Skip to Content

Soviet Union

Editorial: Famine in Russia

To most of-those who know the history of India under English rule, and of China during the nineteenth century, the huge advertisement of the Russian Famine by the Capitalist Press of this country must seem singularly strange.

In 1918 there were 6,000,000 people carried off by the results of famine—camouflaged as Spanish “ ’flu ”—in India. Yet not one-tenth of the space was devoted to this appalling catastrophe that there has been to the Russian Famine, though the former was immensely more disastrous than the latter up to the present. Huge numbers of people have died of hunger in China during the latter portion of the nineteenth century without receiving more than a few lines notice in the Capitalist Press.

Why this sudden solicitude for starving people on the part of our masters? Have they become tender-hearted overnight, and full of desire to ease suffering wherever it may be found? One need go no further than the nearest street to find the answer.

Cracks in the Russian Dictatorship

The signs that the stranglehold of the Communist Party dictatorship is faltering are the most heartening news out of Russia for a generation. The nature of the urgent pressures compelling the changes of policy has yet to be revealed, but whatever they are they give ground for hope that the Russian workers may before long begin to acquire the elementary rights of organisation and propaganda so long denied them. In the early days—before they became so mealy-mouthed about it—the Communists admitted and defended the dictatorship and decried “bourgeois democracy.” Their text-book was Trotsky’s “Defence of Terrorism"—this of course in the days before a new party group moved into control, exiled Trotsky and found that he was a “capitalist agent".

Russia Puts the Clock Back

Before 1914 Socialism had a definite meaning, understood by all who claimed to be Socialist. It meant the common ownership and democratic control of the means of production and distribution. This was accepted by the Social Democratic Parties that were developing in different parts of the world, most of whom gave allegiance to Marxism.

In these parties there were writers who made first class theoretical contributions to Marxism. Writers such as Plechanov, Kautsky, Labriola, Lafargue, Bauer, Boudin, Luxemburg, and many others. All of these people were in the Second International along with Lenin, Trotsky, and other Bolsheviks. In fact, in those days, Lenin had a great respect for Plechanov, from whom he had learnt much, and he described Kautsky as one of the best theoreticians in the Socialist movement.

About Books: Mikhail Sholokhov

Russian novelists have a knack of cramming their stories with such a large number of characters that the majority of their non-Russian leaders get lost in the crowd. Adding to the confusion is the similarity of male and female Christian names and the addition of a suffix to the surname to denote the female. Again, it appears that the name by which a person is addressed depends on the relationship with the person who is addressing him. A stranger or a remote acquaintance will use the surname, a friend or close acquaintance will use the first Christian name whilst relatives and very close friends will address a person by his or her second Christian name. This use of different names to denote the same person becomes mystifying to most English readers.

Syndicate content