In the course of his discussion of the rights and wrongs of the suspension of a teacher for his membership of the British National Party, Peter Wilby compared the iniquities of Hitler's Germany with those of Stalin's Russia (TES, May 7). The Nazis, he said, are regarded as "worse" in spite of the fact that Stalin "probably" killed more than Hitler.
This comparison is as facile as it is incorrect. Where did that "probably" come from? It is well established that Stalin killed at least three times as many people as Hitler. He did so in the name of an ideology which was eloquently articulated by his fellow party member, Trotsky: "It is time that we put an end, once and for all, to this Papist-Quaker babble about the sanctity of human life." Stalin put his money where Trotsky's mouth was: right in the Gulag.
Yes, racism certainly is odious, but surely Peter Wilby can see that an ideology such as Stalin's ranks as more than a mere "odious political practice"? Surely, to espouse Stalinist views is at least as bad as advocating racism? Peter Wilby called Russian communism "monstrous". This epithet should be attached to the BNP. Stalinism, though (forms of which still exist in North Korea, and, until recently, in Iraq), is plain inhuman, and commentators have a duty to spell this out.
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