Article 9 of the Stalinist German Democratic Republic’s (GDR) constitution stipulates blatantly, “There is no press censorship.”
Of course, anyone familiar with East German protests knows the slogan “Freedom of the press!” was a common one. And naturally, such protests were brutally suppressed by the police. The thing that makes Stalinism and Stalinist terror unique is its blatant denial of actually existing social conditions in favor of a more “comfortable” interpretation. “Officially” everyone is a “free and happy people”. Officially, it is a paradise on earth. When Stalin proclaimed that the USSR had “achieved socialism”, I believe the lie itself became the reality.
When the peasants in revolutionary France and demanded, “Make terror the order of the day!” The Jacobins did so. Never at any point did Robespierre claim that France was not a totalitarian dictatorship that ruthlessly purged counter-revolutionaries in the name of establishing “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” and political democracy as the social norm.
When 14 armies of the most powerful armies on earth invaded the new RSFSR, aiding the White Army in its anti-Jewish pogroms, Lenin and Trotsky openly admitted that they intended to suspend democracy, use Red Terror against the White Terror, and restore order. Once again, this totalitarianism that had emerged, like the French terror in time of war, was brutally honest and made no excuses. Obviously I am against these tactics, but you cannot deny that there is something different about Stalinism.
After Tito liberated Yugoslavia from the Italian and German invaders, Stalin wanted Tito to proclaim Yugoslavia a “people’s democracy”. But Tito realized how absurd this was and openly proclaimed the early Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia a “totalitarian one-party dictatorship”.
It is precisely rule by terror demoralizes, that makes popular rule of the masses impossible, and it is something that should never be used even in times of war. But, you know, Stalinist terror is unique among these historical examples in that it uses terror in time of peace. And unlike these other examples, it is brutally dishonest because officially it doesn’t exist. If you were to criticize “comrade Stalin” at a public meeting, you would disappear the next day. But if you pointed out that in criticizing “comrade Stalin”, that you would inevitably disappear the next day, you would actually disappear that night- twice as fast!
This is what makes Stalinism so tragic. This is what makes Stalinism a betrayal not only of Marxism, but of its own official ideology. It is politically dishonest to the point of hypocrisy. Socialists used to always disagree with one another, it wasn’t until Stalinism though, that questions of disagreement were so casually solved with bullets in the head.
I won’t get into the serious totalitarian distortions of Leninism that Stalinism embodies here, but I merely wanted to point out how absurd the Stalinist political system is. Pick a former or currently existing Stalinist state and you will see the same blatant falsehoods in the constitution.