Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Understanding Stalin V. 2

Stalin Beyond the Myths: Understanding Stalin

by Hugo Turner
August 26, 2015

Dedicated to all those who are hated for fighting for justice

Special Thanks to Dennis Riches for a new edit

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 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, Robert Conquest, the “historian” who made his name defaming the Soviet Union and Stalin, recently died. His death was amusing in its 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 its 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 Stalin’s time from the less than 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 its 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 it, 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 led to the collapse of the USSR, policies 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. Regardless of 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, these sources aided me quite a bit in beginning to understand the complex theories of MarxismLeninisim 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, including 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 II. 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.

Second, 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 I, 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 the 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 it 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, and life as a serf 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 lacking 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 quotes 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 because 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 Zinoviev and Trotsky. Trotsky's disagreements stemmed from his theory of permanent revolution which led 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 manages to side with imperialism. Many have done this most recently in their positions on 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. They included sabotage, assassination, propaganda, everything the opposition was accused of in the 1930s.
Harpal Brar presents strong evidence that Trotsky, driven to desperation by his complete loss of power and prestige, 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 has been capable of in Syria, Libya, and Ukraine, for example. 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 than 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 than 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 of 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 by 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 its alliance with the middle peasants would the leadership of the proletariat 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 its 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 so 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 by burning collective farms, killing teachers, slaughtering livestock and burning crops. Since they had 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 its primitive and unproductive agriculture. However, once collectivization 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 which 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 reasons 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 1920'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 II. In ten years Stalin managed to turn the Soviet Union into a superpower, 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 in a remarkably prescient speech he delivered in 1931. He made it in answer to the question of whether Russia should slow the pace of industrialization. It was a great speech, so I cut and pasted the relevant section for its 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, in which 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 that 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. This is 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 also built around the country. Soviet healthcare was ahead of its time and unfortunately ahead of ours, especially in my backwards homeland the US. From a land that formerly had a high rate of 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 WW II, 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 its 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 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 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 quotes him at great length on the matter. He especially advocated 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 them to attempt 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 Cameron’s "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 its true light and given proper praise. Unlike in so many countries like France or Norway, when war came 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 and their plots smashed. This led to the infamous Moscow Trials. Wherever people today are resisting empire, 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 WW I 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 have revealed 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. It was not love of peace that 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 non-intervention as an excuse to prevent aid from reaching republican Spain which led to its 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-aggression pact with Germany. Within weeks the western powers were forced to declare war on Germany over its 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 its 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 from what Hitler imagined. As Brar is fond of saying, "Stalin had some wicked surprises waiting for him."

It was no doubt the greatest invasion in history. Hitler attacked 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 during which the Germans attempted to starve the city 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 in 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 one of many new cities that had arisen during the economic boom, and, as mentioned above, its 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. It was urban combat at its 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 history’s 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 quotes 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 its 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.
One of these people 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 WW II alone should have been enough to earn him the gratitude of all nations. In spite of Hollywood depictions of 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 its 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 its first half but the building of the Soviet Union under Stalin in its 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, but it also has in-depth coverage of the Moscow Trials, among other topics. There are a great sections on the Spanish Civil War 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 there. 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 their 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 on 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 "Paul Robeson, Stalin, and the USSR" by Ranjeet Brar for its 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. 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 exposés of Trotsky for instance. For another defender of the Stalin Era search Youtube for Grover Furr. You can read Stalin for yourself here: