Talk:Mass killings under Communist regimes/Archive 7

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Archive 6 Archive 7 Archive 8

Re-added materials

I see that the materials about excess mortality under Communist rule (Holodomor, deportations etc) are being added again into the article. I also noticed that a tendency exists to present opinions of separate writers as a scholars' consensus. By combining all cases of excess mortality under the name "mass killings" the article follow the concept developed by few writers that is not widely accepted yet (For instance, the term dispossessive mass killings was introduced by B. Valentino and it is not used by other scholars [1]). In connection to that, I propose either to remove all excess mortality cases that do not fit a "mass killings" category sensu stricto, or to change the article's name to something more appropriate.--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:14, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

This has been addressed before: it is not only brought to light by Valentino that the communist regimes used artificial famines as a tool of mass killing against "the perceived and real enemies of the rapid social transformation" conducted by the communist regimes. In case you Paul Siebert are aware of any scholars who dismiss such studies, please just add relevant material to the article instead of removing the existing section.--Termer (talk) 17:47, 13 December 2009 (UTC)
Re: "In case you Paul Siebert are aware of any scholars who dismiss such studies" I am unaware of any example of wide acceptance of these studies, therefore, if you want Valentino's concept to be in the article, pleace, make a separate section ("Valentino's theory of dispossessive mass killings") and put everything related to excess mortality there, leaving the major part of the article to mass killings sensu stricto.--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:53, 13 December 2009 (UTC)
Well unfortunately Paul Siebert wikipedia is not based on unawareness of its editors, but on WP:RS. And its not like Valentino is the only author who has written on those questions. There is a long list of sources available at the refs section of this article that look into it. Only thing missing perhaps would be any alternative viewpoints, but since nobody here including yourself seems is not not aware of any such sources that would dismiss the artificial famines as a tool of mass killings by the communist regimes, there is nothing that can be done about it this very moment. Please let me remind you also that it was Raphael Lemkin himself first who considered the famine in the Soviet Union for example to be not just a 'mass killing' but a genocide.--Termer (talk) 23:45, 13 December 2009 (UTC)
No. By saying that "I am unaware of any example of wide acceptance of these studies" I meant that google scholar demonstrated that Valentino's concept is not widely accepted, and the term "dispossessive mass killings" is not used by scholars (you may try to refute my statement by providing appropriate quotes). Other scholars cited in the article tell about excess death, and, importantly, most sources consider these events separately, so combining these sources together is synthesis, and using the Valentino's concept as the article's framework is WP:UNDUE.
Re: "not aware of any such sources that would dismiss the artificial famines as a tool of mass killings by the communist regimes" See, e.g. Wheathcroft's works. (I do not provide quotes to avoid accusations in too-long-didn't-read) --Paul Siebert (talk) 00:07, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
So fine, use Wheathcroft who doesn't agree with Valentino, Rummel, Conquest, and even Lemkin etc. It doesn't mean that one of them is undue and should be removed from the article. If anything, there should be somebody who supports Wheathcroft's ideas in order to get his opinion notable enough in the context.--Termer (talk) 01:06, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

(out) Termer, you are continuing to distort the sources, which is disruptive behavior. You appear to be approaching this article with a biased point of view which is unacceptable. Could you please read policies and conform to neutrality. All of us have read Cold War propaganda, but the Cold War is over and articles about that period should be based on reliable sources rather than repeating garbage from propaganda sources. Ironically, by insisting on distorting what Communism was about, you are discrediting Western rational thinking and are actually promoting Communism. It reminds me of the Manchurian Candidate where an American politician, based on Joe McCarthy was actually a secret Communist. The Four Deuces (talk) 03:25, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

Sorry The Four Deuces, I can't really comment this since I'm not here to engage in a political debate but to describe such debates in the article. Please also consider such an approach. thanks!--Termer (talk) 06:10, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

Paul Siebert, I think you have the wrong idea to focus on "dispossessive mass killing" as the key phrase for Valentino. His key term is simply "mass killings", which he defines quite exactly. "Dispossessive mass killings" is not a term he uses very often: it appears rarely in his own book, and he does not use that three word phrase at all in his Communist mass killings chapter). Regardless, the phrase "mass killing" was chosen for this article as a compromise neutral description (the previous title was "Communist genocide", which was criticized as inflammatory and inaccurate) and it does not necessarily follow Valentino's definition of the intentional killing of at least 50,000 noncombatants within 5 years. AmateurEditor (talk) 04:50, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

You are absolutely right that focusing on "dispossessive mass killing" is abslutely wrong idea. However, it is not clear for me why do you blame me in that. As I already wrote, I have nothing against using the term "mass killing" sensu stricto (and changing the article accordingly). That would require to remove famines and deportations and to focus on the mass killing per se: on the Red Terror, Great Purge, Cultural Revolution, etc. By contrast, majority article's space is devoted to what Valentino calls "dispossessive mass killings" (and other scholars use various terms starting from "terror-famine" to "population losses"). In other words, by contrast to your opinion that "Dispossessive mass killings" is not a term Valentino uses very often, the artile's space is devoted mostly to this category of excess mortality. We have to fix that.--Paul Siebert (talk) 05:17, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
I don't see any new arguments forwarded by Paul Siebert regarding the famines issue. And no matter what Valentino calls it, we can go with the ideas of Raphael Lemkin who called the famine Soviet genocide in case you'd prefer that Paul.--Termer (talk) 05:41, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I meant it as reference to your Google scholar search. As far as the article goes, Valentino is not the only source to attribute homicidal intent to these events, so I don't think they should be segregated under a section for him. Perhaps the best way would be to mention in each controversial section how different sources account for the regime's intent? AmateurEditor (talk) 05:50, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
Re: "I meant it as reference to your Google scholar search." Cannot agree. Valentino developed a concept of "dispossessive mass killing" to describe a separate class of events that were not considered mass killings before. After that, he combined mass killings sensu stricto with "dispossessive mass killing" together, and, as a result, attributed most population losses in the USSR and China to mass killings (without separation of "dispossessive" and "classical" mass killings). However, since majority victims (out of the astronomical number he quotes) was a result of "dispossessive mass killing", then his work appears to be devoted to this type mass killings, not to what people used to call "mass killings".
Re: "Perhaps the best way would be to mention in each controversial section" That is what I proposed several times: to devote the article to non-controversial cases and to move all controversial event into a separate section.--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:07, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
Where does Valentino describe as "dispossessive mass killing" events that were not considered mass killings before? AmateurEditor (talk) 00:27, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Although the term "mass killings" is not frequently being applied to Stalin's victims (scholars call them just "repressions victims"), and, because the article itself concede that the term is vague, it is not easy to find a source that directly refutes Valentino's definition. However, if we assume that "mass killings victims" is a subset of "repression victims" (that is a reasonable assumption, because some victims of Stalin's repressions did survive, and it is hard to imagine a situation when a "mass killing victim" is not a "repression victim"), than we can compare Valentino's writings with other scholar's opinions. In connection to that, let me reproduce a quote from Michael Ellman (ref 31 in the present article)
"During the Soviet period the main causes of excess deaths (which were mainly in 1918-23, 1931-34 and 1941-45) were not repression but war, famine and disease"
I believe you agree that, according to Ellman, "war, famine and disease" are "not" repressions (and, therefore, not "mass killing" of their own population), and I see no other way to interpret his words.
I already quoted Wheathcroft who also doesn't consider famine and disease victims as repressions' victims. I can provide other sources upon request.--Paul Siebert (talk) 01:16, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
PS. I anticipate possible accusations in WP:OR (interpreting scholar's words) or WP:SOAP (presenting my own conclusions). In connection to that, let me point out, that no generally accepted terminology exists to describe the intentional killing of large numbers of noncombatants (Valentino's words), and the article use only one sets of definitions (out of several sets), thereby paying undue attention to one school. As a result, other scholar's opinions simply cannot be counterposed to Valentino's words (because different terms and definition are used), so interpretation is inavoidable if we want to compare the opinions of different scholars.--Paul Siebert (talk) 01:37, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
More quotes:
"In the case of the Soviet Union, Werth states that the famous Great Terror of 1936-38 resulted in the execution of nearly 700,000 people and that these numbers represent 'more than 85 percent of all the death sentences handed down during the entire Stalin period' The 20 million referred to above include not only those executed but also those who died in the Gulags as well as the victims of the famous 1932-33 famine and other casualties of political, social and economic upheaval. It may also include those unborn who would have been born under normal circumstances. The famine, for example, took more than six million lives (as Werth notes 159). The brutal agricultural policy and the callousness of the Stalin regime were responsible at least in part for this calamity. Indeed the government, in cold-blooded indifference to life, let the peasants die in order to save the cities. Yet there is no conclusive evidence that Moscow deliberately caused the famine in order to punish recal- citrant peasants, especially in Ukraine, the chief victim of the famine." (Review: Review Article: Communism and Terror. Author(s): Hiroaki Kuromiya. Reviewed work(s): The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, and Repression by Stephane Courtois. Reflections on a Ravaged Century by Robert Conquest Source: Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 36, No. 1 (Jan., 2001), pp. 191-201)
One more interesting source (How Many Victims in the 1930s?. I Author(s): Alec Nove. Source: Soviet Studies, Vol. 42, No. 2 (Apr., 1990), pp. 369-373) uses no word "killing" at all. Much more moderate termilonogy is used instead "Numerous estimates of the demographic consequences of collectivisation and of the Terror have been made in the West, and in the most recent years also in the Soviet Union." I believe, the more serious a scholar is the more neutral terminology he uses. Inflammatory terms is used mainly by political writers and Cold War era propagandists. I do not think Wikipedia should follow that way.--Paul Siebert (talk) 02:16, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
I agree that Ellman's quote implies that famine deaths do not qualify as repression or mass killing. I disagree that famine cannot be a deliberate and intentional repression or mass killing. It can be if the famine is caused by government policy and/or focused on a group that the government wants to repress. I know different sources disagree whether particular events would qualify, but it is possible for famine deaths or deportation deaths to qualify. I agree that inflammatory language can be a sign of partisan intent, but I do not agree that "mass killing" is in any way inflammatory. It is very neutral, which is why it was agreed upon by so many editors here. AmateurEditor (talk) 03:28, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Re: "I disagree that famine cannot be a deliberate and intentional repression or mass killing." You (or my) opinion is not relevant in that case. In addition, we do not discuss the issue in general. By contrast, the scholars I quoted discuss a very narrow category of famines and deportations, namely, Stalin time's deportations and famines, and all of them do not use the terms "mass killing", "mass murder", "genocide" or something like that.
Re: "I do not agree that "mass killing" is in any way inflammatory" I do not understand what your conclusion is based upon. "Mass killing" is much more inflammatory than, e.g., "the brutal agricultural policy and the callousness". In addition, the most important consequence of the use of this inflammatory terminology is that the whole article's structure appeared to be based on it.
Again, the fact that mass killings did occur during some periods of Communist rule is indisputable, and that was the major (correct) argument of those who opposed to the article's deletion. However, the attempt to add to this category those events that are not considered mass killings by majority scholars is unacceptable.
Re: "It is very neutral, which is why it was agreed upon by so many editors here." ... and is questioned by many other editors. Just re-read the archives, and you will see that the number of those who oppose this idea is at least equal to the number of its supporters.--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:02, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm not so sure it can be said that "not considered mass killings by majority scholars". James Mace contends:
"It is now generally accepted that in 1932-1933 several million peasants - most of them Ukrainians and the traditionally Cossack territories of the North Caucasus - starved to death because the government of the Soviet Union seized with unprecedented force and thoroughness the 1932 crop and foodstuffs from the agricultural population."
this is first from the opening paragraph in the chapter Soviet Man-Made Famine in Ukraine from the book Century of genocide: critical essays and eyewitness accounts, why would that be published in this particular book if it was not generally accepted that the famine was an instance of genocide? I think "mass killing" is more neutral than genocide. --Martin (talk) 04:35, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Yes, the quotes provided by me also confirm that there was a direct connection between Stalin government's actions and 1932-33 famine. However, the quote provided by you adds nothing to that. With regards to genocide, some writers tend to add this famine to books about genocides. However, the quotes provided by me demonstrate that those scholars who do meticulous archival studies to establish the scale and causes of those time events use quite different terminology.--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:50, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
PS. Taking into account that James Mace was a head of the United States Government's Ukrainian Famine Commission in 1980s (a time of ideological confrontation between the US and the USSR), he is not more neutral source than, e.g. CIA. --Paul Siebert (talk) 05:27, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Given that the famine is included in general books about genocide, while there are some scholars that use different terminology in their studies published in less widely read journals indicates to me that the former represents the majority viewpoint while the latter represents the minority viewpoint. --Martin (talk) 10:07, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
"less widely read journals" represents opinion of historians whereas "most widely read" books reflect opinions of political writers and journalists. If I have been asked to chose between "The Times" and "American historical reviews" I would definitely prefer the later.--Paul Siebert (talk) 14:56, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Paul Siebert, Ellman does appear to believe that many of the deaths from the famine in question were caused deliberately after all. From Stalin and the Soviet Famine of 1932-33 Revisited, in which he responds to criticism from Wheatcroft and Davies:
"Davies and Wheatcroft also draw attention to Stalin's agreement to relief measures. However, this is not relevant to my argument. I do not argue that Stalin wanted to annihilate the peasants (he needed them for the army, as industrial workers, and as agricultural labourers). My argument is only that he wanted to kill some of them (the 'counter-revolutionaries' and the idlers')." (page 676)
"It is generally accepted that in 1932-33 Stalin caused deaths by acts of omission: he omitted to import grain and he also omitted to appeal for or accept international help—unlike in 1891 – 92, 1921 – 22, 1941 – 45 and 1946 – 47—although this was proposed by the Ukrainian President Petrovsky in February 1932. This is fully accepted by Davies and Wheatcroft, who write that Stalin ‘committed a crime of omission’, and that ‘Stalin made no effort to secure grain assistance from abroad’ (Davies & Wheatcroft 2006, p. 628). In terms of national criminal law, in most jurisdictions, this crime of omission would be classified as culpable homicide in the Canadian sense or its local equivalent.
"In addition, Stalin caused deaths by acts of commission. He was the person who initiated the adoption of the notorious decree of 7 August 1932. He was the person who initiated actual and planned mass deportations (see above). In 1932 – 33 Stalin exported grain (though, as Davies and Wheatcroft correctly point out, much less than the originally planned amount). In addition, numerous deportees and camp and prison inmates—victims of a major Stalinist policy—died in 1932 – 33. Moreover Stalin prevented peasants fleeing from famine-stricken Ukraine and North Caucasus to less badly affected areas. Many will have died as a result.
"Expressed in terms of national criminal law, the debate is between those who consider Stalin guilty ‘only’ of (mass) manslaughter, and those who consider him guilty of (mass) murder. The difference turns on the issue of intent and Davies and Wheatcroft have a very narrow understanding of intent. According to them, only taking an action whose sole objective is to cause deaths among the peasantry counts as intent. Taking an action with some other goal (e.g. exporting grain to import machinery) but which the actor certainly knows will also cause peasants to starve does not count as intentionally starving the peasants. However, this is an interpretation of ‘intent’ which flies in the face of the general legal interpretation." (page 680)
Was Team-Stalin also guilty of genocide? That depends on how ‘genocide’ is defined. (page 681)
Apparently we were both wrong about what your quote from Ellman implied. And Ellman's reading of the famine is entirely consistant with Valentino's, who says in Final Solutions:
"Indeed, famine was one of the primary vehicles of mass killing in the Soviet Union, China, and Cambodia. Famines took the lives of perhaps seven million people in the Soviet Union, thirty million in China, and at least seven hundred thousand in Cambodia. Although not all the deaths due to famine in these cases were intentional, communist leaders directed the worst effects of famine against their suspected enemies and used hunger as a weapon to force millions of people to conform to the directives of the state." (page 93)
Wheatcroft, too, is apparently part of a consensus which holds that the regime was culpable for deaths by acts of omission (see underlined portion above) and so the debate is one of degree, not of kind.
In your extended quote from Hiroaki Kuromiya's book review of The Black Book of Communism, I think you emphasize the wrong point. Here is what I would underline:
"The famine, for example, took more than six million lives (as Werth notes 159). The brutal agricultural policy and the callousness of the Stalin regime were responsible at least in part for this calamity. Indeed the government, in cold-blooded indifference to life, let the peasants die in order to save the cities. Yet there is no conclusive evidence that Moscow deliberately caused the famine in order to punish recalcitrant peasants, especially in Ukraine, the chief victim of the famine."
I seems clear that the consensus on the famine is not as you have presented it. As for your point about inflammatory language, excessively mild and euphemistic language can also be a sign of bias. But I don't think there is any reliable way for us to fairly filter sources for this article based upon our interpretation of bias in their language. Their inclusion or exclusion must be made on the basis of Wikipedia policy to the extent that is compatible with common sense. Valentino and Rummel both qualify. AmateurEditor (talk) 21:20, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Re: "I think you emphasize the wrong point" If the question is only in placement of emphases, I am not sure how can we resolve a dispute.
Re: "But I don't think there is any reliable way for us to fairly filter sources for this article" The way is quite simple: to take undisputable cases of mass killings (Great Pugre, Cultural Revolution, Cambodia, and some others) and discuss them first. I believe, everyone will agree that these events were designed and implemented as mass killings (or even mass murders). Then present views of Valentino, Rummel, Conquest and some other writers pointing out that there is no consensus among scholars whether famines' and deportations' mortality was a desired, expectable or just acceptable outcome of the authorities' actions.
PS. You probably misunderstood me. I do not propose to completely remove Valentino's works from the article. My major point is that the article's structure cannot be based on the works of a couple of scholars.--Paul Siebert (talk) 22:50, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Well, it looks like we don't disagree on much at all, then. AmateurEditor (talk) 05:39, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
I think it would be perfectly reasonable to list all mayor authors and their views who don't think that the famines had anything to do with intentionally killing millions of people by the communist regimes in the Soviet Union and China. On the other hand, ignoring that this is the case, the famines have been considered intentional killing tool by those regimes by many authors, such a fact can't be simply ignored in the article about the current subject.--Termer (talk) 05:58, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
Since man-made famines (like Ireland famine) and deportations are not considered mass killings as a rule, and since famines under Communist regimes also are not considered as mass killing by many authors, it would be better to list all major authors who do think that the famines had anything to do with intentional mass killings.--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:03, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
My reading of the sources implies that those that believe the famines were intentionally made worse outnumber those that believe the famines where natural. The main argument seems to be the degree of the intent. --Martin (talk) 23:05, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

Link to POV website

I removed a link to the site Global Museum on Communism with the notation "Remove link to pseudo-history site". However User:Smallbones re-inserted it with the notation: "Undid revision 331870463 by The Four Deuces (talk) Please watch what you are doing - pretty close to vandalism". Mr. Smallbones, could you please assume good faith. Pseudohistory is defined as:

That the work has a political, religious or other ideological agenda. That a work is not published in an academic journal or is otherwise not adequately peer reviewed. That the evidence for key facts supporting the work's thesis is: speculative; or controversial; or not correctly or adequately sourced; or interpreted in an unjustifiable way; or given undue weight; or taken out of context; or distorted, either innocently, accidentally, or fraudulently. That competing (and simpler) explanations or interpretations for the same set of facts, which have been peer reviewed and have been adequately sourced, have not been addressed. That the work relies on one or more conspiracy theories or hidden-hand explanations, when the principle of Occam's razor would recommend a simpler, more prosaic and more plausible explanation of the same fact pattern.

That is not vandalism, merely taking out garbage. You may find it helpful in understanding the world to rely on intelligent sources, rather than biased conspiracy theory websites.

The Four Deuces (talk) 02:42, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Look at your diff [2]. Maybe you don't notice anything different from your normal editing style - but a lot of editors would look at this and say "vandalism." —Preceding unsigned comment added by Smallbones (talkcontribs) 04:55, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
You are making judgements based, apparently, on personal opinion. External links are neither endorsements nor condemnations of the links - they exist to help readers get more information. As such, the presumption is that they belong. As for asserting that any editor has put in "garbage", I would suggest a large dose of AGF. Collect (talk) 02:46, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
This is, by the way, the first instance I have seen an external link section listed as having the contents of the list be tagged as "neutrality disputed." Why not add links you feel would balance it -- that is the usual course. Though how one rates neutrality of a list of links is mind-boggling, indeed. Collect (talk) 02:53, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
The better reason to remove the "Global Museum on Communism" is that it purports to be a museum but isn't. I've been down the road with this website a number of times. They lack a curator, a curatorial policy. Their named exhibits don't meet the standards of curatorial excellence expected even of local or limited collection museums (and I have seen web museums that do meet standards). Additionally, the quality of scholarship separate to the unreliability issue is not up to scratch. Maybe if the foundation supporting it bothers to hire an appropriate information professional, like a curator, the museum can be worthwhile. As it stands, this is like linking to a forum. Fifelfoo (talk) 02:59, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
See the AfD on it. Opinions expressed there do not influence utility of an EL for this article. Collect (talk) 03:01, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
Rather than edit-war, I have tagged the section for lack of neutrality. But the inclusion of this link is an insult to my intelligence and to that of the readers. The link goes to a site supported by the National Review and the Moonies. I am reminded of what Kierkegaard said: "How absurd men are! They never use the liberties they have, they demand those they do not have. They have freedom of thought, they demand freedom of speech." The Four Deuces (talk) 03:03, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia:External_links#Links_normally_to_be_avoided 1, 2, 4, possibly 12. 1 is the greatest reason not to link. 2 is an independent reason not to link, and opinions expressed at the AFD which go to the "use of factually inaccurate material or unverifiable research" (reason 2) by the link are relevant here. Fifelfoo (talk) 03:17, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
I've never been a big fan of 'external links' sections on Wikipeida in general so removal of this doesn't bother me much. And I only can see the relevance of this site to this article if it was used as a source of reference for in-text citations.--Termer (talk) 03:49, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
Given the controversial nature of this article, and the presence of an appropriate academic discourse in genocide studies which ought to cover the topic of this article, citations should be from academic equivalent sources. Citations from an appropriately curated museum would meet this definition. Global Museum on Communism fails this standard for two reasons: 1) It isn't curated; 2) Its published by an organisation with a political purpose; and, the appropriate academic community would not countenance the quality of the organisation's publication. This is why Transaction press may be in or out depending on a particular work's reviews and/or reviews of the press in general. Its also why we look twice at journals associated very strongly with any kind of political movement, for example, New Left Review is probably safe, International Socialism: a quarterly journal of socialist theory may have okay articles but I would want to check the articles as closely as I'd check a Transaction press object, but the internal journal of the Democratic Socialist Perspective in Australia is way out for exactly the same reasons as GMOC. Fifelfoo (talk) 04:27, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

The normal rules of WP:V and reliable sources apply here as with any article - please do not make up special rules as you go along. If you can't contribute anything positive to the article, please just stay away. Smallbones (talk) 04:55, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Well, according to WP:V "The appropriateness of any source depends on the context. In general, the best sources have a professional structure in place for checking or analyzing facts, legal issues, evidence, and arguments. As a rule of thumb, the greater the degree of scrutiny given to these issues, the more reliable the source." Based on that, I conclude that Fifelfoo's statement is in full accordance with WP:V. Let me also add my two cents. Taking into account the vast amount of sources on the subject we can afford a luxury to limit ourselves with only really reliable sources here. If someone really wants to contribute into this article he will be quite able to go to local library to find good sources supporting his edits. And, finally, I believe, the best way to resolve the dispute is to go to WP:RSN.--Paul Siebert (talk) 05:05, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
May wish to check out WP:MILMOS#SOURCES which governs the use of sources both in Military History and the general History project, as sage advice on standards of reliability of sources in relation to verifiability of sources in the field of History. Termer's point below is more interesting. (forgot sig, going blind. This was by the way a reply to Paul done after Termer had already written the below, so Termer was replying to my first comment above, rather than this comment) Fifelfoo (talk) 07:33, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
RE:Fifelfoo The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth. regarding your opinion about the website than I'm missing something here. I clicked through the articles available there and so far the list of names seems quite impressive Venelin I. Ganev PhD., Ray Walser, Ph.D. Richard Pipes, Andres Kasekamp, PhD ; Mark Kramer director of Cold war studies in the Harvard University, Paul Hollander professor emeritus of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts, an associate of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University, Warren W. Smith PhD etc. So what exactly is the political agenda those people have in your opinion and what would be "the appropriate academic community" who "would not countenance the quality of those publications" exactly?--Termer (talk) 05:06, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
It still lacks a curator. We've discussed the quality of PIpes above in relation to Soviet History and the expected standards of historiography today. Could you expand and indicate if these individuals were article authors, or merely members of a board of directors, or people who sent well wishes. The correct argument from authority here isn't substantive academic appointment, or possession of a PhD by the way, but relevant publications in the field. The political agenda of the foundation supporting the GMOC is rather transparent. The correct field of review for the GMOC would be Soviet and Post Soviet Studies from the social sciences, Chinese Studies, Soviet History, and Chinese History, along with a variety of other subspecialisations like Vietnamese studies and history. I strongly doubt that the methodology of the GMOC (as an uncurated museum, to press a particular interpretation at odds with contemporary research, acting as a voice of the funding foundation who's views are unrepresentative of the disciplinary conduct) would not be approved of by the Wilson cold war studies group, or the IRH56, or represent anything approaching the analytical or narrative perspective from south east asian studies. They are, like Courtois, engaged in a 19th century Whig history project. Fifelfoo (talk) 07:30, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
I found absolutely no discussion on WP about "lacking a curator" as being relevant to anything at all. You appear here to be acting on what you "know" and not on using WP policies and guidelines normally applied. Collect (talk) 11:10, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
Really, then in a strict sense of MILMOS#SOURCES, no, it has no entry into what should be in a history article if academic sources are available, which they are. Also under External Links, as any content available through the museum should be in the article if it were to be a featured article, then under external links, then in a strict sense of policy, no it shouldn't be there. Fifelfoo (talk) 11:13, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
Try WP:EL "The subject of this guideline is external links that are not citations to reliable sources supporting article content." This link qualifies in that category. If you wish to assert that the site is "false" in some way, please file a report at WP:EL/N. Where you will be told to add an external link you like, subject to the same report mechanism. There is, in short, a place for you to assert things, and that place is there. Thanks! Collect (talk) 12:11, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
I have posted to the noticeboard. But I do not see how the link is consistent with WP policy. The Four Deuces (talk) 12:44, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

There are thousands websites about communism and thousands memoirs. Wikipedia is not web directory. The article needs links to pages where people may eadily find information on a subject. Links to home pages of organizations are not helpful. In this case it is an undue promotion of a fresh new nonnnotable organization. If it were notable, it would have had a wikiedia articel, linked in "See also" section. Timurite (talk) 16:03, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

well, in case this makes it notable in your opinion Timurite, FYI the organization has an article on wikipedia and the web site is linked in "See also" section.--Termer (talk) 04:44, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
he museum does not in fact have its own Wikipedia article. However, even if it did, it still lacks notability. But the main reason not to include it is its bias. The Four Deuces (talk) 05:47, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

Mass killing

I have deleted the following new entry to the article: "Mass killing or mass murder is defined as the indiscriminate murder of any person or people by a government." Since the article is about communist mass killings sources should be about them and not mass killings in general. The Four Deuces (talk) 03:27, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

In addition, a validity of Rummel's scientific approach has been questioned (see the quotes above). Moreover, some real mass killings do not fit this definition. For instance, Great Purge was largely discriminate (was directed against some concretepersons). As Wheathcroft pointed out, there was a deep difference between Hitler's mass murders (that were indiscriminate and not documented) and Stalin's purges (that had a visibility of legality and were carefully documented).
Note, I do not question the fact that Great Purge was a mass killing. My point is that the Rummel's definition is not appropriate.--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:21, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

In case anything has been questioned as evident by a WP:RS, this fact should be added to the article instead of removing any alternative or conflicting viewpoints. The communist regimes that the article looks at were very much also about censoring free thought, please do not bring similar approach to solve content disputes to Wikipedia. Thanks!--Termer (talk) 05:03, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

I didn't propose to remove Rummel completely. However, to take his definition as a base would be also incorrect. BTW, one more weakness of the proposed definition is that it implies that mass killings can be attributed to governments only. I believe, you agree that it is nonsense.--Paul Siebert (talk) 05:38, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
If we use Rummel in the article we should limit ourselves to his peer-reviewed articles or at least books published by the academic press. A lot of academics like Rummel write polemical books that go well beyond what academic rigor would allow. The Four Deuces (talk) 13:35, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
RE:''...that mass killings can be attributed to governments only. I believe, you agree that it is nonsense". My believes are irrelevant, my job here like yours is only to provide the reader of Wikipedia with all possible viewpoints as evident by secondary sources published on the subject. --Termer (talk) 03:55, 18 December 2009 (UTC)


These two sentences contradict each other. The first one states that

"The Bolshevik policy of decossackization was the first example of Soviet leaders deciding to "eliminate, exterminate, and deport the population of a whole territory."[16] "

whereas the second sentence quotes the order that requests " to "carry out mass terror against wealthy Cossacks, exterminating all of them; carry out merciless mass terror against any and all Cossacks taking part in any way, directly or indirectly, in the struggle against Soviet power." "

In other words, the first sentence can be true only if (i) all Cossacks were wealthy, or (ii) all Cossacks took part in anti-Soviet struggle. Taking into account that significant part of Cossacks served in the Red Army, and some Cossacks didn't support any side, the first sentence is false.--Paul Siebert (talk) 05:46, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

well, again, we're not here to analyze anything or find out what is the truth vs. false. In case sources contradict each other, no problem. Any of those statements should simply need to say according to whom this is so and the reader can decide and analyze. Our job here is to spell it out clearly who says so and what has been said and in case there are any conflicting perspectives on what's been said, spell it out as well. And those are the only problems I can see with those sections cited above.--Termer (talk) 06:12, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
No. We have to analyze the article's text to avoid logical inconsistencies. If two mutually contradicting POV exists and we must present both of them, the text should reflect this contradiction explicitly, but it cannot be self-contradictory per se. Otherwise, it is not a neutrality but idiocy.--Paul Siebert (talk) 06:45, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
I don't see any contradictions in the current text really, the Cossack regions were considerably wealthier ("wealthy Cossacks") than the rest of the country and became the centers for the Anti-Bolshevik White movement during the Russian civil war. All this doesn't mean that all Cossacks were very rich or every single Cossack fought in the white army like you seem to understand the text. but in case what it says can be understood ambiguously, surely things should be clarified.--Termer (talk) 07:21, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
That is the problem with using unreliable sources in articles. The first statement is from a section of the Black Book written by Nicolas Werth, a French revisionist historian, who ironically challenged the scholarship and conclusions of the Black Book. The second quote is from a book by Alexander Nikolaevich Yakovlev published by Yale University Press and therefore more likely to be accurate. Termer, the reference to "the population of a whole territory" means that every single person was either killed or deported, regardless of wealth, nationality or political views. The Four Deuces (talk) 07:36, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
Re: "and became the centers for the Anti-Bolshevik White movement during the Russian civil war" Agree. In connection to that, the fact that decossackisation is mentioned not in a context of Civil war (White Cossacks were one of Civil war's parties) is a serious omission.--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:06, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

"Large numbers of people were put to death during and after the suppression of revolts, such as the Kronstadt rebellion, the Tambov Rebellion and the August Uprising."

If we define mass killings as killings of non-combatants, this sentence has to be removed from the article.--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:11, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

Is the mass killing of combatants then proper? Seems to me that any organized killings - even of former combatants - would be covered. Suppose the US has massacred fifty thousand Confederate soldiers after the Civil War. I suggest that they would, indeed, be "mass killings." Collect (talk) 15:51, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
Then it is needed to specify that they weren't combatants (e.g. innocent civilians or former insurgents).--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:38, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
If possible, yes. In some cases, though, I suspect the "victors" would count everyone illed as an "insurgent." This is one perpetual problem with any bodycount exercise. If sources do make a differentiation, then such differentiation ought to be presented in the article. Collect (talk) 17:54, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
Re: "I suspect the "victors" would count everyone illed as an "insurgent."" Sure. My point is that whereas after a revolt there is no insurgent (just former insurgents), during a revolt insurgents are the conflict's party, so those insurgents who didn't surrender cannot be considered victims of mass killings.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:20, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
Interesting thought. So if the US killed 10,000 Confederate soldiers who had not surrendered, but were wending their ways home, that would not be a "mass killing" by that definition? As I said, interesting. Collect (talk) 21:38, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

(od) Paul, you are going down an unwise and highly POV'ed personal synthesis of what nuances define or not "mass" killing. Certainly, if there is some sort of revolt and there is an act of punishment or retribution which involved killing numerous individuals—regardless of the role they played in a revolt, uniformed or not, whether they surrendered or were hunted down in the woods and slaughtered—then they are all victims of mass killing.  PЄTЄRS VЄСRUМВАtalk  18:30, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

P.S. Insurgency does not require a specific revolt. If a revolt is staged and fails, nor does that mean insurgency ceases.  PЄTЄRS VЄСRUМВАtalk  20:51, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
punishment or retribution is applicable only to former insurgents (to those who surrendered during and after a revolt). In that sense, I completely agree. However, the statement does not discriminate this category from current active participants of revolts.--Paul Siebert (talk) 20:59, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

"Estimates on the number of deaths brought about by Soviet rule vary widely"

I. This paragraph demonstrates that the article about "mass killings" tends to convert into the article about excess mortality, because Conquest and similar authors speak about "victims of Communism". That category includes not only those who was killed, but also those who died prematurely (for some reason directly or indirectly connected to some actions of Communist leadership). We must either present only the data and numbers directly related to "mass killings" or to rename the article.

II. In addition, since the reliable sources provided by me demonstrate that Rummel's methodology is flawed and highly disputable, one cannot present his point of view without making necessary reservations.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:40, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

Anything related to mass killings under Communist regimes may be presented in this article, just add your reservations (documented of course) afterwards. The constant removal of reliable sources that has occurred in this article is totally unacceptable, as are the constant demands to rename the article or to delete it. Please make positive contributions to the article, or get out of the way. Obstructionism is unacceptable. Smallbones (talk) 19:18, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
Re: "The constant removal of reliable sources that has occurred in this article is totally unacceptable, as are the constant demands to rename the article or to delete it." The fact that the article about "mass killing" tells about "excess mortality" in general is also totally unacceptable. I have no objection to include all data and facts about victims of Communism, provided that, but only provided that the article's name correctly reflects its content.--Paul Siebert (talk) 22:48, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
PS. I would appreciate if you explained what did you mean under "obstructionism" (and apologized).--Paul Siebert (talk) 22:57, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
The article has been listed at AfD at least three times in a couple of months. It has had its name changed at least once. The folks who are doing this remove many well documented sources that they claim don't meet their theoretical standards. When asked to show how their objections are consistent with WP:RS they simply bluster, when they are asked to take their complaints to WP:RSN they can't find anybody saying that the source is not reliable. There's nonsense such as putting catty footnotes about how the location of Harvard University Press is not known. External links are challenged as not being reliable - Has this ever happened on any other article? That's simple obstructionism - and I have no apology for pointing it out. Now you seem to be claiming that "excess deaths" are not related to "mass killings" - have I got that right? Anything related to "Mass killings under Communist regimes" is fair game for this article.
You do I, hope, admit that there were mass killings under Communist regimes? If not please let us know directly.
You do understand that many people in and out of academia, past and present, have studied this issue, and given evidence on it, don't you?
You do understand that many people believe that these mass killings are related, e.g. because of Communist doctrine, don't you?
If you don't answer all three of these questions yes, you should check the sources leaving behind any idealogical baggage, lenses, or rose colored glasses that you may have.
If you do answer the questions yes, then you must admit that the article has a proper subject for a Wikipedia article, and that folks should either contribute to it, or leave it alone. Anything else is obstructionist. Smallbones (talk) 03:22, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

Second Smallbones. The most ridiculous arguments used to remove sourced materials from this article has been labeling it "anti-communist". who cares, in case any sourced material reads like "anti-communist" in this article to anybody, only thing needed is adding the "pro-communist" viewpoint according to any WP:RS next to it. NPOV doesn't mean "NO Point of view" but "Neutral point of view", meaning the article should describe the disputes surrounding the subject. But instead what we have here, a dispute about the subject on the talk page. Other than that, the easiest way to explain why sourced material keeps disappearing from the article, since the 3 AfD-s have failed, the article just gets deleted bit by bit in pieces.--Termer (talk) 05:42, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

(edit conflict)

Re: "The article has been listed at AfD at least three times in a couple of months" (i) I didn't initiate any of these processes. (ii) consensus has not been achieved, although a significant part of editors supported deletion. (iii) the deletion procedure was initiated, among other reasons, because of inappropriate article's name.
Re: "You do I, hope, admit that there were mass killings under Communist regimes?" Please, familiarize yourself with my posts on this talk page.
Re: "You do understand that many people in and out of academia, past and present, have studied this issue, and given evidence on it, don't you?" Sure.
Re: "You do understand that many people believe that these mass killings are related, e.g. because of Communist doctrine, don't you?" There is a significant disagreement on that account.
Re: "you should check the sources leaving behind any idealogical baggage, lenses, or rose colored glasses that you may have" I believe, it is what I am doing.
Re: "you must admit that the article has a proper subject for a Wikipedia article" Again, had you read this talk page, such a question wouldn't appear.
I have no problem to have an article about Communist mass killings in Wikipedia, provided that it discusses mass killings perpetrated by Communist regimes (not all cases of excess mortality), and provided that it discusses mass killings specific for all Communist regimes (not national specific events). And I believe, that is a proper subject for a Wikipedia article. By contrast, the article tends to become a collection of all cases of excess mortality in all Communist countries. Well, I see no major reasons for not doing that. However, in that case, let's (i) rename the article accordingly (to avoid WP:COATRACK); (ii) create a "genocide" section; (iii) create "mass killings" section; (you may also create a "dispossessive mass killings" section to present and discuss Valentino's POV (iv) create "famines" section; (v) create "deportation victims" section; (vi) create a section that will discuss scholars' views on nation specific and Communism specific cases; (vii) create other sections you want (e.g. controversial cases section).
This would be an approach that I am ready to constructively discuss. And that would be what is to "leave behind any ideological baggage, lenses, or colored glasses that one may have."--Paul Siebert (talk) 06:05, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm a bit confused about your response to ' "You do understand that many people believe that these mass killings are related, e.g. because of Communist doctrine, don't you?" There is a significant disagreement on that account.' While there may be disagreement on the causes, there can't be any disagreement that "many people believe" that one of the causes is Communist ideology, can there? If indeed you agree that many people believe that there is connection between the mass killings and Communism - then the article has it's place in Wikipedia - pro and con POVs should be presented. As far as the distinction between mass killings and excess mortality, you are splitting hairs here. The dead don't care whether they were shot or intentionally starved to death - and either can be called mass killing in the normal everyday use of the English language. I'm afraid - based on previous arguments on this page by others - that what you suggest would lead to a mass killings page that could only include cases where we have film footage of a Communist, wearing a red star, declaring his intention to fulfill Communist ideology and shooting multiple people at the same time - the standards of "proof" here are just much too high. My standard - which I believe is the same standard as WP:NPOV, is that if many people claim in reliable sources that there were mass killings of any sort under Communist regimes, then their claims (not necessarily the actual killings) should be documented here. As far as renaming the article "Excess mortality under Communist regimes," I'm afraid that you are just watering down the subject. From that title people are likely to think that Stalin didn't believe in the use of antibiotics. No, this article is about Communist regimes killing people en mass in whatever form, and excess mortality is evidence of these mass killings. Smallbones (talk) 16:05, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
"many people believe" that one of the causes is Communist ideology... Wikipedia already has an article about these people. So existence of these people was not questioned. Their views, on the other hand, is a different matter. (Igny (talk) 01:15, 21 December 2009 (UTC))
Again there is no reason why we must choose between an anti-communist or pro-communist view of history. This is a false dilemma. People are not removing material because they are Communists but because non-academic theories do not belong. We should read history books that explain what happened under Stalinist rule rather than books like the Black Book and not promote non-standard views. The Four Deuces (talk) 06:10, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
A) Non academic views, e.g. those of Lady Astor and George Orwell, are certainly allowed under WP:RS. B) the Black Book of Communism is a fairly standard view, and published by Harvard University Press, it is certainly considered a reliable source under WP:RS. Just out of interest, what source would you consider to reflect the "standard view"? If it is a reliable source, then we should certainly include it in the article. Perhaps we could organize it something like "BB says, your source says" and of course include what "middle of the road" sources say. My point? - Just that we cannot eliminate a source from Harvard University Press simply because you consider it non-standard. Smallbones (talk) 17:10, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
FYI, I'm not going to read any long opinionated posts on this talk page that do not directly represent any alternative viewpoints according to WP:RS -secondary published sources. No sources, no debate.--Termer (talk) 06:18, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

Personal attack

I suggest that Four Deuces apologize immediately, or leave the page entirely. Calling 2 people (myself included) fascist, Ustaše, and crackpot in 4 lines of text is just totally out of line. See WP:NPA Smallbones (talk) 16:10, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

I have rephrased the posting so that no individuals are mentioned. My point is that we must rely on the available literature. The Four Deuces (talk) 16:24, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
From my part, I personally do not mind ridiculous personal attacks and outright harassment. It just tells me that whoever has chosen to take such a path has no reasonable arguments left to support his/her opinions.--Termer (talk) 16:42, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

Consensus building

I've listed the article at WP:Requests for page protection due to the long lasted edit warring. Please note that I intend to do it also in the future in case the differences are not getting worked out on the talk page. So meanwhile its a good time to find some common ground here. Anybody who has constructive suggestions on how to improve the article, please do not hesitate to bring your findings forward by referring to secondary published sources only. Thanks!--Termer (talk) 16:28, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

Inappropriate article's name

The article's name doesn't reflect its content. Major article's space is devoted to what most scholars call "excess mortality", "population losses" or something like that, whereas only a minor part of the text discusses real mass killings. The article should be either (i) re-named to "Population losses under Communist regimes", or (ii) questionable cases should be largely removed and only briefly discussed in the article's end.--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:11, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

Please see the latest consensus on the article title at Requested_move_II before proceeding with Requested_move_III. Thanks!--Termer (talk) 06:59, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Then we have to follow the option (ii).--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:00, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
I won't go back to the original discussion around the original title, "Communist genocide", which ignored the simple solution of sticking to reputable sources which discuss that, and then simply summarizing the scope of article based on sources--as opposed to the arguments over definition of genocide, etc.
   It's a longer title, but "Mass killings and population losses under Communist regimes" would appear to address the concern. It's certainly no longer the scope of the article as first envisioned, however, it's certainly a more informative scope. Having both in the title also serves to clarify the article contents and how it should be organized.  PЄTЄRS VЄСRUМВАtalk  16:27, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
I would say, "Mass killings and other population losses under Communist regimes". However, taking into account that mass killings form a population losses' subset, the name is not more correct than, e.g. "Mechanics and other Physics", "Monkeys and other Mammals", "Arithmetics and other Mathematics". The only argument supporting the name you proposed is that it will please the ear of those who personally dislike Communism. However, in my opinion, those persons who show some personal attitude towards some subject cannot be neutral, and therefore, have no moral right to edit Wikipedia.
If we want to combine all cases of excess mortality in one article, the article's name should be as general as possibe. If we want to focus on "mass killing" per se, then the article should be focused on what all scholars consider mass killings and only briefly mention controversial cases.--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:07, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
I disagree very strongly with two points above:
"If we want to combine all cases of excess mortality in one article, the article's name should be as general as possibe." 
If we want to include cases, cases should be referred to in the context of a scholarly theory making claims about a category of unnecessary deaths specific to Communism. Anything else is synthesis. The application of General theories to communism is synthesis, ie, "According to Lemkin's general theory of genocide, Communism..." doesn't support an article about Communism genocide (this is my assertion regarding Valentino's theory, that his categories are general theories of mass-killing, but this issue is under discussion and evidence collection.) Single society theories do not cut it either, unless another scholar specifically applies them across other societies: "Foo's theory of the Soviet famines is generalised in Bar's discussion of Chinese famines through the lens of Foo's theory (Bar 1989)" as an example. Avoiding synthesis by collation is essential, and the article's name should reflect the best, or most general, or most widely known theorisation discovered.
"then the article should be focused on what all scholars consider mass killings and only briefly mention controversial cases." 
In my opinion the article could get away without mentioning cases at all, except in a See Also: tree, or extremely brief summary style, forcing the incidents into three paragraphs at most. We should have excellent articles on preventable famines in the Soviet Union, the deliberate displacement of ethnic minorities and language & culture destruction in China, and on the debate over the scope of Government killings outside of war or the proper action of courts and tribunals in Vietnam by the Viet Minh (04:40, 16 December 2009 (UTC)), DRVN, NFL and PRG. This article is not the appropriate place for more than summary style discussions, hopefully, specifically oriented to the role the incidents play in the literature of comparisons of monstrous actions within Soviet-style societies. (Expanded:) Additionally, the article should mention all non-FRINGE theories found in reliable sources, in respect to their WEIGHT in the academic community: for theories in comparative genocide; for case studies in the case study specific literature. In areas where there is no consensus (I can't find a bloody review article on comparative genocide) WEIGHT should probably fall based on depth of contribution: a monograph is a more significant contribution than a journal article, a journal article than an invited book chapter, an invited book chapter than a conference paper. (Expanded at: 02:14, 16 December 2009 (UTC)).
Both of these concerns go very strongly to the issue of locating the specifically communist origins of multiple-society incidents of monstrosity within Soviet-style societies in the academic literature. All incarnations of this article have focused on this as its topic, if the monstrousness is Lemkin genocide, modern Genocide, democide, Valentino's mass killings, or general concepts of large scale preventable deaths. All incarnations of this article have focused on cross-cultural implications, either by collation and placing one next to the other, or by attempts to adequately describe common features found in literature. All versions of this article have advanced the idea that there is a specifically Communist cause for these: the article has never been "Causes of 20th Century Genocide" with an uncharacteristically heavy focus on Soviet-style societies. Given what the article has been: lets locate the literature to support these three characteristics of the article's object of investigation. Fifelfoo (talk) 02:10, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
Re: "If we want to include cases, cases should be referred to in the context of a scholarly theory making claims about a category of unnecessary deaths specific to Communism." Since several theories exist on that account, the article's name should give no preference to neither of them. Therefore, it must be general.
Re: "In my opinion the article could get away without mentioning cases at all, except in a See Also: tree, or extremely brief summary style, forcing the incidents into three paragraphs at most." You should realize that it is possible only in theory, because these materials will be being constantly added by some category of editors. It is unavoidable, so let's define what concrete historical examples are relevant and what are not.
Re: "All versions of this article have advanced the idea that there is a specifically Communist cause for these." Definitely, some of these events share common features (otherwise it would be quite possible to find all needed arguments to support deletion of this article), although their number in actuality is smaller than many peoples used to think. So let's outline these nation unspecific cases, and that will help us to separate out all nation specific killings and other population losses.--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:49, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

The problem with the title is that it refers to something that isn't backed up by most of the reliable sources cited. The only real source for the theory expressed in this title is Valentino; thus as I suggested before, a better title would be something like Valentino's theory of mass killing or some such. Other sources are connected if we make the title Mass killings in the Soviet Union, China, and Cambodia, that way we don't have to have the sources all agree that it is communism or totalitarianism or democide or whatever that is at the root of all this. It's true enough that these three examples are cited by different authors together. But some of the editors here seem wedded to making this article express a political theory about "communism" that just isn't backed up by the sources. csloat (talk) 18:56, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

The title Mass killings in the Soviet Union, China, and Cambodia is also unacceptable because most events described here (concretely, famines in China and the USSR, as well as deportations) are not mass killings according to many scholars.--Paul Siebert (talk) 20:13, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Those can be removed from the article, or there could be a section heading "famines" or some sort with a clear discussion of the dispute over whether those are considered "mass killings." csloat (talk) 21:51, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
There is absolutely no question that there is a body of published opinion that claim the famines were considered a form of mass killing, there is also smaller body of opinion that claims the famines were natural, Paul would agree with this. It is not our job to decide which opinion is the "truth", our job is to reflect all opinions with due weight. That the famines are included in the "Controversies" section is sufficient to reflect that split opinion IMO. --Martin (talk) 22:30, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Re: "There is absolutely no question that there is a body of published opinion that claim the famines were considered a form of mass killing". No. The very term "mass killings" is not being frequently used by scholars whiting about population losses. The fact that famines may be considered mass killings can be deduced from some scholar's works. However, it is not our job to deduce something.
Some famines (deliberately organised famines) may be considered a form of mass killings. Some famines are the result of the authorities' policy (that casued famine death as a collateral result of some social transformations or economic activity). Some famines are the result of natural catastrophes. There is no common opinion about what category Soviet famine or Great Leap can be assigned to. Therefore, they belong to a "Controversial cases" category.--Paul Siebert (talk) 23:05, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
The famines are mentioned in the section Mass_killings_under_Communist_regimes#Controversies, so it seems we agree on this Paul. --Martin (talk) 23:10, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
The problem too is finding sources that report that the famines are a form of "communist" mass killing, or, again, that there is something inherent and unique about communism that leads to the use of famine as a tool for mass murder. Otherwise this is just another piece of the SYN violation. It may be that some reliable sources do make this argument but it's not clear from anything presented here that that's the case. csloat (talk) 01:08, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
The issue is not that, but whether policies which can reasonably be expected to cause deaths of a significant number of people can be equated with an intent to kill those people. The Irish Potato Blight (famine) has multiple issues, as an example. There was the physical blight, which no one avers was an intentional act, and there was the issue of exportation of such few potatoes as were edible to other locations rather than using them to feed the populace. Was there an "intent" of any sort in those decisions? The same issues exist with regard to the Soviet "famines" to be sure. As some sources considered RS by WP standards make such a connection to "intent" it is up to us to fairly present them. It is not up to us to "know" anything else according to WP policies. Clearly sources which state that no such intent existed should also be presented, as stated by the NPOV standards. Ignoring or removing any reliable sources, moreover, would violate WP standards. Collect (talk) 01:16, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
The issue is even not in that. The article can be written according to one of twh schemes. First one (let's dub it "Valentino's scheme") presents the materials as if majority of about 100 million excess mortality were the mass killings' victims. Then, according to this scheme, and in accordance with WP neutrality principle, it is necessary to add that some scholars do not consider famines and deportations as mass killings. Second scheme ("Wheathcroft's scheme") focuses at intentional mass killings (i.e. Great Purge and other cases about which all scholars are unanimous), and then describes the cases that are considered as mass killings not by all scholars. Both of these schemes formally satisfy WP rules, however, I believe that the second one is logically more consistent.--Paul Siebert (talk) 01:29, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
I trust you noted the weight I gave to "intent" above. That noted, where a RS states that intent existed, we ought to include that material. If another reliable source states intent was absent, or that no deaths occurred, then that also should be included. Collect (talk) 01:42, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
I understand the role of the word "intent". However, the problem is that some scholars see intent where others do not. Anyway, you seem not to get my point. We can either say that "Great Purge, Cultural Revolutions, Soviet famine, Great Leap, were mass killings, although some scholars disagree that intent was present in the case of the last two, and, therefore, do not consider them mass killings sensu stricto". Or, alternatively we can say "Scholars are unanimous that Great Pugre and Cultural Revolution were intentional mass killings, although some other scholars believe that Great Leap or Soviet Famine also had some signs of mass killings". (Sorry for oversimplification)--Paul Siebert (talk) 01:57, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

(out) For each example, we can, and should, give the RS statements regarding each example. We do not need, on our own, to categorize which ones are "mass killings." We only need sources making those statements. Thus - under "Great Purge" we enumerate positions. And so on. It is, according to WP policy, not up to us to make conclusions -- only to report the conclusions made by others who meet reliable source standards. I also note "intent" includes the concept of a "reasonable expectation that something might happen" which is not excatly the same as a desire for it to happen. Shooting a rifle in a bowling alley may not be done with a desire to kill someone, but the law recognizes the expectation that someone might get killed as part of intent. Collect (talk) 02:12, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

I'd be happy with either "scheme" discussed above as long as it is (1) sourced to reliable sources and (2) renamed to reflect content. If this article was titled something like Valentino's scheme it would not have so many OR problems. Comments like Collect's are interesting but really are completely beside the point -- it doesn't matter what we conclude; what matters is that we accurately report what reliable sources conclude, without synthesizing those sources unfairly as we are currently. csloat (talk) 03:54, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Re: "We do not need, on our own, to categorize which ones are "mass killings."" Taking into account that the article's name is "mass killings ...", the very fact of inclusion of certain material there is a kind of implicit categorisation of it as "mass killings". Had the article's name been "Population losses ....", I would see no problem to list all opinions, from very inflammatory to quite academical. However, taking into account the present article's name we do need some explicit categorisation.--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:35, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

the "mass killings" was borrowed from Valentio as a compromise title to the subject, maybe its not the best title to the article but currently it's the best that we have. And in that respect killing is killing, even if anybody starved to death, he/or she was killed by starvation. And since those famines happened 'under communist regimes', I don't see any problems really. Killed by starvation or by deportation etc. its still a killing not a natural death. And in that respect I do not understand what is this concern all about that famines are not considered killings? After all that was the reason for this compromize title to say "under", not "by communist regimes". Therefore the title dosn't imply like the deaths were caoused "by the regimes" but that those occurred "under regimes". The responsibility for those killings is a subject to a dispute that should be described in the article. And there is nothing more to it really. --Termer (talk) 05:56, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
I didn't say we shouldn't use categories. I said we should not make them up ourselves. We should not draw conclusions that are not drawn in the reliable sources that we quote. And if the category is made up just by one or two sources then this article is actually about those sources rather than about "mass killings" per se. That is why I suggest we rename it and refocus it on the specific theories covered here rather than synthesizing those theories ourselves to draw external conclusions. This page is truly helpful in explaining this issue. csloat (talk) 06:00, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
And since those famines happened 'under communist regimes', I don't see any problems really. Killed by starvation or by ::deportation etc. its still a killing not a natural death.
- Really not for us to say. Just by looking at the Black Book of Communism article, I can see that
J. Arch Getty, Mark Tauger, and Dallin all noted that famines should not be counted as if they were equivalent to intentional :::murders and executions. Our opinion is irrelevant. These are three academic sources.
DHooke1973 (talk) 06:58, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

Astor story

I do not think the Nancy Astor anecdote is appropriate for the article. It was never properly documented, may not have occured and there are different versions.

  • “How long will you keep killing people?” asked Lady Astor to which Stalin replied “the process would continue as long as necessary” to establish a communist society. (Rummel)
  • "Yes," she said, "how much longer are you going to keep shooting people and sending people to Siberia?" According to Lord Astor, Stalin merely smiled and said,"As long as it's in the interests of the state."[3]
  • On the way out, Lady Astor asked, “Mr Stalin, when you gonna stop killin’ people?”
“Oh, Lady Astor,’ replied Stalin, looking directly at her. “The undesirable classes do not kill themselves.”‘[4] (Vidal)
  • "When are you going to stop killing people?" asked the impertinent Lady Astor. "When it is no longer necessary," answered Comrade Stalin.[5] (Time)

None of quoted versions even mention communism. The Four Deuces (talk) 13:28, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

This doesn't sound like a very realistic conversation. Oh, I missed that it was a series of separate versions... But, yes, it looks like it may be apocryphal, and I'm not sure what it establishes in relation to the article. Is Stalin making a statement of policy? A joke? A half-joke? Sarcasm? Trying to impress? Rejecting the premise? --FormerIP (talk) 14:29, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
(ec) Not apocryphal. Time Magazine (Stalin was "Man of the Year in its Jan 1 1939 issue) [6] is RS, and fairly contemporaneous to the event. The "undesirable classes" anecdote comes via novelist Gore Vidal, and is quite likely inaccurate. The version from Lady Astor otherwise conforms to the Time version. As does [7] Modern times: the world from the twenties to the nineties By Paul Johnson. As does [8] Russia's iron age By William Henry Chamberlin. Three reliable sources for the story. And apparently G. B. Shaw said that Astor was the only person in the world who could be bossy with Stalin, making the story quite believable. GBS' view [9] is quite horrifying indeed. "In Russia, on the other hand, extermination was carried out on a scientific and humane basis." Well worth having that in the article as well. Collect (talk) 15:22, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
No it isn't, Collect. What we have is a nice anecdote told in a number of sources by people who were not there, who differ as to the essential details. One of the sources calls it "a nice story, where everyone is in character". It's comparable to "Let them eat cake" or "Play it again, Sam". This is far too serious a topic to include this type of trivia. --FormerIP (talk) 15:43, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
Nope. The story as told by Nancy Astor is definitive. The one by Vidal is not. And the comment in reference to Shaw's apologia for Stalin's excesses is definitely germane. And the "essential details" in all the versions cited to Astor are the same (albeit one says the translator refused to translate the question). The vist on Shaw's 75th birthday is precisely documented as well. Collect (talk) 15:56, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
Where is the story as told by Astor? --FormerIP (talk) 15:59, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
Time etc. Consistent. Three reliable sources. The one really odd one is by a novelist, who might well have used poetic license, but all the others agree. Well publicized during her lifetime. Ascribed [10] in 1936 (Shaw's birthday was in 1931). [11] in 1943. [12] Ideologies and illusions: revolutionary thought from Herzen to Solzhenitsyn By Adam Bruno Ulam. [13] Excel HSC modern history By Ronald E. Ringer. [14] Death by government By R. Rummel. [15] Dictionary of politics: selected American and foreign political and legal terms By Walter John Raymond. All meeting WP:RS, and I can add a few dozen more. Stalin was a bit despicable. Collect (talk) 22:46, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
So a magazine which in disciplinary practice is considered a primary source, with a fact checking capacity well below entry level historians, written by (I am assuming, given time) a non-Russian speaker; another primary, as "Farm Journal"?, an armed services edition from 1943, referenced in an Australian high school text crib sheet, a tertiary source, and a historian who has been attacked for failing to meet disciplinary standards in specific relation to citations. Please supply better sources than these. The Ulam text is a decent model for appropriate citations. You do realise that if you continue to argue from such low grade sources you open the way to the use of low grade Soviet sources? All low grade sources are unacceptable here. More like Ulam. Fifelfoo (talk) 23:09, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
There are over forty sources with the same story. That you can cavalierly dismiss them does not mean they are not RS - indeed they are the essence of being relaible sources, being contemporaneous with the persons involved. And we are not using the quote to indicate numbers - only the attitudes of Stalin, which I would have thought would now be widely accepted as true. The Farm Journal was the earliest I found - that hardly means your demeaning of it is important. Collect (talk) 23:27, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

(out) The Farm Journal appears to mention Stalin in relation to the manufacture of sawdust, while the "Astor" mentioned is Mary Astor (no relation). Since the sources differ in what was actually said, we need to know which source is actually reliable. What was actually said and how do we know it? It seems to be an urban myth and I think it is worthy to submit to Snopes to see if they can get to the bottom of it. The Four Deuces (talk) 23:46, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

The Farm Journal called Mary Astor "Nancy Astor"? What a boo-boo!! And had Mary Astor be with Stalin? Astounding bit of research there. The sources all agree that Stalin said that the killing would continue as long as necessary. Which seems fairly conclusive, indeed. Collect (talk) 23:55, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
The only thing "conclusive" here is that none of the various third party versions of the disputed story mentions "communism" at all. This could be a great anecdote to use in the article Mass killings in Russia, I suppose. csloat (talk) 00:53, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
Dear me -- I rather thought Stalin was a well-known Communist leader. We need RS for that as well. Collect (talk) 00:58, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
Collect, what does the 1936 Farm Journal say about the 1931 Stalin-Astor meeting? All I can find is a bad review of The Murder of Dr. Harrigan, starring Mary Astor.[16] Here is a link to the movie's article on IMDB. The Four Deuces (talk) 04:09, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
So you're saying everything ever said by any communist is relevant to this article? Don't be silly Collect; as we've been pointing out for months now, what we need are RSs actively tying various "mass killings" together as the product of "Communism." We've seen precious little of that; the fact that you must reach for an old wives' tale about Stalin -- one that doesn't even mention communism at that -- to try to make this connection just shows how desperate and feeble the case being made is. Unfortunately this article is still little more than synthesis. csloat (talk) 04:22, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
I have asked Snopes in the expectation that ther impartial answer would be of weight. Do you agree that if they say the story is substantially correct that it can be here? I do not actually think it is SYN to aver that Stalin was a Communist. Collect (talk) 11:14, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
It's really not that cute when you take my words out of context in this manner. It is also profoundly unhelpful to moving the discussion forward. csloat (talk) 22:53, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

(out) Snopes is not an authority but if they confirm the story then they will provide the original source which no doubt will conform with requirements for reliablity. But I would like to know what the discussion was. Here is another version from Time in 1953:

  • His guests were George Bernard Shaw and Lady Astor. As always, Nancy Astor was forthright: "When are you going to stop killing people?" she asked Stalin.
"When it is no longer necessary," Stalin replied. "Soon, I hope."[17]

The Four Deuces (talk) 12:56, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

Regarding Snopes, it depends what you asked them, Collect. --FormerIP (talk) 13:03, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
To be precise, I asked them whether the published version was substantially accurate or not. Collect (talk) 12:49, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
Here is a contemporaneous account of the 1931 visit in Time. No mention of the story. The Four Deuces (talk) 13:20, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
Can't prove a negative.  PЄTЄRS VЄСRUМВАtalk  13:56, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

“...the process would continue as long as necessary”

Let's leave reliability issue beyond the scope and simply analyse the alleged Stalin's statement. Does it carry any information? I have no idea what point it is supposed to demonstrate. It is a vague answer on a vague question. It can be equally interpreted as Stalin's intention to continue mass murders as long as possible and as Stalin's unwillingness to abolish death penalty for some categories of criminals for some limited period.
In my opinion this anecdote belongs to the category of stories having significant emotional load and minimal informational value.--Paul Siebert (talk) 05:36, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps its me but it seems there are more important issues that need solving instead of arguing about a scene in Kremlin.--Termer (talk) 06:16, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
Do you mean you support its removal?--Paul Siebert (talk) 06:46, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
If accurate, it goes a long way to establish that the intent was there to kill people. Collect (talk) 11:14, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
Given that so many, you know, books have been written about Stalin, I don't think we need gossip in order to provide evidence in this regard. Paul hits the nail on the head just above, IMO. --FormerIP (talk) 12:49, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

(od) from Revelations from the Russian Archives: A report from the Library of Congress‎ Abby Smith, Library of Congress, Kommunisticheskai︠a︡ partii︠a︡ Sovetskogo Soi︠u︡za, Soviet Union. Komitet gosudarstvennoĭ bezopasnosti:

Lady Astor, who was a Member of Parliament at the time—this was in the early 30s vefore the Great Terror—shouted "When will you stop killing people?" To which Stalin, as probably many of you know, replied, "When it is no longer necessary."

It is a general answer to a general question, not a vague answer to a vague question. It is not the informational detail we are looking for, we are looking for the general approach to problem-solving (eliminate people).  PЄTЄRS VЄСRUМВАtalk  14:06, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

General questions are not concrete, and, as a consequence, are vague. In addition, Stalin's answer is more concrete then lady Astor's question. You omitted the only informative part of his answer, namely, the second one. The full answer was
""When it is no longer necessary," Stalin replied. "Soon, I hope."
Again, if we remove the words that carry no information, the dialogue will be.
Lady Astor: "When are you going to stop killing people?"
Stalin: "Soon, I hope."
In addition, as we and I know, Stalin lied: he didn't stop killing people soon, because the mass show trials and executions intensified culminating in the Great Purge that started 6 years later. I do not understand why do we need to have in the article a non-informative and selectively cited dialogue that, had it been quoted fully, would create more positive picture of Stalin than he deserves.--Paul Siebert (talk) 14:37, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
Vecrumba, the Revelations from the Russian Archives (1993) account appears to be just another version of the story, drawn on earlier accounts.[18] It does not appear based on revelations from the Russian archives. The Four Deuces (talk) 23:10, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

"The Astor Story" is clearly relevant and well documented by reliable sources, and thus may be included, if only to show that people were accusing Communists of mass killings as early as 1931. The 1939 man of the year article in TIME, incidentally includes the accusation of 3,000,000 Ukrainian deaths in a "Stalin-made" famine. With accusations like this going on for 60 years during Communist rule, and still being made and documented, it's clear that the article should exist and all major documented POVs on the subject should be included (as part of the standard rule of NPOV). If people are saying that Stalin's actions had nothing to do with Communism - I'll just ask them to go away and if they'd like write at fairy-tale-opedia instead. Ditto, if they don't consider TIME to be a reliable source of what was said about the Communists. But do come up with the Communist POV if you'd like - did they even bother to deny the stories and evidence of mass killings? Or did they come up with some other justification? Or has anybody else denied it for them. This is the counter-evidence that folks need to come up with - not "Time is not a reliable source" or "Stalin was not a Communist leader." Smallbones (talk) 00:03, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

Smallbones, we do not know if conversation took place or what was said. Earliest mention we have found is in magazine years after it was supposed to have occured and Time has at least 2 versions. It has makings of tall tale. The Four Deuces (talk) 00:26, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
Come on, seriously. Can you please point to where anyone said "Stalin was not a Communist leader"? Do you really not understand these points at all? csloat (talk) 00:37, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
Smallbones, again please do not press the claim that there are only two views of history: the revisionist one in the Black Book and a Stalinist view. Neither view is acceptable because neither follows a rigid methodology. I sometimes think that the exaggeration in books like the Black Book make Communists look good because their opponents appear stupid and dishonest. The Four Deuces (talk) 01:06, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
Actually both views need to be included under NPOV. There is the question of what Communists have actually said about the mass killings - can we document this? But even in the absence of Communist reactions, what you call the "revisionist" view MUST be included. Other documented views should be included - but I'm not sure what "middle of the road" views you want to include. Did somebody actually say "Well those pseudo-communists under Stalin killed a few million people, but they weren't real Communists, and it was only a few million, ...."? Also, why do you call the Black Book revisionist? Something like this was the standard view in the Free World during the Cold War (but frankly I didn't believe it - how could a group of people actually be so evil?), after visiting the former Soviet Union and reading some new evidence including the Black Book, what was said during the Cold War amazingly seems to be more or less correct. We need to just dispassionately put up the evidence for all points of view. Systematically removing documented evidence and points of view, as has been done to this article is abhorrent. Smallbones (talk) 18:28, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

Bobanni (talk) 01:22, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

Bobanni, can you please explain your template insertion? What are you referring to anyway? Where is the "general discussion of (Mass killings under Communist regimes)"? The Four Deuces (talk) 01:27, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

Valentino's typology in Final Solutions

Fifelfoo, I have read your explanations above that Valentino does not discuss Communist mass killings as a type, but I don't see how you have arrived at that conclusion. My preview of the book through Google Books does not include some of the pages you cite, but I don't see any indication from what is available that Valentino treats Communist mass killings as a minor sub-category of his main types. Just the opposite, in fact. Do you have a quote you can offer showing that Communism is not actually a focus for Valentino? AmateurEditor (talk) 05:47, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

He focuses on it, it isn't part of a theorised typology.
From the §A Typology of Mass Killing within Valentino2005Final
69, "I aruge, however, that perpetrators are likely to perceive mass killing as an attractive means to achieve these and other ends onlly in very specific circumstances and under very specific conditions. I have identified six specific motives—corresponding to six "typos" of mass killing—that, under certain specific conditions, appear to generate strong incentives for leaders to initiate mass killing.
¶, "These six motives can be grouped into two general categories. First, when leaders' plans result in the near-complete material disenfranchisement of large groups of people, leaders are likely to conclude that mass killing is necessary to overcome resistance by these groups or, more radically, that mass killing is the only practical way to physically remove these groups or their influence from society. I refer to this as "dispossessive" mass killings." …
This catagory, "mass killings to over come resistance to disenfranchisement" is a theoretical category, which unifies Valentino's approach. Within Table 1, [70], Dispossessive mass killings includes three descriptive groups, Communist, Ethnic and Territorial. Valentino is not asserting a unique theoretical cause for Communist mass killings, he is describing them as a case study of his actual theoretical category, Dispossessive mass killings. In clear example, the mass killing by communists in Afghanistan in 1979-88 is classified by Valentino in Table 1 as a case of the "Coercive mass killing" theoretical type, under the Counterguerrilla descriptor. To map these as sets: A(c(c1)) B(d(c2)). Given that c1, the Soviet Famine of the early 1930s, and c2, the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan are separately theorised as, respectively under the descriptive heads, "Communist" and "Counterguerrilla" it is somewhat nonsensical to claim that Valentino sees a theorised cause within communism, or amongst communist regimes for mass killing. Valentino's schema is quite clear "Dispossessive" and "Coercive", neither of which are specific to communism, nor exhaust themselves within communism, both of which contain instances of mass killing by communists. To clarify this, by quotation,
71, §Dispossessive Mass Killings, "Dispossessive mass killings are the result of policies that, by design or by consequence, suddenly strip large groups of people of their possessions, their homes, or their way of life. These kinds of policies do not aim at mass killing as such, but in practice their implementation often leads to it.
¶, "My research identifies three major types of dispossessive mass killing in the twentieth century. First, regimes seeking to achieve the radical communization of their socities have forced vast numbers of people to surrender their property and abandon their traditional ways of life. Second, racist or nationalist regimes have forces large groups of people to relinquish their homes and possessions during the "ethnic cleansing" of certain territories. Third, the territorial ambitions of colonial or expansionist powers have often stripped preexisting populations of their land and means of subsistence."
As you can clearly read, there is no distinguishment between communist causes, and non communist causes of disposessive killing.
72, [Regarding ideological explanations], "From a strategic perspective, however, what the ideologies that lead to mass killing share is not their specific content but the magnitude, scope, and speed of changes they force upon large groups of people. The desire to implement such radical changges may stem from ideological doctrines calling for a revolutionary transformation of the economic or demographic composition of society, but it may also stem from more "pragmatic" concerns, such as the effort to eliminate specific kinds of political or military threats, or the attempt to colonize and repopulate territories already inhabited by large numbers of people. Whatever its fundamental motivation, the effort to impose extremely radical changes on the lives of large numbers of people often results in the near-total material or political disenfranchisement of existing social groups
¶, "Radical ends, however, require radical means. Leaders attempting to implement such sweeping agendas soon discover, or simply anticipate, that members of disenfranchised groups will not cooperate with the implementation of a new social order in which they stand to loose their livelihood, their homes, or their very way of life. Massive violence may be required to force such radical changes upon large numbers of people. Under these circumstances, leaders may simply decide that the victim group must be totally annihiliated…
Again, the theorised category is dispossession, of which communist dispossesive mass killing is simply a descriptive example. See above in my discussion with Anderssl as to why a descriptive subcomponent of an explanatory or theoretical category cannot stand in the place of the category itself (that argument is along the lines of water is blue, thus all blue things are water). The presence of a descriptive case study does not mean that the case study is Valentino's category. His category is clearly "Dispossessive mass killing." Fifelfoo (talk) 06:27, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
And to go on for just a little bit longer. This is why cherry-picking is simply untenable in producing this article. Valentino's interest in genocide is strategic causes, the choice theory behind leaderships engaging in instances of mass killing. Its bloody obvious from his introduction that he's going to treat categories strategically, ie, on the basis of the causes and factors behind choices, rather than dealing with it ideologically. The failure of editors to have read his chapters on theorisation and typology indicates why a great kerfuffle has been caused by trotting out the fact that he has a chapter on a descriptive case study, time and time again, when the case study's purpose is to demonstrate an actual theorised category of dispossession being the cause of mass killings within his typology. Valentino is even kind enough to his readers to have given them massive clues about where the typology and theory would reside within his book. Fifelfoo (talk) 06:40, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
In other words, we are to rely on what you find between the lines of the book and not the printed words? Collect (talk) 12:29, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
No, I've quoted you his words directly and at length. The fact that these were taken from his theoretical chapter, where you expect him to discuss the formation of his theoretical categories is significant. 69, "These six motives can be grouped into two general categories." is rather clear. Fifelfoo (talk) 13:05, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
Second Collect on that one and I regret repeating this: there is no need to add any commentaries to anything on Wikipedia, unless the commentary is published by a WP:RS. The readers can decide what Valentino or any other author is talking about. Thanks!--Termer (talk) 15:38, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
Having been asked specifically to demonstrate how I drew a conclusion when evaluating a source, "I don't see how you have arrived at that conclusion," I believed that interpreting of the text with appropriate quotation was specifically requested. Fifelfoo (talk) 15:54, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
Dear Termer, I regret repeating this: reliability is not sufficient for a material to be included into the article. The material must be relevant, and no secondary sources exist that instruct Wikipedians which RS should be included in certain article and which shouldn't. Only we Wikipedians can and have to make such a decision, and ongoing discussion is a way to do that. Your refusal to get this point ("there is no need to add any commentaries to anything on Wikipedia, unless the commentary is published by a WP:RS") may be considered as a kind of disruptive behaviour.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:50, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
I agree with you Paul on that one: "The material must be relevant" and in that respect the chapter 'Communist mass killings' by Valentino is a good example of one of the most relevant WP:RS regarding the subject. I'm not sure I correctly understood you when you said: "which RS should be included in certain article and which shouldn't...Only we Wikipedians can and have to make such a decision", since Wikipedia is an encyclopedia anybody can edit and what exactly should be included in an article or not is more than clearly spelled out by numerous wiki policies like WP:RS, WP:Verify. WP:NPOV&WP:YESPOV. And on the "disruptive behaviour" you're talking about, sorry but I have no comments to this since I've chosen to ignore all remarks that have been made on contributors instead of the content by you like by anybody else.--Termer (talk) 20:38, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the quotes, Fifelfoo, and for taking the time to answer me. There are several points I'd like to make. First, I think we may be tripping ourselves up on vocabulary. "Type" of mass killing versus "theorized typology". Valentino discusses the topic of Communist mass killings as a type of mass killing within his categories, or theorized typology, of dispossessive and coercive. He discusses the dispossessive and coercive aspects of Communist mass killings in his later chapter on specifically Communist mass killings. Yes, Valentino does not propose a theorized cause of Communist mass killings which exists entirely within Communism. But this article is not about Valentino's general theory on mass killing, despite using the same term that he does (which was chosen here for the same reason Valentino uses it: it is the most neutral term for these events. "Genocide" has major issues.). That Valentino does not assert a unique theoretical cause of Communist mass killings does not make his discussion of the three largest Communist state perpetrators of mass killings irrelevant to this article. In this article, as in Valentino's book, Communist mass killings is a literal category, there's nothing theoretical about it.
Your Afghanistan example is less compelling when you consider that many of his examples fall under multiple motives/types. On table 5 he assigns it the additional motive of "Communist".
I do not understand your analogy to "water is blue, thus all blue things are water." I assume this was an alternate way to state your earlier point that, in Valentino's book, categories can be nested such that Communist mass killing is entirely within Dispossession, and it is thus not a topic of discussion for him, but merely an example of dispossession. This would make sense if Communist mass killings were mentioned in a chapter on Dispossession, but the opposite is the case. Dispossession and coercion are both mentioned in a chapter on Communist mass killings.
Valentino's chapter on Communist mass killings is not a "case study" on Dispossession. It is a discussion of a one of several types of mass killing that Valentino has identified. A type not entirely located within Dispossession, as you acknowledged. Dispossession is simply Valentino's primary explanation for the mass killings by radical Communist regimes. Dispossession and Coercion are very general categories for him. And specific examples within the several types or motives that Valentino identifies for mass killings (one of which is "Communist") can be attributed to both.
Using Valentino's chapter on Communist mass killings is not cherry picking from his book. It is simply the most relevant portion of his book. Just as his chapter on ethnic mass killings could contribute to Wikipedia's article on ethnic cleansing, or his chapter on counterguerilla mass killings could contribute to the article on counter-insurgency, or his chapter on the Strategic Logic of Mass Killing could contribute to the mass murder article. AmateurEditor (talk) 21:50, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the response AmateurEditor, its raised issues I cannot resolve without reference to a better copy of the text than googlebook's preview. I've located a physical copy in my proximity. Within the time constraints I enjoy I'll be responding. Given the current point in the year, it looks like I'll be responding after 4 January 2010, so I'll nudge this section so it doesn't archive. The discussion on cherry-picking was more relating to pushing search strings into books and then quoting the immediate paragraph, and avoiding dealing with his typology as the context for that paragraph. Fifelfoo (talk) 12:27, 13 December 2009 (UTC)
Keep alive nudge to keep this active until post 4 Jan 2010. Fifelfoo (talk) 01:20, 24 December 2009 (UTC)

I think we should just change the name of this article to Valentino's theories at this point. csloat (talk) 21:11, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

No, change the title to "Communist Mass Killings: The Soviet Union, China, and Cambodia" and make the article about that chapter of Valentino's book. That would eliminate the recurring problems of synthesis. The Four Deuces (talk) 22:23, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
I've already pointed this out [19] Valentino says that he focuses on the Soviet Union, China and Cambodia" but he also refers to mass killings by communist regimes elsewhere -North Korea, Vietnam, Eastern Europe and Africa.--Termer (talk) 22:38, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
No problem. As your earlier comment[20] points out he discussed other regimes as well in that chapter. So obviously an article about that chapter could mention that as well. The Four Deuces (talk) 22:59, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
If we're all agreed this article is just about a chapter in some guy's book, let's at least have the article title reflect that. The lede should do so as well. Otherwise we are using an encyclopedia to promote an otherwise obscure theory. csloat (talk) 07:41, 13 December 2009 (UTC)