The Workers' Advocate Supplement

Vol. 7 #8


October 20, 1991

[Front page: What sources are available for the study of Soviet history?]


A working bibliography on Soviet history............................... 23

Portugal: A letter on OCPO and the Kurds.............................. 14
"Why we don't demonstrate for the Kurds"............................. 15
Replying to the Portuguese communists: On the silence about the Iraqi Kurds................................................................ 17

Bangladesh:People's Age appears........................................... 11
Hurricane deaths need not have been....................................... 12
What migrant workers face in Saudi Arabia............................ 13

Haiti: Down with the coup and imperialism!........................... 2

Racist police from coast to coast.............................................. 3
Fight continues vs. Cracker Barrel bigotry.............................. 4
Lambs with fangs at North Dakota clinic................................ 4
CIA agent forced out of Seattle classroom............................... 7
Lies of the Philadelphia Inquirer............................................. 10

Actions vs. the economic squeeze............................................ 5
Health cutbacks while profits mount....................................... 6

Gus Hall in outer space............................................................ 7

What sources are available for the study of Soviet history?

A working bibliography on Soviet history

Down with the Coup! Support Haitian Workers!

Racist police infect the country

New Orleans cops "Investigate" their own crimes

What is the deadliest gang ever to hit the streets of Los Angeles


"Lambs of Christ" snap at North Dakota's only abortion clinic

Wolves in sheep's clothing

More demonstrations against "Cracker Barrel" bigotry

Against the economic squeeze

Health care: cutbacks for the poor, to pay for more cream for the rich

CIA agents, out of the classroom!

Gus Hall looks to the heavens for salvation

The economic situation, and the mass movement, in the Dominican Republic

Lying to the people

"People's Age"--a new, revolutionary journal from Bangladesh

Hurricane deaths need not have been

What Bangladesh migrants face in Saudi Arabia

What about a demonstration against the massacre of the Kurds?

Why we don't demonstrate for the Kurds

Replying to the Portuguese communists:

On the silence about the Iraqi Kurds

What sources are available for the study of Soviet history?

For some time our Party has been studying the history of the October Revolution and its aftermath. In this issue of the Workers' Advocate Supplement we are printing a general bibliography of primarily English-language source materials on this history.

This is a bibliography in progress, and it is in no way a complete, final or comprehensive compilation. As work on a given topic progresses, new titles have been migrating onto the list while some earlier listings may fall by the wayside. Of the works listed here, some are in current use, others have been referred to only to verify their existence and potential usefulness, and a few remain untouched. In the interest of expedience, no effort has been made to reverify the entries for the present publication, nor even to clean up inconsistencies in bibliographic style. Finally, it should be noted that the present bibliography focuses mainly on the period of the First Five Year Plan and mainly on factual background; works relevant to other periods and to a series of ideological questions are represented sparsely and inconsistently.

These limitations notwithstanding, it seemed reasonable to publish this bibliography as it now stands, blemishes and all, for the benefit of friends and enemies who may be drawn to this subject. One motive in this is to encourage independent study in the interests of informed debate. Yet another is to give some indication of the orientation of our research.

Few topics in the annals of history have inspired such broad speculation and interpretation with so narrow a factual basis as have the October Revolution and the subsequent history of the Soviet Union. Only in limited measure can the blame for this be laid at the barred doorstep of Soviet party and state archives. (Indeed, now that those doors are opening, it should not be expected that anything like a breath of fresh air is going to be wafting forth. If Western Sovietology evinces an impressive disregard for fact, this is only because Russian Sovietology has not yet had its fair say.)

This is said with the dubious achievements of mainstream bourgeois Sovietology in mind. Yet, when one turns to the left, the record is no more than marginally better. Witness, for example, the labors of generations of trotskyites burdened by the necessity of taking their Comrade T's schemas as gospel. For another, we have the example of Albanian scholars who devoted the better part of the Brezhnev era to polemicizing against the stillborn Lieberman reforms of Khrushchov's time as though they were present-day fact.

Half a century ago, for lack of other possibilities, particle physicists engaged in "thought experiments". That is, they would imagine an experiment and then write a paper reporting their "results". Whatever place one may or may not give this method in quantum mechanics, it has none in the study of history. Lenin once observed that the living soul of Marxism is concrete analysis of a concrete situation. If one is to accept this dictum, then it follows that making historical analysis presupposes some grasp of historical fact, and a reasonably systematic grasp at that.

This explains the bias in the present bibliography toward works which may be of some factual merit. But to be of some merit is a long way from being gospel. All the authors listed below, be they mainstream bourgeois scholars, or the handful of syndicalists and trotskyites sprinkled among them, have their own axes to grind. And the presentation of history is not neatly divided into two : sections, facts and axe. On the contrary, an author's ability to present his or her interpretation of history by "letting the facts speak for themselves" generally involves more than a little ventriloquy, and crimes into play in the selection of facts for presentation as well as in the shaping and shading of the presentation.

The careful researcher must therefore pick his or her way through this minefield with caution. In the absence of a map this calls for the use of multiple independent sources (that is, sources which do not simply draw upon one another or upon a common third source), and a reasonable awareness of each author's particular biases; a keen awareness where those biases are more subtly manifested.

Trends in Sovietology

Since the sources listed here are largely English-language works, it may be useful to note some of the trends in Anglo-American Sovietology as they have presented themselves thus far in this work.

Post-War Western Sovietology--especially in the U.S. --has been dominated by the "totalitarianism" school typified by the hacks of the Hoover Institute. This is a school of propagandists and ideologues notable chiefly for a surfeit of rabidity and a dearth of research. Its fundamental thesis is that the Soviet Revolution is essentially totalitarian from October 1917 onward. Hence, there is no development and change, no history to be studied, and no facts to be dug for. This leaves only two possible paths for the ambitious academic. One is to take part in the debate of interpretations. Is the essence of the October Revolution the Marxist doctrine of world conquest? Or is it really Great Russian nationalism? Is communism godless atheism or a new religion? Etc., ad nauseam. The other path is to engage in fabrication in the best traditions of any Ministry of Truth. The method and spirit of the last are neatly captured in Robert Conquest's dictum: "basically the best, though not infallible, source is rumor." [1]

During the past two decades other trends of thought in Anglo-American Sovietology have emerged from the shadow of Cold War hysteria. These trends are often grouped under the common umbrella of the revisionist school, meaning a revision of the out-and-out Cold War dogmas.

Just as the ascendance of the Hoover-ite school corresponded to the hard-line tactics of U.S. imperialism in the Cold War, the rise of the revisionist school corresponds to the re-grouping in the 1960s and thereafter of an imperialist political trend opposed to the excesses of Cold War tactics and favoring more sophisticated policies in the tradition of Harriman, Kennan, et al. Just as the Hoover Institute has nurtured the trend associated with it, so too have an array of institutions nurtured the revisionist School. Among these are the Harriman Institute at Columbia University, which has underwritten the publication of a wide range of literature on Soviet society, including no less than a dozen of the titles appearing below.

To the extent that the revisionist school can be regarded as having a common thesis regarding Soviet history, it is that this history goes through various stages of change and development which the Hoover-ites not only cannot explain, but obscure with their prattle about "totalitarianism". To understand this history some attention is due to the social forces and tensions at work in the society. Beyond this, there is little agreement as to what these stages of development are, what is significant about them, and what brings about their coming into being and their passing away.

The trends grouped under the umbrella of the revisionist school share in common with the Hoover-ites a bourgeois world outlook. Among their collective work are to be found a more than reasonable representation of vacuity, distortion and anti-communist venom. This work is nonetheless of interest because it on the whole entails a degree of factual research which the work of the Hoover-ites does not. This does not mean that the conclusions of the revisionist scholars can be accepted, nor even that their presentation of the facts can simply be taken at face value. Nonetheless, this body of work offers something in the way of factual material to sift through.

A reasonably comprehensive presentation of the trends making up the revisionist school is beyond the scope of the present work. Here an effort will be made to sketch a few particulars which may prove of interest.

Mention should be made of the work of E.H. Carr. Carr's work, begun in the early 1950s, is too early to literally qualify as revisionist. But for that very reason Carr has informed or infuriated all those who have followed and therefore deserves mention.

Carr's work covers a decade or more of the history in some detail, making his 14 volumes an irreplaceable reference for a chronological overview. But Carr cannot be relied upon for a comprehensive and balanced picture of any one issue or period. This is due only in part to what may be limits imposed by so sweeping a coverage (e.g, relying too often on official documents, or even just his own sweeping pronouncements, in lieu of looking at what was actually taking place).

By no means pro-Bolshevik, Carr nonetheless finds himself able to sympathize more than a little with Trotsky. In no sense a Marxist-Leninist, Carr nonetheless fancies himself an authority on all theoretical questions. His idiosyncrasies become especially marked, and his objectivity especially questionable, whenever he ventures into party affairs and ideological questions, and whenever he attempts to characterize the historical turning points and issues which become foci of inner-party debate. These subjects make up not a small part of the history, and this is therefore not a small criticism.

Carr found collaborators in the Birmingham group. The focus of the Center for Russian and Eastern European Studies (CREES) at the University of Birmingham is economic history, and economic historians find it hard to ply their trade without at least some reference to facts.

Baykov, an authority on economic planning, was a central figure at Birmingham. Davies was a protege of Baykov and published the standard reference on Soviet budget policy before entering into collaboration with Carr and subsequently succeeding Carr as the emeritus figure of serious Western Sovietology.

It may also be noted that a number of leftists, some of them associated with the trend represented by the Glasgow journal Critique, function under the aegis of CREES with the aim of making leftist critiques of the history; among these are admirers of Rakovsky and Preobrazhensky.

Revisionist Sovietology in the U.S. too has a pre-history, here in the work of Fainsod and Moore at Harvard in the 1950s. This went no further than a mild-mannered treatment of Soviet society from the standpoint of ordinary bourgeois sociology and political science. From this milieu came Jerry F. Hough, who became a senior figure of the revisionist school. Hough, going further in the vein of Fainsod and Moore than they themselves did, became the polemical spear-bearer for the revisionist school against the Hoover-ites on questions of methodology.

In the 1960s, revisionism took on more substantive form regarding the treatment of Soviet history with the concentration at Columbia of a handful of scholars sympathetic to Bukharin (Cohen, Lewin). Since this time a plethora of trends and shadings have unfolded.

Among these are a trend which has identified itself with a specific characterization of these stages of development; namely, that the NEP ended with a period of revolutionary activity followed by a "Great Retreat". The foremost figure of this trend is Sheila Fitzpatrick, whose many activities include an editorship at the Harriman Institute. Her field of study is the intelligentsia; her thesis, that mass promotion from workbench to administration is the social basis of a revolutionary surge in 1928-1930 and of reversal thereafter.

An array of social historians can be placed in various degrees of proximity to this last trend of thought. Among the younger scholars are Viola, Rassweiler and Kuromiya, all products of the graduate program at Princeton, all specializing in different aspects of the period of the First Five Year Plan, the last now positioning himself to become a collaborator of and successor to Davies.

Getty makes use of Fainsod and Hough in deriding the "totalitarianism" model, and his critique of Conquest follows directly from Fainsod and Hough, second edition, chapter 5. His approach to the history, however, is distinct from the trends mentioned thus far. While Fitzpatrick, et al., see a revolutionary surge in the late 20s and a retreat in the 30s, Getty and Rittersporn focus on the 30s and try to make sense of the Great Purges, not as part of that retreat, but as a last-ditch resistance to it. It goes without saying that such concepts as revolutionary surge, retreat, and resistance thereto prove to be quite different things in the thinking of even the best bourgeois scholars than a Marxist-Leninist understanding of them.

The "Socialist Herald"?

A last footnote should go to an earlier generation: the menshevik emigres grouped around the journal Socialist Herald. These were the remnants of the menshevik trend that had not gone over to the Whites in the Civil War. They had the advantage over their competitors that they continued to exist as a trend; the others had long before dissolved into whiteguard circles. Furthermore, the Socialist Herald had many correspondents in the Soviet Union, not least of all among state functionaries. The Socialist Herald is worthy of mention because it is a pre-Cold War school whose work on the conditions of the working class is often cited as scripture, the more so given its access to sources inside the Soviet Union and its "socialist" credentials. But given the polemical temptations, materials in the Socialist Herald should be regarded as something less than gospel; works by its editors, something still less. Among the figures associated with the Socialist Herald were Dan, Schwarz and Yugov.

What has Sovietology looked into?

The availability of well-researched secondary sources in English varies greatly from period to period and topic to topic. The period of 1917-1918 is undoubtedly the most densely covered; from 1930 onward the most sparsely. Survey works include Chamberlin's 2 volumes covering 1917-1921, followed a generation later by Carr's 14 volumes which extend up to the launching of the First Five Year Plan. Thereafter the pickings are sparse. Davies has committed himself to continuing Carr's work; thus far he has extended the coverage to 1931, but succeeding volumes are increasingly "economic" (in the narrowest sense). Kuromiya offers one volume of a "mainly political and social study" of the period of the First Five Year Plan as "mutually supplementary" to Davies's work. Kuromiya's is undoubtedly the richest work yet available on the period. But his own field of study is the shock brigades of 1928-1930, and his work tapers off thereafter as the activity of the shock brigades tapers off.

Among topics, none has inspired less usable research than the national question; save for some recent coverage of the period of the October Revolution, the national question long ago became the preserve of friends of the Ukrainian National Famine Board whose working title is invariably "Bolshevism--Killer of Nations" (Hoover fellows) or "Stalinism--Killer of Nations" (British trotskyites).

But for one or two exceptions, military history attracts ex-officers with predictable results. Party history, on the other hand, has received a goodly share of attention, with results such that one might wish it had received none at all.

What we selected

What follows is a working bibliography. Effort has been made to be at once both wide-ranging and discriminating. A large number of well-known and widely-cited titles from Hoover, Harvard and Columbia have been omitted because they are drivel. Numbers of titles have been included to ensure--to a reasonable extent--that there is more than one title covering a given area, so we are not bound to a single source on some crucial question. Thus, while Davies' work on collectivization is bound to figure centrally in research on that question, works by Lewin, Halperin, Miller, Viola, Volin and Jasny serve to cover the same ground and extend the coverage into the mid-1930s. Effort has been made to resist expanding the list for the sake of length. The titles which appear here do so because they each have some particular use, even if in some cases it is a limited one. Particular attention has been given to the titles which have served as standard reference (Baykov, Bergson, Beinstock, etc.) for a previous generation of scholars and polemicists, and the titles (Davies, Kuromiya, etc) which will become the standard references for the next generation. Many works here are included primarily for specific reference and for purposes of cross-verification; it is not expected that it is either necessary or desirable to study this number of works from cover to cover.

The organization of this bibliography undoubtedly leaves much to be desired. The division of sections is sometimes debatable; the assignment of works to one or another section often arbitrary, especially when in choosing between assignment by topic or by period. Ideally, works should be repeated wherever necessary and reference for some works should be by chapter, not just by title. That, however, seemed beyond the scope of the present bibliographic work.

The researcher should thus be warned to look broadly through this bibliography in search of reference material --and to discriminate sharply upon laying hands on said material.

(The above introduction is by the comrades who prepared the bibliography.)

[1] Robert Conquest, The Great Terror, p. 754, cited on p. 5 of Getty's Origins of the Great Purges.

[Back to Top]

A working bibliography on Soviet history

(+) key work

1. Statistical Sources

Lewytzkyj, Boris, The Soviet Union Figures-Facts-Data, Munich: K.G. Saur, 1979. Drawn from contemporary Soviet sources, easier to use than the Soviet originals.

Wheatcroft, S.G. and Davies, R.W. eds., Materials for a balance of the Soviet national economy 1928-30. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1985. Translation of the October, 1932 publication of the Central Administration of Economic Records of the USSR. (+)

2. Documents in English Translation

Bone, Anne, tr., The Bolsheviks and the October Revolution, London: Pluto, 1974. Party and other documents.

Bukharin, Nikolai I., Selected Writings on the State and the Transition to Socialism, Day, Richard D., ed., Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1982

Bunyan, J. and Fisher H.H., eds., The Bolshevik Revolution 1917-18: Documents and Materials, Stanford, 1934.

Daniels, Robert V., ed., A Documentary History of Communism, revised ed., vol 1: Communism in Russia, Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1984. Remake of a 1960 2-volume work. A good quick reference on opposition documents (+)

Degras, Jane, ed., The Communist International 1919-1943: Documents, 3 vols., New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1965. Should be used only where other sources of Comintern documents fail; Degras's selection and excerpting are as slanted as her commentary.

Keep, John, ed., The Debate on Soviet Power, Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1979

Kuibyshev, V.V., Summary of the Fulfillment of the First Five Year Plan (Moscow: Gosplan, 1933)

Lenin, V.I., Collected Works (+)

McNeal, Robert H, ed., Resolutions and Decisions of the CPSU, U of Toronto, 1974 (+)

_____, Guide to the Decisions of the CPSU 1917-1967, U of Toronto, 1972. Described by Getty as invaluable.

Meisel, James H. and Kozera, Edward S., Materials for the Study of the Soviet System, Ann Arbor, 1950

Preobrazhensky, E.A, The New Economics, London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1965. His platform, with an introduction by Nove.

_____, The Crisis of Soviet Industrialization, Filtzer, Donald, ed, Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1979.

Rakovsky, Christian, Selected Writings on Opposition in the USSR 1923-30, Fagan, Gus, ed., London: Alison & Busby, 1980.

Schlesinger, Rudolf, The Family in the USSR, London, 1949

Sokolnikov, Gregory, et al, Soviet Policy in Public Finance, 1917-1928, Stanford, 1931. Translation of the Soviet text. Sokolnikov ran finance under NEP.

Spulber, Nicholas, ed., Foundations of Soviet Strategy for Economic Growth: Selected Soviet Essays, 1924-30, Univ.. of Indiana, 1964. Not to be confused with Spulber's volume of commentary, published under the same title.

Stalin, J.V., Selected Works. Note that some materials were edited for re-publication. Pre-Works editions are more likely to include the original blemishes. (+)

Stalin, J.V., et al., From the First to the Second Five-Year Plan, New York: International, 1933.

Trotsky, Leon, The New Course, Ann Arbor, MI, 1965

_____, Whither Russia: Towards Capitalism or Socialism?, New York, 1926. Also available from Pathfinder in Challenge of the Left Opposition.

Yurolavsky, L.N., Currency Problems and Policy of the Soviet Union, Leonard Parsons 1925. Currency Commissar in the early 20s. Describes currency policy under War Communism and the post-1921 reversal.

3. General Surveys

3A. Soviet History

The works in this section are one volume, surveys, for quick reference on dates, etc. (Hosking and Schuman) or, for those unfamiliar with the history, for getting some orientation. They are of little or no use beyond that.

Fitzpatrick, Sheila, The Russian Revolution 1917-1932, Oxford Univ. Press, 1982. See introduction on Fitzpatrick.

Hosking, Geoffrey, The First Socialist Society, Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1985. A standard British anti-communist work, but OK for quick reference.

Schuman, Frederick L., Soviet Politics at Home and Abroad, New York: Knopf, 1946. Polemical but occasionally useful for quick reference.

Service, Robert, The Russian Revolution 1900-1927, Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press International, 1986. A brief work notable chiefly for its bibliography.

3B. Soviet Economy

Baykov, Alexander, The Development of the Soviet Economic System, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1948. Most authoritative of the earlier works.

Dobb, Maurice, Soviet Economic Development after 1917,6th ed., London: Routledge Kegan Paul, 1966, Dobbs is strongest on NEP, weakest on objectivity.

Nove, Alexander, An Economic History of the USSR, London Allen & Unwin, 1969. Most available work of this type, briefer but has advantage of standing on shoulders of others. (+)

4. Eve and Launching of the First Plan

Carr, E.H., Foundations of a Planned Economy, (+) vol 1, 2 books, (with R.W. Davies) London, 1969; vol 2, London, 1971; vol. 3, 3 books, London, 1974-76

Ehrlich, Alexander, The Soviet Industrialization Debate 1924-28, Cambridge: Harvard, 1960. The standard reference. (+)

Lewin, Moshe, Political Undercurrents in Soviet Economic Debates, Princeton Univ. Press, 1974. Interpretive but important of this type.

Pethybridge, Roger, The Social Prelude to Stalinism, New York: St. Martin's, 1974

Reiman, Michael, The Birth of Stalinism, Bloomington: IUP 1987 (Frankfurt am Main 1979). Mostly diatribe.

NB: See also Chase below (listed under section 22D).

5. Budget, Finance, and Foreign Trade

Arnold, Arthur Z., Banks, Credits, Money in Soviet Russia, New York: Columbia, 1937. A standard reference; covers through 1934. (+)

Baykov, Alexander, Soviet Foreign Trade, Princeton 1946. See also other Baykov title, above in section 3B.

Davies, Robert William, The Development of the Soviet Budgetary System, Cambridge, 1958. A standard reference; covers through 1941. (+)

Holzman, Franklyn D., Soviet Taxation: The Fiscal and Monetary Problems of a Planned Economy, Cambridge: Harvard, 1962. One of the few to focus on tax policy.

Weissenburger, Ulrich, Monetarer Sektor unf Industrialisierung der Sowjetunion 1927-1933, Frankfurt am Main, 1983

6. Central Planning and the Plans

Davies, R.W., The Industrialization of Soviet Russia 3: The Soviet Economy in Turmoil 1929-1930, Cambridge MA: Harvard, 1989. The series continues. (+)

_____, "The Socialist Market: A Debate in Socialist Industry 1932-33" Slavic Review 42:2 (Summer 1984)

_____, "The Ending of Mass Unemployment in the USSR", in Lane, David ed., Labour and Unemployment in the USSR, Sussex, 1986

Davies, R.W. and Wheatcroft, Stephen, "Further Thoughts on the First Soviet Five Year Plan" Slavic Review 34:4 (December 1975)

Jasny, Naum, Soviet Industrialization 1928-52, Chicago: Univ. of Chicago, 1961. Ex-Kerensky minister.

Kirstein, Tanjana, Sowjetische Industrialisierung -- geplanter oder spontaner Prozess?, Baden-Baden, 1979. A study of the Ural-Kuzneck Combine from 1918 to 1930

_____, Die Bedeutungvon Durchfuhrungsentscheidungen in dem zentralistisch verfassten Entscheidungssystem der Sowjetuhion, Berlin, 1984. A study of Magnitorsk.

Lewin, Moshe, "The Disappearance of Planning in the Plan", Slavic Review XXXII, 2 (June 1973)

Zaleski, Eugene, Planning for Economic Growth in the Soviet Union 1918-1932, Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina 1971. The standard contemporary reference. A triumph of data over history. (+)

_____, Stalinist Planning and Economic Growth1932-1952, Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina, 1980.

(See also Baykov above in sections 3B and 5, and the relevant volumes of Carr.)

7. Transportation and Location Policy

Hunter Holland, Soviet Transportation Policy, Cambridge: Harvard, 1957

_____, Soviet Transportation Experience, Washington DC: Brookings, 1968

Koropeckyj, I.S., "The Development of Soviet Location Theory before the Second World War", Soviet Studies, July & Oct 1967

8. The Working Class In the First Five-Year Plan

8A. Key Works

Andrie, V., "How Backward Workers Became Soviet: Industrialization of Labour and the Politics of Efficiency under the Second Five-Year Plan 1933-37", Social History 10:2 (May 1985)

Barber, John, "The Development of Soviet Employment and Labour Policy, 1930-1941", in Lane, David, ed., Labour and Employment in the USSR, New York: New York Univ., 1986. Early 30s labor discipline

_____, "The Standard of Living of Soviet Industrial Workers 1928-1941", in L'industrialization de 1'URSS dans les annries trente, Actes de la Table Ronde organisrie par le Centre d'Etudes des Modes Industrialisation de l'Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Science Sociales (December 10 and 11, 1981), Paris 1982


Chapman, Janet, Real Wages in Russia since 1928, Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1963. Chapman, a RAND consultant, was once oft-cited on real wages.

Dallin, David and Nicolaevsky, Boris, Forced Labour in the Soviet Union, London: Hollis & Carter, 1948; Two old Menshevik leaders. Included here because it is oft-cited.

Filtzer, Donald, Soviet Workers and Stalinist Industrialization. The Formation of Modern Soviet Production Relations 1928-1941, Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1986. Greatly in debt to Socialist Herald. More than a little one-sided.

Kuromiya, Hiroaki, Stalin's Industrial Revolution: Politics and Workers 1928-1932, New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1988. The closest thing to a comprehensiye history of the period. (+)

Rassweiler, Anne D., The Generation of Power: The History of Dnieprosttoi, New York: Oxford Tiniv. Press 1988. Rich in parts (+)

_____, "Soviet Labor Policy in the First Five-Year Plan: the Dnieprostroi Experience", Slavic Review (Summer 1983)

Schwarz, Solomon M., Labour in the Soviet Union, London: Cresset 1953. Classic critique by a menshevik emigre. (+)

Siegelbaum, Lewis H, "Production Collectives and Communes and the Imperatives of Soviet Industrialization 1929-1931", Slavic Review vol. 45 no, 1 (1986)

8B. Eye-Witness Accounts by Westerners

Chamberlin, W. H., Russia's Iron Age, Boston: Little, Brown, 1934

Hindus, Maurice, The Great Offensive, Smith & Haas, 1933, Eyewitness account by a Russian-born journalist.

Scott, John, Behind the Urals, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1942. Eyewitness account of the building of Magnitogorsk.

Smith, Andrew, I Was a Soviet Worker, London 1937

8C. Eye-Witness Accounts from Soviet and Emigre Memoirs

Kopelev, Lev, The Education of a True Believer, New York 1980

Kravchenko, Victor, I Chose Freedom: the Personal and Political Life of a Soviet Official, London: Robert Hale, 1947

9. Agriculture and Collectivization

9A. General Histories

Trapeznikov, S.P., Leninism and the Agrarian and Peasant Question, 2 vols., Moscow: Progress, 1981. Like the philosopher in Candide (everything always works out for the best, in this best of all possible worlds...). Useful, but always heeds verification.

Volin, L., A Century of Russian Agriculture, Harvard, 1970

9B. Eve of the Revolution

Pavlovsky, G.P., Agricultural Russia on the Eve of the Revolution, New York: Howard Fertig, 1968

9C. Agriculture under NEP

Atkinson, D., The End of the Russian Land Commune 1905-1930, Stanford, 1983.

Grosskopf, S., L 'Alliance ouvriere et paysanne en URSS (1921-1928): Le Probleme du ble. Used extensively by both Davies and Bettelheim, some striking citations. (+)

Male, D.J., Russian Peasant Organization before Collectivization, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1971. Widely cited.

Narkiewicz, Olga, The Making of the Soviet State Apparatus, Manchester, 1970. Rural administration under NEP.

Shanin, T., The Awkward Class. Political Sociology of Peasantry in a Developing Society: Russia 1910-1925, London: Oxford, 1972

Taniuchi, Y., The Village Gathering in the mid-1920's, University of Birmingham: Center for Russian and Eastern European Studies, 1968. Translated from the Japanese; apparently published in-house.

9D. Collectivization

I. Key Works

Davies, R.W., The Industrialization of Soviet Russia, vols. 1 & 2, Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1980 (+)

Halpem, I.P., Stalin's Revolution: The Struggle to Collectivize Rural Russia 1927-33, unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Columbia Univ., 1965. Cited extensively by Davies, worth seeing in the original. (+)

Hindus, Maurice, Red Bread, London 1934. Eyewitness account.

Jasny, Naum, The Socialized Agriculture of the USSR, Stanford, 1949. Ex-Kerensky minister, best source for agricultural statistics before Davies, vol 2. (+)

Lewin, Moshe, Russian Peasants and Soviet Power, London: Allen & Unwin, 1968. Widely cited. (+)

Merl, Stefan, Die Anfange der Kollektivierung in der Sowjetunion: der Ubergang zux staatlichen

Reglementierung der Produktions und Markt-bezeihungen in Dorf (1928-1930), Weisbaden, 1985

Miller, Robert F., One Thousand Tractors: the MTS and the Development of Controls in Soviet Agriculture, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1970. Includes brief pictures of the party in the village and the MTS. (+)

Taniuchi, Y., "A Note on the Urals-Siberian Method", Soviet Studies 33 (1981):518-47

Viola, Lynne, The Best Sons of the Fatherland: Workers in the Vanguard of Soviet Collectivization, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1987 (+)

II. The 1932-1933 Crisis

Brower, D.R., "Collectivized Agriculture in Smolensk: the party, the peasantry and the crisis of 1932", Russian Review, vol. 36, no. 2 (April 1977)

Dalrymple, Dana G., "The Soviet Famine of 1932-1934", Soviet Studies, XV, no. 3, pp. 250-284 (Jan 1964)

Wheatcroft, Stephen G., "Famine and Epidemic Crises in Russia 1918-1922: The Case of Saratov", Annales de Demographie Historique, 1983. For comparison to later famines.

III. The Contemporary Debate on Primitive Accumulation

Ellman, Michael, Socialist Planning, Cambridge 1978. Listed here for chapter 4 on agriculture.

_____, "Did the Agricultural Surplus Provide the Resources for the Increase in Investment in the USSR in the First Five Year Plan?", Economic Journal 85 (1975)

Millar, James R., "Mass Collectivization and the Contribution of Soviet Agriculture to the First Five-Year Plan: A Review Article", Slavic Review, XXXIII 4 (December 1974)

_____, "Soviet Rapid Development and the Agricultural Surplus Hypothesis", Soviet Studies, 22 (1970)

_____, "A Reply to Alec Nove", Soviet Studies, 23 (1971)

Millar, James R., and Nove, Alec, "A Debate on Collectivization. Was Stalin Really Necessary?", Problems of Communism, July-August 1976

Nove, A, "The Agricultural Surplus Hypothesis; A Comment", Soviet Studies, 22 (1971)

_____, "A Reply to a Reply", Soviet Studies, 23 (1972)

IV. Comparison of Soviet and Chinese Collectivization

Bernstein, Thomas, "Leadership and Mass Mobilization in the Soviet and Chinese Collectivization Campaigns of 1928-30 and 1955-56"

Gray, Jack, "The Two Roads: Alternative Strategies of Social Change and Economic Growth in China", in S. Schram, ed., Authority, Participation and Cultural Change in China, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1973

Rosenberg, William G. and Young, Marilyn B., Transforming Russia and China: Revolutionary Struggle in the Twentieth Century, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1982

Walker, Kenneth R., "Collectivization in Retrospect", China Quarterly, April-June 1966 1-43

E. Post-war Agriculture

McCauley, M., Khrushchev and the Development of Soviet Agriculture: the Virgin Lands Programme 1953-64, Macmillan, 1976

Ploss, Sidney, Conflict and Decision-making in Soviet Russia: A Case Study of Agricultural Policy 1953-1963, Princeton Univ. Press, 1965

Strauss, E., Soviet Agriculture in Perspective, London: Allen & Unwin, 1969

Wadekin, KE., The Private Sector in Soviet Agriculture, Berkeley: Univ. of California, 1973

See also Potichnyj for rural labor (listed under section 13).

10. Industrial Management

Avrich, Paul H., "The Bolshevik Revolution and Workers' Control in Russian Industry", Slavic Review 22:1 (March 1963)

Azrael, Jeremy R., Managerial Power and Soviet Politics, Cambridge: Harvard, 1966. Oft-cited in contemporary works, one knows not why.

Beinstock, Gregory et al., Management in Russian Industry and Agriculture, Oxford Univ. Press, 1944. Has chapters on the role of party and the trade unions. Oft-cited before Azrael. Tony Cliffs source. (+)

Berliner, Joseph S., Factory and Manager in the USSR, Cambridge: Harvard. Univ. Press, 1957

Granick, David, Management of the Industrial Firm in the USSR, New York: Random House, 1954

Hough, Jerry F., "The Soviet Concept of the Relationship between the Lower Party Organs and the State Administration", Slavic Review, XXIV pp 215-240 (June 1965). On problems of one-person management. (+)

Kuromiya, Hiroaki, "Edinonachalie and the Soviet Industrial Manager 1928-1937", Soviet Studies, 36:2 (April 1984) (+)

Vinogradov, V., Workers' Control over Production, Past and Present, Moscow 1973

See also Fainsod and Hough (listed under section 11); Malle and Remington for War Communism (listed under 22C); Remington's bibliography on workers' control; and Kuromiya's book for more on the First Five Year Plan (listed under section 8A).

11. Workings of the State Apparatus

Fainsod, Merle, Smolensk under Soviet Rule, MacMillan, 1958.

Fainsod, Merle and Hough, Jerry F., How the Soviet Union is Governed, 2nd ed, Cambridge: Harvard, 1979. With Hough's participation, a different picture than Fainsod painted in the 50's.

Rees, E.A, State Control in Soviet Russia: The Rise and Fall of the Workers and Peasants Inspectorate 1920-1934, New York, 1987

Rigby, T.H., "Staffing USSR Incorporated: the origins of the nomenklatura system", Soviet Studies, 40:4 (October 1988)

Rowney, Don K, Transition to Technocracy: The Structural Origin of the Soviet Administrative State, Ithaca: Cornell, 1989. Personnel in 20s and 30s. (+)

Stemheimer, S., "Administration for Development: The Emerging Bureaucratic Elite, 1920-1930", in Pintner, W.K and Rowney, D.K, eds., Russian Officialdom: the Bureaucratisation of Russian society from the seventeenth to the twentieth century, London, 1980 (+)

NB: See also Rigby below for1917-1922 (listed under section 22B); Fitzpatrick on mass promotions to office; Lampert and Baites on engineers-cum-state officials in 30s (listed under section 15).

12. The Red Army

Adelman, Jonathan R., The Revolutionary Armies: the Historical Development of the Soviet and the Chinese People's Liberation Armies, Westport, CT: Greenwopd, 1980. More interesting for the questions it poses than the answers it gives, some useful facts on the composition of the officer corps.

Benvenuti, Francesco, The Bolsheviks and the Red Army 1917-1921, New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1988. New, not yet seen.

Erickson, John, The Soviet High Command: A Military-Political History 1918-1941, New York: Macmillan, 1962. Cited by all writers on subject; the bible of its day. (+)

Kolkowicz, Roman, The Soviet Military and the Communist Party, Princeton, 1967

Von Hagen, Mark, Soldiers in the Proletarian Dictatorship: The Red Army and the Soviet Socialist State 1917-1930, Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1990

White, D. Fedotoff, The Growth of the Red Army, Princeton Univ. Press, 1944. An ex-Czarist officer and diplomat, Tony Cliffs main source on such matters

Wollenberg, Erich, The Red Army, London: Seeker and Warburg 1959. An ex-Red Army officer; White's principal source on the 30's.

13. The Trade Unions

Potichnyj, Peter, Soviet Agricultural Trade Unions 1917-70. Mundane but some useful facts.

Sorenson, J.B., The Life and Death of Soviet Trade Unionism 1917-1928, New York, 1969. Originally a thesis at Columbia. (+)

See also Beinstock, chap 3 (listed under section 10), Dewar (listed under 22D), and Schwarz (listed under section 8).

14. The Party

Getty, J. Arch, Origins of the Great Purges, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1985 (+)

Hill, R.J. and Frank, P., The Soviet Communist Party, London: Allen & Unwin, 1981

Hough, Jerry F., The Soviet Prefects. The Local Party Organs in Industrial Decision-Making, Cambridge, MA: Harvard, 1969

Katz, Zev, Party Schools in the USSR, unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of London, 1957. An important description of internal life in the 1920's, used by both Carr and Schapiro (Katz's mentor).

Rigby, T.H., Communist Party Membership in the USSR 1917-67, Princeton Univ. Press, 1968. The standard reference. (+)

_____, The Selection of Leading Personnel in the Soviet State and Communist Party, unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of London, 1954

Rosenberg, William, "Smolensk in the 1920s: Worker-Party Relations and the Vanguard' Problem", Russian Review, vol. 36, no. 2 (April 1977), pp. 125-150

Schapiro, Leonard, The Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 2nd ed., London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1970. Very anti-communist but crammed with facts. A minefield to be walked through gingerly. Much of the material of value is lifted from Rigby's thesis. (+)

Service, Robert, The Bolshevik Party in Revolution: A Study in Organizational Change 1917-23, Macmillan, 1979. (+)

Dale, Paddy, "The instability of the infant vanguard: worker party members 1928-1932", Soviet Studies vol..35 no. 4 (October 1983)

See also Miller for the countryside (listed under section 9D(i)), Beinstock, chap 2 for the party and industrial management (listed under section 10), and accounts of struggle with the opposition for inner-party life.

15. The Socialist Intelligentsia

Bailes, Kendall E., Technology and Society under Lenin and Stalin, Princeton Univ. Press, 1978. Technical higher education, managers, and engineers. Oft-cited. (+)

Fitzpatrick, Sheila, Education and Social Mobility in the Soviet Union: A Political History of Soviet Education 1921-1934, New York, 1979 (+)

Lampert, Nicholas, The Technical Intelligentsia and the Soviet State, New York, 1979. Less often cited than Bailes but covers privileges, which Bailes omits. (+)

16. Bourgeois Right, Wage Differentials, Privilege

Bergson, Abram, The Structure of Soviet Wages, Cambridge MA: Harvard, 1944. One of several Bergson works; the bible of its day on inequality in distribution. (+)

Ellman, Michael, "A Note on the Distribution of Earnings in the USSR under Brezhnev", Slavic Review 39:4 (December 1980). Also covers 1930.

Granick, David, "Institutional Innovation and Economic Management: The Soviet Incentive System from 1921 to the Present", in Guroff, Gregory and Carstensen, Fred V., eds., Entrepreneurship in Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union, Princeton Univ. Press, 1983; some interesting facts on incentive pay for managers and specialists. Some (but not all) of these are taken from the following work:

_____, Managerial Comparisons of Four Developed Countries: France, Britain, United States and Russia, Cambridge: Harvard, 1972

Inkeles, Aex, Social Change in Soviet Russia, Cambridge MA Harvard, 1968. See especially part 3: social stratification.

Matthews, Mervyn, Privilege in the Soviet Union, London: Alen & Unwin, 1978 (+)

Yanowitch, Murray, "The Soviet Income Revolution ", Slavic Review 22:4 (December 1963)

See also Timasheff and Cliff below (both listed under section 21); see also Lambert and Fitzpatrick for the technical intelligentsia (listed under section 15).

17. Foreign and Comintern Policy

Carr, E.H., Twilight of the Comintern 1930-1935, New York: Pantheon, 1982

Haslam, Jonathan, Soviet Foreign Policy 1930-1933: Impact of the Depression, New York: St. Martins, 1983 (+)

Jackson, George D. Jr., Comintern and Peasant in East Europe 1919-1930, New York: Columbia, 1966. The peasantist tilt in 1924-1926.

Raymond, Paul, Conflict and Consensus in Soviet Foreign Policy 1933-1939, unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Penn. State Univ., 1979

See also the relevant volumes of Carr.

18. Jurisprudence

Berman, Harold J., Justice in the USSR, revised ed., Cambridge: Harvard, 1963

Ritterspom, Gabor, "Soviet Officialdom and political evolution: judiciary apparatus and penal policy in the 1930s", Theory & Society, no. 13 (1984)

Solomon, Peter, "Local Political Power and Soviet Criminal Justice 1922-1941", Soviet Studies, July 1985

_____, Soviet Criminologists and Criminal Policy: Specialists in Policy-Making, New York: Columbia 1978

See also the Sharlet essay in Fitzpatrick, Cultural Revolution in Russia, on the theory of law (listed under section 24)

19. The Status of Women

Geiger, K, The Family in Soviet Russia, Cambridge MA: Harvard, 1968. This, and Schlesinger (listed under section 2), are oft-cited.

Lapidus, Gail Warshofsky, Women in Soviet Society: Equality, Development and Social Change, Berkeley: Univ. of Calif. Press, 1977

Massell, Gregory, The Surrogate Proletariat: Moslem Women and Revolutionary Strategies in Soviet Central Asia 1917-1929, Princeton, 1974


See also Schlesinger, above (listed under Section 2). For the impact of collectivization on rural women, see Maynard, Sir John, Russia in Flux, MacMillan, 1948.

20. The Opposition -- Secondary Sources

Cohen, Stephen F., Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1980. Heavily slanted by the identification of Cohen's career with Bukharin's.

Daniels, Robert V., The Conscience of the Revolution: Communist Opposition in Soviet Russia, Cambridge: Harvard, 1960. Oft-cited. Fitzpatrick regards it as the best of this type. (+)

Day, Richard B., Leon Trotsky and the Politics of Economic Isolation, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1973. Oft-cited, does not share Cohen's problem. (+)

_____, "Trotsky and Preobrazhensky: The Troubled Unity of the Left Opposition", Studies in Comparative Communism, vol. X nos. 1 & 2, Spring/Summer 1977

Getty, J. Arch, "Trotsky in Exile: The Founding of the Fourth International", Soviet Studies, 38:1 (January 1986).

Heitman, Sidney, "Bukharin's Conception of the Transition to Communism in Soviet Russia: An Analysis of His Basic Views, 1923-1928", unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Columbia, 1963

_____, Nikolai I. Bukharin: A Bibliography, Stanford, 1969

21. Critiques of the Period

Cliff, Tony, State Capitalism in Russia, London: Pluto, 1974

Ferro, Marc, Des soviets au communisme bureaucratique: les mechanismes d 'une subversion, Paris: Gallimard/Julliard, 1980

_____, "The birth of the Soviet bureaucratic system", in Elwood, Ralph Carter, ed., Reconsiderations on the Russian Revolution, Cambridge MA: Slavica, 1976

Fitzpatrick, Sheila, "Stalin and the Making of a New Elite, 1928-39", Slavic Review, vol. 38 no. 3 (1979) (+)

Lewin, Moshe, "More Than One Piece Is Missing in the Puzzle", Slavic Review, vol. 44 no. 2 (1885) 239-43

Mao Tsetung, A Critique of Soviet Economics, New York: Monthly Review Press, 1977. Where Bettelheim's ideas begin and end.

McNeal, Robert H., "Trotskyist Interpretations of Stalinism" in Tucker, Robert, ed., Stalinism: Essays in Historical Perspective, New York, 1978. Trotsky's wavering critique.

Nove, Alexander, "Is there a ruling class in the USSR?", Soviet Studies, vol. 27 no. 4 (October 1975)

Rakovsky, Christian, "The Five-Year Plan in Crisis", Critique, no. 13 (1981) pp. 13-53

Rittersporn, Gabor, "Soviet Politics in the 1930s: Rehabilitating Society", Studies in Comparative Communism, Summer 1986

_____, "Rethinking Stalinism", Russian History, vol. 11 no. 4

Ticktin, Hillel H., "Towards a Political Economy of the USSR", Critique, no. l (1973) pp. 20-41

_____, "The Contradictions of Soviet Society and Professor Bettelheim", Critique, no. 6 (1976) pp. 17-45

_____, "The Class Structure of the USSR and the Elite", Critique, no.9 (1978) pp. 37-61

Rousset, David, The Legacy of the Bolshevik Revolution: A Critical History of the USSR vol 1, London: Allison & Busby (originally La Societe Eclatee, 1973)

Timasheff, N. A, The Great Retreat: The Growth and Decline of Communism in Russia, New York: Dutton, 1946. The starting point for Fitzpatrick, et al. (+)

Trotsky, Leon, The Revolution Betrayed, New York, 1936

22. Soviet History 1917-1928

22A. The October Revolution and the Civil War

Abrams, Robert, The local Soviet governments of the RSFSR 1917-1921, unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Columbia Univ., 1966

Anweiler, Oskar, The Soviets: Russian Workers', Peasants' and Soldiers' Councils 1905-21, New York: Pantheon, 1974

Avrich, Paul H., "Russian Factory Committees in 1917", Jahrbucher fur Geschichte Osteuropas, 11(1963):161-82

Bennigsen, A and Wimbush, S., Muslim National Communism in the Soviet Union, Chicago Univ. Press, 1979. Not reviewed.

Chamberlin, William H., The Russian Revolution 1917-1921, New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1965 (1st ed. 1935) 2 vols. Fitzpatrick calls it "still the best".

Gill, Graeme J., Peasants and Government in the Russian Revolution, London, 1979. February to October, 1917.

Ferro, Marc, The Russian Revolution of 1917, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1972

_____, October 1917: A Social History of the October Revolution, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1917

Hunczak, T., ed., The Ukraine 1917-1921: A Study in Revolution, Cambridge MA: Harvard, 1977

Figes, Orlando, "The Village and Volost Soviet Elections of 1919", Soviet Studies, 40:1 (January 1988)

Hasegawa, Tsuyoshi, The February Revolution: Petrograd 1917, Seattle, 1981

Keep, John, The Russian Revolution: A Study in Mass Mobilization, New York, 1976. Shows the revolution in the provinces.

Koenker, Diane, Moscow Workers and the 1917 Revolution, Princeton Univ. Press, 1981. Social history.

Mandel, David, The Petrograd Workers and the Soviet Seizure of Power: From the July Days-1917 to July 1918, New York: St. Martins, 1984

Mosse, W., "Revolution in Saratov (October-November 1917)", Slavonic and East European Review, (October 1981)

Page, Stanley W., "Lenin's April Theses and the Latvian Peasant-Soldiery" in Elwood, Ralph Carter, ed., Reconsiderations on the Russian Revolution 1976

Rabinowitch, Alexander, Prelude to Revolution: The Petrograd Bolsheviks and the July 1917 Uprising, Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press, 1968

_____, The Bolsheviks Come to Power: The Revolution of 1917 in Petrograd, New York: W.W. Norton, 1978

_____, "The Evolution of Local Soviets in Petrograd November 1917 -- June 1918: The Case of the First City District Soviet", Slavic Review, 46:1 (Spring 1987)

Radkey, Oliver H., The Election to the Russian Constituent Assembly in 1917, Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1950. Features a statistical breakdown.

Sakwa, Richard, "The commune state in Moscow in 1918", Slavic Review, 46:3/4 (Fall/Winter 1987)

Smith, S.A, Red Petrograd: Revolution in the Factories 1917-18, New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1983. Shows the factory committees and workers' control in detail. (+)

Suny, Ronald G., The Baku Commune 1917-1918: Class and Nationality in the Russian Revolution, Princeton Univ. Press, 1972

Swietochowski, T., Russian Azerbaijan 1905-1920. The Shaping of a National Identity in a Muslim Community, New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1985

Wade, Rex, Red Guards and Workers' Militias in the Russian Revolution, Stanford Univ. Press, 1984

_____, "The Rajonnye Sovety of Petrograd: The Role of Local Political Bodies in the Russian Revolution", Jahrbucherfur Geschichte Osteuropas, 20:2 (June 1972)

22B. Building the State and Party 1918-1922

Adelman, Jonathan R., "The development of the Soviet Party apparat in the Civil War: Center, localities and nationality areas", Russian History, 9:1 (1982)

Benvenuti, Francesco, The Bolsheviks and the Red Army 1917-1921, New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1988

Leggett, G., The Cheka: Lenin's Political Police. The All- Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution and Sabotage (December 1917 to February 1922), New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1971

Rigby, T.H., Sovnarkom: Lenin's Government 1917-1922, New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1979 (+)

Service, Robert, The Bolshevik Party in Revolution: A Study in Organizational Change 1917-23, New York: Macmillan, 1979. (+)

22C. War Communism and the Turn to NEP

Chase, William, "Voluntarism, Mobilization and Coercion: Subbotniki 1919-1921", Soviet Studies, 41:1 (January 1989)

Lih, Lars T., Bread and Authority in Russia 1914-1921, Berkeley: Univ. of Calif., 1990


Malle, Silvana, The Economic Organization of War Communism 1918-1921, New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1985 (+)

Patenaude, Bertrand Mark, Bolshevism in Retreat: The Transition to the New Economic Policy 1920-1922, unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Stanford, 1976

Remington, Thomas F., Building Socialism in Bolshevik Russia: Ideology and Industrial Organization 1917-1921, Univ. of Pittsburgh, 1984

_____, "Institution Building in Bolshevik Russia: The Case of 'State Kontrol' ", Slavic Review, no. 41, pp. 91-103 (Spring 1982). Has a bibliography on factory committees and workers' control.

22D. Workers under NEP

Dewar, Margaret, Labor Policy in the USSR 1917-1928, New York, 1956. Oft-cited. (+)

Chase, William J., Workers, Society and the Soviet State: Labor and Life in Moscow 1918-1929, Univ. of Illinois Press, 1987. Also important for material on the workers in the launching of First Five-Year Plan. (+)

See also relevant volumes of Carr; Bettelheim's Class Struggles in the USSR, vol 1; Rigby's work on party membership (listed under section 14); Sorenson's work on trade unions (listed under section 13); Schwarz's work on labor (listed under section 8); and original documents on the handling of debates with the various oppositions.

22E. Other Political Trends

Brovkin, Vladimir, The Mensheviks after October: Socialist Opposition and the Rise of the Bolshevik Dictatorship, Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1987

Radkey, Oliver, The Sickle under the Hammer: The Russian Social-Revolutionaries in the Early Months of Soviet Rule, New York, 1963

23. Post-World War II to 1953

Dunmore, Timothy, The Stalinist Command Economy: The Soviet State Apparatus and Economic Policy, 1945-53, New York: MacMillan, 1980

Hahn, Werner, Postwar Soviet Politics: The Fall of Zhdanov and the Defeat of Moderation, Ithaca: Cornell, 1982

McCagg, William O., Stalin Embattled 1943-48, Detroit: Wayne State, 1978

24. Selected Studies on Cultural Questions

24A. Historical Periods and General Surveys

Fitzpatrick, Sheila, The Commissariat of Enlightenment Soviet Organization of Education and the Arts under Lunacharsky October 1917-1921, New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1971

_____, "The 'Soft' Line on Culture and Its Enemies: Soviet Cultural Policy 1922-1927", Slavic Review, June 1974

_____ed., Cultural Revolution in Russia 1928-1931, Bloomington: IUP 1978

See also Timasheffs Great Retreat (listed under section 21).

24B. Education

Fitzpatrick, Sheila, Education and Social Mobility in the Soviet Union: A Political History of Soviet Education 1921-1934, Cambridge: Harvard, 1979

Anweiler, Oskar, Geschichte der Schule und Padagogik in Russland vom Ende des Zahrenreiches bis zum Beginn der Stalin-Ara, Berlin, 1964

Lane, David, "The Impact of Revolution on the Selection of Students for Higher Education: Soviet Russia

1917-1928", Sociology (1973)

24C. Literature and Art

Brown, E. J., The Proletarian Episode in Russian Literature 1928-1932, New York, 1953

Dunham, Vera S., In Stalin's Time. Middleclass Values in Soviet Fiction, London, 1976. The post-war novel.

Taylor, R., The Politics of the Soviet Cinema 1917-1929, Cambridge, 1979

24D. Natural Sciences in General

Graham, Loren R., The Soviet Academy of Sciences and the Communist Party 1917-1932, Princeton Univ. Press, 1967

_____, Science and Philosophy in the Soviet Union, London: Allen Lane, 1973

Joravsky, David, Soviet Marxism and Natural Science, 1917-1932, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1961

24E. The Lysenko Affair

Joravsky, David, The Lysenko Affair, Cambridge: Harvard, 1970

Lecourt, Dominique, Proletarian Science? The Case of Lysenko, NLB, 1977

Levins, Richard & Lewontin, Richard, The Dialectical Biologist, Cambridge MA Harvard, 1985

24F. Other Fields

Barber, John, "The Establishment of Intellectual Orthodoxy in the USSR 1928-1934", Past and Present, 82 (1979) 141-64

_____, Soviet Historians in Crisis 1928-1932, New York, 1981

[Back to Top]

Down with the Coup! Support Haitian Workers!

From Boston Worker, voice of the MLP-Boston:

On Monday, September 30 a military junta took power in Haiti, overthrowing the elected government. This coup is a sign of a sharpening class struggle between a small wealthy ruling class and the desperately poor worker and peasant majority. The military in Haiti was part of the dictatorial regime of the hated Duvalier family that ruled Haiti for decades until Baby Doc Duvalier was chased out of the country by an uprising in 1986. Father-Aristide was a populist priest who was overwhelmingly elected President last December with the support of the poor. But Father Aristide was not a revolutionary. While he favored some reforms of benefit to the poor, he did not direct the energy of the masses toward breaking the stranglehold of the exploiters and reactionaries have on society. The power of the military was not broken, neither were the paramilitary Duvalierist gangs known as the Ton Ton Macoutes. Instead Aristide hoped to "marry" the army to the people. He toned down his more radical demands in hopes of placating the wealthy and the Bush Administration in the US. But the wealthy classes and their military henchmen bided their time and now they have struck back without mercy against Aristide and the Haitian masses.

The Haitian people however have not bowed down to these new dictators. Despite the most brutal massacres by the army, the poor in Haitian cities have mounted protests and fought the police and army in the streets. Even a week after the coup, the army cannot claim total control of the country. Haitian immigrants in the US have come out in the streets by the tens of thousands in Boston, New York, Washington and Miami to protest the coup.

Meanwhile President Aristide has been forced into exile and has called on the Haitian people to practice non-violence in the face of the coup. He has appealed to the Organization of American States, the UN and George Bush to help restore him to power. Unfortunately President Aristide's advice is a dead end for the Haitian people. Peacefully submitting to the coup will only give the military time to consolidate their power.

On the other hand the OAS, the UN and the US government in whom Father Aristide has put his faith are a pack of wolves. The US government is an imperialist government which trained the Haitian military and for years helped US corporations and wealthy Haitians grow fat off the labor and poverty of the Haitian people. The OAS and UN are both organizations of capitalist and imperialist governments and are both dominated by the US which is presently the dominant world power.

Bush's real intentions

When Aristide was first elected, Bush was extremely hostile to him and to his appeals for aid. If today Bush is talking about restoring Aristide as President, it is because he does not think the military can control the Haitian people alone. If Aristide is restored to power by US or OAS military or diplomatic action Aristide will be beholden to Bush. Aristide will have his wings clipped. The military and the Ton Ton Macoutes will be kept intact as a club against the masses. The Haitian masses will be kept in poverty and the power of wealth will run rampant over the people. At the same time if the military and the Haitian businessmen prove capable of stabilizing the situation without Aristide, Bush will happily drop even verbal condemnation of the coup. Such are the real intentions of Bush and the imperialists who pretend to suddenly be concerned about democracy in Haiti.

The Haitian people will be their own liberators!

Only the Haitian masses can break the chains of exploitation and bring, real democracy to Haiti. The Haitian masses need to rely on their own strength to build a revolutionary movement which can unleash the energy of the workers and poor and truly sweep away the coup and all the Duvalierist institutions from the army to the Ton Ton Macoutes. Here in the US all workers should join the Haitian immigrants in building a solidarity movement with the struggle in Haiti. Denounce the coup! Denounce Bush's efforts to use the coup to control Haiti! Haitian and American workers, unite against our common exploiters!

[Back to Top]

Racist police infect the country

Even the medical examiner called it murder

The slaying of 21-year-old Federico Pereira was so brutal that even a New York City medical examiner had to rule it homicide. But who were the murderers that handcuffed, kicked, choked and beat him to death on February 5?

They were five of New York's "finest," outstanding members of the racist goon squad known as the New York City Police Department.

The fact of the medical examiner's ruling did not, however, stand in the way of allowing them to continue in their "duties." Four of the bloodstained cops have already had charges against them dropped by the courts. The fifth is expected to go free also.

But the people of Federico's community are not accepting his murder, and the exoneration of the cops, in silence. They are organizing to protest the racism of the police and courts.

[Back to Top]

New Orleans cops "Investigate" their own crimes

Imagine having white killers doing the investigation of the murder of their black victims! Imagine a news media so racist and eager to protect the killers, it concocts a lurid tale claiming the 16-year-old victim was a "terrorist"! But this is not a story of South Africa. It is the everyday story of the New Orleans police and news media.

On August 24, Cory Horton and three friends were driving in a rented van when they were pulled over by the ever-present police. The cops claimed the van was reported stolen. Witnesses say that, in the course of interrogation, the police pulled Cory from the van. Throwing him to the ground, one of the cops put his boot on Cory's neck. Witnesses also claim Cory was unarmed and made no motion for a gun. From six to nine shots split the air, and Cory was dead from a bullet in his head.

Cory was not the only victim of police brutality. Sixteen- year-old Althia Smith was shown later in a film on CNN struggling with cops. Witnesses say she too was pulled from the van and flung to the ground. Pregnant, she suffered a miscarriage two days later at Charity Hospital.

A storm of protest swept the community in the days that followed. On August 31, a crowd of 300 people rallied to protest the atrocities. They were also angered by the city's response of keeping the four cops involved on the payroll and assigning two of them to investigate the murder. On September 1, over 600 people marched and rallied at the intersection where the killing too place.

[Back to Top]

What is the deadliest gang ever to hit the streets of Los Angeles

Here's the slogan it used in 1988 to get new recruits: "Join the largest gang in the country, the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department." Like the LA. Police Department, the County Sheriffs Department is a giant racist gang abusing the masses. It is right now facing a series of lawsuits and an investigation by Amnesty International for its racist murders and beatings.

One thing that has come to light about the Sheriffs Department is that it is riddled with smaller racist gangs. The Vikings of the Lynwood Sheriffs Station, the Pirates of Firestone Station, the Wayside Whities of the Wayside Honor Rancho Jail, The Insane Deputy Gang at Pritchess Honor Rancho Jail, and the Cavemen of the East L.A Sheriffs station.

Like street gangs, the deputy gangs are tattooed with their symbol. The Vikings tattoo their legs with the head of a Norse warrior, presumably signifying for them blond, blue-eyed Aryan purity. Meanwhile, the East L.A Cavemen tattoo their legs with the head of a caveman with flies buzzing around it. Each fly signifies someone they have brutalized.

According to David Lynn, a private investigator who has been following deputy gangs for two years, "The Vikings was the original, all-white crew, but later did include Latinos if they went along with the group's M.O. [modus operandi, or method of operation]--which is basically to beat up on minorities. It has grown from white supremacists to include Latinos who are willing to beat and brutalize their own people."

Sheriffs officials do not deny the existence of the gangs. But they cover up their acts of brutality by claiming they are "social groups" or "sports clubs." The department refused to investigate complaints against the deputies. And when deputies were caught in acts of racist brutality, they were transferred, not taken off the streets or prosecuted.

Right now there is a lawsuit charging that at least 70 individuals have been abused by the Vikings in 40 separate incidents within a 100-day period in early 1990. Another lawsuit charges brutality in another 20 incidents in the Lynwood area.

[Back to Top]


There was no separate Sept. issue of the Supplement; it is combined with this Oct. issue.

[Back to Top]

"Lambs of Christ" snap at North Dakota's only abortion clinic

Wolves in sheep's clothing

Excerpted from a report sent in by a comrade:

The Fargo Women's Health Organization is the only clinic which performs legal abortions in the entire state of North Dakota, as well as serving women from western Minnesota and northeastern South Dakota. For months, the clinic has been under constant and massive assault from the "Lambs of Christ", a right-wing, fundamentalist group, led by Rev. Norman J. Weslin. This group has ties with the Wichita, Kansas anti-abortion crazies, and imports demonstrators from all over the country.

On May 31, the Lambs stormed the Fargo clinic and barricaded themselves inside using pipes, clips and 200-lb. metal boxes. 16 Lambs were arrested for criminal trespassing and resisting arrest. But this grandstand play was only the culmination of months of previous harassment, and more than 100 Lambs have been arrested in subsequent attacks over the summer. Those released routinely break sentencing restrictions, or won't stay at least 500 feet away from the clinic.

Now the Lambs are planning something really big. They are boasting about a massive assault campaign to last until Christmas. Spokesman Chet Gallagher warned, "The body of Christ in Wichita, Kansas will come to pay a visit to Fargo, North Dakota. We will never stop rescuing babies." In addition to weekly "rescue rallies," the Lambs are organizing youth rallies to train their children in guerrilla tactics, called "Teens Rescuing Unborn Tiny Humans." They say they will launch the teens in a major action in October.

However, the Fargo community is gearing up to meet this vicious campaign. Fargo citizens are enraged at the anti-people violence of this group and disgusted by their tactics. Even local pro-lifers are not able to swallow the Lambs' exploitation of their own children. Pro-choice demonstrations and clinic defenses against the Lambs have been taking place regularly. These are steadily gaining in numbers, and more are planned for fall. Meanwhile clinic workers are determined to keep the clinic open and conduct business as usual.

The Fargo Women's Health Organization is a small, brave clinic fighting to survive in an isolated, conservative area which needs its services desperately. Pro-choice activists must support this clinic and rally to its defense.

[Back to Top]

More demonstrations against "Cracker Barrel" bigotry

Excerpted from the October 12 issue of Detroit Workers' Voice, paper of the MLP-Detroit:

On October 6, a militant demonstration of 175 gay rights activists confronted over 100 riot police in front of the newly opened Cracker Barrel restaurant in Belleville, Michigan. This was the second demonstration in a week against this Cracker Barrel Restaurant and its national policy of firing and barring from employment anyone suspected of being homosexual. The protest was successful in exposing the restaurant's bigotry and in shutting them down for close to two hours during their Sunday brunch.

Police defend bigotry of Cracker Barrel

From the start Cracker Barrel has taken a position of trying to crush any protests in Belleville. And the police has shown enthusiasm to carry this out and defend their reactionary policy. Close to 12 different police departments have co-ordinated their efforts to try to intimidate the protesters with over 100 of their goons in riot gear.

At the demonstration on October 6 the police, without warning, attacked the protesters, pushing them off the street and into a gully. As the demonstrators resisted, the police poked and hit people with their clubs. The cops then lined up along the edge of the curb to prevent the protesters from moving back onto the street. The activists denounced the police at length for their brutality and for the fact that they had no badges or name plates on [or had covered them with black tape].

Despite this attack, and the arrest of six people, the demonstration was able to retake the street. Its militant picket continued, shouting slogans against both Cracker Barrel and the goons who defend them.

[Back to Top]

Against the economic squeeze

Auto workers defend organizing drive

Some 700 auto workers blocked a road for an hour September 24 in support of an organizing drive at Colonel's Inc. in Owosso, Michigan. The boisterous protest denounced Colonel's lockout of 37 union activists and the hiring of replacement scabs. Colonel's also spread two truckloads of manure where workers had been picketing the bumper-making plant and had ordered a truck equipped with a snow plow to drive through the picket line.

Despite Colonel's blatant attempt to drive workers away from the union organizing effort, the National Labor Relations Board has yet to do a thing. The workers have decided to take up more militant action. As one worker put it, "There comes a time when you've got to bypass the NLRB."

Rally to keep GM plant open

More than 300 GM workers rallied in the parking lot of the GM plant in Van Nuys, California August 31. They protested the planned shutdown of the assembly line and the layoff of 3,500 workers next year. The workers have repeatedly given up concessions to GM to keep the plant open. But each time GM has come back demanding more. Not helping out the auto millionaires, but struggle against them--that's the only way for the workers to defend themselves.

Textile workers organize

Workers at the Toluca Garment Company held a three- day strike in support of an organizing drive in Toluca, Illinois. The bosses tried to buy anti-union support by giving raises to a handful of workers, but this outraged most workers and led to a spontaneous walkout. This spirited action forced the company to allow the holding of a union election.

Meanwhile, in Rockwood, Tennessee, workers had failed to win union representation two years ago at Rockwood S Sportswear. However, this year their drive was so successful the company agreed to recognize the union without even holding an election.

Teachers strike across the country

With the opening of the school year, thousands of teachers went on strike in 13 states. There are 19 strikes in Pennsylvania alone. There are also major strikes n Rhode Island, New Jersey, Michigan and Illinois. As well, Chicago teachers are poised to go on strike at the end of September. Everywhere teachers are being pressed by state budget j crises and demands for wage freezes, other cutbacks, and layoffs.

Los Angeles teachers want action against cutbacks

The public schools are being devastated in California. The Los Angeles schools in particular are facing bigger class sizes, teacher layoffs, cutbacks, etc.

A special union meeting for substitute teachers was called by the Substitute Division of the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) on August 24. Almost 300 teachers flooded into the meeting. There was an atmosphere of anger and many speakers denounced the do-nothing policy of the UTLA leadership.

The UTLA leaders can spout as many fine words as one likes, but they advise the teachers to sit on their hands and rely on lobbying the legislature. They break up labor solidarity by replacing the struggle against cutbacks with the demand that other workers should be squeezed instead of teachers. And when 1,200 teachers were laid off last year, they shrugged because, in the words of the UTLA bulletin of August 20 this year, "we were prohibited, by state code, from defending (them)".

But last month the Los Angeles Board of Education voted to eliminate another 800 teaching positions, and to increase class size by three in elementary school. This outraged the teachers who flooded to the UTLA meeting. They greeted UTLA top officials with cat-calls and boos. Even the UTLA officials split, with lower-level ones denouncing the policy of the UTLA top leaders. A top UTLA leader fled the meeting, whining that it "was unprofessional and unethical to attack union leaders like that". The union is upset, and UTLA's leadership is trying to spread the idea that there are "groups that want to split the union" and that are troublemakers, divisive, etc.

The Teachers Action Network (TAN) took part in this meeting. Later it put out the first issue, September-October 1991, of Teacher Action, its new newsletter.

TAN was originally formed from teachers opposed to the Gulf War, but it now deals with the cutbacks. It calls for action and criticizes the UTLA leaders, and it officially stands for "solidarity between teachers, parents, students, and classified workers as the best means of reforming public education." (From "What Is TAN?" in Teacher Action) At the same time, it is not clear on what type of movement it wants, what it can expect from the current union, or how what's happening to the teachers fits into the broader picture. Yet its existence is another sign of the growing discontent and of the existence of teachers who want a mass struggle.


Student protests

On September 3, thousands of high school students in, Dallas, Texas were joined by teachers and parents in protesting the layoff of 300 teachers.

The students walked out of their classrooms en masse and marched to the school district headquarters. Police clad in riot gear confronted them. Six students were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct--the "crime" of defending their right to a decent education.

In Chicago, on the opening day of classes, over 100 parents and students from the Chicago Metro high school picketed the board of education offices. Chicago Metro was one of six schools closed as a result of brutal budget cuts which included teacher layoffs and a wage freeze for school employees.

Meanwhile, President Bush gave a speech telling parents to "blame themselves" for falling SAT scores and the crisis in the schools.

[Back to Top]

Health care: cutbacks for the poor, to pay for more cream for the rich

The following articles are from a recent issue of Boston Worker, voice of the MLP-Boston:

No to the wage and hiring freeze at Beth Israel

The Beth Israel (BI) Hospital administration has just announced a three-month wage increase deferment. Each employee will not receive his or her raise for three months after the yearly review. This will average out to 20 hours of pay being cut from each worker. Also, the range of raises has been cut from 0 to 10% down to 0 or 4%, another cut. Health insurance rates are being raised on January 1, both weekly costs and co-payments. On top of all this, there is now a six-month hiring freeze, leaving 140 jobs unfilled, which will mean more work for everyone.

The reason given for the cuts is the severe cutbacks in government health care spending, in Medicare, Medicaid and the state funds for the uninsured. BI gets over 50% of its funding from the government, and these cuts are hitting hospitals very hard. The federal and state governments are spending billions to help out the S&L bankers, to help the oil corporation interests in the Middle East, to pay off Wall Street bond speculators and to cut the tax rates for the rich. To pay for all this, health care is on the chopping block.

Just as the government is taking care of the rich, the BI administration is taking care of its own. BI President Rabkin just got a nice raise from $357,000 to $463,000 a year, a cool 305 hike! (Boston Herald, August 31) Health care for the workers is cut back, health care workers are under attack, but health care corporate executives are the highest paid of all executives, averaging $1.2 million a year. (Boston Globe) Like any other industry under capitalism, the workers are being squeezed for the profits, interests and fortunes of the wealthy few.

The cuts at BI are part of the growing cutbacks throughout the health care industry. The cuts in Medicare are bound to continue as Republicans and Democrats hand over the projected $500 billion to the S&L bankers. Concessions and speedup are the order of the day in every hospital. The spokesmen for the wealthy, from Bush to Rabkin, say we should tighten our belts, make sacrifices, and sooner or later the economy will turn around. But we say no, the rich must pay. Hospital workers need to get organized and link up with all workers facing health care cuts. It is time to organize struggle to protect our pay and benefits, our medical coverage and our jobs.

Healthcare profiteering continues

So who isn't suffering from the government cuts in health care? Why are health care costs skyrocketing?

In Boston, here are a few examples of people employed in hospitals--the CEOs [chief executive officers]--who aren't being forced to 'tighten their belts":

J. Scott Abercrombie, University Hospital,

got a raise of $109,799, now makes $390,326

Mitchell Rabkin, Beth Israel,

got a raise of $96,207, now makes $463,707

Elaine Ullan, Faulkner Hospital,

got a raise of $88,082, now makes $248,478

J. Robert Buchanan, Massachusetts General,

got a $62,105 raise, now makes $337,155.

Nor is there any crisis in health care on the stock market. A mutual fund called Select Health Care just came out as the top money-maker for ten-year mutual funds. It is made up of stocks in pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and also invests in medical technology and hospital supplies and services. In ten years it has run up a total return of 760.6% (Boston Globe, 7/12/91)

Second quarter returns are in for the major pharmaceutical companies: Warner Lambert's profits went up 14.9%, Schering-Plough's up 16.2%, Mariton Merrel Dow, up 24.6% and Baxter International, a leading hospital supply company, up 28.2% (New York Times, 7/18/91)

If you are a hospital CEO or a big investor in the drug and hospital supply companies, you're doing alright with the "crisis in health care"! Clearly, capitalist system of delivering health care is a boon for the rich and a disaster for the rest of us!

[Back to Top]

CIA agents, out of the classroom!

Students and faculty at Seattle University, a Catholic school, were up in arms in July over the teaching appointment of a CIA agent, Thomas Lauer. They formed a group called "Seattle CIA off Campus Coalition". The faculty senate itself voted against Lauer. And in mid-September the administration gave up, and dropped the CIA agent from the staff.

Provost John Eshelman said: "Very simply, we continued to assess the situation and came to the conclusion that the potential difficult situation for Dr. Lauer and the disruption to the educational process here were just greater than the value of having Dr. Lauer here for a few courses." Translated, the administration sees nothing wrong with having students indoctrinated by the CIA, but the prospect of campus protest made it a "potentially difficult situation." As Eshelman admitted: "There were indications there would be protest demonstrations".

But CIA agents continue to teach at other schools under the CIA's officer-in-residence program. It began in 1985 with the purpose of getting the CIA more accepted by students and the academic world. Lauer, and presumably the other agents, are paid by the CIA for their time at the colleges. Thus their "teaching" is a paid CIA assignment. At least 11 other CIA agents are known to be involved, and this does not include clandestine CIA contacts with schools, which are far more extensive than this.

[Back to Top]

Gus Hall looks to the heavens for salvation

A comrade from Chicago sends us the following wry comment:

Gus Hall [of the 'Communist' Party, USA which defended all the revisionist, state-capitalist regimes as "socialist"] made one of his rare public appearances, here in Chicago last week. Since The Workers' Advocate has been carrying a lot of news and analysis on the collapse of the revisionist regimes of Eastern Europe, I thought you might be interested in what the leader of the CPUSA has to say. I got this from some friends who went. They said that most of his speech was in his paper, People's Weekly World. You may want to check it out.

Briefly, there's two crises in the world: the crisis of capitalism and the crisis of socialism. The crisis of socialism doesn't have anything to do with the crisis of capitalism. Capitalism is a doomed system. The crisis of socialism stems from bad management.

His speech was peppered with many gems, like that we should look to North Korea, Vietnam and Cuba as the last bastions of this socialism. He came across as a demoralized man looking for hope where he can find it. But in his desperate search for hope, planet Earth isn't sufficient. Here's a gem that didn't make it into the paper. Gus Hall lectured his audience on some lessons from astronomy. Astronomers tell us that there must be trillions of inhabited worlds in the universe. He is certain that on none of them do they allow capitalism to exist. Earth is an oddball planet. He fully expects the rest of the universe to form an inter-planetary brigade to straighten us out.

And all this time, Gus Hall's been a closet Trekki. Have we been wrong calling him a revisionist when he's been handing us Star Trek Socialism? But Capt. Gus, aren't you forgetting the Prime Directive -- noninterference in a planet's natural development!?! Perhaps he expects the Communists from the Red Planet to be just like "our" imperialism, to spout pretty principles, then interfere, dominate, bully and terrorize anyway.

I heard this tale [from friends who went to hear Gus Hall] in a fitting setting. While Gus drifts off into outer space, content to wait for an Interplanetary Red Brigade to save him, a couple hundred of us were out in front of the American Women's Health Center, confronting a bunch of anti-choice fanatics. We're looking to the class struggle, right here on planet Earth, to settle our scores with our age old oppressors. This is our hope.

Best regards, M., Chicago

P.S. If you're not interested in this bit, I was thinking of sending it to the National Inquirer.

[Back to Top]

The economic situation, and the mass movement, in the Dominican Republic

Comrade Ernesto from New York visited the Dominican Republic earlier this year. Below are his observations and views, edited for publication.

The condition of the masses has worsened. The prices of basic consumer goods--food, clothing, shoes, utilities, etc. --has almost tripled in the last year. A basket of goods to cover the basic needs of housing, food, clothing, utilities and transportation for a family of four, according to analysts that I have had the opportunity to see, costs nearly eight thousand Dominican pesos a month. The monthly wage for government employees is six hundred Dominican pesos.

The gap between family needs and family income continues to widen. And the tendency is to get worse. In particular, with the imminent signing of a new agreement between the Balaguer government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the masses can expect nothing but higher prices and more unemployment.

Recently, however, there has been what one may call an improvement in the exchange rate of the Dominican peso as compared to the U.S. dollar. Some five months ago, the official rate was $12.50 Dominican pesos per dollar, while the black market would pay even $15.00 Dominican pesos per dollar. But there has been a decrease in the rate. Even though the official rate remains the same, the black market won't pay more than $12.50, and on certain days it may pay less. The day before my departure, private banks were paying $12.30 pesos, $0.20 pesos less than the official rate.

What has been the impact on the economy of this temporary recovery of the Dominican peso? There has been a reduction for certain goods, like construction materials. For example, a bag of 96 pounds of construction cement costs $48.00 Dominican pesos on the average, compared to $60.00 Dominican pesos some seven months ago.

As far as basic goods, like rice, milk, beans, plantains and other agricultural produce, there has been what seems to be a temporary stabilization of prices the last two months. However, the fact remains that today's prices of basic goods are about triple what they were a year ago.

As well, the basic utilities services continue to be chaotic. Water is scarce and the supply of electrical power continues to be in crisis. This last fact is important, given that the government tried to blame the electricians' national union (SITRACODE), for the crisis in electricity, and used this as a pretext to justify firing over 2,300 electrical workers last year. In this regard, I should add that some of the charges made by the government against many of the leaders of the electricians' union were true, according to some people that I talked to. A bureaucracy was building in SITRACODE. Some of the leaders had special privileges like official cars and handguns assigned to them. There was some corruption in the sense that some leaders were playboys, having two and three girlfriends. This last aspect may sound irrelevant but has been used by the official propaganda against the union. These were charges, although exaggerated by the government, that some union leaders were using the union and official vehicles and facilities for personal use.

This brings us to the question of the situation of the trade union movement and the popular movement, as part of the political situation.

After the heavy blow to the workers movement of the destruction of the telephone union in the mid-1980s, by combined action of the government, imperialist ITT (proprietor of the telephone company), and the rotten policies of PCT (Communist Party of Labor), the hopes of the militant workers were centered around SITRACODE.

The destruction of this union has put the workers movement totally on the defensive. Union busting has become the norm, and the remaining organization among the major industries, the minor sector for example, has turned very passive, and are subject to the dictates of the official opposition, such as (Juan Bosch's Dominican Party of liberation) PLD and the (one-time ruling party, the social- democratic Dominican Revolutionary Party) PRD, which have more influence than others. But even their influence is not decisive. Disorganization and frustration reign among the workers.

As a result of the demoralization brought by the disappearance of the most militant trade unions, the trade union associations like CGT, CUT (associated with PCT), CTM (associated with the PLD), UGTD (associated with PRD), etc., have lost almost every aspect of real workers' representation. There is no life in them. What remains of them are small groups of activists with organizational ties with the left or the official opposition.

Finding themselves without a rank and file to base their work on, the above trade union associations decided several months ago to form a single trade union federation, and that's how the United Workers Association (Central de Trajadores Unitaria, the CTU) came to be. This organization was a formal compromise between the left and the official opposition. The current president of CTU is a PRD guy, Jacinto de los Santos. His presidency will last for the first year, and then he will be replaced by, I think, Nelsida Marmolejos, a PLD woman and legislative representative. Thereafter, someone else probably from the left (perhaps the PCT or PTD) will take the presidency.

Aside from the CTU, there is still a small faction of the CGT (without ties to the workers), and two similarly lifeless entities called CASC and CNTD, this last one with ties to the AFL-CIO.

The CTU, however, is the one with most militancy to it. The CTU was the one behind the last two general strikes, along with the Coordinadora Nacional Popular (the part of the popular movement at the hands of the PCT). These strikes counted on the support of another part of the popular movement at the hands of a PTD faction, named the Collective of Popular Organizations (El Colectivo de Organizaciones Populares). The last few years have seen a series of general strikes, most of which have been effective in stopping the economy for several days. However, that's all there has been to them. They have not been able to get the government to give into the basic demands put forward by the movement, for several reasons. Among them is that the leaders of the movement are very reformist, and in many instances have negotiated with the government to end the strikes based on promises made by the president. The masses can see almost nothing as a result of these general strikes. A sense of frustration and of having been sold out by the leaders of the movement have spread widely among the population.

But given that the living conditions of the masses have worsened so much in the last few years, they still respond to certain calls to fight the policies of the Balaguer regime. That's why there were two successful general strikes in the first two weeks of July, the first called by El Colectivo, and the second by CTU and La Coordinadora. This second strike was called for an indefinite period of time: it would force Balaguer to give in or the country would remain paralyzed. From what I gathered, it seems like the people got ready for this general strike. People bought as much food and other basic supplies as they could, and the mood was good.

But just after the strike got under way the organizers said that the strike was going to be only for 48 hours, July 9 and 10.

After the people spent almost everything they had to get ready for this strike, and got no results, the frustration became general. Almost everywhere I went the people expressed doubts about the leaders of the CTU and of the popular movement in general. They suggested that the leaders sold them out, that the leaders called off. the strike in exchange for personal favors from the government.

It was obvious that the general strike called for July 29, 30, and 31 was not going to be successful. Even some people from the movement, who I saw two days before the strike, anticipated a failure. But everyone was hoping that a miracle would take place. Why do I say a miracle? Because this was the least organized strike I ever saw. There was not a single leaflet to be seen anywhere agitating for the strike. Not a demonstration, not a picket line. Given that the strike of July 9 and 10 was successful, it seems like the organizers thought that they actually had the power to strike for the third time in a month. They based themselves on a press conference held right after the previous strike, when they announced the one for July 29- 31. They lost contact with the people, and they harvested failure.

On July 29th, things were about 50% of normal in Santo Domingo. In some other cities, the strike was about 70% effective. But in most places it was a total fiasco. By early morning on the 30th, everything was normal everywhere, !! and the organizers were forced to call a press conference "to call off the strike." The fact is that the strike called itself off. Two days after the aborted strike, I saw a friend of mine who is in PRD and one of the cadres of a section of the popular movement oriented towards the PRD called the Committees of Popular Action (Juntas de Accion Popular, JUNTAPO). My friend told me that inside the Executive Committee of PRD there was a lot of debate the day before over whether to go ahead with the strike or call it off. Some PRD leaders had the feeling that things were not going well, and suggested that they could use the fact that the doctors' strike, which had been going on for about two and a half months already, was about, after some negotiations with the government, to come to an end. They would say that the movement was going to call off the strike to give negotiations a chance, and would still be in a good position. But Jacinto de los Santos, president of the CTU and spokesperson for the Strike Committee, insisted on maintaining the call to strike. That position prevailed. And the results are already known.

The same friend of mine told me that people in CTU from the left and PLD also had some doubts about the possibilities of the strike to be successful. But no one wanted to be accused of hesitation. That's what he said.

The failure of this strike has increased the sense of frustration in the people, and I think that it is going to take some time before the movement can recover from this.

With this failure, Balaguer has scored a victory against the workers and the popular movements, as well as against the official opposition. This doesn't mean that Balaguer is more popular among the people than he was before the last two strikes. It simply leaves a temporary vacuum in the movement, which Balaguer will try to use to discredit the workers and popular movements as a whole. The people have the same hatred for Balaguer. The question is that the movement will have to reevaluate its tactics.

One aspect of the tactics that I think plays a role in all this, which I mentioned to you more than a year ago in another report on a trip to the Dominican Republic, is what seems to me to be an abuse of strike tactics on the part of the Dominican movement. Also the form that the strikes have taken during the last five years. Too many strikes take place, and they are called off without achieving the goals or demands of the people. The strikes have taken a totally passive character. Today the strikes are not called as a way of mobilizing the people against the policies of the government. The orientation is that people should stay in their homes, period.

That orientation has a good deal to do with the reformist policies of the left and the influence of the liberal official opposition in the workers' and popular movement. The left is not interested in waging a real struggle against the government and plays into Balaguer's game, which accuses the movement of conspiring against his regime each time there is some motion in the workers' and popular movements. Hence, in order not to be accused of conspiring against the government, they have a strike, but a passive one. The left have renounced actually mobilizing the people into the streets. It seems like the demonstrations, pickets, marches an other forms of mass mobilization were things of the past. The slogans of the movement are totally reformist. Since for them revolution is a question of the past, all revolutionary slogans have become antiquated for the workers' and popular movements.

A final note on the PCT.

In the same measure that their politics have become more and more, rotten, their organization has dismembered. A significant number of their cadres have abandoned them and have gone to the PRD, in particular, they are joining the section of the popular movement with a PRD orientation, namely, JUNTAPO. Things have gotten to the point where, for example, a cadre who I talked to, with more than twenty years in MPD and then PCT, put it this way: "Well, I am getting old, this is getting nowhere" and showed no interest in talking politics. And I was told that this is the attitude with a good number of them. One of PCT's better known activists in the workers' movement, who was one of the leaders of SITRACODE, has abandoned PCT and turned totally passive.

It is important to note that PCT does not have a paper, despite having functioning printing installations. They are using them as any other profit-making business. It seems to me that they no longer have the excuse of lacking printing facilities to publish Lucha, it is clearly an expression of their ideological bankruptcy.

The popular movement is where PCT has been strongest in the last few years, and their main representative and spokeswoman for La Coordinadora, Virtudes Alvares, is pretty much discredited among the masses. One reason for this is the stand of PCT in the popular movement, every day more reformist, and another is Virtudes, after becoming a well-known personality, has been targeted by Balaguer for compliments. For example, in a nationally televised speech about a year ago, Balaguer referred to Virtudes as an example for Dominican women. PCT didn't respond to that as strongly as they should have, and the people began to suspect her. What should people expect of a person who Balaguer referred to as an example? And also, during the general elections of 1990, PCT ran with Virtudes leading a front organization that they created just to take part in the elections. As a result, they were favored with vehicles and money, which they were entitled to according to Dominican electoral law, but there have been insistent rumors among the masses, accusing Virtudes of personally benefiting from all this. For example, it is said that she kept one of these vehicles, a Jeep, of a type that is seen as luxurious in the Dominican Republic. And people see this, and mention it, and begin to feel apart from her.

[Back to Top]

Lying to the people

Last December 12, the liberal Philadelphia Inquirer published an editorial Poverty and Norplant--can contraception reduce the underclass? It suggested that the way to reduce poverty is to stop the poor from having children. It blamed black poverty on poor blacks having children. (See 'Pro-family' paper against the poor having families in the January 1 issue of The Workers' Advocate.) Faced with a wave of denunciation for racism, the Philadelphia Inquirer apologized.

Now, however, David R. Boldt, the man responsible for the editorial page of the Philadelphia Inquirer, admits that the Inquirer's apology was a lie. (Detroit Free Press, Sept. 18) He went to a two-day seminar on "political correctness" at the American Press Institute in Reston, Virginia, and boasted that others are coming to his way of thinking, including the governor of California.

Why, then, did the Inquirer apologize? Just to stop people from denouncing its racism. As he put it, "I went along with the abject nature of the apology because I feared that the emotional temperatures surrounding the issue had gotten so high that no one was paying attention to what we were really saying." But, he says, some other establishment journalists are denouncing the Inquirer "for cowardice under fire, which, on recent reflection, we may deserve."

Boldt believes that all he has to do to justify the Inquirer's racist and anti-people editorial is sound off against "political correctness." Oh, the ruling class newspapers can get up on their high horse about the free exchange of ideas, but when the working masses challenge their prejudices and distortions, they proudly say they don't have to be "politically correct." They won't bow down to anyone --except the interests of the privileged few, the prejudices of the advertisers and businessmen, and the demands of the ruling class establishment.

The newspapers in this country are published in the interests of the rich. When they are caught inciting atrocities against the people, they are quite willing to lie in order to lower "the emotional temperatures." The working people and activists need their own press. We need leaflets and papers, such as The Workers' Advocate, which tell the truth about the exploitation and corruption in this country. We need to make things hot for the racists, exploiters, and liars in this country.

[Back to Top]

"People's Age"--a new, revolutionary journal from Bangladesh

On July 1, 1991, Janajug (People's Age), a new national journal was launched in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Published in the Bengali language, it is expected come out every two weeks. The magazine is produced by activists of the Democratic Revolutionary Front.

The first edition of People's Age carried the following description of its editorial policy:

"Here is the first edition of People's Age.

"As a political journal, People's Age will represent the interests of the working people of Bangladesh and the rest of the world. Towards that end, the journal will carry reports, discussion and analysis on the real-life conditions of the masses and the nature of the problems they face; on the character of the domestic and international forces oppressing and exploiting them, and the relations among them; on the conditions and organizations of the workers, peasants and other laboring people and the path to resolve those problems; and, above all, about the need for fundamental change in the social and economic relations in our country.

"In this country, the economic and political domination of the commercial bourgeoisie has been established and, in an inseparable link with imperialism, they are exploiting and oppressing the working people. This oppression is not being blocked by any governmental changes within the existing socioeconomic framework. On this there is no difference between the former military rule or the present 'democratic' government established through impartial elections. That is because they both represent the very same economic and political interests.

"Therefore, we believe that the essential aim of the democratic movement in this country is not a change in government but a fundamental change in the current socio-economic system. Our editorial policy is to give every support we can to the political movement necessary to attain that goal." (Translated by the Workers' Advocate staff.)

Highlights of the first two issues

The focus of the first edition was on issues raised by the cyclone disaster which struck Bangladesh on April 29. That cyclone took several hundred thousand lives. Several articles took issue with the idea that such large-scale deaths were simply a matter of nature's course. They pointed to the antiquated warning system, lack of adequate shelters, and the absence of an organized relief apparatus. The journal blamed these on the capitalist government and its dependency on imperialism. It concluded that without ousting the exploiters form power, the cycle of death that ravages Bangladesh will continue;

The July 1 issue also covered the new civilian government installed last spring in an article titled BNP's civilian despotism. Another article discussed the need for the Workers and Employees Unity Council, the alliance of most of the workers' organizations in the country, to return to renewed struggle on behalf of the interests of the working class. These articles exposed the fraud promoted by the bourgeois establishment of a democracy that supposedly benefits all classes in society. They pointed out that while the new government rode in on the struggles of the working people against the Ershad military dictatorship, their actual policies have only favored the rich while spurning the needs of the masses.

Bangladesh just went through a political discussion on constitutional reform (whether to have a parliamentary or presidential system). A referendum ratified the plan for a parliamentary order. In two articles in its August issue, People's Age brought out that behind the alternatives espoused by the government and the bourgeois opposition stand the very same class interests--of the businessmen, bureaucrats, and the military chieftains.

The magazine carries reports on conditions facing the workers. One article carried a description of the horrifying conditions facing the women workers at Bengal Fine Ceramics Industries plant outside Dhaka. Another covered the severe oppression of workers and union activists at plants belonging to Bengal Glass Works.

Movement news is a regular column in People 's Age. It covered protest actions by fishermen in Bajitpur; lockouts and repression of the workers' movement in an industrial district in Jessore; and a recent struggle by book bindery workers.

Besides news about workers and toilers, People's Age has also discussed campus issues, the oppression of women, and is serializing the conclusions of an international commission which investigated the widescale violation by the Bangladesh government and military of the human rights of minority people in the Chittagong Hill Tracts,

People's Age also provides coverage of international news from the perspective of working people. The first issue covered the economic crisis in the U.S. and carried reports on various protests and strikes against budget cuts. In its second issue, the magazine analyzed the third world debt crisis. Another article discussed the religious violence in India sparked by the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP); this piece also brought out that the reformist, so- called communist parties in India also shared responsibility for boosting BJP's fortunes since not too long ago they were working in a political alliance with this right-wing party. People's Age also reprinted several items on the ; situation facing workers in Latin America, eastern Germany, and New Zealand translated from the Workers' Advocate. People's Age can be contacted at Janajug [address], Bangladesh.

[Back to Top]

Hurricane deaths need not have been

On April 29, a devastating hurricane struck the coast of Bangladesh. It blew in at over 150 miles per hour, accompanied by 20-foot tidal waves, and ended up killing several hundred thousand people.

Such destructive storms are becoming more common in Bangladesh. The last storm of a magnitude similar to this year's hit in 1970, taking 500,000 lives. That cyclone strengthened the Bengali people's hatred for the government of Pakistan and fueled the desire for independence; the Pakistani government had taken a half-hearted approach to the needs of the storm-stricken millions.

Do the hurricanes assaulting Bangladesh have to result in the tremendous loss of life that they usually bring? Two articles in the July 1 issue of the Bangladesh journal People's Age take issue with the idea that the deaths of hundreds of thousands is simply a matter of nature's course.

One article brought out that the early warning system is antiquated and gives a misleading picture to the masses of the approaching storms. For example, the warning declarations refer to the strength of storms due to hit sea and river ports, but there are no declarations which warn people beyond the ports as to how dangerous the storms approaching them are. And the declarations do not let people know about the full potential of approaching storms.

The article also discussed the lack of shelters. Some 10 million people live in the low-lying areas in the southern part of the country. These people face a difficult battle for survival every day, but there are simply no shelters to save most of them from hurricanes. At most some 800,000 may be able to find shelters. After the 1985 storm," over $100 million in aid came into the country, but not even 10% of that money was spent on building shelters to save lives. Fancy plans are announced, but little is ever done.

People's Age brings out that the large-scale deaths are the result of the failure of the existing social and economic system. It concludes that

"People want security. But this socio-economic system keeps people living without security. We count corpses, while this system allows the exploiters to count their money. It is possible to save hundreds of thousands of lives by ousting the exploiters -- otherwise the cycle of death will continue."

Another article in the journal discussed the inadequacy of official relief efforts in the face of the April cyclone. The people were given paltry band-aids in the face of massive devastation. The article brought out that both the ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and the opposition Awami League (AL) see relief work as simply means to acquire political advantage for their political parties.

This article presented the opinion that Bangladesh, a country prone to natural calamities, requires an organized and well-equipped relief apparatus, much like a fire brigade. Such an institution would be responsible for building emergency shelters, communications networks, relief supply networks, etc. However, all the bourgeois governments since independence in 1971 -- AL or BNP or otherwise -- have failed to establish such a relief mechanism.

People's Age gives the view that the capitalist governments in Bangladesh are incapable of setting up such a system, because they are dependent on imperialism -- and imperialism prefers to garner political capital for itself as the oh-so-generous savior of the helpless masses. The article concluded that the people have to recognize that how disaster relief is organized is not separate from the existing capitalist system and will only be improved by a society free from the profit-based economy and imperialist control.

Yet another article in the magazine discussed the cyclone and the politics of religion. This described how in the face of the cyclone, the right-wing forces are using religious obfuscation to expand their political advantage. Former dictator Ershad, who had taken religious politics to new levels of hypocrisy, announced from his jail cell that the cyclone was god's retribution for his removal. The present BNP government is also carrying forward Ershad-style religious politics. One of their leaders announced that the cyclone was just an act of god. This was to divert people away from indicting the BNP's own irresponsibility in the face of the disaster.

In its column covering movement news, People's Age also carries a report on relief activities by the Democratic Revolutionary Front and describes protest actions held by DRF in May against the bringing in of U.S. military forces into the country under the pretext of cyclone relief.

[Back to Top]

What Bangladesh migrants face in Saudi Arabia

Around the world some 20 million working people are migrants these days. Unlike prior waves of emigration, most migrants today are "guest workers" or contract laborers. They are not allowed to seek residence in the lands where they go to work, and they are, subject to severe abuse and exploitation.

The last two decades have seen a huge number of people from the most poverty-stricken countries of Asia traveling to jobs in' the Middle East. Many are from Bangladesh. The July issue of People's Age carries a letter from a Bengali migrant in Saudi Arabia describing some of the conditions there.

"In Saudi Arabia, migrant workers are being deprived of their rights and opportunities in many ways. Quite routinely the local companies do not pay the monthly wages owed to workers coming from Bangladesh and other Asian and African countries.

"Besides, the hours of work are not based on international labor laws. It is mandatory to work 10 hours a day but no pay is given for the overtime work. If any workers demand the pay owed to them, the authorities proceed to fire them from their jobs.

"At certain times ordinary workers and employees have protested these oppressive policies through work stoppages.

"It is noteworthy that the embassies are not interested to take any initiatives on behalf of the ordinary workers and employees. If workers try to get relief from their oppression by appealing to Saudi labor courts, not only do they not get justice but those workers who get known as workers' leaders are fired and deported back to their countries. Their paychecks or other money owed to them are confiscated." The letter to People's Age also reports that while the Saudi monarchy bans all political activity, they nevertheless give free rein to the Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party to pressure migrant Bengali workers into financially supporting them. The Jamaat is the main Islamic fundamentalist party in Bangladesh. It is an extreme right-wing party which has long been supported by Saudi petrodollars. In 1971 it was a notorious for joining with the Pakistani military in murderous assaults against the Bengali masses during the struggle for independence from Pakistan. The Jamaat has since been rehabilitated by successive bourgeois governments in Bangladesh. It campaigns for a right-wing, religious dictatorship in the country. Revolutionary democrats in Bangladesh see the struggle against the Islamic fundamentalists as an important political task.

[Back to Top]

What about a demonstration against the massacre of the Kurds?

The following is from the letters to the editor section of the May-June issue of Politica Operaria. It was replied to in the same issue with the article "Why we don't demonstrate for the Kurds", which we also reprint, starting on the next page. The translation into English is ours. For our views on the issue raised by this letter and Politica Operaria's reply, see page 17.

I was not in agreement with the positions of P.O. [on the Gulf war]. It seems to me that, once again, an old recipe was taken out of the drawer that is not applicable in the present: the classical pattern is being presented of imperialist war, which through an anti-imperialist reaction, would lead us to revolution. It was true at the beginning of the century; today many things have been reversed. It is one thing to take a stand against capitalist war and against those fundamental class interests, to sound the alarm over the massacre of the Iraqi people, to criticize the ideological justifications given for intervention ("international law"). It is another thing to act as if nothing fundamental happened in inter-capitalist relations after 1920!

After having analyzed the imperialism of his epoch, Vladimir L. had concluded that they were on the eve of the social revolution of the proletariat. Where are we today? What is the economic nature of the current form of imperialism? What relation can there be today between these adventurous wars and the social revolution? In the epoch of the crumbling of State capitalism, what does it mean to be^ anti-imperialist? If the ruling classes of the peripheral countries can no longer align themselves with one of the blocs against the other, what is the future of the orthodox anti-imperialist ideology? How is the social question related to these realignments? Concretely, what is the nature of the Baathist regime in Iraq, which was, for years, a mercenary of Western capitalism against the Iranian revolution (I am saying the revolution, not the Islamic regime)? And if Mr. Saddam were a man of the Western bloc transformed into a pretext? That is a supposition which could be argued and which alters a lot of things.

Contrary to what you say, the regime of Saddam is also our enemy; from a class point of view, first of all, to the degree that he is a perfect product of the capitalist system. Like all the other leaders and regimes of the "Third World".

And if the war were a direct consequence of the Western capitalist contradictions, of the decline of American capitalism? And if the main object of this capitalism were to impose its political domination on its own "allies", much more than the control of the petroleum of the Gulf (where normal production is, in any case, paralyzed for a good number of years)?

There are so many investigations and so many questions that need debate. Once more, I fear that it is necessary to begin with the principle that this is a new epoch. What if we put the old slogans and schemes on the shelf and we put our brains to work. It's not as easy, it requires more work, but it is the only solution!

Regardless, the Iraqi people paid with blood and are continuing to pay! "Mister Mau", enemy of all the democracies and of international law, continues there; on this occasion, massacring on his own account. Now that the Baath regime continues to repress the people with the troops and arms which the Westerners left intact on purpose (the air force which had "disappeared" during the war), where is the "left" and the "extreme left" which was demonstrating a few weeks ago? Or is it that this massacre is justified? And in the name of what anti-imperialist principles? It is curious that the current silence places anew the majority of the anti-imperialists of yesterday on the same side with those who supported the war! All are helping, side by side with the Western troops who are present on [Iraqi] terrain, the continuation of the massacre of the Iraqi people. A strange convergence of attitudes which makes relative all the agitation which preceded... (...).

Jorge Valados -- Paris

[Back to Top]

Why we don't demonstrate for the Kurds

We have translated the following article from the May-June 1991 issue of Politica Operaria, journal of the Communist Organization--Workers' Politics (OCPO) of Portugal For our views on the issue, see page 17.

The last phase of the dark Gulf war, with a million Kurds fleeing the Iraqi repression and dying in the mountains, consolidated in the West the camp of "democratic" opinion which considered the military intervention conducted by the U.S. to be justified: could anyone thus doubt that Saddam was an implacable hangman of the people of his own country? And is it not finally the U.S. and the European powers which, in spite of their alleged "imperialism", came to the relief of the Kurdish people?

Also those who understand the position of the left in this conflict as an equal distancing from both camps judged that they saw in this new episode a proof of their theses. There are thus those who ask why we did not go the route of condemning the massacre of the Kurds by Saddam in the same form in which we had for three months condemned the American expedition against Iraq. If we are in the presence of crimes, are not the two crimes equal?

In fact, we don't think the two crimes are equal. What does exist is a gigantic publicity operation under cover of which the super-gangster cynically continues to shout against the crimes of the little gangster, in order to continue its own massacres in tranquility. The equidistance is, in this case, an armadillo. Even more so when our own country is nothing more than an obedient peon of the principal aggressor.

A genocide waiting for judgment

Before we come out on the road of declaring ourselves in favor of the Kurds and against Iraq (and thus, whether we want to or not, in favor of America), it would be necessary for us to clarify some points.

Is it true that two or three hundred thousand Iraqi civilians died under the rubble caused by the most concentrated and devastating aerial bombardments in history and that this crime against humanity, of a size rarely equalled, is covered up deliberately thanks to the complicity of the great powers of the UN?

Is it true that, in spite of the hunger, the destruction, and the epidemics, Iraq continues to be under embargo from the UN, imposed by the U.S., when there is no longer justification, thus multiplying the effects of the genocide?

Is it true that 80,000-100,000 Iraqi soldiers were killed (according to Western calculations), massacred gratuitously while they fled, after Baghdad had accepted the resolutions of the UN Security Council? And that this was done just to "give a memorable lesson" to the Third World?

If the list of horrors attributed to Saddam's soldiers in Kuwait are not confirmed in the overwhelming majority of cases, and, on the contrary, it does not equal the wave of tortures and summary executions after "liberation", should we not conclude that now in Kuwait there reigns a terror unleashed under American sponsorship?

Why is it that, contrary to what was promised during the war, Israel not only is not disposed to return the stolen lands but, on the contrary, accentuates its intransigence, its actions of repression and its colonization of the occupied territories, maintaining hundreds of thousands of Palestinians like cattle in concentration camps? Doesn't this mean that the American military victory gave a powerful impulse to Zionist fascism?

And if, four months after the end of the war, there are not indications of the promised democratization of the Gulf states allied with the U.S., is this not another confirmation that the victory of the "forces of democracy" was in reality a victory of the forces of fascism and of terrorism?

Why do more than seven thousand soldiers of the American expeditionary force continue to be stationed in the base at Dhahran, Saudi Arabia? Should we not conclude that one of the essential goals of the war was to establish a giant control tower for the U.S. in order to squash the slightest desire for resistance by the peoples of the regions?.

As can be seen, the apparently sensible idea, that "the one is as good as the other" in this case serves to tranquilize consciences, freeing them from the obligation of denouncing the monstrous crimes of American imperialism.

Humanitarian spectacle

Many of the persons who believed that the war had democratic objectives, found themselves, in the past few weeks, bitterly censuring Bush for not having carried his intervention through to the end, overthrowing Saddam and liberating the Iraqis and the Kurds. "If the objective is to establish a more just and more democratic new world order, then the U.S. must utilize to the end the 'right of intervention' in Iraq, not being held back by legalisms," they protested.

It is a good argument, in spite of the stupidity of those who believe in it. In fact, the American government didn't do this because this was never its objective. The rising of the Kurdish nationalist forces was encouraged (as with the rising of the Shiites in the South), with the view toward precipitating a military coup d'etat which was judged to be imminent in Baghdad. The U.S. knew that the hypotheses of success of this uprising were more than problematical because the Iraqi army would not cease smashing the rebels in order to avenge itself for the defeat it suffered; the U.S. knew that it was deceiving the Kurds since there exists a general agreement of the powers not to permit the establishment of a Kurdish state; it knew that this new conflict, coming up after the terror of four months of massive bombardment would unleash an uncontrollable panic in the public, with innumerable victims, but they did not deal with such considerations.

After several weeks, since the anti-Saddam coup didn't take place and the dismembering of Iraq did not coincide with the Western interests, the Kurdish guerrillas were abandoned to their fate; which produced optimal images of horror for television and permitted the appearance of the tired Western exercises in humanitarian aid to the hungry of the Third World, who spend their time in killing each other.

What do the Kurds think?

The paper Worker Today, which is published in Stockholm, put out an article in its edition of May 13, under the title "The Iraqi Kurds, victims of the new world order", which seems to us to be of interest, given that its author, Reza Moqaddam, is linked with Komala, the revolutionary armed resistance movement of the Kurds.

"At the beginning of the Gulf War," said the article, "the U.S. and its allies sent a warning to the Kurdish leaders: 'Don't bet on the wrong horse!' But when they saw that they were on top of the situation, they didn't want to know about these leaders and they allowed the people of Kurdistan to fall into the hands of the Iraqi army, which was defeated, wounded, and seeking revenge."

"There has never before been a relation of forces so favorable for the Kurdish movement in relation to the central government of Iraq. Never before has the Kurdish movement occupied such a vast region. Never before has it been so strong from the military point of view, in numeric terms (hundreds of thousands) or in armaments (artillery, tanks, and even planes). On the other side, the Iraqi government was at its lowest point, having its army in disarray and the country in chaos. How was it possible to make the Kurdish forces leave its cities?"

"Only one thing can explain this fact: the idea which dominates in Kurdish nationalism, that without imperialist support it can not win. For years the Kurdish nationalist leaders worked to obtain the support of the imperialist powers, under the argument that without this condition victory was impossible. It was due to this logic that the Kurdish regime, freed within a few days, never offered resistance."

"Now the Kurdish nationalists explain the situation as the result of 'treason'. As if the rights of the oppressed nations could be restored in the new world order of Bush! As if it were the wish of the Iraqi opposition to enter the presidential palace in Baghdad on the coattails of the American army. The Kurdish people of Iraq were victims of these monumental illusions."

This testimony confirms the idea that in the current drama of the Kurdish people, the principal responsibility falls, once again, on the Pentagon, the same one which, without shame, accuses Saddam of being a demon. We don't have any doubts about affirming this, in spite of the fact that it will cost us, from the side of some hurried democrats, new accusations of "saddamism". The history of U.S. ambushes of the Kurds is not new.

A history of the 70s

The tricking of the Kurds, abandoned to their fate after being instigated by the U.S. to rebel, brings to light a similar episode which occurred about two decades ago. In a few words, it was a true history related by the columnist Pike, a secret document revealed in April by the Washington Post and which has, since then, gone around the world.

In May of 1972 the Shah of Iran, who was involved in a border conflict with Iraq, asked the U.S. to arm and finance an insurrection of Iraqi Kurds in order to create difficulties for the Baghdad regime. The regime of the Shah was, at the time, the main support of the CIA in the region and Nixon and Kissinger approved the proposal. A clandestine plan of action was elaborated, to the cost of $16,000,000, which supplied the guerrillas with arms furnished by Israel.

For three years the Kurds fought the Iraqi army, suffering terrible losses; a proposal from the Iraqi government for negotiations on a law of autonomy was rejected by the Kurds, on the advice of the CIA, which at the same time blocked them from launching a large scale offensive. The strategy consisted of, the columnist Pike explained, "maintaining the hostilities at a level which would minimize the resources" of Iraq.

However, contacts were taking place between Iran and Iraq to put an end to the border conflict. The CIA, knowing this fact, not only did not inform the guerrillas but incited them to continue the combat, in order to give more triumphs to the Shah in the negotiations with the Iraqi government. On March 9,1975, the peace treaty was signed between the two belligerents; immediately all the support to the Kurds was cut off and they suffered the effects in a vast operation of liquidation launched by the Iraqi army. Of the 200,000 Kurds who sought refuge on the Iranian side of the border at least 40,000 were turned over to Iraq. "We are under the threat of complete destruction," Barzani, the Kurdish commander complained to the CIA, "and We were not given any explanation for all this..."

The Americans were never concerned about the loss of human life caused by their maneuvers. They were hardly even interested in keeping their duplicity in the dark. "If we had done nothing to aid the Kurds," the CIA chief in Teheran wrote on April 10,1975, "we can be sure that the massacre would not have been allowed without their recounting the tragedy to the whole world." Silence was purchased cheaply. The guerrilla leader, Barzani, who was gravely ill, was secretly taken to the U.S. for treatment under a deal hot to make any statements hostile to the American government. He died there in 1979. It fell to his son, Massud Barzani, to lead the Kurds in a new insurrection two months ago, but once again to be stabbed, in the back by the American government.

Can one be a revolutionary without being anti-imperialist?

Our position in relation to this war has never been easy. Even in the left our refusal to join the chorus against the "new Hitler" provoked hostile reactions. We were accused of "Maoism", "Three-worldism", "frontism", or coverers of bloody bourgeoisies on the pretext of anti-imperialist unity. The truth is, however, that we never attempted to find any merits in the dictator Saddam Hussein, neither before nor during the war; we just rejected any position which would weaken in the least our antagonism to the imperialist aggressor, because this was the key question for an alignment of the left.

And if this put us temporarily in conflict with the state of spirit of the large masses of the workers in our country, in contrast it aligned us with the Arab masses and with the abandoned of the Third World. These never had a doubt that imperialism is their hangman.

There could be someone who would think that our position was quixotic since nothing in it could have any practical influence over the development of events. We don't think that way. Similar struggles will arise anew between imperialism and the peoples. To stand in all circumstances for the defeat of the imperialist camp, not to slide into the ambiguous criticism of the "excesses" of imperialism which ends up making concessions to imperialist ideology, this is the essential thing for giving life to a new left current which is communist and revolutionary. All splitting with bourgeois nationalism which is not seated on the firm foundation of anti-imperialism runs the risk of being reactionary.

Francisco Rodrigues

[Back to Top]

Replying to the Portuguese communists:

On the silence about the Iraqi Kurds

In recent months, the Supplement has been carrying an exchange of views with the comrades of the Communist Organization--Workers' Politics of Portugal (OCPO). So far the discussion has revolved around the Workers' Advocate editorial of January 1, 1990 Tasks of workers' communism during the collapse of revisionism and the OCPO comrades' article Replying to the American communists.

This time we take up a new issue. It involves the communist stand towards the recent Persian Gulf war.

In the May-June issue of OCPO's journal Politica Operaria, a reader from Paris wrote a letter asking "Why are there no demonstrations for the Kurds?" This question is answered in an article by comrade Francisco Rodrigues, who asserts that it was right not to have a public outcry in defense of the Iraqi Kurds. (Both the letter and Francisco's reply appear on pp. 14-17 of this issue of the Supplement) He shows that this was the natural derivative of their viewpoint on the Persian Gulf war, in which OCPO condemned the U.S. imperialists but refrained from denouncing, Saddam's regime in Iraq.

Comrade Francisco insists that to criticize the Iraqi regime meant help to imperialism. He writes: "Before we come out on the road of declaring ourselves in favor of the Kurds and against Iraq (and thus, whether we want to or not, in favor of America), it would be necessary for us to clarify some points." (Emphasis added.) And he goes on to enumerate a list of the gross crimes of U.S. imperialism in the recent war. The same point is repeated in his conclusion: "...we never attempted to find any merits in the dictator Saddam Hussein, neither before nor during the war; we just rejected any position which would weaken in the least our antagonism to the imperialist aggressor, because this was the key question for an alignment of the left,"

We have no quarrel with comrade Francisco's denunciation of the horrors of the U.S. war or its imperialist- aggressive aims in the Persian Gulf region. Although some of the casualty figures he gives -- such as 2-300,000 civilians dead due to the bombing -- are higher than any we have seen and probably exaggerated, nevertheless there is no doubt about the fact that the U.S. conducted its war in a brutal and inhuman fashion.

But the nature of the war cannot be answered by simply listing the Iraqi casualties. Or are we to judge the Iraqi regime by comparing the hundreds of thousands of Iranians and Iraqis it sacrificed or slaughtered in the Iran-Iraq war with the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi casualties in the Gulf War? Was it OK for Saddam Hussein to gamble the welfare of the Iraqi people on the occupation of Kuwait simply because it was the Pentagon that was the bloodiest murderer with the bombing and blockade? And how can the anti-popular and oppressive nature of the Iraqi occupation regime be excused simply because U.S. war propaganda was hysterical and exaggerated and lying?

We find it saddening that comrade Francisco finds it necessary to forgo any criticism of Saddam's regime as implying aid and comfort to the principal enemy. OCPO may not have sought any merits in Saddam, but why is it silent on the fact that Saddam's aims in this war were also reactionary and exploitative? Saddam was not just waging a war of defense against aggression; he was seeking regional hegemony for the Iraqi capitalist regime. And when he was massacring the Kurds, or the Shiite rebels in the south, he was not by any stretch of the imagination, defending against imperialism; he was simply defending his oppressive regime against popular unrest, unrest which goes back many years.

Our stand

The position of our organization was different. We fought hard against this war. We strongly campaigned against Bush's war drive, from the buildup and sanctions all the way to the war itself and the post-war "victory parades." We fought in the anti-war movement against the stands which weakened the struggle against "our own" imperialist rulers, such as illusions in the U.N. or support for sanctions.

However we did not consider Saddam's war as any type of liberation or defensive war against imperialism. Although the relative strength of Iraq vis-a-vis U.S. imperialism or its global coalition was small, this did not mean that there was any justice on Iraq's side in this war. In the final analysis, this was a reactionary war on both sides, between a global marauder and a would-be regional bully who had been groomed by imperialism until not so long ago. And we saw no problem in explaining this. It did not weaken the anti-war struggle here; rather it provided a clear-cut class analysis of the forces involved in the conflict and pointed to working people's upheavals against both sides as the real alternative to the sordid war over Kuwait and oil profits. It did not weaken our struggle to build a movement to overthrow our "own" U.S. capitalist ruling class, but prevented it from getting bogged down in a dead end. And it did not prevent us from holding that, here in the U.S., our chief enemy was our "own" imperialists.

From this standpoint, we opposed the massacre of the Kurds, and held both Bush and Saddam responsible. We supported the popular uprisings in Iraq; these rebellions showed that the working people inside Iraq did not support the tyrant in power. We believe that the mass rebellions deserved support-by progressive and anti-imperialist forces, despite the rotten leadership by the Iraqi Kurdish nationalist parties who were willing to link up with imperialism. Their corrupt stand did not turn the Kurdish movement into an agency of imperialism, as OCPO tries to suggest.

The straw man of "equality"

We do not see OCPO's logic that one had to be silent about one in order to be against the other. OCPO manages this logic by raising the issue that if one condemns or criticizes Saddam during this conflict, this somehow implies equality between the U.S. and Iraq.

This is a straw man. Communists should not shy away from forcefully condemning capitalist barbarism -- no matter it be from a big power or a smaller one. However, the willingness to make such a condemnation implies nothing at all about the relative global significance of the two powers. Denouncing the war between Bush and Saddam as reactionary on both sides, or denouncing Saddam's crimes against the Kurds and Bush's brutality against the Iraqi people, imply nothing about whether or not the two sides are "equal" powers in the present-day world.

If comrade Francisco's logic is right, then the communist approach towards a war between two powers ought to be based on the relative size and power of the two sides in a conflict. If this were so, then confronted by wars between two reactionary powers, we would have to choose the "weaker" side to support (or at least to be silent about its aims and character). Thus in the Malvinas war between Argentina and Britain, we would have had to be silent about the goals of the fascist generals then in power in Buenos Ares. Or in the 1971 war between India and Pakistan, the right thing to do would have been to be silent towards the brutal oppression by Pakistan of the people of Bangladesh. But the Marxist approach towards wars has never been based on this kind of logic. Rather, it has been based on the question of what are the politics that a war is a continuation of, and what are the class forces involved.

Some additional justifications

Two additional reasons are given to justify silence about the Kurds.

One is that some forces, confronted by Saddam's massacre of the Kurds, raised the demand that the U.S. should intervene on their behalf. Comrade Francisco correctly explains the U.S. didn't do this because it was never its intention to really support the Kurds -- Bush was willing to egg the Kurds on but he was not for their victory.

However, OCPO fails to prove their case that just because some forces raised the cry for U.S. intervention, somehow this necessarily means that anyone in favor of the Kurds was for U.S. intervention. In fact there were a number of left-wing forces, including the MLP, who condemned the massacre of the Kurds without letting up on opposition to U.S. imperialism.

The other reason OCPO gives in its favor is to refer to the stand of the comrades of the Communist Party of Iran, which is known to represent the militant, toilers' wing of the Kurds in Iranian Kurdistan. Two articles have been published by CPI comrades which place the onus for the massacre of the Kurds principally on U.S. imperialism and the Kurdish nationalist parties in Iraq.

We think that CPI was right to voice the outrage of the Kurds against the nationalist leaders who linked up with U.S. imperialism and again put the fate of the Kurdish struggle upon the good offices of the imperialist big powers. However, we don't think it was right for them to soften the condemnation of Saddam Hussein. CPI's stand, like OCPO's, negated that there was indeed a legitimate popular rebellion in Iraqi Kurdistan at the close of the U.S.-Iraq war. (For CPI's views and our response to them, see July 20 issue of the Supplement.)

"Orthodox anti-imperialism"

Our criticism of the stand of OCPO doesn't mean that we agree with all the views of the reader from Paris who wrote to OCPO criticizing their refusal to defend the Kurds. We agree with his stand in defense of the Iraqi people against massacre by the Ba'ath regime, his denunciation of the regime of Saddam Hussein, and his demand for looking concretely at the situation, and not just applying old stereotypes.

However, for example, what he describes as the orthodox anti-imperialist ideology was not a correct anti-imperialist stand in the past either, nor a correct description of the best revolutionary theory, but one of the variants of the widespread three worldist outlook. He asks what should one do in the present "if the ruling classes of the peripheral countries can no longer align themselves with one of the blocs against the other, what is the future of the orthodox anti-imperialist ideology?"

But even back in 1920 there was a distinction between the social movement of the oppressed against imperialism, and the wheelings and dealings of whoever happened to be the ruling class. And more recently, those ruling classes of the "third world" which either took up state capitalist forms or spouted anti-imperialist rhetoric were not thereby automatically anti-imperialist heroes.

The collapse of revisionism, the shift of the "third world" ruling classes away from state capitalist models, etc. undoubtedly has a major effect on world developments. But the three worldist negation of the social movement in the "third world" helped paralyze the movement in the past. And the current developments will, in the final analysis, bring closer the day of the social revolution of the proletariat, even though for the time being we are living through a painful period of the collapse of movements and struggles from the past.

Is this the way to break with the wrong traditions of the past?

The OCPO too, has the sentiment to overcome harmful stereotypes from the past. In many of its statements of recent years, OCPO has made much of developing a new communist politics and style of work that is left and revolutionary and based on a radical rupture with the revisionist corruption of the past. This is a rightly felt sentiment of theirs, something we share with them and why we consider them our comrades. Unfortunately, however, on a series of issues, the comrades of OCPO are demonstrating an inability to really break with the erroneous traditions of the past. This is seen in their stand towards the Gulf war and the struggle of the Kurds.

In fact, in the left there is a long tradition in many circles of refusing to support the liberation struggle of the Kurds in Iran or Iraq under the pretext that either the main enemy was imperialism or social-imperialism, or under the excuse that the nationalist leaders were tainted with links to outside powers. Such was the stand of the Party of Labor of Albania.

In his book Reflections on the Middle East, Enver Hoxha wrote in a journal entry dated Sept. 17, 1979,

"As to the question of the Kurds, which is an acute problem in Iraq, it should be made clear to the Iraqis that Albania never interferes in the internal affairs of others, that it is for the unity of the state of Iraq and against the intrigues and intervention of the imperialist and revisionist powers in the internal affairs of that country." (p. 343, emphasis added)

Thus, in the name of Iraqi state unity, Enver negated the right to self-determination of the Kurds and implicitly condemned the Kurdish movement as an intrigue of imperialism.

In an item dated January 1980, he wrote in reference to Iran,

"Another obstacle which reaction is using to sabotage the revolution of the Iranian people is that of inciting feuds and raising the question of national minorities. Reaction is inciting the national sentiments in Azerbaijan, inciting the Kurds, etc. etc., in order to weaken this great anti-imperialist and 'pro-Moslem' uprising of the Iranian people. The incitement of national sentiments has been and is a weapon in the hands of imperialism and social-imperialism and all reaction to sabotage the anti-imperialist and national liberation wars." (p. 391-2)

OCPO has broken with the revisionism of the PLA, and one of the issues which inspired this break was precisely the PLA's fawning over the Khomeini regime in Iran in which the PLA condemned the Kurdish struggle there for disrupting the general struggle against imperialism which Khomeini was allegedly leading. Now, OCPO may not go as far as saluting Saddam as an anti-imperialist bulwark, but the underlying logic is not all that different: writing off the Kurdish struggle as a creature of imperialism and finding an anti-imperialist cause in the acts of the regime oppressing the Kurds.

[Back to Top]