February 2008 - 07:45 PM
Stalin is one of the most criticized, but at the same time one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century. Many have compared him to Hitler, just as many have compared him to a Messiah that liberated Europe. Many call him a villain, just as many call him a hero. Was Stalin a killer and a fascist as his opponents claim, or was he one of the most prominent leaders of the great Soviet Union?
Stalin is accused by his political opponents that he abandoned the idea of a world revolution. After the failure of the revolutions in Germany, Hungary, Austria and other European countries, Stalin , a bureaucrat ,invented the idea of socialism in one country, which was opposed to Lenin’s internationalism. Thus Stalin , according to his opponents condemned the revolution to a failure , bringing the rise of bureaucracy, nationalism and state capitalism.
In reality though, the possibility of sustaining socialism in one country is a fundamental principle of Leninism. Lenin argued that socialism can prevail in the beginning in some or even one capitalist country. After it had destroyed the capitalists and organized the socialist production it would uprise against the capitalists of other countries, with the help of the working class of those countries, using even military force if necessary, against the exploiters and their governments. Stalin followed the values and virtues of Leninism by the book in that case. The fact is that Lenin and Stalin believed that at the final victory of the revolution, communism, would only be global because it cannot sustain itself differently. But socialism, which was the case in the USSR, could sustain itself in a union of socialist countries or even in one country.
Therefore Stalin, not only organized a socialist economy within the USSR, he aided communist parties all over the world to create revolutions. After the Red Army defeated the Germans in the Second World War and liberated Europe, the revolution was spread throughout Eastern Europe, including East Germany. So Joseph Stalin did not only manage to build socialism in the USSR and protect the revolution from the Capitalists and the Fascists, he managed to spread the revolution all over Eastern Europe. By 1953 , the Communist block covered an immense territory , mainly thanks to Stalin.
In the economic sector it is acknowledged by everyone in the political left( Stalinists , Trotskyists and Social Democrats ) and the political center and political right , that during the Stalin era ( 1928 - 1953) the economic improvements were immense. Objective estimates say that the annual economic growth during the rule of Stalin was 14% . Indeed, Stalin’s ingenious 5 year plans achieved rapid industrialization which would give an economic independence much needed to safeguard the revolution. The mostly rural until the revolution Russian Empire, transformed to an industrial superpower. Thanks to the workers determination and Stalin’s great leadership skills, an economic miracle was performed.
Stalin fast proceeded into building socialism. He abandoned Lenin’s New Economic Policy (NEP) for the 5 year plans, which would build a socialist economy much faster. He collectivized the land , a move essential to achieve a socialist production and to ensure that there were no economic differences between the farmers. This move would essentially increase the agricultural output combined with the fact that he proceeded to the mechanization of agriculture. To achieve that, he purged those who had previously enslaved the peasants; the kulaks. The kulaks were a class of wealthy farmers that used the peasants’ underpaid work, for their own profit. They were hated amongst the peasants during the Czarist regime. After the revolution Lenin let them have their land as long as there was some redistribution. Lenin’s mercifulness proved devastating for the government after some years. The peasants situation improved only little after the revolution and until 1933. In 1928 Stalin tried to terminate that exploitation. Not only were the peasants devastated by famines during these years, but also the whole state was in danger because of the Kulak’s greediness. A lot of the production output was ending in the Kulak’s pockets and also they determined the market prices. All this was something absurd in a socialist economy. From 1928 to 1933, Stalin started collectivizing the land. The Kulak’s though were not willing to give to the workers and the peasants what was rightfully theirs and they wanted to keep the land. Many Kulak uprisings, where Kulaks and their paid armies of poor people devastated entire regions, came into place. The Kulak’s also undermined production and that resulted into shortages of food which created large scaled famines. This situation was intolerable for the workers government. Eventually the Kulak class was destroyed and they paid for all of their crimes. However, Stalin was merciful and the punishment was not severe.
Although Stalin ended a series of famines with their peak being the Holodomor in 1932-33, opponents accuse him of being responsible for these famines. The Holodomor, which is the name given to the Ukrainian famine had a death count of approximately one million lives. It is true that the Holodomor occured during Stalin’s era but the cause of that were the reactionary Kulaks as it was proven above. Therefore Stalin was not the “creator of these famines” but he also ended them once and for all with his collectivization of the land, which ensured prosperity for the workers and the entire nation.
The quality of life of the Soviets greatly increased between the years of 1928- 1953. The policies of the peoples’ government during the years when Stalin was general secretary were clear. They gave emphasis to education for all, healthcare for all and a variety of leisure activities for all. Especially after the implementation of the 7 hour work-day and the 35 hour work-week, the workers’ free time greatly increased compared to the Czarist regime. Workers could do more with their time, like educate themselves, engage into sports, music or anything else they desired. The average Soviet had opportunities that no other average citizen of any other country ever imagined. With the exception of the period during the second world war, where the USSR was devastated by the Fascist invasion, the workers enjoyed a life with great opportunities for everyone. Also the life expectancy of the Soviet citizens rose from 35 years old during the Czarist regime, to approximately 70 by the end of the Golden Era of Stalin’s rule.
“Stalin’s” purges are the subject where Stalin’s critics emphasize their criticism. No one denies that Stalin did purge some political opponents. Trotskyists, Libertarians and Westerners , describe these purges as decided by one man. They describe Stalin as someone extremely authoritarian who got rid of the opposition against the will of the majority of the people. They were partly right. But those critics do not take into account the nature of “Stalin’s” purges.
Firstly the soviet government purged Bukharin and his opposition. Bukharin belonged to the right wing of the Party. He favored so called “market-socialism” and he undermined the governments attempt of collectivization of the land. His methods were provocative, so eventually he got expelled from the government. Later, during the Moscow trials of 1938 he confessed that he worked for the Gestapo and was planning to help make Hitler’s future advance in the Soviet Union easier. That was the nature of one of Stalin’s “victims” and his opposition.
Secondly, the other most famous victim of Stalin’s purges was Lev Bronstein, or better know by his revolutionary pseudonym, Leon Trotky. The latter was firstly a Menshevik. He belonged to a group that opposed the Bolshevik ideas and ideals. While he remained faithful to the Menshevics until 1917, when he saw that the Bolsheviks gained power between the masses which surpassed that of the Mensheviks he decided to change sides and join the Bolshevik abandoning his own comrades. That clearly shows an opportunistic attitude. Trotsky always wanted to be with the majority. The fact that the people of the USSR , after Lenin’s death sided with Stalin’s fraction, outraged power hungry Trostky , who was willing to do everything in order to gain power. He could go as far as undermining the revolution as was proved later in the Moscow trials. A revolution which he did not support. Being a Menshevik , Trotsky and his comrades openly disagreed with the revolution for their own reasons. That does not mean that they were counter revolutionaries in general, but they certainly were against that particular revolution. Later as it was pre-mentioned it was proved that Lev Bronstein was planning along with other counter-revolutionaries, to overthrow the peoples government in order to serve their own interests. In order to achieve that, they cooperated with the German Gestapo. If Stalin and the people of Russia had not discovered that, socialism would have been in danger.
Opponents of Stalin argue that the soviets( the workers councils ) lost their power, and their place in decision making to bureaucrats who were loyal to Stalin. However, there is no evidence whatsoever that could prove that statement. The Soviets were functioning fine until 1956( until Krutchev’s counter revolution of Taskend). It was evident that during the second world war crisis, Stalin temporarily centralized the decision making in order to safeguard the revolution from Nazi spies. Democracy’s only flaw is that it is vulnerable to enemies of the State. Especially in a major crisis it would be insane to make decisions through the Soviets, because that would risk the socialist order.
However Stalin did not only build socialism in the USSR. He managed to defend it. And he did that with great might. The Red Army under Stalin’s command was the first one to defeat the armies of the third Reich. After being able to defend the USSR with the peak of the defensive being the heroic battle of Stalingrad , Stalin led a major offensive, until he reached Berlin, liberating all of Europe from the German Fascists.
How can a leader that improved the living conditions of his people, safeguarded the socialist order from invaders and spies and ensured that freedom, democracy and socialism would exist in the USSR, be ever considered a villain? Stalin is a hero in our hearts and minds. He should be a reference point for every revolution that will follow. Long live Stalin’s ideals, values and virtues. Long live Socialism, Democracy and Freedom!
Posted 09 February 2008 - 08:56 PM
One only needs to make the argument of how many MILLIONS of people Stalin killed and it's villian for him.
The capitalists won the cold war and a good thing they did. I quite enjoy my freedom and being able to keep the money I worked hard for.
Under the Soviets the agriculture industry was abysmal. Why would a commie farmer who earns a shit wage work his ass off for nothing when a farmer with his own land can work his ass off and gets paid more for it.
This attitude is what lost the Soviets the cold war.
Those people in Poland were sure as hell happy to get rid of the commies, they're able to go to church for the first time in 40 years and not get shot over it.
"Money is the ultimate scorecard of life!". - Kevin O'Leary
Economic Left/Right: 4.00
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -0.77
Posted 09 February 2008 - 08:57 PM
Economics trumps Virtue. “For our American cousins, the relationship is consequential. For us, it has often been definitional"
"Because you can't be Canadian without being aware of at least one other country, the United States, because it's so important to us." - Justin Trudeau
Posted 10 February 2008 - 01:46 AM
This "essay", plagiarized idiocy or inexucusable naivety?
Dimitri, you into foreign films? You should check out this one, "Katyn".
Look for all of you who are complaining. Stalin killed millions I know! But we have to look at his motives if we want to make a serious discussion. Look I am not a Stalinist or a communist. But I am someone who doesn't like to eat chewed food. Meaning I don't like buying all the propaganda from either side. I use my logic and I also do research. No one is condemning the French Revolutionaries for wiping the aristocracy out of the map. Why should we condemn Stalin who wiped out the Whites who were fascists and supported the Czar? Why shouldn't he wipe out Nazi collaborators? Do you thin that Hitler did not try to infiltrate the Soviet Union with Nazis before he invaded. Long before he invaded? Those poor millions (who in fact were according to historical facts only 1-2 millions ) were either Nazis, or Czarists who fought against the Bolsheviks in the civil war, or traitors to their motherland or greedy kulaks who once oppressed the Russian peasants . Why does it always have to be bad Soviets against good Americans?
I know that the Soviet Union after Stalin's death turned into a state capitalist country because of the reactionary Krutchev and his clique . But as long as Stalin was in power Socialism as the Communists want to call it , existed in The Soviet Union and the people benefited from it.
This opinion of mine has nothing to do with policies of the NDP. It is just a personal opinion. Either you like using your heads for once, either you just want to reproduce Capitalist propaganda. It is your choice!
Posted 10 February 2008 - 06:12 AM
The bottom line: if your party wants to brand Stalin a hero, it's OK - it speaks volumes about your party - but hardly changes anything about Stalins's record.
Posted 10 February 2008 - 09:38 AM
But we have to look at his motives if we want to make a serious discussion. Look I am not a Stalinist or a communist.
Yes, and any rational researcher would quickly realize that there was no remotely justifiable reason for those murders other than pure paranoia or sheer villainy.
But I am someone who doesn't like to eat chewed food.
I agree. You seem to prefer it already wholly digested.
Where honestly do you get your sources? Have you interviewed, spoken with any of the millions who have been sent to gulags?
Why should we condemn Stalin who wiped out the Whites who were fascists and supported the Czar?
Refer to the above question regarding children. Does this by any chance, reflect current NDP policies for children?
Anyways, I don't even know why I am arguing with you. You are either a little bit 'too special' to debate with, or merely, and most likely some attention seeking poster wishing to stir up controversy by saying the most blatantly stupid, biased, illogical and ill thought out ideas ever expressed outside of stormfront.org.
Posted 10 February 2008 - 01:01 PM
The guy who owns communistwiki is a dear friend of mine so I allowed him to use my essay for the part arguments for Stalin! It is in fact my essay..
Perhaps you would be of a different opinion if you and your family lived under his rule.
I always figured it was very telling when people were willing to die crossing the fences that leaders built to KEEP PEOPLE FROM LEAVING their country.
Or perhaps you are trolling.
Posted 10 February 2008 - 02:49 PM
Justification is important, after all.
To the one who perpetrates the injustice, you mean?
One can barge into a country with thousands of troops and that would be called "aggression". Or one could say "they have WMD, they'll attack me in 45 min, I'm only defending myself", and voila: now it's a totally different story! From that perspective, indeed, Stalin was a master and a hero, of "justification".
Posted 10 February 2008 - 11:02 PM
The guy who owns communistwiki is a dear friend of mine so I allowed him to use my essay for the part arguments for Stalin! It is in fact my essay..
Who's chewing who's food here?
P.S. I forgot to mention - My vote would be - villain.
Edited by Pliny, 11 February 2008 - 08:34 AM.
Posted 17 February 2008 - 10:52 AM
Anyone ever see that movie 'Stalin' starring Robert Duvall? Excellent movie!
See what a good job he does yourself...
Let it not be said that Commrade Stalin doesn't have a sense of humor...
---Stalin after 'joke' arresting Kirov
Nothing cracks a turtle like Leon Uris.
Posted 17 February 2008 - 12:10 PM
"At least he helped drive back the nazis. At least he helped drive back the communists." If its a competition for the smallest body count Hitler wins by a mile.