PW Russian Revolution series has readers talking
Russian Communists carrying red flags with the portrait of Vladimir Lenin queue to visit the Soviet founder's mausoleum in Moscow's Red Square, Jan. 21, 2014. The legacy of the revolution he led is stirring debate in the pages of PW. | Pavel Golovkin / AP

People’s World readers offer their take on a number of recent articles featured in our pages. The comments below have been edited for length. Join the discussion on the PW website and on Facebook. Your thoughts could be the next to appear in this space.

Re: Reflections on Revolution—the Russian and the one to come

John Magisano says:

A wonderful article. So honest, critical, and yet visionary. I never visited the former USSR, but I was in a similar place in my thought process for many years. However, I then became educated to the reality of the gulag and the enormity of the Stalinist terror that raged through the party and Soviet society for so long, and so I cannot reconcile that with my vision of communism. It is not that I wish a “pox on both their houses” because the atrocities committed by capitalism/imperialism are of a different nature and magnitude, but I cannot forgive Soviet atrocities by way of comparison. I agree, however, with your analysis of the Afghan conflict. Afghanistan had it better under the Soviets than anything coming after.

Finally, I appreciate People’s World so much now that some ideological diversity makes its way into the pages. It is a “must read” for this small “c” communist/anarchist/Christian/queer activist.

 

Re: Reflections on Revolution—the Russian and the one to come

Gary Mueller says:

It’s articles like this that make People’s World my newspaper.

 

Re: Reflections on Revolution—the Russian and the one to come

Bernard Sampson says:

Seriously??? I was there [USSR] in 1981, it was one of the best experiences in my life. Today and back then, you either stood with the socialism as it really existed or capitalism as it really existed. That was the choice then and that’s the choice now. There is no middle ground. Taking down monuments to Dzershinsky, the defender of the workers revolution? I’m sorry this article appeared in People’s World. This is not how we build the Communist Party or movement. The cynical subject is quite aware of the distance between the ideological mask and the social reality, but he nonetheless still insists upon the mask. The formula, as proposed by Sloterdijk, would then be: “They know very well what they are doing, but still, they are doing it”. Cynical reason is no longer naïve, but is a paradox of an enlightened false consciousness: one knows the falsehood very well, one is well aware of a particular interest hidden behind an ideological universality, but still one does not renounce it.

 

Re:  Burns and Novick’s PBS series “The Vietnam War”: Cautionary viewing advised

Henry Lowendorf says:

Good analysis. However… “The Vietnam War was first and foremost a civil war…”

Civil war? l I don’t buy it. Was the war a civil war when the French were reinstalling their colonial empire? No, it was a colonial war, and from the other side, a war of national liberation. If the 1956 elections had taken place and, as expected, Ho Chi Minh had won overwhelmingly, there might have been a civil war with the small minority of the rich and their followers trying to sabotage the efforts of the Communists and their allies at national sovereignty and socialism. But the U.S. prevented that outcome. Sure, there were Vietnamese who joined the U.S. side. Just as there were colonials who joined the British in the 1770s against the revolutionaries. Does that make either a civil war? No, these are colonial wars and wars of national liberation. Without the French occupation until 1954 and then the U.S. until 1975, there would have been skirmishes or no war at all.

 

#TakeAKnee: The NFL and the fight against white supremacy

Norman Markowitz says:

Taking a knee to protest police brutality and racism no more disrespects the flag of the United States than the Abolitionist Liberty Party’s 1840 use of the image of the Liberty Bell with a crack in it to symbolize slavery. At the time, defenders of slavery as a bulwark for a “superior white Protestant Christian Civilization,” attacked the Abolitionists just as Trump attacks NFL players, claiming that focusing on the crack was disrespectful to the idea of freedom.

By the way, the Liberty Bell became a symbol of American liberty although few know of its anti-slavery origins. Perhaps in the future, taking a knee in a society where racism is no longer a significant force will be seen as a way of honoring what the flag represents. As for the owners, let me make one Marxist point. Their employees, the players, are highly skilled and recognized workers whose labor directly produces the owners’ wealth.

They can’t replace the players with machines or scabs. The athletes have a bargaining power and leverage that very few workers and employees have, and by using it they are standing up not only for the victims of racism but for all workers.

If the employers’ words are not to ring hollow, they might really stand up to Trump by offering Colin Kaepernick a contract to play immediately. I can think of a number of teams that could use him right now, including my team of 60+ years, the Giants, and his old team, the 49ers, both of whom are doing quite badly.

As for claims that “white supremacy” is a bogeyman of the far left, one could literally fill a library with works on the history of white supremacy and the atrocities associated with it from colonial times to the present. But reason, logic, and the rules of evidence have never had anything to with the defenders of all forms of racism, including those who crudely put racism forward and those who deny its existence.


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Contributors to “The People Speak” round-up of discussions and debates happening on the People’s World website and on our social media networks.

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