Talk:Mass killings under Communist regimes/Archive 11

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Archive 10 Archive 11 Archive 12

Proposal 2

I think Goldhagen has to be included. It is a mistake to say that he is just summarizing Rummel. 1st he is a very well known scholar in the field with a great deal of credibility, 2nd he emphasizes Mao's intentions and planning and how it relates to Marxism. I'd put this in the paragraph preceding the one offered above, e.g.


People's Republic of China

Many historians and biographers, including Jonathan Fenby, Philip Short, R.J. Rummel, and Jung Chang state that Mao Zedong's policies and political purges, such as the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, the Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries and land reform, brought about the deaths of tens of millions of people.[1][2][3] Daniel Goldhagen states that, as early as 1948, Mao planned for the destruction of 50 million peasants - where destruction meant population movement, incarceration, or execution - based upon Mao's Marxist ideology and knowledge of Soviet experience.[4]

  1. ^ "Source List and Detailed Death Tolls for the Twentieth Century Hemoclysm". Historical Atlas of the Twentieth Century. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  2. ^ Short, Philip (2001). Mao: A Life. Owl Books. p. 631. ISBN 0805066381. ; Chang, Jung and Halliday, Jon. Mao: The Unknown Story. Jonathan Cape, London, 2005. ISBN 0-224-07126-2 p. 3; Rummel, R. J. China’s Bloody Century: Genocide and Mass Murder Since 1900 Transaction Publishers, 1991. ISBN 0-88738-417-X p. 205: In light of recent evidence, Rummel has increased Mao's democide toll to 77 million.
  3. ^ Fenby, Jonathan. Modern China: The Fall and Rise of a Great Power, 1850 to the Present. Ecco, 2008. ISBN 0-06-166116-3 p. 351"Mao’s responsibility for the extinction of anywhere from 40 to 70 million lives brands him as a mass killer greater than Hitler or Stalin, his indifference to the suffering and the loss of humans breathtaking."
  4. ^ Goldhagen, Worse than War, p. 344
^ "Source List and Detailed Death Tolls for the Twentieth Century Hemoclysm". Historical Atlas of the Twentieth Century. Retrieved 2008-08-23. is not a reliable source. Its SELF. Fifelfoo (talk) 04:25, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
The above was just a rewrite of a section already there with an extra sentence, and the footnotes put where they belong - at the end of the sentence. The Hemoclysm website is quite remarkable, among other things it has survived on this page for a year and a half without being challenged (as far as I can tell). It is by no means a standard academic article, however. I'll suggest putting it under external links, as it summarizes so much, and provides so many references. Smallbones (talk) 14:34, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
I have trouble with the first sentence. "Many" is a vague term. And do they connect Mao's "policies and political purges" to Communism/communism? The Four Deuces (talk) 16:44, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
As no examples of scholars denying any killings seem to have been presented, "many" appears apt. In fact, absent denial of killings, it is consensus. Collect (talk) 17:05, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
Collect, that is not the issue at all. The issue is the connection between the killings and policy. And please do not use pejorative terms like "denying". The Four Deuces (talk) 17:34, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
  • This sentence: "Daniel Goldhagen states that, as early as 1948, Mao planned for the destruction of 50 million peasants - where destruction meant population movement, incarceration, or execution - based upon Mao's Marxist ideology and knowledge of Soviet experience." does not follow from Goldhagen. Here is Goldhagen's text again:

For Mao and the Chinese communist leaders, the ideal of a transformed and purified communist society derived from Marxism. The knowledge that they must use violence to achieve it derived from the experience of their mentors, the Soviets. Therefore, the intention to practice thoroughgoing eliminationist politics took shape much earlier than it had with the Soviets, crystallizing in mass-murderous thinking as the communists’ victory over the nationalists and the assumption of power neared. In 1948, Mao in "agrarian reform" study materials conveyed to the party membership that his schemes for restructuring overpopulated China required that "one-tenth of the peasants would have to be destroyed" One tenth of half a billion is fifty million. In 1948 Jen Pi-Shih of the Communist party's Central Committee declared in a speech to the party cadres that "30,000,000 landlords and rich peasants would have to be destroyed" The communist leadership's intention already well formulated (and communicated to their ideologically like-minded followers), they began, upon taking power, to implement their eliminationist policies in programs of population movement, mass executions, and mass incarcerations of landlords, rich pesants, and other class enemies in the vast camp system they created. The communists exterminated Chinese on the order of magnitude that Mao and Jen had foretold well before they had begun.

  1. As written, the proposed sentence might lead the reader to believe that 50 million peasants were relocated, incarcerated or executed in the course of land reform. This is something Goldhagen does not in fact say (nor does Rummel).
  2. As written, the proposed sentence speculates what Mao had in mind when he said "destroyed". That speculation is neither present in Goldhagen nor Rummel. --JN466 17:48, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
  • I've added a cite to Goldhagen to Proposal 1, above. --JN466 17:56, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
Two key things need to be communicated about the Goldhagen passage:
      • That Mao and Communist leadership PLANNED to destroy mass numbers of people
      • Than this plan was based on Marxist ideals and Soviet experience.
PLANNED is definitely in the Goldhagen passage, and is what the sentence I offered said - I don't see how this is misleading. Note in GH " intention " " and later "The communist leadership's intention already well formulated" then "implement their eliminationist policies in programs..." "mass-murderous thinking"
The first 2 sentences make clear what Goldhagen believes is the motivation as does " (and communicated to their ideologically like-minded followers)"
Perhaps you misunderstand me on destroyed vs, killed - "destroyed" might mislead readers who almost automatically would read it as "killed" - giving the other options used is the more conservative approach.
Let's consider the two sections together, since they come in the article together. I'll propose a composite work below. Smallbones (talk) 19:32, 14 January 2010 (UTC)

Proposal 1

I propose adding the Goldhagen/Rummel info to the relevant subsection in the China section:


Many historians and biographers, including Jonathan Fenby, Philip Short, R.J. Rummel, and Jung Chang, state that Mao Zedong's policies and political purges, such as the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, the Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries and land reform, brought about the deaths of tens of millions of people.[1][2] Based on the Soviets' experience, Mao considered violence necessary to achieve the Marxist ideal, and planned and executed violence on a grand scale.[3]

Land reform and the suppression of counterrevolutionaries

The first large-scale killings took place during land reform and the counterrevolutionary campaign. In 1948, Mao envisaged that "one-tenth of the peasants [about 50,000,000] would have to be destroyed" to facilitate agrarian reform.[4][3] Jen Pi-shih, a member of the party's Central Committee, likewise stated in a 1948 speech that "30,000,000 landlords and rich peasants would have to be destroyed".[4][3] Actual numbers killed in land reform are believed to have been lower, but did rank in the millions.[4] Rummel gives a "reasonably conservative figure" of about 4,500,000 landlords and better-off peasants killed.[4] Philip Short states that at least 1 to 3 million landlords and members of their families were killed, often beaten to death by enraged peasants at mass meetings organized by party work teams.[5] Estimates abroad ranged as high as 28,000,000 deaths; Mao estimated that 800,000 landlords were killed during land reform.[4]

The suppression of counterrevolutionaries targeted mainly former Kuomintang officials and intellectuals suspected of disloyalty.[6] At least 712,000 people were executed, 1,290,000 were imprisoned in labor camps and 1,200,000 were "subject to control at various times."[7] Mao personally set execution quotas.[8] For example, he gave these instructions to party cadre in Guangdong on January 22, 1951: ‘‘It is very good that you have already killed more than 3,700. Another three to four thousand should be killed . . . the target for this year’s executions may be eight or nine thousand."[7]

  1. ^ Short, Philip (2001). Mao: A Life. Owl Books. p. 631. ISBN 0805066381. ; Chang, Jung and Halliday, Jon. Mao: The Unknown Story. Jonathan Cape, London, 2005. ISBN 0-224-07126-2 p. 3; Rummel, R. J. China’s Bloody Century: Genocide and Mass Murder Since 1900 Transaction Publishers, 1991. ISBN 0-88738-417-X p. 205: In light of recent evidence, Rummel has increased Mao's democide toll to 77 million.
  2. ^ Fenby, Jonathan. Modern China: The Fall and Rise of a Great Power, 1850 to the Present. Ecco, 2008. ISBN 0-06-166116-3 p. 351"Mao’s responsibility for the extinction of anywhere from 40 to 70 million lives brands him as a mass killer greater than Hitler or Stalin, his indifference to the suffering and the loss of humans breathtaking."
  3. ^ a b c Goldhagen, Worse than War, p. 344
  4. ^ a b c d e Rummel, Rudolph J. (2007). China's bloody century: genocide and mass murder since 1900. Transaction Publishers. p. 223. ISBN 9781412806701. 
  5. ^ Short, Philip (2001). Mao: A Life. Owl Books. pp. 436–437. ISBN 0805066381. 
  6. ^ Steven W. Mosher. China Misperceived: American Illusions and Chinese Reality. Basic Books, 1992. ISBN 0465098134 pp 72, 73
  7. ^ a b Yang Kuisong. Reconsidering the Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries The China Quarterly, 193, March 2008, pp.102-121. PDF file.
  8. ^ Changyu, Li. "Mao's "Killing Quotas." Human Rights in China (HRIC) 26 September 2005, Shandong University" (PDF). 

Views? --JN466 16:42, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

Any objections to this going in the article via an editprotected request? --JN466 23:08, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
Seems fine -- though the "himself" is redundant <g>. Collect (talk) 23:12, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
Removed. --JN466 00:47, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
This looks like standard article improvement. Please remember to add to the appropriate China specific main article. You will also want to recharacterise Rummel's scholarship as controversial based on Tomislav Dulic' "Tito’s Slaughterhouse: A Critical Analysis of Rummel’s Work on Democide" Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 41, No. 1, 85-102 (2004) DOI: 10.1177/0022343304040051 ; Frank W. Wayman, Atsushi Tago. Explaining the Onset of Mass Killing: The Effect of War, Regime Type, and Economic Deprivation on Democide and Politicide, 1949-1987. Political Science Colloquium (Department of Political Science, HEI, Geneva Switzerland) Summer 2006. pdf. Wayman and Tago are useful if this goes down the FRINGE psuedo-science description path, or if someone finds that this research object actually exists, as they provide a particularly strong statistical refutation of it, "Even in democide model 3, the model in which a regime variable does best, regime type is still only the third most important variable, and is not as important as the internal militarized conflict emphasized by Krain and by Valentino et al. In fact, the interstate and extra state war variables are significant only once out of twelve opportunities, while both the civil war and coup variables are both significant in every test. The similarity across all our runs, then, is that Krain and Valentino tend to emphasize variables that are more important than the regime variables emphasized by Rummel. "(16-17). Fifelfoo (talk) 01:40, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
"The first large-scale killings took place during land reform and the counterrevolutionary campaign.". Wasn't the counter-revolutionary campaign just final stages of the Chinese Civil War? Also what's about Shanghai massacre of 1927? (Igny (talk) 02:14, 14 January 2010 (UTC))
As for the Shanghai massacre, according to our article on it, these were killings of communists, rather than killings by communists. This article only covers killings by the communist regime after their assumption of power. --JN466 18:33, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
  • I've added the preceding paragraph, with a sentence on Mao's planned use of violence added at the end sourced to Goldhagen, per Smallbones below. --JN466 23:05, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
I am not happy with Smallbones pushing his version below because the claim of "Mao planning the killing" should be properly attributed and not in the ambiguous way suggested by Smallbones. So instead of rather awkward
Based on the Soviets' experience, Mao considered violence necessary to achieve the Marxist ideal, and planned and executed violence on a grand scale. in version above,
I suggest something like
Based on the Soviets' experience, Mao considered violence necessary to achieve the Marxist ideal. According to Goldhagen, Mao's and Jen's predictions of death toll due to the reforms showed early intent to kill millions for the cause.(ref to GH)
Again, so far proposal 1 is more balanced than the others in my view. (Igny (talk) 00:49, 15 January 2010 (UTC))


Re: "Many historians and biographers, including Jonathan Fenby, Philip Short, R.J. Rummel, and Jung Chang, state that Mao Zedong's policies and political purges, such as the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, the Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries and land reform, brought about the deaths of tens of millions of people." Since the fact that tens of millions died in China in 1950s-60s is indisputable, I believe that "Many historians and biographers, including Jonathan Fenby, Philip Short, R.J. Rummel, and Jung Chang, state that " is redundant. In addition, since WP cannot be a source for itself, providing links to Rummel et al is hardly helpful. It will be sufficient to write

"Mao Zedong's policies and political purges, such as the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, the Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries and land reform, brought about the deaths of tens of millions of people." and support this statement with citations to Rummen's, Fenby's Short's etc books (with pages).

Re:"Based on the Soviets' experience, Mao considered violence necessary to achieve the Marxist ideal, and planned and executed violence on a grand scale." This statement reflects Goldhagen's views. In actuality, there was no single "Marxist ideal" and different leaders (Lenin, Stalin, Mao) understood the term "Marxis ideal" quite differently. For instance, D. L. Spencer and V. Katkoff write:

"''A Marxian theory of agriculture, as such, really does not exist. It is part of the whole Communist conception which must be set forth in simplified outline to grasp the role of agriculture. Russian Communism, in its general aspects, is formed on Marx's broad analysis of the economic evils of so-called capitalistic society, which analysis has been interpreted by Lenin, Stalin, Khruschev, and now in China, by Mao Tse-Tung. Perhaps the most fundamental assumption of the Marxian analysis is that the workers are exploited at the hands of the propertied classes. This exploitation is an organic evil, inherent in capitalism which causes a chronic and bitter struggle between the classes. Marx, the philosopher, spitefully attacks capitalism but he is not the bible maker for a new society he is often described to be. He describes what allegedly happens to the working class under capitalism and he calls upon the workers of the world to unite in crushing the parasite, capitalism. At this point his story ends. He does not tell how the emancipated means of production should be used, nor does he tell how the marketing system would operate under the new management. He does not explain how the exchange" (D. L. Spencer and V. Katkoff China's Land Transformation and the USSR Model. Land Economics, Vol. 33, No. 3 (Aug., 1957), pp. 241-256)

They also outline a difference between Marx's, Lenin's and Mao's vision of the peasantry's role in future socialist state:

"As is well known, Marx held that the workers of the cities would carry the spearhead of the revolution. Lenin moved in the direction of accepting the peasants as junior partners in the revolution. However, he never went as far as the Chinese, Mao, in putting full faith and primary emphasis on the role of the peasantry." (ibid)

I believe, these two sentences should be changed accordingly.--Paul Siebert (talk) 00:23, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

Just so you know, while the proposal 1 is more sensible than the ones below, as long as there are issues (including the ones raised by you), this particular version is not yet supported by consensus. So if you proceed with corrections, you will not edit against consensus, as some editors may claim. (Igny (talk) 00:35, 16 January 2010 (UTC))

Proposal 3

People's Republic of China

Many historians and biographers, including Jonathan Fenby, Philip Short, R.J. Rummel, and Jung Chang state that Mao Zedong's policies and political purges, such as the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, the Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries and land reform, brought about the deaths of tens of millions of people.[1][2] Based upon his Marxist ideology and knowledge of Soviet experience, Mao planned, as early as 1948, for the destruction of 50 million peasants, according to Daniel Goldhagen .[3]

Land reform and the suppression of counterrevolutionaries

The first large-scale killings took place during land reform and the counterrevolutionary campaign. Despite Mao's planned destruction of 50 million, and the 1948 statement of Jen Pi-shih, a member of the party's Central Committee, that "30,000,000 landlords and rich peasants would have to be destroyed," actual numbers killed in land reform are believed to have been lower, but did rank in the millions.[4][3] Rummel gives a "reasonably conservative figure" of about 4,500,000 landlords and better-off peasants killed.[4] Philip Short states that at least 1 to 3 million landlords and members of their families were killed, often beaten to death by enraged peasants at mass meetings organized by party work teams.[5] Estimates abroad ranged as high as 28,000,000 deaths; Mao estimated that 800,000 landlords were killed during land reform.[4]

The suppression of counterrevolutionaries targeted mainly former Kuomintang officials and intellectuals suspected of disloyalty.[6] At least 712,000 people were executed, 1,290,000 were imprisoned in labor camps and 1,200,000 were "subject to control at various times."[7] Mao personally set execution quotas.[8] For example, he gave these instructions to party cadre in Guangdong on January 22, 1951: ‘‘It is very good that you have already killed more than 3,700. Another three to four thousand should be killed . . . the target for this year’s executions may be eight or nine thousand."[7]

External links

"Source List and Detailed Death Tolls for the Twentieth Century Hemoclysm". Historical Atlas of the Twentieth Century. 

References

  1. ^ Short, Philip (2001). Mao: A Life. Owl Books. p. 631. ISBN 0805066381. ; Chang, Jung and Halliday, Jon. Mao: The Unknown Story. Jonathan Cape, London, 2005. ISBN 0-224-07126-2 p. 3; Rummel, R. J. China’s Bloody Century: Genocide and Mass Murder Since 1900 Transaction Publishers, 1991. ISBN 0-88738-417-X p. 205: In light of recent evidence, Rummel has increased Mao's democide toll to 77 million.
  2. ^ Fenby, Jonathan. Modern China: The Fall and Rise of a Great Power, 1850 to the Present. Ecco, 2008. ISBN 0-06-166116-3 p. 351"Mao’s responsibility for the extinction of anywhere from 40 to 70 million lives brands him as a mass killer greater than Hitler or Stalin, his indifference to the suffering and the loss of humans breathtaking."
  3. ^ a b Goldhagen, Worse than War, p. 344
  4. ^ a b c Rummel, Rudolph J. (2007). China's bloody century: genocide and mass murder since 1900. Transaction Publishers. p. 223. ISBN 9781412806701. 
  5. ^ Short, Philip (2001). Mao: A Life. Owl Books. pp. 436–437. ISBN 0805066381. 
  6. ^ Steven W. Mosher. China Misperceived: American Illusions and Chinese Reality. Basic Books, 1992. ISBN 0465098134 pp 72, 73
  7. ^ a b Yang Kuisong. Reconsidering the Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries The China Quarterly, 193, March 2008, pp.102-121. PDF file.
  8. ^ Changyu, Li. "Mao's "Killing Quotas." Human Rights in China (HRIC) 26 September 2005, Shandong University" (PDF). 

I've added the preceding paragraph to Proposal 1 above, with a sentence added at the end saying that Mao, informed by the Soviets' experience, considered violence necessary to achieve the Marxist ideal, and planned and executed it on a grand scale. Could you live with Proposal 1 as changed above, Smallbones? --JN466 23:08, 14 January 2010 (UTC)

Better then "live with", the added sentence is all I've ever been looking for. Minor quibbles: the external link should definitely go in, but under external links. The sentence "one-tenth of the peasants [about 50,000,000] would have to be destroyed" (the [] part) seems clumsy. Go with it Smallbones (talk) 23:42, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
The term "many" is vague - it does not state whether the view is mainstream or fringe. Also, providing Goldhagen's opinion on the killings implies that the other writers share his interpretation. The Four Deuces (talk) 23:54, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
"Many" is the current wording in the article, so the proposals do not involve a change of that sentence. Could I suggest that we address this issue in a separate edit? And are you alright with the changes that proposal 1 would entail compared to what we have now? --JN466 00:13, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, that's wonderful.
I am happy for us to add an external link to this page. The reason is that this personal website is widely cited for fact by reputable sources: 237 hits in google books, 183 hits in google scholar; cf. [1], so an exception is warranted per WP:SPS. Does anyone object to having this link added as an external link? (Should we link to the top of the page, rather than the China section? Or should we have multiple links for all relevant sections?) JN466 00:13, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Either link is fine. In general I'm only comfortable putting links in the section "==External links==" but I'd put this one right at the top of that section. Whatever you think best, but this style in the middle of an article looks pretty funky to me. It is a remarkable site, isn't it? Smallbones (talk) 00:55, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

If you so want that link to the Atlas, how do you explain the phrase "The first large-scale killings occurred..."? According the the Atlas you are so eager to include, a number of mass killings (millions of deaths) occurred before Mao came to power, including 5+ million because of famines and floods, and millions of "democides" by both communists and nationalists during the Chinese civil war. (Igny (talk) 04:38, 15 January 2010 (UTC))

That sentence comes under the heading People's Republic of China and the subheading Land reform and the suppression of counterrevolutionaries so in context it's unlikely that readers will think that these were the first large-scale killings ever. But it's easily solved in any case. How about "The first large-scale killings under Mao occurred..."? Smallbones (talk) 14:01, 15 January 2010 (UTC)


The Great Leap Forward

I noticed that this section has a lot of details (some irrelevant) copy-pasted from the main article. Can't it be trimmed to a summary highlighting why it is relevant to mass killings? (Igny (talk) 23:04, 15 January 2010 (UTC))

More on Mao

[2] New York Times "Witness To Mao's Crimes" By Edward A. Gargan (Hong Kong Bureau Chief for the NYT)Published: June 30, 1996. Perhaps no man is responsible for as many deaths in this century as Mao. etc.

[3] questions the WP sanitizing of Mao.

Pu Zhiqiang at [4] raises some worthwhile points. See [5] [6] [7] and so on as well for his c.v. and positions.

[8] Sylvia Nasar states:

THE world still thinks of famine the way that Malthus did, as Mother Nature's revenge on hapless humanity. In fact, famine is anything but what the dour English economist called "nature's last most dreadful resource." As in Somalia, it is often a man-made disaster, an avoidable economic and political catastrophe.

Modern transportation has made it easier to move relief supplies. But far more important are the incentives governments have to save their own people. It's no accident that the familiar horror stories of the 19th and early 20th centuries occurred in one-party states, dictatorships or colonies: China, British India, Stalin's Russia.

In Mao's China, up to 30 million may have starved during the Great Leap Forward. The government confiscated millions of villagers' family plots to gather them into collective farms, assuming the owners would keep working out of loyalty to socialist ideals. Output plummeted. But Beijing did nothing, partially because it did not realize the program had failed; it actually increased the amounts that rural areas were required to send to cities. By 1960, as the famine was coming to a peak, the authorities thought they had 100 million more metric tons of grain than they did.

And so on. Collect (talk) 15:23, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

I do not see how any of these sources are helpful. They are basically comments from people who are not experts and do not explain where they got their figures. Most likely they have obtained them from the writers we have been discussing. 17:04, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Actually - they are each expert. As such, their comments do have substantial weight. And definitely not taken from wrtiers we have been discussing -- did you read their c.v.s? These represent individual expert opinion not connected to other sources cited. Collect (talk) 18:55, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
I see nothing in their CVs that indicates they are experts and none of the sources you articles were published in peer-reviewed journals. The Four Deuces (talk) 22:46, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Congrats on being able to decide that Pu Zhiqiang is not an expert on China <g>. And that the New York Times is no longer a reliable source for WP. And that books published by reliable source publishers are no longer reliable sources for WP. Collect (talk) 03:30, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
We are not asking him for a legal advice here. Is he an expert on social studies? (Igny (talk) 04:01, 16 January 2010 (UTC))
He is an expert on civil rights in China, and on the practices of the Chinese Government with regard to human rights. So this is not "legal advice" but is indeed expert knowledge of how rights are regarded, and have been regarded, in China.
Could you give me a link to a list of his publications on any of the mentioned subjects? (Igny (talk) 05:03, 16 January 2010 (UTC))
You mean aside from such things as representing people in court cases in China (including Freedom of the Press issues), writing for foreign publications on the status of human rights in China, being interrogated [9], being subjected to police surveillance and having his movements restricted -- yes -- he knows nothing at all about human rights in China. Nor did Solshenitzen know anything about human rights in the USSR. The Washington Post [10] said "What happened in the Fuyang case highlights a momentous struggle underway in China between a ruling party that sees the law as an instrument of control and a society that increasingly believes it should be used for something else: a check on the power of government officials and a guardian of individual rights. How this conflict unfolds could transform the country's authoritarian political system." Seems the WaPo seems to esteem the fellow. "In a nation where censorship is standard and criticizing the party can lead to prison, he had become China's version of a First Amendment lawyer." Yep - the guy is an expert. Collect (talk) 05:27, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
I think you are confusing this article with Human rights in the People's Republic of China. (Igny (talk) 05:34, 16 January 2010 (UTC))
I rather think you do not recognize life as a Human Right <g>. The man is an expert on life in China, and the acts of its government. Collect (talk) 05:38, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
Collect, you do not seem to appreciate academic study. There are universities that employ scholars who research various subjects and publish papers in peer-reviewed journals. Other scholars then comment on their opinions and concensus is reached on them. Their writings are considered high quality reliable sources for articles. Writers who do not submit their theories to peer review are not considered to be authoritative. These articles should reflect received wisdom of the academic world even if we do not agree with them and we should not argue about fringe theories that have no academic recognition. When you propose sources you should think that if you were a college student would your source be acceptable. The Four Deuces (talk) 06:09, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
Has it occured to you that China does not exactly have a free press for any articles? Nor any journals about human rights at all? Solshenitzen is clearly not to be trusted <g>. PZ has as good, or better, credentials. BTW, you make the precise reverse argument elsewhere on other articles <g>. Collect (talk) 06:26, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

(out) Collect, I seem to be failing to explain to you what I mean so I will try again. Having a free press has nothing to do with academic excellence. I suppose that countries that do not have a free press are unlikely to have academic freedom, but that is irrelevant. Academic journals are different from newspapers and we should rely upon academic journals. A reputable journal from the US is a reliable source about China. It is not necessary that the subject country have academic journals in order for reliable academic studies to be available. For example, there were no academic journals during the Ice Age but there are academic journals that are reliable sources for the Ice Age. PZ having a BA and a law degree and writing for an American newspaper does not make him an expert. He has not submitted his works to academic scrutiny. Nor for that matter has Solshenitzen. That is not to say that their views should be discounted, only that we have no way of evaluating them and must rely on academic opinion of their conclusions. I have never argued otherwise in other articles. I have always insisted on high standards and hope that some day I will persuade you to agree with that. The Four Deuces (talk) 07:16, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

IOW, since China has no such journals, no one from China is an authority on Human Rights in China? An interesting claim -- but a bit weird. [11] however shows the variability of your sourcing standards <g>. There you say "use Google or Yahoo" as a source! Collect (talk) 13:15, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
In the example you gave you had deleted text with the notation "can not find any connection of PRescott Bush to the ALL - and I looked hard". I then added back the text with the notation "Reverse previous edit - suggest the editor use a search engine like google or yahoo", then added a reference.[12] I was not suggesting that you use a search engine as a source but rather as an engine to search for a source. Your comment "IOW, since China has no such journals, no one from China is an authority on Human Rights in China?" is incorrect. There are experts on human rights in China outside China, but you have chosen to ignore them and use non-experts for reasons that are unclear. The Four Deuces (talk) 16:09, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

...perished under the Soviets

The para:

"The most notorious killings occurred in the spring of 1940, when the NKVD executed some 21,857 Polish POW's and intellectual leaders on the orders of Stalin and Beria in what has become known as the Katyn massacre,[1] with some 6,000 of these being shot by Stalin's chief executioner, Vasili Blokhin.[2][3] According to the Polish Institute of National Remembrance, 150,000 Polish citizens perished under Soviet rule during the war. [4] "

looks ambiguously. The extended quote from the last source states that:

"According to the IPN, between 5.47 million and 5.67 million Polish citizens died at the hands of the Nazis. Some 150,000 perished under the Soviets."

In other words, 150,000 were those who died prematurely in Soviet occupied Eastern Poland and in exile for various reasons. It is not clear from the source that all these persons were killed by Communists. This sentence should be fixed.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:47, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

Okay, this is really starting to get ridiculous. They clearly mean those who were killed by Soviet forces, and not people who just happened to "die" (natural causes, crime victims, etc) when the Reds were in charge.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 14:33, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
If you look carefully at the original text you will see that the INR's report is about "death toll", i.e. total population losses (including, e.g. the deportees who died prematurely). It is not clear from the source if they were killed by the Soviets (just "perished under the Soviets", that is not the same). I believe, additional clarification is needed (e.g. the original INR's text, not a brief summary written by a non-professional historian).--Paul Siebert (talk) 01:26, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

Scholarly sources

Here are a couple of sources that may be useful:

  • Mann, Michael: The dark side of democracy: explaining ethnic cleansing, Cambridge University Press (has a chapter called "Communist cleansing" which discusses mass killings in the Soviet Union, China and Cambodia, describing them as belonging to a "single family".)
  • William Rubinstein, Genocide: a history, has successive chapters on "Soviet communism" (p. 198) and "Asian communism" (p. 213, covering Mao, Pol Pot and North Korea). Quote: "Yet, plainly, any definition of 'genocide' or 'democide' in the modern world, and especially during the era of totalitarianism, must include mass killings based on 'class' as well as ethnicity within it, or most of the millions who perished under Communism will somehow be written out of the history of genocide. Regrettably, this has characterised some recent works on genocide. Yet in the twentieth century, it seems likely (though not certain) that many more people were killed as a result of their alleged 'class' than because of their ethnicity. Certainly the numbers involved (and often the two are conflated and confused) would not be radically dissimilar." (p. 199) --JN466 14:17, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

Unlocked

I put in Proposal 1 as above with "under Mao" in it (per comment) and split the quote from Mao to make it clear that he didn't say "about 50 million." I do hope that reliable sources won't be removed without extensive discussions here, or at WP:RSN Smallbones (talk) 22:23, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

  • Thanks. --JN466 22:55, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Please do not try to weaken the last sentence of the first paragraph of Proposal 1. "Based on the Soviets' experience, Mao considered violence necessary to achieve his goals, and demonstrated intent to kill millions for the cause." which was put in removes the "Marxist" which is clearly in goldhagen, and "plan" was replaced by "demonstrated intent". Goldhagen uses the words "intention" "program" "policy" and quotes from a plan. "Plan" is a perfectly good word to summarize the passage. "Demonstrated intent" is at best twisted English and wishy-washy. Smallbones (talk) 14:29, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
There is no "plan" in the source. There is "intent" in the source. That the source used wishy-washy English is not Wikipedia's problem. And while Mao's ideal was derived from Marxism, it is not Marxist ideal. (Igny (talk) 14:33, 16 January 2010 (UTC))

Goldhagen's prose definitely is not wishy-washy, but the prose you inserted is. "Demonstrated intent" is not in Goldhagen - nor in any good English writing. "Planned" describes exactly what Goldhagen wrote about. I suppose everybody has a different version of any ideal, but I don't know that it's up to you to say that Mao wasn't a real Marxist. Perhaps "his Marxist ideals" would satisfy you. Anything stronger goes too far from what Goldhagen wrote. Finally I have to say that you've removed every version of that sentence that I've put in - is it 7 times now? You have been, and are still being, very aggressive on this - please just cool down. If you want to do anything with this sentence please discuss it first and let others comment as well. Smallbones (talk) 00:41, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

I have just paraphrased your favorite Goldhagen, "For Mao and the Chinese communist leaders, the ideal of a transformed and purified communist society derived from Marxism.". Other than word for word quoting how else you would say that? I also could not help but notice your aggressive push for "Mao planned to kill 80 million". I was reasonable (despite your ignoring my valid points) and suggested that you find any source actually saying that "Mao planned to kill [place your number here] of people". So far, "plans of Mao" were just your interpretation of Goldhagen's source. Why are you so against using actual Goldhagen's words here, and he used "intentions" not "planning". But I guess this issue is similar to your adding skills demonstrated earlier, it seems that you can't just see the difference between intention and planning. (Igny (talk) 01:06, 17 January 2010 (UTC))
You really can not get any closer to Goldhagen's prose than in my latest version. Thank you for correcting English, the articles in English are my biggest problem in writing. (Igny (talk) 02:25, 17 January 2010 (UTC))
"Formulated" "schemed" "implemented his program" would all have a better foundation in Goldhagen then "demonstrated his intention," but the first three all mean "planned" in plain English. "Demonstrated his intention" hides more than it actually says - perhaps it means that he pounded the table to make a speech seem more emphatic? Who knows? Please stop trying to weaken or eliminate the sentence. As I said you are being very aggressive on this, please back off. Smallbones (talk) 04:55, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
I will back off for now. I think the whole article needs a lot of work, and I will let other sensible editors do their work. I also think that the whole section on China needs a rewrite, and I come back to it later, provided that the article does not get deleted while I collect my sources... (Igny (talk) 05:08, 17 January 2010 (UTC))

I have searched google scholar and goldhagen and could not find any source claiming that Mao actually planned violence/killing. All I could find was that communist party planned the agrarian reforms and Mao predicted a possible death toll from the reforms. To conclude that he planned the deaths would be OR as it is not actually sourced as of today. (Igny (talk) 15:36, 17 January 2010 (UTC))

Igny insists that he can't see how "planned" helps summarize the following block quote accurately and puts a tag on this sentence:

"Based on the Soviets' experience, Mao considered violence necessary to achieve an ideal society derived from Marxism and planned[not in citation given] and executed violence on a grand scale.[5]"

It's clear in summarizing that words not used in the original may be used in the summary. "Intention to practice thoroughgoing eliminationist politics" "study material conveyed to the party membership that his schemes" "The communist leadership's intention already well formulated (and communicated to their ideologically like-minded followers)" "began, upon taking power, to implement their eliminationist policies in programs" all can be summarized using the word "plan." If Igny can't see it - I don't know what else to do - it is so obvious. I'll just ask others. Is the word "plan" an obvious word to use in summaring the following passage? Smallbones (talk) 16:02, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

For Mao and the Chinese communist leaders, the ideal of a transformed and purified communist society derived from Marxism. The knowledge that they must use violence to achieve it derived from the experience of their mentors, the Soviets. Therefore, the intention to practice thoroughgoing eliminationist politics took shape much earlier than it had with the Soviets, crystallizing in mass-murderous thinking as the communists’ victory over the nationalists and the assumption of power neared. In 1948, Mao in "agrarian reform" study materials conveyed to the party membership that his schemes for restructuring overpopulated China required that "one-tenth of the peasants would have to be destroyed" One tenth of half a billion is fifty million. In 1948 Jen Pi-Shih of the Communist party's Central Committee declared in a speech to the party cadres that "30,000,000 landlords and rich peasants would have to be destroyed" The communist leadership's intention already well formulated (and communicated to their ideologically like-minded followers), they began, upon taking power, to implement their eliminationist policies in programs of population movement, mass executions, and mass incarcerations of landlords, rich pesants, and other class enemies in the vast camp system they created. The communists exterminated Chinese on the order of magnitude that Mao and Jen had foretold well before they had begun.

  • I am against using the word "planning" simply because it is not in Goldhagen's source and I could not find any other source on Google where the phrase "mao planned" violence or killing "on grand scale" or "in millions" was used. Goldhagen himself used the word "intention", and I do not mind if the word "intended" was used in this article. Also the land reform was already under way in 1948 (it dated 1946-1950 and contributed a lot to the communist victory in the civil war), so my question is did Mao refer in his 1948 study to this particular agrarian reform where some less than 5 million were killed, or to the Great Chinese Famine (dated 1958-1961) where some 20-40 million peasants died? When you insisted on your figure of peasants planned to be killed, you cited total mortality of tens of millions of deaths which included that famine, which, according to you, justifies the "Mao plan" of killing 80 million. I understand your push to include Mao's plan to kill tens of millions, but as of today it is your OR. (Igny (talk) 16:19, 18 January 2010 (UTC))

I am asking other people to comment Smallbones (talk) 18:39, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

I've added Rummel as a second citation. Rummel says, "Mao Tse Tung, the undisputed ruler of the party and thus of the country in these years, instructed cadres that one-tenth of the peasants would have to be destroyed" and later refers to this as Mao's "pre-victory instruction". If Mao put out study materials teaching cadres that these numbers of people would have to be destroyed, that is indicative of clear foresight and planning. (Note though the Cambridge University Press history of China linked below, which presents a more differentiated course of land reform.) --JN466 03:28, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

Significance of mass killings debate

Here is another journal article that discusses the significance of the Communist mass killings debate in Hungary by genocide scholar Randolph L. Braham:[13]

Still another technique frequently employed by history cleansers is that of relativization. Denying the uniqueness of the Holocaust, the destruction of the Jews is viewed as just another chapter in the long history of man's inhumanity to man. In a sophisticated manner these cleansers exploit the "historical data" and rationalizations originally advanced by the historical revisionists to prove that the Holocaust was not only preceded by other similar calamities, ... but was also exceeded in scope and size by the mass murders committed by the Communist regimes....
In this context, the history cleansers attempt to counterbalance the atrocities committed by the Nazis and their accomplices with those perpetrated by the Soviet Union--and the Communists--both during and after the war. Because Communism and Bolshevism have since 1919 been identified in anti-Semitic propaganda as Jewish in origin and character, these cleansers ease their personal and national conscience by insisting that the wartime suffering of the Jews was matched, if not exceeded, by the pain the Jews supposedly inflicted upon the citizenry during the Communist era. This was particularly the case during the Stalinist period when, in their view, the Jews exploited their power to avenge the suffering they had endured during the Holocaust. In parliamentary debates and other public forums, Hungarians are occasionally reminded of the Jewish factor during the Soviet era when speakers selectively identify former Communist leaders by their original Jewish names.
Another ploy in this context is the tendency to equate Auschwitz with the Gulag, "balancing" the suffering of the Jews with that endured by Hungarian POWs and other political prisoners in Soviet camps. Borrowing a page from their counterparts elsewhere, the Hungarian revisionists claim that Auschwitz had in fact been modeled on the Gulag, revealing their ignorance about the fundamental differences in the operation and objectives of the Nazi death camps and the Soviet penal establishments.

Braham also mentions that these history cleansers attempt to place exclusive blame for the Holocaust on Germans, which is what Goldhagen did in Hitler's Willing Executioners. I feel that by repeating the claims of sources like the Black Book without including the mainstream interpretation of those views we are merely promoting fringe theories that have biased implications.

The Four Deuces (talk) 23:49, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

That looks to me like some potentially worthwhile material for the article. --FormerIP (talk) 00:45, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
Also have you looked at [14]? (Igny (talk) 01:52, 16 January 2010 (UTC))
Several scholars, probably, independently, put forward an idea that overstating the scale and brutality of Communist mass killing opens an avenue for various kinds of apologetic (mostly for apologetic of Nazism). I believe, a separate section can be added to the article to discuss this issue.--Paul Siebert (talk) 05:22, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
Braham is a Holocaust scholar, and this is going slightly off-topic. I'd like to see evidence that this discussion is a recurrent feature in the discourse of scholars investigating the mass killings this article is concerned with. If we do add a separate section on this point, it should be short and to the point, but I really do wonder if this is the right article for it. --JN466 14:19, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
As far as Braham is a Holocaust scholars, he is a "genocide scholar", i.e. it belongs to the same category as Rummel, Fein et al. Therefore, I don't see why this goes "off topic".
Re: "I really do wonder if this is the right article for it." Since the Communist mass killing concept is being discussed in this article, all aspects of this concept should be discussed, including the example of this concept's use as a tool for Nazi apologetics.--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:14, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
Calling any living person a "Nazi apologist" is, however, beyond the ragged edge of BLP -- in order to have such a charge about any living person or persons, we would need the highest order RS for such a claim, not just a speculation about them. Collect (talk) 15:27, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
Here they are:
"The problems with the (The Black Book. P.S.)authors' flawed comparison are not merely intellectual. Intentionally or not, their argument opens the door for all kinds of apologetics."(Amir Weiner. Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Vol. 32, No. 3 (Winter, 2002), pp. 450-452)
"Recently, great notoriety has been aroused by several attempts to draw a simplistic causal link between the repression and mass killing in the Soviet Union and in Germany. These claims (or in the case of Nolte suggestions) are generally based on a poorly defined understanding of the complexities of these phenomena, an inaccurate understanding of their scale and a weak appreciation of their chronology. These scholars have, with reason, been accused of attempting to 'relativise' the abhorrent nature of Hitler's Germany." (Stephen Wheatcroft. The Scale and Nature of German and Soviet Repression and Mass Killings, 1930-45 Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 48, No. 8 (Dec., 1996), pp. 1319-1353)--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:40, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
IOW, pure speculation, and no accusation of any specific persons being "Nazi apologists." Not relevant to an article dealing with the discussions about killings and causes of such killings. Collect (talk) 15:49, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
What kind of apologetics does Weiner mean, in your opinion? And, obviously, attempts to "'relativise' the abhorrent nature of Hitler's Germany" is a first step towards Nazi apologetics, isn't it?--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:09, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

(out) Ronald Grigor Suny discusses the same issues in "Russian terror/ism and revisionist historiography", Australian Journal of Politics and History The, March, 2007.[15] Jan Herman Brinks outlines a similar view in "Anti-Semitism in Europe, 1914-2004" in Scribner's Encyclopedia.[16] The reality is that the theories we are advancing in this article have never been submitted to academic scrutiny and have been attacked by the academic community not only as pseudohistory but as an attempt to promote anti-semitism. The Four Deuces (talk) 15:50, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

Could you point out which theories advanced in the article you are referring to, specifically? --JN466 23:38, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
The linking of Communism to mass killings is itself attacked in the articles mentioned as part of a new anti-semitism that seeks to trivialize the Holocaust and blame Jews for both the Second World War and Communist domination of Eastern Europe. The fact that the article itself provides a list of Communist atrocities gives credence to revisionist history. And the revisionist historians are treated as the equals of scholars who actually subjected their views to peer review. Here are the beginnings of sections taken from them:
  • Robert Conquest stressed ....
  • John N. Gray argues...
  • Literary historian George Watson argued...
  • The Black Book of Communism is...
The Four Deuces (talk) 04:03, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
The article mentions neither Judaism, Jews, Nazis, nor the holocaust. In the absence of such mentions, it is hard to take seriously the charge that the very description of mass killings by communist regimes should somehow be antisemitic. --JN466 04:41, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
There is an implied anti-Semitism in the theory that there is a connection between communism and mass killings, which is clearly outlined in the sources I presented. The Four Deuces (talk) 07:38, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
An implied anti-communism, perhaps, but not an implied anti-semitism. Communism and Judaism are not the same. --JN466 12:56, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
You should read the sources I provided. "Anti-semitism" for example, explains the significance of the Communist mass killing theory:
The German occupation, collaboration and the Holocaust are treated as occurrences of secondary importance, while much of the criticism is directed at Bolshevism, which continues to be associated with Jewry. This is especially true for the Baltic States, Poland and Ukraine.
See also Jewish Bolshevism.
The Four Deuces (talk) 13:18, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
If you're implying that the millions of deaths under communist regimes are a theory or invention perpetrated by antisemites to make the Nazis look good, and assert that there really were no such mass killings in the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia, etc. (is there perhaps a fringe theory claiming that the Chinese and Cambodian communists were Jewish as well??), then this conversation is effectively over. Have a good day! --JN466 20:54, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
Please do not accuse me of "implying that the millions of deaths under communist regimes are a theory or invention". I said no such thing. I said "The linking of Communism to mass killings is itself attacked in the articles mentioned as part of a new anti-semitism". There is nothing inherent in Marxist teaching that requires its followers to engage in mass killings. Goldhagen btw in Hitler's Willing Executioners says that ordinary Germans not only knew about, but also supported, the Holocaust because of a unique and virulent "eliminationist antisemitism" in the German identity. Do you think that anyone who disputes that theory is denying Nazi crimes? The Four Deuces (talk) 16:35, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
There may be nothing inherent in Marx's Marxism that requires mass-killing, but the fact remains that the two most populous countries in the world to have had a home-grown communist revolution ended up killing millions of their own citizens, based on class enemy rationales. Communism is not (just) Marxism. It is also Leninism, Maoism, etc. You are welcome to continue this dialogue on my user talk page. --JN466 01:02, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

Speaking of "revisionist historians" than in the context comes up one called Stephen Wheatcroft who according to Revisionism in Soviet History by Sheila Fitzpatrick [17] "was the main revisionist player in the numbers argument, opposed at different times by Steven Rosefielde, Robert conquest" ; + according to John Keep in an overview on Recent Writing on Stalin's Gulag [18] published by the International Association for the History of Crime and Criminal Justice states that "the risk by revisionists like Wheatcroft of sliding towards an apologetic stance has not yet been wholly eliminated".--Termer (talk) 04:45, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

Bingo. And he does more than simply minimize the numbers. (I like how he can admit that Stalin is "probably" responsible for more deaths than Hitler, then says only about a million are "purposive" and all the rest are attributable to "criminal neglect" and Stalin's "ruthlessness." Ruthlessness? WTF kind of an analysis is that???, but I digress...) In the same article he whitewashes Stalin's crimes even further by advancing the clearly fringe theory that such "purposive deaths" would not even constitute actual murder, but were merely "executions," as Stalin believed they were all indeed guilty of serious crimes and their execution “would act as a deterrent to the guilty.” But close analysis of Stalin's own behavior, such as ordering confessions beaten out of prisoners, covering up the crimes by having the killings done at night and the victims secretly buried in mass graves (not much of a deterrent, if the population doesn’t even know about them, eh???), and throwing a fit that political executions were being considered "genocide" in the 1946 Genocide convention (which is why they are excluded in today's definition. Thanks Uncle Joe!) - clearly fearful that his killings could and would under that definition constitute not only murder but genocide, shows that this is not the case. Another revisionist "historian," Robert W. Thurston (a true hack), advocates a similar view in his rubbish of a book ”Life and Terror in Stalin’s Russia,” claiming that “Stalin wasn't guilty of mass first degree murder from 1934-1941.” which is ripped to shreds by Steven Merritt Miner in the NY Times: “How, then, to explain things like his decision one day in March 1940 to shoot more than 20,000 Polish prisoners -- an atrocity Mr. Thurston does not discuss? It seems that Stalin believed his victims really were enemies. If we were to accept this twisted logic, of course, there could be practically no such thing as murder, since most killers believe their victims deserve their fate.” In the book In Denial by Harvey and Klehr, such historians are compared to holocaust deniers, and I believe such a comparison is right on point. I've already added rebuttals from Rosefielde, Ellman and Conquest to the section of the article where Wheatcroft's dubious estimates are discussed. I'm pondering adding the quote you cited from John Keep and perhaps some materials from the aforementioned book In Denial on the attempt from others of his ilk in minimizing Stalin's crimes.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 15:01, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
Conquest was a mainstream historian in the 1960s but his later popular books do not have the same reliability. Here btw is what he says about the link between communist theory and killings:
In few fields were the teachings of Marx and Engels of less definitive value to Soviet policy makers than in that of the national question. Soviet Nationalities Policy in Practice (1967) p. 15
The Great Terror of 1936 to 1938 did not come out of the blue. Like any other historical phenomenon, it had its roots in the past. It would no doubt be misleading to argue that it followed inevitably from the nature of Soviet society and of the Communist Party. It was itself a means of enforcing violent change upon that society and that party. But all the same, it could not have been launched except against the extraordinarily idiosyncratic background of Bolshevik rule; and its special characteristics, some of them hardly credible to foreign minds, derive from a specific tradition. The dominating ideas of the Stalin period, the evolution of the oppositionists, the very confessions in the great show trials, can hardly be followed without considering not so much the whole Soviet past as the development of the Party, the consolidation of the dictatorship, the movements of faction, the rise of individuals, and the emergence of extreme economic policies....
Moreover, Stalin was well aware of Marx's economic objection to slavery. And with his usual refusal to accept precedent, he sought to overcome it by the simple but untried method of not giving the slave a flat subsistence, but linking his rations to his output. In this way, it was thought, the lack of incentive Marx had pointed to was overcome. The Great Terror: A Reassessment (1968) p. 3, 332
The Four Deuces (talk) 07:20, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

Re: "And he does more than simply minimize the numbers." You should read more on the subject. A long discussion between Conquest, Wheathcroft, Rosenfelde et al around controversial Zemskov's data on GULAG population, camp mortality and the number of executions was summarised by Conquest as follows:

"We are all inclined to accept the Zemskov totals (even if not as complete) with their 14 million intake to Gulag 'camps' alone, to which must be added 4-5 million going to Gulag 'colonies', to say nothing of the 3.5 million already in, or sent to, 'labour settlements' " (Robert Conquest. Victims of Stalinism: A Comment. Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 49, No. 7 (Nov., 1997), pp. 1317-1319)

It is worth noting that one of important Wheathcroft's contribution to that work was a meticulous comparative study of figures obtained from central and regional NKVD archives to reveal inconsistencies that may be a sign of falsifications. He found, for example, that a massive release of prisoners in late 1930s was in actuality a release of fatally sick men, who died in a year after release. By doing that he demonstrated that actual GULAG mortality was ~10% higher than official figures tell, and that is completely opposite to what you (baselessly) accuse him in. Wheathcroft's work is a brilliant example of meticulous and careful study, by contrast to Rummel's potboiler, btw (I can provide sources my statement is based on).

With regards to non-GULAG and non-execution deaths, lets look at reviews on Wheathcroft's book "Years of hunger":

"These famines (Soviet famine in 1932-33. P.S.) have been the subject of extensive research in Russia and abroad, particularly after the opening of the Soviet archives in late perestroika. The volume brings important clarity and order to the vast primary materials published over the past few years. The main question is, was the famine deliberate, that is, was it brought about by Stalin for its own sake, as Robert Conquest argued in his The Harvest of Sorrow (1986). By a careful analysis of correspondence and records of discussion at Poliburo meetings, statistical materials, reports and eyewitness accounts, Davies & Wheatcroft find abundant evidence of rigid ideological decision making and tragic mistakes but no record of the use of famine as a deliberate policy.
There can be little question that this study will supersede other accounts of the famine....Powerfully written, the book, even more than others in the series, is hard to put down." (Carol Scott Leonard Reviewed work(s): The Years of Hunger: Soviet Agriculture, 1931-1933 by R. W. Davies ; Stephen G. Wheatcroft. Source: Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 57, No. 1 (Jan., 2005), pp. 155-156)

Another reviewer writes that

"R. W. Davies and Stephen Wheatcroft have produced the definitive work on Soviet agriculture in the key period 1931–33."
"The authors (particularly Wheatcroft) are the most authoritative experts in the world on grain statistics (see, e.g., their appendix on grain harvests)."
"The book uses rich archival materials that were obviously not available in 1980and that allow the authors to look behind the scenes into the minds and actions of the top leadership."
"The authors (particularly Wheatcroft) are the most authoritative experts in the world on grain statistics (see, e.g., their appendix on grain harvests). Because of remaining uncertainty surrounding Russian grain statistics, Davies and Wheatcroft provide ranges rather than point estimators for the period 1928–33."(Paul Gregory. Reviewed work(s): The Years of Hunger: Soviet Agriculture, 1931-1933 by R. W. Davies; Stephen G. Wheatcroft The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 78, No. 2 (Jun., 2006), pp. 539-541).

Re: "I'm pondering adding the quote you cited from John Keep". Consider also a possibility to check the quote's authenticity, because the original text is somewhat different.
Re: " by advancing the clearly fringe theory that such "purposive deaths" would not even constitute actual murder, but were merely "executions," " By looking at the original text:

"The category of state-organised purposive inducement of death or killing could be divided into state-organised executions and state-organised murder"

it is hard to see what fringe theory do you mean. By contrast to many "genocide scholars" Wheathcroft introduces no original terminology, he just notes that there was a big difference between those who was executed according to (minimal) legal procedure (note, even execution of the Poles in Katyn was performed according to separate lists, and this execution was authorized personally by Stalin), and those anonymous victims who were being rounded up as a herd and sent to gas chambers. That is not a theory, just an observation.
I don't think piling up a heap of ridiculous accusations is a good way to expose Stalin's crimes. By separating real Stalin's crimes from Cold war's myths Wheatcroft is doing much more useful job than all "genocide scholars" taken together.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:36, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

"lets look at reviews on Wheathcroft's book "Years of hunger"" What does this prove? I can find glowing reviews of books like The Black Book of Communism and A Century of Violence in Soviet Russia (among others) as well. I know this has become the bible for those seeking to exonerate Stalin for the famines, but not everyone agrees with its conclusions.
"Davies & Wheatcroft find abundant evidence of rigid ideological decision making and tragic mistakes but no record of the use of famine as a deliberate policy." But other scholars who have studied Soviet famines, such as Michael Ellman (whose reply to Wheatcroft in 2007 was brilliant), take issue with this, and argue that famine was used as a weapon once it had started, and, according to Jasper Becker, the same was true during China's Great Famine: in both cases the starvation was steered towards the regimes opponents as a cheap and more efficient means of eradicating them. And apparently there is evidence that Mengistu's regime behaved in a similar manner.
Consider also a possibility to check the quote's authenticity, because the original text is somewhat different. I have done that and you are right, although Keep's point remains the same.
"he just notes that there was a big difference between those who was executed according to (minimal) legal procedure note, even execution of the Poles in Katyn was performed according to separate lists, and this execution was authorized personally by Stalin" Big difference? Really? Shooting tens of thousands of people on the whims of Beria branding them "anti-Soviet elements" and putting their names on a death list doesn't change the fact that it's cold blooded murder, as they were never charged with a crime or given a trial. Morally I fail to see how it's any different than the Nazi massacres of Polish citizens during this time, which Wheatcroft I believe put at under 10,000. Likewise, NKVD troikas sentencing whole lists of people to death within mere minutes during the purges does not constitute "legal" executions in the slightest, and doing so with the utmost secrecy while dumping their battered bodies in mass graves (much as the Nazis did their victims) makes them even less so. Summary executions are murder. It's this kind of hair-splitting that leads to crackpot apologists like Thurston claiming Stalin "didn't engage in mass first degree murder." What it shows is the Soviet regime institutionalized political murder. Funny thing is, Stalin himself knew this, which is why, at his insistence, the 1948 Genocide convention excluded political killings. And then there are the tens of thousands of political prisoners slaughtered as the Soviets were retreating in the face of the Nazi onslaught, with grenades being tossed into crowded cells, prisoners being bayoneted to death and machine-gunned in batches... are you going to also argue that these were merely "executions"? Or how about those who were tortured to death in NKVD custody in the occupied territories, which, according to historian Jan T. Gross, was a wide and systematic procedure? And lets not forget the arbitrary killings by the Cheka during the Red Terror, which amounted to tens of thousands of anonymous peasants and bourgeois hostages being shot off hand, hung, drowned and subjected to other bestial atrocities (see Melgunov, Figes and Leggett on this, among others).--C.J. Griffin (talk) 22:49, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
Re:" What does this prove? I can find glowing reviews of books like "The Black Book of Communism"". Please, do it. I tried to find laudatory reviews no this book in peer-reviewed journals, but I found only one positive review (out of five). By contrast, the reviews on Wheatcroft's books in peer-reviewed journals are mostly positive. Here is one more quote, btw.
"At the heart of this book, however, are three important articles by Stephen Wheatcroft that are essential reading for students of twentieth-century Russian history. A study of the 1932-33 famine, which he wrote in collaboration with R. W. Davies, utilizes in-depth research in newly declassified Soviet archives to demonstrate that this was not a "terrorfamine," created to suppress Ukraine, as Robert Conquest has argued. Davies and Wheatcroft demonstrate convincingly that the 1932 crop nationwide was significantly smaller than previously assumed. To be sure, grain collections in the famine years were harsh, but Iosif Stalin's policies were less rigid than hitherto maintained, as the amounts of grain collected and exported were repeatedly secretly reduced, especially in Ukraine, while seed, food, and fodder loans were secretly extended to regions hardest hit by the famine, so the Politburo appeared publicly to be more ruthless than it actually was."(Roberta T. Manning. Reviewed work(s): Challenging Traditional Views of Russian History . By Stephen G. Wheatcroft Source: Slavic Review, Vol. 64, No. 3 (Autumn, 2005), pp. 658-659)
In addition, let me point out that by looking for reviews in high rank scientific journals I am doing what WP guidelines recommend.
Re Red Terror. It is not clear who started first, and whose terror was greater. AFAIK, there were no signs of Red terror before Czechoslovak Legions' revolt.
Re your other points, they relate to those who were deliberately killed by Stalin's regime. Some scholars call that "genocide", others "democide", "politicide", Wheatcroft suggests that they were more executions rather than murders, whereas Rosenfielde call it "homicide"
"The NKVD data themselves show that there are at least 1.4 million documented homicides in 1930-39 which, together with famine victims directly inferable from the official mortality statistic, provides a minimum body count of 4.2 million, shown in Table 7. Wheatcroft, relying on other documentary evidence, estimates another 0.8 to 1.8 million collectivisation casualties, and has uncovered incriminating evidence that points to 0.5 million more documented homicides. Ellman and Wheatcroft & Davies seem prepared to add another 2-3 million to the total on other hard evidence."(Steven Rosefielde. Stalinism in Post-Communist Perspective: New Evidence on Killings, Forced Labour and Economic Growth in the 1930s. Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 48, No. 6 (Sep., 1996), pp. 959-987)
and thereby endorsing Wheatcroft's revisionist figures. Every scholar uses his own terminology, and that does not constitute revisionism per se. However, it is clear from Rosenfielde's words that (i) he, as well as Wheatcroft separate famine victims from homicides, and (ii) he agrees that the number of homocides didn't exceed ca 2 million (far smaller than the number of Hitler's victims), therefore it is not correct to equate those who were murdered under Hitler with those who died under Stalin (i.e. were murdered, killed, executed, died from hunger, hard labour conditions, diseases etc)
--Paul Siebert (talk) 01:39, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
PS. With regards to the Ellman's brilliant reply, he himself concedes that there is no evidences that the famine was designed as a measure to suppress Ukrainian peasantry, and that, although some support such a suggestion, others contradict to it. IMHO, in his really brilliant article he concludes that this issue is too complicated to make a simple and unambiguous conclusion.--Paul Siebert (talk) 02:55, 19 January 2010 (UTC)


Smallbones, you seem to blur the distinction between different types of views. Mainstream and revisionist views represent respected majority and minority opinions in academic writing. Fringe views are those presented outside the academic process (although they sometimes slip in only to be roundly condemned or ignored). While revisionist theories may become generally accepted, fringe views are generally only believed by the self-deluded. When Wheatcroft is described as revisionist, it is not the same as putting him in the same category as the Black Book. The Four Deuces (talk) 19:22, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

Communist mass killing and Holocaust denial

I believe the sentence:

"In September 1939, the Red Army invaded eastern Poland and occupied it in accordance with the secret protocols of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Immediately NKVD task forces, which have been compared to the Nazi Einsatzgruppen by Polish historian Tomasz Strzembosz,[6] followed the Red Army to remove "Soviet-hostile elements" from the conquered territories.[6]"

that I found in the main article is an example of that. Tomasz Strzembosz's article cited here is in actuality the article on Jedwabne pogrom, the story of mass killing of Polish Jews by Polish gentiles that was inspired by Nazi. Strzembosz argues that this mass killing was a result of Jewish collaboration with Soviet authorities, and that the latters' perpetrated numerious crimes in occupied Polish territories. Obviously, by drawing parallelism between NKVD task forces and Einsatzgruppen, Strzembosz put a part of Polish/Nazi guilt on the Jews (and Communists) themselves. This is Nazi apologetic and it is already in the article about Communist mass killing.--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:40, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

Do you have any RS saying Strz. is a "Nazi apologist"? Godwin's Law appl;ies when dealing with that N-word. Collect (talk) 15:49, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
There is no need to call anyone a Nazi apologist. We should merely report what reliable sources say about the ideas of these writers. The Four Deuces (talk) 15:58, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
Well, I believe it is necessary to keep in mind that Godwin's Law can be misused (as well as almost every good thing can). One has to keep in mind that the Strzembosz's article is in actuality an attempt to put a guilt for a massacre committed by Poles on Jews and that this POW is shared by many Polish scholars. Although I never seen criticism of Strzembosz (probably, due to his low notability), I saw criticism of this POW, that has been called "historically false and morally untenable" by, e.g. Joshua D. Zimmerman [19]. One also has to keep in mind that equating NKVD troops with Einsatzgruppen is a part of this flawed concept. Therefore, I doubt this sentence can be included into the article.--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:09, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

It's a standard claim in Kremlins propaganda supported by the Soviet apologists that anybody who dares to look into the crimes of Communism must be a nazi sympathizer and Holocaust denier etc. Well, you can't complain about the 2 things at the same time: in case someone equates NKVD troops with Einsatzgruppen how can they be nazi sympathizer&Holocaust deniers? I mean in case someone says 'NKVD troops=Einsatzgruppen' and/or Communist regimes=nazi regime + at the same time is a nazi sympathizer, he/she must be also a communist sympathizer in case nazi regime=communist regime. How does all this make sense I have no idea. But then again, there are also people around who compare the Christ myth theory to Holocaust denial, so all this speaks for itself.--Termer (talk) 19:40, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

It is standard claim of new generation anti-Communists that anybody who dares to doubt in absolute malignancy of Communist regime must be a Communist sympathizer. In actuality, the issue is quite concrete: Strzembosz, as well as several other Polish nationalists, tries to explain Jedwabne massacre as a sole and direct result of Jewish collaboration with Soviet NKVD (that behaved, according to him, like Einsatzgruppen). His article is aimed to whitewash the murderers of Jews, and, put at least a part of a guilt on their victims, therefore, his words should be seen in that context. In connection to that, I am not sure his conclusion about parallelism between NKVD and Einsatzgruppen belongs to this article.--Paul Siebert (talk) 20:58, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
  • I've removed the comparison between NKVD and Nazi forces. I honestly don't think that subclause adds anything that is not already apparent from the very graphic description in the sentence following. --JN466 20:33, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
Tomasz Strzembosz was a Polish nationalist? And he whitewashed the murderers of Jews? According to whom? And what was this "doubt in absolute malignancy of Communist regime" all about? Other than that either the "parallelism between NKVD and Einsatzgruppen" belongs to this article, I don't know, perhaps it should go into Totalitarianism.--Termer (talk) 22:38, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

No one of these scholars used specific terms to describe for Communist mass killings?

What is this [20] suppose to mean by User:Paul_Siebert? This article is about "Communist mass killings" by Benjamin Valentino, "Communist genocide and Democide" by Helen Fein, "Communist Democide" by R. J. Rummel, "Communist Politicide" by Manus I. Midlarsky etc. that refers to mass killings of noncombatants in the Soviet Union in the People's Republic of China in Cambodia etc. And this needs to be spelled out in the lede what the article is about. So why did it get removed?--Termer (talk) 02:57, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

Valentino never defined Communist mass killings as a separate category of mass killings. The fact that one chapter in his book has such a name is not sufficient for such a conclusion. The same is true for Fein, who, for instance analyzed South-East Asian genocides, or genocides by attrition (Warsaw ghetto, Cambodia and Sudan). That doesn't mean that she introduced a separate categories by doing so. Rummel's main focus is a correlation between totalitarianism (not only Communism) and democide. The sentence I removed is a very frivolous interpretation of these scholars' opinions, and, in addition, is redundant. The "Terminology" section, btw, should clarify that no common terminology for "mass killing of non-combatants" exists for all mass killings, not only for those committed under Communist rule.--Paul Siebert (talk) 06:16, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
There's no interpretation in the sentence, frivolous or otherwise. It's just the facts, plainly stated. In the intro, sentences may seem "redundant" if you've already read the article - but the intro is supposed to introduce what will be said. This nonsense about "defining categories," "not sufficient for a conclusion" is just splitting hairs. There are only 4 questions that need to be answered to understand whether this sentence is correct: Did Valentino use the term "Communist mass killings"? Did Fein use the term "Communist genocide and democide"? Did Rummel use the term "Communist Democide"? Did Manus I. Midlarsky "Communist Politicide"? Please concentrate on matters of substance. I've put the sentence back in the lede. Smallbones (talk) 16:56, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
Valentino named one chapter of his book "Communist mass killing", however, he didn't use these words to define a separate category of mass killings, so the first answer is "no". The second answer is "no" for the same reason. Rummel proposed a term "Democide", not "Communist democide", so the third answer is also "no". And, finally, the section that goes directly after the lede tells about that in details, so the sentence is both incorrect and redundant. --Paul Siebert (talk) 17:11, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
We cannot say a term was used by x unless we explain how they defined the term. Since this necessarily involves detail, it should be done in the body of the article. Most readers will find terms like politicide, democide, etc. unfamiliar. The Four Deuces (talk) 17:30, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

You can't make up "facts" like this. Rummel at [21] uses “Communist genocide” three times. Valentino at "Communist+mass+killing"+Valentino&client=firefox-a&cd=1#v=onepage&q=%22Communist%20mass%20killing%22&f=false names his chapter “Communist mass killings” AND uses the term 5 times. You are just stating that black is white. Stop it now. Smallbones (talk) 19:12, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

It is just a logical fallacy. To demonstrate that, let's imagine I write a book about bisons. I may include there a chapter "Montana Bisons", however, that doesn't mean I am talking about a new biological species. I just write about ordinary bisons in Montana. Similarly, Valentino writes about mass killings in some Communist states (note, he himself writes on p. 91 that most communist regimes were not engaged in mass killings), not about "Communist mass killings" as a separate category.
To refute me, please, provide us with a quote from Valentino where he states something like that: "mass killings of non-combatants in Communist states were characterised by several distinctive features, so they fall into separate category that I call "Communist mass killing"". Try also to find something of that kind in Fein's books.--Paul Siebert (talk) 19:25, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
I feel the need to clarify that by saying "most communist regimes were not engaged in mass killings," Valentino is not saying that most Communist regimes did not kill people, just that most, such as Castro's regime for example, did not intentionally kill 50,000 or more over a period of at least 5 years. By his definition (pg 11-12), Augusto Pinochet's regime didn't engage in "mass killings" either, but that doesn't mean it didn't kill people (most, if not all, of the right-wing Latin-American military dictatorships would fall short of his criteria). I can't think of a single Communist regime in the 20th century that didn't engage in political killings at some point, with the exception of Chile under Allende, and some would consider him a lukewarm socialist at best.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 21:33, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
Smallbones, could you please provide the definitions these writers used for their concepts. The Four Deuces (talk) 20:28, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
Re: C.J. Griffin. Correct. However, your statement is too obvious to lead to something useful. Let me remind you that the more loose the criteria for "mass killing", "genocide" etc. are, the more regimes fit these criteria. I can, for instance, develop your idea and claim that almost any totalitarian, authoritarian or democratic regime (excluding EU countries, but including present days USA) kills people. One way or the another, since Valentino restricted himself with mass killing, he, obviously left beyond the scope the issues of non-mass killings (as well as the question of the origin of life, of cold nuclear fusion, of God's omnipotence, and many, many others).--Paul Siebert (talk) 22:46, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Smallbones, I agree that adding "Communist democide" etc. in addition to "democide" is overkill (pardon the pun). If a democide happens in a communist country, it is a communist democide; the two words are not inseparable, and don't form a new meaning by being combined. Take a breather ... --JN466 01:21, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
JN would have a valid point in case this article was on Democide, which is not. Its about "Communist genocide and Democide" under "Contextual and Comparative Studies I, Ideological Genocides" by (Helen Fein); Communist democide (R. J. Rummel) or Communist politicide (Midlarsky), or "Communist mass killings" by Valentino etc. So how is spelling it out what the article is about an overkill?--Termer (talk) 01:58, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
Look at this edit: It leaves us with the wording

"There is no scholarly consensus on what to call the intentional killing of large numbers of noncombatants based on their social class or political orientation; terms used include genocide, politicide or democide. The term "Communist mass killings" has been used by Benjamin Valentino, "Communist genocide and Democide" by Helen Fein, "Communist Democide" by R. J. Rummel and "Communist Politicide" by Manus I. Midlarsky."

which just from a stylistic point of view is too much in that short lede. As a reader, I'd consider it obtrusive, given that I've only just read the title of the article, "Mass killings under Communist regimes", so I know we are talking about communism. We have natural and flowing references to "Communist genocides" and "Communist Mass Killings" in the terminology section. JN466 02:22, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

(edit conflict)Dear Termer, please provide us with a quote where Fein defines "Communist genocide and democide" as a separate category, i.e. as a phenomenon separate from other genocides. Obvioulsy, raw search results form books.google.com are not an argument.--Paul Siebert (talk) 02:24, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

Re Jayen466. I just realised it myself. The second sentence should explain the reader that the article deals with "the intentional killing of large numbers of noncombatants" under Communist rule, although no common terminology exists to describe these events. Instead of that, the whole lede's sentence is devoted to the discussion of the definition in general, not in a context of Communism.--Paul Siebert (talk) 02:28, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
In case there was too much explaining who uses what term exactly than I guess it can be simplified. Something like
"There is no scholarly consensus on what to call the intentional killing of large numbers of noncombatants based on their social class or political orientation; terms used to describe such killings under Communist regimes include "Communist genocide", "Communist politicide" or -democide."
The current version [22] of the lede, the second part implies like the article is about "killing of large numbers of noncombatants" in general and therefore the first and the second part of the lede contradict each other. The lede should make it clear what the article is about exactly, that's all I'm saying--Termer (talk) 02:31, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
"PS. As far as I can tell Paul Siebert at 02:28, 19 January 2010 (UTC) said just the same thing as I did.--Termer (talk) 02:37, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
I agree that the lede is somewhat self-contradictory, however, I am not sure if we mean the same contradiction. What is a contradiction, in your opinion, and what the article is about?--Paul Siebert (talk) 02:41, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

Strong request

I'll request that all editors editing this page read Wikipedia:DIGWUREN#Discretionary_sanctions carefully. As I understand it this applies to ALL EDITORS on any article related to the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe - broadly defined - which fits this article. Repeatedly removing reliable sources violates this ruling, repeatedly saying "black is white" violates this ruling; making this article a battleground violates this ruling; as I understand it. Please try to act in a civilized manner. Smallbones (talk) 19:26, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

Kettle, meet pot. (Igny (talk) 20:21, 18 January 2010 (UTC))
Physician, heal thyself--Paul Siebert (talk) 20:51, 18 January 2010 (UTC)