I received this email today in response to "The Digital Fire". I consider it partly correct and partly mistaken. Unfortunately, I do not have time right now to reply. But, eventually, I will.
This is an important subject and I intend to create an automated forum to deal with it. I believe there may be a lot of interest.
I'm a student from the Third World. And I've only begun to look through your pages. I read the letter that Pheonix had written, and I also read the excerpts of the reply that you had written. Pheonix has obviously not replied but since you extended teh invitation to anyone, I shall take this opportunity to write a few of my thoughts.
1. I thought you dealth rather rudely with what Pheonix had written. He suggested that you read "another view of Stalin." But it seems you did not do so before replying. Here are my thoughts.
2. Your whole argument is "There is a third way." Between Stalin and Facism, there is a third way. But the history of the Bolshevik revoluiton and the history of any strike, or revolutionary activity shows that when push comes to shove, you either have to be on one side, or the other. As Lenin said (paraphrase), either we accept the dictatorship of the Prol, or the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. You can't hang around in the middle and talk of a third way. The menshaviks talked of that too, but look where they ended up. Now you might think that Stalin is a criminal, a usurper of the Prol revolution, a traitor, a dictator; in a word, you might hate Stalin as an individual all you want. But Stalin is not the end all and be all of the Soviet Union. If Marxism shows one thing, it shows that there is no such thing as a pure personal dictatorship. All dictatorships are based on class. Think of that. Marx never used the term "personal dictatorship." For a marxist, therefore, Hitler was not a personal dictator, the entire bourgeoisie of Germany was to blame for facism. The entire bourgoeisie of Germany was dictatorial. In conclusion, one has to look at the class foundation of any political regime. There is no regime without a class foundation. Police states do not feed themselves, they are built on certain economic foundations and they protect the interest of a certain class, not of an individual. Yes, the Soviet Union was a police state, there is no doibt about it, it was repressive, horrible, bloody, but against whom??????? Everyone? Not possible politically... You will say it was repressive against everyone but Stalin's supporters. Good... who are they, which class, which section, why should we not support that class and section? You say bureacrats? The marxist use of the term refers to those individuals who have been bred in the bourgeois state to serve the bourgeoisie's political interests. If it is true that Stalin pamperred the bureactrats then tell me, why did the bureacrats hate him, and eventually push his reputation down. If he was the leader of bureacrats should they not have venerated him.
3) Most importantly, my background in the third world convinces me that in order to match the bourgeoisies of the third world and their white terror, red terror has to be used. This is not something I can explain to you in argument. You just have to live in a third world country and witness people being flogged in your childhood for raising their voice for democracy to understand this. Without a quasi-military organization of the proletariat (a people's militia) it is not possible to defeat the better organized and more barbaric comprador bourgeoisie. When one sees a naked peasant woman being whipped in front of everyone for stealing a little extra grain for her child, one has no sympathy left for the landlords and ruling class. They are animals, and I have no problem in slitting their throats. Let them scream about the barbairanism of the bolsheviks, those in the west are misinformed because they never hear about the barbarianism of the whites. I'm not advocating individual violence, or terroism. I mean the entire class should rise up, and if they chose they should put these scoundrels to death. I know I would. If Stalin killed the landlords and the bourgeoisie, I have no problem with that. Fuck them, they truly are the enemy of the people and the enemy of peace and justice. I fear that you will not understand this sentiment and will begin purple prose against me. I don't really care. But wish, and hope that you try to understand. Humans are after all humans, and revolutions are not perfect and nice. They are made by barbaric, ugly, bloody, violence. And if one side backs down from the escalation of violence, the other side continues the escalation and wins. The rich will escalate violence. They have done so many times in my country. But the poor have been too nice to them. They don't retaliate hard enough. That is why they always loose. They don't pick up the gun soon enough. What did Marx say "The proletariat holds it power by the terror it creates in the reactionaries by its weapons." If Stalin scares teh shit out of the bourgeoisie, then hey, he must have done soemthing right. To quote Lenin "The dicatorship of the Prol is based on the use of violence untrammelled by any morals or law." I think that sums it up.
4) As far as censorship, hey the prols have to be flexible in revolutionary times. If under some circumstances they have to censor the internet, then they have to. As Lenin said flexibility is the key in revolutionary times.
I hope you try to grasph the different conditions in the Third World and how violence is the key to revolutionary victory against hte reactionaries.