Quote Originally Posted by Khayembii Communique View Post
As a Trotskyist I find this liberal interpretation of history pretty off-putting. Stalin wasn't "responsible" for any killings, on his own. Stalin was a cog in a massive state bureaucracy that implemented policies that led to the deaths of millions. Putting it all solely at the feet of Stalin is distorting what actually happened and giving Stalin some kind of supervillian status. It's just silly. It also is revisionist in the sense that it opens up the doors for the "communism causes Stalin" argument put forward in the Black Book and by many conservative lemmings on this site. That's just not true. The development of the Soviet bureacuracy is incredibly complex and to dumb it down to "Stalin killed xyz" is ridiculous.

The deaths were due to the bureaucracy itself, not simply Stalin. The implementation of the demands of the populace by the bureaucracy was impossible because of the isolation of the bureaucracy from the population as a whole; this led to famine. The enactment of political laws and a justice system was destroyed by corruption and internal quarreling; this led to political persecution, unfair punishment, unjust executions and further famine in the camps.

The political movements of the bureaucracy were completely blind and contradictory, going from the support of an NEP-type policy to collectivism and then setting ridiculous production quotas for propaganda purposes. The requisition of grain was carried out in a manner that contributed to famine was due to police/NKVD corruption, a disconnect in the line of communication between the bureaucracy and the producers, the propaganda efforts of the bureaucrats to meet quota, and other consequences.

I could go on endlessly about this. Don't simply lay it at Stalin's feet because that's distorting history and letting the bureaucracy that is responsible for the deaths get off scot free.

I am fully aware that institutions like the NKVD and the bureacuracy of the Stalin-era Soviet Union writ large were the real murders, but it is impractical to attempt to name everyone from Beria to Lubyanka Underchief of Wing Number 3 -- and so it is a necessary falsehood to group it all under the heading of "Stalin". While you have no idea how much I agree that the conservative/libertarian hordes plaguing this site can't take the mental leap beyond causating communism with Stalinist dictatorship, I don't think that putting that era's death toll under the category of "Stalin" is an entirely unfair thing to do.

Hitler himself was not responsible for all of Goering or Himmler or Goth's actions, but we can effectively sum the entirety of Nazi atrocities as "Hitler's" -- not because we believe Hitler sat at his desk all day micromanaging every aspect of his horrific Final Solution, but just because it's a fairly appropriate heading to put the entire regime's atrocities under.