Whether you like him, love him, or believe he’s the worst person who ever lived (he’s not), he was absolutely correct when he said:
For those who can’t see it, it says:
“It is difficult for me to imagine what personal liberty is enjoyed by an unemployed person, who goes about hungry, and cannot find employment. Real liberty can exist only where there is no oppression of some by others, where there is no unemployment and poverty, where a man is not haunted by the fear of being tomorrow deprived of work, of home, and of bread. Only in such a society is real, and not paper, personal and every other liberty possible.”
In this, he is correct. In the US, the general idea of freedom is touted as one of our greatest achievements, and one of our most treasured rights, but when you get right down to it, how free are we? When we have to work long hours with little pay so that we can afford the basic essentials like food, clothing, medicine, and shelter?
What kind of liberty do we have when our entire life savings can be wiped out by a single visit to the hospital? Where our government can spend $800 billion a year bombing other countries, and sending our militaries into the villages of poor black people halfway around the world, while neglecting men, women, and children here? What is freedom if it can be taken away because you made a mistake and ended up in prison? No longer able to cast a vote even when you’ve “paid your debt?”
Freedom in the US is just one more brand, in my opinion. It’s one more talking point to use as a cudgel against people who fight for something better. It keeps the masses at bay because they believe the lie that they’re the freest people in the world when they have to decide between their medication and their rent, when they have to take on three jobs because they receive so little pay.
We are a nation of private prisons, private hospitals, for profit schools. We have child lunch debt, we force the families of people on Medicaid to pay back their expenses when a loved one dies. We lock our baby formula, when we can get it, behind security glass so hungry, desperate mothers can’t take it to feed their babies.
Our people are reminded by our so-called police force that they can be beaten, detained, imprisoned, and held without access to outside legal representation for days, even weeks, all for the crime of protesting, or worse, of being black and in the wrong place at the wrong time, and when one of our officers murders a black man by shooting him in the back as he runs away, they are often deemed innocent for being “in fear of their life.”
What kind of freedom is this? Who honestly, truly believes that this nation is a free one?
“Stalin had gulags!”
The United States has the largest prison population in the world.
“There was a famine in USSR!”
The United States also experienced a famine around the same time in the midwestern US corn belt. Perhaps you’ve heard of the novel, “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck. If not, I sincerely recommend it. It is a fictional story of a true event.
“Stalin murdered people! Communism killed billions!”
Stalin made mistakes, some of them grievous. He was pushing back against a bourgeois political society (the ownership class that had been kicked out in the revolution) that was hellbent on returning things to the formerly imperialist system it once was under the Tsar, The Kulaks, for example, were bourgeois farmers working with the former upper classes who burned their own crops rather than turn them over to the government so that it could be distributed to the masses. This, of course, resulted in what we know became a terrible famine.
That said, by the 1950s, the average citizen of the USSR was eating very well. A CIA document released in the 1980s even confirmed that they were receiving the same basic caloric intake as most western nations. I will link that PDF to you: https://abidingeos.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/DOC_0000498133.pdf
That said, many of the atrocities attributed to him come from a publication called “The Black Book of Communism,” and capitalists love to quote it, despite it being co-written by Nazis, and debunked repeatedly in historical circles. You’re just going to have to look for yourself. I recommend “Another View of Stalin” by Ludo Martens, and “Blacks and Reds” by Michael Parenti.
Look, the United States has the greatest propaganda in the world, and the government and its institutions have spent decades telling you why our late stage capitalist system is the best system there is, and so many people believe it, just like they believe they’re truly free. If the US will so easily lie about something so fundamental, what else will they lie about?