Thread: Joe Pesci defending Stalinism

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  1. #1
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    Default Joe Pesci defending Stalinism

    Kotkin's lecture on his second volume on Stalin (collectivization and WW2): https://www.c-span.org/video/?c47116...-december-2017
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    I don't think "defending Stalinism" is the correct term. Kotkin is no fan of Marxism or the USSR; I have both volumes of his Stalin biography and he clearly regards him as a bad person.

    Richard Pipes, famed anti-communist historian and Cold Warrior, referred to Kotkin's first volume as "a very serious biography that, except for its eccentric denial of Lenin’s rift with Stalin late in his life, is likely to well stand the test of time." Considering Pipes shat on left-wing historians like E.H. Carr and Isaac Deutscher for what he regarded as their Soviet apologia, that says a lot about Kotkin.
    Last edited by Ismail; 7th February 2018 at 20:59.
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    A (4-part) review of his first volume: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/201.../kot1-j01.html

    "He is determined, however, to anoint Stalin as a consistent Marxist and the true disciple of Lenin."
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    A (4-part) review of his first volume: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/201.../kot1-j01.html

    "He is determined, however, to anoint Stalin as a consistent Marxist and the true disciple of Lenin."
    That quote isn't wrong, but it isn't tantamount to "defending Stalinism." Kotkin, like many other anti-communist authors (Pipes, Robert Conquest, Leonard Schapiro, Leszek Kołakowski, etc.), argues that "Stalinism" is the logical consequence of Leninism.

    Their argument is basically Orwell's:

    "The article [by James Burnham, an ex-Trotskyist] is entitled 'Lenin's Heir', and it sets out to show that Stalin is the true and legitimate guardian of the Russian Revolution, which he has not in any sense 'betrayed' but has merely carried forward on lines that were implicit in it from the start. In itself, this is an easier opinion to swallow than the usual Trotskyist claim that Stalin is a mere crook who has perverted the Revolution to his own ends, and that things would somehow have been different if Lenin had lived or Trotsky had remained in power. Actually there is no strong reason for thinking that the main lines of development would have been very different. Well before 1923 the seeds of a totalitarian society were quite plainly there. Lenin, indeed, is one of those politicians who win an undeserved reputation by dying prematurely. Had he lived, it is probable that he would either have been thrown out, like Trotsky, or would have kept himself in power by methods as barbarous, or nearly as barbarous, as those of Stalin."
    (Orwell, Sonia & Ian Angus (eds). George Orwell: In Front of Your Nose: 1945-1950. New Hampshire: David R. Godine. 2000. pp. 167-168.)

    This is why Pipes praises Kotkin but criticized historians like Carr and Deutscher, because the latter two proceeded from the assumption that "Stalinism" was not the inherent outcome of Leninism, but was instead at odds with it. Deutscher also held that "Stalinism" was a temporary phenomenon in the revolutionary transformation of Soviet society, likening him to a Cromwell or Napoleon (in other words, despite his reactionary seizure of power and repressive acts against the people whom he once served, he was still acting as an agent of historical progress.)

    Likewise, viewing Stalin as a consistent Marxist is not uncommon among anti-communist historians, insofar as they hold that Marxism is a utopian ideology whose full implementation requires mass murder and dictatorial control over every facet of society. It simply means that Stalin's policies were motivated not only by practical concerns, but also by Marxism as he understood it.

    It's important to realize the difference between Kotkin (an anti-communist) and authors who actually defend Stalin like Ludo Martens, Grover Furr and Kenneth Neil Cameron.
    Last edited by Ismail; 9th February 2018 at 21:31.
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    * nizan: "Fuck your education is empowerment bullshit, education is alienation, nothing more. You indulge in a dying prestige for a role in a bureaucratic spectacle deserving of nothing beyond contempt."
    * Alexios: "To the Board Administration: Ismail [...] needs to be eliminated from this forum."
  5. #5
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    Sorry to sound like an idiot, but I saw the title and leaped in. What does Joe Pesci (the actor) have to do with this?
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    I find Kotkin's voice and style of talking resemble Pesci's.

    Ismail, yes he's anti-communist, but I thought people would understand my meaning. I think Zizek is also someone who is an opponent of Stalinism, but who tends to view a continuity between Lenin and Stalin.

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