Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Understanding Stalin


             Stalin Beyond the Myths: Understanding Stalin

Dedicated to all those who are hated for fighting for justice

    Few figures in history have been so thoroughly demonized as Joseph Stalin. He lives in the popular imagination as a bloodthirsty monster. When it comes to Stalin propaganda takes the place of history all in a transparent attempt to demonize socialism and the USSR. We must never again try to change the world we are told because it will all inevitably go bad tens of  millions will die and we will live under conditions of tyranny and poverty. Quite appropriately from  my perspective the "historian" Robert Conquest recently died who made his name defaming the Soviet Union and Stalin. His death was amusing in it's timing for me as it occurred while I was busy studying the history of the soviet union from a quite different perspective one which revealed the undeniable greatness of Stalin. Robert Conquest incidentally provides a perfect example of how and why the history of the Soviet Union has been falsified. Conquest began his career writing anti-soviet propaganda for British intelligence at the Information Research Department (formerly the Communist Information Bureau)  and was so good at it that the CIA brought him to America and financed his work through it's fronts. His main sources by the way were fascist emigres especially from Ukraine. As anyone familiar with their mentality knows they are some of the most outrageous liars on the planet. Conquest is responsible for vastly inflating the number of people killed during Stalins time from the less then 1 million of reality (according to the now declassified records) to 30 million and eventually to 100 Million. It was just a small chapter in the CIA's cultural cold war when hundreds of well known artists and intellectuals were wittingly and unwittingly employed to spread anti-soviet propaganda. Although the impact of the CIA on the media is well known in alt-media circles the CIA impact in academia is a lot less talked about but no less prevalent. In researching Vietnam earlier this year I discovered that the CIA had funded thousands of books and articles on Vietnam giving the public a completely distorted view of the conflict there. If tiny Vietnam came in for such treatment I can only imagine to what lengths they went to shape the writing of history of the USSR. Even today the study of the soviet union is carried out along the same propagandistic line. Stalin is hated by the capitalist imperialist nations because he built socialism, defeated fascism, helped North Korea and China defeat  American imperialism during the Korean War, and oversaw the massive expansion of socialism in both Europe and Asia.

    Stalin is hated by the capitalists for obvious reasons. However he is also hated by treacherous elements on the left which is why Stalin has had so few defenders. The first attacks came from the exiled Trotsky who was bitterly intent on revenge on both Stalin and the USSR. His version of events was actually trumpeted by the mainstream media at the time who gave this supposed revolutionary turned counter revolutionary front page coverage and thousands of dollars to slander Stalin and the USSR and predict it's imminent collapse. His version of events would become the basis of the popular mythical version of history embodied in Orwell's propaganda classic "Animal Farm" (the CIA financed turning it into an animated film with a new ending). Orwell was another paid propagandist of British intelligence by the way. Orwell's book is appropriately  "Orwellian" claiming at the end that the USSR under Stalin had secretly reinstated capitalism. Nothing could be further from the truth of course. The Second major attack on Stalin from supposed communists was launched by Khrushchev in his "Secret Speech." Khrushchev was planning to introduce dangerous new reforms and he needed to attack Stalin in order to carry on a new "Revisionist" line that would prove disastrous. These plans aimed to reverse what Stalin and before him Lenin had carried out. Under Gorbachev these attacks would be renewed as his "reforms" managed to destroy the Warsaw bloc, The USSR, and Socialism.

   This would be a great place to introduce my source and inspiration for the following article Harpal Brar. It was in his book "Perestroika: The Complete Collapse of Revisionism" that he laid out the this thesis and I highly recommend you read the book yourself for a great examination of the disastrous policies that lead to the collapse of the USSR pursued by the revisionists like Khrushchev and Gorbachev. It Also lays out brilliantly the successful policies pursued by Stalin. Stalin turned a backwards war ravaged nation into a superpower whatever abuse his enemies have heaped upon him this simple truth remains abundantly clear. I came across one of Harpal Brar's lectures while reading E.H. Carr's "The Bolshevik Revolution 1917-1923" and I was instantly hooked and subscribed to the Proletarian TV Youtube channel run by the Communist Party of Great Britain -Marxist Leninist or CPGB-ML. They have great lectures on a variety of historical and theoretical topics from a number of people. They impressed me  with their resolutely Anti-Imperialist stance and support for countries like Syria, Venezuela, Novorossia, and North Korea. Harpal Brar is an electrifying public speaker and also quite amusing. He is also an unapologetic defender of Stalin and the Soviet Union. Basically they aided me quite a bit in beginning to understand the complex theories of Marxism Lenisim and the history of the Soviet Union. Thus when I began to run out of Youtube videos I decided to order some books from the CPGB-ML.Org Website included Harpal Brar's "Perestroika" and his epic "Trotskyism or Leninism" it is on these books as well as on Kenneth Neil Cameron's "Stalin Man of Contradiction" that I base this account of the Stalin Era. The history that follows owes everything to his brilliant and courageous analysis although the inevitable mistakes are my own.

    Having surveyed Stalin's enemies the sources of the anti-Stalin myths the imperialist countries, trotskyites, and revisionists. And having introduced one of Stalin's defenders Harpal Brar, let me now proceed to present a more accurate view of Stalin and his accomplishments. First Stalin built socialism in the USSR. He industrialized the country. He collectivized the agriculture. In order to do this he smashed the traitors to the USSR both within and without the communist party thus securing the gains of the revolution. These factors helped him to lead the USSR to victory against fascism winning world war 2. This victory helped in the spread of world revolution both in Europe and Asia. As the Cold War began he stood up to US imperialism helping to inflict the first defeat the US was to suffer. Any one of these accomplishments would surely objectively speaking earn Stalin a place as one of the great men of history. However as we have seen it is because of these accomplishments that he is instead attacked and demonized. Thus it is time for revolutionaries and anti-imperialists to follow Harpal Brar's example and defend Stalin instead of joining with his enemies in the attack on him. As Brar explains it is a quite simple equation our enemies attack Stalin to attack socialism conversely one must defend Stalin in order to defend socialism.

    First let us examine the situation in the Soviet Union around the time of Lenin's death. The USSR had been devastated first before the revolution during world war and then during the civil war when 14 countries waged war on what would become the USSR. During this war the USSR had been forced to adopt "War Communism" which meant workers were often paid in food and harsh measures were sometimes used in the countryside to keep the grain flowing to the cities. After the war Lenin had instituted the new economic policy or NEP which was meant to be a temporary retreat to capitalism in order to restore trade between the town and country. However the NEP was only a temporary retreat and Lenin planned to begin building of socialism. Lenin's vision of the future was for an expansion of collective agriculture, the electrification of the country and the industrialization of the nation. Unfortunately he died just as this new phase was beginning and suffered severe ill health in the final two years of his life. Thus Stalin was the one who would successfully carry though these reforms. That is why incidentally Stalin never approved of the term Stalinism he saw himself as merely carrying forward Lenin's plans. This view of Stalin as being directly in line with Lenin is not merely Brar's view but also is confirmed when reading the Bourgeoisie historian E.H. Carr who gives a quite detailed examination of Lenin's economic policies in vol. 2 of his 3 volume "Bolshevik Revolution 1917-1923."

   Who was Stalin? Stalin was the son of a serf which was practically a form of slavery. He was From Georgia one of the many nations conquered by the Russian empire. His Mother wanted him to become a priest but he was expelled from the seminary when they discovered he was reading Marx. Although without advanced schooling he educated himself widely studying Marx and Lenin but also Science, and Literature. He lived a humble existence even after coming to power. Contrary to myth he was a brilliant theorist. Reading his writings and speeches which Brar Qoutes at length one is impressed by his ability to convey complex economic or political issues in simple terms the common people could understand. Stalin was quite witty it should be added and loved to illustrate his speeches with Russian fables and folklore. He was a tireless revolutionary and a loyal follower of Lenin. He organized strikes, wrote articles, was sent to Siberia, escaped and played a crucial role in building up the Bolshevik Party. During the Revolution and the civil war he played an important role. Thus contrary to mythology it was no accident that he rose to a prominent position he had proved himself again and again.

   However in order to actually build socialism in one country Stalin would have to battle two tendencies in the party aiming to derail this goal. First there was the left opposition of Zinovoev and Trotsky. Trotsky's disagreements stemmed from his theory of permanent revolution which lead him into all sorts of mistakes and ultimately into becoming downright counter revolutionary. Trotsky may become the topic of a future article he emerges from Harpal Brar's account as a fascinating villain carried away by egotism and ambition into every sort of crime. He is the embodiment of that treacherous breed of leftist who always manage to side with imperialism most recently in Libya, Syria, and Ukraine. Let me state here my most controversial assertion that the so called Moscow show trials were not show trials but that those tried really were guilty. Actually as Brar and Cameron both point out the American ambassador at the time Joseph Davies also believed the trials were genuine as he wrote in his book "Mission to Moscow." The British also believed the trials were genuine. However they allowed the world to believe the opposite since it was great anti-communist propaganda.

   This idea that former revolutionaries would engage in a campaign of assassination and wrecking aimed at destroying their own country may seem fantastic to you at first however if you remember all the many tactics that have been used by the CIA to destabilize countries to carry on counter revolution then the idea that British and fascist intelligence agencies carried on these sorts of tactics isn't so incredible. Actually while reading about the counter-revolutionary wrecking campaign I was reminded of the scene in Orwell's 1984 where winston and Julia agree to carry out all sorts of terrorist acts in order to bring down the state. Perhaps Orwell the Trotskyite was being indiscreet in writing this.  It certainly revealed where his deep hatred of the USSR could take Orwell for instance.  The games of espionage have been going on for millennia. As I've mentioned elsewhere the CIA dirty tricks postwar against the USSR have already been partly revealed and included sabotage assassination propaganda everything the opposition was accused of in the 30s. Harpal Brar presents strong evidence that driven to desperation by his complete loss of power and prestige Trotsky formed an alliance with fascist intelligence. This alliance was fully exposed during the Spanish civil war. Trotsky was not the only guilty party many of the opposition would join with trotsky in a campaign of assassination, wrecking, sabotage and propaganda. This should not seem so incredible after witnessing what an opposition allied to the CIA for example has been capable of in Syria, Libya, and Ukraine. Today's Russian opposition marginalized by Putin's popularity is quite openly funded by western NGO's fronts for the NED and ultimately the CIA. Or at least they were until the Kremlin recently made the practice illegal. You may ask how could once committed communists resort to such means yet experience teaches us that nothing is more common then for people to betray their ideals as decades pass. The Russian communist movement had always been marked by these betrayals both before and after the revolution many of Lenin's writings were dedicated to exposing such betrayals including exposing Trotsky himself more then once.

   However I am skipping ahead somewhat as it was only later after Stalin had politically beaten both the left and right deviations that they decided to mount their counter-revolutionary terror campaign. Earlier it had merely been a policy argument. The left opposition wanted to embark on a campaign industrialization and collectivization immediately. In doing so they wanted to risk confrontation with the middle peasants and immediately begin the expropriation of the rich peasants the kulaks who grew wealthy off exploiting the poor peasants and whose opposition to the Revolution and hoarding were dangerous. However Stalin reminded them that Lenin had warned that only by maintaining it's alliance with the middle peasants would the lead of the proletariate be secure. Stalin opposed their plan for an immediate attack on the kulaks because at that time they produced a massive proportion of grains compared to the collective farms. Only when industry had been built up enough to produce the tractors needed to supply the collective farms could the middle peasants be induced to join the new collectives willingly.

 The right deviation advocated by Bukharin wanted to keep the NEP indefinitely and instead concentrate on building light industry. Light industry makes consumer goods whereas heavy industry produces machines and the means of production themselves. Stalin argued that it was necessary to concentrate on heavy industry if the USSR was ever to advance from it's backwards state. In the political struggle Stalin first sided with the right against the left since he believed Trotsky's policies would lead to a disastrous war for the countryside. However at the same time he slowly began to build up heavy industry and the growth of the collective farms until they were producing enough grain that he could risk expropriating the kulaks. However even before this campaign began in 1929 in 1928 the Kulaks began to rise in open revolt burning collective farms killing teachers slaughtering livestock burning crops. They had since the revolution often held the government hostage with their grain hoarding. Thus it should be remembered that during the Stalin era the class struggle would often emerge into open warfare. However just as mainstream history ignores all the brutalities the white counter-revolutionary armies committed during the civil war it also ignores all the violence perpetrated by counter revolutionaries during the Stalin years. It was a war on both sides. In addition it should be pointed out that before collectivization was carried out  Russia suffered from catastrophic famines every few years. This was a result of it's primitive and unproductive agriculture. However once it had been successfully carried out the USSR suffered no more famines. In other words collectivization saved untold millions of lives in the long run. In addition it should be remembered that it was intended primarily to be a voluntary process. Stalin was even forced to briefly call a halt to the process when he discovered that overzealous officials were attempting to force the middle peasants to join collectives. He issued his famous pamphlet "Dizzy with Success" to combat this error. Instead Stalin wanted to entice the peasants with the availability of tractors. He believed that mechanized agriculture would help to prepare the peasants for the USSR's industrial future. As Brar explains the use of tractors would end up providing invaluable experience for the peasants as driving a tractor is very similar to driving a tank. Thus appropriately it was at Stalingrad where a massive tractor factory would be built. During the war the factory was fiercely fought over and Stalingrad was where the Nazi's would meet a decisive defeat. Appropriately enough the next decisive battle would be the massive tank battle at Kursk.  It was during this collectivization campaign that Trotsky decided to switch over to Bukharin's position advocated that a halt be called paving the way for the alliance of left and right opposition that would quickly become purely destructive and counter revolutionary.

With agriculture successfully collectivized the greatest industrialization campaign in history was undertaken. This is doubtless one of the main reason's that Stalin is the target of an unending propaganda campaign. The capitalists do not want the world to know about the economic miracle that took place in the soviet union between the late 20's and the start of the war. This is because studying this period would destroy forever their favorite truism that socialism doesn't work. While the west was mired in the great depression the USSR underwent the greatest economic growth in history. Unemployment was completely eliminated early on. This industrialization was to prove vital for the USSR's survival during world war 2. In ten years Stalin managed to turn the Soviet Union into a super power and this alone saved the USSR from becoming a colony and the soviet people from the genocide and slavery so openly planned and implemented by the nazi's during the war. Stalin actually foresaw all this is a remarkably prescient speech delivered in 1931. He made it in answer to the question of whether Russia should slow the pace of the industrialization. It was a great speech so I cut and pasted the relevant section for it's vivid picture of imperialism.

    It is sometimes asked whether it is not possible to slow down the tempo somewhat, to put a check on the movement. No, comrades, it is not possible! The tempo must not be reduced! On the contrary, we must increase it as much as is within our powers and possibilities. This is dictated to us by our obligations to the workers and peasants of the U.S.S.R. This is dictated to us by our obligations to the working class of the whole world.

To slacken the tempo would mean falling behind. And those who fall behind get beaten. But we do not want to be beaten. No, we refuse to be beaten! One feature of the history of old Russia was the continual beatings she suffered because of her backwardness. She was beaten by the Mongol khans. She was beaten by the Turkish beys. She was beaten by the Swedish feudal lords. She was beaten by the Polish and Lithuanian gentry. She was beaten by the British and French capitalists. She was beaten by the Japanese barons. All beat her — because of her backwardness, because of her military backwardness, cultural backwardness, political backwardness, industrial backwardness, agricultural backwardness. They beat her because it was profitable and could be done with impunity. You remember the words of the pre-revolutionary poet: "You are poor and abundant, mighty and impotent, Mother Russia." 4 Those gentlemen were quite familiar with the verses of the old poet. They beat her, saying: "You are abundant," so one can enrich oneself at your expense. They beat her, saying: "You are poor and impotent," so you can be beaten and plundered with impunity. Such is the law of the exploiters — to beat the backward and the weak. It is the jungle law of capitalism. You are backward, you are weak — therefore you are wrong; hence you can be beaten and enslaved. You are mighty — therefore you are right; hence we must be wary of you.

That is why we must no longer lag behind.

In the past we had no fatherland, nor could we have had one. But now that we have overthrown capitalism and power is in our hands, in the hands of the people, we have a fatherland, and we will uphold its independence. Do you want our socialist fatherland to be beaten and to lose its independence? If you do not want this, you must put an end to its backwardness in the shortest possible time and develop a genuine Bolshevik tempo in building up its socialist economy. There is no other way. That is why Lenin said on the eve of the October Revolution: "Either perish, or overtake and outstrip the advanced capitalist countries."

We are fifty or a hundred years behind the advanced countries. We must make good this distance in ten years. Either we do it, or we shall go under.

That is what our obligations to the workers and peasants of the U.S.S.R. dictate to us.

Ten Years later the Nazi's were invading confident that the soviet union would be destroyed but they now no longer faced backwards Russia but the mighty USSR.

   One thing that has been completely forgotten with the cartoon version of the Stalin Era where everyone was unhappy and everything was grey was the tremendous enthusiasm unleashed among the people of the USSR by this drive towards industrialization. This alone can help to explain the economic miracles that took place in those days. With Stalin's inspiration they approached the drive towards industrialization with the same heroism and enthusiasm that they would later display during the war. It was a particularly exciting time for women who long before their western counterparts achieved equal rights and the independence that work outside the home brings.The pattern of this industrialization shows incidentally that those who talk of a soviet "empire" completely ignore the economics. Imperialism seeks to keep the periphery underdeveloped thus they can be kept in economic dependence and ever expanding debt by selling their raw materials in exchange for manufactured goods.  The USSR on the other hand sought to develop what had been during the Russian empire backwards semi colonial regions. Incidentally I should mention in passing Stalin himself was in charge of the "national" question during Lenin's lifetime thus the coming together of the many nationalities and religions of the former Russian empire into the Soviet Union owed a great deal to Stalin's tireless work yet another of his great accomplishments. During the effort to industrialize the country massive new cities would arise in once backwards regions and mighty factories would be built everywhere. Not just factories were built schools and hospitals were built around the country. Soviet healthcare was ahead of it's time and unfortunately ahead of ours especially in my backwards homeland the US. From a land of high illiteracy the soviets became an educated and cultured people. Contrary to myth not only was the Soviet Union industrialized but standards of living also rose dramatically. After the incredible destruction of the second world war the USSR was able to repeat this incredible economic miracle quickly rebuilding after all the destruction of war and then undergoing another massive expansion. It was thanks to the wise economic policies of Stalin that the USSR would be able to build it's own atomic bomb, and later beat the americans into space.

   However not everyone was happy with the progress being made Stalin had in the process of steering the USSR along the correct path also marginalized once prominent revolutionaries. Generally the story is depicted in reverse supposedly Stalin envied these brilliant revolutionaries. In reality however they had advocated the wrong policies and Stalin had advocated the correct ones. If Bukharin had his way the USSR would inevitably have been destroyed by the Nazis. Only the building of Heavy Industry allowed the USSR to build the weapons it needed to defend itself. If Trotsky had his way disaster would have occurred. Trotsky never believed socialism was possible in one country and vacillated between advocating disastrous ultra-left policies and advocating complete surrender to capitalism as Brar exposes in great detail in his "Trotskyism and Leninism". Actually for those doubting Trotsky's treachery they only need to read his writings of the time which swung between predictions of doom and advocating violent resistance to the government. Brar qoutes him at great length on the matter. He especially advoacted the idea the USSR would collapse in a matter of weeks if attacked by Nazi Germany.        This explains his willingness to cut a deal with those he believed would be on the winning side the Fascists. At the same time he also cut deals with the "democratic" imperialist countries. All those in the opposition formed themselves into a ruthless counter revolutionary conspiracy. Stalin was too popular for open political opposition thus they decided on a campaign of sabotage and terror that might destabilize the regime. Ultimately they hoped to assassinate Stalin himself. They killed Stalin's heir apparent Sergei Kirov and others. They intentionally caused accidents that cost hundreds of lives and caused huge economic damage. Again you'll have to read either Brar's "Trotskysim or Leninism" Or Camerons "Stalin" if you want to read the evidence for yourselves. Even American and British technical advisers witnessed such sabotage first hand and wrote up first hand accounts which Brar and Cameron quote.  The opposition formed an alliance with the bourgeois technical advisers to carry out such sabotage. They acted as spies for the axis. Most dangerously they formed an alliance with reactionary elements in the military who plotted a coup that was narrowly avoided. Thankfully these plots were discovered in time. The traitors were dealt with. In our ugly 21st century full of dangerous treasons, with people in places like Syria duped into trying to destroy their country Stalin's toughness can finally be seen in it's true light and given proper praise. When war came unlike in so many countries like France or Norway there was no fifth column to sabotage the soviets. (see the documentary Sorrow and the Pity for more on France's Fascist collaborators) Nor could counter-revolutionaries hope to destroy the Soviet Union from within. Their conspiracy was uncovered their plots smashed. This lead to the infamous Moscow Trials. Wherever people today are resisting empire today I urge them to follow Stalin's example and be vigilant against the inevitable plots from without and within. Of course Reading Brar's "Perestroika" one can't help bemoaning Stalin's absence while Gorbachev's gang were allowed to destroy everything with their disastrous policies. If only someone had put them all on trial for treason before it was too late the Soviet Union would never have been destroyed. Down with the Traitors and Counter-Revolutionaries!

   All of these accomplishments would be tested in the most dramatic fashion during the war. Without collectivization the Soviet Union would have been prey to famine and unable to industrialize. Industrialization alone allowed the soviet union to defeat the fascist hordes Hitler was to send which had already conquered the rest of Europe. By 1940 Soviet Industry was 8.5 times the level it had been in 1913 (bear in mind that the 1913 level had marked a peak since the world  war and the civil war were to decimate industry) . Large Scale Industry had increased 12 fold. Machine building was 35 times greater. If Stalin hadn't dealt with the traitors there is no telling the chaos they might have been able to cause or the secrets they would reveal to the Nazis. If Stalin were in fact the hated tyrant of fascist and capitalist propaganda he was portrayed as the Soviet People would never have made such tremendous sacrifices during the war. Finally he managed to outwit his opponents on the eve of war with the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. In truth the Nazi's had been intentionally built up by the capitalist west in the hopes that they would turn east and attack the soviet union. This not love of peace was the real reason for their appeasement of Hitler. The Soviets again and again offered to form an anti-fascist alliance with Britain and France but were refused. They hoped the Soviets would be left to fight the Nazis alone then they could attack when they had both worn each other out. It should be pointed out that during the Spanish civil war the USSR alone aided republican Spain against the Fascists. The "democracies" used nonintervention as an excuse to prevent aid from reaching republican Spain which lead to it's downfall. Stalin's cynical ploy should be seen in this context he well understood the plans the west had to destroy the Soviet Union.

   Thus Stalin turned the tables on them by signing the non-agression pact with Germany.      Within weeks the western powers were forced to declare war on Germany over it's invasion of Poland. Thus when the Soviet Union entered the war the UK was forced to ally with it. Unfortunately what Stalin couldn't have predicted was that France would collapse so quickly. Much nonsense has been written about this pact but if you look at the actual timing of events and study the Spanish civil war you'll see that this is the correct interpretation of events. As Brar points out the western democracies even toyed with the idea of switching sides during the war but decided it was a bad idea in light of soviet victories. Churchill even drew up plans to ally with Germany and attack the USSR immediately after the war but his planners warned him it would most likely be a disaster. Incidentally Churchill stole his famous line about the Iron Curtain from Hitler's propagandist Joseph Goebbels as Brar reveals. By signing the pact Stalin bought a little time to build up Soviet industry and defenses. If the Germans had held off their invasion  for another year the soviet Union would have been much better able to defend itself it was just beginning to produce it's next Generation of weaponry like the Famous T-34 when Hitler decided to launch his surprise attack on June 22 1941. Hitler believed victory would be his in a matter of weeks. After seizing the rich natural resources of the mighty Soviet Union Germany would dominate the planet. Hitler  believed he was founding an empire that would last a thousand years. However thanks to Stalin's preparations things would turn out quite differently then Hitler imagined. As Brar is fond of saying "Stalin had some wicked surprises waiting for him."

    It was no doubt the greatest war in history, Hitler invaded with over 5 million men and thousands of tanks and airplanes. Never before or since have such huge conventional forces battled each other. Initially the Soviet Union was handicapped by surprise and by their outdated equipment which was no match for the Germans. Fortunately the Soviets were already beginning to produce the new equipment which would prove so decisive in the battles of 1942 and beyond. The soviets suffered some disastrous early defeats but they resisted valiantly. For example there is the story of Brest Fortress which continued to resist for weeks although completely surrounded and behind enemy lines. No matter how many Soviets the germans captured or killed there always seemed to be more and they all offered fierce resistance.

   Finally before the gates of Moscow the soviets managed to halt the german advance in an epic battle. Not only did they stop them they pushed them back hundreds of miles destroying the myth of german invincibility. I should mention the terrible siege of Leningrad which the Germans attempted to starve into submission at least a million would die but the city refused to surrender. The decisive moment of the war  would come the next year 1942 when Germany would launch another huge summer offensive aimed at seizing central Asia particularly the oil fields in the caucuses. In order to cover their flank they needed to control Stalingrad. Stalingrad was a one of many new cities that had arisen during the economic boom and as mentioned it's tractor factory was a symbol of the modernization of the nation. It was at Stalingrad that the soviets would inflict a decisive defeat on Germany. The first phase of the battle was a brutal defense. Although the Germans managed to enter the town and were issued medals of victory the soviets refused to surrender and brutal street fighting would continue for months. Urban combat at it's most intense. The germans were made to pay dearly for every foot of land they seized. However unbeknownst to them while they were bogged down fighting for the city Stalin was planning a massive surprise Winter offensive. The entire German 6th army the pride of Germany became encircled. The Soviets beat back the massive attempt to rescue them then forced them to surrender. Germany never recovered from this defeat. At Kursk Hitler the gambler attempted another offensive but this time the soviets were ready and had set up massive defenses that stopped the german advance then they launched their own offensive at the worn out Germans Crushing them. This was histories largest tank battle. After Kursk the Soviets liberated all of eastern Europe in an irresistible series of offensives like Operation Bagration. They liberated the fascist puppet states before marching all the way to Berlin. Hitler blew his brains out and the rest is History. The victory of the USSR in the war was undoubtedly another of Stalin's great accomplishments. Brar qoutes Marshal Zhukov himself on Stalin's role. Stalin supervised everything the Stavka (Soviet High Command) worked under his close supervision and his organizational genius contributed greatly to their victory. During the battle of Moscow he had courageously refused to leave the city knowing his example would inspire the troops. I suggest you watch for yourself (a quick youtube search) the immortal speech he gave before the battle of Moscow on the anniversary of the October Revolution when he urged the soviet people not only to defend the USSR but to liberate all of Europe from fascist occupation.

   Stalin did not only defeat fascism. He also oversaw a massive expansion of the socialist world both in eastern Europe and in Asia. I should also mention in passing that in rebuilding the USSR after the war he accomplished yet another economic miracle. Not only was the USSR able to rebuild from all the catastrophic destruction it actually managed to double the size of it's industrial production yet again. In China in the final months of the war he dealt a crippling blow on the Japanese imperialists in Manchuria in a major victory almost entirely forgotten in the west. He refused to give in to nuclear blackmail from the US infuriating them by standing firm and refusing to be intimidated. Meanwhile he secretly ordered the development of a soviet atom bomb which was ready by 1949. When the US launched their genocidal war against North Korea he sent soviet planes to help defend the tiny nation and they shot down thousands of american planes. Thanks in part to his aid the heroic peoples of China and North Korea were able to inflict the first defeat American imperialism was to suffer. Thus he was loved the world over by people living under colonial oppression and those able to see through the lies of capitalist society. For example there was the great Paul Robeson who refused to bow to McCarthyite intimidation which he correctly saw as fascist. (See My June 2014 article Nazis and the CIA for more on the role of fascists in shaping the cold war) Robeson courageously praised Stalin after his death.  There was also the great Che Guevara who as Harpal's son Ranjeet Brar explained quoting Che in 1953 (the year the cuban revolution began) Che swore "before a picture of our old much lamented Comrade Stalin that I will not rest until I see these capitalist octopuses annihilated"

  Unfortunately since  then 60 years of relentless propaganda have made this once loved figure into a hated figure even on the left. It is time we did some rethinking about the past. Whether one loves Stalin as Harpal Brar does or not I hope that at least you will adopt a more balanced view. Whatever you might think of the tough methods Stalin employed at least in future keep in mind his undeniable accomplishments. He transformed Russia and the USSR from a backwards nation into a superpower. From a feudal brand of capitalism he built Russia into an advanced socialist nation with free health care and education. His victory in world war 2 alone should have been enough to earn him the gratitude of history. However hollywood chooses to portray the war the fact is that 90 % of German casualties were inflicted on the Eastern front. Thus we should celebrate the Stalin Era. We should also expose the lies meant to defame him. Above all we should study this exciting era of history for the lessons it can teach us in building socialism. I've only just begun my study of soviet history. Personally I plan to immerse myself in revolutionary history next year so as to drown out the noise of yet another idiotic presidential campaign in America the heart of the empire. A better world is possible but we will only get there through revolutionary change. Even reform is impossible without the threat of revolution as the world has discovered since Khrushchev and Gorbachev destroyed the USSR and the west has begun dismantling all of the reforms forced on it during the cold war. So let us study revolutionary theory and history and begin to organize ourselves for a better world. There are few chapters of Human history as exciting as the Stalin Era. Long live the glorious memory of the history of the USSR and of it's Leader J.V. Stalin.


My Chief Sources for this Article were 3 books by Harpal Brar. First "Perestroika: The Complete Collapse of Revisionism" This book not only chronicles the fall of the soviet Union under Gorbachev in it's first half but the building of the Soviet Union under Stalin in it's second half meant to counter the waves of anti-stalin propaganda being issued at the time. Second there is the huge "Trotskyism or Leninism" This chronicles not just Trotsky's battles against first Lenin and then Stalin it also has in depth coverage of the Moscow Trials among other topics. There are a great Sections on the Spanish Civil War and  and Stalin's role in the Chinese revolution for instance. Third there is Harpal Brar's short book "60th Anniversary of the Victory over Fascism". Which is of course equally relevant now when Russia recently celebrated the 70th Anniversary of the Victory over Fascism last May 9th. You can Purchase these books from the CPGB-ML along with many others here. I'm already dreaming of what to order next.

My other major source was "Stalin: Man of Contradiction" by Kenneth Neil Cameron which is also great and confirms much of what Brar says about the Moscow trials and the wrecking campaigns. It Provides a biography of Stalin and traces his many accomplishments.

Check out my previous article on Soviet History From July 2015 "lessons of the Russian Revolution" Also Relevant to this article last winter I read "Socialism Betrayed" by Roger Keeran and Thomas Kenny which first revealed the truth about Soviet economic history Stalin's successes and Kruhchev and Gorbachev's errors. Then "Russian Revolution from Lenin to Stalin" By E.H. Carr was valuable. Also Carr's "Bolshevik Revolution from 1917-1923" was valuable in understanding the economic challenges facing the USSR at the time of Lenin's death.

The Internet has a wealth of resources if you know where to look.

Join the CPGB-ML or merely make use of some of there great resources for further research here.

This article by Mario Sousa debunks Robert Conquest and reveals what now declassified soviet archives really reveal about the stalin era

Harpal Brar founded the Stalin society of UK to combat anti-soviet propaganda with facts check out their archive of articles here

Their site is Here

I got the Picture for my article from the newly founded Stalin Society of North America

As I mentioned Check out the CPGB-ML youtube channel called Proletarian TV for tons of great lectures on soviet history, marxist theory, and in opposition to the many imperialist wars going on like Ukraine and Syria. After listening to Brar you too will feel like defending Stalin. Yet Harpal  Brar is only one of the great lecturers they have. Ella Rule, Joti Brar, Ranjeet Brar and Keith Bennet, Katt Cremer and others are also recommended viewing. I discovered The Che Quote in the video of Ranjeet's speech "Join the Struggle: CPGB-ML".  Also check out the Stalin Society Youtube channel for more great lectures I especially recommend Ranjeet Brar's discussion of Paul Robeson (the son of a slave) and Stalin (son of a serf) and Robeson's heroic defense of the USSR which cost him his career "Paul Robeson, Stalin, and the USSR". Also the Marxist Leninist Theory You Tube Channel has tons of writings and speeches by Marx, Lenin, Stalin and Mao converted to audio format. He has another youtube channel on history and revolutionary theory called Finnish bolshevik check out his great exposes of Trotsky for instance. For another defender of the Stalin Era search Youtube for Grover Furr.  You can read Stalin for yourself here


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Wars on Syria Libya Yemen

   Empire of Chaos in The Middle East Syria Libya and Yemen

      US Imperialism has managed to create an interconnected area of wars from Africa, To the Middle East, stretching all the way through central Asia where it wages war on not just Afghanistan, but even  covert wars on Russia and China themselves. It's so vast I could never hope to tackle it in a single article even excluding the wars being waged in Latin America or Europe or the streets of America itself. Nigeria, DRCongo, Mali, Libya, The Central African Republic, Tunisia, Sudan, Somalia these are only some of the wars being waged in Africa for example all having their roots in secretive covert war waged through proxies. Palestine, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, and Lebanon are only some of the conflicts in the middle east with Turkey itself becoming a war zone recently. In Central Asia the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan is already spilling over into Central Asian countries like Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. As if Afghanistan hasn't suffered enough after more then 35 Years of war the US is doubtless behind the recent surge in ISIS activity there aimed at insuring the war there will never end. The recent news of Mullah Omar's death was perfectly timed to disrupt the Peace talks there I should mention in passing. America is waging war on the entire planet no many knows how many millions have died, been tortured or turned into refugees and we will never know as the business of calculating casualties is highly politicized. Many millions that much is certain. In DRCongo alone 10 million have died, in Iraq 2 Million. A massive area of genocide, desolation, poverty, covering much of the globe has been created. Thus I'll be discussing some recent events in Syria, Libya, and Yemen which form only parts of this massive interconnected series of wars.

   First of course I can't resist commenting on the recent Iran deal. Personally I want relations between the US and Iran to be relaxed enough that Iran isn't targeted for an open war (the US, Israel and their allies have long waged a covert war on Iran using terrorists proxies and the MEK cult.) At the same time I don't want them to become open allies (they have been known to secretly cooperate in Iraq.) Unfortunately the political system is so warped in the US that Iran will never be able to escape the constant threat of war.  A war that could quickly go Nuclear  because of Iran's strong conventional forces capable of sinking the US fleet in the narrow Persian gulf in about half an hour according the pentagon war games conducted a several years ago. The possibility of Iran becoming allied with the US is also currently impossible thanks to America's overweening arrogance and because it is waging war on Iran's allies Hezbollah, Syria, and Yemen. The deal will merely result in Iran being allowed to sell it's oil to Europe. For now it seems Iran will continue to tighten ties with Russia and China. While America is busy spreading destruction everywhere China is busy building a massive infrastructure that stretches across eurasia and Africa. Provided they manage to avoid being destroyed inevitably the 21st century will be the Chinese century. Pepe Escobar constantly writes of this amazing process as China attempts to construct the infrastructure for the economic integration of eurasia. In truth preventing this is one of the main US motives for spreading chaos across the planet. Hopefully Iran will be able to use the opportunity to strengthen it's economy and defenses. Israel seems bent on it's destruction while hysterical American politicians seem bent on competing for the role of who can be most outrageous claims against Iran thus demonstrating their complete subservience to the notorious pro-Israel lobby which dominates congress. Whether democrat or republican a crazed war monger is certain to occupy the white house after 2016 which is pretty terrifying considering that the current Obama regime has already pushed the world to the brink of Nuclear war with both Russia and China. Official Washington's summer reading is a thriller about world war 3 with China called "Ghost Fleet" I haven't read it but I can tell you that if it doesn't end with the world a smoking ruin and 5 billion dead it's unrealistic.

   Syria home to the most heroic people on the planet (See my June 2015 Article "Long Live Syria!") is under increased threat from Turkey doubtless at the secret instigation of the US and Israel. In the past month the Syrian Arab Army, the People's militias of the NDF, Hezbollah, and an Increasing Iranian element have been waging a successful campaign against the legions of terrorists sent to invade the country like ISIS and Al Nusra. In response to their victories Turkey has begun to intervene directly in the conflict threatening to establish a no fly zone in Northern Syria. This is nothing more then a cover to  launch an air war against the kurds there who have been valiantly resisting the genocidal terrorists attempting to seize their territory and either kill the locals or turn them into refugees. Northern Syria is a home to more minorities then the kurds but they have all banded together to fight off the ISIS terrorists that seek to destroy them. Actually they have managed not only fight terrorists but are conducting a revolutionary social experiment which unfortunately I don't have time to go into here. However one feature is the arming of women who have managed to inflict humiliating defeats on ISIS. Thus Syria is home not only to the most heroic men in the world but the most heroic women wether fighting in the YPJ in the semi-autonomous north or fighting as members of the Syrian Arab Army or the NDF in the rest of the country.

Unfortunately the victories of the YPG, YPJ and SAA have caused Turkey to intervene directly. The US which already began violating Syria's airspace last fall bombing it's people and repeatedly dropping weapons to the terrorists it claimed to be fighting. Now it is openly threatening to bomb Syria in defense of the terrorists it began openly training last fall. In addition the British Media admitted that the SAS is on the ground in Syria pretending to be Al Qaeda linked Terrorists supposedly to hunt down ISIS in Reality doubtless to train and lead terrorists and to carry out terror attacks against Syria. Syria has warned Turkey that it may retaliate and subtly hinted a reminder that while they refrained from retaliating against Israel and the US to avoid a pretext for war it did shoot down a Turkish jet earlier in the war. We'll have to wait to see how far Turkey is going to expand this new phase of the war so far it has used the pretext of waging war on ISIS (of which Turkey is one of the main sponsors of course) to wage war on the kurds both inside Turkey and in Iraq and Syria. Kurdish forces have already begun to retaliate and if Turkey continues to pursue it's insane policies it could easily find itself involved in a civil war with it's long oppressed Kurdish minority. Turkey may soon go from being a tool of the empire to it's victim as the US and Israel have long plotted to carve a huge piece out of Turkey to add to a newly created kurdistan composed of parts of Iraq, Syria, and even Iran. As for Syria it's people will heroically resist whatever expanded attack Turkey manages to mount. Despite the threat of outside intervention they continue their heroic struggle to defend their nation against the endless waves of terrorists seeking to destroy their country. I hope they will be able to crush this latest invasion from turkey who are probably merely the same old terrorists relabeled as a turkish militia. Victory to the people of Syria!

   Libya has been the scene of constant warfare since NATO decided to destroy the country 4 years ago in the name of human rights and humanitarian intervention. Using pretexts that were later exposed as complete lies including that Gaddafi was bombing the protestors, the UN  granted NATO authorization for a "no fly-zone" of exactly the sort the US and it's allies are suggesting for Syria. The No-fly zone instantly became the bomb everything zone and for 7 months NATO destroyed the country and targeted it's defenders so that it's genocidal army of terrorists could "liberate" the country meaning loot the place and wage a reign of terror against it's people. Obama supported a "rebel" army that celebrated it's rebellion by lynching blacks and locking others in cages like zoo animals. They celebrated their victory by turning the black town of Tawergha into a ghost town by ethnically cleansing it. The war resulted in hundreds of thousands of dead and millions of refugees although it had a tiny population of only 6 million.Gaddafi was tortured and murdered for the crime of choosing to die defending his country. Gaddafi was one of the most under rated revolutionaries of all time he turned his country from the poorest in Africa to the wealthiest and provided social programs to his people that we in the "advanced" west could only dream of. Thus he was demonized and his country destroyed by the imperialist powers.

   Once he was dead the world lost interest in Libya and the Media prefer not to mention the country at all since it's plight is proof that they lied about everything. The wonderful freedom fighters who overthrew the horrible tyrant were nothing but a bunch of al Qaeda terrorists. The destruction of Libya was yet another scheme by the US to spread chaos across both the already chaotic continent of Africa and the already chaotic middle east particularly Syria. The war in Mali quickly followed. Yet despite the fact that Libya is now an apocalyptic wasteland ruled over by warring death squads the ICC kangaroo court decided that the terrorists who have since sworn loyalty to ISIS (lead in North Africa by the infamous Bel Hadj who worked closely with NATO during the war.) The ICC decided that the terrorists would be allowed to conduct the trials for charges which were only dreamt up as a way of delegitimizing the government at the beginning of the war. Being an evil empire means never having to say your sorry and since obviously Obama, Sarkozy, and Cameron will never stand trial for destroying Libya Instead Gaddafi's family and members of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (the name of the former government of Libya which was an experiment in direct democracy not a dictatorship.) While the terrorist Death Squads that now rule Libya engage in war with each other and murder, torture, and rape the populace with impunity and on a massive scale they now have passed judgement on Gaddafi's son Saif al Islam and others. They passed a death sentence to be carried out by firing squad against all 9 of them which include the former intelligence director Abdullah al-Senussi and former prime minister Baghadi al-Mahmoudi. Saif is held by a competing militia in Zintan which is refusing to hand him over.

    At the same time video has emerged showing the psychological and physical torture of another of Gaddafi's sons Saadi Gaddafi. In it he is shown sitting blindfolded in a room forced to listen to the screams as other prisoners doubtless loyal to the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya are tortured. Next he himself is tortured. Thousands of loyal Libyans have been held captive since the war and subjected to horrific tortures while many thousand more are constantly being arrested and tortured by the death squads that reign in the nation. The news of these unjust sentences and Saadi's torture brought protestors into the streets waving the green flag of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. They risked their lives to demand justice for the accused. They were quickly dispersed with machine gun fire which left at least one woman dead and a dozen protestors wounded. However it was clear that the dream of a return of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya is still alive in the hearts of many Libyans and Ironically one of the biggest protests took place in Benghazi a former stronghold of the counter-revolution. Meanwhile the Green Resistance those still loyal to the Libyan Jamahiriya continue to wage a war aimed at restoring the gains of the Libyan Revolution and hopefully will one day be able to regain control of the country and begin rebuilding their shattered land.

   Meanwhile in Yemen the rich Saudi Royals continue their war on the poorest country in the Arab world. This is because they dared to overthrow the US and Saudi Backed puppet Al Hadi. You can read a more in depth account of the origins of the current war and Yemen's history as a cold war and then war on Terror battleground in my April 2015 Article "War on Yemen". Now a couple months later Saudi Arabia continues it's cowardly war with the backing of the UK, US, and Israel of course. So far at least 4,000 people have been killed with 20,000 injured. Worse the Saudi's have put the whole country under siege seeking to starve the populace into submission with their blockade. At Least 6.5 million people are in danger of starvation. Another 13 million people are in a permanent struggle to find food. With Humanitarian disaster looming the Saudis have sought to worsen the situation bombing schools, hospitals, markets and food depots. They are doubtless following the same strategy the US pursued in Iraq in 1991's "Desert Storm" to destroy all the vital civilian infrastructure of the country. They even named their operation "Decisive Storm" in homage to this infamous war crime. They also have Americans to help them draw up the target list drawing on their invaluable experience destroying Iraq, Yugoslavia, and Libya. In addition to the air war the Saudis are sending in their terrorist proxies to wreak havoc on the populace backing them up with air power like NATO did in Libya and as Turkey and the US are doing in Syria. However despite all the horror and suffering they have inflicted on the populace the people of Yemen remain defiant. They are tough fighters and have known decades of war. They will continue to resist Saudi Arabia's attempts to reinstall a puppet regime. Saudi Arabia remains long overdue for a revolution to overthrow it's oppressive feudal monarchy tool of the US, UK and Israel. End the War on Yemen and down with the corrupt saudi royals.

   The empire of Chaos has spread poverty, terror and war across the planet. But all over the world people are fighting back no matter what the odds are against them. I'll never forget the bravery of the Libyan people who fought on till the end in defense of towns like Bani Walid and Sirte made famous because of their resistance. Long live Live Libya's Green Resistance forces who continue to fight on. Demand and end to the rule of terror and torture in Libya. Demand an end to the war on Yemen before the humanitarian catastrophe grows even greater. Long live Yemen's resistance. Demand an end to the genocidal war against Syria and Turkeys decades long US backed war on the Kurds. Long live the brave fighters of the SAA, NDF, YPG, YPJ and Hezbollah! Syria has managed to survive against all the odds. Long Live Syria!


Tony Cartalucci on the escalating war on Syria

A recent report on the war in Syria

A Great interview on Libya with Gerald A. Perreira

Abayomi Azikwe on recent events in Libya

Video of Saadi Gaddafi Being Tortured

A great article on the war on Yemen

Follow the Situation in Libya at Viva Libya

Christoph Germann on the Assasination of Mullah Omar his "New Great Game" Blog is essential reading for following events in Central Asia and the Caucuses plus the covert war on Russia and China

Monday, August 3, 2015

Revolution in Haiti

The Haitian Revolution: How The People of Haiti Ended their Slavery and Defeated Three Empires

    Haiti is today one of the poorest countries in the Americas. Thus most will doubtless be surprised to learn that it was once the richest possession in the French Empire and was far more valuable then the the United States had been to England. Today Haiti has become a laboratory of Neo-Colonialism and humanitarian imperialism. This is only the latest chapter in America's imperialist adventures in Haiti from Woodrow Wilson's invasion and occupation of the island, The Brutal CIA backed Duvalier regimes, and two US sponsored coups against president Aristide for daring to care about the plight of the poor majority in his country. Worse Haitians suffer genocide in the other half of their once united island in the dominican republic a genocide that has roots in the 1930's and doubtless before.. Amidst all the suffering US imperialism has brought to the island few today remember the glorious origins of the nation of Haiti. If America were not still a racist society the tale would no doubt long ago have been told on movie screens and Toussaint L'Ouverture would be as well known today as Malcolm X. After all what black youth has not wished at some time or other that our Ancestors had violently revolted and ended slavery with their own hands. Popular resistance by slaves during the civil war helped end slavery but this has all been erased from history. In Haiti for the first time in history the slaves successfully rose up and liberated their whole nation. However this was not an isolated incident and in many places in the Americas slaves rebelled formed their own free communities and fought off attempts to re-enslave them for decades. However all this is eliminated from the history books although radical historians periodically unearth it all. Yet I grew up ignorant of this history even though long before I was born black historians had already revived this history. Instead the history of slave revolts are completely suppressed from the public consciousness and the Haitian Revolution is largely forgotten. This forgetting is a crime meant to further the crimes of empire in Haiti by the US and the "International community" because if everyone knew of Haiti's glorious history the people of the world would never tolerate the current situation.

Thus I write this to remind the world of Haiti's heroic history which had consequences far beyond the island nation. For example the recent Fascist murder spree in Charleston was used by Abayomi Azikwe  to remind people of the story of Denmark Vesey who tried to organize an ambitious slave revolt in South Carolina which terrified the slavocracy of the antebellum south. This Rebellion was inspired by the Haitian Revolution. This is only the beginning of it's significance Eduardo Galeano relates how it was Haiti alone which aided Simon Bolivar in his bid to free Latin America from the Spanish Empire. All Haiti asked in return was his promise to abolish slavery. Thus Haiti helped free a continent from both colonialism and slavery. Even the french revolution would not have survived if Britain hadn't been bogged down in a disastrous attempt to conquer the island and reinstall slavery there as C.L.R. James reveals. Thus Europe owes it's democracy such as it is to Haiti. Of course the defeat suffered by the British their greatest losses between the time of Elizabeth and World War 1, or the debt Europe owes to Haiti have both been forgotten. Thankfully however the Haitian Revolution attracted the attention of C.L.R. James and he hoped the story might help to inspire the liberation of Africa then still under colonial domination. Thus he wrote the Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution. Amazingly he wrote it while in Spain during the Civil War, and it is both a literary and historical masterpiece which I highly recommend you read for yourselves.  In it he tells the amazing tale of how Haitians not only liberated themselves from slavery but defeated the Spanish, the French and English empires in the process securing their independence. I write this in order to revive the memory of both the Haitian Revolution and this classic book.

    C.L.R. James begins his account by describing life in San Domingo as Haiti and the Dominican Republic were then called. He describes the Spanish conquest with these classic lines:

    The Spaniards, the most advanced Europeans of their day, annexed the island called it Hispaniola and took the backward natives under their protection. They Introduced Christianity, forced labour in mines, murder, rape, bloodhounds, strange diseases, and artificial famine (by destruction of cultivation to starve the rebellious) These and other requirements of higher civilisation reduced the native population from an estimated half-a-million, perhaps a million to 60,000 in 15 years.

    Thus Haiti history began with genocide like everywhere else in the "new" world. After a a long series of fights between the european empires the island was divided between the Spanish and french empires. It's rich soil made it perfect for agriculture and the island would have been a paradise if it's entire society had not been based on the enslavement of africans. The blacks made up the majority of the population. James thus begins his account by giving a vivid picture of the horrors of slavery. The Slaves worked from before sunrise to long into the night and if they dared to rest for even a moment they instantly felt the lash of the whip. Often they only received enough food to last for half a week and went hungry the second half of the week. They were kept in line with the utmost barbaric cruelty and their masters seemed to delight in devising a hundred and one methods of torture. Slaves  were buried up to their necks their faces covered in honey so they would be devoured by ants. They were loaded with gunpowder and exploded. Women who had failed to produce children were forced to wear heavy Iron collars until they gave birth. All these torments were so common that the masters had a whole vocabulary of slang to describe all these punishments Including a score of different ways to administer whippings. To sum up they suffered, hunger, exploitation, torture, rape and murder. It was cheaper to simply import new slaves from Africa the trade in which the entire economy of Europe was the geared around then to bother caring about the lives of ones property.

On the other end of the Scale there were the whites who formed two classes. There were the rich slave holders and the so called small whites who only had a few slaves. They were thoroughly corrupted by living in a place where there every whim was catered to by slaves. For example even a barber didn't actually cut your hair or shave you he had 4 slaves to serve you and the only work he did was to beat them. Drinking, gambling, and promiscuity seemed to be their major pass times. All they wanted was to make enough money to go to back France to show off their riches. Of course as James points out those who really made the big profits were back in France and he gives a fascinating description of the growth of the maritime bourgeoisie who made their fortunes indirectly off the slave trade, or from serving the colonies. Many famous french towns owe their growth to this "colonial trade." San Domingo was France's most valuable possession at the time and the constant envy of the British. In fact the British funded the anti-slavery movement because the massive profits France were making from the island were a threat to the dominance of British capitalism, with the loss of it's colonies in north America it was turning to the cheap labor of India. One of the virtues of James' book is that it examines Haiti in the context of the global economy and geopolitics of the time. He also highlights the forgotten impact that the economic importance of Haiti had on the French Revolution. He was an expert in ripping off the humanitarian mask of Europe and revealing the cynical imperialist reality beneath a skill more useful now then ever.

There was a third group in Haitian society the free people of color, what James calls the Mulattoes. Apologies if my use of this archaic term offends you however the current bi-racial,  interracial, or multi-cultural fails to convey the way in which they were their own special caste in colonial society like the mestizos of latin america. Since like Obama I am one I hope I can be forgiven for using the terminology of the time as James did. The Mulattoes were of mixed blood and in the racist colonial society they were ranked in 128 separate categories depending on the exact proportions of white to black in their ancestry. Thus they formed their own hierarchy with the lighter mulattoes despising the darker. They were hated by the whites especially the "small" whites. However despite all the discrimination they faced they had the right to own property and some of them began to amass fortunes. Unfortunately they also made their fortunes off slavery. They would play an important role in the Haitian revolution as some of them were well educated and many sent their children to be educated in France where some of them received military training that would prove invaluable and some even fought in the american "revolution." All of them were required to serve in the islands internal armed forces acting to suppress slave revolts and capture runaways and they thus all had valuable military experience. Their efforts to be granted equal rights by the revolutionary french government would play an important role in provoking the Haitian revolution.

Thus Haiti was a powder keg made up of these three elements. It was the french revolution that would set off the explosion. As James points out it was the rising bourgeoisie in France who had made their fortunes largely off this slave society, who now decided to do away with their feudal masters and run France in their own interests who were behind the revolution. But this revolution would ironically inspire the Haitian revolution that would end slavery. You'll have to read the book to get the full complexity of the events but to simplify the french revolution would inspire 3 separate and very different revolutions that would later merge as events evolved. First it split the whites into monarchists and pro-revolution factions. However the pro-revolution faction were completely racist and reactionary and chiefly dreamed of slaughtering the mulattoes and taking their property. The mulattoes on the other hand hoped that they would be granted equal rights with whites while they would both continue to exploit the slaves. In other words they wanted equality for free people regardless of race. Fortunately their leaders were both inspired by the revolutionary principles of the french revolution and forced by the stubborn racism of the whites to ally with the slaves and came to fight for their freedom. Their greatest leader was named Rigaud.

  Lastly there was the revolution inspired among the black slaves. Although denied an education rumors began to pass around them that over in France the people had risen up and killed their masters and they decided to do the same. James explains that their had been other attempts at Slave rebellion before and they had already learned that they must act in unison if they were to have a chance of success. For example they had nearly succeeded in a plot under Mackandal a leader of the maroons (escaped slaves who had their own independent territories) to poison their masters and rise in rebellion. The initial leader of the black slave revolt was the voodoo priest Boukman. African religion would serve throughout the revolution to inspire tremendous bravery in the former slaves. Many of them believed if they died in battle they would awake in Africa. Initially completely outgunned facing cannon and muskets with only pitchforks or whatever other improvised weapons they could find it was only their fierce determination that permitted them to overcome the impossible odds against them. In the beginning they arose with a destructive vengeance they killed their masters and burned the Sugar Cane fields that they had been enslaved in. Their former masters responded with their typical practiced savagery killing every black they could lay their hands on even slaves who hadn't rebelled but were still working obediently or rebels driven by hunger to surrender. They chopped off heads and put them on display including the initial leader of the rebellion Boukman . All this backfired however for it only caused the ranks of the rebellion to further swell forcing even those hesitant to risk revolt into joining.

   First I should take a step back and discuss some of the political maneuvering of the Haitian and French revolutions. Initially conflict arose because the mulattoes had representatives in France able to put the question of their equality before the paris convention. They had the spirit of the enlightenment on their side but were opposed by the representatives of the white colonists. In addition their were big economic interests against them what James calls the maritime bourgeoisie initially they opposed any such promise of equality since it might give the slaves ideas. However they began to change their mind once the slave revolt began and they realized that only an alliance between whites and mulattoes could restore "order" (slavery.) However back in Haiti the whites hated the Mulattoes too much and just as they were about to conclude an alliance with them some whites ruined the whole plan by lynching a rich mulatto and launching a surprise attack on the mullatoes in general. In retaliation the Mulattoes decided to lead the slaves in revolt enrolling them in their army. Rigaud was their most famous leader and he would for a time rule the whole south of the island submitting only to Toussaint. He and Beauvais another of their generals had both served in the American "revolution" (Historian Gerald Horne has argued that it was really a counter-revolution fought in defense of slavery) Their third important leader was Pinchinat a politician and a powerful writer.

Meanwhile three new leaders had emerged among the slaves. They were the Jean Francois who had joined the maroons before the revolt had begun, the tough and daring Biassou, and the brutal Jeannot who Jean Francois later had killed for his excessive cruelty. Serving under Biassou was Toussaint L'Ouverture who would one day rule the entire island. Since the Bourgeoisie back in France were blocking all attempts at addressing the issue of slavery the leaders of the slaves formed an alliance with monarchist Spain. It was during this period that Toussaint rose to prominence as he captured more and more of the island for Spain. Jean Francois and Toussaint had surprisingly a very tolerant attitude towards whites and monarchist white officers joined their forces becoming what we would call today military advisers helping the former slaves turn their forces into well trained conventional armies that would be a match for anything sent against them.

  It was a a new stage of the french revolution that would alter the dynamics of the Haitian revolution. The Girondins who ironically had before coming to power been advocates of abolition were reliant on the "maritime bourgeoisie" who were reliant on the profits of slavery. Thus the Girondins had done a disgraceful reversal and kept the issue from being debated. However they fell and Robespierre came to power and his alliance with the sans culottes meant that the revolution might briefly act according to it's principles. The Paris radicals of the time despised what they called the aristocracy of the skin and many refused to drink coffee since it was cultivated by slave labor. Thus to it's credit the French Revolution produced figures like Laveux and Sonthonax who would be sent to the island where they became close allies of Toussaint and fierce enemies of slavery. Of course later the French revolution would shift to the right first trying to stir up trouble for Toussaint with plots during the Directory then under Napoleon it would send an army to try and reinstall slavery.

   Which brings us to another factor that shifted the direction of the Haitian revolution the British invaded attempting to seize the valuable island for themselves and plotting to reinstall slavery in a scheme masterminded by the same Pitt who had earlier set in motion the British anti-slavery movement when that had suited Britain's imperial interests. The British invasion proved such a disaster that Britain was unable to act decisively against the french revolutionary government back in Europe. To skip ahead again Toussaint would in the end push them off the island by winning 7 battles in 7 days. The british lost 80,000 troops in the war with 40,000 dead an incredible defeat inflicted by Toussaint and the former slaves on the mighty British empire. To sum up by agreeing to abolish slavery the french republic won the loyalty of Toussaint who even in his "monarchist" period had used the slogans of the french revolution and he had been inspired by the enlightenment thinker Abbe Reynal who had predicted the rise of a black Spartacus to free the slaves. By fighting the english on behalf of the French republic he proved his worth to the French and He steadily rose in their esteem. In addition he rose to power because he alone had the respect of the three main factions. He alone could command the respect of the former slaves. The whites turned to him for protection from reprisal and he protected their lives and even their property. He also had the grudging respect of the Mulattoes with Rigaud their leader loyal to him until in a later period french plots would pit them against each other. Thus it wasn't long before he was the only one who was capable of running the country and though he worked closely with the first two commissioners sent by the republic who were supposed to be his superiors it wasn't long before he had achieved defacto independence and was the true ruler of the island. His power was based on his army of former slaves which had first beaten the slaveholders then chased the british from the island. Eventually he would also conquer the Spanish half of the island uniting what was then known as San Domingo. As a commander he earned the loyalty of his men by braving every hardship with them and was fearless in the face of danger often leading the decisive charge himself. Like Napoleon he relied on speed and surprise to achieve his victories. Also like Napoleon he was a tireless administrator and brilliant organizer. As James mentions their contemporaries described both men in very similar terms. Yet Napoleon was to become his fiercest enemy partly because he was a racist who had persecuted Dumas one of the mulatto heroes of the french republic but mostly because he wanted to restore the immense profits the island had produced under slavery.

Once again I must backtrack to trace the worsening relations between Toussaint and the french government. First let me go back to the beginning some respect must be paid to two Frenchmen genuine revolutionaries who helped free the slaves. First there was Sonthonax while Paris was still stalling on the issue of slavery Sonthonax had been forced by circumstances to decree their freedom. This was because the white colonists despised him for his principles and supported his reactionary rival Galbaud against him. The dispute erupted into civil war and so Sonthonax had ordered the slaves armed and declared the abolition of slavery. The nearby slaves already in revolt joined forces with newly freed slaves. The slaves help proved decisive and Sonthonax proved victorious. Toussaint who followed events back in Paris closely continued his alliance with the spanish until the convention actually voted for the abolition of slavery with the rise of Robespiere and the mountain. There was also Laveaux who would become great friends with Toussaint who would win many victories for France once he had allied with the french. He would serve as Toussaint's mentor. Allied with these two men Toussaint began his steady rise to power until eventually it was he who was truly in charge. Laveux went back first and He and Toussaint remained lifelong friends. Sonthonax created some problems for Rigaud which caused tensions with Toussaint. However the real cause of their final split remains a mystery. Toussaint claimed that Sonthonax advised him to massacre all the whites. James however dismisses this idea. The important thing is that with their departure Toussaint became de facto ruler. I also wish to say that the two men stood head and shoulders above such hypocrites as Thomas Jefferson and deserve to be remembered unlike many in France they did not betray their principles once the political balance of power shifted. They remained steadfast supporters of freedom for the former slaves. The next commissioner sent Hedouville was a completely different story he was concerned mainly with plotting Toussaint's downfall. He managed to convince Rigaud to betray Toussaint. This sparked a war between Rigaud and the Mullatoes in the south and Toussaint. Toussaint won and suppressed the rebellion with ruthless executions very different from his usual merciful methods. Basically Toussaint was very concerned to maintain good relations with the whites in order to counterbalance the Mulattos. Since the mullattoes had their own educated class they could have ruled without white help. This bloody war occurred while meanwhile Napoleon was plotting back in France to conquer the island and install slavery. Rigaud decided to go into exile back in France rather then make peace with Toussaint on the way back he suffered shipwreck but eventually managed to reach France where with other Mullato generals he plotted his return.

   Napoleon was only waiting for peace with Britain so that he could crush the Haitian revolution and reinstall slavery. His plan was a masterpiece in Machiavellian ruthlessness and would be the envy of a Kissinger or a Brzezinski. To carry it out he assembled a 20,000 strong army made up of veterans of his victorious campaigns in Europe. Among it's officers were more then a few heroes of the Napoleonic wars. Also returning with the force were the mulatto exiled who napoleon had ordered should be betrayed as soon as convenient they were to be exiled to Madagascar as soon as they were no longer needed to command their forces. He put his brother in law Leclerc in charge of the whole expedition and to him alone did he reveal his plan. Leclerc alone knew the plan to reinstall slavery the truth was hidden from the officers and men. They believed that they were fighting to depose a tyrant Toussaint traitor to the revolution in the pay of priests and the British. They were fighting on behalf of freedom and democracy in other words just like the dupes of today. Just like the dupes of today they were really fighting on behalf of imperialism and exploitation. The whole plan depended on escalating stages of deception and betrayal. Initially Leclerc was to make all sort of concessions to Toussaint while he landed his troops. Once they were properly established Toussaint was to be called in to swear his loyalty then immediately arrested and deported. Eventually all black officers were to be deported along with all the white women who had slept with blacks since the revolution. The black army would eventually have been disbanded and slavery reinstalled. The only way to carry it out would be to kill all of the blacks and mulattos and start from scratch by importing new slaves from Africa. These new slaves would be without the memory of a successful revolution and without the experience of winning battles. Thankfully Napoleons master plan would meet with disaster.

   Toussaint's downfall was his love of France. His protection of the whites from reprisal would earn him the enmity of some of the other black generals. The war with France would eventually lead to the rise of a new leader Dessalines who foresaw that Haiti would have to achieve real independence if it was to secure it's freedom. However despite his love of France Toussaint was shrewd enough not to trust the French although even he didn't suspect how low they were prepared to sink. Nonetheless when Leclerc landed Toussaint decided there was no choice but to resist. Unfortunately some of his commanders were also sympathetic to the french and in the days before electronic communication many were cut off and unsure what to do allowing the French to get a foothold. However in the initial phase of the war there were fierce battles in which the blacks managed to inflict heavy losses on Napoleons army. Toussaint ordered a scorched earth campaign to deny the french supplies and knew that in a couple months the rainy season would bring malaria to the french army. The Black army proved match for Napoleons as James writes " they combined all the order and discipline of a trained army with all the tricks and dodges of guerrilas" Unfortunately one of Toussaint's top Commanders was trapped by the French and forced to switch sides and Toussaint foolishly decided to cut a deal. He agreed to resign and return to his own estate. He was not defeated but rather thought he could make a deal from a position of strength. In exchange he received a promise that the officers of the black army would all keep their posts. He knew that so long as the Black army remained intact Slavery could never be reimposed. However Dessalines was already plotting against him spreading rumors among the french that Toussaint couldn't be trusted. Dessalines knew that Toussaint would never agree to the ruthless measures necessary for Haiti to win it's independence and so wanted him out of the way. Toussaint was arrested his property stolen he was sent back to France Napoleon kept this fact under strict secrecy. Napoleon didn't dare to have him executed so he had him murdered through ill treatment. For example he was denied a doctor on the grounds that blacks had a different physiology and so a doctor would be useless to him. Subjected to cold, hunger and humiliation he would eventually die. It reminds me of the recent attempt to Murder Mumia Abu Jamal through medical malpractice. However on the very day of his death San Domingo's declaration of independence was signed and 7 months later the french were forced to flee.

   Once again I must jump back in time again to Leclerc the seeming victor after having arrested and deported Toussaint. In a story that recently repeated itself in Iraq, in Libya the fall of Toussaint solved nothing for Leclerc. Instead he faced a constant series of insurgencies. Low level officers sensing that the fall of Toussaint meant the french had evil plans for the island began to rebel slaughtering their former masters. Leclerc was forced to delay arresting and deporting Toussaint's generals as he needed their help to suppress the rebellions.  Dessalines convinced him he was loyal even as he plotted rebellion. The rainy season began and Leclercs men already having suffered heavy losses battling Toussaint began to die of Malaria in ever growing numbers. Leclerc himself slowly grew sicker and sicker. James qoutes Leclerc's own letters full of pride and self pity as he steadily describes his downfall. To late he realized Dessalines was plotting against him. Dessalines was about to arrested when a servant warned him and he managed to escape just in time as soon as he was on his horse he shouted "to arms"  he already had begun putting the revolt in motion before the attempt to have him arrested. Soon Leclerc died of malaria. Now in command of the french was Rochambeau and his rise marked the start of a full on war of attempted genocide by the french. He ordered troops he captured to be sent to his fleet to be drowned on mass. He imported 1500 hunting dogs to track the blacks and tried to kill off all the mulattoes and blacks he could find. He was trying to put Napoleon's plan to wipe out the entire nonwhite populace so that they could be replaced. The Blacks and Mulattoes fought back fiercely ruthlessly burning everything to deny it to the french waging a peoples war. Even those not in the army waged a guerrilla war and the former slaves proved experts in psychological warfare playing all sorts of tricks on the french to keep them in a constant state of terror. In the end thanks to the able leadership of the Generals and the heroic resistance of the people and army the french were completely defeated and forced to flee for their lives. Those few survivors who hadn't starved, died of disease, or been killed in battle were immediately captured by a waiting British fleet and lived out their lives in captivity  poetic justice for the attempt to reinstall slavery. James wrote his account before the great victories of the Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese revolutions so it is remarkable how much his account seems a description of say the victory of the vietnamese over the Japanese French and Americans. Thus we must forever celebrate this mighty victory of the Haitian people over first the British and then the french. Toussaint it should be remembered had  inflicted the greatest defeat the British were to suffer for centuries. Now the Haitian people under the leadership of Dessalines had humbled a napoleonic army.

   Our story sadly ends where it began with another genocide. Ruthless Great britain was to blame. In exchange for promises of trade and protection they demanded that all the whites would be killed. Thus opened this early glimpse of Neo-colonialism. The british feared the valuable colony might again fall under french influence and the mass murder was meant to drive a wedge between Haiti and France. The french half of the Island of San Domingo was renamed Haiti after independence. The spanish had regained control of their half of the island after the fall of Toussaint and Dessalines attempt to re-unite the island by force failed and the spanish half  eventually became todays Dominican Republic. The Haitian revolution inspired by the french revolution would once again mirror it when Dessalines was declared emperor with the support of his new allies Britain and the United States which had hypocritically backed the Dessalines against the french in the hopes of profiting from trade with the once wealthy island. Of course there was nothing the US feared more then that their own massive population of slaves would imitate their Haitian brothers and fight for their freedom. As I mentioned at the beginning Denmark Vesey's attempted slave revolt was inspired by the Haitian Revolution. The Emanual AME church which saw a recent mass murder by a fascist was burned to the ground back then in reprisal and it operated underground until after the civil war.

   The Haitian Revolution had many consequences. It lead to the liberation of Latin America, it Helped the French revolution prolong itself. C.L.R. James himself would go on to play an important role in history he was involved in the liberation of Africa! He ended the second edition of his book with the Essay "Toussaint L'Ouverture to Fidel Castro" which is a masterpiece in it's own right and describes the incredible evolution in consciousness taking place in Africa and the Caribbean. He describes the birth of the Pan-African movement and James himself helped advise such important figures as Jomo Kenyatta and Kwame Nkrumah long before they ever came to power. As we enter the 21st century we are still living under the fallout of slavery and the apartheid system that followed it in my country. Thus I hope James book can help inspire a new generation of black revolutionaries in the americas, the Caribbean in Africa. I hope that this article will help inspire people to look at the long history of resistance to slavery and genocide by the people of the americas of which the Haitian revolution is merely one glorious chapter. Long live the memory of Toussaint L'Ouverture. Long live the memory of the heroic Haitian people who defeated three mighty empires. Let their victory be not only an inspiration to blacks but to all the peoples of the world resisting imperialism. We must end the shameful occupation of the island this attempt to deny them their independence. The people of Haiti have proven they can settle their own affairs. Yet American imperialism wants to keep the island in neo-colonial enslavement a source of cheap labor which is why it overthrew Aristide twice then used the excuse of the earthquake to launch a full scale occupation. The story of Haiti's more recent history will have to wait for another day however. For now let me say one more time long live the memory of the Haitian revolution. United by a fierce will to resist there is nothing the people cannot accomplish.        


I relied almost entirely on C.L.R. James masterpiece the  "Black Jacobins Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution". I highly recommend you read it for yourself as I was forced to offer a somewhat simplified account. As I write it is Black August a month dedicated to celebrating the history of resistance to slavery and Mass incarceration here is a great article on it's origins

I suggest you celebrate by reading more on slave rebellions. First I suggest Eduardo Galeano's Memory of fire Trilogy. (See My Novemeber 2014 article Recommended Reading for more on Eduardo Galeano) Also Gerald Horne is doing a great deal to reintroduce this history and I recommend his book "The Counter-Revolution of 1776" you can find some great interviews and lectures with him by doing a quick youtube search.

Abayomi Azikwe on the Charleston shooting and Denmark Vesey listening to his podcast is a great way to learn about black history. Check out my June 2014 article Alternative Media Spotlight 2 for more information about his sites. It is thanks to him that I first heard of C.L.R. James.

An article by Abayomi Azikwe on the Charleston massacre and the current crisis of capitalism

   An article on the Current occupation of Haiti in context the 100 recent year anniversary of Woodrow Wilson's invasion

A hilarious expose of the racism and ineptitude of the red cross in Haiti

An article on a US Murdered Haitian activist

The Legacy of Fascist Trujillo's genocide against Haitians continues in the Dominican Republic today.

An Article on African resistance in the Americas