One thing this thread illustrates is that if Stalin didn’t exist he would have to be invented. Demonization of Stalin has been a fundamental necessity in the anticommunist crusade. The point is to make it clear that the absolute worst fate that could befall a society is communism. It has been a part of the effort to form the equation in everybody’s heads that socialism = gulag. This is not to say that Stalin wasn’t a criminal. Look, EVERYBODY AGREES WITH THAT, EVEN COMMUNISTS!
Most socialists and communists consider Stalin to be a criminal and a traitor of the Russian revolution. He was denounced by most of the prominent socialists, notably Trotsky of course, for his crimes, and for betraying the socialist revolution. Kruschev even denounced his ass in the Communist Party congress after he was dead.
The thing is, though, that Stalin’s ACTUAL crimes were not good enough for the anticommunist crusaders. He wasn’t quite evil enough to match up with evil spawned from the capitalist reactionaries in Italy and Germany, so a whole mythology had to be created where Stalin killed 43 million. At that point, it just gets insane.
OK, bong. Take a look, for example, at one of Rummel’s pages. I mean, it’s a joke! It reads almost like a parody of anticommunist hysteria. He says, for example,
“Marxism is thoroughly uncompromising. It knows the truth, absolutely; it absolutely knows the Good (communism) and the Evil (capitalism, feudalism); it absolutely knows the way (a socialist dictatorship of the proletariat).”
Anybody familiar with actual Marxist philosophy should read this as a joke. For one thing, Marxism is all about how societies change, and how history progresses. Capitalism is neither good nor bad in isolation. It fulfills a historical function, being progressive in one era, and regressive in another. And so on… Rummel’s take on Marxism is not nearly as absurd, though, as his claims on how many those evil demons Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin killed. (Stalinism always taken to be a natural outgrowth of Leninism, naturally, and not a direct contradiction of Marxist-Leninist ideology.)
Just to take one of Rummel’s claims, consider this:
“…the execution of perhaps a million Party members in the Great Terror of 1937-38…”
How does he arrive at this figure? I cannot find a reference for this figure. His footnote is to a quote from a book by Taagepera dealing with the deportation of Kulaks and Estonians. Notably, he apparently has not considered the most extensive study of the gulag, drawing on never before released Soviet records in 1993, by Getty, Rittersporn and Zemskov, which I referenced in another thread, which found that 799,455 executions were carried out in the USSR for all crimes from 1921 to 1953. And, of these, perhaps 20% were for political crimes. Yet, Rummel claims that up to a million Party members executed in 1937-38! This really just reaches into the absurd.
The other figures Rummel gives are equally as absurd. Yet, the greatest deception Rummel tries to pull off is in pretending that he is being “fair,” by providing low and high figures. Thus, he claims that Robert Conquest’s figure of 20 million represents a low estimate! Conquest’s political ideology can be easily discerned from this website, where he claims, among other things, that “socialism carried with it the primitive belief that the state could solve all problems.” I would like to know about the socialist who believes that “the state could solve all problems,” or who believes anything even remotely similar. Yet, for Rummel, Conquest’s figures represent the moderate position!
This is all familiar stuff. It is part of a determined effort to make socialism appear as the worst possible fate that could befall mankind, to close off discussion before it even begins.