Gulag 5: Stalin the efficient manager

Stalin had achieved miraculous results for “his” country: within a short amount of time, Russia grew from a nation of predominantly farmers into a big industrialized nation.
He did not achieve that through succesful management techniques: rather, he sacrificed milions of lives to his own personal dream of being in charge of a country that could rival the prestige of other (western) countries.
No business manager would get away with that: if the working conditions in his business are so awful that dead bodies have to be carted out on wheelbarrows, or the compulsory business-provided transportation does not come with a restaurant car or even a friendly lady selling refreshments from a cart, but rather has prisoners fighting over a place near the metal bars, because humidity would condense on these bars and thirsty victims could lick it off. Such a business could not acquire personell anymore; people would rather die in the comfort of their own home, than endure such ravages to go do work that hardly pays at all. (Certainly not enough to compensate for the horrible conditions).
On top of that, I would even quibble with the qualifier “efficient”: so many wasted lives.

Gulag 4: contemporary politics 2 (future)

For the convenience of English speaking readers, I translated this post from a Dutch post I made earlier.

In Russua, people are so used to the Gulag (everybody has a relative who’s been imprisomed in the Gulag – enough to make you shiver!), that people’s feelings about the system have been dulled. And #Putin wishes for this blemish on the country’s history to be forgotten.
Think about western state-terrorism; now suppose there will be no revolutions (sadly, a possibility) ridding the world of the outdated monstrosities, swipe them into the dustbins of history, then how would future generations cope with the shame of state-terrorism, the continent-wide #fascism, which are now occurring/on the rise?
How would future generations handle that? If they’re smart, they’ll shrug it of and go in with their lives. After all, they didn’t do it: politicians did.
Some citizens may have cheered the politicians on, but they were simply influenced by demagogues. And yes, THEY (the gullible citizens / the politicians) ought to be ashamed of themselves, though it has yet to be seen whether they are capable of that – but is not necessary for the civillians to be ashamed of the misbehavior of politicians, even when they let themselves be fooled by politicians out of their own free will, while knowing better.
Suppose that in the future, some will develop strong feelings about having permitted #MKultra / #Guatanamo Bay, #waterboarding (though politics wanted these, mankind merely didn’t do enough to try and stop politicians)

Goelag 4: hedendaagse politiek 2 (toekomstige)

In Rusland, is men zo gewend aan de Goelag (iedereen heeft wel een familielid dat in de Goelag heeft gezeten), dat het weinig opzien baart in de volksgeest.
En #Poetin wil dat die smet op de landsgeschiedenis geen aandacht krijgt. Denk je eens aan de westerse staatsterreur: stel dat er geen #revoluties komen die de ahterhaalde gedrochten van natiestaten de prullenmand van de geschiedenis in vegen, hoe zouden toekomstige generaties dan omgaan met de schande van de staatsterreur/het continentbrede fascisme, die er nu gebeuren / dat nu in opmars is?
Hoe zouden toekomstige generaties daarmee omgaan? Als ze slim zijn zullen ze  het van zich afschudden en doorgaan met hun leven. Tenslotte hebben niet burgers dat gedaan, maar politici. Sommige burgers juichten misschien wel die politici toe, maar zij hebben zich laten beïnvloeden door de demagogen. En ja: ZIJ (die goedgelovige burgers/politici) moeten zich schamen – het is maar de vraag of ze dat kunnen – maar het is nergens voor nodig dat ze zich gaan schamen voor het wangedrag van de politici, zelfs al waren ze uit eigen vrije wil & tegen beter weten in zo goedgelovig om zich voor het karretje van manipulatieve politici te laten spannen. Zet gewoon die politici aan de kant en ga je eigen gang. Veel beter om zulke toekomstige dilemma’s te voorkomen.
Stel dat sommigen het zich wél gaan aantrekken, wat voor gevolgen zal dat hebben? Het is nu (2017) al politiek roerig, kun je nagaan wanneer men zich gaat opwinden over dat men o.a. #MKUltra / #Waterboarding en #GuantanamoBay heeft toegelaten ( dat heeft men niet gedaan: de #politiek wilde het, en over politiek heeft de burger niets te zeggen)

Goelag 3: hedendaagse politiek 1

Een verontrustende gedachte die bij mij opkwam, in de Goelag-tentoonstelling, was: dat het best wel eng is, dat er tegenwoordig nog communisten zijn die ongegeneerd het Stalinisme aanhangen, wetende wat die Georgische gek allemaal heeft uitgehaald. En dan te bedenken dat #Rutte c.s. daadwerkelijk hebben gedreigd samen te regeren met #GroenLinks, de Crypto#Communistische partij. (Een partij waar velen tegen dachten te stemmen door op de #VVD of #CDA te stemmen – hee, die fout begaan ze in de toekomst ook niet meer!).
Elders in het ging het natuurlijk over #WO2 in Nederland en Nederlands-Indië. In 1 van de afgedrukte brieven van overlevenden, beschreef een oorlogsfotograaf dat hij pas in de jaren 1960 is gaan begrijpen dat veel Indiërs de Nederlandse aanwezigheid net zo ervoeren, als dat de Nederlanders in Indië de bezetting door de Japanners / Duitsers ervaren hebben.
Er werd ook beschreven hoe de #Molukkers de kant van de Nederlandse bezetter hebben gekozen, en dus na WO2 als landverraders werden beschouwd door de Indonesiërs. Toen werden ze nogmaals door de Nederlanders in de steek gelaten, want ze hadden gehoopt hun eigen land te mogen stichten, wat dus niet gebeurde, maar eenmaal in NL werden ze ook niet voor vol aangezien. Wat dus verklaart waarom ze een trein hebben gekaapt bij De Punt. (Nou ja, het is amper een verklaring, hooguit een beetje als je het etatisme accepteert)

Gulag 2: money

So I’m back from special exposition in the Resistance Museum in Amsterdam ( And I would like to say a few things about how it relates to contemporary politics:
Firstly: there is the lesson it taught about money. (And how fiat currency is not momey). How did gold get adopted as a money? Because lots of people wanted it for its looks and properties., plus it has industrial applicability, which is why people substituted gold payments for direct #barter (labour is bartered for gold: gold in turn is bartered for goods & services, making it easier for people to find a place where people would accept their skills/labour, and vice versa
In the Gulag-camps, having good shoes could make the difference between #live or #death. So people used them for payments (for what? Perhaps for some fly-invested grass- soupcsme people would cook, in their so very scarce free time? – and often the flies were the only source of protein) because real boots (not pieces of bark strung together) were so scarce that owning a pair would put you at risk of being stolen from.
If your shoes broke, you had to walk barefoot through the snow. Or in the uranium mines, or in the woods, for the logging operation. You wouldn’t get sent home on sick leave or whatever. That’s what made shoes so very valuable and suitable as a #currency/#money.

(The second thing I had to say, I said in another post, just follow the tags Gulag or Goelag (Dutch language posts)

Homo homini lupus est 2: Gulag 1

I just got back from the Resistance Museum in Amsterdam (, they have a very good exposition, today there was also a special feature on The Gulag.
This inspired me to write a bit more on “Homo Homini Lupus Est”, Hobbes’s phrase meaning that “man is a wolf to his fellow man”. Especially so, when given power over said fellow man. There were some video segments of a documentary about the Gulag.
One of those segments, they portrayed a Russian classroom when the subject of the Gulag was brought up. One of the pupils was asked: “Was the terror and murder of millions worth the economic benefits the Gulag-system, yielded?” And the boy actually weighed the pros and cons!
Let me first say that the economic benefits were not all so great: Stalin wanted a railway through Siberia: after several tens of thousands had perished there, Stalin died, the project was halted and never resumed. But the project would never yield a return on investment. It’s just that everyone was too scared of Stalin to stop his preposterously grandioze plan.
I would answer the question as follows: “Who is supposed to benefit from the economic development? The glorious leader? Or the population.? (By whose grace the self-deluding despot’s job exists at all?)”