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International students send aid to Donbass, oppose Kiev and U.S.-backed war

This article was originally published on Fightback!news on 31 December 2014. See also: Feeling of 'solid Western support' behind Kiev's renewed assault on Donbass on RT. For more news on the fight by the people of of Donbass against the Kiev regime, read other Fightback! articles on Ukraine or visit the #Donbass Twitter page. Article also includes 2 embedded videos: Ukraine: Helping rebuild homes (7/1/15) (2:57) and Donbass under fire: Separatists (27/12/14) (58:12)

After the U.S.-backed fascist coup in Kiev, Ukraine in February 2014, the people of Donbass rebelled for independence from Ukraine. A popular anti-fascist resistance quickly emerged. The breakaway state of Novorossiya, or New Russia, was formed and Kiev sent in troops and tanks to crush the people's resistance. Civil war gripped the country. Now, almost a year later, while the resistance soldiers on, a humanitarian disaster perpetuated by the Kiev government's war of aggression has struck the citizens of Donbass.

International Students Aid to Donbass, based in Wroclaw, Poland, is one of many aid groups springing up across the world in solidarity with the ongoing resistance and the victimized people of Eastern Ukraine.

Sanela Bajrasambasic, ICRC (Red
Cross) delegate appeals for aid to
help Donbass residents rebuild
homes bombed by Kiev regime
(see embedded video)

Fight Back! interviewed one of the founders of International Students Aid to Donbass (ISAD), who wished to remain anonymous.

Fight Back!: Can you explain about the student organization generally?

ISAD student: Sure. The idea for creating a solidarity with Donbass group which could coordinate humanitarian assistance emerged in October when a handful of international students in Wroclaw some of whom had been activists back in their home countries, wanted to find a way to aid the people of Donbass, who are truly in a miserable situation. We felt like we could no longer sit back and watch as innocent people in Novorossiya starved and died of sickness. Some of us were especially passionate about the situation in Ukraine and we racked our brains until we decided that sending such necessities as food, medicine and clothing could be the best way we could help and draw in other students. The idea of a humanitarian aid organization seemed like a perfect way to express our solidarity with the war-struck people of Novorossiya with the limited resources and capacity we had. So, we sat down, discussed our ideas, and International Students Aid to Donbass was born in early November. We contacted Russian NGOs that handle humanitarian assistance and set up a collection point in cooperation with them. However, we're still our own independent group; we see working with them as one of the greatest opportunities available.

Fight Back!: Are you able to tell a bit about the make-up of International Students Aid to Donbass? Obviously, the name indicates that the membership is multinational.

ISAD student: Being a group primarily composed of international students, our group truly is diverse. We have people from the U.S., Poland, and various European countries. Our group can communicate in more than half a dozen languages. ISAD is also diverse in more ways than just our national make-up. We all come from a broad range of backgrounds and political persuasions. Our group includes communists, Eurasianists and students who simply hate war and the pain it brings anywhere, and want to help alleviate the pain of the men, women and children who are enduring it. Some of us are passionate supporters of Novorossiya and the resistance, while others simply sympathize with the ordinary people who are suffering. As a humanitarian organization, we have no strict political line. The thing that fundamentally unites all of us is the fact that we are saving people's lives by delivering desperately needed goods to the people that need them most. This simple yet important mission has grown our numbers in the short time that we've been active and continues to motivate our work.

Fight Back!: Are there any security issues, seeing as you're operating in a country which, on a state level, supports the fascist government in Kiev? How does the political situation in Poland affect the work of the organization?

ISAD student: Absolutely. Security is a serious problem that we have to carefully deal with. Our members have faced verbal and physical threats and hostilities from Ukrainian nationalists in Poland. A significant number of Ukrainians now have easy access to visas, even free ones, to come work and study here. Some Ukrainian nationalists come here on visas because they don't actually want to fight in the war, and find plenty of space here, without consequences or obligations, to howl about how patriotic they are and threaten those who disagree. Because of security issues stemming from such people and the fact that the Polish state supports the Kiev junta, we keep even our social media private and, unfortunately, can't publicly list our aid point. Speaking of the general political situation in Poland, politicians here love to fan the flames of Russophobia in order to distract people from the real issues they face domestically. Additionally, Poland acts as the war hawk within NATO, so tensions here are always virulently anti-Russia, anti-Donbass, and the propaganda in the media is ridiculously overbearing. Between state-sanctioned Russophobia and aggressive Ukrainian "activists," we have to consciously, always and everywhere, pay paramount attention to security.

Fight Back!: What exactly does your day-to-day work look like?

ISAD student: Our work is simple. We pool together our money, time and energy and go on weekly shopping trips for food, medicine and clothing which we can ship monthly to Donbass. The important thing to remember is that we are students. We're operating on student budgets with student schedules, but we do the best we can with our resources. We all sacrifice our own money and time, but we all feel gratified by the humanitarian work we're doing. We also try to spread awareness of the situation in Ukraine, but the political situation renders that secondary to practical work.

Fight Back!: Do you have any future plans for expanding your work?

ISAD student: In the next few months, our main plan is to find new people to work with. As far as I know, we are one of the only, if not then the only such organization of its kind actively working in Poland, and especially Wroclaw. Before we started, we looked around for other such groups, but found none. In addition to continuing our work with our existing contacts, we're going to contact other humanitarian organizations, particularly those that specifically deliver assistance to children in Donbass. Of course, our capacity is limited, but finding more students and people in Poland, and indeed the world, who are interested in participating will only increase our determination and ability to carry out our mission to save Donbass people.

Fight Back!: Is there anything you'd like to say to supporters and sympathizers in the West, particularly progressives in the U.S.?

ISAD student: I think the most important thing is that this model of organization is universally applicable. Any number of people anywhere can get together and open an aid point. A little work goes a long way. Even if you only have one or two people and can only get a few food items, some over-the-counter medicine and used clothing, such things mean the world to people in Donbass whose only lifeline is international humanitarian assistance. Especially in the West and in the U.S., where the propaganda is so strong and labels the ordinary people of Donbass "pro-Russian terrorists," humanitarian aid work is important to exposing the lies, and most people can find it agreeable despite their political convictions. At the end of the day, we're saving people from a war being senselessly waged against them by some of the most powerful countries of the world in an imperialist geopolitical bid to weaken Russia and snatch Ukraine for the Western camp. The people stuck between the fighting need our help. Support from progressives benefits both the people of Donbass and the struggle against war and propaganda in the heart of the West itself. We encourage anyone interested to get involved and, of course, we're happy to help with logistics and share our experience.

International Students Aid to Donbass can be contacted at polskidonbasu [ AT ]

Appendix 1: Red Cross appeals for help to rebuild homes in Donbass (2:57)

Appendix 2: Donbass under fire: Separatists(58:12)

Image icon SanelaBajrambasic_7jan15.png322.21 KB


The following was posted to the Monday Message Board of

The action by Polish students is particularly brave, given that:

1. The Polish Government is supporting the Kiev regime in its war against Russian speakers in the East with military 'advisors'.

2. There are large numbers of Ukrainian emigres within Poland, many of whom support the neo-Nazi anti-Semitic regime in Kiev.

Poland, in terms of the proportion of the pre-war population who died in the Second World War, suffered even more than the Soviet Union. That the Polish Government is supporting a government, which worships Ukrainians who collaborated with the Nazi invaders, is one of the bizarre paradoxes of geopolitics in 2014. Another is that those Ukrainian collaborators, worshipped by the Ukrainian government of today, assisted the Nazi occupiers in their "ethnic cleansing" of Poles within Ukraine.

The following was posted to a discussion on

On January 21st, 2015 at 20:18 J-D asked:

How are Ukrainian collaborators with the Nazis worshipped by today’s Ukrainian government?

There is a vast amount of documentary evidence, including photographs and videos, which shows that those who came to power as a result of the CIA-instigates coup of 21 February 2014, openly endorsed the legacy of wartime Ukrainians who collaborated with the Nazi German invaders.

One article, republished on my web-site,, and first published on Global Research, is Moment of Truth: "Fascism As It Is" in Ukraine (30 Jun 2014).

Another, also previously published on Global Research, is New York Times discovers Kiev's Neo-Nazis at war in Eastern Ukraine.

Articles about Ukranian Nazis, from the Russian news service RT, include Russia slams Ukraine's UN envoy for publicly justifying Nazi collaborators (4 Mar 2014) and Ukrainian neo-Nazism threatens to spread across Europe – Russian diplomat.

I recommend people read up on the history of Ukraine, so they understand that this isn't the simply 'black and white' issue that many people think it is.

Odd though, that so many anti-fascists seem to have no issue with those who sympathise with Communism, which killed even more people!

DennisK wrote: "[Communism] killed even more people [than fascism]".

Could you show us what the figures are and where you got them from?

If you had read a little more history, you would know that a large number of people who labeled themselves "communists" in the early 20th century, including the Central Committee of the Russian Bolshevik Party, which led the revolution in 1917, did not consider Stalin, who was to commit nearly all of the crimes wrongly attributed to 'communism', a 'communist'.

By 1939, only Stalin, Trotsky and one other person, who was a member of the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party was still alive and not imprisoned. Trotsky, then in exile, was to be murdered by one of Stalin's agents in 1940.

During the great purges of the late 1930s, 70% of the senior officer corps of the Red Army, including Mikhail Tukhachevsky, the commander in chief of the Red Army, were murdered after secret trials. Stalin murdered them because he feared they might have a residual loyalty to their old commander-in-chief, Leon Trotsky.

The decapitation of the Red Army prior to the Second World War is the principle reason the Red Army suffered such a terrible death toll during that conflict. Those losses were of the order of at least 10 million in addition to many millions of Soviet civilians who perished. Had it not been for Stalin, the war would have been over much more quickly at a cost of vastly fewer lives lost and much less material destruction in both the east and the west.

The myth that Stalinist tyranny is 'communism' has been used to justify the misrule and of those responsible for nearly all of the appalling bloodshed in the 20th and 21st centuries.

The following is a post which seems to have demolished a claim by forum contributors that communism was tyranny and a threat to humanity. Nobody responded to that post and the discussion is now closed.

Feel welcome to resume that discusion in this forum.

Another myth is that Stalinist tyranny, mislabeled 'communism', killed more than fascism, including German Nazism.

For all the terrible crimes of Stalin, his crimes were only a fraction as monstrous as those committed by Hitler against Poland, Yugoslavia, Greece, Russia, the Jews and Romanis and far less than what Hitler had planned should he have won the war.

The Russian Revolution isolated: Humanity loses its best chance to stop Nazism and the Second World War

This is republished from a post of 28/4/2012 to the forum discussion site

Alan wrote:

Those Trostkyists tend to promote a good Lenin, evil Stalin theory of history that ignores Lenin's own conduct as head of the Soviet government.

At least acknowledge that as as Lenin lay in bed mortally ill in 1923, he instructed Trotsky to remove Stalin from the post of Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. This is substantiated in many works including "Lenin's Last Struggle" of 1968 by Moshe Lewin and "The Prophet Armed" of 1954 by Isaac Deutscher, the first of his three volume trilogy on the life of Leon Trotsky. Had Trotsky acted on Lenin's instructions instead of largely sitting on his hands until 1927 (also documented by Deutscher) history would have turned out very differently.

Much of the terrible destruction and bloodshed that occurred through the remainder of the 20th century and the early 21st century:

Purges of both left and right wing opponents of Stalin, the bloody defeat of Chinese Communism in 1927, Nazi triumph in Germany in 1933, the triumph of Franco in Spain, the Second World War in which possibly as many as 70 million may have died, The Korean War in which 3 million North Koreans died, The Vietnam War in which as many as 5 million may have died, the murder of half a million communists by Suharto in 1965, the invasion of East Timor, the invasion of Yugoslavia, the invasions of Iraq in 1991 which may have killed as many as 2 million, the invasion on Libya in 2011, ...

... may have been avoided.

As others pointed out, Lenin was faced with a savage civil war and an invasion by the troops over ten foreign nations, including Australia.

So is it fair to damn Lenin for having resorted to harsh measures to keep his government in power, especially given what his opponents, many professing to be for democracy, both outside the Soviet Union and within, have 'achieved' since his death?

Personally I think Marxism is a flawed philosophy (see Robert Heilbroner's "The Worldly Philosophers" of 1953), but in spite of that I think the Russian Revolution of 1917 presented humanity with its best opportunity to date to establish a workable and humane global society.

Sadly, that opportunity was lost.

There are Many resources available, which try and estimate the death toll. The thing is, people lost count.

When I attended Socialist Alternative meetings I heard this same argument. That it wasn't Communism, it was 'something else', and therefore each and every place where Communism was tried that turned into a basket case couldn't be used to judge the ideology. You see, its only Communism if it matches exactly what the perfect system is supposed to be, as they define it, of course.

No sane adult can hear that and take this line as anything other than a punchline of a bad joke.

If the Russians laughed at Marxism in the beginning, the tragedy could have been avoided.

I suppose one could then argue that the problems of Capitalism are NOT due to Capitalism, as no true Capitalism country which implements Capitalist ideals perfectly exists. It is technically true. This is what Libertarians argue, that the failures of laissez fair capitalism and self-regulation are not failtures of the ideology, because they ideology was not applied PERFECTLY. Any deviation from total implementation allows them to wash their hands. We see the same with Islam.

Likewise, Fascism and National Socialism could absolve themselves of any wrongdoing, using the same argument.

I've met many real Socialists (they call themselves Socialists, but in private refer to themselves as Communists. "Socialism" is just a ruse for the public). They are (in private) just as statist, and just as willing to subdue and do 'what is necessary' to implement the theoretical vision. They sucker Palestinians into rallies "supporting their cause", when in reality their goal is not Palestinian statehood, but to deconstruct Palestine nationality. This is Leninism, entryism.

I recommend you read "The Gulag Archipelago" to see how this system really was. I've worked and met people who escaped (not emigrated, literally jailbreaked) these countries. A former neighbour had to evade a machine gun placement to cross the border. You see, Communist countries have to use violence to keep people IN. The border between Communist Eastern European nations and the West was guarded with machine guns, not to keep people out, but keep them in. The Berlin was was built to keep people IN.

Why would they build it otherwise? Why does a country which isn't that bad, need machineguns and walls to keep people IN? They were prison countries.

It's worked NOWHERE. Marxism is silly, not flawed, silly and evil.

The Communists had their reasons. Anyone against Communism was against the Peace and Brotherhood of Man, and obviously insane. Communism literally treated objections as a mental illness. I posed an article a few days ago, highlighting how this thinking is taking root here.

Communism, as defined by the "Socialist" advocates of today, involves the deconstruction of nations and of the family. "Socialists" today plan for a future where children are raised apart from their family, communally by the state so they won't even know who their family are. Everyone belongs to the state, works for the state. As the state argues that is is the democracy of the proletariat, it claims to have the right to dictate human affairs, at every detail, for everyones own good, of course.

In no way is Communism desirable, even if it COULD work. It is a system for ants, for sheeple, for a humanity degraded to mere cogs. It outdoes Capitalism ten fold in degrading people down to 'human capital'.

Good riddance to it. It wasn't just Stalin. Trotsky and Lenin were brutal and their ideas, which they forced were deadly. Mao Zedong killed people on a scale that is a multiple of Hitler. Pol Pot killed a large percentage of his country. Deaths directly attributed to a political ideology, applied by force and protected from questioning. Some of the causes of mass death seem downright absurd, darkly comical even.

The response to this post is here. - Ed

republished from #Donbass twitter page

Prime Minister and head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DNR/DPR) Alexander Zakharchenko stated Kiev had taken the DNR forces' "kindness for weakness" and warned Kiev that he had no fear of their forces because the army "cannot fight, and cannot defend themselves" at a press conference in Donetsk, Thursday.


You have not responded to even one of the arguments I put in my previous post. Until you do so, I don't see why I should feel obligated to take you seriously.

Presumably, given that communism has killed "between 85 and 100 million", according to that Wikipedia article, surely you must think it would have been preferable for Hitler have won the Second World War and to have succeeded in ridding the world of communism?

Much of the death toll of up to 100 million, allegedly caused by communism, supposedly occurred in China, where the article claims that "at least 45 million" died 1 in the Chinese "Great Leap Forward" of 1958-1961 and "between 750,000 and 1.5 million people" were alleged to have died in the Cultural Revolution of 1966-1976.

Whilst I was aware of these claims, I have not been able to find out whether or not they were true. Nonetheless, these claims can only be properly evaluated within their proper historical context. The Wikipedia article fails to do this.

The Chinese Communist Party Came to power in 1949 after years of bloody war against both the invading Japanese and the brutal regime of Chiang Kai Shek. Chiang Kai Shek and his armies fled to Taiwan in 1949 and brutally crushed an uprising of native Taiwanese.

Almost immediately after the civil war ended, the Chinese were faced with a war of aggression by the United States and its allies against neighbouring 'North' Korea. In that war 3 million out of a total of 23 million Koreans died. Most of those who died were from North Korea or were their supporters in the South. Whilst the article claims "Mass killings have also occurred in ... North Korea," no mention is made of the war against Korea or the brutal repression of Koreans, from 1945 until 1950, by the South Korean regime of former Japanese collaborators.

Also Stalin failed to give the aid that China desperately needed both to rebuild its economy and to defend itself. This was formalised by Nikita Khruschev when he announced the Sino-Soviet split in 1956. From that year until Gough Whitlam and US President Nixon visited Beijing, China was extremely isolated and vulnerable.

Most probably, extreme measures were adopted by the Chinese government to deal with these circumstances. Whether or not it resorted to deliberate starvation and mass murder as you claim, I am not yet able to say.

The section on the Russian Red Terror states:

During the Russian Civil War, both sides (my emphasis) unleashed terror campaigns (the Red and White Terrors). The Red Terror culminated in the summary execution of tens of thousands of "enemies of the people" by the political police, the Cheka. Many victims were 'bourgeois hostages' rounded up and held in readiness for summary execution in reprisal for any alleged counter-revolutionary provocation. Many were put to death during and after the suppression of revolts, such as the Kronstadt rebellion and the Tambov Rebellion. Professor Donald Rayfield claims that "the repression that followed the rebellions in Kronstadt and Tambov alone resulted in tens of thousands of executions." A large number of Orthodox clergymen were also killed.


Note that the numbers claimed to have been killed here are quite small in comparison to the other vast slaughters that occurred in the same era.

Given that those whom the Bolsheviks were defending Russia against had just gotten Russia and the rest of Europe embroiled in the First World War that had needlessly caused the death of ten million combatants and eight million civilians, (and were to do the same, on an even more terrible scale, barely 20 years later) it would have been folly for the Bolsheviks not to have resorted to whatever measures they judged necessary to keep those forces from resuming power in Russia.


1The link at to the source for this this claim by the Wikipedia article is broken, by the way. - Ed, (26/1/15)

Presumably, given that communism has killed "between 85 and 100 million", according to that Wikipedia article, surely you must think it would have been preferable for Hitler have won the Second World War and to have succeeded in ridding the world of communism?

That is not the argument I have been making. Such matters are subjective anyway and it is presumptuous to think there is a universal answer to that question. Sometimes its a choice between two devils.

Everyone agrees that Nazism is evil, but it seems there is still 'love' for Marxist Communism. This is presumably because there are many academics and intellectuals, who actually get paid to talk and write about this, as if it still were some viable political option.

I argue this isn't due to the merits of the systems, but merely who took power over who, and who won a war over who.

If you had read a little more history, you would know that a large number of people who labeled themselves "communists" in the early 20th century, including the Central Committee of the Russian Bolshevik Party, which led the revolution in 1917, did not consider Stalin, who was to commit nearly all of the crimes wrongly attributed to 'communism', a 'communist'.

Politically speaking, this statement doesn't say anything. It applies to ALL political and religious ideologies. In all of them, there are some who claim to be the "one true faith" and denounce the others as not the true faith.

All that is being said here, is that some who claim to be communists think the other variants are. The exact same argument can be made about Islam, Christianity, National Socialism, Fascism, Libertarianism, Environmentalism, etc, etc etc. You just choose one group of self proclaimed Communists who claim the rivals aren't, and treat this as empirical truth.

I could say that the Catholics say they are the one true faith, so ergo, Eastern Orthodox Christians aren't really Christian. I could say that Sunni's claim the Shiites are wrong, therefore Shia Islam isn't true Islam.

Can you see where this leads?

Much of the death toll of up to 100 million, allegedly caused by communism, supposedly occurred in China, where the article claims that "at least 45 million" died 1 in the Chinese "Great Leap Forward" of 1958-1961 and "between 750,000 and 1.5 million people" were alleged to have died in the Cultural Revolution of 1966-1976.

How Mao Zedong killed 45 million people in four years.

Here is some of the absurdities

Policy failure of the "Great Leap Forward"

Famine by government policy. Marxist government at work.

The famines, the loss of food, the decline in living standards were the result of Marxist economic theory. In an attempt to have intellectuals and beaurocrats control the ENTIRE economy, the system failed and was not able to meet the needs of the people. "Intellectuals" as it turns out, cannot command an economy. Marx's theory of labour was bunk and ignoring markets completely was a disaster.

These were Marx's theories, more or less put into practice. The states which put it into practice, use repression and death to prevent criticism.

Eventually, when Eastern Europeans just had enough freedom to question and discuss it, Communism fell apart.

The question is, does brutally enforcing a system which is leading to death count as murder or not?

I argue it does. I argue that if you are doing something that is resulting in death, famine, dispossession and so forth, you are responsible. No amount of "idealism" and "do goodery" exonerates you from the RESULTS.

There is the main point of difference between me and those who think Communism needs a look in.

Im a consequentialists. It is only the consequences, the actual physical results which in the end matter, not 'ideals', 'intentions'. Impersonal, non-idealistic, perhaps even somewhat cold systems which nevertheless still produce food, give people a dignified life, are better than those which result in impovershment, even if they are done with 'noble' intentions.

Much of the terrible destruction and bloodshed that occurred through the remainder of the 20th century and the early 21st century:
... may have been avoided.

Nietzsche predicted massive wars due to ideology, due to the cultural/spiritual shift and the rise of ideology based politics. I think this analysis is close. It perhaps was inevitable that major ideologies would fight.

Political ideology is somewhat new. Politically speaking, there weren't all encompassing grand ideologies prior to the French revolution. Not saying there were none, but they are less prominent. In the 19th and 20th century, ideology became more paramount, a proxy for religion.

Personally I think Marxism is a flawed philosophy (see Robert Heilbroner's "The Worldly Philosophers" of 1953), but in spite of that I think the Russian Revolution of 1917 presented humanity with its best opportunity to date to establish a workable and humane global society.

I disagree. And there is the problem.

Once someone subscribes to an 'ideology' to fix problems, it then becomes an immediate problem when not everyone wants it. You then have 'one true' ideology which saves the world, and when the future of humanity is at stake, then there is no limit to what oppression is justified to implement the system. After all, your opponents are not just rivals, they are threatening the very future of a free and prosperous humanity!

This is the danger of 'ideological' thinking. Once you start, it inevitably pushes towards totalitarianism and suffering. Once you start, it inevitably pushes one to thinking that force is necessary, that it must be universal.

I can't put it better than Peter Mlakar, who lived through Communism. Eastern Europeans know what it is about.
I tell you this: the worst government is always the most moral one. But when fanatics are on top, there is no limit to oppression. Morality, which is based on ideal, is unmitigated evil. - Peter Mlakar

This is maybe a non-sequiteur, but personally I think that communism is the response to capitalism. Historically Engels and Marx were responding to the rise of industrial capitalism. Both big system political ideologies about organising land ownership, labour and commutation. Both were and are resisted by 'relocalisation' or 'anarchism'. One hardly dares utter the word 'anarchism' because it was given the same bad reputation as 'terrorism' by prevailing powers.

There was also historically an idea of local communities as 'communism', which the French Revolution to some extent brought about and which Napoleon codified quite successfully in a delegating hierarchy.

I know you have a new article to post, Dennis, but what would you suggest we do in the face of global savage capitalism? Given you do perceive we have some big problems.

This is maybe a non-sequiteur, but personally I think that communism is the response to capitalism.

I think the point is quite important. Communism was the implementation of Victorian Era economic theory, in response to the conditions of Capitalism at the time. The Tsars were also a major factor. Fascism was also a response to Communism. Modern Liberalism is a response to Fascism. The new politics emerging is a response to Modern Liberalism, and so it goes.

I don't think that Communism is an accurate reflection of historical communities. I note that Free Market Libertarians make the exact same argument, that somehow their system is more 'natural' and was the primeval state of human economics.

Communism (according to those who seek to implement it today), consists of children being raised by the state, the loss of any private property, the destruction of religious, national, ethnic and familial identities. Communism seems to aim to make human beings even more a tool of an economic system than Capitalism does. The devil is in the details. Sure, it's for 'equality', 'brotherhood', and so forth, but any ideology implemented with lofty moral goals, always ends up going sour.

Both Communism and modern day Capitalism see human beings, societies, countries as being objects based around an economy. Just as Communism called for social change, assimilation and removal of human identity and barriers for 'economic' reasons, so to does Capitalism, which calls for things like nations to destroy their identity for the sake of 'growth'. Instead of Goldman Sachs calling for European nations to implement population policies to eradicate the existing demographic status, you'll have beaurocrats and intellectuals deciding what should happen.

I get why people want to move away from a system which views human identity as an obstacle to arbitrary economic ideals which in practice only benefit a few, but in practice, Communism ends up being the same.

My take on the problem of Capitalism, is it's a power problem. A few people are calling the shots, and the state and economy is turning into an autocracy. The EU takes power away from nations to decide their fate, and puts it in the hands of unelected technocrats. Here in Australia, we put more and more decision making into 'experts' and 'leaders'. The media pushes the message that we must let people like Matthew Guy make the decisions, because we can't. This actually goes against the idea of the market economy, because they are going against what the market, ie, the people actually want. The trend seems to be "we need to control things, because its getting to 'complex' for us to allow you". That division, that there is a 'ruling' class which 'knows' what to do and should be entrusted with decisions is the problem. The solution is to reaffirm, and retake ownership over of communities, state and nation. Where the people can say, set immigration policy, instead of a few people doing it because they are 'business leaders' or somehow more authorised. The solution is kind of waiting, but it needs people to have the will to come alive.

I see it more as a power problem (ie, billionaires and entrenched political classes have power). We need to shift power away from those who have it, but I'm sceptical of the need to then completely replace or socio-economic system with one thought up by people who have never actually don't productive work.

I wrote:

If you had read a little more history, you would know that a large number of people who labeled themselves "communists" in the early 20th century, including the Central Committee of the Russian Bolshevik Party, which led the revolution in 1917, did not consider Stalin, who was to commit nearly all of the crimes wrongly attributed to 'communism', a 'communist'.

... then DennisK wrote:

Politically speaking, this statement doesn't say anything. It applies to ALL political and religious ideologies. In all of them, there are some who claim to be the "one true faith" and denounce the others as not the true faith.

Our readers deserve better than this apparent attempt to trivialise such a gravely serious historical issue.

On 4 August 1914, the members of one "political and religious ideology", including its adherents who were running the Australian government at the time (see "Hell-Bent – Australia's leap into the Great War" (2014) by Douglas Newton), decided to start a bloody war that was to last over 4 years and cost the lives of 10 million combatants and 8 million civilians. Members of another "political and religious ideology," who had twice before – in 1911 and 1912 – prevented war, also tried to prevent that war breaking out, but, sadly, failed.

'Adherents' to the latter "political and religious ideology" included Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky in Russia and Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht in Germany. The latter two were murdered in January 1919 after they had participated a in failed revolt against those adherents to the other "political and religious ideology" which had led Germany into the First World War. They were killed by German FreiKorps mercenaries, many of whom were to form the core of Hitler's Nazi Party, which was to start another even more bloody and terrible war barely 20 years later.

Of the 21 members and 10 candidate members of the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party of Russia in 1917, only Stalin, Trotsky, and two others were still left alive or not imprisoned by 1939. The then exiled Trotsky was to be murdered on Stalin's orders in August 1940.

The people who led the first successful Communist Revolution in 1917 were not the same as those who committed the crimes which occurred under Stalin's rule. Had they lived and still been in control of the Soviet Union, there is every reason to expect that those crimes would not have occurred. They certainly don't deserve to be held culpable for Stalin's crimes.

The people who led the first successful Communist Revolution in 1917 were not the same as those who committed the crimes which occurred under Stalin's rule.


Had they lived and still been in control of the Soviet Union, there is every reason to expect that those crimes would not have occurred. They certainly don't deserve to be held culpable for Stalin's crimes.

Even Lenin started labour camps. The repression began before Stalin. Stalin just amplified it. But what about China? Cambodia? North Korea? Why is there a pattern in which countries which try Communism end up becoming prisons?

I think the argument that these crimes wouldn't have occurred is not based on historical precedent. We can see that the application of Communism has, multiple times, resulted in despotism, and millions dead. There are no successful cases, ones that we would want to move to.

One can argue that each case was due to specific circumstances, which had nothing to do with Communism, and it just is happenstance that ALL Communist countries end up like prisons. Or we can see that there is a trend, try to understand it and see if there is a simpler explanation.

I argue that if one is to advocate a system which has, in the past led to repression, political killings, starvation, then you would have to be absolutely sure, that those failures are NOT related to the system, and are just coincidences.

When you implement ideas, you don't usually just get the result you SAY will happen. When theory meets practice, it is often a turbulent collision and theory begins to lose out. People who subscribe to an ideology, can't accept that it doesn't produce the results they say it does. They then blame, not themselves, but those who they claim are anti-revolutionary, or who don't produce the result they say it should. Free Market Libertarians go into the SAME mode each time deregulation, self-regulation and letting the financial sector 'be free' fails. It's not the idea, its the fault of person X and Y. It's not the system, its the person fault. Its Mr X, Politician Y. It was Greenspan. Their THEORY says people are rational all the time, and people are rational, individual economic agents who can make correct market decisions.

Socialism couldn't, cant, survive implementation. It made assumptions about human nature which weren't true. It had economic theories that were just wrong. How can a system based on false assumptions work in practice?

We can see corollaries today, with our 'growth driven' system. It in theory, says that growth is good, limitless and endless. But in practice, this is simply not possible. So who's to blame when it fails? Why, those who point it out! The 'xenophobes' who don't want industrial strength immigration, the environmentalists, the scientists warning about Climate Change. These people MUST be sabotaging our system! Those who want to maintain decent living standards, well, they must be WRONG! How dare they argue for things which might 'slow growth'!

So I'm arguing that making a country Communist would lead to tyrants and despots taking power. The system would immediately conflict with human nature, and it would either 1) fail when people were free to think and question, which is what killed Communism in Eastern Europe, or 2) 'succeed' because the necessary action was put into place to deal with opponents, to make the centrally planned economy produce, and make the Communist state structure survive economic failures. Communism would either fail, or result in harsher and harsher measures. The party structure would see that highly motivated power hungry people are the ones who gain power.

DennisK wrote:

Even Lenin started labour camps.

I note that you have not cited sources to verify this claim about 'labour camps'. In any case, I already explained above why I thought it was necessary for Lenin to resort to harsh measures, just possibly including 'labour camps', to defend his government in the middle of a savage civil war. In that post I cited another post to another forum made nearly three years ago:

As others pointed out, Lenin was faced with a savage civil war and an invasion by the troops from over ten foreign nations, including Australia.

So is it fair to damn Lenin for having resorted to harsh measures to keep his government in power, especially given what his opponents, many professing to be for democracy, both outside the Soviet Union and within, have 'achieved' since his death?

No-one has bothered to attempt to refute that argument, there or here.

I will address the remainder of DennisK's fallacies, omissions, inconsistencies and baseless assertions on another occasion.

The only thing that matters in this world, is what actually happens.

Communism each time it is applied, turns ugly. Where has it resulted in a workers paradise?

Socialists and Marxists talk blue in the face about theory, about what ifs, about how it "should have worked". They have reasons why for it didn't work here, and didn't work there. Should have, could have, try again are not adequate arguments to put forward to reconsider a system which led to millions of deaths.

Does it work? Show me! Can you show me evidence that its worked, that it can produce a wealthier more prosperous society? Is there a case study reliable enough?

The fact that its failed each time makes alarm bells ring. If Communism was brutal because it was a response to adverse conditions, then that actually says more than you realise. If Communists had GOOD reason to do what they did, that says more than you realise. You then have to ask, why is it these conditions and only these conditions where people began to apply Communism? Why do people react this way? How can we avoid creating conditions which then result in force and labour camps becoming 'necessary'?

If Communism is a response to a problem, then how can we resolve this problem before it needs such a drastic response?

I make the EXACT argument with the far right in Europe. They are a response to a drastic problem, but my interest is, how can we address this problem, to avoid the need for a drastic response?

How can we address modern day Capitalism, so as to avoid a response where people are then killed and jailed for opposing a 'revolutionary' system?

I'd rather do that.
The development of labor camps followed quickly after the Russian Revolution in 1917. As early as November 1917, the new Bolshevik regime identified “enemies” of the revolution and subjected them to forced labor as punishment. In June 1918, Leon Trotsky suggested sending members of the urban bourgeoisie to remote camps, and less than two months later the first camps were established. The Soviets converted World War I prisoner of war camps to house a new category of inmate.

Here is Trotsky on how Socialism works
"It is said that compulsory labor is unproductive. This means that the whole socialist economy is doomed to be scrapped, because there is no other way of attaining socialism except through the command allocation of the entire labor force by the economic center, the allocation of that force in accord with the needs of a nationwide economic plan."

So Lenin's government advanced to the next stage: sending the Cheka and the Red Army to seize grain directly from the peasant. This was ideologically justified by dubbing peasants who resisted grain as wealthy "kulaks," though rich and poor alike found themselves staring down the muzzles of the Cheka's guns. Once again, the resort to ever greater brutality did not bring the desired results. Minimal food was collected, and the peasants went into open revolt. Lenin, who in every other matter seemed to be the master of the temporary compromise, could not control his hatred of the resisting peasants. He ordered kulaks to be deprived of not only surplus grain, but even seed grain, while in his speeches he exhorted: "Merciless war against the kulaks! Death to them."

Dont' forget, we TODAY have hindsight. Russian peasants in 1917, indeed few people at all, could have know what we know NOW. Lenin may have tried to do good (so did Hitler and Stalin according to themselves), but we know NOW how it turned out. We know how Marxist Socialism applied elsewhere turned out.

Here are some of my thoughts in this interesting argument.
I would still call attention to the fact that communism is a reaction to capitalism.

All revolutions require change of ownership of land.

Russian communism developed from the Tsars, who all used massive forced labor. It freed a huge amount of slaves and tried to integrate them into an economy. That was a change from the usual way of freeing European serfs, which generally meant freeing them from the land they had been bonded to and leaving them to fend for themselves with no capital, food or shelter - just as happened when indigenous people like the Australian aborigines were chased off their land.

An exceptional revolution with communistic/socialistic structure which has survived well is the Napoleonic system, starting in France and growing over several generations out of the initial revolution of 1789. In this evolution the church land and responsibilities were resumed by the State, along with the employment of the clergy. Peasants and low clergy from the north of France legally managed to get the King to admit representation for the lower classes but the king then tried to reverse this by violence, unleashing his foreign army on Paris. The people then fought the aristocrats, who fled the country into the arms of royalist countries all around who would continue to this day to fight against French-style democracy. The state-owned old church land plus some aristocrats' land was then auctioned to pay off state debts incurred during many trade wars with other Europeans. There was a constant struggle between educated business people, peasants, poor people in towns and the few serfs that had remained on the land for the rights and ability to acquire these lands. This led to many changes in law and many changes to parliament, many of them violent. Eventually Napoleon recodified the underlying Roman law prevailing south of the Rhine in the Napoleonic Civil Code. This code built on a pyramid of local representation and delegation to a central authority. Localities retained a lot of power and still do. This system passed to every country in Europe, with some variations. Royals who were now aligned with corporations in colonisation and industrialisation continually attempted to destabilise through war and propaganda what Napoleon had achieved. The same suspects continue to try to destabilise this long-lasting system, with Sarkozy damaging a key factor in inheritance law and signs of anglophone style meddling at EU level. Dirigism is the socialistic economy that we traditionally identify with France and this is something that propaganda bullhorns like the British Economist and US spokespeople constantly try to wreck.

More recently than the French and the Russian Revolutions we see other communistic or socialistic (often dirigistic) reactions to capitalist colonialism, such as Vietnam, Cuba, Cambodia, Libya, Syria, maybe North Korea and Iraq (need to look these up myself). It is not as if the dirigiste or socialist or communist experiment has been conducted in a clean petri-dish.

Where communism was a reaction to capitalism, capitalism has not just given up and taken its ball and bat home, it has launched endless wars to retrieve its influence on those countries. And we see this today.

This is an interesting discussion which I would like to continue now were it not for a more pressing publication I must attend to.

I hope that Dennis and James will continue to discuss these matters respectfully. I would appreciate some detail on North Korea and Iraq, as well and other countries from James, since I know he has profound knowledge in these areas.

My own position still trends to relocalisation and dirigism.

DennisK wrote:

Communism each time it is applied, turns ugly.

"Each time", Dennis?

How about Cuba?

The government of Cuba is formed by the Cuban Communist Party. The Cuban Communist Party is largely made up of what was formerly, the 26th of July Movement which came to power on 1 January 1959 in a country which was barely 150km south of the United States.

Almost immediately, the Cuban Communist Party government implemented reforms that was to transform Cuba from a capitalist society into a socialist society.

Contrary to your assertion, Cuba did not immediately become a ghastly police state which imprisoned or killed any Cuban who opposed the government. Not long after the triumph of the revolution, the United States sponsored an invasion of Cuba by Cuban exiles on 16 April 1961. That invasion was known as the "Bay of Pigs" invasion. Had Cuba been the tyranny that you implicitly claim that it must have been, then surely the Cuban population would have embraced the invaders and risen up against Castro or, at most, remained neutral. Instead they rallied to the support of their government and drove the invaders back into the sea.

Cuba may not be 'paradise on earth' – as if paradise could be possible in a world in which many countries have suffered the terrible consequences of military aggression by the United States and its allies in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Ukraine, Vietnam, Cambodia, Egypt, Korea, ... – and it's government many not be perfect, but surely, given the adversity it has faced, the Communist government of Cuba deserves credit?

Given the success of Cuba, why not acknowledge that the extreme adversity faced by others who have tried to accomplish the same in the previous century, rather than any fundamental flaw in their plans, may have been one of the factors which caused the outcome?

Maybe another indication of how strong Cuba has been, despite its poverty (especially since the fall of the Soviet Union, which had provided cheap oil) is the fact that the United States has resiled from its Cuba isolation policy after years of trying to destroy Cuba that way. It now looks as if it hopes to seduce Cubans into capitalism via baubles instead, in the same way it has done with China. I note that Castro's brother, who is now in charge, has also begun to allow land-sales.

If I were head of Cuba, I would introduce a version of the Napoleonic Code at this point, in order to keep housing a citizen's right. Some one is bound to make the remark that Cuban building structures are turning to dust and thus providing inferior shelter. There is a possible political conflict in preserving the remarkable pre-communist architecture, which I hope that Cuba would ultimately take care of as its patrimoine - as France does.

Another reason for the United States' new softly softly approach is, of course, the rising strength of the BRICs bloc, in conjunction with Russia. I think one would find that most or all BRICs countries have active communistic factions or have civil rights movements or even civil laws that conflict with market capitalism. The situations in these BRICs countries, with the exception of Russia were all or mostly the results of colonial interference. Note that the Tsars were part of a two caste system, like Britains, where the 'noble' caste was presumably an earlier colonising people. I don't know if it goes back to the Vikings or not. Would be interesting to investigate.

Cuba underwent many of the same tropes, albeit, not as starkly as Russia or China.

They include, not being able to freely leave, repressive actions against political dissidents, poverty. Not being able to leave freely is always revealing.

Credit where it is due, Cubans and Eastern Europeans were able to make it work, to a degree, but I don't consider that this makes the Communist system itself desirable.

I think we need to disassociate the historical elements and historical needs from the theoretical elements. There are times when war has needed to be waged, when revolution has been required, but this does not make such things good per se. If war was fought for freedom, it doesn't make war itself desirable. Communism was a reaction which may have had had justification, and we can point to necessity, but again, this does not automatically place the solution which was implemented as automatically desirable.

I'll have to read more on Napoleon, but European classical socialism is a different beast to Communism. The "Socialism" that exists in say, Scandinavia today, isn't 'Communism lite', but a different economic model altogether. It does not apply Marxist economic theory. Napoleon didn't apply it I think, as he preceded the invention of the system. Capitalists repeatedly state that taxation and government spending and welfare is "Socialism" which is just "Communism", but this is wrong, Dead wrong. In fact, these Capitalist "anti-communists" are quite ridiculous, as they are actually encouraging people to become Communists, by muddying the distinction between the two and suggesting that its either Capitalism or Communism. So some choose Communism, thinking it is like the Scandinavian Socialism that these detractors call "Communism".

To be honest, I'm not exactly what I'm arguing. Usually when I argue with Communists, they point out the 'benefits' of a centrally planned economy, why Marx's economic theories are right, why national and cultural barriers should be de-constructed and why the family should be de-constructed. I'm not sure whether these positions are being advocated or not? If you go to a Marxist conference (I have) and attend Socialist Alternative meetings, this is what they do.

This is from

What will this new social order have to be like?

Above all, it will have to take the control of industry and of all branches of production out of the hands of mutually competing individuals, and instead institute a system in which all these branches of production are operated by society as a whole – that is, for the common account, according to a common plan, and with the participation of all members of society

It involves.

(i) Limitation of private property through progressive taxation, heavy inheritance taxes, abolition of inheritance through collateral lines (brothers, nephews, etc.) forced loans, etc.

Abolition of private property. For those who have nothing anyway, such a system might seem desirable.

(v) An equal obligation on all members of society to work until such time as private property has been completely abolished. Formation of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

We have this issue

Society will take all forces of production and means of commerce, as well as the exchange and distribution of products, out of the hands of private capitalists and will manage them in accordance with a plan based on the availability of resources and the needs of the whole society. In this way, most important of all, the evil consequences which are now associated with the conduct of big industry will be abolished.

which results in failure, because WHO is going to organise this? Which institution or bureaucracy can possibly have the omniscience, objectivity and restraint to do this? Do intellectuals really have what it takes, to manage every detail of an economy?

We also have this, the wilful elimination of nationalities and ethnicities by policy.

The nationalities of the peoples associating themselves in accordance with the principle of community will be compelled to mingle with each other as a result of this association and thereby to dissolve themselves, just as the various estate and class distinctions must disappear through the abolition of their basis, private property.[3]

As I said, unless one is specifically advocating this Marxist economic and political system, then one is not advocating Communism. If it is social responsibility, acting in the collective interest, placing people before profits, again, this isn't specifically Communism.

DennisK wrote

... but I don't consider that this makes the Communist system itself desirable.

Can't you see that your own personal preferences are somewhat beside the point?

We were discussing statements such as the following:

"There are no successful cases, ..."

"... ALL Communist countries end up like prisons."

"... making a country Communist would lead to tyrants and despots taking power."

"... each time [communism] is applied, turns ugly."

I have shown, notwithstanding the clearly biased sites that you have linked to, that in the case of Cuba, the above statements are untrue. They were also not true in the case of Yugoslavia (which was destroyed as a result of war by NATO countries in 1999) and are untrue about Vietnam.

Yugoslavia fell apart soon after Tito died, because Tito is what held Yugoslavia together. The independent states did not go back to Communism. There are Communist parties in Eastern Europe, and they don't get much of the vote. The KKE in Greece poll lower than Golden Dawn!

Yugoslavia is an interesting case, because Tito wasn't really aligned with the Eastern Bloc. Yugoslavia remained somewhat separate for various reasons, but mainly because Yugoslavia wasn't 'liberated' by the Soviets, and Tito wasn't a Soviet trained Stalinist.

Tito's Yugoslavia was undoubtedly not a totalitarian state of mass terror, but merely a moderately authoritarian, semi-efficient, corrupt, and somewhat farcical state, similar to many others in the world. The main guarantors of Yugoslavia's unity were the communist police and army. No force in the country could challenge them, and Tito always had complete control of both. So he did not need great political skills to neutralize any opposition, including nationalists and separatists. After all, the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia, the other two multinational countries in Eastern Europe, also were never threatened with disintegration so long as communists and their repressive police and army ruled them.
Which is how many Yugoslavs describe it. This was a 'soft' authoritarianism, but again, not a condition I would find desirable.

Can't you see that your own personal preferences are somewhat beside the point?

Actually, I think they are the point! What other point is there? Are my preferences less valid than yours? Aren't you arguing based on what in your opinion is preferable?

What point is the human endeavour of civilisation, if not to provide a better life, which is by definition, the life people want to have? I don't quite get why I should want something I don't find desirable (having my life and society run by bureaucrats), because of some abstract axioms and principles.

Isn't that the very problem we face now? That people are forgoing what they REALLY want (open spaces, less competition for jobs, less industrial scale migration, more affordable housing), for abstract ideals like "growth" which we are supposed to want, and accept despite the outcome being yuk? These economic ideals, are supposed to be 'good' in and of themselves, but we are told to keep rooting for them, despite the outcome being undesirable (say, globalisation), because they are 'good'.

Some people don't mind a more Communist system, some prefer freedom. I prefer to to able to use my own ingenuity, skills to profit as I see fit. I'm developing a product, which I think is useful, and if so, will be sold to companies. To have to be assigned what to do by a beauracry, no thanks.

But I also get that some people may prefer to be 'looked after', and that's their choice. I have no issue with society finding ways to accommodate that either. There are a range of psychologies, and good governance would allow them to coexist in niches.

Dennis K wrote on 25/1/15:

If the Russians laughed at Marxism in the beginning, the tragedy could have been avoided.

The First World in which over 15 million, including over 3 million Russians, died, and which drove Russia to revolution in 1917, is not a tragedy?

Dennis K wrote on 1/2/15:

The repression began before Stalin.

The Soviet Union faced, as well as domestic counter-revolutionaries, an invasion of 13 foreign armies at the time. Had the Soviet government not resorted to harsh measures against its enemies a far more terrible bloodbath would have ensued.

Dennis K continued:

Stalin just amplified it.

Perhaps, you should explain yourself more clearly.

Of the 16 members of the 25 members of the 1917 Central committee of the Bolshevik Party (later renamed the "Communist Party") still left alive in 1927 after the civil war and famine, 12 were to be subsequently murdered on Stalin's orders.

How is Stalin's murder of the same people you condemn for acting harshly against domestic counter-revolutionaries just an 'amplification' of those actions?

The application of Marxist ideology led to death and impoverishment pretty much everywhere it was applied. At BEST, I repeat, at BEST it resulted in a low grade authoritarian police state, which people still preferred to move away from.

In Eastern Europe, Marxism is a joke. Only in the West is this ideology taken seriously. Only here can we seriously believe the propaganda that Putin wants to bring back the Soviet Union. Only in the West are there still academics who think that the only problem was that they were 'too idealistic'.

The Nazis had the same arguments for their totalitarianism. They had the same argument that they were under threat from Communism usurpation and threats. ALL tyrants have good arguments. It's precisely because they come up with good arguments that they can seize and maintain power. It's precisely because they can use a crisis to gain power that they get power in the first place. Lenin took advantage of the politics of the time, as anyone seeking power would do. Then they don't let go. The emergency situation becomes permanent, and then applies to everything.


The above post adds nothing to the discussion. Yet again, you have repeated what you have already posted and, yet again, you have failed to respond to my posts.

Note the contradiction between one sentence and the next:

The application of Marxist ideology led to death and impoverishment pretty much everywhere it was applied (my emphasis).

The very next sentence is:

At BEST ... it resulted in a low grade authoritarian police state, which people still preferred to move away from.

So which of the above do you hold to be true, DennisK? Does communism cause death and impoverishment everywhere it is applied, or does it merely "[result in] in low grade authoritarian police state[s]" presumably like Cuba and Yugoslavia of which you, unlike the Cubans or the Yugoslavs, also disapprove. The Yugoslav government stayed in power until 1999 when it was overthrown by a NATO war of aggression (with the help of Kosovar Islamist terrorists, some of whom are now fighting the Syrian people). The Cuban government has withstood attempts by its far more powerful northern neighbour to overthrow it since the Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961. How do you explain the survival for over 55 years of a government, which by your own logic must be hated by its people?

Until you address my arguments, this debate can't proceed.