Russia

Stalin's Prosecutor

RIP Robert Conquest, the historian who held the Soviets accountable

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Robert Conquest receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Carrie Devorah/WENN/Newscom

To understand the moral and literary power with which Robert Conquest wrote, consider the second sentence in his book Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine, a study of the 14.5 million deaths that resulted from Joseph Stalin's murderous takeover of his nation's agricultural sector: "We may perhaps put this in perspective in the present case by saying that in the actions here recorded about twenty human lives were lost for, not every word, but every letter, in this book."

As Conquest's friend, the British novelist Martin Amis, would later observe with a palpable shudder, "The sentence represents 3,040 lives. The book is 411 pages long." The math is too terrible to contemplate.

Conquest, who died of pneumonia on August 3 at the age of 98, was many things: a highly regarded anti-modernist poet, a military intelligence officer, a diplomat, a scholar, a ribald prankster, a serial non-monogamist (four wives punctuated with countless entanglements), even a dystopian science fiction novelist.

But most of all he was Stalin's personal prosecutor, over and over placing him in the dock of history to answer for his monstrous crimes. Conquest wrote more than a score of books on Soviet history and politics, two of them—Harvest of Sorrow and 1968's groundbreaking The Great Terror: Stalin's Purges of the Thirties—considered the definitive texts on the pure wickedness of the events they describe. "I know that after my death a pile of rubbish will be heaped on my grave, but the wind of History will sooner or later sweep it away without mercy," Stalin once said. Fortunately, Conquest was there to stack it right back up.

The British-born son of an American father and an English mother, Conquest was educated at Oxford, where he joined the Communist Party and visited the Soviet Union in 1937. That started a process of disillusionment that gained speed when Conquest served as a British military intelligence liaison to Russian-commanded Bulgarian resistance forces and hit critical mass when he stayed on in Bulgaria as a diplomat after the war and witnessed Stalin's brutal Sovietization of the country. By 1948 he was back in London, writing an increasingly hostile series of Foreign Office research papers on Soviet activities in Eastern Europe that would eventually morph into his books.

The first of those, Common Sense About Russia, appeared in 1961. But it wasn't until 1968, with the publication of The Great Terror, that Conquest truly hit his stride. Drawn from emigre memoirs, dissident samizdat documents, and sworn statements by hundreds of Soviet exiles and defectors who testified in a 1948 libel trial against a French Communist newspaper, The Great Terror was the first systematic compilation of the atrocities committed during Stalin's massive purges of 1936 through 1938.

The purges themselves were hardly news, but the world had mostly fixated on the manifest injustice of the Moscow show trials of a relatively small group of disgraced top officials charged with spying and sabotage. Conquest forced attention to the massive body count—a million or more—among ordinary citizens, who were shot in prison basements or sent to starve to death in Arctic work camps.

But The Great Terror was much more than a morgue census. Conquest's compelling eye for detail, coupled with a stark, understated prose style, combined to produce the greatest horror story of the 20th century.

He wrote of a town in Byelorussia where a group of peasants stumbled into what may have been the perpetually depressed Soviet economy's single growth industry: professional informing. They routinely partied after trials with the 15 rubles a head they were paid to denounce neighbors as spies, hoarders, and "wreckers," as saboteurs were known. They even wrote an epic ballad about some of their most successful denunciations.

He wrote of the urkas, the labor-camp gangs of common criminals so violent and depraved that even the guards feared them and refused to make them work. The hideously tattooed members, sporting names like Hitler or The Louse, instead spent their days plotting mass rapes of female inmates and gambling for the clothing of newly arrived political prisoners; the losers had to strip it from the victims and deliver it to the winners.

He wrote of Stalin's workdays, which usually began by leafing through hundreds of secret-police-recommended death sentences left in his morning inbox, perhaps with the help of his sycophantic adviser Vyacheslav Molotov. December 12, 1937, was a typical day, Conquest reported: "Stalin and Molotov sanctioned 3,167 death sentences, and then went to the cinema."

Not that being a bloodthirsty dictator was all work and no play. Conquest described Stalin laughing until he cried as an executioner acted out the final, sobbing moments of his former crony Grigory Zinoviev. "Stalin was overcome with merriment and had to sign to [the performer] to stop," Conquest wrote.

"The Great Terror is an extraordinary book, and even more extraordinary is that he extracted it from a totally closed society," says the Emery historian Harvey Klehr, who has written extensively on Soviet espionage in the United States. "The information was out there, but nobody had thought of collecting it using those sources."

As skeptics of the Cold War gained the upper hand in American academia, Conquest's work was dismissed as reactionary fantasy and criminal libel. But in the years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, as Moscow's archives began dribbling out to the public, his reporting was confirmed and judged by some even a bit too mild.

Conquest was, of course, gratified. Martin Amis reported that, when a publisher asked for a new title for a revised edition of The Great Terror, Conquest suggested: "How about I Told You So, You Fucking Fools?" The historian later said, not altogether convincingly, that the quote was the jocose fabrication of a friend. But there is little doubt that he considered most of his critics fools, and fools who needn't be taken seriously.

In 1988, The Village Voice published a shrill attack on Harvest of Sorrow that accused Conquest of, among many other things, "red-baiting" Walter Duranty, the New York Times correspondent in Moscow whose Panglossian reporting on Stalin won him a now-discredited Pulitzer Prize. Among other things, Duranty's stories repeatedly denied any famine in the Soviet Union during 1932–33, though we now know somewhere between 6 million and 8 million peasants starved to death at the time. Pshaw, sniffed Conquest. "Duranty wasn't a red at all, just a self-serving liar," he wrote the Voice. "I think liars should be baited. Dupes, too, perhaps less harshly."

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68 responses to “Stalin's Prosecutor

  1. It’s always galling how downplaying totalitarian collectivism ostensibly from the right (e.g. Franco’s Spain) is considered obviously beyond the pale, while downplaying the horrors of ostensibly leftist totalitarian collectivism is seen as required.

    1. Intentions

    2. Fascism is just another flavor of leftist progressivism. Nice try though.

      1. I used the word “ostensibly”.

  2. “diplomat, a scholar, a ribald prankster, a serial non-monogamist (four wives punctuated with countless entanglements), even a dystopian science fiction novelist.”

    …an agent of British intelligence. Those professors trying to get America out of Vietnam were assholes.

    1. The ones downplaying what wen on in the Soviet Union and what was going on in Red China most certainly *were* (and still are) assholes.

      1. I’d say about 5% of the problem with The Great Terror was with the overstatement of the numbers associated with the Ukranian famine, with another 5% lying with the pornographic obsession with Stalin’s torture chambers. The rest of the problem lies with the way that book was used to attack communists in the West and its misappropriation by right-wing radicals to attack European welfare states. Like Jesus– the problem I have with Robert Conquest isn’t necessarily Robert Conquest– it’s his followers that I detest.

        1. Over stating,really? The famine,purgers,millions starved,murdered,shipp out of their homelands? The conquest of the Baltic states and eastern Europe? You really want to minimize communist crimes? Your more evil then I thought,you know the truth and still denie it.

          1. Please show me where I denied the brutality of the USSR. The problem I have is that right around the time this book was published– in the midst of a genocidal war in SE Asia– right-wingers would hold up this big red book and shout “tu quoque.”

            Yeah, well, so what?

            1. american socialist|10.18.15 @ 10:55AM|#
              “Please show me where I denied the brutality of the USSR.”

              Denied? Dunno; you’re certainly a cretin enough to do so, but hey, just look up there:
              “I’d say about 5% of the problem with The Great Terror was with the overstatement of the numbers associated with the Ukranian famine, with another 5% lying with the pornographic obsession with Stalin’s torture chambers”

              It really wasn’t that bad, right, you lying piece of comnunist shit.

              1. I never thought that I would witness in my lifetime someone coming to Stalin’s defense outside of a fellow red.

                Oh wait.

                AmSoc was Pol Pot also just misunderstood and misrepresented in the Western press ?

                I happen to be reading “Hungry Ghosts. Mao’s Secret Famine” and the author compares Mao’s and Stalin’s purposeful famines. Based on his interviews of some of the survivors he paints a little different picture of the famine in Ukraine, Russia, and China than you.

                1. Jasper Becker, the above mentioned author, counts 30 million murdered by enforced starvation.

                  Applying your 5% theory only 28.5 million were starved to death so that’s much better.

                2. “I happen to be reading “Hungry Ghosts. Mao’s Secret Famine””
                  That is a tough read, but worth it.

                  1. I just started and haven’t gotten to the part about North Korea yet but I’ve read elsewhere that they have been eating grass for decades in between the West’s and China’s food injections.

                    I am sitting here stunned and actually a little queasy that I would actually read someone come to Stalin’s defense by saying he didn’t kill quite as many millions as some anti communists claim. SMH

                    If it was Tony I caould blow it off because I know he’s just trolling. AmSoc seems to actually be a believer and I can’t grasp that someone can be so delusional aout true evil.

                    There is a passage in the book where a coutier of Stalin’s was mimicing the actions of someone he ordered killed in the last minute of his life and Stalin was laughing out loud so hard that he couldn’t conttrol himself and had to signal the entertainer by hand to stop.

                    And this is what AmSoc defends.

                    1. A,AmSoc is an evil piece of shit. And a deadbeat who won’t pay his fucking mortgage. He longs for a new Stalinist era in what passes for his heart.

                    2. “And a deadbeat who won’t pay his fucking mortgage”
                      Typical “New Soviet Man”, free-riding on those of use who honor our word.

                    3. You should have seen mtruman here a few weeks back arguing that it was a complete accident that Pol Pot starved a significant proportion of the population of Cambodia. You have to be a True Believer for this kind of rhetoric.

                    4. Suellington|10.18.15 @ 6:12PM|#
                      “You should have seen mtruman here a few weeks back arguing that it was a complete accident that Pol Pot starved a significant proportion of the population of Cambodia.”

                      I’m not surprised by this. Truman is despicable; he posts here only to get his name visible on a site outside his own worthless blog, and he (like Bo and tulpa) will adopt any position in order to provoke a response.
                      He makes no secret that he lies regularly and will do so to continue a ‘discussion’.
                      He is totally dishonest and why anyone actually engages him is a mystery.

                  2. “I happen to be reading “Hungry Ghosts. Mao’s Secret Famine””
                    That is a tough read, but worth it.

                    I read it too. I agree.

                  3. Is it as cheerful as “Gulag Archipelago”?

            2. So if it was 14.5 Million killed or just 14 million killed some how makes a difference to the level of brutality? You only sere to illustrate that the apologists for the Soviet regime never want to admit that yes, the Communists really were a bunch of hideously evil people. That the main lesson that needs to be taught in schools today Communism = Evil

        2. Communists, fascists, and ther socialists killed 100M people in the 20th century, and you want to quibble about the exact number?

          Meanwhile, billions lifted themselves out of poverty due to free markets. There you probably don’t want to quibble about 5%, you want to reject the thesis altogether.

    2. Barely coherent as usual AmSoc. Thanks for starting my Sunday off right.

    3. The USSR caused as much death and suffering,maybe more then Nazis regime. Yeah ,I said it.Add in Mao and the other communist in Cambodia,Laos s and in Africa and you have 100’s of millions of deaths.

      1. You’ll note I explicitly mentioned Franco in my first comment and avoided mentioning the Nazis precisely so people couldn’t say the Nazis were uniquely evil in their genocidal killing.

        Never mind that communist r?gimes had no qualms about mass deportations on ethnic grounds (e.g. the Crimean Tatars) or trying to wipe out minority cultures.

        1. Go tell it to the masses and their war mongering hysterics…the “War on Evil” pales in comparison to a history of gruesome inhumanities people quite comfortably choose to dismiss from their memories. Talk about quaint, makes IS look downright antiquated from this view.

    4. “…an agent of British intelligence. Those professors trying to get America out of Vietnam were assholes.”

      Look squirrel!

    5. “An agent of British intelligence” Also an ex commie. Weird how those are always your worst enemies.

  3. Well,next time the right people will be in charge and all will be well. Anyone that advocates socialism is evil at heart. Yes Bernie ‘I’m tlaking about you.All the programs they trumpet must be enforce with men with guns,and resistance means prison or death. There is no ‘free’ shit,it comes with a cost,in blood.,wealth and freedom.

  4. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ?????? http://www.buzznews99.com

  5. Yeah, he got paid handsomely for researching a book that promoted the Cold War ideologies of his bosses, got the numbers wrong ( which he himself acknowledges) probably by a factor of 5, championed a genocidal war that he could have helped stop, and then used his book to attack critics of military spending and the Cold War as dupes. Other than that, he seemed like a decent chap.

    1. amsoc,
      You are truly an evil bastard.
      An apologist for evil.
      A promoter of evil.

      Yep, Conquest was off on the number killed in Ukraine, it was more than he claimed. He was off on the number Stalin killed, it was more than he claimed.

      Every time we believe we know the number, even more deaths are revealed. And still, scum like you look for ways to minimize the evil. The evil that inevitably takes over every time totalitarianism rises, but especially when leftest totalitarianism rises.

      Are you too busy to bother us here now that Bernie is running? Don’t you have some political tracts with made up facts to write?

    2. american socialist|10.18.15 @ 12:02PM|#
      “got the numbers wrong ( which he himself acknowledges) probably by a factor of 5,”

      If you’re going to be an apologist for a mass-murderer, you better have cites.

      1. Here ya go… In contrast to the bestest historian ever, this historian got his numbers from actually reading archives and not numbers that he cribbed from a.) British intelligence, b.) Ukranian nationalists looking for a fight with Russians and Cossacks or c.) right-wing Cold Warriors looking for a reason to start a nuclear war with the USSR.
        http://www.nybooks.com/article…..lled-more/

        1. And then:

          “I did a comprehensive overview of available estimates, including those by Conquest, and wrote a book, Lethal Politics, on Soviet democide to provide understanding and context for my figures. I calculate that the Communist regime, 1917-1987, murdered about 62,000,000 people, around 55,000,000 of them citizens (see Table 1.1 for a periodization of the deaths).
          As for Stalin, when the holes in Conquest’s estimates are filled in, I calculate that Stalin murdered about 43,000,000 citizens and foreigners, over twice Conquest’s total. Therefore, the usual estimate of 20 million killed in Soviet democide is far off for the Soviet Union per se, and even less than half of the total Stalin alone murdered.”
          http://distributedrepublic.net…..ly-murder/

          So keep it up, you slimy piece of excrement, maybe you can cherry-pick from other apologists and convince those as stupid as you are.

          1. Move goal posts much? Robert conquest’s book, of which I read closely, said that the combined death toll due to the regime in the combined purges (that’s 1930-1938) was 20 million. The real figure is probably closer to 4 million. If I wrote that 30 million Jews died in the gas chambers I’d be rightly dismissed as a crackpot– maybe a well-intentioned one, but a crackpot nevertheless. But hey–when someone writes a book that does precisely in the service of a right-wing agenda– they give you a shiny medal.

            Would it help you and the mental breakdown you are having if I were to state that Stalin was a very, VERY bad man?

            1. “The real figure is probably closer to 4 million”

              And where did you find this number ?

            2. “Move goal posts much? Robert conquest’s book, of which I read closely, said that the combined death toll due to the regime in the combined purges (that’s 1930-1938) was 20 million. The real figure is probably closer to 4 million.”

              See below; even your source says 6M+ for that time period, and not but two posts below, you claim that source is wrong because it cites Conquest’s claims for ‘how many Stalin killed’ in total, not those in the years of X to Y.
              Now, would you please define how you are going to organize your defense for the mass-murderer? I get confused when you keep changing the terms.
              ———————————-
              “Would it help you and the mental breakdown you are having if I were to state that Stalin was a very, VERY bad man?”
              So citing your lies is a ‘mental breakdown”? And you hemming and hawing about how the Vietnam war was almost, sorta, kind equal is some sort of apology for your apology for Stalin?

              Would it help much if I pointed out that you’re a pathetic excuse for a human?

        2. “How many people did Stalin kill?”
          […]
          “Before the collapse of the Soviet Union led to the opening of state archives to researchers, estimates of the number of people killed under Stalin’s leadership varied dramatically, from 3 million at the lowest end, to around 60 million at the top end. Post-Soviet research has shown that the number of deaths is probably around 20 million ? still a horrific number. The records are not particularly accurate in many ways, though, and although a rough consensus seems to be emerging that 20 million deaths is a reasonably accurate figure, the topic is still subject to much debate.”
          http://historyofrussia.org/sta…..ny-people/

          1. Psst, this source uses wikipedia as it’s primary source, which regurgitates Conquest’s missing-the-dart-board estimate.

            1. Oops. Sorry it didn’t report your source’s lies.

            2. “although a rough consensus seems to be emerging that 20 million deaths is a reasonably accurate figure,”

              So a consensus is only accuratel when discussing climate change ?

        3. And one more, just for the hell (on earth) of it:
          “There are basically two schools of thought when it comes to the number who died at Stalin’s hands. There’s the “Why doesn’t anyone realize that communism is the absolutely worst thing ever to hit the human race, without exception, even worse than both world wars, the slave trade and bubonic plague all put together?” school, and there’s the “Come on, stop exaggerating. The truth is horrifying enough without you pulling numbers out of thin air” school.”

          So what are the ‘low’ numbers? Well, look here:
          “Nove, Alec (“Victims of Stalinism: How Many?” in J. Arch Getty (ed.) Stalinist Terror: New Perspectives, 1993): 9,500,000 “surplus deaths” during the 1930s.”
          http://necrometrics.com/20c5m.htm#Stalin

          The ’30s, and that murderer lived until the ’50s.

          1. Excellent Sevo.

            I wish he would have included Pol Pot another communist rabble rouser who wanted to completely transform his country.

            Many people don’t give any attention to the fact that this isn’t ancient history. Some of Stalin , most of Mao in my early years and Pol Pot as I graduated high school and went to college. The maority of the murders weren’t enemy soldiers in warfare they were the intention deaths of their own citizens. That is why I shudder every time I read some modern academic or other lefty talk about arresting or reeducating climate change deniers and other wreckers. They throw that idea around with such abandon.

            1. Thank you, but I’m not done (just sort of busy this afternoon)
              Now we we have commie-kid’s claim:
              “got the numbers wrong ( which he himself acknowledges) probably by a factor of 5,”

              So we can check *his* only cite and find:
              ” The Great Terror and other shooting actions killed no more than a million people, probably a bit fewer. The largest human catastrophe of Stalinism was the famine of 1930?1933, in which more than five million people died.”
              So counting only until 1933, your apologist admits to 5,000,000.
              And then:
              ” In all, 682,691 people were killed during the Great Terror, to which might be added a few hundred thousand more Soviet citizens shot in smaller actions. The total figure of civilians deliberately killed under Stalinism, around six million, is of course horribly high”
              And I’m calling bullshit on any number that ends in a “1”; that’s propaganda, plus it ignores those killed after 1937. (cont’d)

              1. (cont’d)
                So even if we grant commie-kid’s cite’s numbers (which I certainly will not), the number by 1937 is roughly 1/3 of Conquest’s claim, rather than the 1/5 of the real total as lied about by commie kid. Sorry, slime-bag, that ‘source’ is no more believable than you are.
                And one other note:
                “But in the years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, as Moscow’s archives began dribbling out to the public, his reporting was confirmed and judged by some even a bit too mild.
                Conquest was, of course, gratified. Martin Amis reported that, when a publisher asked for a new title for a revised edition of The Great Terror, Conquest suggested: “How about I Told You So, You Fucking Fools?”
                Conquest had your number a LONG time ago.

        4. “reading archives”

          Archives of mass murders kept by the mass murderers themselves are always known to be factual.

          Everbody knows that.

  6. Hey, AmSoc –

    if you think Vietnam was wrong because of the US hand in any deaths there, please explain your moral judgment on what came after, you fucking choad. The commies came and millions and millions died being “re-educated” – and that did spread to surrounding countries. The problem with the Domino Theory was only that it was true and that the fucking liars who disagreed have been doing everything they can since then to whitewash what happened after we left Vietnam.

    You make me sick.

    I suppose you hate Team Blue Jim Webb for his service there, as well? Better that he hadn’t survived that hand-grenade or that it had killed more Americans?

    1. It was all bad. I denounce it all. The hard totalitarianism of communism was probably worse than the soft totalitarianism of domino theories, bloated military budgets, mutually assured destruction, and killing them there instead of them killing us here– but both were bad.

      As to your specific example: first, Vietnam was much better off in 1980 than it was in 1970. Second, none of those monstrous nuts who gained power in Cambodia would have done so if it weren’t for the meddling of the United States. As for Jim Webb: I’m supposed to get all weepy about his “service?” You mean, killing people who were shooting at him because he and his imperialist army were there? No, thanks. He looks like an ok guy, but my heroes are the ones who stayed out of it and protested against that terrible war

      1. american socialist|10.18.15 @ 1:10PM|#
        “It was all bad. I denounce it all. The hard totalitarianism of communism was probably worse than the soft totalitarianism of domino theories, bloated military budgets, mutually assured destruction, and killing them there instead of them killing us here– but both were bad.”

        “See, commies weren’t so bad, just look over there!”
        What a fucking pathetic excuse for a human being……

        1. I have read others saying the same about this guy but now I too am firmly convinced that what you say is true.

        2. “Both were bad.”

          What is it with you and reading? No wonder the likes of you couldn’t “save” South Vietnam.

          1. I said it twice in the space of a 200 word comment.,.

            Here: “it was all bad. I denounce it all” and here:”both were bad.”
            Here: “it was all bad. I denounce it all” and here:”both were bad.”
            Here: “it was all bad. I denounce it all” and here:”both were bad.”
            Here: “it was all bad. I denounce it all” and here:”both were bad.”
            Here: “it was all bad. I denounce it all” and here:”both were bad.”

            WTF is wrong with you?

            1. “Oh, look! They are as bad as a mass murderer who I LUV!”

              Fuck you with Stalin’s pistol, you stinking turd.

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  8. What pisses me off is how American “progressives” see hatred of communism/socialism as some kind of cheesy, laughable, outdated belief from the 1950s. As if it’s just tinfoil hat lunacy to be opposed to a system where people starve, have a standard of living far below that of the West, get thrown in prison for criticism of the state, and get executed if they become really troublesome. Keep in mind that these things are still going on today.

    Meanwhile, it’s the foulest form of sacrilege to suggest that Nazis were not THE absolute worst killers in history. I guess it’s because the Nazis were racist, while the piles of corpses in communist countries were of a motley racial blend (even though as Ted S. pointed out above, they did have racist policies of their own).

    I think it’s just an outgrowth of that leftist mode of thought in which “equality” is the ultimate goal. It’s OK if everyone languishes in poverty as long as not one person is enjoying a better standard of living, because that’s unequal. It’s fine and dandy to murder and starve millions of people as long as you don’t pick out one particular race. If Hitler would have murdered three times as many people as he did without regards to ethnicity, the American left would speak of Nazism as a pretty good system that just got the wrong people in charge.

    1. See above. That smelly thing from the bottom of the septic tank is willing to accept Stalin was as bad as the Vietnam war!
      What a……………..
      piece of shit.

      1. I’ve been rather explicit so I can’t help you out if you can’t read. But if you imagine that I implied a moral equivalence between what lbj and Nixon did and what Stalin did, go right ahead and knock yourself out and tell us how great American policy was during the Cold War. That would be entertaining to watch a libertarian come out of the closet and defend napalm bombings.

        Eh… secret bombings, smecret bombings.

        1. american socialist|10.18.15 @ 6:59PM|#
          “I’ve been rather explicit so I can’t help you out if you can’t read”

          Yes, VERY explicit in assigning a false equivalence.
          ———————————
          ” tell us how great American policy was during the Cold War. That would be entertaining to watch a libertarian come out of the closet and defend napalm bombings.”

          Yeah, unlike you, I have some principles and have never done so.

    2. That doesn’t explain why it was so vital to try Pinochet in Spain, but it was so unjust to try Honecker that he had to be exiled to… Chile.

      1. In the summer of 77 I was riding the rails in Europe and was at San Fermine for the Running of The Bulls. The Spanish college students wore white pants and shirts with red berets and red waist sashes. They were constantly seen during the day marching through the streets chanting something in Spanish I didn’t understand. Someone told me it had something to do with Pinochet. There was one very popular night spot where three streets came together with a statute of a Spanish war hero in the center median. The one bar at this intersection I remember was called the Mussle Bar. One night when I was there the Spanish riot police came busting in with machine guns with rubber bullets and shot every local there ( not the workers at the bar ) while avoiding the obvious looking tourists. They would stand three feet away from someone and bust their ass with a three or four round bursts.They drug one guy in particular out of the Mussle Bar and beat the ever loving crap out of him with billy clubs before throwing him in a car. The rest they loaded into a school bus looking thing with wire over the windows. And the party went on.

        Pretty heady scene for a country boy from Texas.

    3. A lot of that attitude is tribal loyalty. The physical and cultural descendants of the coastal hipsters of the first half of the twentieth century can’t bring themselves to admit that the uncool, Reader’s Digest-reading, red-staters of Flyover Country were right and they, or their predecessors, were wrong, wrong, wrong.

      1. You’re correct about tribalism. It’s not about being right; it’s about being against those icky conservatives.

        What pisses me off even more is that if you rounded up these wannabe-commie fucks and shipped them to Venezuela, Cuba, or North Korea, they would be begging to come back to the evil, capitalist USA in two seconds – they can’t survive without their broadband, iPhones, and extra-large pizzas just a phone call away. As much as they piss and moan about things in the US, they depend on that lifestyle that they denigrate as “materialistic” and “profit-driven”.

  9. “as long as not one person is enjoying a better standard of living, because that’s unequal.”

    Excluding the inner circle of true believers of course. It’s what all defenders like AmSoc imagine themselves to be only to realize too late that they are more likely in the “useful idiots” category. Stalin’s inner circle was fluid and changed at his whim so no one was safe forever.

  10. It is one of history’s greatest injustices that Jughashvili didn’t die at the end of a rope after a six-foot drop.

    -jcr

    1. It’s one of modern history’s greatest injustices that people like AmSoc didn’t get the chance to live under Stalin’s regime.

      1. “It’s one of modern history’s greatest injustices that people like AmSoc didn’t get the chance to live under Stalin’s regime.”

        Or just handcuffed to someone who did .

      2. ‘It’s one of modern history’s greatest injustices that people like AmSoc didn’t get the chance to [be executed] under Stalin’s regime.’

        Just ’cause I think this is closer to the truth.
        Example: Claus Fuchs, on confessing to espionage, was asked what did he think of Stalin’s show trials. In a naivete’ characteristic of fellow-travelers of the time, he said that after he’d helped the Soviets win, he intended to tell Stalin what he (Stalin) was doing wrong.

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