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By Harold J. Laski

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This stated that the new obsession with labour discipline was courting disaster. ’134 It was not only industry which was supposed to expand after Stalin’s XVIII Party Conference – agricultural output was to grow as well. For this to happen the new farmers who had been allocated land under the land reform, and the bulk of those who had not been allocated land but simply remained small farmers, needed access to agricultural machinery and horses. The party’s policy was to establish a network of machine-tractor stations, linked to satellite horse-hiring bases.

38 A final turning point was reached on 31 August at a meeting of former political prisoners at the concert hall of Unity House, now renamed People’s House. The ‘Meeting with Former Political Prisoners’ was the last occasion on which local communists acted as the soldiers of the Commmunist International they had once been, rather than as the Soviet apparatchiks they would become. Dominiks Kaupu¿s gave a wide-ranging speech, describing the terror and abuse suffered by communists at the hands of the Latvian police; Solomon Murin gave a colourful account of how he had been condemned to death, but then pardoned in 1934; but the high spot of the evening was the speech by Benjamin Kur.

82 This sort of activity meant that in the countryside the activities of communist activists were on a par with Mao’s Red Guards in communist China. Not only the Church suffered but other cherished symbols of the past. 83 Memorials to those who had died in Latvia’s short but bloody civil war offered a similar challenge to traditional values, now condemned as aizsarg values. Young communists in Bi¿ernieki took the lead in a campaign which was to last several months. On 11 September they organised an event to commemorate the death in 1919 of a Red Army man taking part in Latvia’s civil war.

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Communism by Harold J. Laski


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