Open Post: Beyond Good and Evil


14 thoughts on “Open Post: Beyond Good and Evil

  1. I do not really care as long as I do not have to see one more thread over there get high-jacked by such a side issue. I for the life of me can’t figure out why she would get so riled because someone suggested the existence of communists were partly responsible (in the negative sense) for the ideas of Keynes being accepted. Nor can I figure out how she can red bait and then ask others not to use labels. Just weird.

    Anyway there is no point she does not answer questions even when you shift to his her side argument.

  2. You don’t mind if I keep going? Personally, I don’t like leaving crap like this unanswered, and I like to think someone else will read the dust-up and profit from it even if you-know-who doesn’t.

  3. hey, chill.
    a) i’m not a ‘he’.
    b) some people went into all this over at rabble in the meanwhile, and your remarks too have helped calm me down somewhat,
    c) i don’t mind carrying on the discussion though i’m tight for time

  4. Chill like a chill pill over here. Sorry for the gender mix-up.

    Seriously though I do think the conversation (on your side argument) would be improved if the arguments set fourth in Koestlers Darkness at Noon and Ponty’s rejoinder in Humanism and Terror.

    I also think it would help if you would acknowledge that those calling themselves communists or socialists throughout Europe and NA diverged in very key respects vis-a-vis Stalin and the Soviet Union more generally.

  5. guess what, this is the 75th year of the commemoration of the Holodomor of ’32/’33, Stalin’s starvation of millions of Ukrainians, targetted to regions where there was a high population of ethnic Ukrainians, as well as other peoples, and where there was a lot of resistance to Stalinist policies and earlier tsarist Russification policies, all brutally enforced. every year on Nov.22 people do a rememberance thing around it, just so happened to be at the same time as i read that pef thread reading Keynes vs. Marx lines again..

    There has been a tendency of people in the left to dismiss, ignore, rationalize, or otherwise completely misinterpret events of 32/33, and the discussion on the thread at the time reminded me of the situation, in light of the recent conference at UofO, and you know, same old polarities. just tired of the polarities, and with the actual possibility of Harper maybe getting dumped soon, i’m just hoping that people can get to more specific alternatives that people in Parliament can use at this particular time.

    that’s all. hope that helps explain.

  6. This is much better and more specific than what you said earlier, Leigh.

    I haven’t done much of any reading on this aspect of Stalin’s time (I hope I will; my reading is haphazard at best for the time being), and I like to think of myself as a communist who can be critical of him and his regime while not demonizing either. I’ve met one or two of that type of person you mentioned earlier and disliked their uncritical pro-Stalinism.

    “and you know, same old polarities. just tired of the polarities”

    I can see how it’s possible someone might feel that way, but I fail to see any correct way of avoiding these very fundamental and antagonistic poles of capitalism/class society vs. socialism; the tendency as I see it is a turning towards reform, which blithely ignores, willfully or not, so much inherent in capitalism that I can’t help but protest.

    (As I see it, my push for the abolition of class society in no way contradicts my support for immediate, reformatory measures that any liberal-type could get behind. I just yell “Stop!” way _outside_ of a liberal’s comfort zone.)

    “i’m just hoping that people can get to more specific alternatives that people in Parliament can use at this particular time.”

    It’s extremely doubtful you’ll hear an argument from me against _that_. I don’t mind marching with you (even Dion) for a ways; at some point, you’ll either stop staying in step or you’ll continue on. In either case, I’ll worry about what to do then.

  7. Todd, Stalin and his regime were not only as close to ‘demonic’ as humans can get, along with Hitler and the Nazi regime, but the Soviet Union was also a very good capitalist and classist system, with Soviet rulers on top, along with their NKVD,KGB and SMERSH henchmen, party affiliates, and sundry middle managers, followed by workers, soldiers, and peasants, and, at the bottom, in their graves, vast millions of those who ‘didn’t fit the mold’, shot, starved, raped and tortured to death. The system handily gave over the capital assets to oligarchic elites later because they were already in place.

    maybe write me back after you’ve had some good reads of Doroshenko, Pidhainy, Luciuk, and Hrushevsky, then we can have a more meaningful exchange.

  8. Leigh, I’m not entirely sure what you want from me; this last post really looks like some obscure demand for a genuflection on my part towards acknowledging the former USSR was some kind of Hell which irrupted into History from Outside of it and that was inhabited by demons torturing innocents for kicks. I could be wrong, but that’s what it looks like.

    As a non-expert who’s somewhat aware of history outside the European Middle Ages (graduate degree in Medieval European history), I see no reason to utterly disbelieve what you’ve written (it generally squares with other things I’ve read from others I have more reason to trust). But you’ve also shown me you (not to mention others I’ve read who are blatantly anti-communist) have an axe to grind, so you’ll forgive me if I take what you have to say on this topic with a modicum of salt (at least for the time being).

    If you don’t believe I’m sincere in my feelings and statements about Stalin et al, that’s your hang-up, not mine.

    (And don’t think I’ll shut up if you start red-baiting or spouting some anti-communist diatribe near me.)

  9. Todd, who’s ‘baiting’? that’s your baggage, not mine.

    I know there are people who call themselves communists,in the South particularly, who have done very good things with their countries, obviously.

    Some communists are, however, unfortunately also misinformed about the disconnect between propaganda and reality which existed in the USSR.

    So we have these diverse strains and dynamics which come together differently in different places and times, and in Canada need to be more explored without assumptions of’red-bating’, mcCarthyism, and without assuming that anyone who critiques Stalin and the Communism of ’33 is a fascist or ‘bourgeoisie’ ‘pwogwessive’ with ‘willy white hands’. In fact, my hands are not ‘white’ at all, as i’ve spent much of the last 15 years as an organic farmer, and right now they’re rather dark and rough.

    You could really help initiate some better understandings amongst Canadian activists if you did have a gander at some of the writers I mentioned. maybe start with S. Pidhainy, Islands of Death. Then, if Medieval is your background, you might find Hrushevsky interesting. He wrote some heavy tomes eg. History of Ukraine-Rus, was exiled to Siberia by the tsarist regime, came back to head Ukraine’s parliament in 1917, and was disappeared in the Stalinist era.
    Much of my own understanding of events between 1900 and the present comes from the experience of direct family members, who have lived, and died, in Ukraine under tsar Nicholas, Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler. and three quarters of my family background were peasants, quite poor, one grandmother almost illiterate, but far less ignorant than some of their best educated rulers.
    so yes, if you’re able to help dispell some ignorance in various circles, it would be much appreciated.
    my own time is limited for focus in this particular area, so if you have some time, it would be great. thanks for your interest, Leigh

  10. and i’ll add that, as you know, the historic polarities are currently being manipulated by modern powers to effectively restart cold/hot wars, and the sooner that longstanding ignorances are disabused, the better, and not just for diverse Canadian populations.

    so efforts to clarify differences and work out just solutions will, I believe, be very important contributions.


    “Some communists are, however, unfortunately also misinformed about the disconnect between propaganda and reality which existed in the USSR.”

    Where have I disagreed with you on this?

    “without assuming that anyone who critiques Stalin and the Communism of ‘33 is a fascist or ‘bourgeoisie’ ‘pwogwessive’ with ‘willy white hands’”

    Non sequitur. I didn’t critique you in that manner about anything you said about Stalin. What I critiqued was your attacking communists by smearing them with the bloody paint of ’33, as if we all had something to do with it.

    The pwog et al. remark was concerning your belief that getting progressive legislation done (especially big stuff) has nothing to do with any kind of left-wing threat, real or imagined, against bourgeois politicians.

    As for the stuff your family members have told you, I’ve talked about this before, so I won’t bother again. My words still stand AFAIAC.

    “my own time is limited for focus in this particular area”

    Then why do you keep coming back, re-hashing the SOS? If you’re busy, do your work instead of worrying about what a pair of socialists think about your ideas.

    You say you’re busy, then come back an hour later to tell me something I already know couched in fluff. You’re taking tiny differences and magnifying them way out of proportion because of experiences you’ve heard about.

    Come back when you actually have something to say. If I get around to reading that stuff you talked about, I might contact you, I might not. Deal with it.

  12. I do not know. I am less pre-occupied with history then with the soundness of arguments that run like:

    Look at all the murder and genocide carried out in the name of god! How can anyone believe in god.

    Or that forty unreconstructed Canadian Stalinists somehow matter at all. It only matters if you think stalin = hitler and communists = Nazis. For then it becomes a matter of holocaust denial. The problem is Stalin was not hitler (although Stalin did commit what amounts to genocide). But there was no systematic plan by communists in general to eradicate whole populations of people. Had Stalin written a popular book called the final solution I doubt that very many communists of that time would have continued to support Stalin but they would have continued to support communism. That is why Leigh so many communists inside and outside of of the Soviet Union did not believe the news that was leaking out: Stalin’s actions were simply an affront to what most communists stood for.

    We all know how Stalin came to power and it was very much by political maneuver rather than by charismatic leadership with a grand plan. The two regimes simply cannot be reduced to one or the other.

    Perhaps Leigh thinks otherwise I do not know.

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