Poster showing the kulak as fat and greedy (source: researchgate.net)
Kulak is the Russian Word for ‘Deplorable’
By Yaacov ben Moshe 2/29/2020
In 1929 in an edict that seemed both impossibly savage and self-destructive, Stalin announced the “liquidation of the kulaks as a class.” The people he called kulaks were the relatively wealthy peasants in the countryside.
For much of the eighteenth, nineteenth and into the early twentieth century, they were the most important single economic sector of the Russian empire. They were also the cultural center. They preserved Russian traditions and honored religious faith. They grew more than enough food to feed the nation. The excess they produced created more wealth in international trade and hard currency for Russia than any other group.
That is why it seems, at first thought, that it was counter to his own interests when Stalin enlisted 25,000 urban factory workers to go and dispossess the agrarian peasants. He trained them, gave them revolvers and ordered them to drive the kulak families off their land, outright murder many of them, send more of them off to prison camps, and enslave the rest. The resulting famine killed tens of millions of kulaks and others in the most painful and pitiless way.
The atrocity of the de-kulakization — the heartless butchery and wanton waste of life, the inhumane genocide of a culture, the destruction of the productive economic heart of Russia — seems a brutal insanity unless you understand the real motivation behind it. As Stephen Kotkin has revealed in his biography of the man, Stalin was tough and cold, but he was not a madman. He did what he did, as Kotkin, proves, not out of murderous insanity but, even more chillingly, simply because he was a communist.
Stalin had studied and subscribed to Marxist theory and would now apply that theory, by force, to the entire Russian Empire. He saw with clarity, more so than any of his Soviet contemporaries, that the farmers as a class within Russian society were the most formidable obstacle (both economic and cultural) to his efforts to “build socialism” and pave the way to the communist utopia he believed in. Stalin was right; their interests, their traditions, their hearts and their independence were bulwarks against socialism and collectivization.
Their knowledge of how to farm the land seemed to guarantee them exemption from collectivization. Stalin’s answer was brutal and direct. His goal was communism, so the kulaks had to go no matter the cost.
The only thing Stalin was mistaken about was that he did not understand that the kulaks were not just a stubborn problem, they were the embodiment of human nature in its immutable unsuitability for socialism. He could not see that even though he could murder them he could not change human nature and that he and the socialist/communist project was (and is!) destined always to fail. It must fail because its promise of utopian equality of results is not just opposed to human nature, it defies the laws of nature and God. The tens of millions of people tortured, lives wasted, and the vast suffering were a great, horrible futility.
Why do I dwell on this now? Because it has become clear to me that the project of globalization by the Progressive administrative/political/intellectual elite, is, if not a twin brother, at least a blood relation to the Stalinist project. Globalization is a collectivist ideological movement, as is communism. It manifests itself as incremental (we might as well say progressive) socialism. Solzhenitsyn, who saw it first hand, said this about socialism: “Socialism of any type leads to a total destruction of the human spirit and to a leveling of mankind into death..” Still, various national and international elites have been pushing it along for several decades. It is the goal for most of the powerful, intellectual and political leaders in the world. It is the raison d’être for the European Union and the underlying rationale behind multiculturalism, the rise of pan-national corporations and open borders. Like Stalinism it is a secular ideology callous to the well-being, liberty, and even, when necessary, the life of anyone who stands in its way.
When Barack Obama promised his “fundamental transformation of America,” he was acknowledging the undeclared war on America’s kulaks. Not that Obama was globalization’s, leader, he was just its least subtle, most prominent ideologue. If that war appears more benign here than Stalin’s de-kulakization, at least at the present stage, it poses comparable dangers if allowed to progress. The only mystery about why the progressive “gun control” efforts alarm many people is why it does not alarm everyone.
The damage it has already done is easy to see once you know what to look for. Think back to the original NAFTA, when the nation started to hemorrhage manufacturing jobs. All the while we were lulled by promises that the “new economy” would require adjustment but everything would be great. Exactly what “new economy” that was, was never made entirely clear. It had something to do with “knowledge work,” financial services and technology. Real jobs went to Mexico, China, Indonesia, anywhere but Illinois. China began taking our technology away. It wasn’t difficult theft, it was like taking candy from a baby because corporate leaders and Republicans and Democrats alike in national office got rich from facilitating it. The industrial workforce decayed until the only ones left to object to the socialization and globalization were the trades people (remember Joe the Plumber?) and the farmers. Just like the Kulaks.
And they are so arrogant they don’t bother to disguise their animosity and cold disdain. Hillary Clinton, campaigning in Pennsylvania, promised to their faces to make coal miners’ jobs disappear. Joe Biden told miners to “learn to code.” Mike Bloomberg despises farmers and factory workers. What did he say?
“I can teach anybody – even people in this room, so no offense intended – to be a farmer. It’s a process. You dig a hole, you put a seed in, you put dirt on top, you add water, up comes corn. You can learn that. Then you had 300 years of the industrial society. You put the piece of metal on the lathe, you turn the crank in direction of arrow and you can have a job. And we created a lot of jobs. At one point, 98% of the world worked in agriculture. Today it’s 2% of the United States.”
This is the attitude of our “elite.” Bernie Sanders has been even more blunt. In Peter Schweitzer’s book, Profiles in Corruption, he is quoted as calling working class jobs “moron work, monotonous work.” The progressive elite who claim to be the champions of the workers are really an incipient aristocracy intent on slamming the doorway to wealth and position behind them so that only their children and those of their friends will rule in perpetuity. This is not yet the brutal fist of communism, but it is wholly analogous, it’s a collectivist impulse that dignified independent people will not support.
President Donald Trump stands out among our political leaders as a man who has made his wealth out of the hard world of building buildings and trading real estate, not manipulating financial instruments, feeding at the public trough, or spinning theories. It is he who truly respects work and the self-reliant people who live independently outside of corporate, academic and government sinecures.
Candidate Obama could see early on that the people in working class America whom he would later demean as “tea-baggers” would not accept his stated contentions that the country must change, that their jobs are going away and they’re not coming back, and that open borders (not protecting our own citizens) was, in his words “who we are as a people.” Obama the candidate opined at one point, “And it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” This is truly the American version of de-kulakization. Not as obvious and dramatic as the Stalinist one (yet) but it is no less Machiavellian. Urban hipsters and university intellectuals sneer at the heartland now, while the opioid epidemic rages and suicide rates are climbing. When an elite class is no longer interested in being the steward of the public it serves and the public no longer feels cared for by its elites, trouble is not far away.
It is axiomatic that it is easier for a public to rid itself of its elite and recruit another more suitable one than it is for an elite to find another public to rule over. But then, the establishment politicians of both parties and the chamber of commerce want open borders — not just for cheap labor but in order to import a more pliable and socialist public. This is the tripwire of American de-kulakization — the replacement by immigration of the working public, trades and farmers. Not with murder and labor camps but with ill-will, condescension, loss of occupations and ultimately, replacement. It is murder, really — just a slow and indirect kind. They just intend to make us sink and then to hold us under the economic waterline until we stop squirming. In it, I hear the echo of a story from Stalinist times. In a video on YouTube, Anton Antonov Ovseyenko tells the story of how Stalin’s friend and publisher of Isvestia, Ivan Mikailovich Gronsky, was traveling with Stalin by train through the countryside surrounded on all sides by starving Kulak families. Gronsky said to Stalin, “You know, Iosif Vissarionovich, our farmers are dying here — millions of them.”
Stalin replied, “Let them die, they’re just trying to sabotage us.”
Think of that the next time you see Maxine Waters, Eric Swalwell, Adam Schiff, Don Lemon, Rachel Maddow or any of the other demagogues, miscreants, windbags and lickspittles of Progressivism calling for Donald Trump to be brought down and destroyed. Is it any wonder they hate President Trump with such relentless venom? He is our best, perhaps even our last, hope to sabotage them. The Progressives appear crazy but are not mad — they are just Progressives.