Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Seamus Milne: fucking idiot or shit-stirrer?

Why, in the name of god, would anyone go looking for pictures of slitting wrists? Is it because they have read one too many blog posts putting the boot into that egregious apology for communism that is constituted by Seamus Milne's shameful article?

It may well be, but it doesn't alter the fact that I too—as one of the most irritable loathers of wankers wearing Lenin and Che t-shirts—am going to rip the little snotrag apart. Simply because I loathe communism and The Guardian (and therefore its editor) and the opportunity is just too good to miss and, tardy though I may be, I do feel that I can add something to this debate, i.e. a good deal of Anglo-Saxon.
Communism may be dead, but clearly not dead enough

It's a good headline and, let's face it, a true one. Why do I get an inkling that what follows is not what I would like to see?
The battle over history reflects a determination to prove that no political alternative can challenge the new global capitalism

Oh, yes; because it's the frigging Guardian, that's why.
Fifteen years after communism was officially pronounced dead, its spectre seems once again to be haunting Europe. Last month, the Council of Europe's parliamentary assembly voted to condemn the "crimes of totalitarian communist regimes", linking them with Nazism and complaining that communist parties are still "legal and active in some countries".

Looking beyond the fact that no one gives two shits about the Council of Europe or their parliamentary assembly, we can see that... Oh, no, sorry: I can't look beyond that fact. Still, if one believes in the political spectrum as a torus, it is difficult to argue against linking Communism with Nazism, or any other fascism. Functionally, they weren't really any different.
Now Göran Lindblad, the conservative Swedish MP behind the resolution, wants to go further. Demands that European ministers launch a continent-wide anti-communist campaign - including school textbook revisions, official memorial days and museums - only narrowly missed the necessary two-thirds majority. Yesterday, declaring himself delighted at the first international condemnation of this "evil ideology", Lindblad pledged to bring the wider plans back to the Council of Europe in the coming months.

Yes, yes, fine. How much is this grandstanding by an otherwise insignificant little wanker costing us. You know, these regimes were all deeply unpleasant, but I'd be much happier if Goran just dropped it, y'know? I'm quite happy hating Communism in my own private way; I don't want to be forced to do so on special days.
The ground has been well laid by a determined rewriting of history since the collapse of the Soviet Union that has sought to portray 20thcentury communist leaders as monsters equal to or surpassing Hitler in their depravity - and communism and fascism as the two greatest evils of history's bloodiest era.

Seamus, you are completely correct that this is a bad thing. Communism was far worse than Nazism, if only because:
  1. it has been, and continues to be, responsible for far more deaths and a far greater reign of human misery

  2. it continues to be defended by fucking stupid editors of left-wing wank-mags, and yearned for by stupid academic tossers who have spent their entire lives avoiding actually going out into the real world.

And those are by no means the the only reasons to hate it. As we shall see...
The latest contribution was last year's bestselling biography of Mao by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, keenly endorsed by George Bush and dismissed by China specialists as "bad history" and "misleading".

Well, up to a point, Lord Copper. As Scott points out:
The latter statement may well confuse some, as one noted China scholar has, in the Guardian's very pages, described the book as "magnificent ... a stupendous work".

In fact, the only bit of sanity that Seamus displays in his whole article is the fact that he obviously doesn't read the paper that he edits, i.e. The Grauniad. Still, never mind, on we stumble...
Paradoxically, given that there is no communist government left in Europe outside Moldova, the attacks have if anything become more extreme as time has gone on.

Yup, and I think that I know the reason for that. It's because, now that they have joined the EU, we are finally hearing the voices of those poor fuckers who had to live under Communism's tender care. Ever thought about that, Seamus? Apparently not. See, the people who really fucking hate the Commies are the poor bastards who lived under its yoke.
A clue as to why that might be can be found in the rambling report by Lindblad that led to the Council of Europe declaration. Blaming class struggle and public ownership, he explained that "different elements of communist ideology such as equality or social justice still seduce many" and "a sort of nostalgia for communism is still alive".

And, of course, with this article, Seamus proves Lindblad to be absolutely on the money. In fact, the entirety of The Grauniad, not to mention the tax policies of The Gobblin' King and his EU buddies, would back up this assertion.
Perhaps the real problem for Lindblad and his rightwing allies in eastern Europe is that communism is not dead enough...

Actually, that is a problem for most of us who see it for the piss-poor, evil fucking piece-of-shit regime that it is, Seamus, old chap.
... and they will only be content when they have driven a stake through its heart and buried it at the crossroads at midnight.

Amen.
The fashionable attempt to equate communism and Nazism is in reality a moral and historical nonsense.

Unless, of course, you have studied any history or politics or, indeed, have any idea of morality beyond equivalence.
Despite the cruelties of the Stalin terror, there was no Soviet Treblinka or Sobibor, no extermination camps built to murder millions.

No, Seamus, you are quite right; the Communists made use of their Kites, poofs, gyppos, pikeys and spastics by putting them to work, often until they died. And don't forget the millions of Poles, Czechs, Hungarians, etc. etc. who also went to the camps. Oh, and while we're about it, let's not forget the massive pogroms against the Jews either.
Nor did the Soviet Union launch the most devastating war in history at a cost of more than 50 million lives - in fact it played the decisive role in the defeat of the German war machine.

Although, of course, the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact did allow Germany to prosecute its war, knowing that the Russians wouldn't attack them. And, naturally, we should remember that it was only when Hitler went as bat-shit mad as Stalin already was, and attacked Russia, that the Pact was broken. Otherwise, Uncle Joe would have been quite happy to watch the subjugation and murder of millions (whilst mopping up a few hundred square miles of territory on the side, no doubt).
Lindblad and the Council of Europe adopt as fact the wildest estimates of those "killed by communist regimes" (mostly in famines) from the fiercely contested Black Book of Communism, which also underplays the number of deaths attributable to Hitler.

Seamus, me old mucker, whichever way you slice it, Communism—the regime—has been responsible for ten of millions more deaths than Nazism. Even if you include every fucker killed in WWII, Mao Tse Tung, with an estimated death toll of 70 million, still comes out ahead of Hitler.

As for these famines, they were engineered by the Communist government. Russia, mainly to save face, was exporting millions of tonnes of grain, even when the government knew that the people were starving. That is still murder, whichever way you look at it. Mind you, if Seamus had studied even GCSE history, he would know about this.
For all its brutalities and failures, communism in the Soviet Union, eastern Europe and elsewhere delivered rapid industrialisation, mass education, job security and huge advances in social and gender equality.

You are absolutely right, Seamus; the Communists murdered their own people regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation (well, apart from having a penchant for exterminating gays), race (er, well, apart from the Jews. And the Romany peoples), income (well, apart from poor people), social status (yup. Many Party members were also murdered), or beliefs (apart from Christians, Muslims, Jews, etc. ad nauseam).

And "rapid industrialisation"? Seamus, me old fruitbat, have you ever read Tintin In The Land Of The Soviets? It sums up the "industrialisation" of the USSR very well; reporters are shown these enormous factories, with impressive bangings and "industrial" sounds emanating from behind their facades. But when Tintin sneaks off, what does he find?

That the factories are exactly that: facades. Cut outs, behind which peasants bang anvils and produce precisely fuck-all. That pretty much sums up the Soviet "rapid industrilisation".

Oh, yeah, that and the Northern convoys of WWII. Do you remember those, Seamus, you know-nothing fuck-wit? You know, when ships were sailing from the US and Britain to Murmansk to deliver armour, ammunition, fuel and supplies to Russia? You know, when thousands of brave men died delivering this stuff to the USSR because its "rapid industrialisation" was a complete fucking sham? Do you remember that, you lackwit buffoon?
It encompassed genuine idealism and commitment...

Yeah, amongst Philby and Co., who found that their "workers' paradise" was not all it was cracked up to be. The people living under it had a whole lot less "genuine idealism" and the "commitment" was forced at the barrel of a gun.

Oh, yeah, and Seamus? You know that Nazi thing? That also "encompassed genuine idealism and commitment". You fucking knob; go read a fucking history book.
Its existence helped to drive up welfare standards in the west, boosted the anticolonial movement and provided a powerful counterweight to western global domination.

Helped drive up welfare standards, did it? In the West, possibly; certainly not actually in the countries in which it was practised though.

And how did it boost the anti-colonial movement, exactly? By annexing other states in central Asia and Eastern Europe. The biggest anti-colonial movement actually came from the US. You utter, utter wanker.

And—oh my god, but this is the best bit—it provided a "powerful counterweight to western global domination" or, as I prefer to put it, kept millions in poverty and destitution, murdered millions, tortured more and continues to fucking do so, Seamus, you fucking piece of crap.
It would be easier to take the Council of Europe's condemnation of communist state crimes seriously if it had also seen fit to denounce the far bloodier record of European colonialism - which only finally came to an end in the 1970s.

Well, actually, the CoE did condemn colonialism (see Scott for details). And—oh Seamus, Seamus, where did you get your history knowledge?—Zimbabwe didn't gain independence until 1984. Oh, and Seamus, me old mucker, how many of those countries are better off now? Still, I quibble.

And, at this point, I simply can't take any more. Seamus's total lack of any historical fucking clue and his glossing over of the worst excesses of Communism simply make me too angry. The man is an absolute fuckwit.

If you want more, especially on the colonial question, do feel free to visit The Reptile.

7 comments:

NuLabour said...

What an odious article.

Whilst it lasted, Nazism was as evil or worse, than Communism, but Communist regimes lasted for decades longer, and are still murdering and torturing people today.

Presumably, according to Milne, all the post colonial wars and genocides in the Third World are also somehow our fault as well.

You missed one of Seumas's pearls of wisdom:

"Its existence helped to drive up welfare standards in the west"

So the National Health Service was created out of envy of the standard of communist healthcare available in Siberia or Tibet ?

Seumas Milne used to be the "Labour Editor" of The Guardian, but isn't the current Editor now Alan Rusbridger ?

Soupdragon said...

You write a fascinating article ~ because:

"Mind you, if Seamus had studied even GCSE history, he would know about this."

I studied GCSE history, left in 1993. All we were taught was "Britain in Change 1815-1851" and "Medicine Through Time". The only time we discussed governments and systems of controlling the populace was when we noticed our history teacher had a piece of rubble on his desk, and when we asked about it he said it was from the Berlin wall. That triggered 40 mins of Q&A from students who hadn't covered anything like it.
All I know about history is from watching stuff like Blackadder and Boys From The Black Stuff, and why I treat films like Pearl Harbo(u)r with contempt.

Anyway, keep writing, you're edumacatin me the fun way.

john said...

superb post, hope you emailed him the link to it.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Soupdragon,

I took GCSE History in 1993, and we covered the Great War, the rise of Hitler, and the Russian revolution up until the fall of the Berlin Wall.

It was all good stuff...

DK

Devil's Kitchen said...

What really gets me, as I hinted early on in the article, is that - whilst wearing a shirt with Hitler on it is considered unacceptable - people think that wandering around with Lenin or the child-murdering Che Guavara on their fronts is OK.

I have heard various excuses ranging from the vapid ("it's an iconic image") to the ignorant ("they were trying to make the people free"), but none that haven't given me an excuse not to lay into them. Twats.

DK

Nic said...

Think you'll find the man studied Economics and Politics at Oxford.

Anonymous said...

fantastic article
i really do think i love you.