A Monumental Book Recommendation – The Gulag Archipelago (Overview & Vol I Review)

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2/4/17 (About Brunch Time)

Continuing with the book recommendation as a way to:

a) Promote historical awareness and understanding

and

b) Highlight my own sources so readers can better understand the path I’ve taken to some of the political conclusions and convictions expressed on this site.

So this recommendation is more than “just a book” – it’s a massive, world view changing Magnum Opus from one of the greatest dissident authors of all time.

If you have the drive (and the stamina) for it — I highly recommend “The Gulag Archipelago” by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

I believe the work probably shows up in different formats but the specific books I purchased came in three separate volumes with (I believe) 6 separate “books” within those three large tomes.

It took me a year and a half to read all of it (at the time I would read 3-4 books at a time and work through more slowly as a result) – but the time spent learning about this vital piece of history has literally changed my political views and subsequently, my life.

Make no mistake about it – this is a dark read (think Diary of Ann Frank with a MUCH wider scope of injustice – only there never was any retribution demanded of the perpetrators (Socialists – and even Communists are somehow able to avoid the association with this brutal legacy of their Marxist theories put into practice).

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A parting gift from the Germans at the end of WW1 – Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (aka Vladimir Lenin)

Somehow the author manages to inject humor at varying points of this “literary experiment” and he provides insight into the ugly (often times horrific) reality under Marxist rule in the USSR. He addresses the historical eras of Lenin, Stalin (spit) as well as Khrushchev (a period of time roughly corresponding to the 1918 to 1964.

There’s something overwhelmingly powerful about hearing a “true believer” (A.S. was a Red Army officer and a Marxist – who admitted that at one time he only needed Marxism to make sense of the Revolution and the carnage it unleashed – everything else was CUT OFF as he closed his mind and turned his back on it…..sounds a little like the American Marxists in our streets now doesn’t it?) experience the injustice and brutality of the system that they’ve been supporting and then coming to the realization that they were actually WORSE than the Nazi’s…early in Volume-1 he expresses deep regret that the lack of resistance to the systematic round up (and often the resulting enslavement and/or extermination) of people like himself who KNEW that the whole system had gone horribly wrong shortly after the Communists seized power.

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Lev Davidovich Bronshtein (aka Leon Trotsky)

It’s gut wrenching at times – especially when he goes into detail about how the Communists would physically abuse people or “liquidate” (i.e. MURDER) them – but it also has a way of helping you to appreciate what we still have in this country.

Hopefully it also still serves as a warning to what happens when you empower people who don’t believe in any power higher than themselves, preach (watch for the irony here….) that there’s no such thing as “right or wrong” and THEN given them total control of the nation, its people and all its resources…..why wouldn’t they exterminate anyone who opposes them or round up, imprison & enslave (literally working them to death in mines and in frozen wastelands with whatever clothes they had on their back when they were arrested.

 

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Vyacheslav M. Skryabin (aka Vyacheslav Molotov)

The “Gulag” Series of books will likely leave you with some questions (“haunt you” is more like it) that are very difficult, and maybe a little uncomfortable, to answer as it did for me.

In a nutshell – it’s baffling and deeply troublesome that The Soviet Union was supposed to be the ultimate model for what the Socialists and Communists envisioned for all of humanity…and yet they had concentration camps in place some 15 years before Hitler was ever in power (Vol 2, Book 3, Pg 537) and some estimates place the number of human lives exterminated to be around 66-Million.

AND YET – these “founding fathers” of Communism and their vast network of death camps don’t “stick” to their ideological descendants — the Socialists (and even Communists) of today.

Communism should forever be held in the same ill-regard as Nazism (Fascism).

Marxist Socialism – which was envisioned as a temporary state on the WAY to Communism – should also be held in high suspicion at the very least and outright banned as a possible path for our Constitutional Republic.

Practitioners of these ideologies should have to bear some of the historical weight of THEIR Founding Fathers!

The author provides a poignant and succinct version of this argument in Volume 1 as well, he asks the following question to those who pay attention to history:

“Why is Germany allowed to punish its evil-doers and Russia is not? What kind of disastrous path lies ahead of us if we do not have the chance to purge ourselves of that putrefaction rotting inside our body? What then can Russia teach the world?”

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Nikita Khrushchev (he didn’t take a stage name like the others) The “Reformer” who followed Stalin –
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Josif V. Dzhugashvili (aka Joesph Stalin) – not many people can put “worse than Hitler” on their resume

So obviously, these books had a profound impact on my political views – and these statements are only scratching the surface – so I’ll stop there.

Please consider reading at least some of this important work – here are some observations, quotes and excerpts from Volume-1 of the Series:

  • In chapter 8 the author makes a fascinating observation about remembering history – he states that his Russian people “Forget Everything”. If the government tells the people to forget the public trails and executions that may have just taken place….then they would forget. This forgetting was helped along by government complicit media who made sure that they repeated the right things (things you SHOULD remember) and simply dropped other things (things you should forget). “if they didn’t drill a hole into our brains – we forgot. Only things repeated on the radio day after day were what we remembered
    • That’s as fascinating as it is familiar – and is twice as scary as either. Because this is absolutely how most of the American media operates.
    • We are told that the current administration has committed a heinous crime for putting a 120 day vetting process in place for Muslim immigrants from 7 specific nations
    • But no one is repeating the historical facts to you that President Barry Barack Hussein Obama Sotero routinely BOMBED at least 5 of those counties (and at least three have been acknowledged as state sponsors of terror by previous Presidential Admin’s)……who’s going to remind you of that?
    • Who’s going to remind you about the VA report in 2014 showing that 22 veterans were committing suicide A DAY – and most of them were between the ages of18-30……I don’t recall seeing the outraged press, do you? The marches that were held in outrage over the corrupt and negligent VA system under our last President — I must have missed all the repeated, amplified communications from our faithful media …..
  • If you stared too long at highway bridges, factory chimneys or railroad tracks – you were liable to be charged for espionage (I guess ‘staring without permission’ just didn’t quite sound serious enough)
  • The security organs and govt-agencies that were established started making up cases against people on top of all this — they were deeply worried that if the number arrested terrorists, capitalists, and other assorted boogey-men were to drop off…then that meant THEY weren’t doing their job (another reason I was opposed then and now to the Bush Jr era Homeland Security and TSA organs)
  • Toward the end of his rule (and his miserable life) Stalin started rounding up Jews –  it’s recorded that around 1950 there was a noticeable stream of Jewish prisoners streaming in. There were rumors in Moscow that Stalin had planned to hang Jewish “doctor murderers” in Red Square….pre-planned and choreographed protests (sound familiar?) would be unleashed to resemble an out of control Anti-Jewish movement … Stalin would offer to protect the Jewish population by removing them to the Far East …. where their new home in a Soviet Gulag was already waiting for them…..what a guy.
  • Between 1936-1937 Stalin purposely starved 6 million to death in the Ukraine for not submitting to the government confiscation of their property and farming tools / capital……so in ONE YEAR Stalin managed to TIE Hitler’s “6 Million exterminated” record.…and he was just getting started…the accounts of the things that happened during that time in the Ukraine are unmentionable.
  • Life under Stalin was so hellish that there were very large numbers of Russian citizens who RETREATED WITH HITLERS ARMIES AS THEY WERE DRIVEN BACK (this was called the “Vaslov Movement” and they were ready to AID THE NAZI’s in overthrowing Secretary Stalin). Germany never armed nor supported them so they were eventually arrested and sent to concentration camps. Stalin also believed that any Russian who had been taken prisoner of war by the Nazi’s — and survived to return home — HAD to have been collaborating with the Nazi’s — so THEY TOO were arrested and sent to camps (welcome home sons of Mother Russia – thanks for your service etc)
  • Koreans were targeted for their race – as the USSR declared war on Japan in the final weeks of WW2 – they moved in and arrested Asians at will (ALL of the Chinese living in what was now the Soviet Far East – were arrested and sent to the camps) as they were either considered Japanese or collaborating with the Japanese — more free labor for the PROUD TRADITION OF THE SOCIALIST WORKERS PARTY.
  • If your convictions didn’t rise to the level of intensity that matched the government’s – you could be convicted of subversion and sent to a camp.
  • In order to continue rounding up even more free labor the definition of treason was expanded to include instances where your interrogator thought you INTENDED to commit treason (sounds like Orwell’s ‘thought crime’ and should serve as a reminder to never assume that we’re all operating from the same set of understood definitions when it comes to political terms). They also expanded the definition of the term “Terror” and the application of “Terrorism” (if you were perceived to have threatened a party member or got into a scuffle – you were now a (Domestic) Terrorist and fed to the ever hungry and ever expanding system of slave camps were people were dying within weeks or months after arrival.
  • An accusation of ‘weakening State power’ (which included these poor souls in camp starving and unable to work anymore — you would be shot.
  • People who refused to become goat-informers on their neighbors or family – were arrested and sent to the camps.
  • Engineers who pushed back against impossible govt-mandated schedules or goals – were labeled ‘wreckers’ – if you protested in any way you were labelled a ‘limiter’ – typically for this demonstration of a lack of faith in the Socialist way – you would be shot.
  • Anyone convicted of ‘religious activity’ (which included professing your faith or raising your children to share in it) – you would typically be given a 10 year sentence to one of the camps.
  • In 1922 the Cheka (an early predecessor to the KGB) decided to ‘intervene’ in church affairs. The political organ (and subsequently the churches) were called on to carry out a “church revolution”  – to remove the entire church leadership and replace it with government agents – this newly ‘transformed’ church was called ‘The Living Church’ (and established by a govt-body that denounced all religion, free speech and freedom on conscious)….the book also details how the Communists liked using churches and monasteries as torture sites and, when possible, prison camps.
    • And if you refused to take an oath to support this newly transformed church — you were arrested and sent to the Camps (cause that’s JUST what Jesus would have done….if he were Communist and an atheist)
  • In 1921 (about 3 years after the Revolution that overthrew the cats) the practice of arresting students began (careful what type of system you wish for, US College Agitators)
  • Russian peasants are a “silent people, without a literary voice” and between 1929 and 1930 there were an estimated 15 Million Russian peasants driven from their homes (usually given maybe 20-30 min’s to take whatever they could carry) and into the unforgiving Russian taiga to simply die (or survive as exiles if they could).
  • In describing the attitudes of the Communist tribunals and judges –> “People are not people but carriers of specific ideas…no matter what qualities the person may have there’s only one criteria used to judge them – class expediency (i.e. are they part of the Revolution or are they outside of it). Also the concepts of morality, guilt and innocence were abolished by these Progressive Socialists and Communists – so the judges and tribunals did not have to fret over any of the finer points of jurisprudence or weigh out the circumstances or context….”in other words you can only exist if it’s expedient” to the Revolutionary party.
    • Think about that mindset the next time you see a Black Lives Matter Protest or a Student Uprising — many of you are probably wondering how they can continue to assert non logical arguments while shouting down (or worse) and critical inquiries directed their way…many of them have been brainwashed with this poisonous Marxist ideology that tells them that they are on the right side of history and the rest of us are going to get what we deserve.
    • This is how they moved with ease to “executing bishops, priests, monks and nuns who were guilty of nothing”
    • As an encore, “the People’s Commissariat of Justice issued a directive, dated August 25th, 1920 for the liquidation of (church) relics of all kinds, since they were a significant obstacle to the resplendent movement towards a new, just society.” …so they were, in effect, treating the Christian faith as a mental disorder capable of infecting others.

 

I intend to come back and cut this material back a bit – I’ve skimmed through roughly half of the first volume and just noted some of the comments I had underlined when I read it.

So while some of these bullets may be removed – newer ones may be added, I know it’s a lot and its dense but even reading a BIT may help reset your perception about what’s at stake in this country (and subsequently for the world)

Hopefully it is becoming clearer why I am insistent in noting that the American Left has been hi-jacked by this same Marxist ideology…..

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