Stalin Society

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The Stalin Society is a British discussion group for individuals who see Joseph Stalin as a great Marxist-Leninist and wish to preserve his legacy, which they believe to be positive. The society originated as a consequence of the dissolution of the Soviet Union and what the members perceived as a subsequent increase in the criticism of Stalin.[1] According to the Stalin Society's website, "[t]he Stalin Society was formed in 1991 to defend Stalin and his work on the basis of fact and to refute capitalist, revisionist, opportunist and Trotskyist propaganda directed against him."[2] Kamal Majid, a founding member of the Stalin Society, is a patron of the Stop the War Coalition.[3][4]

Organization[edit]

The society is based on individual membership but political groups such as the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist–Leninist), and the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist–Leninist) are notably prominent within it. Many have pointed to a considerable overlap of membership with Arthur Scargill's Socialist Labour Party, including Scargill himself.[5] The Stalin Society's chair, Harpal Brar, for instance, was at one time a member of both organisations (although he subsequently left the SLP to head the CPGB-ML). Through Brar, the society was also linked to the Association of Communist Workers. One of the Stalin Society's founders, Bill Bland, was expelled in a doctrinal dispute.[5][6]

The society’s website also contains documents that deny the responsibility of the Soviet government during the time of Stalin’s leadership for the Holodomor,[7] the Great Purge,[8] or the Katyn Massacre,[9] which they variously dismiss as propaganda, describe as fair process, or blame on the Nazis, respectively.

The society continues to hold public meetings,[10] mainly in London. The Stalin Society has produced many booklets on subjects including CPSU purges, famines and George Orwell.[11]

The “Stalin Society of Pakistan” was formed in 2013 and has a website and Facebook account. The society has claimed on Facebook that it "stands for communist revolution in Pakistan"[12] and on its website it states that it is "not a political party but an academic venture" which aims to "refute anti-Stalin propaganda and revisionism".[13] Stalin Societies have also been formed in the United States and Canada, Tunisia, India, Italy, Ireland, and Argentina, and an International Stalin Society was formed in 2014.[14]

Criticism[edit]

In an article for the New Statesman of 10 June 2002, the British journalist Johann Hari described a meeting of the Stalin Society in a highly critical and caustic fashion. Hari wrote that a meeting of the society at which he attended consisted only "of around 30 people is primarily - as you might expect - elderly to the point of decrepitude" and that "for these people, Stalinism has become a habit they can't shake off" (although he noted there were a few young people). Hari compared the Stalin Society to the "Flat Earth Society, or Elvis fans who insist that The King is still alive." Finally, Hari criticized what he views as the society's complete dismissal of any criticism of Stalin.[15]

On 5 March 2003, the 50th anniversary of Stalin's death, Hari followed this up in The Independent with another vitriolic piece on Stalin and the Stalin Society.[16] In response the Stalin Society sent a letter to The Independent which was, however, never published. The letter, written by Harpal Brar and his daughter Joti Brar, criticized what it described as Hari's "unfounded and vituperative attacks on Stalin and the USSR that he led" and accused Hari of making "baseless and scurrilous assertions." The letter also praised the "monumental achievements of the Soviet Union under the leadership of Stalin in the fields of industry, agriculture, education, science and culture."[17]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Iris Mary Jessie Cremer, 1943-2014". Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist). 5 April 2014. 
  2. ^ "Official web site". The Stalin Society. Retrieved 7 April 2014. 
  3. ^ "Stop the War Patrons, Officers and Steering Committee". Stop the War coalition. Retrieved 7 April 2014. 
  4. ^ Ed Miliband's friends of Assad - Daily Telegraph Sep 8, 2013
  5. ^ a b Andy McSmith and Severin Carrell, "Stalin apologists drink to the memory of Uncle Joe", The Independent, 2 March 2003
  6. ^ "The antagonisms in the Stalin Society (an attack on Bill Bland)". London. 5 March 1995. Archived from the original on May 25, 2005. 
  7. ^ John Puntis, "The Ukrainian famine-genocide myth", July 2002
  8. ^ Mario Sousa, "Lies concerning the history of the Soviet Union", March 1999
  9. ^ Ella Rule, "The Katyn Massacre", July 2002
  10. ^ "Stalin Society Meetings". The Stalin Society. Retrieved 2 December 2013. 
  11. ^ "Stalin Society Publications". The Stalin Society. Retrieved 12 November 2013. 
  12. ^ "Facebook on the rise in Pakistan". Asharq Al-Awsat. 24 October 2013. Retrieved 15 February 2016. 
  13. ^ "About Us". Stalin Society of Pakistan. Retrieved 15 February 2016. 
  14. ^ Tahir Asghar; Malem Ningthouja; Ashim Roy; Vijay Singh; C.N. Subramaniam, eds. (September 2014). "International Stalin Society Formed". Revolutionary Democracy. XX (2). 
  15. ^ "Comrades up in arms", New Statesman, 10 June 2002
  16. ^ "Stalin died 50 years ago, but his legacy lives on", The Independent, 5 March 2003
  17. ^ "Letter to the Independent – unpublished", LALKAR, March/April 2003

External links[edit]