The intent of this article is to close out the previously hatched “Monumental” book recommendation where I started discussing A. Solzhenitsyn’s “Gulag…(Vol 1)”.
I wound up putting a good deal of information and excerpts in that article and probably went about 1,000 words longer than I originally planned. But THAT serves me well for the followup as I now briefly outline Vol’s 2 & 3 of his critical “experiment in literary investigation”.
Winston Edit ~ 3am: I only got to Volume 2 … excerpts and a few notes from Volume 3 will be added tomorrow and this article slightly amended. READ ON, Friends.
To summarize the earlier article:
- No book (aside from the Bible) ever moved me, challenged me and … shocked me – the way this one did.
- Once completed (and it took me a year 1/2 to read it all) – I wasn’t able to go back to reading ANY history….I continued reading some Russian short stories (Chekhov / Turgenev) … but my 20 year cycle of reading history book after history book had come to an end.
- Ultimately, I understood that it was time to put the books down – stop the “intake” and prepare to make some sense of it all as best I could and start writing — to YOU.
So – here we are – about to provide a concise outline of Volumes 2 & 3 of this disturbing masterpiece.
OK – for starters here’s how the entire literary work (all 3 volumes) looks if you laid out a high level outline (based on his table of contents):
The Gulag Archipelago (1918-1956)
Book 1: The Prison Industry
Book 2: Perpetual Motion
Book 3: The Destructive Labor Camps
Book 4: The Soul & Barbed Wire
Book 5: Katorga
Book 6: Exile
Book 7: Stalin: Is No More
** authors note: it occurred to me that I may have described this work as having 3 volumes and 8 books. It has 7 “books” within the 3 volumes – I’ll go back and correct myself if I can find the mishap.
So when you open up Volume 2 – at least the edition I have – there’s an interesting map on the inside cover.
The map shows the Western portion of the Soviet Union and has small symbols that resemble ‘watch towers’ – the top of the page tells you that these were the locations of Soviet / Marxist “Labor Camps”.
It looks something like this….
By the time you get to Volume 2 and you realize what’s taking place in their society and within those camps – you can only scan over the dozens and dozens of camps with a kind of numbed awe. Then you realize the back cover of the book has to be used to indicate the eastern portion of the USSR and all the camps that were located there as well.
With the Nazi’s – many of us (and I don’t think this is true only for history buffs) – we tend to KNOW the names of some of their camps. And the names – often resound with terror, darkness – one of the most unspeakable chapters in human history, no?
Auschwitz (probably the MOST infamous) – here’s a link to get you started in case the names are new to you…
But …. who remembers any of the camps that were run by the Marxists?
Heck – I’d settle for someone who simply knows that they existed…..
Obviously someone / somewhere decided it was best to forget.
But for what purpose I wonder?
I mean, I mean remember the last time the History channel ran a series on the Soviet camps – can you?
Camps like the “Big Lubyanka” outside of Moscow and Krasnoyarsk just don’t carry the same emotional weight as Dachau do they?
But they should…
What about the monasteries that were converted into prison camps or the churches that were converted into torture chambers….why aren’t those inhumane, monstrous abuses of power better documented as the decades long HOLOCAUSTS that they were?
Didn’t all those lives matter? Did they die in vain?
Maybe the Marxists that are still among us (and actively marching to assume POWER in some cases) – especially the ones who have the reigns over the media – maybe they believe that THOSE camps ….. had the RIGHT KINDS OF PEOPLE IN THEM…..maybe those camps were part of a system that they intend to resurrect?
Maybe that’s why it’s been hidden from us in plain sight? For it HAS been hidden — there’s just no way something so systematic and inhumane could go on and on for decades – not even in remove Russia with ALL the secrecy of the iron curtain……
The author of the “Archipelago” talks about how he and his fellow inmates were SO EXPECTANT for the US to come liberate them….people HAD to know what was happening right?
((Later he writes his opinion that “The West” had simply had enough of war and wanted Peace at ALL COSTS…..but that’s another article))
Here are some things we learn from Volume 2 – please, as you read these facts, consider sharing them with someone who still believes that Socialism / Marxism is a desirable path for the US (or ANY nation …):
- The author notes how the vast majority of the citizens were suppressed by a small minority of communists (committed communists were never more than 7% of Russia’s population at any given time)…and yet that suppression cost them…”from the beginning of the October Revolution up to 1958 a total of 66-Million Lives.
- “The reader has already read the term concentration camp … several times … and concluded, perhaps, that we were guilty of an error, of making careless use of terminology…NO, this is not the case.”
- At that time [Winston: 1920’s] the authorities used to love to set up their concentration camps in former monasteries…they were enclosed by strong walls .. and after all, monks are not human beings and could be tossed out at will.”
- “By the end of 1920 there were eighty-four camps in forty three provinces.”
- “Only the children’s camps colony was completely dressed. The women…were given neither underwear nor stockings nor even kerchiefs to cover their heads. [If] they grabbed the old biddy in a summer dress she had to on wearing it the whole arctic winter.”
- A.S. shows photos of a former monastery and a bell tower. Under that bell tower is an archway that terminates in a small door. The author witnessed how the Marxist camps guards would, “…squeeze [a man] through that little door and shoot him in the back of the head…they can pile up as many as seven or eight men in there and would then send in men/women to drag out the corpses.” (He notes that they particularly liked using religious believers who refused to recant their faith or refused to allow their children to be torn from that faith)
- NO more than 20-40 people held sway of thousands – many thousands – in this particular camp. HOW did they manage this? HOW was the entire population kept in check and kept from rebelling? By use of TERROR
- By being dragged through the camps
- By use of daytime executions
- By torture and starvation
- As the 1930’s dawned A.S. notes one of the leading Marxist ideologues who’s “black star was rising” because his “formula became ‘supreme law’ of the system of camps…the monster’s name was Niftily Frenkel and in regards to the human beings in those camps he was quoted as saying that, “We have to squeeze everything out of the prisoner in the first three months, after that we don’t need him anymore”
- So in the name of THE PEOPLE …. in the name of THE WORKERS…these Marxists waged a revolution that produced a vast system of camps that were just as much a collection of Death Camps – as anything the Nazi’s ever ran
- The biggest difference of course is that the Marxists had MANY more camps and exterminated MANY MORE MILLIONS!
- “It is known that they did not allow the workers to dry themselves out in the autumn, in winter they did not provide them with clothes or footgear in the deep snow”
- Speaking of the culture of Terror outside the camps — “it was the duty of every person to inform”
- Also, many people, “once having made the decision not to notice anything around them [also tried]…not to draw conclusions”
- Winston:They ceased to think….became willingly ignorant….
- A.S. tells of a man named Uspensky (and notes that this story wasn’t a-typical). Uspensky was born the son of a priest – and when the Revolution came to fruition he was gripped with terror. What did he have to look forward to as the song of a priest? Security questionnaires, restrictions, exile…..so he realized there was a way out of this predicament that would be based on Marxist thought.
- He murdered his father and declared to the authorities that he had done it out of CLASS HATRED (in other words he was a good Communist who despised the outgoing culture of the Bourgeois and Religious)
- This, according to Marxist teaching, was a healthy attitude — and almost not murder at all.
- He was given an easy sentence and rose in the ranks of the Camp’s CULTURAL AND EDUCATIONAL organs – “he was soon liberated“
- Speaking of Western perspective on the inhumanity of what the Marxists did, “People will claim that this whole [thing] is what – monstrous? Ridiculous. That it is beyond belief? That Europe won’t believe it? Europe, of course, won’t believe it. Not until Europe itself serves time (emphasis his) will she believe it. Europe has believed our glossy magazine and can’t get anything else into her head.”
- You could just as easily substitute the U.S. here and the legions of naive American Socialists / Marxists who either don’t know – or don’t WANT to know what THEIR founding fathers did …. and what their Marxist system is still yet designed to DO.
- The Marxists regularly used tactics to divide and conquer. They’d work tirelessly to make sure that people were divided against one another…..in the camps even, they would constantly spread the life that, “each was an enemy of the other”
- Does that approach sound like any groups in our country today?
- There was a multitude of Christians (exterminated)…”prisoner transports and graveyards – prisoner transports and graveyards. Why will count these millions? They died unknown, casting only in their immediate vicinity a light like a candle”
- In 1950 the students of the Leningrad School of Mechanics created their own party with a program and statues. Many were shot.
- Keep bits like that in mind the next time you notice how this new strain of “Leftism” seems particularly unwilling to hear any other ‘side of the story’ politically speaking.
- In 1937-1938 (one of the worst periods of purges and murder from Stalin), speaking of what a newcomer to camp would see, “every tent in the settlement was surrounded by piles of frozen corpses on three out of four sides – except where the door was.”
- At Adak – a camp on the Pechora River here’s how members of the opposition movements were treated. “Their mouths were stuffed with something and their arms were bound with cords behind their backs. They were piled onto carts, five to seven at a time – they were then driven off to the camp cemetery. On arrival they were tipped into big pits that had already been prepared and buried alive. Not out of brutality, no. It had been ascertained that when dragging and lifting them, it was much easier to cope with living people than with corpses.”
- So, just like the Nazi’s – these Marxists with unlimited power were methodical and calculating in their efforts to exterminate others. HOW – has this all been swept away? HOW is anyone able to openly claim Marxism as their worldview without being subjected to the same disdain, pressure and/or horror that we would reserve for a modern Nazi??
- So – I could go on and on – but I’ll end the review of Volume II with this quote in regards to “progressive doctrine” (you didn’t realize THAT was a recycled term too? It’s a communist gem). “According to the Progressive Doctrine [Winston: which modern Marxists openly claim, mind you], criminal activity arises only from the presence of classes, we have no classes in our country, therefore there is no crime, and therefore you can not write about it in the press!”
If you want to see a modern application of this — go look at the Black Lives Matter website
They cite each and every problem with the “black community” as being a problem stemming from — State Violence.
Not one shred of thought given towards self-inspection of behavior, attitudes or status of relationships with others. EVERYTHING lays at the feet of the “STATE VIOLENCE”
So – following the Marxist line of thought – you change ‘The State” – and there ARE NO PROBLEMS….
This will be the subject of my next article actually as a group like “Black Lives Matter” clearly fits into the Marxist Political camp and doesn’t represent all Black people whatsoever.
OK – so there’s an example of Marxism at work, folks – I could nail it down even better by bringing in people like Bill Ayers but I’m saving that for the next article.
Here’s a quick snapshot of some of the Founding Fathers that they don’t even know they HAVE — Marxists in the streets of early 20th century Russia – causing havoc and using violence to destabilize …it was their job as a “Vanguard Political Group” (later, many of them would be shot or enslaved in camps since they weren’t exactly useful to the new Ruling Class — AND they were a bit dangerous since they knew “The Playbook” for sewing seeds of conflict”
And you better believe they’re being molded into the same mindset of Russia’s Bolsheviks – they don’t want your sympathy, they don’t want your regret – they want you to join the Marxist revolution OR (and we are closer to this than you think) they believe they’re 100% justified in liquidating you — just as their Founding Fathers did to so many millions in Russia.
So, in closing, for Volume 2 of “Gulag” – we see a brutal image of a government with no opposition party, a government with total power, a government led by people who truly believe there’s no God, no soul, no right/wrong and no such thing as immorality……their “Progress” is to seize all capital and the means of production and exterminate anyone who opposes them……THEN history says that they contradicted themselves in several ways…..
- The Workers? Millions upon millions were starved, shot or imprisoned as slaves and left to die in brutal concentration camps
- The People? Left to exist in a police state where looking at a bridge for too long could get you sent to Gulag. Wondering where the dream of a classless society went so quickly
- Classless society? After the communists set up their RULING CLASS and outlawed, imprisoned or shot the Mensheviks (Socialists) – they arranged for a neatly defined caste (or class) system composed of The Intelligentsia, The Political Class, and the Proletariat.
- Justice? Everyone paying their fair share? Only if you are willing to excuse systematic slavery, torture, oppression, and calculated extermination of many, many millions within their death camps.
If it weren’t so damn tragic it would almost be funny
Here’s a Huffington Post article that does a better job than I can at putting a human face on some of the atrocities – good to see that these human beings haven’t been totally forgotten:
HUFPO Article Focuses on Stalin’s Massive Purges around 1936-1939
Finally a quote from Russian great – L. Tolstoy about remembering – I think this is SO critical for understanding another reason to remember history’s lessons — especially the kinds of lessons that unfold in a literary work like this: