Ex-USSR

Stalinism and Afghanistan: socialists and the 1979-89 war: Workers' Liberty 3/55

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

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Afghanistan’s “Great Saur Revolution”, in April 1978, and the Russian invasion of Afghanistan that flowed from it 20 months later, at Christmas 1979, were two of the most important events of the second half of the 20th century.

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Chechnya: stop anti-gay state killings

Author: 

Mike Zubrowski

Over 100 men suspected of being gay have been rounded up and detained by the Chechen authorities, with many tortured and some killed.

Chechnya has an authoritarian and extremely repressive state presiding over a deeply homophobic society, but this development is shocking even in this context. Some of the suspected gay men were killed in violent raids, whilst others have been kept in secret “concentration-camp style” prisons, where many have been subjected to electric shocks and violent abuse, with some beaten to death.

The conservatism and homophobia in Chechnyan society is linked both to nationalism and to traditional and political Islam.

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Remembering those Stalinism killed

Author: 

Dale Street

The Russian human rights organisation “Memorial” has published an online database of 39,950 members of the special police force (NKVD) which carried out Stalin’s mass purges of the late 1930s at a cost of hundreds of thousands of lives.

The official creeping rehabilitation of Stalin has served as a stimulus to his natural admirers in the Russian Communist Party.

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Introduction: A watershed for the left

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

Afghanistan’s “Great Saur Revolution”, in April 1978, and the Russian invasion of Afghanistan that flowed from it 20 months later, at Christmas 1979, were two of the most important events of the second half of the 20th century.

Afghanistan’s “Great Saur Revolution”, in April 1978, and the Russian invasion of Afghanistan that flowed from it 20 months later, at Christmas 1979, were two of the most important events of the second half of the 20th century.

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Introduction (1985)

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

Just after Christmas 1979, 100,000 soldiers of the Russian army occupied Afghanistan. Five and a half years later the Afghans are still putting up an unquellable resistance.

Just after Christmas 1979, 100,000 soldiers of the Russian army occupied Afghanistan.

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The Russian invasion of Afghanistan in the British labour movement

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

Most of the Trotskyist organisations backed the Russians. Socialist Organiser was the only organisation in the entire “orthodox Trotskyist” political spectrum that condemned the Russian invasion and called for the troops to be withdrawn.

Most of the Trotskyist organisations backed the Russians in Afghanistan. Socialist Organiser was the only organisation in the entire “orthodox Trotskyist” political spectrum that condemned the Russian invasion and called for the troops to be withdrawn.

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Part I: Afghanistan before and after the 1978 coup

Afghanistan is one of the most backward countries on earth. Its population about 16 million. National income per head is less than $150 a year. Between one and two million people were nomads even before the Russian invasion created four million refugees.

Afghanistan is one of the most backward countries on earth.

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Part II: Ted Grant and Alan Woods on Afghanistan

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

What characterises Bolshevism on the national question is that in its attitude towards oppressed nations, even the most backward, it considers them not only the object but also the subject of politics.

Militant’s politics on Afghanistan were identical to the politics of the old Fabian imperialists, who thought of countries like Britain as the hub of contemporary progress. Militant looked to the USSR instead.

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Part III: Conclusions

In relation to Afghanistan, Militant abandoned the basic commitment to working-class political independence, as well as the Trotskyist programme.

The Russian bureaucracy and their Afghan supporters are in effect carrying through the tasks of the bourgeois democratic revolution in that country”, says Woods — though they are doing it in a “distorted”, Bonapartist fashion. The same idea is expressed by Grant in his 1978 article: the “proletarian Bonapartist” regimes “carry out in backward countries the historic job which was carried out by the bourgeoisie in the capitalist countries in the past”.

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