Stalin Quotes

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A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.
Joseph Stalin
Those who vote decide nothing. Those who count the vote decide everything.
Joseph Stalin
Because the horror of Communism, Stalinism, is not that bad people do bad things — they always do. It's that good people do horrible things thinking they are doing something great." [Six Questions for Slavoj Žižek, Harper's Magazine, November 11, 2011]
Slavoj Žižek
Goebbels was in favor of free speech for views he liked. So was Stalin. If you’re really in favor of free speech, then you’re in favor of freedom of speech for precisely the views you despise. Otherwise, you’re not in favor of free speech.
Noam Chomsky
It’s ridiculous to talk about freedom in a society dominated by huge corporations. What kind of freedom is there inside a corporation? They’re totalitarian institutions - you take orders from above and maybe give them to people below you. There’s about as much freedom as under Stalinism.
Noam Chomsky
Outside, beyond the vast red bricked labyrinth of Kremlin walls, a humid night ensnarled the Soviet capital in its spell. Yet here in the womb-like private cinema Josef Stalin sat, eyes transfixed on the screen, as Johnny Weissmuller arced through a canopy of trees boldly screaming his signature jungle call.
K.G.E. Konkel (Who Has Buried the Dead?: From Stalin to Putin … The last great secret of World War Two)
Education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed.
Joseph Stalin
...we're dealing with two devils who both want to rule hell.
Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray)
This creature softened my heart of stone. She died and with her died my last warm feelings for humanity.
Joseph Stalin
The terrified men did not move. Then Nadia Fedin did something instinctive; she drew her Nagant revolver and fired three short bursts into the head of the nearest soldier. Stepan Ivanovich’s skull burst like a ripe cabbage showering his horrified comrades with viscous brain and bits of bone.
K.G.E. Konkel (Who Has Buried the Dead?: From Stalin to Putin … The last great secret of World War Two)
It is not heroes that make history, but history that makes heroes.
Joseph Stalin
Death is the solution to all problems. No man - no problem.
Joseph Stalin
Socialism" is no more an evil word than "Christianity." Socialism no more prescribed Joseph Stalin and his secret police and shuttered churches than Christianity prescribed the Spanish Inquisition. Christianity and socialism alike, in fact, prescribe a society dedicated to the proposition that all men, women, and children are created equal and shall not starve.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (A Man Without a Country)
History has shown there are no invincible armies.
Joseph Stalin
The three most charismatic leaders in this century inflicted more suffering on the human race than almost any trio in history: Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. What matters is not the leader's charisma. What matters is the leader's mission.
Peter F. Drucker (Managing the Non-Profit Organization: Principles and Practices)
Fedin laughed outright, a grim, calculating gesture as hard and unfeeling as cold steel. “Twenty million Russians have been slaughtered by the Fascists in the last six years..... Always remember this, Squadron Leader. It was our war, our victory and now it is our Berlin. We tolerate your presence in this city… if that.
K.G.E. Konkel (Who Has Buried the Dead?: From Stalin to Putin … The last great secret of World War Two)
As I focus on diligent joy, I also keep remembering a simple idea my friend Darcey told me once -- that all the sorrow and trouble of this world is caused by unhappy people. Not only in the big global Hitler-'n'-Stalin picture, but also on the smallest personal level. Even in my own life, I can see exactly where my episodes of unhappiness have brought suffering or distress or (at the very least) inconvenience to those around me. The search for contentment is, therefore, not merely a self-preserving and self-benefiting act, but also a generous gift to the world. Clearing out all your misery gets you out of the way. You cease being an obstacle, not only to yourself but to anyone else. Only then are you free to serve and enjoy other people.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
The point is that both Hitler and Stalin held out promises of stability in order to hide their intention of creating a state of permanent instability.
Hannah Arendt (The Origins of Totalitarianism)
I believe in only one thing, the power of human will.
Joseph Stalin
I'm not scared of the Maos and the Stalins and the Hitlers. I'm scared of the thousands of millions of people that hallucinate them to be "authority", and so do their bidding, and pay for their empires, and carry out their orders. I don't care if there's one looney with a stupid moustache. He's not a threat if the people do not believe in "authority".
Larken Rose
And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?... The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin's thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If...if...We didn't love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation.... We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956 (Abridged))
It is easy to sanctify policies or identities by the deaths of victims. It is less appealing, but morally more urgent, to understand the actions of the perpetrators. The moral danger, after all, is never that one might become a victim but that one might be a perpetrator or a bystander.
Timothy Snyder (Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin)
I trust no one. Not even myself.” —Joesph Stalin
Victoria Dougherty (The Hungarian (The Cold War Chronicles Book 2))
When there's a person, there's a problem. When there's no person, there's no problem.
Joseph Stalin
Quantity has a quality all its own.
Joseph Stalin
There was an old bastard named Lenin Who did two or three million men in. That's a lot to have done in But where he did one in That old bastard Stalin did ten in.
Robert Conquest
Just as King Midas turned everything to gold, Stalin turned everything to mediocrity.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (The First Circle)
They came for him near midnight, seven hard-faced men arriving simultaneously in a matching set of Zis 101s, the black-lacquered saloon car so shamelessly modeled on the American Buick Roadmaster, and so capriciously favored by the sinister flying squads of the NKVD. Ironically, the arrest when it came did not shock Batya. He had prepared for it.
K.G.E. Konkel (Who Has Buried the Dead?: From Stalin to Putin … The last great secret of World War Two)
Besides Getting my ass kicked, my main accomplishment on this trip has been to massacre an incredible number of completely innocent clothes. I'm the Joseph Stalin of laundry.
Richard Kadrey (Sandman Slim (Sandman Slim, #1))
...you are strong only as long as you don't deprive people of everything. For a person you've taken everything from is no longer in your power. He's free all over again.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (The First Circle)
[spurious].
Joseph Stalin
A heckler once interrupted Nikita Khrushchev in the middle of a speech in which he was denouncing the crimes of Stalin. “You were a colleague of Stalin’s,” the heckler yelled, “why didn’t you stop him then?” Khrushschev apparently could not see the heckler and barked out, “Who said that?” No hand went up. No one moved a muscle. After a few seconds of tense silence, Khrushchev finally said in a quiet voice, “Now you know why I didn’t stop him.” Instead of just arguing that anyone facing Stalin was afraid, knowing that the slightest sign of rebellion would mean certain death, he had made them feel what it was like to face Stalin—had made them feel the paranoia, the fear of speaking up, the terror of confronting the leader, in this case Khrushchev. The demonstration was visceral and no more argument was necessary.
Robert Greene (The 48 Laws of Power)
You cannot make a revolution with silk gloves.
Joseph Stalin
Gratitude is an illness suffered by dogs.
Joseph Stalin
music's a good thing, it calm the beast in the man.
Joseph Stalin
People who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.
Joseph Stalin
Though I obviously have no proof of this, the one aspect of life that seems clear to me is that good people do whatever they believe is the right thing to do. Being virtuous is hard, not easy. The idea of doing good things simply because you're good seems like a zero-sum game; I'm not even sure those actions would still qualify as 'good,' since they'd merely be a function of normal behavior. Regardless of what kind of god you believe in--a loving god, a vengeful god, a capricious god, a snooty beret-wearing French god, or whatever--one has to assume that you can't be penalized for doing the things you believe to be truly righteous and just. Certainly, this creates some pretty glaring problems: Hitler may have thought he was serving God. Stalin may have thought he was serving God (or something vaguely similar). I'm certain Osama bin Laden was positive he was serving God. It's not hard to fathom that all of those maniacs were certain that what they were doing was right. Meanwhile, I constantly do things that I know are wrong; they're not on the same scale as incinerating Jews or blowing up skyscrapers, but my motivations might be worse. I have looked directly into the eyes of a woman I loved and told her lies for no reason, except that those lies would allow me to continue having sex with another woman I cared about less. This act did not kill 20 million Russian peasants, but it might be more 'diabolical' in a literal sense. If I died and found out I was going to hell and Stalin was in heaven, I would note the irony, but I couldn't complain. I don't make the fucking rules.
Chuck Klosterman (Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto)
If Stalin was such a bad guy, why do all these people have to resort to attributing to him almost entirely quotes he didn't make, or manipulate his actual quotes just enough to make them seem evil?
Joseph Stalin
I am also very proud to be a liberal. Why is that so terrible these days? The liberals were liberatorsthey fought slavery, fought for women to have the right to vote, fought against Hitler, Stalin, fought to end segregation, fought to end apartheid. Liberals put an end to child labor and they gave us the five day work week! What's to be ashamed of?
Barbra Streisand
If you will not have God (and He is a jealous God), you should pay your respects to Hitler or Stalin.
T.S. Eliot
The role of capitalist ideology is not to make an explicit case for something in the way that propaganda does, but to conceal the fact that the operations of capital do not depend on any sort of subjectively assumed belief. It is impossible to conceive of fascism or Stalinism without propaganda - but capitalism can proceed perfectly well, in some ways better, without anyone making a case for it.
Mark Fisher (Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?)
It is not fashionable to quote Stalin but he said once, "half a million liquidated is a statistic, and one man killed in a traffic accident is a national tragedy.
John le Carré (The Spy Who Came In from the Cold (George Smiley, #3))
We have a new type of rule now. Not one-man rule, or rule of aristocracy or plutocracy, but of small groups elevated to positions of absolute power by random pressures, and subject to political and economic factors that leave little room for decision. They are representatives of abstract forces who have reached power through surrender of self. The iron-willed dictator is a thing of the past. There will be no more Stalins, no more Hitlers. The rulers of this most insecure of all worlds are rulers by accident, inept, frightened pilots at the controls of a vast machine they cannot understand, calling in experts to tell them which buttons to push.
William S. Burroughs (Interzone)
In the Soviet Union, it's takes more courage to retreat than advance.
Joseph Stalin
When the Bolsheviks came to power they were soft and easy with their enemies... we had begun by making a mistake. Leniency towards such a power was a crime against the working classes. That soon became apparent...
Joseph Stalin
"The whole world is three drinks behind. If everyone in the world would take three drinks, we would have no trouble. If Stalin, Truman and everybody else in the world had three drinks right now, we’d all loosen up and we wouldn’t need the United Nations.
Humphrey Bogart
The Pope! How many divisions has he got?
Joseph Stalin
Take some exercise, try to recover the look of a human being.
Joseph Stalin
When I first saw the sand, I thought it was beautiful. Like maybe it'd be fun to just roll around in and make sand angels. Now I know the truth, that sand is actually the love child of proud parents Marie Antoinette and Joseph Stalin.
Victoria Scott (Fire & Flood (Fire & Flood, #1))
The only real power comes out of a long rifle.
Joseph Stalin
I shall destroy capitalism! Do you hear! I shall destroy every single capitalist! And I shall start with you, you dog, if you don't help us with the bomb!' Allan noted that the had managed to be both a rat and a dog in the course of a minute or so. And that Stalin was being rather inconsistent, because now he wanted to use Allan's services after all. But Allan wasn't going to sit there and listen to this abuse any longer. He had come to Moscow to help them out, not to be shouted at. Stalin would have to manage on his own. 'I've been thinking,' said Allan. 'What,' said Stalin angrily. 'Why don't you shave off that moustache?' With that the dinner was over, because the interpreter fainted.
Jonas Jonasson (The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared (The Hundred-Year-Old Man, #1))
What Hitler did not believe and what Stalin did not believe and what Mao did not believe and what the SS did not believe and what the Gestapo did not believe and what the NKVD did not believe and what the commissars, functionaries, swaggering executioners, Nazi doctors, Communist Party theoreticians, intellectuals, Brown Shirts, Black Shirts, gauleiters, and a thousand party hacks did not believe was that God was watching what they were doing. And as far as we can tell, very few of those carrying out the horrors of the twentieth century worried overmuch that God was watching what they were doing either. That is, after all, the meaning of a secular society.
David Berlinski (The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions)
French intellectual life has, in my opinion, been turned into something cheap and meretricious by the 'star' system. It is like Hollywood. Thus we go from one absurdity to another - Stalinism, existentialism. Lacan, Derrida - some of them obscene ( Stalinism), some simply infantile and ridiculous ( Lacan, Derrida). What is striking, however, is the pomposity and self-importance, at each stage.
Noam Chomsky
A monster’s not a monster to another monster. At least that’s what I thought when I saw my mother-in-law talking to a statue of Stalin.
Jarod Kintz (If you bring the booze and food, I'll bring the thirst and hunger)
Robert Conquest once suggested that 'a curious little volume might be made of the poems of Stalin, Castro, Mao and Ho Chi Minh, with illustrations by A. Hitler.
Martin Amis (Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million)
[redacted; spurious].
Joseph Stalin
I am most often irritated by those who attack the bishop but somehow fall for the securities analyst--those who exercise their skepticism against religion but not against economists, social scientists, and phony statisticians. Using the confirmation bias, these people will tell you that religion was horrible for mankind by counting deaths from the Inquisition and various religious wars. But they will not show you how many people were killed by nationalism, social science, and political theory under Stalin or during the Vietnam War. Even priests don't go to bishops when they feel ill: their first stop is the doctor's. But we stop by the offices of many pseudoscientists and "experts" without alternative. We no longer believe in papal infallibility; we seem to believe in the infallibility of the Nobel, though....
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable)
Freedom meant one thing to him—home. But they wouldn't let him go home.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich)
Every time I see a picture of Stalin I look him square in the eye and I say: You're a meat eater, Joseph.
Philip K. Dick (Voices From the Street)
Advance towards socialism cannot but cause the exploiting elements to resist the advance, and the resistance of the exploiters cannot but lead to the inevitable sharpening of the class struggle.
Joseph Stalin
It is difficult for me to imagine what "personal liberty" is enjoyed by an unemployed person, who goes about hungry, and cannot find employment. Real liberty can exist only where exploitation has been abolished, where there is no oppression of some by others, where there is no unemployment and poverty, where a man is not haunted by the fear of being tomorrow deprived of work, of home and of bread. Only in such a society is real, and not paper, personal and every other liberty possible.
Joseph Stalin
It doesnt matter how many people vote, only who counts them.
Joseph Stalin
That bowl of soup—it was dearer than freedom, dearer than life itself, past, present, and future.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich)
When meaning is drawn from killing, the risk is that more killing would bring more meaning.
Timothy Snyder (Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin)
It is less appealing, but morally more urgent, to understand the actions of the perpetrators. The moral danger, after all, is never that one might become a victim but that one might be a perpetrator or a bystander. It is tempting to say that a Nazi murderer is beyond the pale of understanding. ...Yet to deny a human being his human character is to render ethics impossible. To yield to this temptation, to find other people inhuman, is to take a step toward, not away from, the Nazi position. To find other people incomprehensible is to abandon the search for understanding, and thus to abandon history.
Timothy Snyder (Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin)
In a fallen world marked by human depravity and deep-seated sin, in a world where Hitler and Stalin had recruited millions of followers to commit mass murder, love must harness power and seek justice in order to have moral meaning. Love without power remained impotent, and power without love was bankrupt.
Timothy B. Tyson (Blood Done Sign My Name: A True Story)
Cemeteries in Bohemia are like gardens. The graves are covered with grass and colourful flowers. Modest tombstones are lost in the greenery. When the sun goes down, the cemetery sparkles with tiny candles... no matter how brutal life becomes, peace always reigns in the cemetery. Even in wartime, even in Hitler's time, even in Stalin's time..
Milan Kundera (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)
All dictators, irrespective of epoch or country, have one common trait: they know everything, are experts on everything. The thoughts of Qadaffi and Ceauşescu, Idi Amin and Alfredo Stroessner—there is no end to the profundities and wisdom. Stalin was expert on history, economics, poetry, and linguistics. As it turned out, he was also expert on architecture.
Ryszard Kapuściński (Imperium)
In the Soviet army it takes more courage to retreat than advance.
Joseph Stalin
We must distinguish between ‘sentimental’ and ‘sensitive’. A sentimentalist may be a perfect brute in his free time. A sensitive person is never a cruel person. Sentimental Rousseau, who could weep over a progressive idea, distributed his many natural children through various poorhouses and workhouses and never gave a hoot for them. A sentimental old maid may pamper her parrot and poison her niece. The sentimental politician may remember Mother’s Day and ruthlessly destroy a rival. Stalin loved babies. Lenin sobbed at the opera, especially at the Traviata.
Vladimir Nabokov (Lectures on Russian Literature)
If it were possible for any nation to fathom another people's bitter experience through a book, how much easier its future fate would become and how many calamities and mistakes it could avoid. But it is very difficult. There always is this fallacious belief: 'It would not be the same here; here such things are impossible.' Alas, all the evil of the twentieth century is possible everywhere on earth.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956 (Abridged))
We don't let them have ideas. Why would we let them have guns?
Joseph Stalin
History shows that there are no invincible armies.
Joseph Stalin
* *Do remember that dishonesty and cowardice always have to be paid for.*Don’t imagine that for years on end you can make yourself the boot-licking propagandist of the Soviet régime, or any other régime, and then suddenly return to mental decency. Once a whore, always a whore.
George Orwell (As I Please: 1943-1945 (The Collected Essays, Journalism & Letters, Vol. 3))
How can even the idea of rebellion against corporate culture stay meaningful when Chrysler Inc. advertises trucks by invoking “The Dodge Rebellion”? How is one to be bona fide iconoclast when Burger King sells onion rings with “Sometimes You Gotta Break the Rules”? How can an Image-Fiction writer hope to make people more critical of televisual culture by parodying television as a self-serving commercial enterprise when Pepsi and Subaru and FedEx parodies of self-serving commercials are already doing big business? It’s almost a history lesson: I’m starting to see just why turn-of-the-century Americans’ biggest fear was of anarchist and anarchy. For if anarchy actually wins, if rulelessness become the rule, then protest and change become not just impossible but incoherent. It’d be like casting a ballot for Stalin: you are voting for an end to all voting.
David Foster Wallace (A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments)
Tadas was sent to the principal today," announced Jonas at dinner. He wedged a huge piece of sausage into his small mouth. "Why?" I asked. "Because he talked about hell," sputtered Jonas, juice from the plump sausage dribbling down his chin. "Jonas, don't speak with your mouth full. Take smaller pieces," scolded Mother. "Sorry," said Jonas with his moth stuffed. "It's good." He finished chewing. I took a bite of sausage. It was warm and the skin was deliciously salty. "Tadas told one of the girls that hell is the worst place ever and there's no escape for all eternity." "Now why would Tadas be talking of hell?" asked Papa, reaching for the vegetables. "Because his father told him that if Stalin comes to Lithuania, we'll all end up there.
Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray)
Our prison population, in fact, is now the biggest in the history of human civilization. There are more people in the United States either on parole or in jail today (around 6 million total) than there ever were at any time in Stalin’s gulags. For what it’s worth, there are also more black men in jail right now than there were in slavery at its peak.
Matt Taibbi (The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap)
You don't have to be very bright to carry a handbarrow. So the squad leader gave such work to people who'd been in positions of authority.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich)
Revolutions are like earthquakes: they are always being predicted, and sometimes they come.
Stephen Kotkin (Stalin: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928)
During the years of Stalin's reign, the Soviet nation made dramatic gains in literacy, industrial wages, health care, and women's rights. These accomplishments usually go unmentioned when the Stalinist era is discussed. To say that "socialism doesn't work" is to overlook the fact that it did. In Eastern Europe, Russia, China, Mongolia, North Korea, and Cuba, revolutionary communism created a life for the mass of people that was far better than the wretched existence they had endured under feudal lords, military bosses, foreign colonizers, and Western capitalists. The end result was a dramatic improvement in living conditions for hundreds of millions of people on a scale never before or since witnessed in history.
Michael Parenti (Blackshirts and Reds: Rational Fascism and the Overthrow of Communism)
Undoubtedly, our path is not of the easiest; but, just as undoubtedly, we are not to be frightened by difficulties. Paraphrasing from the well-known words of Luther, Russia might say: ‘Here I stand on the frontier between the old, capitalist world and the new, socialist world. Here on this frontier I unite the efforts of the proletarians of the West and of the peasantry of the East in order to shatter the old world. May the god of history be my aid!
Joseph Stalin
It is the fate of great achievements, born from a way of life that sets truth before security, to be gobbled up by you and excreted in the form of shit. For centuries great, brave, lonely men have been telling you what to do. Time and again you have corrupted, diminished and demolished their teachings; time and again you have been captivated by their weakest points, taken not the great truth, but some trifling error as your guiding principal. This, little man, is what you have done with Christianity, with the doctrine of sovereign people, with socialism, with everything you touch. Why, you ask, do you do this? I don't believe you really want an answer. When you hear the truth you'll cry bloody murder, or commit it. … You had your choice between soaring to superhuman heights with Nietzsche and sinking into subhuman depths with Hitler. You shouted Heil! Heil! and chose the subhuman. You had the choice between Lenin's truly democratic constitution and Stalin's dictatorship. You chose Stalin's dictatorship. You had your choice between Freud's elucidation of the sexual core of your psychic disorders and his theory of cultural adaptation. You dropped the theory of sexuality and chose his theory of cultural adaptation, which left you hanging in mid-air. You had your choice between Jesus and his majestic simplicity and Paul with his celibacy for priests and life-long compulsory marriage for yourself. You chose the celibacy and compulsory marriage and forgot the simplicity of Jesus' mother, who bore her child for love and love alone. You had your choice between Marx's insight into the productivity of your living labor power, which alone creates the value of commodities and the idea of the state. You forgot the living energy of your labor and chose the idea of the state. In the French Revolution, you had your choice between the cruel Robespierre and the great Danton. You chose cruelty and sent greatness and goodness to the guillotine. In Germany you had your choice between Goring and Himmler on the one hand and Liebknecht, Landau, and Muhsam on the other. You made Himmler your police chief and murdered your great friends. You had your choice between Julius Streicher and Walter Rathenau. You murdered Rathenau. You had your choice between Lodge and Wilson. You murdered Wilson. You had your choice between the cruel Inquisition and Galileo's truth. You tortured and humiliated the great Galileo, from whose inventions you are still benefiting, and now, in the twentieth century, you have brought the methods of the Inquisition to a new flowering. … Every one of your acts of smallness and meanness throws light on the boundless wretchedness of the human animal. 'Why so tragic?' you ask. 'Do you feel responsible for all evil?' With remarks like that you condemn yourself. If, little man among millions, you were to shoulder the barest fraction of your responsibility, the world would be a very different place. Your great friends wouldn't perish, struck down by your smallness.
Wilhelm Reich (Listen, Little Man!)
Are you French?' I asked instead. 'Oui!' Foreign. Foreign spy. French Communist Party acted on Stalin's instructions during part of World War II. French Communist spy. Stop it stop it stop it I turned to Art, a black kid who was a foot and a half taller than me and whose pecs were about to burst of his shirt and eat someone. I gave him a two on the delusion detector. I didn't trust those pecs. 'Hi,' he rumbled. I waved weakly.
Francesca Zappia (Made You Up)
And it was not merely tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, but hundreds of millions of people who were the obedient witnesses of this slaughter of the innocent. Nor were they merely obedient witnesses: when ordered to, they gave their support to this slaughter, voting in favour of it amid a hubbub of voices. There was something unexpected in their degree of obedience... The extreme violence of the totalitarian social systems proved able to paralyse the human spirit throughout whole continents.
Vasily Grossman (Life and Fate)
For twenty-five years I've been speaking and writing in defense of your right to happiness in this world, condemning your inability to take what is your due, to secure what you won in bloody battles on the barricades of Paris and Vienna, in the American Civil War, in the Russian Revolution. Your Paris ended with Petain and Laval, your Vienna with Hitler, your Russia with Stalin, and your America may well end in the rule of the Ku Klux Klan! You've been more successful in winning your freedom than in securing it for yourself and others. This I knew long ago. What I did not understand was why time and again, after fighting your way out of a swamp, you sank into a worse one. Then groping and cautiously looking about me, I gradually found out what has enslaved you: YOUR SLAVE DRIVER IS YOU YOURSELF. No one is to blame for your slavery but you yourself. No one else, I say!
Wilhelm Reich (Listen, Little Man!)
The trial of Jesus of Nazareth, the trial and rehabilitation of Joan of Arc, any one of the witchcraft trials in Salem during 1691, the Moscow trials of 1937 during which Stalin destroyed all of the founders of the 1924 Soviet REvolution, the Sacco-Vanzetti trial of 1920 through 1927- there are many trials such as these in which the victim was already condemned to death before the trial took place, and it took place only to cover up the real meaning: the accused was to be put to death. These are trials in which the judge, the counsel, the jury, and the witnesses are the criminals, not the accused. For any believer in capital punishment, the fear of an honest mistake on the part of all concerned is cited as the main argument against the final terrible decision to carry out the death sentence. There is the frightful possibility in all such trials as these that the judgement has already been pronounced and the trial is just a mask for murder.
Katherine Anne Porter (The Never-Ending Wrong)
In all honesty (and I know I’m complaining excessively now), I was still getting over Stalin, in Russia. The so-called second revolution—the murder of his own people. Then came Hitler. They say that war is death’s best friend, but I must offer you a different point of view on that one. To me, war is like the new boss who expects the impossible. He stands over your shoulder repeating one thing, incessantly: “Get it done, get it done.” So you work harder. You get the job done. The boss, however, does not thank you. He asks for more.
Markus Zusak (The Book Thief)
WHITE AMERICANS HAVE A VERY UNUSUAL SENSE OF HISTORY. They make it up as they go along, constantly revising to suit their tastes in a manner that would make Stalin blush. Very few of them saw any irony in the fact that during a recent nasty Balkans conflict, when Uncle Sam intervened to stop the Serbs from ethnically cleansing the Bosnians, the military action was performed using Apache helicopter gunships. Helicopters named after a people that had been ethnically cleansed in the United States less than one hundred years previously. Sixteen lane highways across the sacred burial grounds. Yee-hah.
Craig Ferguson (Between the Bridge and the River)
Joseph Stalin was a great man; few other men of the 20th century approach his stature. He was simple, calm and courageous. He seldom lost his poise; pondered his problems slowly, made his decisions clearly and firmly; never yielded to ostentation nor coyly refrained from holding his rightful place with dignity. He was the son of a serf but stood calmly before the great without hesitation or nerves. But also - and this was the highest proof of his greatness - he knew the common man, felt his problems, followed his fate. Stalin was not a man of conventional learning; he was much more than that: he was a man who thought deeply, read understandingly and listened to wisdom, no matter whence it came. He was attacked and slandered as few men of power have been; yet he seldom lost his courtesy and balance; nor did he let attack drive him from his convictions nor induce him to surrender positions which he knew were correct.
W.E.B. Du Bois
It is estimated that Josef Stalin killed more than twenty million people during his reign of terror. The Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia lost more than a third of their population during the Soviet genocide. The deportations reached as far as Finland. To this day, many Russians deny they ever deported a single person. But most Baltic people harbor no grudge, resentment, or ill will. They are grateful to the Soviets who showed compassion. Their freedom is precious, and they are learning to live within it. For some, the liberties we have as American citizens came at the expense of people who lie in unmarked graves in Siberia. Like Joana for Lina, our freedom cost them theirs. Some wars are about bombing. For the people of the Baltics, this war was about believing. In 1991, after 50 years of brutal occupation, the three Baltic countries regained their independence, peacefully and with dignity. They chose hope over hate and showed the world that even through the darkest night, there is light. Please research it. Tell someone. These three tiny nations have taught us that love is the most powerful army. Whether love of friend, love of country, love of God, or even love of enemy - love reveals to us the truly miraculous nature of the human spirit.
Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray)
If our enemies take me And people stop talking to me, If they confiscate the whole world— The right to breathe, open doors, Affirm that existence shall go on And that people, like a judge, shall judge, And if they dare to keep me like an animal And fling my food on the floor, I won’t fall silent or deaden the agony, But shall write what I am free to write, My naked body gathering momentum like a bell, And in a corner of the ominous dark I shall yoke ten oxen to my voice And move my hand in the darkness like a plough And, wrung out into a legion of brotherly eyes, Shall fall with the full heaviness of a harvest, Exploding in the distance with all the force of a vow, And in the depths of the unguarded night The eyes of that unskilled laborer, earth, shall shine And a flock of flaming years swoop down, And like a ripe thunderstorm Lenin shall burst forth. But on this earth (which shall escape decay) There to wake up life and reason will be
Osip Mandelstam
The bigger the government, the more the corruption. It's almost never mentioned, and it might be the biggest of the ten principles that I am speaking of…Do you know who has created the greatest evils of history? Big governments. Big SECULAR governments. Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, all big States. Why would anybody trust the big state? It's amazing how many callers have imbued the college message that more people have been killed by religion than anything else in history. NO. More people have been killed by governments than anything else in history…….and just in the 20th century alone, and none of them were religious. You don't learn THAT in college.
Dennis Prager
The idealized market was supposed to deliver ‘friction free’ exchanges, in which the desires of consumers would be met directly, without the need for intervention or mediation by regulatory agencies. Yet the drive to assess the performance of workers and to measure forms of labor which, by their nature, are resistant to quantification, has inevitably required additional layers of management and bureaucracy. What we have is not a direct comparison of workers’ performance or output, but a comparison between the audited representation of that performance and output. Inevitably, a short-circuiting occurs, and work becomes geared towards the generation and massaging of representations rather than to the official goals of the work itself. Indeed, an anthropological study of local government in Britain argues that ‘More effort goes into ensuring that a local authority’s services are represented correctly than goes into actually improving those services’. This reversal of priorities is one of the hallmarks of a system which can be characterized without hyperbole as ‘market Stalinism’. What late capitalism repeats from Stalinism is just this valuing of symbols of achievement over actual achievement. […] It would be a mistake to regard this market Stalinism as some deviation from the ‘true spirit’ of capitalism. On the contrary, it would be better to say that an essential dimension of Stalinism was inhibited by its association with a social project like socialism and can only emerge in a late capitalist culture in which images acquire an autonomous force. The way value is generated on the stock exchange depends of course less on what a company ‘really does’, and more on perceptions of, and beliefs about, its (future) performance. In capitalism, that is to say, all that is solid melts into PR, and late capitalism is defined at least as much by this ubiquitous tendency towards PR-production as it is by the imposition of market mechanisms.
Mark Fisher (Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?)
...[I]ron discipline does not preclude but presupposes criticism and contest of opinion within the Party. Least of all does it mean that discipline must be 'blind'. On the contrary, iron discipline does not preclude but presupposes conscious and voluntary submission, for only conscious discipline can be truly iron discipline.
Joseph Stalin
[Jürgen Habermas' obituary to friend and philosopher, Richard Rorty] One small autobiographical piece by Rorty bears the title 'Wild Orchids and Trotsky.' In it, Rorty describes how as a youth he ambled around the blooming hillside in north-west New Jersey, and breathed in the stunning odour of the orchids. Around the same time he discovered a fascinating book at the home of his leftist parents, defending Leon Trotsky against Stalin. This was the origin of the vision that the young Rorty took with him to college: philosophy is there to reconcile the celestial beauty of orchids with Trotsky's dream of justice on earth. Nothing is sacred to Rorty the ironist. Asked at the end of his life about the 'holy', the strict atheist answered with words reminiscent of the young Hegel: 'My sense of the holy is bound up with the hope that some day my remote descendants will live in a global civilization in which love is pretty much the only law.
Jürgen Habermas
Why do many believers insist on repeatedly pointing to the crimes of 20th century dictators who led officially atheistic societies as some sort of evidence of their god's existence? It makes no sense. If the rivers of blood on Stalin's hands and Mao's hands, for example, are supposed to prove there is a god, then what do the oceans of blood on the hands of several thousand years' worth of religious kings, queens, presidents, popes, priests, generals, Crusadersm jihadists and tribal chiefs prove? It's not, of course, but if bodycount is somehow the measure of a god's likelihood of existence, then believers lose. It is clear that humans are quite capable of killing with or without images of gods bouncing around in their heads. If anything, however, history suggests that the concept of gods makes the idea of massacring your fellow man (and women and children, too, of course) a lot easier to act upon.
Guy P. Harrison
We look back on history, and what do we see? Empires rising and falling; revolutions and counter-revolutions succeeding one another; wealth accumulating and wealth dispersed; one nation dominant and then another. As Shakespeare’s King Lear puts it, “the rise and fall of great ones that ebb and flow with the moon.” In one lifetime I’ve seen my fellow countrymen ruling over a quarter of the world, and the great majority of them convinced – in the words of what is still a favorite song – that God has made them mighty and will make them mightier yet. I’ve heard a crazed Austrian announce the establishment of a German Reich that was to last for a thousand years; an Italian clown report that the calendar will begin again with his assumption of power; a murderous Georgian brigand in the Kremlin acclaimed by the intellectual elite as wiser than Solomon, more enlightened than Ashoka, more humane than Marcus Aurelius. I’ve seen America wealthier than all the rest of the world put together; and with the superiority of weaponry that would have enabled Americans, had they so wished, to outdo an Alexander or a Julius Caesar in the range and scale of conquest. All in one little lifetime – gone with the wind: England now part of an island off the coast of Europe, threatened with further dismemberment; Hitler and Mussolini seen as buffoons; Stalin a sinister name in the regime he helped to found and dominated totally for three decades; Americans haunted by fears of running out of the precious fluid that keeps their motorways roaring and the smog settling, by memories of a disastrous military campaign in Vietnam, and the windmills of Watergate. Can this really be what life is about – this worldwide soap opera going on from century to century, from era to era, as old discarded sets and props litter the earth? Surely not. Was it to provide a location for so repetitive and ribald a production as this that the universe was created and man, or homo sapiens as he likes to call himself – heaven knows why – came into existence? I can’t believe it. If this were all, then the cynics, the hedonists, and the suicides are right: the most we can hope for from life is amusement, gratification of our senses, and death. But it is not all.
Malcolm Muggeridge
The fervor and single-mindedness of this deification probably have no precedent in history. It's not like Duvalier or Assad passing the torch to the son and heir. It surpasses anything I have read about the Roman or Babylonian or even Pharaonic excesses. An estimated $2.68 billion was spent on ceremonies and monuments in the aftermath of Kim Il Sung's death. The concept is not that his son is his successor, but that his son is his reincarnation. North Korea has an equivalent of Mount Fuji—a mountain sacred to all Koreans. It's called Mount Paekdu, a beautiful peak with a deep blue lake, on the Chinese border. Here, according to the new mythology, Kim Jong Il was born on February 16, 1942. His birth was attended by a double rainbow and by songs of praise (in human voice) uttered by the local birds. In fact, in February 1942 his father and mother were hiding under Stalin's protection in the dank Russian city of Khabarovsk, but as with all miraculous births it's considered best not to allow the facts to get in the way of a good story.
Christopher Hitchens (Love, Poverty, and War: Journeys and Essays)
The intentions of the cybernetic totalist tribe are good. They are simply following a path that was blazed in earlier times by well-meaning Freudians and Marxists - and I don't mean that in a pejorative way. I'm thinking of the earliest incarnations of Marxism, for instance, before Stalinism and Maoism killed millions. Movements associated with Freud and Marx both claimed foundations in rationality and the scientific understanding of the world. Both perceived themselves to be at war with the weird, manipulative fantasies of religions. And yet both invented their own fantasies that were just as weird. The same thing is happening again. A self-proclaimed materialist movement that attempts to base itself on science starts to look like a religion rather quickly. It soon presents its own eschatology and its own revelations about what is really going on - portentous events that no one but the initiated can appreciate. The Singularity and the noosphere, the idea that a collective consciousness emerges from all the users on the web, echo Marxist social determinism and Freud's calculus of perversions. We rush ahead of skeptical, scientific inquiry at our peril, just like the Marxists and Freudians.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
To begin with, we have to be more clear about what we mean by patriotic feelings. For a time when I was in high school, I cheered for the school athletic teams. That's a form of patriotism — group loyalty. It can take pernicious forms, but in itself it can be quite harmless, maybe even positive. At the national level, what "patriotism" means depends on how we view the society. Those with deep totalitarian commitments identify the state with the society, its people, and its culture. Therefore those who criticized the policies of the Kremlin under Stalin were condemned as "anti-Soviet" or "hating Russia". For their counterparts in the West, those who criticize the policies of the US government are "anti-American" and "hate America"; those are the standard terms used by intellectual opinion, including left-liberal segments, so deeply committed to their totalitarian instincts that they cannot even recognize them, let alone understand their disgraceful history, tracing to the origins of recorded history in interesting ways. For the totalitarian, "patriotism" means support for the state and its policies, perhaps with twitters of protest on grounds that they might fail or cost us too much. For those whose instincts are democratic rather than totalitarian, "patriotism" means commitment to the welfare and improvement of the society, its people, its culture. That's a natural sentiment and one that can be quite positive. It's one all serious activists share, I presume; otherwise why take the trouble to do what we do? But the kind of "patriotism" fostered by totalitarian societies and military dictatorships, and internalized as second nature by much of intellectual opinion in more free societies, is one of the worst maladies of human history, and will probably do us all in before too long. With regard to the US, I think we find a mix. Every effort is made by power and doctrinal systems to stir up the more dangerous and destructive forms of "patriotism"; every effort is made by people committed to peace and justice to organize and encourage the beneficial kinds. It's a constant struggle. When people are frightened, the more dangerous kinds tend to emerge, and people huddle under the wings of power. Whatever the reasons may be, by comparative standards the US has been a very frightened country for a long time, on many dimensions. Quite commonly in history, such fears have been fanned by unscrupulous leaders, seeking to implement their own agendas. These are commonly harmful to the general population, which has to be disciplined in some manner: the classic device is to stimulate fear of awesome enemies concocted for the purpose, usually with some shreds of realism, required even for the most vulgar forms of propaganda. Germany was the pride of Western civilization 70 years ago, but most Germans were whipped to presumably genuine fear of the Czech dagger pointed at the heart of Germany (is that crazier than the Nicaraguan or Grenadan dagger pointed at the heart of the US, conjured up by the people now playing the same game today?), the Jewish-Bolshevik conspiracy aimed at destroying the Aryan race and the civilization that Germany had inherited from Greece, etc. That's only the beginning. A lot is at stake.
Noam Chomsky