Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
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- I have just started reading "Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More"  I've only read the first few pages, but I would already recommend it to everyone!  Scroll down to page 4 and read the "Binary Socialism" bit.  Someone wrote my book for me.

BTW, in a bit of "small world"ish news, I found this on FPB Russia, who credited Scott Spires for the heads-up, who is a friend of mine on fb, even though I don't know who he is, but an acquaintance had dinner with him and thought he was someone I should know.  

- If you want to know what's afoot in the Russian blogosphere, but can't read Russian, or, like me, are too lazy to make the effort most days, check out "Russia!" It's a round up of popular posts on Live Journal, in English.  Appears to be intellectually on par with the English language blogosphere, a nice mix of silliness, offensiveness, and insightfulness.

In other "small world"ishness, I found out about this from Untimely Thoughts, which is where I know the aforementioned acquaintance from, and come to think of it, this Spires fellow too, probably.  

- Thought some of you would appreciate this:
Coen brothers' TV ad ridicules 'clean coal'

Unrelated "small world"ishness: I was looking at a book by Leonid Tishkov and suddenly realized I know him.  Not like in the way I know anyone from UT (or ET for that matter), but IRL.  We met when he came to my university and did this "Dabloids" play/art exhibit thing (very strange), and then later again in Moscow.  He makes these weird creatures...

- I Just got an e-mail with Howard Dean announcing he'll be returning to DFA.  I guess no cabinet spot for him.  Argh!!!  It will be nice to have him "back" but it would be better if he were Sec. of Health & Human Services.  

In related "small world"ishness news, I was supposed to meet his brother Jim for drinks on Friday, but I didn't go.  I don't feel too hot.  I want to hibernate.

- Now that we've given all our money to AIG, what will we eat?  Some internets advice:

Top Doctor Recommends Anti-Crisis Diet    
Depression cooking

Hope you like carbs and have lots of storage space.  Me?  I need meat and fruit.  I know, really politically incorrect now.  Do you all believe in genetic memory?  Something about the idea of trying to survive on potaoes makes my blood run cold.  

-  Speaking of famine, Russian archives about the famine under Stalin have been opened:

"Not a single document exists that even indirectly shows that the strategy and tactics chosen for Ukraine differed from those applied to other regions, not to mention tactics or strategy with the aim of genocide," said Vladimir Kozlov, head of Russia's Federal Archive Agency.
He said the famine was a direct result of Josef Stalin's brutal collectivization campaign and the widespread confiscation of grain that was exported to secure equipment needed for the Soviet dictator's frenetic industrialization drive.

Kozlov said the policy was class-based, targeting the kulaks -- wealthy farmers seen as enemies of Communism -- and was implemented virtually identically across the Soviet Union.

"There were no national or ethnic undertones," he told a news conference at the headquarters of state news agency RIA-Novosti.

It's very true.  The Kazakhs lost something like 1/3 of the population in the famine.  Genocide?  It clearly was not an ethnic, race, religion "hate crime" type of thing.  It was the systematic extermination of millions of people for political and economic reasons, some intentional, some crimes of neglect and incompetence.  But this has me thinking:  Is the Irish famine considered genocide?  The two are not entirely incomparable...  Anyway, whatever you want to call what happened under Stalin, I think it is pretty tacky how Ukraine is approaching it.  Can we please acknowledge the loss of life in Ukraine without diminishing the loss of life in other parts of the USSR, including Russia?  Can we not exploit this tragedy for political gain, please?


"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky

by poemless on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 02:24:10 PM EST
Is the Irish famine considered genocide?

I think your previous sentence sums it up;-

It clearly was not an ethnic, race, religion "hate crime" type of thing.  It was the systematic extermination of millions of people for political and economic reasons, some intentional, some crimes of neglect and incompetence.

Definitions of genocide seem rather fluid, depending on who you're talking to and what the political weather is locally. But if you go to Boston and ask around, I'm sure you'll get a less nuanced opinion.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 02:55:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Where the heck is everyone?

"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky
by poemless on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 04:34:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Seems to happen now and again. I joked that the USians would be missing and it turns out it's nearly all of us.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 04:53:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
reading, not writing, from site meter statistics...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 05:13:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was at college and now I am going to bed. I have much recovering still to do from a busy weekend.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 05:22:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, attacking the kulaks, who were over represented in Ukraine, is no different to saying that white flight is not about racism, but only about poverty/class?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 05:12:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am very sure that is not at all what I said.

"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky
by poemless on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 05:18:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just saying that the genocide did hurt the Ukrainians more, because of the way their society was set up then, and whether the target was the Ukrainians or the social compact, the result is the same.

It neither denies the reality of the genocide elsewhere nor overstates it to point out that Ukrainians did get targeted, even if not for ethnic/nationalistic reasons.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 05:25:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow, you just replaced one over-simplification for another.  

I'm not going to engage in whatever you're trying to start.

"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky

by poemless on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 05:20:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are many documented instances of white flight being accompanied with various processes making sure the blacks weren't allowed to follow along the flight...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 05:22:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Have to put the forced collectivization under Stalin into context.  The New Economic Policy jump started the Russian economy and could have led to a Social Democratic-like political system.  Stalin allied with the Top/Down authoritarian wing of the Bolshevik Party in order to kick-out Bukharin and the 'westernizer' Wing.  

The payoff to the authoritarians was the Central Plan type of political-economic methodology which necessarily meant collectivization of agriculture and the suppression and liquidation of the kulaks.    

Since the Ukraine did relatively well under the NEP it did worse under the new, imposed, system.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 07:15:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One of the things people are trying to put together is a list of the precursors to genocide. Things like the existence of an existing conflict, an ethnic/religious/racial divide (but explicitly not a political divide), the growth of nationalism, etc. The Kulaks had been demonized even during the tsarist regime, and the logic of Lenin's socialism certainly allowed no place for them. Lenin made common cause with the Kulaks early on because he needed to, but it was only a matter of time before they were targeted themselves.

This wasn't politics, but ideology. It could have been attempted differently, and what transpired is not a reflection of socialism, but of Stalin's personality and of Russian tax-farmers gone wild.

So was it genocide? The new diplomatic initiative called The Responsibility to Protect (pdf) is an attempt to answer this question. Based on a twenty year old notion first expressed by Francis Deng of the Brookings Institute (later United Nations Secretary General's Representative on Internally Displaced Persons), R2P elevates the responsibility to ensure that a government's citizens are safe to a vital condition of that government's soveriegnty. Never mind targetting a group, failure to send aid, or to block aid in event of a natural disaster can trigger an intervention by the international community.

So, Raphael Lemkin's word, "genocide," becomes less important as this issue develops and it moves more in the direction of a newsman's term though the flawed and ambiguous Convention Against Genocide remains the only legal definition in place. The move away from the word genocide is perhaps deliberate, as the language on this issue tends towards absolutes and away from something that can be agreed to by the international community.

I'm loath to give Stalin the benefit of doubt on this issue (I just can't get my mind around the image of a benign Uncle Joe), but under R2P proposal, I can do so and still call what happened a crime against humanity.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 09:47:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Stalin was a murderous thug.  A stupid murderous thug.

The kulaks were The Other under the Bolshevik tyranny and once Bukharin's notion of letting the peasants spring-board the Soviet Union into industrialization had been discarded the way was open to forced collectivization via appropriation of wealth through murder (the kulaks) and theft (everybody else.)

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Mar 3rd, 2009 at 01:51:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 Why would the NEP have led to an democratic political system? Stalin' opponents, including Bukharin, were just as happy killing folks who were genuinely opposing the regime as Stalin himself. The difference was that Stalin went quite a bit further in his paranoid encouragement of rooting out anyone who might possibly  privately not be a big fan, or at least had an enemy who would say that was the case in a denunciation. That in turn created a sick dynamic of people seeking to denounce people who they suspected might denounce them, and the whole thing snowballed.

Secondly, the NEP was largely a small scale service sector thing, plus small scale private farming.

Finally, Stalin first allied himself with Bukharin to get rid of the 'left' starting with Trotsky, then Zinoviev and Kamenev. He then flipped, but that was because of the belief that you needed to develop heavy industry at an intense pace. To do that you needed to shift resources and manpower from the agricultural, rural sector to the industrial urban one. That meant destroying rural society in order to be able to wring every last bit you could out of them, while getting mass migration to the cities.

by MarekNYC on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 11:52:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Re-read please.  I wrote "could."

For a society to change there has to be something allowing the forces of change to build.  The NEP provided that mechanism as the economic basis for a slow transition to democracy.  Or, if you think that is too strong, insert "the NEP provided a hope for" in the appropriate place.

Once the Command Economy has been installed the Soviet Union was firmly entrenched in authoritarian, bureaucratic, control over every aspect of life.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Mar 3rd, 2009 at 01:38:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"There were no national or ethnic undertones," he told a news conference at the headquarters of state news agency RIA-Novosti.

Yes and no. It coincided with a u-turn in nationalities policy from encouragement of the development of cultural ethnicity to the reverse. This reversal was carried with the standard Stalinist methods. The Ukraine was easily the most important of the 'other' nationalities of the USSR, and Ukrainian soviet style nationhood had been especially strongly encouraged within the Ukrainian SSR, in part due to popular pressure, in part because it was right on the border with heavily Ukrainian areas on the other side (and the most nationalist ones) that the Soviets wanted. So for propaganda/foreign policy purposes it was quite important. That meant a hothouse growth of a Ukrainian cultural elite which then got wiped out.

by MarekNYC on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 11:38:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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