We went over this quite a few times on the old blog, but since this crap keeps recrudescing on the Right, we may as well continue to hammer away at it.
From an interesting, but disgusting, article by Steve Sailer, effectively ruined, as are most of his posts, by his inability to turn off the rightwing talking points no matter what he is writing about. Sailer is like the Christian kooks, who, no matter what the conversation is about, always manage to return the conversation to their evangelical bullshit within 10 minutes. Steve just can’t shut the rightwing trap.
Here is the poop:
Lenin, Stalin, and Mao slaughtered even more tens of millions in the name of equality than Hitler murdered in the name of inequality. And, as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn has pointed out, the doctrine of “class origins” transformed “egalitarian” mass murder into ethnic genocide since there is no sharp line between family and race.
Boy, rightwingers just can’t shut up about this, can they? Never mind that he’s quoting the fascist Solzhenitsyn (and he spelled his name wrong), but this whole line has a particularly nasty genesis.
After the war, in trying to prove that Hitler was no big deal and Stalin was way worse, Ukrainian Nazis (Excuse me! Ukrainian nationalists! Wait. Is there a difference?) developed a lie called The Holodomor, a lie that was originally started by the Nazi Randolf Hearst and his Nazi buddies in Germany in the early 1930’s.
The lie stated that Stalin deliberately killed 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, no wait, 7, 8, oh forget it, God knows how many Ukrainians by deliberate starvation. It’s not true. Nobody was deliberately starved to death. There was indeed a famine in all of the USSR, especially the Ukraine, in 1932 and 1933. The number of dead is not known. The state made many errors, including initially denying that it was happening, to a chaotic response to the tragedy.
The Ukrainians were rebelling against the state. They destroyed 50% of the livestock in the USSR and a large part of the grain crop in the Ukraine. They refused to harvest the crop, piling it in the fields and letting it rot in the rains, or set fire to their fields. The Ukrainians were trying to starve the whole country.
The USSR did seize the grain crop, because the country needed to eat and the Ukrainians were destroying everything in sight. Ukrainians were mass deported to Siberia, and 390,000 died. It was a bad time.
The people were weakened by hunger and there were disease epidemics due to primitive sanitation and lack of effective drugs. This is what killed most of the people, not starvation. Most of the pictures of “starving Ukrainians” were faked, and those photos were actually from a famine in 1921. Mark Tauger has also presented good forensic evidence of a wheat rust epidemic.
There was also a terrible famine in China during the Great Leap Forward that may have killed 15 million people, mostly due to disease once again. Once again, this was not intentional, unless idiocy is intentionality. The primary cause of the famine was overprocurement by the state.
Capitalism kills 14 million people ever year by direct starvation and attendant illnesses all over the globe. Shall we tally up these body piles and compare them to Hitler, Stain, Mao and whatnot? The chips are down, capitalist punks. That means you, Sailer.
Leaving aside famines, we really need to look at direct killings.
Leader Deaths Period Years Hitler 52M* 1933-1945 12 Lenin/Stalin 2.5M** 1921-1953 32 Mao 2.4M?*** 1949-1976 27
*Figure from here. Hitler also started a war for no reason that ended up killing ~45 million people. Whether you want to count that or not is up to you. I count 12 million dead in camps and 40 million dead in a war that he started.
**See Getty 1993 for the most accurate estimate to date of deaths under Stalin. In 1990, the USSR archives were opened up. The Soviets had kept track of everyone who died due to executions, population transfers and in the camps, year by year. The deaths in the camps include 900,000 common criminals, but I guess the anti-Communists want to throw those in too. There is no academic consensus whatsoever for 20, 30, 40, 43, or 110 million deaths under Stalin. Furthermore, these figures usually include “10 million” for the fake “Ukraine intentional famine” that never happened. As noted below, capitalism starves 14 million people to death every year. If we can’t tally these against the capitalists, we can’t tally them against Stalin. The Sovietologists are currently fighting it out in the academic journals. Those arguing for a higher figure are basically saying, “Commies lie.” There never was any rational basis for the figures of tens of millions killed under Stalin. Those figures were produced by Nazis and Nazi sympathizers, the CIA and the MI6. They were just pulling figures out of thin air. By the way, that wonderful 110 million figure comes from the fascist Solzhenitsyn, a man lionized by the West.
Peacetime figures for political deaths in the USSR 1921-1953 are:
Executions: 900,000 Deaths in the gulag: 1.2M Dekulakization Ukraine: 390,000 Totals: 2.5M
***2.4 million is my estimate for Mao, and those are just known deaths. The Chinese have not yet opened up their archives, and unfortunately it is possible that deaths under Mao were a lot higher. Mao himself admitted that 700,000 landlords were killed in the early years. The Party allowed the local peasants to put them on trial and the people sentenced many of them to death. Many were horrible criminals who had been abusing the peasants for many years, but one can argue whether they needed to die. There were 1 million excess deaths in the Cultural Revolution. We have no accurate figures for deaths under Mao from 1953-1966, although 700,000 is a good minimum. We also have no accurate figures for deaths in the Chinese gulags. We will have to wait until the Chinese open their books in order to find out the real number who died under Mao. The 77 million figure tossed around lately, the product of a lunatic new book, has absolutely no basis in reality whatsoever. Furthermore, it includes famine deaths in the Great Leap Forward, listed as an incredible 39 million. As I note below, capitalism starves 14 million people to death every year. Shall we count these deaths against the capitalists?
Ok, as you can see, the evil Commies absolutely did not kill tens of millions of people. Who did? No one, unless you count the European War that Hitler started that killed ~45 million or so.
Hitler killed 42 million in 12 years or 3.5 million/year. Mao, Lenin and Stalin combined killed 4.9 million over 59 years, or 83,000/yr. Ok, now who is the worse killer? Who killed more? Hitler. Mao, Stalin and Lenin combined were not able to exceed Hitler’s totals, and they had 10 times more years to do it again. Hitler was 42 times worse of a killer than Mao, Stalin and Lenin combined.
The crap like Steve’s above is usually followed by some jibe about “more being killed in the name of equality than were killed in the name of inequality.” Of course, rightwingers, lovable and cuddly folks that they are, just can’t get enough inequality. They consume inequality for breakfast, lunch and dinner and they’re still hungry.
What they hate more than anything else is anyone trying to even the score just a tiny bit. Making the world a little more fair than the cruel hand of fate fetishized by the Right supposedly “goes against human nature.” That’s dubious right there, and Adam Smith himself disagreed.
In his book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Smith noted that capitalism was incapable of providing for essential aspects of human society, such as compassion towards one’s fellow man, sympathy, mutual sympathy , and any type of fairness or justice in society. Since the market could not provide these things, their provision was left up to politics, or the state.
Politics is only unnatural; it’s deadly, genocidally deadly. Any attempts to create a little justice or fairness in the human jungle are apparently doomed to end up in mass murder. So don’t you dare mess with that invisible hand of the market.
If it’s market versus politics, the market wins hands down. The same market that starves 14 million people every year. The same market that kills 10 million kids a year. The same market that blew up the US economy and is threatening to take the world economy down with it. The blind faith of the Right boggles the mind.
- Coplon, Jeff. January 12, 1988. In Search of a Soviet Holocaust. The Village Voice. Grover Furr’s website.
Coplon, Jeff. March 1988. Rewriting History – How Ukrainian Nationalists Imposed Their Doctored History on High School Students CAPITAL Region. Douglas Furr’s website.
Davies, R. W. and Wheatcroft, Steven G. 2004. The Years of Hunger: Soviet Agriculture, 1931-1933. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Getty, J. Arch, Ritterspoon, Gabor T. and Zemskov, Viktor N. 1993. Victims of the Soviet Penal System in the Pre-war Years: A First Approach on the Basis of Archival Evidence American Historical Review 98:4, 1048-49.
Souza, Mario. Lies Concerning the History of the Soviet Union. North Star Compass website.
Tauger, Mark B. 1991. The 1932 Harvest and the Famine of 1933. Slavic Review 50:1, pp. 70-89.
Tottle, Douglas. 1987. Fraud, Famine, and Fascism: the Ukrainian Genocide Myth from Hitler to Harvard. Toronto: Progress Books.