Communism and Socialism have had an advantage over the way they were seen by the press and some world leaders and representatives from its inception. Communism had also infiltrated the Trade Unions worldwide and its influence was a moving factor in the Unions’ political behavior. The 7th World Congress of Comintern declared: ” We [the Communist] are decidedly for the re-establishment of trade union unity in each country, and on an international scale. We are for one trade union in each industry. We are for one trade union center in each country. We are for one international federation of trade unions organized according to industries. We are for one International of Trade Unions based on the class struggle. We are for united class trade unions as one of the bulwarks of the working class against the offensive of capital and fascism. ” ( Resolution on Report of George Dimitrov to 7th World Congress off Comintern ( 1935 ) “the Fascist Offensive and Tasks of Comintern in the Fight for Unity of Working Class against Fascism” Stenographic Report of 7th Congress of Comintern ( Cooperative Publishing Society of Foreign Workers, Moscow) ).
The internationalization of the Communists-Socialists was a priority of the newly empowered Communist of Soviet Russia. This process of “internationalization” would take many forms, such as through unions, through schools and through the press.
Joseph Stalin announced that the Western Communist parties had to become “really Bolshevik, to develop in them a genuine revolutionary cadres, capable of reorganizing all Party activity in the sense of revolutionary education of the masses, in the sense of actual preparation for revolution”. ( Stalin, J., “Sochineniya”, vol. 6 p. 292).
The Communist-Socialist idea of an international conquest over all capitalist systems of government was a primary goal from its inception. Lenin openly declared his intent, stating that , ” Communist should know that the future belongs to them; therefore we can and must combine the most intense passion in the great revolutionary struggle with the coolest and most sober estimation of the frenzied ravings of the bourgeoisie. But in all cases and in all countries communism is becoming steeled and is spreading, its roots so deep that persecution does not weaken it, does not debilitate it, but strengthens it”. ( Lenin, V, Selected Works ( International Publishers, New York, 1943) vol 2, p. 57 )
Communism, from the start, was openly antithetical and antagonistic to coexistence with the capitalist system of government and clearly declared that one could not exist with the other. Lenin was clear on his existential threat to the capitalist countries, when he openly boasted: ” As long as capitalism and socialism exist, we cannot live in peace; in the end, one or the other will triumph-a funeral dirge will be sung over the Soviet republic or over world capitalism.” ( Lenin, V., ” Speech to Moscow Party Nuclei Secretaries” ( November 26, 1920) Selected Works, ( International Publishers, New York, 1943) vol. 8, p. 297 ).
The international press was sympathetic to the Communist Socialist in Russia in its struggle with the West and capitalism and it expressed this sympathy by its false reports on the Russian Famine of 1932 and the violent atrocities that were ongoing. This pro-Soviet press began to change as the evidence became overwhelming and undeniable to all but the most die-hard of Communist. Arthur Koestler, a British writer, started out sympathetically toward the Soviets and changed as he traveled to Russia and saw starving children that looked like “embryos out of alcohol bottles”. ( Burns, Eric ( “All The News Unfit to Print” , John Wiley & Sons, (2009 ) p. 130 ) ). As Koestler traveled through the countryside of Russia and saw the ongoing famine, he saw ruined farmland, crumbling houses and recorded that the train stations “..were lined with begging peasants with swollen hands and feet, the women holding up to the carriage windows horrible infants with enormous wobbling heads, stick like limbs, swollen , pointed bellies.” ( Ibid at p. 130) After Koestler’s report, the Russian Soviet Leaders ordered railway officials to pull down all window shades on all trains. ( Ibid p. 130). Unfortunately for the freedom of news dissemination, the British Socialist explained away the reports and watered down the impact of the loss of freedom and failures of policy.
The British Foreign Office did nothing to protest or bring to light the enormous human devastation that was occurring. British Socialist influence prevented the British Government from shedding any negative light on socialism. Socialist leaders in Britain, Sidney and Beatrice Webb, closely allied with Playwright George Bernard Shaw, saw reports of the Ukraine famine and attempted to put a positive spin on it by creating a two volume work on the new Soviet Socialist creation. The Webbs wrote the “Soviet Communism:A New Civilization”, a two volume love fest for the Stalin Five year plan, ( the cause of famine ) describing it as important to political evolution as was the U.S. Constitution. The Stalin view of Socialism was considered, by the Webbs, and other leading British Socialists, to be the model for the future for the world. The Webbs and George Bernard Shaw took Stalin at his word and disregarded his deeds. All reports of famine and atrocities were dismissed as “anti-soviet blather”. The British Socialist used their gift for words and their influence in society, as weapons to counter any negative facts which negated their rosy view of the Communist Socialist system. ( Ibid p. 131 )
Then came the American Socialist sympathizers of the Press, the most extreme example of pure propaganda from the West in disregarding the horrors that were occurring in Russia. American Journalist who were “progressive” or declared Socialist, primarily the writer for the New York Times, Walter Duranty. Duranty, declared reports of the famine in Russia to be “mostly bunk” before even investigating it. In the summer of 1933, Duranty wrote in the Times that ” any report of a famine in Russia today is an exaggeration or malignant propaganda.” In fact, he wrote a 13 part series on the Soviet Union, and its glorious improvements in economic development, despite the fact that he never actually visited the region. In his 13 part series on Russia and the Ukraine, Duranty wrote glowingly in the Sunday magazine of the New York Times, that the “Ukraine’s fertile acreage, filled with “apple cheeked dairymaids and plump contented cows”. The total clamp down on civil rights, the mass executions, the attack on religious liberty and biblical sized famine and mass deaths of millions was completely buried and scrubbed by a major writer for the New York Times. ( ibid p. 134). The major U.S. newspaper was leading the way in disregarding the deaths of millions.
The pressure to disclose the true occurrences in Soviet Russia had mounted from all of the independent reports that were coming in from sources other than the New York Times, causing even Duranty to reluctantly address the situation. In later New York Times articles, Duranty refered to the problems of the great famine, as ” occasional food shortages”, and nothing more. In September 1933, after mounting evidence and pressure on Duranty’s reporting from competing newspapers that were reporting on the magnitude of the famine, Duranty actually was forced to travel to the Ukraine to report on the incidents. He was one of the last western reporters to travel to the region and was forced to admit that there had been a famine, but he still had to place a spin of propaganda on the story. He blamed the Ukrainians for their own deaths, ” The blunt truth is that early last year, under pressure of war danger in the Far East, the authorities took too much grain from the Ukraine. Meanwhile, a large number of peasants thought they could change the Communist party’s collectivization policy by refusing to cooperate. Those two circumstances together-the flight of some peasants and the passive resistance of others-produced a very poor harvest last year, and even part of that was never reaped.” ( ibid at p. 135). Duranty didn’t express any grief or regret over the millions of people that had starved to death and instead, made the scene seem innocuous.
Duranty then completed his propaganda piece by claiming that the current harvest was ” so good that the grain elevators, depots and delivery points are overcrowded to bursting”. ( ibid p. 135). Incredibly the headlines for the Duranty piece read: BIG SOVIET CROP FOLLOWS FAMINE, and KREMLIN WINS ITS BATTLES. ( ibid p. 135). The pressure for more honesty in the reporting mounted and culminated when Washington columnist, Joseph Aslop, wrote that Duranty ” covered up the horrors and deluded an entire generation by prettifying Soviet realities…He lived comfortably in Moscow, by courtesy of the KGB …and was a fashionable prostitute”. ( Ibid p. 136) Eugene Lyons, of the United Press, agreed with Aslop and added that Duranty had been given a car and apartment and mistress by the KGB. ( ibid. p. 136).
Unfortunately for the truth, other U.S. Newspapers were slow to report the Stalin Five year plan and its famine. The pro Communist and Socialist western establishment in the intelligentsia culminated in 1932, where Walter Duranty was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his 13 part series on the Soviet Union – the same series that completely lied about the famine that killed millions. He won the journalist Prize for Excellence over all other writers of that year for his “journalistic” 13 part series on the Communist Revolution that did not disclose any of the acts of imprisonment, concentration camps, imposed famines and on the spot executions. He won the prize for journalistic writing, despite the fact that he described the area where people had resorted to cannibalism and children had died in mass numbers, as a land of “fertile acreage” and ” apple cheeked dairymaids”. ( Ibid p. 139).
The evidence of famine being used by the Communist as a weapon to dispose of the Government’s enemies and cleanse it of its objectors and detractors was further bolstered by the fact that even though millions were starving from lack of grain in the Soviet Union, its leaders were sending its grain out of the country as trade.
In 1933, during the period of famine and mass death, the Communist Soviet government exported 18 million hundredweight of grain abroad, in the “interests of industrialization”. ( The Black Book of Communism, p. 167). The geographic scale of the famine zone in this period covered the entire Ukraine, part of the Black Earth territories, the fertile plains of the Don, the Kuban, and the Northern Caucasus and most of Kazakhstan. Almost 40 million people were affected by the famine and mortality rates were ten times higher than normal. For example, 100,000 deaths in 1933 , in Kharkiv compared to 9000 deaths in 1932. ( the Black Book of Communism, p. 167). In total, in 1933, there were 6 million deaths attributed to the famine, with 4 million deaths in the Ukraine alone. There were 1 million deaths in Kazakhstan, which included nomadic tribes that had been deprived of their cattle through the collectivization process and forced location in set places. The Northern Caucasus and Black Earth region saw 1 million deaths from hunger. ( ibid. p. 167 , citing Nicolas Werth and Gael Moullec, Rapports secrets sovietiques, 1921-1991; la societe’ russe dans les documents confidenciels ( Paris; Gallimard, 1944)p. 140))
The areas of the great famine were the most fertile and rich areas of the Soviet Union and just, coincidently, the area where stiff resistance to the collectivization took place, between 1918 and 1922. These were also the areas that resisted the collectivization of 1929. More than 85 % of the protests and revolts took place in the regions of the famine. It is unthinkable to realize that a government system instituted a process of mass starvation as a weapon to clear it of its enemies, but that is what happened. It did so because under Marxism-Leninism ( Communism Socialism) , the ends justifies the means. Whatever it takes to achieve the goal of total Communism.
Stalin began a process of purging all his perceived enemies in 1930, when he began to “dispose” of all “right wingers” such as Aleksei Rykov and others, accusing them of secretly conspiring with “specialist saboteurs”. Arrests of workers for Gosplan, the State Bank, and the People’s Commisariats of Finance, Commerce and Agriculture all were instigated during this period. Arrests included, the inventor of the Kondratyev cycle, the former deputy minister in charge of food supplies and the director of an Institute for Economic Studies at the Finance Ministry. Professors and bankers and economist were all arrested. ( The Black Book of Communism, p. 170). In four years, from 1928 to 1931, over 138,000 civil servants were removed from office and 23,000 were classed as enemies of the Soviet Power. Industry purges then began in the engineering areas and in factories. Between January 1930 and June 1931 , approximatley 48 % of all engineers in the Dunbass region were arrested or dismissed. ( ibid. p. 171)
Stalin and the Communist also cast their attention on the Church with an anti-religious fervor and offensive never before seen. The first phase of the offensive was in 1929 with a decree to increase the local control over parish life, imposing civil restrictions on religious societies. Any activity ” going beyond the limits of the simple satisfaction of religious aspirations ” fell under control of the law. Section 10, of Article 58 ,in the penal code stipulated that “any use of the religious prejudices of the masses…for destabilizing the state”, was punishable by anything from ” a minimum of three years in prison up to and including the death penalty”. On August 26, 1929, the government imposed a new work week designed to completely impede Christians ability to worship on Sunday. It gave only one day of rest under the law and made it impossible to observe Sunday church observance. ( The Black Book of Communism, p. 172 ). The measure was specifically , and admittedly, promulgated to eliminate religion. ( ibid. p. 172 ).
The second phase of the attack on religion came in the form of the seizure of all church bells because the” sound of the bells disturbs the right of peace of the vast majority of atheist in the towns and the countryside.” ( Ibid., p. 172). The rights of the Atheists were now prominent as a basis to stifle all religious observations. This was in full conformity with Communism’s essential tenets which assert : ” religion is a kind of spiritual vodka in which the slaves of capitalism drown their human shape and their claims to any decent life whatsoever”, ( Lenin, “Socialism and Religion”, ( 1905) Selected Works, 1943); additionally: “Dialectical materialism, the philosophy of Marxism-Leninism and the theoretical foundation of the Communist party, is INCOMPATIBLE with religion…the world outlook of the party is based on scientific data, whereas religion contradicts science. As the Party bases its activity on scientific foundation, it is bound to oppose religion.” ( “attitude of Komsomol to Religion” Molodoie Bolshovik, nos 5-6, 1946, p. 58 )).
It was said, by our American Founding fathers, that the power to tax is the power to destroy; this power was acutely used by the Communist to destroy the Church and Religious of the Soviet regions. Taxes were levied on the Church and Priests, expressly to force them out of existence. Anyone associated with the church was treated like a kulak and forced to pay special taxes-taxes that were increased ten fold from 1928-1930. Church leaders lost their civil rights and their ration cards and right to medical care. More than 13,000 priests were exiled or deported. By the winter of 1930, 6,715 churches had been closed or destroyed. ( ibid. p. 173 ). The priests, without their civil rights and means to make a living, were next classified as “parasitic elements living on unearned wages”. ( ibid p. 173) The Clergy had become the “debris of a dying class”. ( ibid. p. 173 citing to Nicolas Werth and Gael Moullec; “Rapports secrets sovietiques ( 1917-1970) New York, Oxford University Press, 1971) ).
Next, They Came for the Entrepreneurs:
In January 1930, the Communist-Socialist launched a campaign to evict all entrepreneurs, aimed at all small shopkeepers and craftsmen. These small business people, most of which had no employees, were forced out of business with a ten fold tax increase and confiscation of their goods. These people were stripped of their rights, as was done to the old aristocrats, and possessing classes. ( Ibid.p. 174 ). Over 7 million people had their rights removed, their housing taken, their medical care deprived and were ostracized from society-for being small business people. ( Ibid p. 174).
Next, came the “passportization” of the population requiring passports for internal travel and movement within the country. Towns received categories of either open or closed. Closed cities, such as Moscow, Leningrad, Kyiv, Odessa, Minsk, Kharkiv, Rostov and Vladivostok were awarded a privileged status and were better supplied, thus, the right to be there was restricted. ( Ibid. p. 175) . The effect of the passportization, allowed the authorities to rid themselves of undesirables elements to the Communist Authorities. ( ibid. p 175). Only the friends of the Communist could live in Moscow and other closed cities. Undesirables were not welcome.
Next They Came for the Young:
The policies that created mass hunger and unemployment left thousands of young kids, from 12 to 16 on the streets with no support and a blight to the government. So the government decreed that it would now be illegal to be an adolescent “vagabond”. Thus, with the power of the pen, children were now illegal, if they were alone or without food. More than 125,000 passed through the Police Centers in 1936 and from 1935 to 1939 more than 155,000 minors were sent to work colonies and 92,000 children ages 12 to 16 appeared in court . In 1939 alone, more than 10,000 children were incarcerated in the gulags. ( ibid. p. 178 ).
The Great Terror
Stalin initiated a purge of all he determined were untrustworthy of the Party by attacking even the closest of party members. He had the Red Army eliminate:
3 out of 5 marshals
13 out of 15 army generals
8 out of 9 admirals
50 out 57 army corps generals
154 out of 186 division generals
16 out of 16 army commissars
25 out of 28 army corps commissars
( The Black Book of Communism p. 198)
The intelligentsia was included in the great terror, where all branches of learning were targeted. Economists, historians, and literature professors were targeted for arrest. In Belorussia, 87 of 105 academicians were arrested as Polish spies. ( ibid. p. 199). Aeronautics engineers, economists and defense experts were all new targets for arrests. Over 2000 members of the writer’s unions were arrested, sent to work camps or executed. One writer, Issac Babel, author of Odessa Tales, was shot on January 27, 1940. ( ibid. p. 200).
The Great terror sought the “complete liquidation” of the last of the clergy after a survey by the government found that 70% of the population still believed in God. Thousands of priests and nearly all bishops were sent to camps and most were executed. Of the 20,000 churches and mosques still open in 1936,, less than 1,000 were left open in 1941. ( Ibid.. p. 200).
In two years of government sponsored terror on its population, a total of 700,000 human beings were summarily executed and put to death. ( ibid. p. 202).
We can blame one or two leaders for such atrocities, but we would be missing the elemental structure that inspires and supports such leadership: Communism Socialism itself. It is the essence of Marx and Engles’ Communism that created the fertile ground for the mass executions and civil rights attacks. it would be a tragic accident of reason to attribute the above atrocities to single actors, given the fundamental writings of the creators and founding fathers of Communism Socialism. The apologist from the progressive socialist of the West will always try to avoid the facts and history but we need only look at the rough approximation of the communist crimes upon humanity:
U.S.S.R: 20 million deaths
China: 65 million deaths
Vietnam: 1 million deaths
North Korea: 2 million deaths
Cambodia : 2 million deaths
Eastern Europe 1 million deaths
Africa : 1.7 million deaths
( The Black Book of Communism, p. 4)
The above numbers don’t include the tortures and mass imprisonment camps and ruined lives and shattered dreams of families. The numbers don’t even seem real since it is hard to conceive of such inhumanity on such a scale.
End of Part II
We will further discuss the Eastern European and Asian Communism in part III.