"They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

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"They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Wed Dec 06, 2017 5:20 pm

I was looking back at the UN definition of genocide and, reflecting on Griffin’s concept of fascism, wondering how to state the “genocide minimum.” That is, what is a genocide and what makes a genocide different from other mass killings/decimations of population - and what elements of genocides we study are core to the definition as opposed to ancillary to it (things genocidaires often do but which are not necessary for an action to be genocide). As a reminder, here is the UN definition:
genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group

According to the UN definition, a genocide occurs only when certain acts are committed with an intent to destroy a group (and only when the targeted group is national, ethnical, racial or religious).

There is no guidance in the UN definition on how to define or derive “intent” and whether “intent” must be on the part of states. How do you prove intent in international courts, what are the standards for doing so? Nor is there help on how to define a target group beyond the four broad categories of people (is the group perpetrator defined - e.g., European Jews, Armenians in Anatolia - for example?).

Is an unintentional action or set of actions which substantially destroys a group a genocide? Must there be a specific intent to destroy a group in whole or in part?

Interestingly, the definition is silent on aspects of genocide that feature in discussions of the destruction of European Jews: the systematic nature of the measures against the targeted group. Is a genocide always systematic? And associated with this, must the action be sustained in some sense, driving at massive destruction of the group as a whole and continuing to make that happen? Is it destruction intended and executed by a state?

The definition designates “any of the following acts” - not all of them or most of them . . . so long as they are carried out with the intent to destroy the targeted group “in whole or in part.” That seems to imply that an attempt to destroy a group that does not include “a) Killing members of the group” can be a genocide, based on intent.

But the definition doesn’t define or quantify or explain “in whole or in part”: Bloxham, to take a writer on the Final Solution, believes that the FS did not aim to murder all European Jews but sought the destruction of an important and large enough part of the European Jewish population, in the presumed Jewish heartland, to destroy Jewry in Europe. To commit genocide, must the perpetrators destroy not only any part but a large part, most of, nearly all of a targeted group? what constitutes a “part” that rises to the level of genocide? can a genocide be “local” in character? what about cases in which a substantial part of a group’s members are killed without the intent (above) to destroy the entire group?

As a case, counter-factual, think of Chełmno: had the Chełmno operation not become part of a European-wide project, would the mass murder of the Jews of the Warthegau be a genocide - or be best described otherwise (e.g., ethnic cleansing, "genocidal")? Einsatz Reinhard? The mobile-killing operations? Are there indeed actions that are “genocidal” but not to be understood as “a genocide”?

So I’m opening this tread for people’s thoughts on the best definition of genocide, in the spirit of homing in on that which cannot be subtracted from the definition, the minimum we can use to compare events and actions and to differentiate different types of crimes against humanity - and designate with clarity which are genocides. What other definitions (Mann, Rummel, Fein, etc) have readers found useful?

In this spirit, the definition should enable us to compare and differentiate/include actions, in our context, like the “Holocaust,” the Nazis’ actions against the Roma, Nazi actions in Poland, Dresden and Hamburg, the Vertreibungen, pogroms and other ethnic massacres in the “shatter zone” - but also such mass atrocities as the decimation of American Indians, Turkey’s operations against the Armenians, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Holodomor, the case of the Palestinians, the former Yugoslavia in the ‘90s. Rohingya, mass killings by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, ISIL depredations against Christians, “white genocide,” and other cases in which genocide has been alleged. The list could go on, of course.
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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Dec 06, 2017 5:58 pm

Genocide has an element of disgust that fashioning definitional minutiae takes away from. More visceral than mathematical. Feelings over analysis.

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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Wed Dec 06, 2017 6:20 pm

Have you no decency? Go away. Troll threads that aren't as serious as this one. No, "genocide" is not a swear word; it is a concept in social sciences. We don't get to shout genocide, like deniers, about this that and the other. Or about anything which horrifies us. And bloody deciding what a genocide is, is worth the time and effort, so that those of us with something to say don't talk at cross purposes.
. . . I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. - John Keats, 1817

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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Dec 06, 2017 6:59 pm

Thats your opinion. there are others. I am of the school that such calculating is just an example of the banality of evil. Now, thats not to say it doesn't have value..... it does. Just like talking about how many left turn bolts were on the right vs the left side of the crematorium doors. But, I have not been acclimatized and so the dithering about how many people do you have to kill to qualify as a genocide strikes me as rather missing the larger point and rather banal. Not evil though, in and of itself.

Decency rather is the issue. so dither on about the statistics....... you mechanic you.
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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 7:15 pm

I think in some ways the UN definition is too narrow. There are other things that can be considered genocide in their own right, for example cultural genocide. If you deprive people the opportunity pass along their beliefs, their religion, their language, in effect you are destroying their very identity. It isn’t biological genocide by any means, however, it prevents them from being unique. They simply become absorbed.

Some examples of this are what the Germans tried to do in Poland, the Japanese in Korea, the US and its Native American population, the Spanish and Portuguese in South America and Mexico, etc. The idea wasn’t to biologically exterminate, it was to eliminate the individual societies to the point they no longer existed and only the people were left.

Now, what I am thinking about needs intent by the invader, societies/cultures die out on their own without intent.

I also think the word is overused, the Holodomor is often referred to as a “genocide” but I’m not sure this counts. While Stalin decimated the Ukraine he also stopped before the Ukrainians became extinct as a people. Their language, culture and religion remained (if suppressed). I also don’t believe that Stalin’s intent was to destroy the Ukrainians as a whole, he wanted them cowed, he wanted them compliant but not all dead.

D-H may disagree with my assessment.

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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Dec 06, 2017 7:18 pm

The word (genocide?) is overused. Such as when applied to cultures??? Nice demonstration. Pros and Cons to cultural genocide. Are there any pro's to genocide as the UN defines it? That might be an applicable devining rod.
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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby Denying-History » Wed Dec 06, 2017 7:48 pm

Jeffk 1970 wrote:I think in some ways the UN definition is too narrow. There are other things that can be considered genocide in their own right, for example cultural genocide. If you deprive people the opportunity pass along their beliefs, their religion, their language, in effect you are destroying their very identity. It isn’t biological genocide by any means, however, it prevents them from being unique. They simply become absorbed.

Some examples of this are what the Germans tried to do in Poland, the Japanese in Korea, the US and its Native American population, the Spanish and Portuguese in South America and Mexico, etc. The idea wasn’t to biologically exterminate, it was to eliminate the individual societies to the point they no longer existed and only the people were left.

Now, what I am thinking about needs intent by the invader, societies/cultures die out on their own without intent.

I also think the word is overused, the Holodomor is often referred to as a “genocide” but I’m not sure this counts. While Stalin decimated the Ukraine he also stopped before the Ukrainians became extinct as a people. Their language, culture and religion remained (if suppressed). I also don’t believe that Stalin’s intent was to destroy the Ukrainians as a whole, he wanted them cowed, he wanted them compliant but not all dead.

D-H may disagree with my assessment.


Stalin's Action in Ukraine falls under the catagory of partial attempt on nationality. This was Conquests old assessment and is still the assessment of Kulchytsky.

I wouldn't say it's overused ether, but my assessment of when something is genocide is based on Lemkin who wrote the following:

« By ‘genocide’ we mean the destruction of a nation or of an ethnic group…a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. Genocide is directed against the national group as an entity, and the actions involved are directed against individuals, not in their individual capacity, but as members of the national group…Genocide has two phases: one, destruction of the national pattern of the oppressed group; the other, the imposition of the national pattern of the oppressor. This imposition, in turn, may be made upon the oppressed population which is allowed to remain or upon the territory alone, after removal of the population and the colonization by the oppressor's own nationals. »

Which is applicable to the Ukrainian problem.
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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:05 pm

Jeffk 1970 wrote:I think in some ways the UN definition is too narrow. There are other things that can be considered genocide in their own right, for example cultural genocide. If you deprive people the opportunity pass along their beliefs, their religion, their language, in effect you are destroying their very identity. It isn’t biological genocide by any means, however, it prevents them from being unique. They simply become absorbed.

Some examples of this are what the Germans tried to do in Poland, the Japanese in Korea, the US and its Native American population, the Spanish and Portuguese in South America and Mexico, etc. The idea wasn’t to biologically exterminate, it was to eliminate the individual societies to the point they no longer existed and only the people were left.

Now, what I am thinking about needs intent by the invader, societies/cultures die out on their own without intent.

I also think the word is overused, the Holodomor is often referred to as a “genocide” but I’m not sure this counts. While Stalin decimated the Ukraine he also stopped before the Ukrainians became extinct as a people. Their language, culture and religion remained (if suppressed). I also don’t believe that Stalin’s intent was to destroy the Ukrainians as a whole, he wanted them cowed, he wanted them compliant but not all dead.

D-H may disagree with my assessment.

Interesting. I will write more later but my thought is almost exactly the opposite: the definition feels too broad and thus not useful enough - in that it subsumes as a single phenomenon events that are quite different! Thinking about this got me going in a different direction to where I've been in the past, actually.

In your view, would it be correct to say that "preventing a people from being unique" (I take that to mean destruction of the culture) is genocide and that the methods of genocide vary and may not even always include mass murder?

If yes, what is the mass murder of a substantial part of a population, which is not under any scenario reversible, in the sense that death isn't reversible, vs "causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group" or "forcible transfers," which cannot be undone as things that happened but can be in some sense reversed?

When you say that the people "simply become absorbed," is forced or pressured assimilation a genocide? To be considered a genocide, does the prevention of a people from being unique need to be forcible?

The growing concern I have is with equating, or subsuming as the same thing, depriving a people of the ability to transmit culture, forced assimilation, removing people from a territory, group enslavement, murder of political leadership, and murder of most of the members of such a group.

Recently, I have started thinking that we need different terms for undermining or destroying a culture and for mass murdering a population.

Something's bugging me about the breadth of the ways genocide is used. For example, I recall reading a Wiki article once on the decimation of American Indians and finding disagreements over whether unintentional decimation by disease, even when combined with massacres etc, is genocide, whether colonization is inherently genocidal, whether we should think of the decimation of American Indians as involving more a series of small-scale, unplanned and uncoordinated massacres and violence inflicted on the native people vs a comprehensive intent to wipe out American Indians out - and, if we consider the decimation as coming from a series of small-scale, unplanned massacres, does their cumulation add up to genocide - and so on. My thought is that these myriad views come less from the empirical side of things than from disagreement over what constitutes genocide. The last thing on this topic I read seriously was Patricia Limerick's book in the late '80s! I recall that she viewed the decimation as a genocide, at least in California . . . but I am not sure, to be honest.

But questions of intent, scope, coordination and systematization, persistence, and the places of violence and mass murder all come out in this one example.
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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:21 pm

Denying-History wrote:Stalin's Action in Ukraine falls under the catagory of partial attempt on nationality. This was Conquests old assessment and is still the assessment of Kulchytsky.

If genocide involves intent, do you mean that what happened in Ukraine was a failed genocide? Was the intent of the policy to abolish Ukrainians - or to bring Ukraine into alignment with policy?

The thing with the Final Solution - and why it had a dynamic toward complete destruction - was that there was nothing that the Jews could do to stop it, short of seeing the Germans defeated.

Thanks for this, I was trying to find it . . .
Denying-History wrote:« By ‘genocide’ we mean the destruction of a nation or of an ethnic group…a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. Genocide is directed against the national group as an entity, and the actions involved are directed against individuals, not in their individual capacity, but as members of the national group…Genocide has two phases: one, destruction of the national pattern of the oppressed group; the other, the imposition of the national pattern of the oppressor. This imposition, in turn, may be made upon the oppressed population which is allowed to remain or upon the territory alone, after removal of the population and the colonization by the oppressor's own nationals. »

A handful of observations: 1) back to the decimation of the American Indians, Lemkin's definition seems to align with those scholars who see colonization as inherently genocidal, via the destruction of the "national pattern" of the oppressed group and the imposition of the "national pattern" of the colonizer on the colonized when the oppressed group is permitted to remain; 2) Lemkin does highlight sustained destructive action and coordination/systematization, which aren't foregrounded in the UN definition (thus atrocities, IMO, like Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Dresden and Hamburg, and so forth would not be genocides - I think they're also different on the basis of scale and intent), 3) there are some words/phrases that need to be "unpacked" - "essential foundations," "annihilating the groups," "national pattern", 4) that said, Lemkin himself doesn't seem to make mass murder of individuals a central feature of genocide.
. . . I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. - John Keats, 1817

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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:22 pm

Genocide................. is a label. aka: not very interesting.

Define "X" any way you want to and talk about that.......just as you have interestingly done regarding the defeat of Native American peoples with the arrival of the Europeans.

WHAT IS INTERESTING.......is not the label, but what actually happened. .......... as it gives us lessons for today. IE: I doubt very many if any newcomers had any intent at all to wipe out Native Americans or their culture. That does come later in the process but not for the first 1-2 hundred years. This is a "clash of cultures" that arises NOT BY INTENT, but by numbers. The numbers of people in the same space with different ultimately conflicting cultures. Rarely do cultures exist side by side....only for short times, longer times when one culture is accepted as dominant and the other as agreeably submissive.

Keeping a minor culture alive is like keeping a flame in a fireworks factory. You can do it, but at what risk? As I said, there are pros and cons to "cultural" genocide. I could dither on, but this is the Denial Forum. Why be current?
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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:25 pm

Yeah, if you guys want something really deep I may have to catch up later.....

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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:26 pm

Jeffk 1970 wrote:Yeah, if you guys want something really deep I may have to catch up later.....

:D

LOL but you already raised the central, perplexing question . . . !
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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby nickterry » Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:49 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Genocide................. is a label. aka: not very interesting.


But necessary. What are you going to call events in Rwanda between April and July 1994? These events are customarily known as the Rwandan genocide. There are no real arguments about the applicability of the term.

A variety of other terms or modifiers exist to capture the continuum of experiences, e.g.
    ethnocide (Michael Mann uses this to describe depopulations of ethnicities that were not entirely intended, e.g. the spread of diseases among Native Americans after contact with Europeans),
    ethnic cleansing (violent expulsions of an ethnic group from a defined region)
    genocidal massacre (killings of an ethnic group in specific localities; would qualify legally as 'genocide', e.g. Srebrenica)

Extermination is often also used to describe genocides, but works just as well to describe mass killings of non-ethnic groups, e.g. the extermination of the mentally ill by the Nazis. In German, annihilation or destruction (Vernichtung) is frequently to cover both genocidal and non-ethnic mass killings and deliberate mass deaths through famine or other means. Vernichtung is frequently translated as extermination but this is not a literal/exact translation. Unichtozhenie in Russian also means annihilation and is also used in the same way.

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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:11 pm

nickterry wrote:
bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Genocide................. is a label. aka: not very interesting.


But necessary. What are you going to call events in Rwanda between April and July 1994? These events are customarily known as the Rwandan genocide. There are no real arguments about the applicability of the term.

A variety of other terms or modifiers exist to capture the continuum of experiences, e.g.
    ethnocide (Michael Mann uses this to describe depopulations of ethnicities that were not entirely intended, e.g. the spread of diseases among Native Americans after contact with Europeans),
    ethnic cleansing (violent expulsions of an ethnic group from a defined region)
    genocidal massacre (killings of an ethnic group in specific localities; would qualify legally as 'genocide', e.g. Srebrenica)

Extermination is often also used to describe genocides, but works just as well to describe mass killings of non-ethnic groups, e.g. the extermination of the mentally ill by the Nazis. In German, annihilation or destruction (Vernichtung) is frequently to cover both genocidal and non-ethnic mass killings and deliberate mass deaths through famine or other means. Vernichtung is frequently translated as extermination but this is not a literal/exact translation. Unichtozhenie in Russian also means annihilation and is also used in the same way.

Thanks, actually this
ethnocide (Michael Mann uses this to describe depopulations of ethnicities that were not entirely intended, e.g. the spread of diseases among Native Americans after contact with Europeans)

may be one of the terms/concepts I think needs to be pulled out from overly broad "genocide" definitions. It seems that some more precise term (as you say, "genocidal massacres") applies where a selective or limited killing process takes place; I was thinking of Srebenica in fact because of recent news and how courts handle such cases vs social sciences rigor. Also of how best to describe pogroms that result in mass murders. Agree that "ethnic cleansing," which may include mass killing but aims at removing a population from a territory, is conceptually different from, but related to, genocide.

The other point in the back of my mind are mass killings for political or policy objectives, not for the intention of destroying a group, which is why I asked above about a fact relating to the Holodomor, which sadly I forget. This could also apply to mass political decapitations and the like.

As to language, sure, it would be uninteresting if we didn't use it so much. But we do. Thus, "philosophical problems arise when language goes on holiday” (Wittgenstein).
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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby nickterry » Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:36 pm

Mann's book The Dark Side of Democracy is really good at mapping out - literally, in tables - the parameters.

Voluntary or passive assimilation of one ethnic group into another, or a melting pot model, might well result in the disappearance of languages and cultures, but does not involve coercion or violence. England conquered and subjugated Wales, but the Welsh were assimilated linguistically into English culture, yet not so thoroughly that a Welsh identity was extirpated entirely, and it was possible to revive the Welsh language in modern times.

These considerations are why it's overblown for white nationalism to speak of immigration in terms of 'white genocide'; mass immigration would be a Voelkerwanderung not Voelkermord, but unlike the barbarian invasions at the end of the Roman empire, the immigrants do not arrive as conquering tribes who directly seize state power. Multiethnic societies are certainly capable of erupting into genocide when one ethnicity decides to turn on another - that much is crystal clear from the experiences of East European Jews from the 1880s to the 1940s. But multiculturalism is not genocide, and is pretty much the polar opposite of genocide on Mann's table.

Forced assimilation, including the kidnapping of children and reeducating them into another culture, does involve coercion and is included in the UN definition of genocide as an example. Such practices might be *part* of a genocide, but it would be difficult to bring about the elimination of an ethnicity solely through kidnapping a generation of children; the ethnic group would also have to be prevented from reproducing another generation. During the Armenian genocide, many women and children were sold or forced into slavery and subjected to forcible assimilation; but this unfolded alongside mass killings and mass deaths. Forcible conversion would be another phenomenon that can accompany mass killings: Croatia's genocidal treatment of Serbs in 1941 revolved around the idea of expelling some, killing some, and converting others; the sum total amounted to a genocidal assault on Serbs inside the borders of Croatia.

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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:42 pm

nickterry wrote:Mann's book The Dark Side of Democracy is really good at mapping out - literally, in tables - the parameters.

It is about time I read it, no? LOL, hullo Amazon!!

nickterry wrote:Voluntary or passive assimilation of one ethnic group into another, or a melting pot model, might well result in the disappearance of languages and cultures, but does not involve coercion or violence. England conquered and subjugated Wales, but the Welsh were assimilated linguistically into English culture, yet not so thoroughly that a Welsh identity was extirpated entirely, and it was possible to revive the Welsh language in modern times.

Agree, and this is why I tried hitting pause on some of the ways Jeffk stated his views above.

nickterry wrote:These considerations are why it's overblown for white nationalism to speak of immigration in terms of 'white genocide'; mass immigration would be a Voelkerwanderung not Voelkermord, but unlike the barbarian invasions at the end of the Roman empire, the immigrants do not arrive as conquering tribes who directly seize state power. Multiethnic societies are certainly capable of erupting into genocide when one ethnicity decides to turn on another - that much is crystal clear from the experiences of East European Jews from the 1880s to the 1940s. But multiculturalism is not genocide, and is pretty much the polar opposite of genocide on Mann's table.

Exactly one of my concerns with the way deniers use "genocide" as a battle cry (hoping on fools to react in terms of visceral disgust without understanding).

nickterry wrote:Forced assimilation, including the kidnapping of children and reeducating them into another culture, does involve coercion and is included in the UN definition of genocide as an example. Such practices might be *part* of a genocide, but it would be difficult to bring about the elimination of an ethnicity solely through kidnapping a generation of children; the ethnic group would also have to be prevented from reproducing another generation. During the Armenian genocide, many women and children were sold or forced into slavery and subjected to forcible assimilation; but this unfolded alongside mass killings and mass deaths. Forcible conversion would be another phenomenon that can accompany mass killings: Croatia's genocidal treatment of Serbs in 1941 revolved around the idea of expelling some, killing some, and converting others; the sum total amounted to a genocidal assault on Serbs inside the borders of Croatia.

This gets at my concern about the UN convention saying "any" of the following. But I shall now order Mann for my holiday reading :)

What about Fein? I've read bits by her and many comments on her work . . . ?
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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby Denying-History » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:08 am

Statistical Mechanic wrote:
Denying-History wrote:Stalin's Action in Ukraine falls under the catagory of partial attempt on nationality. This was Conquests old assessment and is still the assessment of Kulchytsky.

If genocide involves intent, do you mean that what happened in Ukraine was a failed genocide? Was the intent of the policy to abolish Ukrainians - or to bring Ukraine into alignment with policy?

The thing with the Final Solution - and why it had a dynamic toward complete destruction - was that there was nothing that the Jews could do to stop it, short of seeing the Germans defeated.


No it falls under the bolded pieces of the 1948 definition below:

Article II: In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Article III: The following acts shall be punishable:

(a) Genocide;
(b) Conspiracy to commit genocide;
(c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;
(d) Attempt to commit genocide;
(e) Complicity in genocide.


We see everything that is listed above. It would count as only looking to destroy a portion of the targeted group.

Target: Nationalist Ukrainian peasants which in Stalin's view were the "National question".

Methods: Mass Starvation

Implementation: Wholesale confiscation not only of grain but also seeds, vegetables, canned goods, and other foodstuffs from the Ukraine, North Caucasus (more specifically the Cossack Kuban region), and Lower Volga to some extent.

Timeline of implementation

October 30th 1932: Policy of “using industrial goods as incentive and withholding of manufactured goods as punishment against collective farms and especially independent farmers.” [7) используем промтовары как средство поощрения, а лишение части промтоваров как репрессию в отношении колхозов и особенно в отношении единоличников.] (Commanders of the Great Famine: V. Molotov and L. Kaganovich's Trips to Ukraine and the Northern Caucasus, 1932-1933 p.229)

November: [Discussion] on the issue of "banning" delivery of goods to the Ukrainian villages "until the Ukraine frankly and accurately fulfills the reduced grain procurement plan."

November 8: "Dispatch of goods for the villages of all regions of Ukraine shall cease" as long as the kolkhozes and "individual farmers" do not start to "honestly and conscientiously to fulfill their duty to the working class and the Red Army" in the case of grain procurement. (Vasyl' Marochko and Ol'ha Movchan, Holodomor v Ukraini 1932-133 rokiv: Khronika, 2008)

November 18th and 20th decrees: "On Measures to Step up the Grain Procurements.” Fines in kind-in the form of meat and potatoes — which were imposed on so-called debtors. When commissions that were conducting searches did not find grain (and such commissions as a rule consisted of poor peasants residing in the same village), they had the right to appropriate the peasants’ meat, or lard, and potatoes, part of which was given to the starving have-nots. From November through December 1932 fines in kind were levied less frequently. (Professor Stanislav Kulchytsky)

I should point out however these decrees were removed later on.

December 6th: Introduction to black listing which if imposed would apply the following measures: 1) all stores would be closed and supplies removed from the village, 2) all trade was prohibited, including trade in food or grain, 3) all loans and advances were called in, including grain advances, 4) the local Party and collective farm organizations were purged, and usually subject to arrest, 5) food and livestock would be confiscated as a “penalty”, 6) the territory would be sealed off by OGPU (secret police) detachments. Originally, six villages were blacklisted in this way. (https://ewjus.com/index.php/ewjus/article/viewFile/Andriewsky/24)

On December 15,1932, the measure was extended to 88 whole districts (raions) out of the 358 in the Ukraine at the time. This however is old data and the latest work on the matter states just under 50% of the republic was blacklisted:

“At least seventy-nine districts were entirely blacklisted, and 174 districts were partially blacklisted, nearly half of the total in the entire republic.” (Red Famine, Anne Applebaum, p.194)


January 1933: Policies cut short are the closing of the Ukraine and North Caucasus borders, and the re-implementation for repressive measures for collecting grain.

Sorry for the block of text, but I think it should make my point a bit clearer of what policies I like too highlight in relation to the 1932-33 famine. Its debatable if the famine was genocide, but I think based on a number of statements I posted on a quora reply a long time ago that Intent can be proven to some extent as the partial annihilation of Ukrainians as a national body.

Statistical Mechanic wrote:Thanks for this, I was trying to find it . . .
Denying-History wrote:« By ‘genocide’ we mean the destruction of a nation or of an ethnic group…a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. Genocide is directed against the national group as an entity, and the actions involved are directed against individuals, not in their individual capacity, but as members of the national group…Genocide has two phases: one, destruction of the national pattern of the oppressed group; the other, the imposition of the national pattern of the oppressor. This imposition, in turn, may be made upon the oppressed population which is allowed to remain or upon the territory alone, after removal of the population and the colonization by the oppressor's own nationals. »

A handful of observations: 1) back to the decimation of the American Indians, Lemkin's definition seems to align with those scholars who see colonization as inherently genocidal, via the destruction of the "national pattern" of the oppressed group and the imposition of the "national pattern" of the colonizer on the colonized when the oppressed group is permitted to remain; 2) Lemkin does highlight sustained destructive action and coordination/systematization, which aren't foregrounded in the UN definition (thus atrocities, IMO, like Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Dresden and Hamburg, and so forth would not be genocides - I think they're also different on the basis of scale and intent), 3) there are some words/phrases that need to be "unpacked" - "essential foundations," "annihilating the groups," "national pattern", 4) that said, Lemkin himself doesn't seem to make mass murder of individuals a central feature of genocide.


From my reading of Lemkin, he would not consider such things as Dresden as genocide. Mind that the quote I gave is also rather limited in scope, though the chapter in question can be found for free online.
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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:17 am

I'm not exactly following - I have to admit it's been 40 years since I read about this topic. Anyway . . .
Denying-History wrote:November: [Discussion] on the issue of "banning" delivery of goods to the Ukrainian villages "until the Ukraine frankly and accurately fulfills the reduced grain procurement plan."

This is my point of confusion: This sounds like an (atrocious, criminal) action for a political or policy end, not for the destruction of the group per se. It provides a way out of the measures, which an action aimed at destruction of a group doesn't.

Or was this disingenuous and the intent was to destroy Ukrainians as Ukrainians?
Denying-History wrote:Sorry for the block of text, but I think it should make my point a bit clearer of what policies I like too highlight in relation to the 1932-33 famine.

Sorry, but no. Actions which support genocide might also support a different intent. A mass killing, mass harm, etc are actions that can be or may not be part of a genocide.

Denying-History wrote:I think based on a number of statements I posted on a quora reply a long time ago that Intent can be proven to some extent as the partial annihilation of Ukrainians as a national body.

I'm not seeing that here.

Denying-History wrote:From my reading of Lemkin, he would not consider such things as Dresden as genocide.

Totally agree. Thus my point 2).

Denying-History wrote:Mind that the quote I gave is also rather limited in scope, though the chapter in question can be found for free online.

I found my link, I had it filed in an obscure place, international law!
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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:21 am

Denying-History wrote:
Jeffk 1970 wrote:I think in some ways the UN definition is too narrow. There are other things that can be considered genocide in their own right, for example cultural genocide. If you deprive people the opportunity pass along their beliefs, their religion, their language, in effect you are destroying their very identity. It isn’t biological genocide by any means, however, it prevents them from being unique. They simply become absorbed.

Some examples of this are what the Germans tried to do in Poland, the Japanese in Korea, the US and its Native American population, the Spanish and Portuguese in South America and Mexico, etc. The idea wasn’t to biologically exterminate, it was to eliminate the individual societies to the point they no longer existed and only the people were left.

Now, what I am thinking about needs intent by the invader, societies/cultures die out on their own without intent.

I also think the word is overused, the Holodomor is often referred to as a “genocide” but I’m not sure this counts. While Stalin decimated the Ukraine he also stopped before the Ukrainians became extinct as a people. Their language, culture and religion remained (if suppressed). I also don’t believe that Stalin’s intent was to destroy the Ukrainians as a whole, he wanted them cowed, he wanted them compliant but not all dead.

D-H may disagree with my assessment.


Stalin's Action in Ukraine falls under the catagory of partial attempt on nationality. This was Conquests old assessment and is still the assessment of Kulchytsky.

I wouldn't say it's overused ether, but my assessment of when something is genocide is based on Lemkin who wrote the following:

« By ‘genocide’ we mean the destruction of a nation or of an ethnic group…a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. Genocide is directed against the national group as an entity, and the actions involved are directed against individuals, not in their individual capacity, but as members of the national group…Genocide has two phases: one, destruction of the national pattern of the oppressed group; the other, the imposition of the national pattern of the oppressor. This imposition, in turn, may be made upon the oppressed population which is allowed to remain or upon the territory alone, after removal of the population and the colonization by the oppressor's own nationals. »

Which is applicable to the Ukrainian problem.


True.

I’ll have to look at it again, certainly there were specific actions taken that were not taken towards other famine-ridden areas.

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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:23 am

Statistical Mechanic wrote:Agree, and this is why I tried hitting pause on some of the ways Jeffk stated his views above.


That’s probably a good idea... :lol:

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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:30 am

LOL . . . for me too, I am indeed ordering Mann. I will take it with me to Sweden. It would be nice - in case a denier should show up here in the future and start wailing about Dresden Genocide, Hiroshima Genocide, White Genocide - to have a (somewhat) agreed, concise definition - along with definitions for related concepts - in order to have a clear discussion about such visceral outbursts of disgust.
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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby Balsamo » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:59 am

Great thoughts up here...

Just came back from work, so have not thought it through.

As a start, i am quite pleased with the UN definition in that sense that the objective here is to define a crime positively, in order to take action against the future criminals.
In this perspective, i think that the term "crime of genocide" would be more correct, the genocide being the result of the crime. The crime of genocide should be considered equally, while the genocide as a result can take various form, from the more severe to just some damage, in the same logic that the definition of murder or assassination is not influenced by the number of people killed.

The important part of the UN definition is "intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group," point a to e being just means to achieve the positive objective of destruction.
I also agree with those point, except maybe point (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; which i consider to vague, and by itself quite unfit to produce a genocide.

Intent is provable because an objective is always documented as some level.
Another important point is that this norm is issued by the UN, and therefore belongs to international law, so this implies that the potential suspect are States or "Want to be State", like in the case of the Bosnian Serb Republic (more or less supported by a State anyway).
Obviously, one cannot expect an individual or even a group of individuals to attempt a genocide, as they would achieve nothing and "only commit" racist murders.

My understanding is of the UN definition is that there is a lot of implicits: there is no need to write down "European Jews", for example, as "Jews" is a ethnical, racial or religious group", the intent of distruction can be local, national, or (as it was the case) international, without affecting the "nature of the crime".

To address your specific question:
Is an unintentional action or set of actions which substantially destroys a group a genocide? Must there be a specific intent to destroy a group in whole or in part?


No unintentional action or even unrelated set of actions which would eventually result in destroying a group would not constitute a genocide. Just like a car accident does not constitute a murder or an assassination.
Even intentional actions that kills a target group - if the destruction of the group is not the primary objective . cannot be assimilated - in my humble opinion - to a crime of genocide in the absence of a plan/policy/objective. I think of civilian victims of aerial bombings or destruction and killing by artillery in a context of war/siege.
Those crimes could fall under the definition of "war crimes" though, but not genocide.

the systematic is unfortunately too vague to be included in a positive definition of a crime. I still think that it is an implicit when related to a proven intent of destruction. That is when a intent of destruction is established, whether the murder/killing is systematic or not is irrelevant as - your know my stance - the fact that some of the members of the group are not killed systematically does not mean they were chosen to be kept alive forever.

Statmec:

The definition designates “any of the following acts” - not all of them or most of them . . . so long as they are carried out with the intent to destroy the targeted group “in whole or in part.” That seems to imply that an attempt to destroy a group that does not include “a) Killing members of the group” can be a genocide, based on intent.


Well spotted.
I admit it is probably the element that disturbs me a bit.
A genocide based only on point (b) would not be easily proven or could lead to excessive interpretation.
While a genocide based on point (d) - which clearly target eventual policies of massive sterilization /separation of genders - could if taken literally to some European nation to be charged of crime of genocide against the "mental handicaps".
For example, in Belgium if two "mentally handicapped persons" want to live together, at least on of them has to be steralized. Is that a Genocide?
In both Sweden and Great Britain, homosexuals - when it was considered as a mental disease and a crime - were often given the choice between prison or sterilization. Again, would that be a " genocide of homosexuals?"

On the other hand, i understand the reasons why it was still introduced in the definition of the crime of genocide. Otherwise, States or organizations would have been able to consider "legal" to sterilize or prevent the reproduction of any target group.

Statmec:

As a case, counter-factual, think of Chełmno: had the Chełmno operation not become part of a European-wide project, would the mass murder of the Jews of the Warthegau be a genocide - or be best described otherwise (e.g., ethnic cleansing, "genocidal")? Einsatz Reinhard? The mobile-killing operations? Are there indeed actions that are “genocidal” but not to be understood as “a genocide”?


Very good example to illustrate how i understand the issue.
Yes, it would be a crime of genocide targeting the Jews of the Warthegau, and the crime would be the "genocide of the Jews who lived in the Warthegau". Then of course, this genocide would be considered as a small genocide. But just like murder, a crime should not be defined by the numbers of victims.
If the policy/objective was the destruction of the Jews who lived there, and that the organization/authorities there were given the means to fulfill this objective, then yes we would have a "crime of genocide" just that in this case, the indictment would probably only have targeted the local authorities, with probably the Reich being accused of complicity, the Jewish population of the Gau would have nevertheless been the victims of a crime of genocide.

You have kind of open a very broad issue here, Statmec.
PS: this reply was only responding to the OP, i have still to read the contributions.

I will leave it there for tonight.

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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:01 am

Statistical Mechanic wrote:I'm not exactly following - I have to admit it's been 40 years since I read about this topic. Anyway . . .
November: [Discussion] on the issue of "banning" delivery of goods to the Ukrainian villages "until the Ukraine frankly and accurately fulfills the reduced grain procurement plan."
This is my point of confusion: This sounds like an (atrocious, criminal) action for a political or policy end, not for the destruction of the group per se. It provides a way out of the measures, which an action aimed at destruction of a group doesn't.


It provided a way out but it was beyond the capabilities of the Ukrainians to do so without causing additional deaths. Also, the goalposts kept going moved, penalties enacted that essentially wiped out the Ukrainians ability to feed themselves.

Or was this disingenuous and the intent was to destroy Ukrainians as Ukrainians?


I think this is where I start to disagree, just a little.

Some of the background on this that attempts at collectivization in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s led to peasant resistance. In response Stalin withdrew from collectivization against his own wishes (while blaming everyone except for himself). The resistance was especially strong in the Ukraine. Once Stalin wanted to do it again he was determined to make it stick. The result was a concerted effort to drive peasants into collective farms while minimizing peasant resistance.

So, you have a combination of wanting to break resistance before it ramped up, a desire of Stalin’s to have grain to feed the cities and export and completely unrealistic expectations on the size of the harvest. D-H can correct me on this but I believe the harvest in 1931 was a bumper crop, brought on by ideal conditions. Stalin and others in the Kremlin set that as a benchmark when that benchmark was completely realistic. The weather didn’t cooperate as well, along with some type of blight (Holodomor deniers, yes, that as a thing, seize on this as a refutation of deliberate intent) so the crop was smaller. Stalin expected the higher yields and didn’t accept any explanation on why the yield was smaller.

So, while this was a horrendous crime I wouldn’t call it necessarily genocide. When conditions improved and more realistic expectations set on the size of the crop the measures ended. Also, not all Ukrainians were targeted, it was the peasants that suffered the most.

Now, Ukrainian culture itself was targeted but this was not specifically geared towards the Ukrainians. Stalin ended Lenin’s encouragement of ethnic identities among the USSR’s ethnic minorities and pushed for a “Russification” of the USSR. The Ukrainians did suffer disproportionately but they also had a very strong ethnic identity, this was an issue during Imperial Russia. The Czars also persecuted the Ukrainians.


Sorry for the block of text, but I think it should make my point a bit clearer of what policies I like too highlight in relation to the 1932-33 famine.
Sorry, but no. Actions which support genocide might also support a different intent. A mass killing, mass harm, etc are actions that can be or may not be part of a genocide.


I think that’s why we have to look at each example as an individual case.



From my reading of Lemkin, he would not consider such things as Dresden as genocide.
Totally agree. Thus my point 2).


Why, we have a consensus!!!!
:lol:

Been-there mode:
No, Dresden absolutely, positively proves that the allies wanted to commit genocide against the German people!!!
(Inane babbling about the Morgenthau Plan and some obscure pamphlet written by a Canadian Jew.)

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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:07 am

Jeffk 1970 wrote:
Statistical Mechanic wrote:I'm not exactly following - I have to admit it's been 40 years since I read about this topic. Anyway . . .
November: [Discussion] on the issue of "banning" delivery of goods to the Ukrainian villages "until the Ukraine frankly and accurately fulfills the reduced grain procurement plan."
This is my point of confusion: This sounds like an (atrocious, criminal) action for a political or policy end, not for the destruction of the group per se. It provides a way out of the measures, which an action aimed at destruction of a group doesn't.


It provided a way out but it was beyond the capabilities of the Ukrainians to do so without causing additional deaths. Also, the goalposts kept going moved, penalties enacted that essentially wiped out the Ukrainians ability to feed themselves.

Or was this disingenuous and the intent was to destroy Ukrainians as Ukrainians?


I think this is where I start to disagree, just a little.

Some of the background on this that attempts at collectivization in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s led to peasant resistance. In response Stalin withdrew from collectivization against his own wishes (while blaming everyone except for himself). The resistance was especially strong in the Ukraine. Once Stalin wanted to do it again he was determined to make it stick. The result was a concerted effort to drive peasants into collective farms while minimizing peasant resistance.

So, you have a combination of wanting to break resistance before it ramped up, a desire of Stalin’s to have grain to feed the cities and export and completely unrealistic expectations on the size of the harvest. D-H can correct me on this but I believe the harvest in 1931 was a bumper crop, brought on by ideal conditions. Stalin and others in the Kremlin set that as a benchmark when that benchmark was completely realistic. The weather didn’t cooperate as well, along with some type of blight (Holodomor deniers, yes, that as a thing, seize on this as a refutation of deliberate intent) so the crop was smaller. Stalin expected the higher yields and didn’t accept any explanation on why the yield was smaller.

So, while this was a horrendous crime I wouldn’t call it necessarily genocide. When conditions improved and more realistic expectations set on the size of the crop the measures ended. Also, not all Ukrainians were targeted, it was the peasants that suffered the most.

"The liquidation of the kulaks as a class," I vaguely recall. What you're saying is a more fleshed out version of what I'm asking: if the measures targeted resistant groups within the population, and were ended after adjustments to policy, I don't see how this can fit the definition of genocide. This really is why I'm asking: the distinction - intent to destroy a people - differs from absolutely, widespread, systematic atrocities with a different intent.

Now, Ukrainian culture itself was targeted but this was not specifically geared towards the Ukrainians. Stalin ended Lenin’s encouragement of ethnic identities among the USSR’s ethnic minorities and pushed for a “Russification” of the USSR. The Ukrainians did suffer disproportionately but they also had a very strong ethnic identity, this was an issue during Imperial Russia. The Czars also persecuted the Ukrainians.

Jeffk 1970 wrote:Why, we have a consensus!!!!
:lol:

Ok, I will re-think this. LOL
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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby Denying-History » Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:23 am

Statistical Mechanic wrote:I'm not exactly following - I have to admit it's been 40 years since I read about this topic. Anyway . . .
Denying-History wrote:November: [Discussion] on the issue of "banning" delivery of goods to the Ukrainian villages "until the Ukraine frankly and accurately fulfills the reduced grain procurement plan."

This is my point of confusion: This sounds like an (atrocious, criminal) action for a political or policy end, not for the destruction of the group per se. It provides a way out of the measures, which an action aimed at destruction of a group doesn't.

Or was this disingenuous and the intent was to destroy Ukrainians as Ukrainians?
Denying-History wrote:Sorry for the block of text, but I think it should make my point a bit clearer of what policies I like too highlight in relation to the 1932-33 famine.

Sorry, but no. Actions which support genocide might also support a different intent. A mass killing, mass harm, etc are actions that can be or may not be part of a genocide.

Denying-History wrote:I think based on a number of statements I posted on a quora reply a long time ago that Intent can be proven to some extent as the partial annihilation of Ukrainians as a national body.

I'm not seeing that here.

Its a start in policies directed against a regional group. That being the peasants of Ukrainian regions were in essence the national question. To Stalin "the national question is a peasant question." Within this logic an assault on peasents is an assault on the local nationality. That is why these were focused on the Ukraine. Its also why M. M. Khatayevich is quoted as saying «A ruthless struggle is going on between the peasantry and our regime, a struggle to the death [...] It took a famine to show them who is master here. It has cost millions of lives, but the collective farm system is here to stay.»

Statistical Mechanic wrote:
Denying-History wrote:From my reading of Lemkin, he would not consider such things as Dresden as genocide.

Totally agree. Thus my point 2).

Ah, misunderstood the point.
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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby Balmoral95 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:39 am

Been-there mode:
No, Dresden absolutely, positively proves that the allies wanted to commit genocide against the German people!!!
(Inane babbling about the Morgenthau Plan and some obscure pamphlet written by a Canadian Jew.)


:lol: Rodoh's own version of the original menopausal Jewish princess. His hysteria is .... precious. :mrgreen:

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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:41 am

Denying-History wrote:
Statistical Mechanic wrote:I'm not exactly following - I have to admit it's been 40 years since I read about this topic. Anyway . . .
Denying-History wrote:November: [Discussion] on the issue of "banning" delivery of goods to the Ukrainian villages "until the Ukraine frankly and accurately fulfills the reduced grain procurement plan."

This is my point of confusion: This sounds like an (atrocious, criminal) action for a political or policy end, not for the destruction of the group per se. It provides a way out of the measures, which an action aimed at destruction of a group doesn't.

Or was this disingenuous and the intent was to destroy Ukrainians as Ukrainians?
Denying-History wrote:Sorry for the block of text, but I think it should make my point a bit clearer of what policies I like too highlight in relation to the 1932-33 famine.

Sorry, but no. Actions which support genocide might also support a different intent. A mass killing, mass harm, etc are actions that can be or may not be part of a genocide.

Denying-History wrote:I think based on a number of statements I posted on a quora reply a long time ago that Intent can be proven to some extent as the partial annihilation of Ukrainians as a national body.

I'm not seeing that here.

Its a start in policies directed against a regional group. That being the peasants of Ukrainian regions were in essence the national question. To Stalin "the national question is a peasant question." Within this logic an assault on peasents is an assault on the local nationality. That is why these were focused on the Ukraine. Its also why M. M. Khatayevich is quoted as saying «A ruthless struggle is going on between the peasantry and our regime, a struggle to the death [...] It took a famine to show them who is master here. It has cost millions of lives, but the collective farm system is here to stay.»

All your quotations are convincing me of the opposite to what you are arguing!
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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby Denying-History » Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:45 am

Jeffk 1970 wrote: D-H can correct me on this but I believe the harvest in 1931 was a bumper crop, brought on by ideal conditions. Stalin and others in the Kremlin set that as a benchmark when that benchmark was completely realistic. The weather didn’t cooperate as well, along with some type of blight (Holodomor deniers, yes, that as a thing, seize on this as a refutation of deliberate intent) so the crop was smaller. Stalin expected the higher yields and didn’t accept any explanation on why the yield was smaller.


It definitely wasn't. Below are the best harvest estimates:

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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:55 am

To clarify, if we take strictly the concept that a genocide is an attempt to destroy a nation (or ethnic, religious, or religious group) as a group, not a campaign of destruction aimed at something else (policy, military goals, etc), what I am asking in this context is whether Stalin's policy was to force collectivization, eliminate "rich" peasants, and end resistance - and whether it had a built-in stop (when the goals were achieved) - or was it to eliminate Ukrainians and Ukrainian culture?

I am not arguing that there wasn't destruction or intentional mass murder or grievous crimes, nor am I trying to minimize Stalin's policies and actions, but to clarify what the elements of a genocide are. By comparison, the mass murder of defenseless patients in German hospitals under the T-4 program and later wild euthanasia are as grievous crimes as any I can imagine - but not, by definition, a genocide.

What's confusing me, D-H, is that what you're quoting seems to indicate the former - a campaign of destruction to force a policy, and its relaxation at a later time.
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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:10 am

Nick Terry: all good comments. It would take too long to rank order them and pick the best....or worst if there is one. My take away: assimilation. Not genocide at all.

Thanks.
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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:12 am

Denying-History wrote:
Jeffk 1970 wrote: D-H can correct me on this but I believe the harvest in 1931 was a bumper crop, brought on by ideal conditions. Stalin and others in the Kremlin set that as a benchmark when that benchmark was completely realistic. The weather didn’t cooperate as well, along with some type of blight (Holodomor deniers, yes, that as a thing, seize on this as a refutation of deliberate intent) so the crop was smaller. Stalin expected the higher yields and didn’t accept any explanation on why the yield was smaller.


It definitely wasn't. Below are the best harvest estimates:

Image


Ah, thank you. Off by a year.....I couldn’t remember if it was 1930 or 1931.

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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby Denying-History » Thu Dec 07, 2017 4:51 am

Statistical Mechanic wrote:To clarify, if we take strictly the concept that a genocide is an attempt to destroy a nation (or ethnic, religious, or religious group) as a group, not a campaign of destruction aimed at something else (policy, military goals, etc), what I am asking in this context is whether Stalin's policy was to force collectivization, eliminate "rich" peasants, and end resistance - and whether it had a built-in stop (when the goals were achieved) - or was it to eliminate Ukrainians and Ukrainian culture?

I am not arguing that there wasn't destruction or intentional mass murder or grievous crimes, nor am I trying to minimize Stalin's policies and actions, but to clarify what the elements of a genocide are. By comparison, the mass murder of defenseless patients in German hospitals under the T-4 program and later wild euthanasia are as grievous crimes as any I can imagine - but not, by definition, a genocide.

What's confusing me, D-H, is that what you're quoting seems to indicate the former - a campaign of destruction to force a policy, and its relaxation at a later time.
I think its all based on a misconception of the peasants being a social target. Perhaps this may describe my views better:

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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:25 pm

I think that the Stalin quotation on Yugoslavia is a bit overplayed (that doesn't represent the sum total of Stalinist thinking on the nature of the peasantry from my recollection, by a long shot) - and, again, the argument you underscored certainly describes intent, and particularly use of famine as a weapon against peasants in various regions, mostly Ukraine, for resisting Stalinist economic policies - but, depending on the definition of genocide one agrees, not necessarily genocide.

My concern is that a "genocidal atrocity" that has a stop (when a specific policy or other objective is met) be differentiated from a "genocide" (in which the policy is elimination and destruction of the national group per se).

I will be reading Mann over the holidays, and hopefully some articles on the Holodomor, whilst I am in Sweden and will come back to this then . . .
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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:27 pm

Nightline had a rare good show last night on the ethnic cleansing/genocide of Muslims going on right now in Myanmar. The commentor used the terms alternatively. Eye witness testimony on video saying the military was doing it.....instructive to see government spokesmen saying it wasn't true. A Baghdad Bob/Huckabee moment for sure. Seems the poor villagers are such dedicated terrorists that they will burn down their own homes and commit suicide just so the survivors can blame the government. Now......... THOSE....... are some dedicated terrorists.

I notice they spell capitol with an "a". I might have that wrong.? Thats the trouble with human constructs. Turns out, they can be whatever you want them to be.
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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby Balsamo » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:15 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:I think that the Stalin quotation on Yugoslavia is a bit overplayed (that doesn't represent the sum total of Stalinist thinking on the nature of the peasantry from my recollection, by a long shot) - and, again, the argument you underscored certainly describes intent, and particularly use of famine as a weapon against peasants in various regions, mostly Ukraine, for resisting Stalinist economic policies - but, depending on the definition of genocide one agrees, not necessarily genocide.

My concern is that a "genocidal atrocity" that has a stop (when a specific policy or other objective is met) be differentiated from a "genocide" (in which the policy is elimination and destruction of the national group per se).

I will be reading Mann over the holidays, and hopefully some articles on the Holodomor, whilst I am in Sweden and will come back to this then . . .


I would gladly get some explanations about your views.
Especially on the "stop order" that would have an effect on the nature of "genocidal atrocity"... I am sincerely not sure to understand it. Do you mean that had the Nazi authority ordered a "stop" of its previous policy toward the Jews and other minority, it would affect our qualification of this same policy?

Or in other words, does a genocide need to be 100% successful to deserve the term "genocide"?

Regarding the Holodomor, Lemkin considered it as perfect example of genocide - that is in his definition which is broader than yours it seems - and would also fit with the UN definition of "crime of genocide".
Of course, Lemkin analysis is not limited to the famine of the Ukrainian people, but consider the whole soviet policy toward Ukraine, defining it as a planned attack aiming to destroy what Lemkin defines as the Brain, the Soul and the Body of the Ukrainian Nation.
The Soviets started with the "Brain" - Ukrainian intelligentsia (intellectuals, Political leaders, Artists, teachers, poets, writers, etc) in the twenties up to the 30's. Lemkin estimated that 75% of this intelligentsia had been liquidated through killing or deportation to Siberia. Using an Ukrainian source, he quotes that for the year 1931 alone, 51.713 intellectuals were sent to Siberia.

The next attack targeted the "Soul", that was the Ukrainian church with its members and leaderships liquidated or deported.

The last one was what is known as the Holodomor - which i personally know too little about -

Here is Lemkin's article:

https://uccla.ca/SOVIET_GENOCIDE_IN_THE_UKRAINE.pdf

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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby Denying-History » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:20 pm

Lemkins article considers the famine as a single prong in a four prong attack. His mistake is in assuming that the 1932-1933 famine was a targeted ethnocide which it isn't. The Ukraine wasn't targeted because of nationality and ethnicity in the same ways that Jews and Armenians were targeted. They were targeted as Ukrainian citizens, so if I were for example a Russian peasant in Ukraine I would be just as targeted as my ethnic Ukrainian neighbor.
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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:00 pm

Balsamo wrote:Or in other words, does a genocide need to be 100% successful to deserve the term "genocide"?

No, it has to aim at a destruction of the target group - not another policy aim or goal, which, if achieved, brings the assault to a halt.

I don't know how today to write it better than I did in my reply to D-H: "My concern is that a 'genocidal atrocity' that has a stop (when a specific policy or other objective is met) be differentiated from a 'genocide' (in which the policy is elimination and destruction of the national group per se)." The point I'm getting at, using a possible narrower definition with a non-genocide assault isn't that the policy of group destruction might get stopped from outside (e.g., the Final Solution, by war) but that its aim has an inherent stop short of or different to destruction of a target group.

A possible contrast would be between the FS (aimed at destroying Jewry in Europe) and an action meant at forcing a policy or stopping a rebellion, etc, which will inherently stop short of destroying the targeted group if the goal (policy implemented, rebellion ended) is met, whereas the goal of a genocide is destruction of the target group. I see I'm repeating myself . . . but I will add that a non-genocide could certainly bleed over into a genocide, when the oppressor group fails to realize its intentions and if the intent changes and destruction of the target group becomes the goal.

Balsamo wrote:his definition which is broader than yours it seems

I don't have a settled definition, just some concerns expressed in this thread. What I have are really questions about the broader definition, e.g., the UN definition. As described in the OP and other posts.

Balsamo wrote:but consider the whole soviet policy toward Ukraine, defining it as a planned attack aiming to destroy what Lemkin defines as the Brain, the Soul and the Body of the Ukrainian Nation.

Of course, and as I said, I haven't read about this history in decades; my reactions have been to exactly what D-H posted - if D-H's posts express the history, I see a difference between the Ukrainian situation and the Final Solution (and the Armenian situation as well), which, if on the empirical level the difference is real, should be expressed also conceptually. A narrower definition of genocide would likely exclude the Ukraine situation, based on what D-H has written, IMO.

If the facts are different to what's in D-H's posts - I also know that since Lemkin there's been controversy about this question, ranging from Wheatcroft and Ellman and Himka to two authors I was alerted to read today, Werth and Kuromiya - and show an intent to destroy the Ukrainian people and a systematic, persistent, conclusive effort to do so, those facts would mean defining the situation as a genocide using the narrower view.

There's obviously a side of this that's empirical, but I'm mostly trying to reassure myself over the worries I expressed at the outset with an overly broad concept of genocide.

On the empirical side, I'm out of my depth (and out of memory), so, as I said, I plan to do some reading during the next month or so on that. My interest here isn't coming to a conclusion on Ukraine but on what should be the minimum definition of a genocide.
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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby Denying-History » Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:54 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:
Balsamo wrote:Or in other words, does a genocide need to be 100% successful to deserve the term "genocide"?

No, it has to aim at a destruction of the target group - not another policy aim or goal, which, if achieved, brings the assault to a halt.

That seems too fit into the category though, no one has argued that the intent was to kill everyone and was only intended to kill a portion of the targeted group.

On the otherhand I am confused by this point.

Statistical Mechanic wrote:I think that the Stalin quotation on Yugoslavia is a bit overplayed (that doesn't represent the sum total of Stalinist thinking on the nature of the peasantry from my recollection, by a long shot) - and, again, the argument you underscored certainly describes intent. . .

I don't think it was argued that Stalin viewed this as the nature of the peasantry as a whole during the period. The point was during the period Stalin came to view that “The esteemed grain growers were in essence waging a 'quiet' war against Soviet power. A war by starvation.” I think it only becomes even more odd that from this Kosior would later be attributed the phrase "We will show him what famine is” by Soviet general Petro Grigorenko in his memoirs. All the connections of the "peasants" wanting to "to choke the Soviet government with the bony hand of famine" are all related too the Ukraine, and Northern Caucasus, and somewhat the Don region. It was the soviet government in Kosiors quote that would show the peasant "what famine is".

It seems what you are missing is that they were targeted as "Ukrainian citizens" which falls under the category of nationality, I think the issue is you keep relating them to a social target.
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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby Denying-History » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:03 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:If the facts are different to what's in D-H's posts - I also know that since Lemkin there's been controversy about this question, ranging from Wheatcroft and Ellman and Himka to two authors I was alerted to read today, Werth and Kuromiya - and show an intent to destroy the Ukrainian people and a systematic, persistent, conclusive effort to do so, those facts would mean defining the situation as a genocide using the narrower view.


Ellman argues they were targeted as a social class and that the famine as a target against the peasantry was not just the Ukraine, Don region, and the national autonomies of the North Caucasus region. But also the Lower Volga.

Werth also argues the famine was genocide, I would recommend his 2016 article on the matter.

Kuromiya though as a side note does not argue to "show an intent to destroy the Ukrainian people". He argues not enough evidence exists to show such.

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Re: "They might have left some babies cryin' on the ground": what is genocide?

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:21 pm

Denying-History wrote:
Statistical Mechanic wrote:
Balsamo wrote:Or in other words, does a genocide need to be 100% successful to deserve the term "genocide"?

No, it has to aim at a destruction of the target group - not another policy aim or goal, which, if achieved, brings the assault to a halt.

That seems too fit into the category though, no one has argued that the intent was to kill everyone and was only intended to kill a portion of the targeted group.

My reply was to Balsamo's question. I don't think you raised that old straw man! Heck, as we both know the UN definition says "intent to destroy, in whole or in part." My earlier question was how much of a part . . . but that was a general question, not about points you raised! So I was replying to Balsamo . . .

Denying-History wrote:On the otherhand I am confused by this point.

I am trying to draw a distinction about perpetrator side intent. There are many massively destructive actions that are undertaken for different reasons and I'm trying to make distinctions among them, and worried that the UN "broad" definition of genocide falls short in this regard. It's really that simple.

Denying-History wrote:I don't think it was argued that Stalin viewed this as the nature of the peasantry as a whole during the period.

I am not sure why that quotation is used so often. IIRC it is from polemics on the policy of Communists in Yugoslavia in the 1920s. I've seen it quoted as being conclusive of something. It's not.

Denying-History wrote:The point was during the period Stalin came to view that “The esteemed grain growers were in essence waging a 'quiet' war against Soviet power. A war by starvation.”

Almost a decade later than that quotation.

Denying-History wrote:It seems what you are missing is that they were targeted as "Ukrainian citizens" which falls under the category of nationality, I think the issue is you keep relating them to a social target.

It's more that I am asking whether the intention was to destroy Ukraine/Ukrainians - or to force concessions on policy and to put down resistance. As I said, that's an empirical question I can't answer - but as I read what you posted, it seemed to suggest that the actions were more in the vein of forcing concessions.

One question to ask - and the answer won't fully address the issues - is whether the target group can give in on policy or whether there's nothing it can do to stop the destruction. Back to the FS, from my reading the Nazis' intent was destruction of Jewry. Jews could not stop the persecution and destruction by ending some resistance movement, by giving up war against Germany, by halting black market trading, by being more hygienic, by no longer pulling Allied wires, by giving up Communism, by no longer intermarrying with Aryans - or by any other action addressing Nazi paranoid fantasies, because the intent wasn't these issues but dealing a death blow to the Jews.

If the same is true with regard to Stalin and the Ukraine, then the Ukraine situation would qualify as a genocide under a narrower definition than the UN's. On its face.
Last edited by Statistical Mechanic on Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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