100 years since the Russian Revolution

in reality, all of this has been a total load of old bollocks

Was the Russian Revolution a "good" thing?

Да!
5
45%
Нет!
6
55%
 
Total votes: 11

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Diamond Dog
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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby Diamond Dog » 06 Nov 2017, 20:22

Toby wrote:
Diamond Dog wrote:
Toby wrote: The Soviet Union did defeat Nazi Germany, but their intentions to do so were not couched in the moral spirt of the Allies, given that they occupied Eastern Europe for 40 years afterwards.



Of course, that they may have decided to build a buffer between themselves and all the other European countries that had seemingly taken it in turns to invade Russia in previous times was, of course, completely unfair and really wasn't playing the game, old chap.


Absolute rot and you know it. It was imperialism continued in socialist drag.


No really. I think they fancied protecting their borders by building a buffer.

It worked.
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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby Copehead » 06 Nov 2017, 21:45

Goat Boy wrote:Considering how many died I'd have to say bad.



I read something the other day that made the argument that Russia's transition to an industrial economy killed fewer people than the UK's it just appears worse because it was collapsed into a 40 year period rather than a 140 year period.

Would you say the UK's industrial revolution was bad because of the horrendous number of premature deaths it entailed through state sanctioned actions on powerless people ?

Possibly all nonsense, but it was an interesting question.

Obviously Stalin was a monster and what he created, state capitalism, had little to do with Marxism, but our own transition to modernity was hardly unicorns and rainbows either, no gulags just transportation etc.
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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby Copehead » 06 Nov 2017, 21:53

Toby wrote:
Samoan wrote:Undecided at this moment..


For anyone who may wish to watch, Peter Hitchens and George Galloway were debating it on Sunday Politics yesterday. It was well worth viewing. 13:47 minutes long.

https://youtu.be/_An5-wpzlDc


Galloway classic among left-wingers of basically ignoring the deaths of millions of people to advocate economic success.


Pretty much like some one defending the industrial revolution from a capitalist perspective then.

The enforced changes from agrarian to industrial economies killed millions prematurely due to deliberate action, or inaction, in many places including the UK.

Why get all indignant about the Russian experience? Happened too quickly, happened more recently, was undertaken by a political regime you are ideologically opposed to, all 3, something else?

It is an interesting perspective, wish I could remember where I read it.
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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby Toby » 07 Nov 2017, 09:03

I don't doubt that a significant number of people died in the industrialisation of the western world, including Russia, if you argue that it is a phase of world history.

The issue is whether these people were killed deliberately by the state or not. In the case of the Soviet and Chinese industrialisation phases, I would argue that, yes, a large number of people were, either through starvation as with the Ukrainian Famine or the Great Leap Forward (estimated at 50 MILLION!), or with the Gulag system. That's the difference - this was systemic murder in order to bring about change.

I'm not doubting that inaction and lack of an ability to respond to crises, particularly in Colonial empires, killed a lot people, and that the Congo and Tasmania had colonial genocide for example, but they are utterly dwarfed by the phenomenal scale of murder perpetrated by Communist states in the 20th century. There is no argument against it because it is indefensible.

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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby Robert » 07 Nov 2017, 11:53

Toby wrote:Was the Russian Revolution a "good" thing?

I've left the options simple purely because I like a good argument.

I'd say definitely no for the Russians themselves. Stalin, Famine, Gulags, the Cheka, invaded by Germany purely because they were Bolsheviks etc. I don't know how many dead but I'm pretty sure that the numbers are so much higher than if Russia remained Tsarist. Definitely not for the Ukrainians or the Poles either. Maybe yes for contemporary China as a state in some respects because it is now a fully mobilised command economy that is the manufacturing hub of the world. But how much of that is socialism over the millennium old culture of the Chinese is difficult to say.

Anyway, your thoughts on what was arguably the epochal event of the 20th century.


The question reminds me of a story that Branson tells in his autobio. Many years ago, I guess in the nineties he was visiting China. One of the appointments he had was with one of these vast think tanks they have. There were hundreds of people there studying any bloody thing that ever happened on earth. Branson met with a guy specialized in France and he asked the man in charge what he thought of the French revolution. The guy answered: 'that's way too early to tell'

We are looking at it from the outside. They sometimes say that a population gets the rulers it deserves or wish for and part of that is true I think. I have travelled a lot through Russia and Ukraine and there have been very few people I spoke to that looked back on the communist era negatively, despite Stalin,the Gulags etc.

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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby Goat Boy » 07 Nov 2017, 11:59

I was watching a programme about Russia a while back and you had locals saying it was better in the old days. Their comments seemed pretty vague mind, maybe a sense of more solidarity perhaps, that sorta thing.

How much was just rose tinted nostalgia I dunno. I mean many of us get that point in life where the past was always better regardless, you know?

Plus people have a collective amnesia too. All kinds of horrible shit can be "forgotten"
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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby The Modernist » 07 Nov 2017, 12:02

Goat Boy wrote:I was watching a programme about Russia a while back and you had locals saying it was better in the old days. Their comments seemed pretty vague mind, maybe a sense of more solidarity perhaps, that sorta thing.

How much was just rose tinted nostalgia I dunno. I mean many of us get that point in life where the past was always better regardless, you know?

Plus people have a collective amnesia too. All kinds of horrible shit can be "forgotten"



I think there's more to it than simply nostalgia. There were practical reasons why it was better for them then. They were getting state housing, guarantees of work and wages. To suddenly have all those safety nets taken away has left huge numbers in abject poverty.

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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby Goat Boy » 07 Nov 2017, 12:08

That's a fair point
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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby *fun and open field* » 07 Nov 2017, 12:26

Oh, you get that all the time in the old Eastern Bloc countries.

As G says, there are solid arguments for it being a better time. I lost count of the times students said things like 'well we all had work and we had our books and we had our beer'. It's true.

How much actual oppression there was varies from country to country, and some decades were worse than others. Growing up in 70s Romania must have been rotten. But Czechoslovakia and Hungary in the 60s was as good as it got.
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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby Deebank » 07 Nov 2017, 12:29

The Modernist wrote:
Goat Boy wrote:I was watching a programme about Russia a while back and you had locals saying it was better in the old days. Their comments seemed pretty vague mind, maybe a sense of more solidarity perhaps, that sorta thing.

How much was just rose tinted nostalgia I dunno. I mean many of us get that point in life where the past was always better regardless, you know?

Plus people have a collective amnesia too. All kinds of horrible shit can be "forgotten"



I think there's more to it than simply nostalgia. There were practical reasons why it was better for them then. They were getting state housing, guarantees of work and wages. To suddenly have all those safety nets taken away has left huge numbers in abject poverty.


I think that's the crux of it. That and an element of 'instituationalisation'.

As we have already established most of those with an axe to grind against the regime didn't get the chance to look back in anger.
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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby Goat Boy » 07 Nov 2017, 12:34

Carla Breakthrough-Lark wrote:Oh, you get that all the time in the old Eastern Bloc countries.

As G says, there are solid arguments for it being a better time. I lost count of the times students said things like 'well we all had work and we had our books and we had our beer'. It's true.

How much actual oppression there was varies from country to country, and some decades were worse than others. Growing up in 70s Romania must have been rotten. But Czechoslovakia and Hungary in the 60s was as good as it got.


I guess if that's all you know growing up then the negatives that we think of don't apply.

It must have been a bit fucking grim though.
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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby *fun and open field* » 07 Nov 2017, 12:45

If you have an hour to spare - this is the first part (of three). Really enjoyable BBC series.

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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby Tactful Cactus » 07 Nov 2017, 12:48

An Estonian pal looked back with nostalgia at his communist upbringing. His abiding memory is fresh food, after capitalism food was more varied but worse quality. That's his foremost regret of the fall of communism, the decline of ice cream :D

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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby Goat Boy » 07 Nov 2017, 12:49

Well that's me converted!
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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby *fun and open field* » 07 Nov 2017, 12:55

The mayonnaise was better
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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby The Modernist » 07 Nov 2017, 12:58

The recent Simon Reeves travel documentaries where he travels through Russia have been very illuminating. He went to one godforsaken town in the back of beyond, where practically everyone was a chronic alcoholic. It was like some kind of living hell. I think there's one part I haven't seen yet, so I'll have to check out iplayer.

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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby Goat Boy » 07 Nov 2017, 12:58

The music was great! None of that decadent western tripe!
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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby Robert » 07 Nov 2017, 13:08

The Modernist wrote:
Goat Boy wrote:I was watching a programme about Russia a while back and you had locals saying it was better in the old days. Their comments seemed pretty vague mind, maybe a sense of more solidarity perhaps, that sorta thing.

How much was just rose tinted nostalgia I dunno. I mean many of us get that point in life where the past was always better regardless, you know?

Plus people have a collective amnesia too. All kinds of horrible shit can be "forgotten"



I think there's more to it than simply nostalgia. There were practical reasons why it was better for them then. They were getting state housing, guarantees of work and wages. To suddenly have all those safety nets taken away has left huge numbers in abject poverty.


Yes that exactly. I remember travelling there just after perestroika when people were complaining about having more choices now in what to eat, which countries to travel to and so on, but being unable to make those choices because of lack of money. As you say work and wages were there for everyone and lots of things were free during communism, like schools and medical care.

That said, in today's Russia you don't hear those complaints anymore and Putin is very, very popular.

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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby Robert » 07 Nov 2017, 13:10

Goat Boy wrote:The music was great! None of that decadent western tripe!


Funny enough, music was a subject I used to raise a lot over diners & drinks. Most people my age had not missed anything about the Beatles & Stones and what came after them. Tapes were popular but also records they used to produce from paint can tins.

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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby The Modernist » 07 Nov 2017, 13:18

Robert wrote:
Yes that exactly. I remember travelling there just after perestroika when people were complaining about having more choices now in what to eat, which countries to travel to and so on, but being unable to make those choices because of lack of money. As you say work and wages were there for everyone and lots of things were free during communism, like schools and medical care.

That said, in today's Russia you don't hear those complaints anymore and Putin is very, very popular.



Scarily popular. It's more like a North Korea style personality cult. Even when you meet Russians living in London, they won't hear a word against him.
And part of Putin's success is that he's embraced the past and specifically the patriotic image of Russia as this great, powerful nation. So although his market economics represent a discontinuity, he presents himself as a figure of continuity. All very different from what Gorbachev had in mind for a modern Russia.