The disastrous land reforms: Stalin's USSR

Stalinist nations ( called Communist nations by the capitalist media ) are famous for their abuse of power, bureaucratic rule and mismanagement of their economy. Anticommunists also love to spread the lie that communism as an ideology is responsible for the death of 150 million people. Most victims of these regimes died during the major land reforms that the ruling communist parties enforced. In this series of documents we tell about the Soviet, Chinese, Vietnamese and Khmer land reforms. The USSR, People's Republic of China, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam ( North Vietnam ) and Pol Pot's Democratic Kampuchea showed no tolerance or sympathy for supposed ''class enemies''. Millions died because of these disastrous land reforms!

The Union of Socialist Soviet Republics was founded in December 1922, as a union of workers councils. For the first time in history a nation was created for workers and peasants. But the new USSR was deformed and started to degenerate. Soviet leader Lenin noticed this early on. The degeneration was the result of the civil war and isolation. Most capitalist nations tried to destroy Vladimir Lenin and his socialist revolution. Between 1917 and 1922, 200.000 soldiers from 21 nations invaded the former Russian Empire to aid the anticommunist White Armies. But the Red Army of the Soviets ( workers councils ) defeated the White movement and by 1920 most foreign soldiers left Russia. Only Japanese soldiers remained until June 1922! 

During the civil war the workers councils lost more and more power to the Russian Communist Party. By the end of the civil war the only stable force was the Russian Communist Party. When the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics was founded, the only political party allowed was the communist party. This was not done because the communists were totalitarian, but because all others political groups opposed the revolution with force. Lenin hoped that his communists would remain loyal to the principals of the 1917 revolution. But he was wrong, many new members of the party wanted a better life then ordinary workers. Also because of the civil war, the Soviet-Union was forced to reintroduce a market economy called the New Economic Politics!

This market economy was created to please the peasants who opposed state ownership of land. Many peasants had rebelled against the Soviet government. A famous rebellion against Lenin was the Kronstadt uprising of February 1921. More then 12.000 peasant sailors of Kronstadt rose up against the central Soviet government. Lenin already had made the plans for the NEP, but the uprisings of peasants forced him to act fast. So by 1921, the economy of the USSR was a mixed market economy. Heavy industry was state owned but small businesses were kept in capitalist hands. 

But many members of the Russian Communist Party opposed the NEP. Since the market economy was capitalist, many opposed it. Lenin however was pragmatic and said that the NEP was needed to bring back production. He was supported by Joseph Stalin and Nicolai Bukharin. Stalin liked the idea of a state-capitalist economy like Bukharin. But the left-wing of the communist party opposed the NEP. Leon Trotsky and his supporters wanted a planned economy controlled by the Soviets!

Lenin left politics right after the foundation of the USSR. He became sick and died in January 1924. After his death the communist party was divided between three groups. The left opposition led by Leon Trotsky, the centrist group led by Stalin and the right-wing opposition led by Bukharin. Joseph Stalin was party leader and became head of state. His supporters became known as stalinists, bureaucratic party members who were bought by Stalin to vote for him. 

By 1925, Trotsky was removed as leader of the Red Army. After a two year struggle against stalinism, he was expelled and deported from the Soviet-Union. The opportunistic Stalin changed his views on the NEP by abandoning the idea of state-capitalism. In 1928, Stalin created the first five year plan. The economy of the Soviet-Union became a planned economy. But the transformation from a market economy to a planned economy was disastrous!

The USSR was not industrialized yet. In the year 1929, most people were farmers. The NEP allowed small farmers to sell their products on open markets. The people who worked as middle men between farmers and consumers were called NEP men. These people were hated by the communist party because they acted capitalist. For the NEP men making profits was the way of life, a life style opposed by many communists. Stalin supported the NEP as long as he was not in full control. But by 1929 he no longer needed the support from the right-wing of the communist party. Nicolai Bukharin was removed from the party leadership, now the central committee was fully controlled by the stalinists!

Joseph Stalin started his land reforms by creating two types of collective farms. The Sovkhozs ( state farms ) and Kolkhozs ( community farms ). Stalin wanted to end the power of the wealthy farmers who benefited from the NEP years. We all know that those wealthy farmers did not liked the collective farms. A farmer is an individualist who wants his own land. That is why most farmers are conservative and traditionalists. When the system of state farms and community farms was created, most farmers opposed it. They refused to give up their ''property''.  

When Stalin was told that the farmers did not wanted to give up their farms, he ordered his police to arrest farmers. Many of them choose to kill their animals rather then giving them up. This is partly the reason for the great famine started in 1932. Under the Kolkhozs and Sovkhozs farmers became slaves to the Stalinist government. In both the Kolkhozs and Sovkhozs, a system of internal passports prevented movement from rural areas to urban areas. Until 1969 all children born on a collective farm were forced by law to work there as adults unless they were specifically given permission to leave. In effect, farmers became tied to their Sovkhoz or Kolkhoz in what may be described as a system of "neo-serfdom", in which the Stalinist bureaucracy replaced the former landowners!

Farm workers were supposed to be paid a share of the farm’s product and profit according to the number of workdays, while a Sovkhoz employed salaried workers. In reality the criminals of Stalin almost never paid them a good wage. After world war 2 it was found out that 30 percent of the Kolkhozs paid no cash for labor at all, 10.6 paid no grain, and 73.2 percent paid 500 grams of grain or less per day worked! 

It is understandable that the peasants refused to join the Kolkhozs farms. The Russian peasant way of life could not easy be changed. While the government portrayed the Kolkhozs as voluntary, in reality most peasants were forced to live in these huge communal farms. Living in a huge collective forced by a government most hated and opposed. At the same time the USSR started with a massive anti-religious campaign. This angered the peasants who were deeply religious. Soon Stalin was called the anti-Christ by many. When they rebelled Stalin used brutal methods of driving thousands out of their villages and into the forced labour camps later called Gulags!

Stalin's collectivization's ended up in failure. Between 1929 and 1933 there was a massive fall in agricultural production resulting in famine in the countryside. Stalin and the party blamed the prosperous peasants called Kulaks. These Kulaks were the wealthy upper class of farmers. Like the members of the bourgeoisie in the cities, the Kulaks owned land, peasants and took all the profits. During the civil war, the Kulaks opposed the Soviets and choose to support the White movement. This is understandable because a Kulak wants to own land, like a capitalist wants to own a factory or business. For Lenin the Kulaks were the class enemy like the capitalists. Wealthy farmers hated the rule of urban workers councils ( Soviets ) and did sabotaged the socialist revolution. They refused to sell cheap food and would go over bodies in order to get their profits. That is why the government was forced to act brutally and aggressively. Many Kulaks were killed during the civil war. 

After 1921, the Kulak returned and were able to own land again under the NEP. Stalin supported the NEP until he removed his opponents from the party. As his forced collectivization failed he again blamed the wealthy Kulaks. This time they were not guilty. Sure they opposed Stalin and the collectivization of farm land. But it was Stalin's brutality that led to the 1932 famine. This famine killed 8 million people in the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic, three million who died were children. Some people call it a genocide, the Holodonor. This famine started when Stalin tried to destroy the independent Ukrainian farmers. Like in Russia the Ukrainian farmers tried to hide their grain and food from the government. When Stalin found out that the Ukrainians were hiding food, he ordered to increase grain production. But in 1932 the harvest failed, yet the government took all grain away leaving the people of Ukraine with nothing to eat. This led to the famine some call a genocide! 

Two years after the famine in Ukraine, Stalin started with his Great Terror. With this act of killing he murdered the last Soviet leaders who worked with Lenin. Leaders like Rikov, Zenoview, Kamennev and Bukharin. After the assassination of Leon Trotsky in 1940, Stalin had killed all major Bolsheviks. At the Congress of the All Union Communist Party in 1952, Stalin said that the party should no longer call themselves Bolsheviks. An ironic statement because out of the original 26 Central Committee members, 13 were killed by Stalin. By 1945 only three original CC members were still alive!

Anticommunists abuse the famine of Soviet Russia/Ukraine to spread anticommunism. Most people believe the propaganda because leftist forces are unable to stand against stalinism. Most communists in Russia and Ukraine are dogmatic loyal to Stalin and deny the fact, that the Soviet government killed millions. This denial give the anticommunists only more bullets. Revolutionary socialists opposed the forced collectivization of the USSR. We stood in opposition to Stalin and we were killed because of it. Members of the Left Opposition were arrested and giving ''special'' treatment in the Gulags. Like millions of workers and peasants, we revolutionary socialists were victims of stalinism too. Yet this is not told by the capitalist media who only cry crocodile-tears, about the anticommunist victims of stalinism!

14 million Soviet workers and peseants were
send to the Gulag camps between 1930 and 1956!
Supporters of the Left Opposition got extra cruel treatment!

Struggle, Solidarity, Socialism

Struggle, Solidarity, Socialism