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Terry Eagleton

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Modern capitalist nations are the fruit of a history of slavery, genocide, violence and exploitation every bit as abhorrent as Mao's China or Stalin's Soviet Union.
--
Chapter 2, p. 12

 
Terry Eagleton

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Why were the Europeans bothered about the Soviet Union at all? It was nothing to do with us. China had nothing to do with us. Why were we not building, without reference to the Soviet Union, a good society in our own countries? But no, we were all in one way or another obsessed with the bloody Soviet Union, which was a disaster. What people were supporting was failure. And continually justifying it.

 
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The Albanian people will throw themselves in to the flames for their true friends, and the Soviet Union is such a friend of the Albanian people. And these are not empty words. I am expressing here the sentiments of our people and of our Party, and let no one ever think that we love the Soviet Union and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union for the sake of some one's beautiful eyes or to please some individual, but because without the Soviet Union there would be no free life in the world today, fascism and capitalist terror would reign supreme. This is why we love and will always be loyal to the Soviet Union and to the Party of the great Lenin.

 
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Kim Il Sung not only presided over the birth of a new nation in an old land, he was inextricably bound to the fate of North Korea. Perhaps to a greater degree than any other modern political leader, he may be seen as the full embodiment of the state. Indeed, Kim was more integral to state and society in North Korea than Stalin in the Soviet Union, or Mao in China.

 
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Although Mikhail Gorbachev is a man of quite outstanding talent and ability, he insisted recently that the story of his own family is actually history itself or in other words the history of the Soviet Union. Gorbachev is in fact a child of the revolution and the world war, of Lenin's, Stalin's, Khrushchev's and Breshnev's Soviet Union. And like most people in this world he is a product of the society in which he grew up. Today, this Soviet society is a historical experiment which is being shaken to its foundations, and this is so not least because Mikhail Gorbachev was also capable of breaking the mould of the society from which he sprang. Or as he personally expressed it in the televised interview, in which he spoke of the perestroika which he symbolises: "We came to the conclusion that we could no longer continue to live the way we were. We needed major changes in every department of life."

 
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Did Stalin make mistakes? Of course he did. In so long a period filled with heroism, trials, struggle, triumphs, it is inevitable not only for Joseph Stalin personally but also for the leadership as a collective body to make mistakes. Which is the party and who is the leader that can claim to have made no mistakes in their work? When the existing leadership of the Soviet Union is criticized, the comrades of the Soviet leadership advise us to look ahead and let bygones be bygones, they tell us to avoid polemics, but when it comes to Stalin, they not only did not look ahead but they turned right round, completely backward, in order to track down only the weak spots in Stalin's work.

 
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