Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

March 24, 2017

What Caused the Holodomor?

Filed under: Ukraine — louisproyect @ 5:31 pm


Mark Tauger: famines are caused by nature, not colonialism

COUNTERPUNCH, March 24, 2017

Three weeks ago, Grover Furr charged me with spreading fascist propaganda on CounterPunch because my film review of “Bitter Harvest” held Josef Stalin accountable for the famine in Ukraine in 1932-1933. Like the Australian theology professor Roland Boer who blogs at “Stalin’s Moustache”, Furr’s political life revolves around celebrating Stalin’s greatest achievements—such as they were. I advise my readers, especially younger ones, to visit “Stalin’s Moustache” and Furr’s website to get a handle on a school of thought that has largely died a natural death.

Instead of answering Furr’s attack, I will turn my attention to the historiography of Mark Tauger who he describes in a prefatory note as being a “world authority” on the famine. Since Tauger blames a severe drought for the deaths of between 2.5 to 7 million Ukrainians, it is understandable why he would be hoisted on the shoulders of both Grover Furr and Roger Annis, a Canadian leftist and occasional CounterPunch contributor who endorsed Tauger on his “New Cold War: Ukraine and Beyond” website as “One of the world’s leading scholars on the development of agriculture in the Soviet Union”. So, you get the picture. If you are in the business of representing Ukraine as a victim of Stalinist or Putinist colonial brutality, Tauger is essential for turning that victim into a criminal.

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  1. A most challenging subject. Let us not fail to recognize the Big Obvious though. History is replete with examples of those who speculated or hoarded food or things of necessity during time of general want for whatever reasons. People who would see their neighbors die of starvation for their own profit. There was a lot of that going on in the Ukraine. Atsafaxjack. Organs of state power, or just angry local folks were prone to mete out some summary justice. Surely, they should. “Oh, gee we’ll just slink off to die in a ditch because we wouldn’t want to disturb your ‘property’ rights”

    Of course, Stalin handled this in his typical worst way. Let us all deplore the excesses of regimes in adversity. The Confiscation laws of the U.S. during the civil war were similarly abusive. Seizing slaves as property was clearly unfair to the southern kulaks.

    Comment by Robert McMaster — March 25, 2017 @ 12:20 am

  2. “Seizing slaves as property was clearly unfair to the southern kulaks.” Interesting how intellectually and ethically degraded you become once you sip from the poisoned Stalinist well.

    Comment by louisproyect — March 25, 2017 @ 12:22 am

  3. The social layers in the Ukraine of the times, and other places were waging war on the Soviet state. They based themselves on the property norms of the monarchist regime. They desired and acted to undermine and bring down Soviet rule using the weapons at their disposal which included immiseration and death of those who opposed them. In such an emergency, in a state of open war the Soviet government was as right to repress this lot just as the Union government was right to repress the slaveholders and their slavocracy. These whining crybabys sound like last ditch Confederates try to pretty up their rotten cause. The current mess in the Ukraine is a direct responsibility of those who make apologies for their historic crimes. Crimea river.

    Spend more time fighting Stalinism as a Trotskyist than you ever did.

    Comment by Robert McMaster — March 25, 2017 @ 10:14 am

  4. “They desired and acted to undermine and bring down Soviet rule using the weapons at their disposal which included immiseration and death of those who opposed them.”

    Soviet rule was democratic. When Stalin imposed forced collectivization, he was acting a despot. Everybody who opposed his measures had been silenced. In the 1927 opposition platform written by Trotsky, you can find an endorsement of Lenin’s 1924 “On Cooperation”. That document was suppressed and the authors expelled. Those rich peasants who had withheld grain from the workers had gotten rich because that’s what Stalin and Bukharin intended. Didn’t you read the quote about “enrich yourselves”? Don’t you know how to read? Maybe you should take a remedial reading class.

    Comment by louisproyect — March 25, 2017 @ 12:23 pm

  5. Mr. Proyect. Furr has made a response to this article, I was wondering if you planned on responding the Furr once again?

    Comment by Denying-History — May 4, 2017 @ 5:37 pm

  6. It was not worth responding to.

    Comment by louisproyect — May 4, 2017 @ 5:50 pm

  7. I agree, he ran for the hills going completely off topic.

    Comment by Denying-History — May 6, 2017 @ 5:06 am

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