Each year London’s Stalin Society holds a meeting in December celebrating the occasion of the anniversary of Stalin’s birth. This year the meeting was addressed by a British teenager, who made the following significant contribution:
When we discuss the significance of Stalin to young people today, we need to recognise that in Britain most young people, most people in general in fact, don’t know a thing about him. They think they do, they think they’re knowledgeable about him and the USSR under him, but by and large all they can repeat is buzzwords hammered into them by our school system – ‘purge’, ‘gulag’, ‘holodomor’. If you actually try and discuss it with them they fall flat. People who’ve supposedly studied Soviet history from age 13 to age 18 can’t actually give any details about Stalin’s supposed crimes when you ask them to.
The reason for this is that if the schools were actually to teach about Stalin, young people would soon realise that Stalin was one of the greatest allies of young people ever to live. To see this we only need to look at what he stood for, and compare it to what we do.
Young people are most affected by unemployment and underemployment in Britain; 10.4% of young people not in education are unemployed, and those are only official statistics which do not include underemployment, a plight that drives young people to the brink of starvation. We are fighting for employment for all. Who else fought for this? Joseph Stalin.
Young people are fighting social segregation through private and grammar schooling, where those who can afford to pay receive a better education. We are fighting extortionate university fees designed to keep working class people from higher education. Who else fought for universal, free education? Joseph Stalin.
Young people are fighting to keep free healthcare, to keep healthcare as a fundamental right, we are fighting against the nightmarish insurance system of the US being implemented in Britain. Who else fought for free healthcare for all? Joseph Stalin.
Young people are fighting against racist and sexist discrimination in society, where despite all our lip service to equal rights, the vast majority of top jobs are held by white men; and white men on average receive a higher wage. Who else, a member of an oppressed ethnic group, fought for equal opportunity for all, regardless of race, ethnicity or gender? Joseph Stalin.
This is why it is so important to the bourgeoisie to keep the propaganda machine running smoothly, and this is why it is targeted especially at young people.
When I was in Year 8, just 13 years old, we read Animal Farm in English lessons. We were told that the mean pig attacking the noble pig was biting commentary about the evil USSR and complex problems in its leadership. What they don’t tell us is that George Orwell never visited the USSR, and as far as I can tell he never even talked to any Soviet citizens. They don’t tell us that the book, and the film that followed it, was financed by Mi5 and the CIA. Animal Farm is an important read, not for exposing the USSR, but by showing 1930s British propaganda about the USSR.
Who else were we recommended? Oh yes! Solzhenitsyn, the monarcho-fascist arrested for spreading Nazi propaganda – apparently he was a soldier for freedom and justice! I’d like to read a Solzhenitsyn quote out just to demonstrate this to any young fans of his who might see this.
"You must understand. The leading Bolsheviks who took over Russia were not Russians. They hated Russians. They hated Christians. Driven by ethnic hatred they tortured and slaughtered millions of Russians without a shred of human remorse. The October Revolution was not what you call in America the ‘Russian Revolution.’ It was an invasion and conquest over the Russian people. More of my countrymen suffered horrific crimes at their bloodstained hands than any people or nation ever suffered in the entirety of human history. It cannot be understated. Bolshevism was the greatest human slaughter of all time. The fact that most of the world is ignorant of this reality is proof that the global media itself is in the hands of the perpetrators” – I wonder, who you could mean by that Alex?
It is important for the capitalist class also to make sure that everything bad that is possible to happen was committed by Stalin. He committed genocide, he hated minorities (despite being one himself) he killed all his rivals, he murdered indiscriminately, he ate all of the grain and he paid the clouds not to rain. Our media and education system’s hearts are ready to bleed for all those poor kulaks who had all their land and slaves taken away from them. Truly awful, I must say.
What we all, and young people especially, need to remember is that the West doesn’t give a tinker’s curse about genocide unless it can use to serve a purpose. Everybody knows about the holocaust, and rightly it is condemned for the monstrous crime it was. We know in detail about the atrocities committed by the Nazis. Similarly, everyone seems to know about the ‘holodomor’, a genocide that didn’t even happen, and in fact originates in Nazi propaganda, because it was supposedly committed by the West’s greatest ever enemy, the USSR.
Do you think that most people would have even heard of the holocaust had Nazi Germany been Britain’s ally? How many people in the West know about the genocide of hundreds of millions of native Americans and Australians? Hell, America even has a Columbus day, they celebrate Thanksgiving as a national holiday, and practically nobody in Britain condemns it. King Leopold II, a man who murdered 15 million Congolese people, is still seen as a hero in Belgium, and there are still statues to him up in Britain. Oxford University’s most prestigious scholarship is the Cecil Rhodes scholarship, named after a mass murdering white supremacist who led the charge in the colonisation and enslavement of Southern Africa. We even had the nerve to name places in these abused countries after him.
Young people must remember that talk of genocide is always done to serve a propaganda purpose, and we must be critical of claims from the West. With the Holocaust, there is lots of evidence, it is well documented and thus we know it to be a true atrocity committed. But talks of ‘Soviet genocide’ are loads of hot air, trace the claims back and you’ll find they originate in either the CIA or Joseph bloody Goebbels.
I’ve talked quite a bit about the condemnation of Stalin in the West. It seems to me, as more and more young people become anti-capitalist although not explicitly communist, that Joseph Stalin is the final mental barrier that young anti-capitalists need to overcome. Lots of young anti-capitalists love to wax radical about how much they hate capitalism and desire its end, and yet condemn Joseph Stalin for actually taking measures to do this. Young anti-capitalists talk a lot about how much they hate their bosses, and yet when Joseph Stalin suppresses these capitalist bosses they’re quick to condemn him. This is indicative in my opinion, not of them being infiltrators or wreckers or whatever, but of them still having this lingering petty-bourgeois prejudices, which is no surprise given the mass of propaganda we are taught from basically the time we’re old to enough to think.
I can speak from experience here, when I first considered myself a communist I called myself a Trot. I think this is true of a lot of young communists; they like anti-capitalism but don’t the big bad wolf that is Joseph Stalin. It is important that we target these young Trots for radicalisation, and not leave them to be hoovered up by some rancid Trot group which will spit them out in two years time as an exhausted neoconservative.
As young people we must recognise that our choice now is not really between socialism or capitalism. It is, in Engels’ words, between socialism or barbarism, and in order for us to achieve socialism we must learn from the pioneers, from those who set sail in uncharted water in an attempt to build this society, and none can be considered to be more pioneering and more bold in their journey than Joseph Stalin. I’d like to end with a quote from Stalin that I think is relevant to the points I’ve discussed here. In 1943 Stalin said to his friend and comrade Molotov; “I know that after my death a pile of rubbish will be heaped on my grave, but the wind of History will sooner or later sweep it away without mercy.” Let us help usher in that wind comrades.