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Soviet Union

Russia and Democracy

On March 23rd, under the title “True Democracy,” the Manchester Guardian opened a discussion on democracy when reviewing a recently published lecture by Professor E. H. Carr. This review was followed by contributors from Lord Lindsay, Mr. Laski and Mr. Bertrand Russell on April 20th and May 4th respectively.

The striking thing about all the contributions was that they distinguished an entirely different outlook on democracy between Russia and the Western Countries, but, to all of them, the Russian outlook is accepted as a sincere one, tied up with the view that the Russian rulers are acting on behalf of one section of society alone, the workers, and that their dictatorship signifies the rule of the workers. This, the writers agree, explains the difference between “Proletarian Democracy” and “Bourgeois Democracy.” This, for instance, is the reviewer puts it:-

Book Review: 'One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich'

FORCED LABOUR CAMPS IN RUSSIA

'One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich', by Alexander Solzhenitsyn

So there were forced labour camps in Soviet Russia after all. Remember those days during Stalin's reign when this was hotly denied by the servile Communist parties, when even to suggest it was to get yourself called a liar, social fascist, reactionary imperialist, or whatever other term of abuse happened to be fashionable at the time? Well, that's all gone now that Alexander Solzhenitsyn has told his story.

Book Review: 'Political Pilgrims - Travels of Western Intellectuals to the Soviet Union, China and Cuba'

The pilgrim's tale

Book Review - Political Pilgrims: Travels of Western Intellectuals to the Soviet Union, China and Cuba. Paul Hollander (Harper, 1983)

This book provides a comprehensive catalogue of the statements, of varying degrees of fatuity, of those who have visited Russia and other so-called communist countries and have mostly come back with tales of how very much better things are over there. Two quotations show how ridiculous widely respected individuals can become when they put their critical faculties to one side. One of the earliest pilgrims, Bernard Shaw (Rationalisation of Russia) had this to say about the Russian prison system:

Bolshevism and the Third International

By no means unanimous will be the interpretations placed on the programmes formed at the recent seventh World Congress of the Communist International. The official Communist Parties, of course, hail these programmes as the highest expression of revolutionary political wisdom, calculated to promote the best interests of the world proletariat, at the same time aiding the "Socialist Fatherland" in its unparalleled task of building up Socialism within its borders. The Communist opposition parties, with Trotsky as their moving spirit, see in these programmes full justification for their claim that as a force making for world revolution the Communist International is utterly dead. Groups like the Proletarian Party of America will no doubt continue in their role of reluctant apologists for the rank opportunism of the Communist International. Socialists, however, will content themselves with pointing out the non-Socialist character of these programmes.

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