Stalin, Stalin everywhere

You can’t keep a great man down, no matter how hard you might try. At the end of a week-long bicycle ride along the Spree River – from its source near the Czech border to Berlin – is the cemetery and memorial for some of the Red Army soldiers who died taking Berlin and ending Hitler’s fascism. It’s in Treptower Park and if it’s the only think you do in Berlin, it’s worth a visit. More on that and the ride soon enough, but inside the memorial you will find not only hammer and sickles aplenty, along with red stars and other communist symbols, but eight quotations from comrade Joe himself. Each of them is in German and in Russian, on the sides of reliefs depicting scenes of war and peace:

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Just to remind us of the vast differences between communism and fascism. But Stalin’s name is on each piece:

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And then, even though the large statue of Joe has gone from Karl Marx Allee, his ear and a piece of the moustache remain.

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Both originals are under the care of Cafe Sybille, on Karl Marx Allee. But if you have a generous partner, then a copy of the ear may make its way into your own pocket:

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8 thoughts on “Stalin, Stalin everywhere

  1. Stalin IS everywhere. While reading the news this morning, I found him in the pages of the liberal Menshevik Guardian newspaper, likened to fascism and Anders Breivik:

    “The Frankfurt school was officially called the Institute for Social Research and was attached to the University of Frankfurt but functioned as an independent group of Marxist intellectuals who sought, under the leadership of Felix Weil, to expand Marxist thought beyond what had become a somewhat dogmatic and reductionist tradition increasingly dominated by both Stalinism and social democracy.”

    Oh boy! And a mention of the Frankfurt School and Marx’s early humanism to boot!

    1. Oh dear. The worn out use of Stalin as cipher. They need to read a little to see the reassessment that’s beginning. I’ve come and realised that the Stalin collected works need a careful read, all towards a book that may be called ‘St. Iosef’.

      1. That’s exactly how I feel when I hear people labelling anti-intellectuals by saying to them, “you Pol Pot”. It’s just become a cipher, a tired cliche. And I’ll bet that few, if any of the people who throw this “Pol Pot” label about so willy-nilly have taken the time to read Raymond Williams.

        It’s not as though Cambodians who wore glasses never had the opportunity to TAKE THEM OFF!

      2. “Aristocratic”?

        “Aristocratic”?!?

        Sir, you are not addressing a member of Alasdair John Milbank Maclagan’s Red Tory Mediaeval Revivalist Think-Tank here, you know.

        This is not to say that I do not welcome his recent categorisation of gay marriage (to wit, in the 20 April 2013 issue of The Tablet) as “biopolitical tyranny”. Indeed, if Michel Foucault were alive today, no doubt he would applaud this application of his theory to the stricter regulation of sexual relations. Moreover, Alasdair John’s unsurpassed anthropological and historical expertise is so abundantly in evidence when he concludes that ‘the joining and harmonising of the asymmetrical perspectives of the two sexes is crucial to kinship relations over time and to social peace’.

        But “aristocratic”. You mock me, sir. And for shame.

  2. You mean they’ve only partially desecrated such a graveyard of mass rapists whose crimes against humanity are at least as bad as the Wehrmacht’s?! (Of course, any attempt–like “totalitarianism”–to ideologically or morally equate communism and fascism tends toward fascism, since such attempts deny the class struggle, deny history, and fetishize dictatorship (and democracy), fetishize the political–so, equating dictatorship of the proletariat and dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, that is to say fetishizing dictatorship, which is precisely what fascism does/is. Which of course is not to say that fascism doesn’t ape something of communism, even as it is anticommunist above all else.) Anyway, the main square in my home city is named after a certain, not-at-all criminal (and not-at-all subject of a personality cult), bourgeois politician named Churchill (have you read the Soviet historian Trukhanovsky?), and there’s a statue of him there. I keep saying to my friends that we need to seriously upgrade it with one of those deposed statues of Stalin. Or at least the head. And now you have me thinking that we can surely at the very least afford to add a Stalin moustache–my niece worked as a welder!

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