Kirsch fails to delve into one crucial issue:
Why the American anti-communist left finally turned on Stalin.
When Stalin was killing up to 10 million people during the Great Famine caused by forced collectivization, the American Left didn't raise a fuss at all. Most of the killed were peasants, many of them barely literate.
After the Great Famine came the Moscow Trials and the Purge. Though many were killed, the number of victims were in the 100,000s than in the millions. Yet, this was when some on the American Left turned against Stalin. Not when Stalin was killing millions of Christian peasants but only when Stalin turned against fellow communists, some of whom were Jewish.
So, basically, the American anti-communist left was more disturbed by the persecution and killing of communist bigshots than by the mass killing of millions of innocent peasants.
Though the Moscow Trials were a farce, most of its victims had blood on their hands. They'd worked with Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin to banish all freedoms, destroy private property, suppress culture and send artists to prison, quell rebellions, carry out forced collectivization, set up vast prison systems, and use secret force to drag people away in the night.
So many Jewish communists collaborated with Stalin in bringing forth the Great Famine. But American Jews didn't shed a single tear for all those dead Slavic Christians, among whom Ukrainians alone numbered 4 million.
Most American Jewish leftists were fully behind Stalin when the mass-killings were happening. Even the exiled Trotsky fully supported forced collectivization and, if anything, whined that it didn't go far enough.
People like Wilson and Jewish leftists in America only began to have doubts about Stalin when he turned against other communists. They cared more about the persecution of communist intellectuals and cadres in the USSR than about the innocent dead--men, women, and children--among the Slavic peasant population.
Indeed, if there had only been the Great Famine but no Purge, most American Jewish leftists would have remained fervent Stalinists. Since when do Jews care about non-Jews? Jews at New Republic seem to feel no sympathy for Palestinians who were ethnically cleansed and forced to live in poverty and under horrible oppressive conditions.
So, who were the communist victims of Stalin? Morally, they were like the Nazi victims of Hitler during the Night of the Long Knives. Though they met sad fates, they'd done their share and more in constructing the totalitarian system that eventually devoured them. So, they were essentially victims of their own monstrosity.
Similarly, the victims of Mao's Cultural Revolution were Chinese communists who'd devoted their entire lives to working with Mao to set up a monstrous totalitarian system.
The real victims of Mao were the peasants during the Great Leap Forward. And the real victims of Stalin(and his Jewish communist henchmen) were the Christian Slav peasants who were ground to dust like the likes of Kaganovich and so many Jews who ran the Gulag.
But the likes of Kirsch, a Jew, would have us believe that the victims of Moscow Trials were tragic victims.
In truth, they were victims but of the very system that they'd helped construct. They deserve no more sympathy than the SA goons who were felled on the Night of the Long Knives.
But since many victims of the Purge were Jewish communists, the likes of Kirsch wanna make them out to be pure-as-snow victims of Stalin. Just as Hitler didn't carry out his horrors alone, Stalin had many collaborators. And many of the key collaborators who made Stalinism possible were Jews. And given Trotsky's total lack of sympathy for the victims of the Great Famine, he would have been no better than Stalin.
So, I will weep for the victims of the Great Famine. As for the victims of the Purge, they got their comeuppance for having worked with Stalin in the creation of a prison state that ground millions to dust.
But American leftists turned against Stalin ONLY WHEN he began to kill fellow communists.
Thanks, but it was disappointing for me to learn. Exile's Return is one fine book. How ugly were his politics from 1945 to his death in the late 80s?
The lure of the powerful, central State still exists, a cure all for all societal and political problems, the faith or religion that will not go away.
AS EDMUND WILSON SAID : "MARXISM IS THE OPIUM OF THE INTELLECTUALS." TO HAVE BEEN A STALINIST IN THOSE DAYS.... WHILE THE US STOOD BY AND WATCHED THE SPANISH REPUBLIC FAIL- WAS NO SMAL;L THING, BUT THE ANTI FASCISTS DID RESIST.
Whether Cowley actually joined the Party is a moot question. Many true believers maintained the illusion of independence while paying their dues religiously. Sidney Hook reports repeated recruiting attempts, contingent on his maintaining his public non-Stalinist position.
That Cowley could write: "I have no connection with any organization whatsoever in which there are Communist members.” Should indicate his relationship to truthfulness...
Intriguing, interesting, inspiring to contemplate! HOW does anyone have time to follow this stuff?
In reply to Wilson's letter about the Moscow show trials, Cowley argued that the best explanation for their confessions was that they were actually guilty: "I think that their confessions can be explained only on the hypothesis that most of them were guilty almost exactly as charged. With that guilt as a start, they could be made to confess still other things if that seemed desirable..." It doesn't seem to have entered his head that if the accused "could be made to confess" to crimes of which they weren't guilty, they might not be guilty of any of the crimes they were charged with.
Are things much different now in much of our news media, in our universities, in those who dominate our popular culture? Not of course support of international communism-- that's no longer viable. But a nearly-deranged envionmentalism, far out sexual vogues (57 "gender identies", we were told recently by Facebook we could picak any one. Communism was sensible in comparison.