75th anniversary of Holodomor marked

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Manitoba Girl
75th anniversary of Holodomor marked

KYIV, Ukraine -- Church bells tolled, candles flickered under falling snow and national flags, adorned with black ribbons, flew in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv Saturday as the country marked the anniversary of the start of a Soviet-era famine that killed millions.

But the solemn events were overshadowed by fierce opposition from Russia. The Kremlin is resisting Ukraine's campaign to win international recognition of the 1932-33 tragedy as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian nation, saying other ethnic groups also suffered.

The 75th anniversary of Holodomor -- or Death by Hunger as it is known here -- is traditionally marked in late November, when the food shortages began.

 http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/world/story/4253169p-4897050c.html

Fidel

Yes, famines are terrible crimes. They are colossal insults to humanity- the ultimate slur that is repeated over and over again without fail. And the ongoing famine which took the lives of a 100 million people in democratic capitalist India alone between just the years 1945 and 1979 and millions since then through today, for example, should be remembered and politicized in some meaningful way. Anywhere from six to 13 million children alone die every year around the democratic capitalist thirdworld ruled by a merciless ideology. Instead the capitalist closet of failed ideology and deliberate mistakes is filled with the ghosts of millions every year and is rarely mentioned by our corporate sponsored news media. Will humanity ever learn from the insanity of past and present blunders? Will we ever care enough to stop it?

LeighT

It will be evident that people care enough when socialists realize that the USSR wasn't socialist, but was built on the merciless subjugation of surrounding peoples, when Communists, Leninists, and Stalinists care enough to acknowledge and apologize for the behaviours of those whose names they honour, instead of continuing to deny and deflect (there is a common understanding that party names reflect the historic commitments of party members, you know), when there is awareness  that Stalin engaged in capitalist deals with the West, selling dead peasants' grain, and that the West gave Ukraine back to him after the war, residents of which he further eliminated and lands which he further appropriated and Russified, so that capitalist Russia today can hand out passports to its Russian citizens in much of the region, and move its ships and troops around to consolidate it's own fossil fuel interests. 

In other words, when socialists re-read history through the eyes of all oppressed, including the earth, and not just through the propaganda of eastern state capitalists-who-pretend-they're-socialists, and perhaps notice the parallels on a day of mourning, then we may move beyond some of the knee-jerk reactions that have characterized the last century, and forge some useful joint alternatives.

thanks for your understanding, L.

 

  

remind remind's picture

Sorry I don't understand exactly what you are saying,  as you are conflating things which cannot be conflated, and broadbrushing where things/people cannot be broadbrushed. And you are using words/terms to apply to things that they in fact do not apply to.

Though I do understand "forge some useful joint alternatives".

Do you personally acknowlege ALL other peoples days of mourning, or just that which has impacted you presumedly?

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"watching the tide roll away"

Papal Bull

So, how are people going to treat Holodomor on this board? Is it something that is okay to deny or minimize?

remind remind's picture

To me it is something that has happened to many, is happening to many and will happen again to many, unless people "forge some useful joint alternatives" to the way the world is run.

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"watching the tide roll away"

Fidel

There were hungry people in the land of lush and green pastures here in 1930's North America as inconceivable as that may seem. My father and uncles were avid poachers of deer and moose in those days. FDR created government farm collectives then to deal with the collapse of laissez faire capitalism in America. There were no truly successful agricultural models around the world for any government to follow during that era. Since the 1930's, governments around the world are subsidizing food production to the tune of many billions of dollars every year, except in those countries where they've had neoliberal Washington consensus pawned off to them, like India. Iow's, no more trusting privatized food production to wealthy kulaks.

Fidel

Anywhere from 6,000,000 to 13,000,000 children alone each and every year like clockwork. Capitalism is the cause of misery for millions and a monumental failure beyond our worst nightmares. The past and present are intimately and directly related.

Papal Bull

I am tired of this. Fidel needs to be disciplined for this comment "Iow's, no more trusting privatized food production to wealthy kulaks." As well as his continued attempts at minimization and denial.

lagatta

Fidel, that atrocity warrants its own commemoration. There is disagreement among historians as to whether the great hunger in (the) Ukraine was technically genocide, because I don't believe Ukranians were targeted AS Ukranians, but nowadays it would most certainly be viewed as a grave crime against humanity.

I think most "wealthy kulaks" were just on the level of middling farmers in Western Europe and some parts of North America (not those where huge capitalist farms had already taken hold).

It is really important not to diminish such crimes against humanity because they were committed by people who were supposedly on "our side".

Though Leigh, there were and are all sorts of communists, including many currents that had absolutely nothing to do with Holdomor.

Fidel

Papal Bull wrote:

I am tired of this. Fidel needs to be disciplined for this comment "Iow's, no more trusting privatized food production to wealthy kulaks." As well as his continued attempts at minimization and denial.

I've denied nothing. What I've done is point out that these kinds of threads are highly politicized for the purpose of scoring our favorite political points with specific timelines in history visited and revisited by people who often learn nothing from the past. It's like marking Novembrance of the Eleventh Day while ignoring the fact that war and chaos and, yes, famines, too, reign merrily around the world at this glorious moment in time. Lest we forget.

Unionist

Papal Bull wrote:
So, how are people going to treat Holodomor on this board? Is it something that is okay to deny or minimize?

If this board were to lend this event the sanctity of Scripture - for example, if we have to acknowledge that the Soviets were trying to exterminate the Ukrainian nation (as is intimated in the OP) - I will happily leave this board and join "Just For Laughs". Might as well get my humour straight from the source.

remind remind's picture

Hmmm, a facit that is always thus arising it seems, in one way or another.

For those who do not know some of the history, of "kulaks", or even none, here is some simplistic information.

Quote:
According to the Soviet terminology, the peasantry was divided into three
broad categories: bednyaks, or poor peasants, seredniaks, or
mid-income peasants, and kulaks, the higher-income farmers who were
presumably more successful and efficient farmers. In addition, there was a
category of batraks, or landless seasonal agriculture workers for
hire.]

After the Russian Revolution, Bolsheviks
considered only batraks and bednyaks as true allies of the Soviets and proletariat. Serednyaks were considered unreliable,
"hesitating" allies, and kulaks were seen as class enemies because they
owned land and were independent economically.

 

Dekulakization

In 1928, there was a food shortage in the cities and in the army. The Soviet
government encouraged the formation of collective farms and, in 1929, introduced a
policy of collectivization. Some peasants
were attracted to collectivization by the idea that they would be in a position
to afford tractors and would enjoy increased production.

Whether peasants were resisting expropriation and exile or collectivization
and servitude they often retaliated against the state by smashing implements and
killing animals. Live animals would have to be handed over to the collectives
whereas meat and hides could respectively be consumed and concealed or sold.
Many peasants chose to slaughter livestock, even horses, rather than to pass it
into common property. In the first two months of 1930 millions of cattle,
horses, pigs, sheep and goats were slaughtered. Through this and bad weather a
quarter of the entire nation’s livestock perished, a greater loss than had been
sustained during the Civil War and a loss that was not compensated for until the
1950s.

This huge slaughtering caused Sovnarkom to issue a series of decrees to prosecute
"the malicious slaughtering of livestock". Many peasants also
attempted to sabotage the collectives by attacking members and government
officials.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kulak

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"watching the tide roll away"

LeighT

in response to 'remind's first question, yes, I acknowledge the days of mourning of all, those in the South, Indigenous Peoples, and also those uncounted of non-human species. 

I was simply, incredibly, reading yet again a fluffing-off of one peoples' particular day of mourning.  It happened 75 years ago when westerners refused to believe reports of what was going on in the Soviet Union and instead bought grain from Stalin, and after the war when members of the Communist Party of Canada ran a campaign trying to smear displaced persons from Eastern Europe as liars.  This latter campaign is recorded in the lives of many who survived, see eg. Luciuk's 'Searching for Place', and was the lived reality of many. 

Even today there are Leninists in Canada who deny his Cheka targetted the poor, peasants, and any who opposed his regime, not just the 'bourgeoisie'.  This could be seen as 'conflation', but torture, mass executions of political dissidents, and oppression of the poor were characteristics of the tsars, and the leaders of the USSR, neither of which behaved humanely or 'socially', though their rhetoric was obviously convincing to many, particularly overseas.   The USSR morphed into the current Russian oligarchies which continue to control but with somewhat different tactics, today.  The politics is of concern, you can understand how this is playing out now in the region, and indeed we need babblers who understand deeply the dynamics and have a thorough assessment.

hope this helps,L 

Papal Bull

 lagatta,  I feel that it was a genocide. It was a bureaucratic and political policy that was used to crush aspiring nations. The objective was not to kill Ukrainians per se. It was to break their will, to make their identity disintegrate. Holodomor was designed through its quota system not to totally eliminate, but to take out a certain proportion. If one reads the works of Ukrainian Communists contemporary to the event one sees such a view. One example is the film maker Oleksander Dovzhenko. You only need to watch Zemlya (Earth) and read his diaries from WW2 to understand the terrible shock to Ukrainians that this must have been. Zemlya was a story of hope, of the defeat of inequality, and the world continues. An absolutely beautiful film, but I digress. His later words (I'll try to dig up a quote eventually) basically speak to the oppressive nature that the regime took upon the Ukrainian people.

 

The policies were pure, unfettered evil. Those words are loaded, yes, yet those words do not lose a single grain of truth. I take a very functionalist view of this event, Stalin ordered it, but it was a bureaucratic necessity within the terms of Soviet ideological needs. There is always that terrible bit of irony of Stalin being the point man on the workings of the interaction of the many people of the Soviet Union.

 Holodomor was spread across the whole of the USSR, but it was never solely a Ukrainian tragedy. It affect Uzbeks, it affected Belarussians, it affected so many people to effect upon them a new Soviet identity of Socialist Supermen. They were all to be subsumed into a new identity. I don't like to attribute this, as often happens, to the Russians. It can't be attributed to any one person or any one nationality.

 Sorry for the rambling.

Fidel

The Ukrainian famine was not a genocide

By Alexander Solzhenitsyn

April 5, 2008

Quote:

The Great Famine of 1921 shook our country, from the Urals, across the Volga, and deep into European Russia. It cut down millions of our people. But the word "Holodomor" (death by hunger) was not used at that time. The Communist leadership deemed it sufficient to blame the famine on a natural drought, while failing to mention at all the grain requisitioning that cruelly robbed the peasantry.

In 1932 and 1933, when a similar Great Famine hit Ukraine and the Kuban region, the Communist Party bosses (including quite a few Ukrainians) treated it with the same silence and concealment. And it did not occur to anyone to suggest to the zealous activists of the Communist Party and Young Communist League that what was happening was the planned annihilation of the Ukrainians. The provocative outcry about "genocide" only began to be take shape decades later - at first quietly, inside spiteful, anti-Russian, chauvinistic minds - and now it has spun off into the government circles of modern-day Ukraine. Russia's parliament was correct this week to vote that the famine should not be considered genocide.

lagatta

No, that is fine Papal Bull. I'm certainly not trying to diminish the enormity of this crime, just relate historians' disputes about definitions.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Quoting Solzhenitsyn as an impartial adjudicator always impresses the hell out of me.

[there is no smilie in the world suitable to express the nature of my remarks]

LeighT

People need to be aware that politics in Eastern Europe is a) extremely old and b) extremely intricate.  Some people who live in Ukraine claim ancestry to tribes and cultures from 6,000 BCE.  Newcomers included Finno-Uggric tribes, which settled around present day Moscow.  These 'Muscovites' became expansionist about 500 years ago, and the rest is pretty much history.  I've mentioned elsewhere on rabble that folks might be interested in a read of Hrushevsky's History of Ukraine-Rus.  Pick any volume of the tomes and you'll get a sense of the story which is extremely complex.   Suffice it to say that Ukrainians have fought to maintain a culture for centuries from many oppressors, including Polish and Austro-Hungarian nobles, Turks, Tatars, Mongolians, German Nazis, Muscovite tsars, etc. Stalin's imposed '32/'33 famine, and ongoing affronts like Chernobyl simply added insult to injury.   What's particulary 'funny' in the case of the USSR is that the really ancient Ukrainian culture is remarkably, well, one could say communitarian.   The culture was almost completely wiped out in the last century.  Ukraine's rich soil and resources have historically been a target for aggressors on its borders, and policies of forced displacement of residents, including mass slaughters and famine, are unfortunately not new and not unique.  Of course it's a form of genocide.  Of course it's also more than genocide. 

We can call what's happening today in many parts of the world 'corporatized genocide', and we can add to the list the USA and other countries, using an array of carrots and sticks, the IMF, military tactics to prod old fears, etc. to promote ongoing wars, hot and cold, and ongoing resource exploitation by both east and west. 

The challenge comes in clarifying misunderstandings, so people can move forward, which i think these kind of discussions help. thanks for your contributions,L

Fidel

lagatta wrote:
Fidel, that atrocity warrants its own commemoration. There is disagreement among historians as to whether the great hunger in (the) Ukraine was technically genocide, because I don't believe Ukranians were targeted AS Ukranians, but nowadays it would most certainly be viewed as a grave crime against humanity. I think most "wealthy kulaks" were just on the level of middling farmers in Western Europe and some parts of North America (not those where huge capitalist farms had already taken hold).

I've visited Steinbeck's museum at Salinas California. They were turning back harvest gypsies at the state line. There were hungry people across North America. Even though a particulary bad season brought drought and dustbowl conditions, this continent was unparalleled in the world with Napa and Okanagen valleys, rich Kansas and High Plains farmlands, vast wheat fields of Canadian prairies and mid-western America, Idaho, Florida, Southern Ontario, PEI etc etc. There were tens of thousands of hungry people riding the rails looking for work. Some of the personal letters sent by wives and mothers to a heartless RB Bennett then were heart-breaking stories describing hard times and families stricken with tuberculosis due to conditions of grinding poverty here in the land of plenty from horizon to horizon. They were throwing people out of apartments in Montreal, and tossing sides of beef into the St Lawrence sooner than reducing prices or even giving it away to the unemployed and desperately poor. Kulaks used the child labour of poorer Ukrainians without the machinery to work their land. But I admit it was no excuse for forced relocation of millions. Stalin's personal vendetta with Kulaks took on a dimension of its own.

Ukraine as breadbasket for Russia then was a legacy of Tsarist rule. Economists have since stated that there was no real cause and effect between Stalin's collectivization of farming and the massive increase in steel production in preparation for western aggression against Russia part two. As I was saying earlier, there was no successful agricultural model anywhere in the world at turn of the last century. This isn't apologizing for Stalin so much as acknowledging the truth. 

LeighT

Fidel, the steel industry and mining resources in Ukraine represent separate stolen resources.  Russification was a tsarist policy, involving forced removal of existing residents, and replacement with Russian nationals.  The policy was continued under the Soviets.  Ukrainian language was outlawed.  Half of Ukraine is now effectively Russian in culture, even in Kyiv the Chernobyl museum is conducted in the Russian language.  The major industries are still owned by Russian oligarchs.  There is still no public sewage in most of the country.  We effectively have a Ukrainian population which still hasn't 'crawled out from the soviet cellar' as one writer on the prairies states.   Perhaps people can understand why there continue to be bristles when westerners still fail to understand or believe reality on the ground, past or present.

Again, if you'd like to get informed, there are many good histories, including those noted above, which highlight that Ukrainians in their vegetable gardens had a very effective and very ancient system of sharing work and 'helping eachother out'.  They were organic farmers, of course.   Only rarely did a family acquire a cow.  I think you're using the term 'kulaks' rather loosely.  The process of collectivization was not only a disaster, but also an affront to those who traditionally practiced far more collaborative and participatory versions of working together.   The complete contradiction of realities in agriculture is another element that western promoters of the USSR need to reassess.   And again, I think the dialogue helps.

remind remind's picture

LeighT wrote:
People need to be aware that politics in Eastern Europe is a) extremely old and b) extremely intricate.
Perhaps you could explain why you believe this to be the case. As frankly I see everyone's politics as being extremely old and intricate, yet actually pretty basic.

 

Quote:
Some people who live in Ukraine claim ancestry to tribes and cultures from 6,000 BCE.
What is meant by this?

Quote:
Suffice it to say that Ukrainians have fought to maintain a culture for centuries from many oppressors,
This is a bit simplistic, and indeed suggestive of a notion that Ukrainians,and  those long lineage peoples and ancestors you speak about, themselves were not expansionistic, and were only expanded upon, when thus was hardly the case.

[Moreover, every nation in Europe and indeed the world, has experienced what you recount as being bascially pertinent to only Ukrainians.

Quote:
The challenge comes in clarifying misunderstandings, so people can move forward, which i think these kind of discussions help

What misunderstanding need clarification? Russia to accept responsibility for a famine? And I am not trying to be flip, or anything disrespectful, I am really trying very hard to understand what is really being discussed and meant.

___________________________________________________________
"watching the tide roll away"

LeighT

in response to remind's q's:

-you are likely correct on the point that all politics are old and intricate, and at the core, quite basic.  however, some politics are understood very poorly, because of the role that propaganda has played, and the discussion around the history of the Holodomor reveals that misunderstandings do continue to exist, which should be clarified.

- actually, the agriculturally-based peoples of the Dneiper and Dneister River Basins were not 'expansionist' in the sense of conquering by force the lands and peoples of other locations for the purpose of taking over their land and resources. 

- i'm not saying the reality of 'being expanded upon' is an experience only of Ukraine.   but the current discussion is about Ukraine's Holodomor, and the history of the country is thus relevant.

- based on some of the comments to the initial post, it was apparent that some misunderstandings exist, hence my responses, which i hope have helped provide some alternate views,

thanks for your interest, best wishes,L

 

Fidel

LeighT wrote:

Fidel, the steel industry and mining resources in Ukraine represent separate stolen resources.  Russification was a tsarist policy, involving forced removal of existing residents, and replacement with Russian nationals.  The policy was continued under the Soviets.

Who was it stolen from? From what I've read, peasants in the Ukraine didnt have their own parcels of land until after 1917. What was carried over from the Tsarist era were cruel bosses who often beat them through the years of failed NEP. And it didnt take long for them to lose what land they posessed. Liberal commentators today still suggest that Stalin's parting with NEP was a mistake.  

Quote:
Ukrainian language was outlawed.  Half of Ukraine is now effectively Russian in culture, even in Kyiv the Chernobyl museum is conducted in the Russian language.  The major industries are still owned by Russian oligarchs.

The Soviets seized industries and resources of several countries after WW II, especially the formerly Japanese occupied Manchuria, and East Germany. Soviets seized manufacturing equipment and manpower in an effort to rebuild Russia after years of war had crippled industrial output in the USSR. One worker described Stalingrad as a sprawling city over 60 kilometres along the Volga, a city surrounded by green scapes and where workers could go and live life, work, and learn. 400 thousand people were buried under the rubble of Nazi blitzkrieg. In some cases post-WWII, the seizures were excessive, but in others the Russians viewed it as exacting payment for what was stolen from them by the Japanese and Nazis.

Quote:
[There is still no public sewage in most of the country.  We effectively have a Ukrainian population which still hasn't 'crawled out from the soviet cellar' as one writer on the prairies states.

There are large parts of Canada still without sewage and safe drinking water. I've worked for foreign based mining companies in remote regions of Northern Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba, and I've seen thirdworld conditions first-hand as recently as twelve years ago. It still exists by what I've heard and read. Crees at Buffalo Lake Alberta still have no water works while billions of dollars worth of oil is stolen from under their feet. Amnesty says its a genocide in progress. And there does exist a relatively new phenomena whereby large regions of Canada and the U.S. are simply abandoned by the state and private sector since the end of cold war. There are towns and villages in western America that used to have municipal governments, basic utilities and and medical services.

Perestroika was a modern day equivalent of NEP for mixed market economy with a twist of Washington consensus. Failed economic ideology isn't a thing of the past unfortunately.

remind remind's picture

 Thank you leigh, I guess I see it all much differently, though when I say this I am not denying that millions died in famine, and were forced out and killed.

___________________________________________________________
"watching the tide roll away"

LeighT

yikes, Fidel, please have a read of some history written by Hrushevsky, or Doroshenko, or some general surveys from alternative points of view. 

Ukraine did have a flourishing culture for many centuries, until as noted, expansionist neighbours made life difficult. 

And yes, there are similar situations in Canada, particularly in Indigenous communities, which is why it is odd that some Canadian leftists don't 'get' the experience of people in Ukraine.  It's almost as if a mantra of 'Soviets good/ resistors bad' crowds out any dissonant information. 

What are the sites that are promoting this narrow perspective?

And yes, of course other failed ideologies haunt us, which is why it is so important that we avoid polarizations.  Otherwise we'll go flip-flopping on for another century or two.  Both the USSR and USA represent failed models.   It's time we start naming the 'wish list' of what we'd like to see.

 

remind remind's picture

Quote:
which is why it is odd that some Canadian leftists don't 'get' the experience of people in Ukraine. It's almost as if a mantra of 'Soviets good/ resistors bad' crowds out any dissonant information. 

I think this comment is way too broadbrushing and indeed perhaps quite, erroneous and only used for whatever convienent purpose with which you are working from. As expressed by your not so forthright recounting of symplistic, at best, history

 

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"watching the tide roll away"

LeighT

thanks remind, i hope i'm wrong on the mantra point. 

LeighT

It strikes me that a core disconnect in some of the discussion here is that there is perhaps little understanding amongst babblers of Ukrainian history Before the Russian Revolution, and from diverse perspectives afterwards. 

I've mentioned a few brief points in this thread, but also have named a few good authors that are worth checking into.  Perhaps this approach could be called 'simplistic', but it's the best i can do in the time i have at present.

over to you folks,

Leigh

 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

bagkitty wrote:

Quoting Solzhenitsyn as an impartial adjudicator always impresses the hell out of me.

Why, is he too pro-Stalin for your liking? 

Fidel

LeighT wrote:
 Ukraine did have a flourishing culture for many centuries, until as noted, expansionist neighbours made life difficult. 

Yes, Russian imperial expansionism was carried over to Soviet times, but again I think it was due to a perceived necessity by Soviet communists to compliment rapid industrialization of the USSR. They'd been attacked by Germany in WW I, and then 25 international armies laid siege to Russia in 1919 and attacking from all cardinal directions. There were contingents from Poland and Ukraine loyal to the Tsar who tried laying siege to Moscow but were beaten back. Many Ukrainian and Polish Cossacks were loyal to the Red Army however. And there were those who joined the Wehrmacht and Waffen SS during Nazi occupation of Ukraine and Eastern Europe and fought against the Red Army. Imperial Russia-USSR history is bloodsoaked by centuries of conflict.

Quote:
And yes, there are similar situations in Canada, particularly in Indigenous communities, which is why it is odd that some Canadian leftists don't 'get' the experience of people in Ukraine.  It's almost as if a mantra of 'Soviets good/ resistors bad' crowds out any dissonant information.

The Soviets inherited the spice route countries and Ukraine from Nicholas II. Ukrainians and Russians fought for and against one another in a bloody civil war. There are millions of ethnic Russians and mixed marriage partners trapped in surrounding sattellite countries since the end of cold war. I don't see Russian imperialism and Soviet imperialism amounting to exactly the same thing as some do. If it wasnt for WWII and western aggression, I think Stalin would have been satisfied with building socialism in one country. Instead it was an iron curtain policy and moving the line of defence west by a layer of countries liberated from the Nazis. They were the original national security state and used the fact that 30 or 40 million Russians were slaughtered by the Nazis, who were obviously aided and abetted by western industrialists and financial elite in the process of re-arming for war, as an excuse for them to turn inward. The Soviets controlled about a third of the world at the height of Soviet "empire", but they weren't seeking world domination as cold war rhetoric suggested.  

Papal Bull

M. Spector wrote:
bagkitty wrote:

Quoting Solzhenitsyn as an impartial adjudicator always impresses the hell out of me.

Why, is he too pro-Stalin for your liking? 

 

No, but he did become quite the nationalist towards the end of his life.

LeighT

I'm going to take a moment to comment on Fidel's last post because his post reveals an issue which is very important to understand about Ukrainian history:

Ukrainians fought for their own self-determination. 

Ukrainian history is not 'about' the tsars, nor the other armies of foreign powers past or present.   Ukrainian fighters were not 'loyal' to the Tsar nor the Red Army.  At different points in history fighters aligned and re-aligned, depending on their best opportunities to achieve their primary goal- independence, and the opportunity to rebuild their culture and protect their families from the incursions of even more brutal occupiers.

One could consider a parallel with Afghan fighters today.  Do you honestly think they were ever 'loyal' to the US when they used US arms to fight Russia?  Or 'loyal' now to those who are helping them kick out western occupiers?  Of course not.  They are fighting for their own freedom from occupation, and are using the means available at any given time. 

Again, back to Ukraine, please do visit a library and read some diverse authors.  I'll recommend as well Pidhainy's "Islands of Death".  If you think Stalin was 'building socialism', then you highlight indeed why there is a vast political divide in Canada today. 

Where are the voices of teachers and leaders of socialism on this?  Do they simply avoid discussion of these issues, happy to have more bodies and minds onside?  It's appalling, really.

 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

I'm not denying there was a famine in Ukraine and that millions died, but is there no room for discussion about how and why it happened? Or is it something that all "progressives" are bound to take as an article of faith: that Stalin deliberately starved millions of Ukrainians to death in an act of genocide - end of story?

Is there, for example, room to ask whether, with the fall of soviet "communism" and the opening up of the secret archives of Stalin's era, there has been any documentation come to light that puts the smoking gun in Stalin's hand? Is it possible to inquire as to what the role of the kulaks was in this famine? There were other famines in the USSR during Stalin's time - are we to assume Stalin planned them and carried them out as well?

LeighT

M Spector; you'll need to define who you mean by 'kulaks'.  Are you refering to middle-income Russian nationals in Russia proper, in 1921? 

The current topic under discussion is the Ukrainian famine of 32/33.  In the Ukrainian language, the word sounded as 'koolak' derives from the word for cog/ millcog, and is translated with the meaning of 'concentrated force' 'fist' and 'peasant'. 

 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

I accept the terminology as defined in remind's post #12 above.

remind remind's picture

Leigh, I guess the problem I am having with this, is to take the famine out of context, to what was happening prior, that brought about events,  to label it as genocide, as opposed to a crime against humanity. Plus ignoring other facets completely.

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"watching the tide roll away"

Fidel

LeighT wrote:
  

Ukrainians fought for their own self-determination. 

Ukrainian history is not 'about' the tsars, nor the other armies of foreign powers past or present.   Ukrainian fighters were not 'loyal' to the Tsar nor the Red Army.  At different points in history fighters aligned and re-aligned, depending on their best opportunities to achieve their primary goal- independence, and the opportunity to rebuild their culture and protect their families from the incursions of even more brutal occupiers.

What is preventing Ukrainians from achieving their nationalist dream since declaring independence from the Soviet Union? Because I tend to think that Canada has become a destination for Ukrainian emigres as the US is for Central Americans seeking a better life, as Germany is for Turks and Europe has become for Afghans and Iraqis etc and so on.

 

Quote:
Again, back to Ukraine, please do visit a library and read some diverse authors.  I'll recommend as well Pidhainy's "Islands of Death".  If you think Stalin was 'building socialism', then you highlight indeed why there is a vast political divide in Canada today.

As I was saying before, the western world wanted to put a Tsar back on the thrown in Moscow. And despite the end of cold war, the imperial USA still maintains over 730 military bases around the world and continues to encircle Russia and China. They are the only country with nuclear weapons on foreign soil and roaming the seven seas. The financial capitalism of the last 20 years is driving western world to expand at a steady rate across the globe in order to stave off implosion, and no country's resources or sovereignty are safe from this exponential rate of debt driven capitalism and backed by the most menacing military power in the world. Financial-war capitalism may either consume itself or the rest of the world, and we know which path they've tended to choose in recent times. Nuclear weapons have no legitimate purpose. Are we in general agreement with this, LeighT?

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

M. Spector wrote:
bagkitty wrote:

Quoting Solzhenitsyn as an impartial adjudicator always impresses the hell out of me.

Why, is he too pro-Stalin for your liking? 

Probably because Solzhenitsyn is the Russian translation of Chauvin.

LeighT

Spector- remind's #12 didn't specify whether the Soviet terminology was refering to people on Russian or Ukrainian soil.  You can see there might be a problem if the speakers were Russians were guns, standing on Ukrainian soil, labelling Ukrainian peasants with names, while taking perhaps a village's only few animals, stealing their grain and guarding it at gunpoint ready for sale for Russian profits, while preventing the starving from leaving in search of food. 

-reminds' #36 Stalin's behaviour was entirely consistent with centuries of tsarist behaviour.  There was a clear, documented policy of Russification.

- Fidel; I believe people in Ukraine are trying to make a country. 

On your second point, as I've noted above, neither the USSR nor the USA represent good models.  We need to articulate alternatives.

Towards this end, of articulating shared alternatives, I think we could list things like, peace, public social services, fair trade, a sane financial system under public control, food sovereignty,  etc.  We do in fact probably share a strong critique of institutions like the WTO and IMF.  These are all important current issues that people on this discussion board share with probably millions of Canadians.   There is great potential !    

LeighT

What the 'powers that be' fear most is that people at the grassroots will actually unite on specific points of change.

The far right is extremely happy when the the activist left takes an extremist stand based upon readings of history that are distorted.

Then it's very easy to discredit the left, because there are simply too many people who know the extremist position is in fact inaccurate, based on their own lived experience.  And without activists, there is no movement.

So it's actually in the left's own best interests to clarify old misunderstandings, publicly if need be.  Trust between peoples is easy to break and hard to rebuild, but I think the effort will always bear fruit.

best wishes,L

remind remind's picture

" The far right is extremely happy when the the activist left takes an
extremist stand based upon readings of history that are distorted."

What an amazing comment.

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"watching the tide roll away"

Fidel

LeighT wrote:
  

- Fidel; I believe people in Ukraine are trying to make a country. 

On your second point, as I've noted above, neither the USSR nor the USA represent good models.  We need to articulate alternatives.

USSR's gone. And I think some Ukrainians are beginning to realize that they will never be considered part of "the west." Meanwhile NATO is still there with expansion of ABMS and nuclear weapons in Europe, supposedly to protect Europeans from a cold war era threat that no longer exists. There can be no legitimate purpose for nuclear weapons, and I think any and all counter manuevering by the Russians from here on out will be interpreted by our corporate sponsored news media as "turning inward" and "backsliding on democracy."

Quote:
Towards this end, of articulating shared alternatives, I think we could list things like, peace, public social services, fair trade, a sane financial system under public control, food sovereignty,  etc.  We do in fact probably share a strong critique of institutions like the WTO and IMF.  These are all important current issues that people on this discussion board share with probably millions of Canadians.   There is great potential !

Agreed. And NATO has been an important part of this western world system of financial dominance. There is no legitimate purpose for NATO anymore

LeighT

well no kidding, and the really sick thing is that western energy companies are doing deals with Gazprom and Russian oil companies around Arctic drilling (I read this from an article last month at thenation.com) while their mouthpieces (Bush and Harper) are militarizing the north for 'security' which the Ukrainian diaspora in North America is supposed to interpret as 'security from Russia' but which is actually 'security of our corporate energy profits together with Russian corporate energy profits'.    ie) at the expense of people and planet. 

At the same time billionaires of both east and west are fighting over who 'gets' the pipeline routes through the Caucasus, and Ukraine, with threats from both sides to position weapons, the Russians having cut off heating fuel in recent winters to Ukraine, the Americans and Europeans slaughtering them with IMF austerity and privatization of land.  Of course the powerful of east and west will end up making deals with eachother, as they did during the famine, at Yalta, etc etc.  Meanwhile everyone on the ground has to put up with their insufferable chest-thumping exercises. And the earth has to put up with more stupid fossil fuel games.

i really do wish that activists could forge a joint analysis to deal with these issues...maybe we're doing that

 

Fidel

I'm not exactly sure, but I think Ukraine was receiving a pretty good deal on natural gas from Russia until about the approximate time they indicated a wish to join NATO. I think they were getting as good if not a better deal on Russian gas than Canadians receive from U.S. majority-owned and controlled energy companies selling us our own gas, and using Canadian taxpayer funded pipelines to ship it, too. It's a good think Ukraine didnt sign trade deals like CUSFTA and NAFTA. Clever bunch those Ukrainians

LeighT

Fidel, if you're going to position yourself with Russian elites, Enjoy.

best start a new thread though.

 

Fidel

Ukraine wasn't the only former satellite whose energy bills soared with introduction of market style capitalism during catastroika. One woman told me they were burning furniture in communal bonfires to stay warm in Bishkek in the late 90's-2000's.  She also talked about terrorism and bombings at turn of the decade, similar to what began in the Balkans leading up to NATO bombing and military occupation there. 

remind remind's picture

Funny, I looked all over the UCC sight for  press releasea regarding the human rights autrocities in Gaza, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Haiti, and their making a call to action for those who are suffering from crimes against humanity as the Ukrainian's did. Found none. Why would that be Leigh?

But I did find a bunch of other stuff!

http://www.ucc.ca/media_releases/index.htm

 

 

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"watching the tide roll away"

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

The version of history promulgated by the institutions of anti-communist mainstream media - on any subject at all - is rarely (if ever) something that the "activist left" should accept without question. On the great famine of 1932-33 in Ukraine, for example, the story promoted today by the right-wing Ukrainian Canadian Congress is essentially the same as the one told in the 1930's by William Randolph Hearst and Josef Goebbels, both of whom combined a disregard for the truth with a venomous hatred for any collectivist movements. Pardon me if I want to subject their version of reality to some pretty serious scrutiny before accepting it as "my" truth.

The received anti-communist narrative talks about the Ukrainian "peasants" as if they were a monolithic mass, all having the same interests and all opposing collectivization of agriculture. It doesn't talk about the fact that Ukrainian agriculture was based on feudal and capitalist relations of property ownership and labour, with the wealthy landowners comprising a small minority of the population, but controlling virtually all of the land prior to collectivization and ruthlessly exploiting the majority of poor peasant labourers. Nor does it acknowledge that a sustained and brutal class struggle had been going on in Ukraine for a century before the 1932 famine, and that the vast majority of peasants had welcomed and benefitted from the soviet collectivization program.

Agrarian reform and land redistribution was then, as it is today (in places like Venezuela, Bolivia, Zimbabwe, Egypt, and Indonesia), a major component of any program for radical social change. It was then, as it is now, violently opposed by the privileged and landowning classes, who attacked collective farms and killed peasants. In their efforts to "prove" that collectivization would not work, and to give themselves leverage with Moscow, they destroyed crops and livestock and otherwise attempted to withhold grain from the rest of the USSR. Ukraine was the "bread basket" of the USSR; this was a real threat to the survival of the soviet people and their revolution. What the Kulaks hadn't counted on was that Stalin was at least as brutal and ruthless as they were. They played a high-stakes game of chicken with Moscow, and lost. Millions of Ukrainians and other nationalities (including Russians) paid the price with their lives.

Papal Bull

remind wrote:

Funny, I looked all over the UCC sight for  press releasea regarding the human rights autrocities in Gaza, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Haiti, and their making a call to action for those who are suffering from crimes against humanity as the Ukrainian's did. Found none. Why would that be Leigh?

But I did find a bunch of other stuff!

http://www.ucc.ca/media_releases/index.htm

 

What is the context of this comment, remind?

remind remind's picture

They, the UCC, or the so called  "Ukrainian diaspora" according to Leigh, want activists on the left, for some reason, to give them validity of action, or of alleged actions against them. However, they apparently are a single vision, single focus entity, with it seems no regard for the plight of exploited others around the world. As such, I would ask why they would want, let alone expect, left activisits acknowlegement of anything other than a stated realization that there were human rights abuses which happened to them.

Moreover, it would appear they sold their block vote to the Harper Cons  for 5.4 million dollars.

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"watching the tide roll away"

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