Utopia Through Elimination Essay

1125 words - 5 pages

Two totalitarian governments, the Communist Party under Stalin and the fictional Ingsoc under Big Brother, have conducted political purges. These purges were used to wipe out political opposition, to root out seeds of rebellion, and to "cleanse" society. Both of these totalitarian governments had their own methods, but their purpose was the same: to create dystopian societies riddled with oppression, devoid of freedom.The political purge was primarily an effort by the center faction of the Party, led by Stalin, to eliminate opposition from the Party's left and right wings, led by and Nikolai Bukharin, respectively. Following the Civil War and reconstruction of the Soviet economy in the late 1920s, the "temporary" wartime dictatorship which had passed from Lenin to Stalin seemed no longer necessary to veteran Communists. Stalin's opponents on both sides of the political spectrum chided him as undemocratic and lax on bureaucratic corruption (Lang 1). These tendencies may have accumulated substantial support among the working class by attacking the privileges and luxuries the state offered to its high-paid elite. The Ryutin Affair seemed to vindicate the fears of Stalin's clique. He therefore initiated a ban on party factions and banned those party members who had opposed him, effectively ending democratic centralism. In the new form of Party organization, the Politburo, and Stalin in particular, were the sole dispensers of communist ideology (Lang 1). This necessitated the elimination of all Marxists with different views, especially those among the prestigious "old guard" of revolutionaries. Communist heroes like Tukhachevsky and Bela Kun, as well as Lenin's entire politburo, were shot for minor disagreements in policy. The NKVD was equally merciless towards the supporters, friends, and family of these heretical Marxists, whether they lived in Russia or not. (Illic 1) The most infamous case is that of Leon Trotsky, whose family was almost annihilated, before he himself was killed in Mexico by NKVD agent Ramon Mercader, who was part of an assassination task force put together by Special Agent Pavel Sudoplatov, under the personal orders of Joseph Stalin. (Lang 1) The elimination of Stalin's political enemies could be compared the vaporization of Party members Syme and Parsons. Syme was simply vaporized because he liked his job too much, and Parsons was arrested for muttering "Death to Big Brother" in his sleep (Orwell). While Stalin's rivals actually posed as valid threats, Syme and Parsons were simply unfortunate victims betrayed by their own minds. These examples go on to show the paranoia that riddled both totalitarian parties, although Ingsoc was much more meticulous about their purges.While purges can be conducted to eliminate rivals, they can also be conducted en masse. In 1929 through 1938, Stalin conducted the Great Purge. Mass repression was used against the kulaks during the collectivization drives of 1929 through 1931. (citation) The term...

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