BBC’s flawed understanding of China’s history leads to confusion

In the first of a three-part look at ‘China’s changing role in the world’, the BBC’s China correspondent Stephen McDonnell looks at the CPC’s recent moves to tackle income disparity and intervene in social and cultural behaviour. But approaching these with the shallow misunderstandings of pre- and post-reform China typical of Western mainstream commentators, he is unable to answer the questions he sets himself.

The notion that the Cultural Revolution was a ‘disastrous quagmire’ out of which China needed to be dragged is one of these misunderstandings.

It is not hard to look at the data – none other than the Financial Times has laid out in no uncertain terms the progress that took place in Mao’s China: life expectancy nearly doubling, adult illiteracy falling from 80% to just 23%, and the achievement of gender equality in elementary education. Contrary to being a quagmire that China needed dragged from kicking and screaming, the FT states that “Without these, the rapid growth after the 1979 opening and reforms would not have been possible.” (Lessons from the first 70 years of the People’s Republic of China by David Daokui Li) Continue reading “BBC’s flawed understanding of China’s history leads to confusion”

Anti-communist stocking filler

Bookshops of the Bourgeoisie

A theme which often surfaces in contemporary depictions of socialism in literature and popular culture is the use of restrictive controls on the sort of books people in socialist countries had access to, encouraging a notion that bookshops only sold volumes of Marx and Lenin.

Accompanying this is the notion that western literature was totally forbidden to readers of the socialist world, with only state approved propaganda available to slake people’s appetite for entertainment. Continue reading “Bookshops of the Bourgeoisie”

Reclaiming history is a flawed fight without Marxism

Articles in the Sunday Telegraph and Daily Express on the 29th August introduce their readers to ‘History Reclaimed’, a group consisting of academic scholars who have set themselves the task of counteracting the current trend for removing references to, or revising drastically the way historical figures associated with slavery, colonialism and racism are presented in society.

The academics behind the organisation are attempting to push back at what they view as ideologically motivated, over zealous gestures that seek to blacken the names of important historical figures without regard to the context of the time they lived in. Continue reading “Reclaiming history is a flawed fight without Marxism”

Programmes to cure political illiteracy fall short in Scottish YCL

A throwaway attack piece on the Young Communist League’s (YCL) Challenge magazine website reveals the critical flaws in the thinking and tactics of communists who ultimately remain wedded to the Labour Party.

Unfamiliar with the concept of tactical voting, Tom Flanagan criticises George Galloway for following through on what he set out to do by founding the All for Unity political alliance, i.e. tactically voting for whichever candidate in his constituency is most likely to defeat the Scottish National Party (SNP).

To clarify, for anyone else unfamiliar with Scottish politics, All for Unity is a cross-party formation expressly formed for the purpose of defeating separatist parties such as the SNP. All for Unity itself is not fielding candidates in constituencies, only being an option on regional lists. Continue reading “Programmes to cure political illiteracy fall short in Scottish YCL”

Tatar Club, Arabic and Latin script, Moscow, 1935

“Soviet Union-Style” Decolonisation Means True Historical Emancipation

The Universities minister and conservative MP for Chippenham, Michelle Donelan, compared recent widespread campaigns by universities to ‘decolonise’ their curricula to “Soviet Union style censorship.” (Universities minister compares ‘decolonisation’ of history to ‘Soviet Union-style’ censorship, The Independent, 28/02/2021)

Speaking to a Daily Telegraph podcast, Ms Donelan said: “It just doesn’t work when governments try to remove elements of history. Look at the Soviet Union, look at China. There are multiple examples where it’s been tried. It doesn’t work.”

The Minister’s words come in response to calls by some of the more vocal IDPOL students scattered across the country to remove certain study materials from the curriculum that are considered “triggering” to ethnic minorities for their glorification of the empire and white-washing of Britain’s blood-soaked history.

Continue reading ““Soviet Union-Style” Decolonisation Means True Historical Emancipation”

Under capitalism, ‘individual liberty’ is an illusion for all but the super-rich

“Extra! Extra! Socialist dystopia to follow Covid 19, in a new world order great reset!”… “Stasi State to usher in the dawn of Covid Crisis”
Or so run the bourgeois ‘free press’ or free market run press, as it should be labelled.

From the Telegraph, to the Mail, to the Guardian, all media fingers have been pointing to socialist countries such as Cuba and China as to what Britain should not become in the aftermath of this crisis, despite their superb management of Covid 19 and low death rate compared to capitalist countries such as the U.S.A and Britain.
The lies, the slander, the typical spiel of hypocritical finger pointing is nothing new in Britain. As a matter of fact, as far back as 1915 socialist hero Robert Tressell was pointing out the effectiveness of capitalist media on the working class in his novel ‘The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists”. Continue reading “Under capitalism, ‘individual liberty’ is an illusion for all but the super-rich”

Agent Sonya

The spy who baked scones

Ursula Kuczynski, better and more infamously known as Ruth Werner, led a truly remarkable life. Born into a Jewish family in Berlin in 1907 to a well to do middle class household, during the 1920’s she pursued an education first in book dealing then as librarian. In 1924 she joined the youth wing of the German communist party before joining the party itself in 1926 at the age of nineteen.

In 1930 with her first husband and fellow communist Rudolf Hamburger the pair moved to Shanghai Continue reading “The spy who baked scones”

When it comes to dissidents, the West deals in double standards

The West has developed the habit of putting on a pedestal anyone who opposes a political government perceived as threatening. Thus, throughout the 20th century and until the forced dismantling of the USSR, any citizen of the Eastern bloc or of a communist country who criticized his government was immediately elevated to the rank of absolute defender of human rights and infallible representative of individual liberties. Continue reading “When it comes to dissidents, the West deals in double standards”

Anti-Soviet Lies: Did Stalin Pluck A Live Chicken To ‘Prove How Easy It Is To Rule People’?

The absurd lie that Stalin plucked a live chicken to an audience to demonstrate his supposed dictatorial power has been doing the rounds on many platforms of social media lately. It has taken the form of a poorly executed meme. This sloppy piece of propaganda has been resurrected and is supposed to teach us something about the ‘lockdown’.

Of course the story is a complete fabrication, even in the words of its author, but that hasn’t stopped it being passed off as truth.

For many sites, and publications would like to propel this story into the stratosphere for all the world to see. They would use it as an example of a megalomaniac, crazed tyrant intent on showing his power of control, the extent of his evil. Therefore, we take a moment to deal with this crazed, ludicrous rumour, scraped truly from the bottom of the barrel. 

What is it that Stalin supposedly did?

The tale follows as thus:

“Stalin once ripped all the feathers off a live chicken as a lesson to his followers. He then set the chicken on the floor a short distance away. The chicken was bloodied and suffering immensely, yet, when Stalin began to toss bits of wheat toward the chicken it followed him around. He said to his followers “This is how you govern stupid people, they will follow you no matter how much pain you cause them, as long as you throw them a little worthless treat once in a while”. 

Where does this story come from?

The tale can be traced back to the pen of anti-Stalin, revisionist scribbler Chingiz Aitmatov. Aitmatov is well remembered for his literary works, as well his role in helping Mikhail Gorbachev in the passing of ‘Perestroika’. Aitmatov was known for his particular “style” of writing that combined fact with fiction and in the preface to his most famous work wrote:  

“As in previous works, here I also draw on legends and myths [Ed: unsubstantiated slander] handed down to us from former generations; together with these, for the first time in my writing career I also use fantasy to form part of the story. But, for me, neither is an end in itself, simply a method of expressing thoughts, a means of identifying and interpreting realities.”

The Truth

From such a literary “style” comes this tale of Stalin plucking a chicken alive is exactly an example of Aitmatov’s writing that blends very little fact with a heap of fiction, indeed in this case there is no fact to be found!  The tale is part of the tradition of anti-Stalin slander that was brought in under Khrushchev in the Soviet Union, as part of the ‘de-Stalinization’ [asnti-communist] process. Apart from Aitmatov’s confession to passing off fantasy as fact, this fable has no further evidence or source for being true and if we are bearing into mind that this type of tale was typical of Aitmatov, and there are no other original sources for the tale other than Aitmatov, then we discover that the tale can be categorically ruled out as false, a cheap flight of fancy paid for by the Gorbachev era press. All other sources for this tale come from bourgeois and Christian newspapers, repeating with minor variations this ludicrous garbage. All in all, the tale reeks of falsity and is found from time to time, to be found bobbing along in the sewage of the revisionists and bourgeois press. 

Conclusion 

Usually, debunking myths around Stalin can be a more serious affair. However, this tale is so laughable and so easily uncovered as a categorical lie that it merely requires a scratch and the obvious falsity is revealed. Here we have a tale from a revisionist writer adding to the canon of anti-Stalin propaganda no more, no less. 

Sheffield’s Twin City Uses Former Soviet Name.

Denis Pushilin, The Leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) has signed a decree issued by the authorities in the region to use Donetsk’s former Soviet name: Stalino.

“I hereby decide to provide the name “the city of Stalino” with a status of Donetsk symbol. It is to be used in Republican and city events to commemorate important dates of Donetsk and WWII history.” — Denis Pushilin

The name Stalino will be used on May 9, the day of the victory in World War II, on June 22, the day of Germany’s attack on the Soviet Union and on September 8, which is the day of the liberation of the city from the Nazis.

Donetsk was named Stalin in March 1924, two months after the death of Soviet leader Vladimir Ulyanov (Lenin). “The [local] Executive Committee believes the symbol characterizing our great leader, comrade Lenin will be ‘steel’ [or ‘stal’ in Russian] and decided that the city of Yuzovka should be renamed the city of Stalin, and the district and the factory — Stalinsky,” say documents of a plenary meeting of Yuzovka’s District Executive Committee on March 8, 1924, protocol №7. In 1929, its name was modified and became Stalino.

In 1961, Nikita Krushchev, as part of his ‘de-Stalinisation’ attempts to discredit and revise the reputation of former general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin and the Bolsheviks, he gave the city a new name — Donetsk. The city was originally named Yuzovka in recognition of Welsh businessman John Hughes who in 1869 founded a steel plant and several coal mines in the region. The city today remains a center for coal mining and for the steel industry.

Why does this matter to the people of Sheffield? During the 1980s the city of Sheffield had a municipal council administration nicknamed People’s Republic of South Yorkshire or the Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire. The council pursued a social policy radically different from that of Margaret Thatcher’s national government, following more closely along the lines of the Trotskyist Militant tendency dominated Liverpool City Council and the Greater London Council led by Ken Livingstone. Sheffield City Council constructed large council estates with large numbers of communal blocks of flats based on the streets in the sky philosophy, including the Park Hill complex, and the borough councils of South Yorkshire set up an extensive network of subsidised transport under the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive.

The councils also took more confrontational steps against the Conservative Westminster government. Sheffield refused to set a budget in the rate-capping rebellion, while South Yorkshire declared itself a nuclear-free zone and a demilitarized zone. Even flying the red flag from the council buildings on May Day. During this period of government, the city signed a peace treaty with the city of Donetsk in the Ukrainian SSR and made Donetsk a twin city of Sheffield because of each city’s shared history in the Coal & Steel industry, And to send a message to the government in Westminster: Sheffield Stands with the USSR!

The National Union of Mineworkers moved to headquarters in Sheffield in 1983 in the run-up to the decisive 1984–85 miners’ strike and the area subsequently became one of the main centers of the strike.

Donetsk adopting its former soviet name, even if just for a few days a year shows just how important the legacy of the USSR, Lenin & Stalin is to worker’s liberation and self-determination. We support the DPR in its fight against Fascism, Nato, and Western Imperialism — Much like the Peoples Republic and city of Sheffield did in the 1980s. We are committed to real socialist politics in Britain!

RED SALUTE!