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  1. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    Here are a couple of photos I put together.

    Bread line USSR early 1980s. Below that Wal-Mart modern day.

    Anyone see the irony of these two photos? Lack of goods versus lack of cashiers because American companies are too cheap to hire service workers.

  2. Keri

    Keri Leader

    I've been researching this topic a little bit.
    I already know the West's point of view, as it has been drummed into me my entire life, so I've been focusing on the opposition's point of view.
    Some say those famous bread lines were a result of seeking "efficiency" by the use of privatization, and the failure was not endemic to the system, but of revisions made to it.
    Who stood to benefit from this "privatization"? Why, Gorbachev and friends! They effectively shot the USSR in the forehead!
    (not my quote, one of my many sources, in Russian, is here: http://kprf.ru/party-live/opinion/137855.html )

    On the American side, this is how Capitalism really looks like!

    What people under 90-100 years old are accustomed to in the USA is NOT "real" Capitalism, but rather "socialist-reformed Capitalism" (Capitalism regulated to the point of being less harmful) brought about by FDR in the '30s because of pressure from who?
    Why it was pressure brought about by the majority of the population influenced by the examples set by the USSR, and by internal socialist groups such as the CP-USA, the IWW and some of the more progressive unions. This is why we have Social Security and Medicare, instead of the vast majority of American working until death, or dying shortly after becoming disabled.
    The same people, incidentally, who gave women in the USA the right to vote three years after the USSR did (then the RSFSR).

    This is the end result of dog-eat-dog competition…. you end up with one giant dog, that has eaten all the others, and then it starts to eat itself!
    In many cases, the local Wal-Mart has obliterated any other stores people could go to instead, so you end up with bread lines for different reasons. The people in the top photo had money but some supply shortages, the people in the bottom have supply, but are in debt up to their eyeballs. Many here do without not because of lack of supply, but lack of funds.

    Put another way, Capitalism concentrates money and power into the hands of fewer and fewer people until it implodes in crisis, destroying peoples lives in the process.
    It should be stopped! Fortunately, Comrade Trabi is willing to help. ;)
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2015
  3. Wartburg353W

    Wartburg353W Loyal Comrade

    I find it sad that so many Russians seem to blame Gorbachev for all their woes. The man should be hailed as one of the greatest of the 20th century. He had the fortitude to do what he felt was right for people instead of the macho thing.

    So, USSR imposed a single shopping outlet on its people whereas Americans were granted a multiplicity of outlets but have all chosen to stand in line at a single shopping outlet. Delicious irony.
  4. Keri

    Keri Leader

    I've read a fair bit* about what many Russians feel about Gorbachev, especially for an American.
    He destroyed their country, as well as the rest of the Union and the lives of many millions of its inhabitants.
    Unsurprisingly, many of the survivors fail to feel gratitude towards Gorbachev or his Western backers.
    How this is portrayed inside of Russia is a whole lot different from what we're accustomed to hearing from the people that run this country, Russia's enemies.
    Naturally, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, successor to The Party of the USSR is screaming foul. You'd expect that.
    What you might not expect is that The Party in Russia still gets 26% of the vote in "free" elections**, a significant percentage, while over here our Communist Party is insignificant in number.
    Other groups, like the Sut' Vremeni (Essence of Time) movement are also most upset about the destruction of their country.
    A significant number of Russians, (including pro-capitalist Putin) realize who was largely behind the destruction, (Uncle Sam) and intend to reverse the damage.

    In addition to keeping up with current events, I occasionally get a chance to read books printed in the USSR before 91.
    I also have discussed many things with several friends who were there, though they might be slightly biased in favor of communist parties.

    Trivia question: what does the word "Soviet" mean in the context of the Soviet Union? answer at bottom***.

    More trivia: The "bread line" photo above is in front of a store with a large electric sign that reads "MEAT" (МЯСО), and not "BREAD" (ХЛЕБ) People in the line appear well-fed and clothed, though somewhat irritated. They appear unaccustomed to standing in lines.

    * "a fair bit" means reading Russian language websites several times a week for the last year or so, albeit with only poor Russian language skills
    ** a "free" election in Putin's Russia involves "respectable businessmen" having opposition (Communist) Party activists shot if their candidate starts to do too well in the polls…

    *** "Soviet" or "Council" in this case refers to a system of Worker's Councils. And you Americans out there thought it might mean cannibal child-molesting satan worshippers!
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2015
  5. Wartburg353W

    Wartburg353W Loyal Comrade

    Gorbachev is a hero and should be feted regularly. If he hadn't had the courage to open up his government and stand down against the protests, thousands, many thousands would have died violently. He was smart enough to realize continuing to suppress the desire for freedom was wrong and violent and also would never have succeeded. What he did was much braver and wiser than anything Reagan did. Reagan just waved his flag and rattled his sword, it was Gorby who had hard decisions to make. As a result millions were granted freedom without bloodshed. If anyone feels he "destroyed their country as well as the rest of the Union and the lives of many millions of its inhabitants" that is misplaced. The blame is on the subsequent governments and ultimately themselves, as they are the ones have formed their new governments. Also, freedom is just not neat and tidy like a tight, totalitarian regime. There should be statues of Gorbachev in every town square. What do you mean by "his Western backers?"
  6. Keri

    Keri Leader

    Gorby should, indeed be a hero, and he is! To his western friends and backers, who welcomed him with open arms (if not open wallets) after he destroyed his own country.

    The people who live in the countries he destroyed.... Maybe not so much.
    If there "should" be monuments to this "great hero" in an allegedly "free" (for the wealthy to enslave decent people) country, there would be!

    Those thousands of monuments to Lenin did not get there against the will of the people. Indeed, the people constructed them!

    So, let's see….
    Lenin and the communists, particularly the Bolsheviks- lots of monuments.
    Gorby, and the Mafioso that "freed" the country from socialism… no monuments.

    In some countries that communists ran socialism for seven decades, the communists still get mass support… even with openly hostile ruling parties, and even though the communists "dropped the ball" in many regards, leading to the destruction of the country and the loss of millions of lives.

    In a different country that has never has socialist "rule", and communists have never had any significant support, a large number of people feel that they know all about "the evils of communism" while having no first or even second-hand information, while not even performing basic research on the concepts of communism (Marxism), let alone trying to understand the relevant cultures of socialist and ex-socialist countries….
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2015
  7. Keri

    Keri Leader

    Here is an excellent recent article regarding the destruction of the USSR….


    It references an extremely controversial article by the outgoing national chairman of the CP-USA, once the USSR's major ally in the USA, who is not shy about pointing out the weaknesses and faults of the USSR, in particular the effects made by Stalin.
  8. Wartburg353W

    Wartburg353W Loyal Comrade

    The giant statue of Stalin was so dear to the citizens of Budapest that after the lawless rabble tore it down in 1956, the city retained all that was left, a pair of giant boots on a plinth, for decades, colloquially dubbing the area "Boots Square." It has now been reconstructed in Statue Park on the outskirts of the city, where all the old statues the people made for themselves have been dragged.
  9. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    >>More trivia: The "bread line" photo above is in front of a store with a large electric sign that reads "MEAT" (МЯСО), and not "BREAD" (ХЛЕБ) People in the line appear well-fed and clothed, though somewhat irritated. They appear unaccustomed to standing in lines.>>>

    Same could be said here. Usually people in line at Wal-Mart appear to be "well feed" if you know what I mean....

    Here is something I find surprising. Well maybe not.

    A company called Price Less foods purchased the old abandonded Winn Dixie grocery store about a mile from my house.

    Winn Dixie was the largest supermarket chain in the southeast (at one time) and this store did good business through the 1980s when I worked there as a teenager and college and fairly well up until around 2002 when Super Wal-mart opened about 2 miles up the road. They could not compete with Wal-Mart and closed their doors. Although the Winn Dixie was in bad shape by that time anyway and closed something like 80% of their stores within a six month period except for their stores in the Deep South. Eventually they were bought out by another southeastern supermarket chain.

    Anyway the building sat vacant in this old strip mall for over 10 years. And as you know when a flagship store closes, the rest follows. Then one day I noticed some demolition work going on. Could it be that something is actually moving in it's place to actually compete with Wal-Mart? What could it be?

    When I found out it was a grocery store, I got to wondering. Would people actually shop at some other place than Wal-mart for food? Of course when it opened I had to go in there to check it out along with all the other people in the area and reminisce about my "Winn Dixie days". I said to myself, "I sure hope this place survives" because we need another store to compete with "The man".

    Unlike some of the other grocery stores in my area, their prices are either the same or less than Wal-Mart! Like a certain brand of ice cream I buy is like $1.25 cheaper than Wal-Mart!!

    Although the lack a deli and bakery department and their selection of items may not be as large as Wal-Mart or some of the other grocery store chains around here, I can usually find something close enough, do my shopping and get out within the time it takes just to stand in line at Wal-Mart. The weird thing is during their peak hours, they have about 3 of their 6 registersare open. That's 50% where Wal-mart has at least 50 registers and maybe only 10 are actually open.

    This place does really good business. Could it be that people are just fed up with the crowds and long lines at Wal-Mart and would patronize someone other than "The Man"?
  10. Keri

    Keri Leader

    The post-Stalin era had a lot of disillusioned people doing exactly that, and not just in Hungary either.
    Interestingly, I recently read a book that details some of this during the Khrushchev era, written shortly after.

    To understand the Stalin era is difficult, because it was a complicated situation.
    The aftermath included a lot of trying to forget Stalin, wholesale destruction of monuments, even to the point of airbrushing him out of pictures, which was probably a mistake.

    Regardless of Stalin's faults and mistakes, some of which were large, he presided over the fastest modernization of a country in history, and it was the world's largest country at that.
    In addition, the population went from around 150 million to over 200 million…. even after the Germans had slaughtered tens of millions of soviet citizens in WW2, by the way, the Germans were largely defeated by Stalin.

    To this day, a lot of people, particularly Russians, still revere Stalin. As foreigners with little accurate historical knowledge* and even less understanding of Russian culture, we are absolutely unqualified to judge them on this!

    * Practically everything written about this era in English that was the least bit accurate was burned during the McCarthy era as "communist propaganda". Very little survived, especially in USA. I have been fortunate enough to read a tiny fraction of the surviving texts.
  11. Raindrops

    Raindrops Smoking Along

    Well, we are gluttonous consumers so there's that. I don't think it's that U.S. stores are too cheap to hire unskilled labor, they just automate and replace it.
  12. Wartburg353W

    Wartburg353W Loyal Comrade

    If there are people today who revere Stalin then that is what is wrong with the world. I judge those people just as wrong as neo-nazis are wrong. Hitler built the autobahns and designed the Volkswagen. He was still a bloodthirsty monster. Where are my peeps on this? You can't just go around defending Stalin.
  13. Keri

    Keri Leader

    I am not "defending Stalin" here. I am trying to bring a little understanding of the era to the discussion.
    I would like to point out that quite a few people, who know a great deal more about Stalin's era than you or I, some of who were alive at the time, do defend him, and do so well and with conviction.
    I would also like to point out that we owe it to ourselves that when we talk about Stalin (or anyone else), that we do so after trying to learn about all sides of the story to avoid playing the fool.
    Even the sides of the story that we don't like.

    Do not forget, the USA was Stalin's biggest ally in WW2.
    Are you saying that not only many tens of millions of Russians were wrong and evil or duped, but very many Americans were as well?
    It's possible, I suppose, but the "reaction" to the Stalin era here was the McCarthy era and there, the Khrushchev era, neither of which was know for honesty about the Stalin era.
  14. Keri

    Keri Leader

    Some Stalin Trivia... My research is a few years old and might be inaccurate, but here goes...

    Stalin is not Uncle Joe's real name. It is a title he earned in the Siberian work camps, to where he had been exiled several times by the King (tsar). It means "Man of Steel"

    Stalin, sometimes called "the most Russian Russian," was not born in Russia. He was born and raised in the country Georgia.

    Stalin's one and only son was kidnapped by the Germans during WWII. The Germans offered to exchange him for just one general, in secrecy. Stalin's reply? "You can have your general when you return ALL of our sons that you hold captive." reportedly, his son never forgave him for this....

    One of Stalin's most infamous directives was to evacuate all houses and buildings within 10km of any German presence, and burn them down. Some of the residents were furious, but this deprived the Germans of necessary shelter during a brutal Russian winter, and helped to win the war. What would you have done?
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2015

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