This article originally appeared in The Greanville Post, of which the author is the founder and editor. He submitted this comment to Russia Insider for republishing
We have long maintained that the truth about the USSR, in general, and particularly the Stalin period, has long been the object of the most cynical, mean-spirited, and comprehensive propaganda effort ever seen in the annals of history.
For reasons of sheer class interest among the plutocrats of the West, the business elites that still rule most of the so-called “capitalist democracies,” the demonization of Stalin was a necessity, a campaign only briefly interrupted by World War Two and quickly resumed literally a few hours after its ending.
The Western elites —with the American ruling circles in the lead—correctly saw an enemy in Stalin. They could not bribe him and they could not intimidate him. Nor could they easily topple him, as they had done (and still do) countless times with weaker, “inconvenient leaders.” What’s more, Stalin was at the helm of a powerful nation and titular leader of an ideology directly opposed to their indispensable economic system. Occasional diplomacy aside, they hated him. He and his nation stood in the way of their plans for global hegemony. So the the venom had to flow and did—abundantly. And in that sordid enterprise the capitalist elites found countless allies, not to mention the usual battalions of ignorant, useful idiots.
As any propaganda student will attest, when vilifying a nation’s policies and social values, it’s far easier (and effective) if the propagandist aims the Big Lie machine at its leader. As we have seen in recent times with Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, Bashar al-Assad, Fidel Castro, Iran and North Korea’s leaders, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, and finally Putin—among many others (the empire is never lacking in “dangerous enemies”)—the character assassination of a leader is an old tactic to prepare the perennially benighted home population for an attack on the targeted nation.
From this perspective it’s not difficult to see that if the Ministry of Truth could swiftly complete the total demonization of Vladimir Putin—a figure in good standing merely 3 years ago—and not even an avowed socialist, one can only imagine what outrageous fabrications they could have concocted (and did) to cordon off the image of Stalin, an outspoken communist, over several decades. This made eminent sense to the West’s doctrinal gatekeepers. Given the identification of Stalin’s long rule with the Soviet Union at its most embattled, the blackening of Stalin’s name served an important purpose: it provided the Western propagandists an invaluable shorthand—an “irrefutable symbol” of communism’s putative evil—to block the very idea of genuine socialism as an option for humanity.
The preceding is obviously not to argue that Stalin was a flawless leader, or a saint who just happened to have a powerful army, or that he didn’t make some serious mistakes. He did. However, the most elementary fairness demands that we ask, which world historical figure confronted with enormously difficult choices emerges today (barring self-serving ideological propaganda) unscathed from close and impartial examination?
Judging Stalin by the context in which he had to act, and even more important, the purposes he served, he was arguably no worse, morally, than most Western leaders, and by any rational measure, probably a damn sight better. For who are these distinguished gentlemen who have led the West for over a century now?
Churchill, the most revered member in the club, was an unapologetic racist and imperialist who in the 1920s endorsed the policy of RAF bombing and gassing Iraqi villages (Mesopotamia) into submission, for for failure to pay their assigned tribute. JFK, Lyndon Johnson, and Nixon pursued an illegitimate, barbaric, genocidal war in Vietnam that remains one of the horrors of modern imperialism. Truman dropped the bomb on the Japanese as a way to keep the Soviets “in line,” making America so far the only nation to have used nuclear weapons on a civilian population. And during the postwar, the US tentacles, chiefly acting through the CIA and its clients, have managed to murder and repress tens of millions of people around the globe—in all latitudes and scores of nations, from the Philippines, to Indonesia to Chile, to Nicaragua, to Iran, the Congo, Korea, the entire Middle East, literally bathed in blood—always in pursuit of geostrategic advantage, and the suppression of popular democracy in order to better permit the continuation and maximization of corporate profit. So much for the inherent perfidy of communism and angelic innocence of capitalism.
The record is by now so huge and consistent, the hypocrisy so staggering, that we can state categorically there is not a single case in which America has used its immense diplomatic and military power to back a genuine democratic leader (such people are immediately branded “communists” and dealt accordingly) or assisted people struggling for freedom from class oppression. It’s a vile and hypocritical record that continues to this day, thanks to the complete brainwash to which the American population has been subjected as a measure of pre-emptive pacification. The whole thing is amply documented so there’s no point in even trying to refute it.
In any case, recovering the truth about Stalin and the USSR from the cesspool of hostile propaganda in which the enemies of socialism situated it, assisted by the perennially misguided and often fanatical anti-communist and especially anti-Stalinist leftists, is no task for the weakhearted.
That’s why we salute our colleagues at Russia Insider, and its editor, Charlie Bausman, in particular, for their decision to publish Grover Furr. Letting this scholar speak to a larger audience is a badly needed blow for truth —especially in the current context of reckless warmongering on Russia’s and China’s doorstep. The Big Lie must be defeated if a lasting peace is ever to be attained by humanity.
‘Deviance and morality’: The history of the same-sex marriage movement in Switzerland
The 56-year-old historian still recalls his run-ins with “suspicious” real estate agents in Switzerland, where police in some places were still keeping registers of homosexuals.
Three decades later, in a referendum on Sunday, the wealthy Alpine nation looks set to allow same-sex couples to marry, and grant them the same rights as their heterosexual counterparts.
“It is a huge step forward,” said Delessert, an expert on the history of homosexuality in Switzerland at Lausanne University.
The country decriminalised homosexuality in 1942, but numerous local and regional police forces continued to keep “gay registers”, some into the early 1990s.
These registers were aimed at “controlling deviance and morality”, Delessert explained, adding that they had dire impacts on the lives of those listed.
“If a supposed homosexual was convicted of theft, his homosexuality was submitted as additional proof of his immorality,” he said.
“If a homosexual applied to rent an apartment, he would not get it. If a homosexual wanted a job in the public sector, he would not get it.”
But the causes of the discrimination remained unsaid: the registers were never made public, and those listed there were never informed.
‘Difficult to comprehend’
Only Zurich and Basel publicly announced that they were scrapping the registers, in 1979 and 1980, Delessert said, voicing frustration that all the other registers had simply vanished.
He said he had managed to find handwritten notes on police documents where officers requested the creation of “files” on homosexuals arrested after committing an offence.
Delessert said he had also found testimony from a commissioner mentioning that around 200 homosexuals were registered in Zurich each year.
Zurich’s official records division told AFP that these registers had been kept for internal police use, and had been destroyed.
An account by a whistleblower published in the Swiss media in April 1990 first alerted the public to the existence of one of these registers, in Bern, with the outcry pushing authorities to halt the practice.
When contacted by AFP, Bern cantonal police said they had searched internally, but “were unable to find information about this register, which apparently existed.”
“At an ethical level, it is difficult to comprehend today.” While such statements are welcome, Delessert highlighted that “the political authorities have never apologised” for the practice.
Zombies and crying babies
But he hailed the political turnaround in recent years. A referendum early last year opted to criminalise acts of homophobia, and towards the end of the year, parliament voted to legalise same-sex marriage.
That law aimed to finally bring Switzerland in line with much of Europe on gay rights.
But opponents of the law demanded a referendum within the country’s direct democratic system, in a bid to block it.
Recent polls however show that a large majority of Swiss voters back changing the law.
Same-sex couples can already register a civil partnership in Switzerland, but that status does not provide the same rights as marriage.
Allowing same-sex marriage would fix that, enabling foreign spouses in same-sex relationships to apply for citizenship through a simplified procedure, and allowing same-sex couples to jointly adopt children.
And it would controversially give lesbian couples access to sperm donation.
The opponents, mainly drawn from the populist right-wing Swiss People’s Party, have plastered Swiss cities with stark posters decrying the commodification of children and warning the law will “kill the father”.
One of their posters shows a crying baby with its ear tagged like cattle, and the question: “Babies on demand?”
Another featuring a huge zombie-like head, meant to represent a dead father, was covered over by a nearby primary school in Wallis canton out of fear it would frighten the children.
Simon Harris and wife welcome new baby boy
Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris has announced the birth of a baby son.
Posting on Instagram, the Minister said he and his wife Caoimhe had on Wednesday “welcomed Baby Cillian into the world”. Cillian is the couple’s second child, they also have a daughter Saoirse.
“Caoimhe and baby doing great and Saoirse delighted to be a big sister and looking forward to meeting him soon.”
Mr Harris thanked all of the staff at the National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street, Dublin.
The Fine Gael TD said he will be taking paternity leave for a few weeks to “get to know this new little man”.
In a previous post he said Tánaiste Leo Varadkar would be taking any of his department’s business to Government during the time while Minister of State Niall Collins would be carrying out his day-to-day work in the department and Labour leader Alan Kelly would be providing a pair for Dáil votes.
Macron presses Biden for ‘clarifications’ over submarine snub
Macron was left furious by Australia’s decision last week to ditch a 2016 deal to buy diesel submarines from France in favour of nuclear-powered ones from the United States and Britain.
After a cabinet meeting, government spokesman Gabriel Attal made clear French anger had not abated with an unusually frank statement of Macron’s expectations from the scheduled conversation with 78-year-old Biden.
The exchange would be an opportunity to “clarify both the way in which this announcement was made and the way for an American re-engagement in its relationship with an ally,” Attal said.
Paris was particularly outraged that Australia negotiated with Washington and London in secret, which French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian denounced as “treachery” and a “stab in the back”.
French officials were notified about the loss of the contract just hours before Biden unveiled the new AUKUS security and defence partnership between the three English-speaking countries.
Macron was expecting “clarifications about the American decision to keep a European ally outside of fundamental talks about cooperation in the Indo-Pacific,” Attal added, without giving the schedule time for the exchange.
“We expect our allies to acknowledge that the exchanges and consultations that should have taken place did not, and that this poses a question about confidence, which all of us need to draw conclusions about now.”
The submarine row has plunged Franco-US ties into what some analysts view as the most acute crisis since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, which Paris opposed.
After four years of tumultuous relations with ex-president Donald Trump, the spat has also dashed hopes of a complete reset under Biden, who took office in January aiming to rebuild frazzled ties with Europe.
As the row drags on, observers and some of France’s European partners are wondering how and when the French leader will call an end to the face-off, which is playing out just seven months ahead of presidential elections.
British Prime Minister Johnson said it was “time for some of our dearest friends around the world to ‘prenez un grip’ (get a grip)” in comments in Washington that mixed French and English.
“‘Donnez-moi un break’ because this is fundamentally a great step forward for global security,” he told Sky News.
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, whose country is staunchly pro-American, defended Biden as “very loyal” and warned against turning “challenges which will always exist between allies into something they should not be.”
Attal said that France and the US needed to begin a process “to create the conditions for confidence to be restored”.
As well as an acknowledgement of French interests in the Pacific region, the process should include “full recognition by our American allies of the need to boost European sovereignty as well as the importance of the growing commitment by the Europeans to their own defence and security.”
This latter point is a source of tension between Biden and Macron, who has pushed hard during his four-and-a-half years in office for Europeans to invest more in defence and pool resources in order to increase their joint military capabilities.
The US, and some EU members including Denmark and Baltic countries, see this as a potential challenge to NATO, the US-led transatlantic military alliance that has been the cornerstone of European defence since World War II.
French Defence Minister Florence Parly argued against the idea of France withdrawing from NATO command structures, which some politicians in France have suggested in the wake of the submarines snub.
“Is it worth slamming the door on NATO? I don’t think so,” she said, while adding that “political dialogue is non-existent in NATO.”
Australia’s decision to order nuclear-powered submarines was driven by concern about China’s commercial and military assertiveness in the Pacific region, where Biden is seeking to build an alliance of democratic states to help contain Beijing.
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