Nazis and Communists compared

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Upton_O_Goode
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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby Upton_O_Goode » Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:09 pm

Balsamo wrote:Upton:
Actually, when I took a Russian visitor to meet Bernie Sanders, who was mayor of Burlington at the time, Bernie told the guy he himself was a Trotskyite. Not sure what that meant.


There is more to come as soon as i have the time for it.

But just answer this specific question which is quite important. Trotsky beleived that the goal to achieve - this was the same for him and Stalin - that is the "world revolution" - had to be led internationally, that is thanks for local communist initiatives within every countries, that the USSR should therefore apply a supportive policy to those individual groups. Trotsky conceived that different people had specific character and that the world revolution should take those characters into consideration.
The Revolution should be international in goal as well as in means, if you understand what i mean.

Stalin, on the other hand, did not trust those foreign leaders. In his perspective, the World Revolution had to be centralized in the USSR, in Moscow, and at the Kremlin, and spread directly from there, as he actually did by the end of 1945.


As far as commenting on that goes, I'm not sure enough of my own knowledge about Trotsky to speak definitively, and would prefer to hear what you and Sergey Romanov have to say. The only biography of Trotsky that I have read is the two-volume set by Volkogonov, which I thought was excellent, though I had nothing to compare it with. I was surprised to find that Trotsky appears to have had some sympathy for Kropotkin's approach to social reform. Kropotkin, for those who don't know, was an unrealistic idealist who thought people were basically good, and that if government would just get out of their way, justice would prevail. It was his tragedy to leave Britain and go back to Russia right after the Revolution, where he soon fell out of favor with Lenin. But, as he was by then an old man and ailing, Lenin more or less left him alone. Volkogonov quotes a passage from Kropotkin, which he says Trotsky had underlined n his copy of the book and in the margin of which there was a large question mark:


Peter Kropotkin wrote: All revolutionaries dream of a "committee of public safety" whose purpose is to eliminate anyone who dares to think otherwise than those in power think...Finally, they all dream of limiting any manifestation of initiative by individuals or the people as a whole...that the people should elect its leaders, who will then think for them and pass laws in their name...that is the secret dream of 99 percent of those who call themselves revolutionaries.



Obviously, Kropotkin disapproved of this dream. But did Trotsky? Did he have any hesitation about assuming the kind of absolute power that Stalin amassed? Would things have been better in the USSR if Trotsky had prevailed? I can't help thinking so. But the Stalinist emphasis on building socialism in one country got a strong impetus from the failure of the Red Army to defeat the Poles in 1920. Stalin and others realized that they had a lot of building to do before they could assert themselves with any credibility in the wider world.

I say all this with great diffidence and am ready to be instructed.
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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:43 pm

I had thought that Stalin's "theoretical" view was to build socialism in one country, the USSR, first, and to focus on that, at the expense of the world revolution - and that he often used the Comintern as an instrument to help this project more than to spread world revolution, even in a top down form.

And the last biography of Trotsky I read was Isaac Deutscher's, I also read his biography of Stalin, which says a lot about my age and knowledge!
You know, my dear Colonel General, I don't really believe that the Russians will attack at all. It's all an enormous bluff. - Heinrich Himmler to Heinz Guderian, December 1944

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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby Sergey_Romanov » Sat Jul 07, 2018 10:08 pm

Texts of handwritten notes on pp. 71-79 at http://imwerden.de/pdf/lavrentiy_beria_ ... y_1999.pdf

Beria trial materials at http://istmat.info/node/22125

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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby Upton_O_Goode » Sun Jul 08, 2018 10:54 am

Sergey_Romanov wrote:Texts of handwritten notes on pp. 71-79 at http://imwerden.de/pdf/lavrentiy_beria_ ... y_1999.pdf

Beria trial materials at http://istmat.info/node/22125



Thanks a lot. I've been skimming through the istmat materials and finding a lot there that I didn't know. I have bookmarked that site and will spend a lot of time there from now on.

But all the relations are a bit shaky in my mind. For example, there's a (negative) 1956 response to an appeal from the death sentence handed down to Beria's old pal Bagirov, who had dominated Armenia and Azerbaijan for decades, and a couple of Armenians that I'm only vaguely familiar with. The response is addressed to Voroshilov, and I've forgotten exactly which office he was occupying at the time that would have made him the logical person to get this letter. No matter; I'll clear that up easily, I'm sure. Maybe finally I'll get the whole cast of characters in the USSR straightened out. I recently read Volume 2 of a biography of Stalin: 900 pages devoted to the years 1929 to 1941. In other words, five days covered on each page. It gave me a much better understanding of the complex variety of issues Stalin was dealing with every day. In particular, the squabble with Japan in the Far East played a crucial role in his diplomatic decisions, and that aspect of the history is generally neglected in studies of the period focusing on Germany.


The June 28th letter from Beria to Malenkov is interesting. The biography of Beria that I just read indicated that Malenkov had been Beria's poodle for a long time, being a man with no particular will of his own. In fact, at the meeting where Beria was ambushed, Malenkov lost his nerve and couldn't deliver the lines Khrushchev had given him to speak. This is a very conciliatory letter. Apparently, Beria still hoped that all was not lost. He reminded Malenkov truly of his long service in Georgia and especially of his (apparently very successful) leadership of the Soviet nuclear bomb program after World War II, and touchingly asked him to look after his wife Nino and son Sergo.

There are several papers that I haven't yet looked at on restoring the kandidat degree to Sergo in 1966. I'll have to see what became of that. I infer he had been stripped of this degree for some reason.

The sidebars on these pages tempt me to go off on tangents and study a bunch of other questions that attract me. So, although it's going to be very time-consuming, I'm looking forward to visiting this website frequently.

The handwritten notes are copyright-protected, so only tantalizing short phrases actually show up on my screen. But I'm glad to know about this volume. Indeed, I gather there is a whole series of books from this organization, which was founded in 1997. I can probably acquire some of the volumes from kniga.com or the russian book sellers that keep sending me e-mail advertisements every day.
The Internet has democratized the old threat our teachers used to hold over us: "That goes on your permanent record." We knew that was a bluff. The only people whose misdeeds were recorded in indelible ink, back then, were husbands.

But now, thanks to Google, everybody really does have a permanent record. Thanks, Mark Zuckerberg!

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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby Balsamo » Sun Jul 08, 2018 7:43 pm

Sergey_Romanov wrote:Texts of handwritten notes on pp. 71-79 at http://imwerden.de/pdf/lavrentiy_beria_ ... y_1999.pdf

Beria trial materials at http://istmat.info/node/22125

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

At least i managed to identify CCCP among all those pages...that is something...

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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby Denying-History » Wed Jul 11, 2018 10:16 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:I had thought that Stalin's "theoretical" view was to build socialism in one country, the USSR, first, and to focus on that, at the expense of the world revolution - and that he often used the Comintern as an instrument to help this project more than to spread world revolution, even in a top down form.

And the last biography of Trotsky I read was Isaac Deutscher's, I also read his biography of Stalin, which says a lot about my age and knowledge!

Isaac Deutscher's works are a bit dated. To date on the best Biographers on Trotsky is Pierre Broué:

https://www.marxists.org/francais/broue/works/1988/00/index.htm

As fro Socialism in one country from my understand it was a build socialism in that nation and then expand, while Trotsky argued that socialism could not form and remain stable in the single country. I think Trotskys example was a socialist germany.
« Yes, that may surprise some people, including my colleagues. But have no illusions. I never compelled anybody to work for me, just as we didn't compel the German people. They themselves gave us the job to do. Why did you work with me? Now, you'll have your little throat cut...but the earth will shake when we leave the scene... »
- Joseph Goebbels

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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Wed Jul 11, 2018 10:45 pm

Denying-History wrote:
Statistical Mechanic wrote:I had thought that Stalin's "theoretical" view was to build socialism in one country, the USSR, first, and to focus on that, at the expense of the world revolution - and that he often used the Comintern as an instrument to help this project more than to spread world revolution, even in a top down form.

And the last biography of Trotsky I read was Isaac Deutscher's, I also read his biography of Stalin, which says a lot about my age and knowledge!

Isaac Deutscher's works are a bit dated. To date on the best Biographers on Trotsky is Pierre Broué:

https://www.marxists.org/francais/broue/works/1988/00/index.htm

As fro Socialism in one country from my understand it was a build socialism in that nation and then expand, while Trotsky argued that socialism could not form and remain stable in the single country. I think Trotskys example was a socialist germany.

I haven't read in this area for years but my strong impression is that Stalin used the Comintern ("international revolution") to further the goals of the USSR, not so much to promote world revolution. From my Luxemburgian pov :)

Deutscher being a "bit dated": Stalin bio published in 1949; The Prophet Armed 1954, The Prophet Unarmed 1959. These books were a "bit dated" when I read them, in the early '70s!
You know, my dear Colonel General, I don't really believe that the Russians will attack at all. It's all an enormous bluff. - Heinrich Himmler to Heinz Guderian, December 1944

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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby NathanC » Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:32 am

A researcher we follow on twitter (https://twitter.com/historyboy77) made the following appropriate comparison between Hitler and Stalin, and by extension the USSR and Nazi Germany. I agree.

If it can be said that Nazi policy towards the Jews prior to 1941 was incoherent as some have suggested then the answer can lie within the way in which the Nazi government itself operated. It wasn't like Stalin's regime which was a ruthlessly efficient top down machine of death wherein Stalin took interest in bureaucracy with his pencil in hand ready to dish murder. Hitler was by dictatorial standards an exceptionally lazy character who would rather watch movies than deal with paperwork. He had an ideology (however crude one can describe it as such) and he imbibed his subordinates with that ideology. Policy orders with their deadly consequences therefore did not necessarily need to come from the top but what mattered is that those orders particularly from the lower end of the hierarchy had to be in the spirit of Hitler. If they were not they would soon be corrected.


I mentioned something similar to what he said. Both Stalin and Hitler were dictators, but Stalin was a micromanager who made sure to squash any attempt at independence by his followers and keep them dependent on him. Hitler, on the other hand, was willing to delegate and gave his subordinates leeway to decide how best to achieve the objectives he had set for them. The Great Terror started with Stalin pressuring Yezhov to come up with boogeymen for him to execute, and Stalin kept Yezhov in control by constantly awarding and acknowledging him, another form of pressure to keep Yezhov under his thumb. The Holocaust, and in particular Action Reinhard, came about on the own initiative of Globocnik and Himmler, who shared Hitler's Antisemitism and came up with their own way to do best accomplish it .

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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby landrew » Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:33 pm

Stockholm Syndrome is when one person capitulates to an authoritarian, despotic character. Fascism is when a majority of citizens do it.
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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby Sergey_Romanov » Sat Jul 14, 2018 11:22 am

If that were so, Stalinism would be classified as fascism. It isn't.

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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby Balmoral95 » Sat Jul 14, 2018 1:43 pm

landrew wrote:Stockholm Syndrome is when one person capitulates to an authoritarian, despotic character. Fascism is when a majority of citizens do it.



Say what?

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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby landrew » Sat Jul 14, 2018 4:14 pm

Sergey_Romanov wrote:If that were so, Stalinism would be classified as fascism. It isn't.

I'll classify Stalinism that way if you like. Forget about the industrial complex dimension, just focus on the human rights and freedoms issue.
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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby Sergey_Romanov » Sat Jul 14, 2018 9:41 pm

landrew wrote:
Sergey_Romanov wrote:If that were so, Stalinism would be classified as fascism. It isn't.

I'll classify Stalinism that way if you like. Forget about the industrial complex dimension, just focus on the human rights and freedoms issue.

Unless you're a historian that has published on the topic, you don't need to. I'm not aware of fascism researchers that classify Stalinism as fascism.

Totalitarianism, dictatorship and cult of personality are not synonymous with fascism.

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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby Upton_O_Goode » Thu Jul 19, 2018 10:20 pm

Sergey_Romanov wrote:
landrew wrote:
Sergey_Romanov wrote:If that were so, Stalinism would be classified as fascism. It isn't.

I'll classify Stalinism that way if you like. Forget about the industrial complex dimension, just focus on the human rights and freedoms issue.

Unless you're a historian that has published on the topic, you don't need to. I'm not aware of fascism researchers that classify Stalinism as fascism.

Totalitarianism, dictatorship and cult of personality are not synonymous with fascism.


There is a whole theory of fascism, at whose center is the doctrine that the meaning of a human life is to be understood only in its relationship to the state. That wasn't Stalin's point of view, or the point of view of the CPSU. Fascism is nationalistic by definition; Communism is internationalistic, even when it singles out one nation (such as the USSR) as the standard bearer or vanguard of the movement.
The Internet has democratized the old threat our teachers used to hold over us: "That goes on your permanent record." We knew that was a bluff. The only people whose misdeeds were recorded in indelible ink, back then, were husbands.

But now, thanks to Google, everybody really does have a permanent record. Thanks, Mark Zuckerberg!

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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby Sergey_Romanov » Fri Jul 20, 2018 4:17 pm

Indeed, the most popular scholarly def of fascism is palingenetic ultranationalism. E.g. I would argue that Putin's regime falls under this def, but not Stalin's.


Not that it has to be said, but yeah: it's not a defense of Stalin's regime which was comparable to Hitler's, etc. etc.


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