Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Another Year in Africa

Looking at the Internet I am thankful that I am free man in Africa and not a mental slave working in a US university. Despite what people in US academia believe, people based at African universities do conduct research and attend conferences. Many of these conferences which include participants from North America, Europe, and other regions of the world even take place in Africa. However, what North American academics think about Africa and other places in the world is completely irrelevant. The fact that people in the US and Europe choose to denigrate or ignore accomplishments in Africa does not diminish these accomplishments. That is a loss for people in the US and Europe not Africa.  It is quite possible to be successful and happy without the approval of people living far away on other continents. After all nobody at US universities worries about what people here in Africa think about them.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Today's Walk

It has been really hot and humid here the last couple of days. But, I did go for a walk among the now mostly deserted student dormitories today. I noticed that they have installed a bunch of new green benches sponsored by Indomie ramen noodles. They are hugely popular here and they are the only ramen noodles I have ever seen that are fortified. I would think that just like with cereal that fortified ramen would be the norm, but it is not. As far as I can tell Indomie is the only brand that fortifies their noodles with vitamins. Lately I have been eating mine with a combination of hot wing sauce and Dijon style mustard vinaigrette. There are of course an unlimited number of ways one can flavor ramen noodles which will always remain the favored food of serious intellectuals.

Nela - Jok (Kyrgyz Music)

This song has a definite Arabesque influence which is one of the reasons I like it.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Suggestions for Blogging in the New Year?

I am not sure if this blog has any regular readers other than my parents. The site meter makes it impossible to sift out real readers from bots. But, in the spirit of optimism I am going to assume that I have one or two, three if I am really lucky. To these few people I am asking what direction should I take this blog in the next upcoming year? There doesn't seem to be much interest on the internet at all in most of the topics I write about, but some do better than others. My most popular blog post ever by far is this one on communism in Africa. It has about three times as many hits as the next most popular post. In the last month my most popular post has been this one on the distribution of Russian-German labor army conscripts in Soviet labor camps in January 1945. In the last week my popular post has been this one on racial discrimination in the USSR quoting Marina Mogil'ner on how natsional'nost in the USSR "was in essence not only racial, but 'racist'..." So I am not exactly sure how to interpret these results. Any subjects you would like to see me cover more of in the next year?

Letter from Beria to Molotov on Kalmyks

Even almost two full years after their deportation to Siberia on 28-29 December 1943, the Kalmyks still lacked sufficient housing, food, clothes, and shoes.
29 October 1945
Deputy Chairman
Council Peoples Commissar Union of SSRs
Comrade Molotov V.M.
No. 1299/6
29 October 45 
      Among the specially settled - Kalmyks there are up to 15 thousand elderly invalids and mothers with many children, that have not been supplied food.
      The absolute majority of Kalmyks do not have clothes or shoes, the result that with the onset of winter they will not be able to go to work, or children of Kalmyks attend school. Up until this time a part of the Kalmyks have not been provided with normal housing.
      The outcome of this is that the NKVD considers it necessary to render specially settled Kalmyks assistance even if minimal in food, clothing, shoes and wood for constructing housing.
      Enclosed on this question is a draft resolution of the SNK USSR, for you to examine and approve. 
Peoples Commissar of Internal Affairs of the Union of SSRs Beria

Source:  N.L. Pobol' and P.M. Polian, eds., Staliniskie deportatsii 1928-1953(Moscow: Mezhdunarodnye Fond "Demokratiia", 2005), doc. No. 3.110, pp. 433-434. Translated from Russian to English by J. Otto Pohl.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Seventy Years Since the Deportation of the Kalmyks

The Kalmyks are a Mongol people living on the steppe just west of the Caspian Sea. They are the only Buddhist nationality in Europe. Tomorrow is the 70th anniversary of Presidium of the Supreme Soviet Ukaz no. 115/144 ordering "All Kalmyks living in the territory of the Kalmyk ASSR are to be resettled to other regions of the USSR and the Kalmyk ASSR liquidated." (Alieva, vol. II, p. 39). The next day the NKVD began the actual ethnic cleansing of the Kalmyks from their homeland to Siberia. In a mere two days they forcibly evicted over 93,000 people from their homes (Bugai,doc. 2, p. 85), mostly women, children, and old men since many young men were still in the Red Army at the front fighting against the Nazis. Deported in the middle of winter large numbers of the exiles died of typhus and exposure during the journey and during the first few years of exile. In Siberia the Soviet government placed the Kalmyks under special settlement restrictions making them second class citizens in the USSR as result of their race. Later the Soviet government decreed these legal restrictions to adhere permanently to the Kalmyks for all eternity. Fortunately, for the Kalmyks the Soviet government under Khrushchev pardoned them and released them from the special settlement restrictions on 17 March 1956 (Alieva, vol. II, p. 59). In January 1957 the Soviet government allowed the Kalmyks to begin returning home to their homeland on the Caspian Sea (Polian, p. 195). By 1959, the percentage of survivors to return home had reached 61.2% of the population  (Polian, table no. 11, p. 198).  The picture in the corner is a monument to the deportation and 13 years spent under special settlement restrictions in Siberian exile.


Alieva, S.U., ed., Tak eto bylo: Natsional’nye repressi v SSSR, 1919-1953 gody (Moscow: Insan, 1993).

Bugai, N.F., ed., Iosif Stalin – Lavrentiiu Berii. “Ikh nado deportirovat’,” Dokumenty, Fakty, 
kommentarii (Moscow: Druzhba narodov, 1992).

Polian, Pavel, Against their Will: The History and Geography of Forced Migrations in the USSR (Budapest: Central European University Press, 2004).

Happy Boxing Day from Africa

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Continuing Divisions Between North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa has never been unified politically or culturally. One of the biggest divides in the continent is not only cultural, but also ethnic and indeed racial. That is the divide between the white Arab north and the black south. Many Pan-Africanists like Frantz Fanon have made compelling arguments for forging a single African continental identity from these two groups. But, the differences are not just based upon skin color. The idea that sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa are parts of two separate civilizations has a long pedigree. Among other things it allowed for the justification of enslaving black African Muslims. It was also one of the causes for the two long running civil wars in Sudan. North African countries like Morocco have sometimes found themselves at serious odds with the sub-Saharan consensus on certain issues. For instance the OAU and later AU has supported the Sahrawis in the conflict between Morocco and the POLISARIO over Western Sahara. While the divisions between the whites of North Africa and the blacks of sub-Saharan Africa is opposed by many Pan-Africanists it nonetheless continues to exist.

One element of this conflict I had not considered before is the sexual component. Of course much of the Trans-Saharan slave trade did have a sexual element, not only with regards to women, but also young boys. The sexual exploitation of young boys in North Africa in places like Tangiers Morocco of course continued long after the end of the slave trade. This blog post got me to thinking that such  practices in North Africa and the militant opposition to homosexual activity in sub-Saharan Africa may in fact be linked to the continuing antagonisms between the white Arabized northern portion of Africa and the black sub-Saharan regions. I know that Pan-Africanists like Frantz Fanon who advocated for unity between the two parts of Africa did not mention this aspect. Nor have I seen it mentioned by writers arguing against including the white North as part of a Pan-African project, but rather defining African along purely racial lines. But, it is something that I think needs further research.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

South Sudan

Africa's newest independent state, South Sudan seems to be rapidly sliding into civil war. For decades the OAU (Organization of African Unity) had a strict policy of accepting the borders established under colonial rule for independent African states. Attempts by Katanga in Congo to secede were strongly opposed by African leaders like Kwame Nkrumah in Ghana. Later in 1967, the attempt by Biafra to break away from Nigeria received some limited African support from Tanzania, Zambia, Ivory Coast, and Gabon. However, the Nigerian military succeeded in crushing the attempt to create an independent Biafran state. The first successful alteration of African borders took place in 1993 when Eritrea became a recognized independent state after a UN supervised referendum. From 1961 to 1991, the ELF(Eritrean Liberation Front) and later EPLF (Eritrean Peoples Liberation Front)  fought a guerrilla war against Ethiopia. The primary backers of the Eritrean guerrillas were various Arab governments. Eritrea had been an Italian colony before WWII and then after a brief period of British rule was first federated with Ethiopia in 1951 and then completely annexed by Addis Ababa in 1962. The existence of distinct colonial borders dividing Eritrea from Ethiopia which was never colonized, however, meant that technically that this case adhered the old OAU policy of enforcing old colonial borders and not recognizing secessionist states. South Sudan was the first breakaway state in Africa to completely violate the policy of accepting the colonial borders drawn by the European powers. Like Eritrea it too had fought a decades long war for independence. The Second Sudanese Civil War lasted from 1983 to 2005 and was in many ways a continuation of the First Sudanese Civil War from 1955 to 1972. In January 2011 a referendum for independence led to South Sudan becoming an independent state on  9 July 2011. Now this state is proving to be unstable and may ultimately prove  not to be viable. There is now fighting within South Sudan between opposing political factions.  Four US airmen have been wounded in the process of evacuating US citizens from the country. But, I see no advantage for the US to intervening in South Sudan militarily to try and restore order. The continuing Balkanization of Africa has not solved the various problems that have beset the continent. South Sudan has gone from being at war with Khartoum to being at war with itself.

An Assessment of Soviet Style Socialism in Africa

The attempt to implement Soviet style socialism in Africa, particularly in Ethiopia, but also in Angola and Mozambique and to a lesser extent in places like Guinea and Benin  proved to be a dismal failure just as it was in the USSR and East Central Europe. Fortunately, African scholars unlike many US scholars recognize this. Sam Mbah & I.E. Igariwey, note that Ethiopia under Mengistu was the worst of the failed states (48). An assessment with which I find myself in agreement. Their overall judgement on the socialist experiment in Africa is summed up in the quoted paragraph below.
Socialism in Africa, for all practical purposes, was based on the Soviet/Eastern European model, and it displayed all the essential features and characteristics of that model. The African experience was, perhaps, peculiar in the sense that the state inherited at political independence was neo-colonial. Expectations that socialism would alter this were never realized; if anything, socialism truncated development and reinforced neo-colonialism. The pauperization of countries like Guinea under Sekou Toure, Benin under Mathew Kerekou, Ethiopia under Menghistu Mariam, etc., went hand in hand with massive repression and authoritarian self-righteousness. Some of the most backward, most reactionary regimes that ever set foot on African soil were socialist ones, some led by military officers who shot their way to power.
The type of "progress" Mengistu brought to Ethiopia did not solve the basic problems of poverty and underdevelopment that had festered under Haile Selassie. It did, however, bring the use of state terror, forced relocations, and famine to the country. That is the type of "progress" Africa and the rest of the world can do without.

Source: Sam Mbah & I.E. Igariwey, African Anarchism: The History of a Movement, 2001, p. 48.

"Mulatu" by Mulatu Astatke

Here is some Ethiopian jazz. There was a vibrant jazz scene in the country before the 1974 communist revolution.

More on racial discrimination in the USSR

Unlike US anthropologists who claim that the statement "Chechens and Ingush have a specific genotype" has no racial content what so ever, Russian anthropologists are well aware that natsional'nost was in fact often in the case of stigmatized peoples like the Chechens just a Soviet term for race. Marina Mogil'ner sums up how this worked succinctly in the following manner.
But, in reality these “differences” were not only not overcome in social practice, but were even implanted and strengthened on an official level – in part, through the obligatory fixing of  natstional’nost in the passport.  ’Natsional’nost’  in Soviet passports, was determined by father’s or mother’s ‘blood’, this was in essence not only racial, but ‘racist’ in that it was understood that these categories, were insurmountable stigmas or inherited advantages. It was not possible to choose or ‘construct’, one’s parentage.
US based anthropologists really are some special type of stupid to think there was no racial thinking what so ever involved in the deportation of the Chechens and that they could just change their nationality at will in the special settlements.

 Marina Mogil’ner, Homo Imperii: Istoriia fizicheskoi antropologii v Rossii (Konets XIX-Nachalo XX v.) (Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe oborzenie, 2008, 494). Quotation translated from Russian to English by J. Otto Pohl.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Idea for an Article on Africa

I am thinking I should try and write a journal article dealing in some way with Africa this Christmas break. I am thinking about doing a thought piece on the relationship between state terror by indigenous regimes and the support for those regimes by foreign states outside of Africa. While the orthodox academic view in the US seems to be that the only such foreign state to have engaged in such morally dubious behavior during the late 20th century was Washington DC that does not seem to be the case in Africa. For historical and geographic reasons Africa is considerably different than Latin America where the above position has some merit. Instead in Africa the role of European states like France and Belgium was quite significant in supporting dictatorships in Congo (Zaire), Burundi, Rwanda, Togo, Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Mauritania, Chad, and Gabon.  Indeed in most of these states  France played a much, much, much more important role in propping up brutal dictatorships than did the US. One should also remember that one of the most brutal dictatorships ever established on the African continent, Ethiopia under Mengistu, was supported the USSR and Cuba. I am thinking of perhaps writing a comparative thought piece on how indigenous dictatorships and foreign sponsors interacted in the case of French client states and Ethiopia. If anybody has any suggestions for sources or how I should go about this project please leave a comment. (Yes, I know there will be absolutely no comments. But, I feel I have to at least try).

Where you can find some of my academic work

If there is anybody out there interested in reading some of my longer and more academic work they can find some of it at this site. It occurred to me today that I do not do nearly enough marketing of my writing to people who might actually be interested in it. So I am trying to make up for that now. So far it has been working. The readership for my academic work has increased exponentially in the last twelve hours. So I figure I might as well see if I can add a few more extra readers from this site. One never knows. One or two of the hits on this site might actually be from real people and not from robots. So go check out my more formal, but still highly subversive work. I can't guarantee your safety from my enemies if you go read it. But, there is nothing worse than living in fear. That is a fate far, far, far, worse than death.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Book Review of Love on the Road

Sam Tranum and Lois Kapila, eds., Love on the Road: Twelve Tales of Love and Travel (Malinki Press, 2013) is a collection of stories, a couple of them even true, about travel and romance. The stories seem to be a lot stronger on the travel part and providing picturesque descriptions of a wide variety of locations including Egypt, Russia, Georgia, India, the US, France, Spain, Nigeria, and Poland. Except for one story which does have a traditional happy ending and is one of the few stories that is actually true almost all of the stories are about unrequited love. There is thus not a whole lot of actual romance in the book, but rather failed attempts at romance. This seems to fit in with the general overall atmosphere of the collection which aims at a combination of quirky, bizarre, and out of the ordinary. If you are looking for something with out of the way locations and the slightly off key characters that travel to them then this book is for you. However, don't be expecting a lot of the type of erotic love stories that are normally associated with the romance genre.

The book can be ordered from Amazon at the URL below for $7.99 in Kindle version and $11.69 in paperback.


Yes the 23 Feb. 1944 Deportation of Chechens and their subsequent treatment was racist

While US scholars still militantly claim that there was not any racism involved in the deportation of nearly the entire Chechen nation to special settlement restrictions in Kazakshtan and Kyrgyzstan for 12 years, French scholar Nicholas Werth cites this very interesting document. It comes from the MGB from October 1952. "Specific genotype" certainly sounds to me like race was involved in the poor treatment of the Chechens by the Soviet government under Stalin. But, while French scholars understand this, almost no US scholars do. I can count the number that do on one hand.
They refuse to work, organize mass disturbances, get involved in fights with local inhabitants, and continue their bandit-like activities, robbing private property and stealing kolkhoz [collective farm]property . . . The most hostile elements are even engaged in clandestine anti-Soviet activities . . . It is particularly difficult to struggle against these people. Police infiltration is hopeless, because the Chechens and the Ingush have a specific genotype and are fanaticized by pan-Islamism.
Source: Nicolas Werth, "The 'Chechen Problem': Handling an Awkward Legacy, 1918-1958," Contemporary European History, 15, 3 (2006), p. 347.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Continuing Double Standards

Yesterday was the 69th anniversary of  the Korematsu decision upholding Executive Order 9066 regarding the US internment of people of  Japanese ancestry. Now while all "progressive" academics admit that this was an act of racial discrimination there are many of these very same people completely unwilling to admit that there ever was any racism involved what so ever with the Soviet deportations of ethnic Koreans, Germans, Karachais, Kalmyks, Chechens, Ingush, Balkars, Crimean Tatars, and Meskhetian Turks. Instead there is a militant defense of the USSR from any charges of racial discrimination against these groups. Their thinking goes that racism is the most horrible thing in the world, the US is guilty of racism, and the Soviet Union not, therefore the USSR is morally superior to the US. This logic falls down on the basic empirical fact that their claim that there was never any racism by the Soviet government under Stalin against people like Germans and Crimean Tatars is clearly untrue. Only by adopting a definition of racial discrimination completely at odds with international law and scholars like John Rex, George Fredrickson, and others can one come to such a conclusion. So there remains a blatant double standard with many US scholars completely exonerating the Stalin regime of any and all charges of racial discrimination against the deported peoples for actions which they clearly describe as racist when committed by other governments.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Finishing up the semester (fall 2013)

Christmas break will be starting soon. In Ghana unlike the US public institutions do not have to be officially atheist along the lines of Albania under Hoxha. So it is Christmas break not Winter break. I have started grading final exams today. I have five done out of 90. But, they are not due for a couple of months so five a day is actually an okay rate for now. So far the grades have ranged from C to B+, but the sample size is small. Tomorrow we have one last departmental meeting. Then the next work related thing I have to do is attend the Ho conference in late January. I have finished the paper and will e-mail it off to Berlin soon. If nothing else I will get to see Ho for free. Other than that I don't have much actual work to do until next semester officially starts in the second week of February. This weekend I took it easy and did some reading.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Request for Suggestions

The semester is now over. My students took their final exam yesterday. Now I just have to grade them. This semester I only have 88 exams with three essays each to grade. There are some classes on campus with over  a thousand students. So grading should go faster than usual. Last winter break I wrote this article. This winter break I still have no idea what I could write on. I need a topic that I can write an article on in six weeks. I would also like to write on something new. After the constant rewriting of the forced labor paper for Ho I want to write about something other than the USSR for a change. I have couple of really embryonic ideas, but really nothing concrete. One would be to do a small version of this idea on state terror. I was thinking perhaps looking at South Africa and Ethiopia during the 1970s and 1980s for this project. Of course one problem is that I have no primary sources for either case. Nor can I read Amharic which means I couldn't do anything with the archival sources of the Ethiopian government even if I could get access to the documents. So that has limited possibilities. I have also thought about starting this project. But, that would involve a lot of expensive travel to the archives and I would like to get funding from somewhere first before I start spending that money. Another possibility I have thought about is doing something regarding the intellectual history of the ideas and concepts associated with the "Third World" and neo-colonialism. Perhaps writing a historiography of dependency theory and underdevelopment specifically as it relates to Africa. Please leave your suggestions in the comments below. Thank you for your time and effort in this matter. (Yes, I know I am not going to get a single comment, but hope springs eternal in Africa.)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Chrissy Zebby Tembo - Trouble Maker

Some Zamrock from the great Chrissy Zebby Tembo with Paul N'gozi on guitar.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Document on Ethnic Germans from Ukraine Repatriated to USSR

 After the end of the Second World War the Allied powers began the forcible repatriation of Soviet citizens including ethnic Germans back to the USSR. This document deals with the arrival of small number of them in Ukraine who were later transferred to hard labor in the Urals.
Peoples Commissar of Internal Affairs USSR L.P. Beria 
20 September 1945 
On the territory of the Ukrainian SSR have arrived from beyond the borders in orderly repatriation 2214 people who are Germans - citizens of the USSR.
We consider it expedient to resettle them in places of settlement of Germans, in part in Komi ASSR and in Molotov obl., and use them for work in local industries.  
We are awaiting your orders. 
V. Chernyshov
M.M. Kuznetsov
Source:  N.F. Bugai, (ed.), Iosif Stalin-Lavrentiiu Berii: "Ikh nado deportirovat' ": Dokumenty, fakty, kommentarii, (Moscow: Druzhba Narodov, 1992), doc. 47, p. 76. Translated from Russian to English by J. Otto Pohl.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Translation of NKVD Progress Report on the Deportation of Ethnic Germans from Ukraine

In the last week of September 1941 the Soviet NKVD began the systematic deportation of ethnic Germans from eastern Ukraine to Kazakhstan where they were placed under special settlement restrictions. Below is a progress report on this ethnic cleansing from 1 October 1941.
Top Secret 
Information on Resettled Germans from the Ukrainian SSR
1 October 1941 
In accordance with summary report No. 1 of 30 September 1941 from  Dep. Peoples Commissar Serov in the name of Peoples Commissar Com. Beria subjected to resettlement from the Ukrainian SSR are citizens of German nationality , [of this number from]: 
Zaporozhia obl.     - 53 566 people - 15 985 families
Stalin obl.             -  36 205 >>       - 16 246 >>
Voroshilov obl.    - 12 807 >>       -   3608  >>
Odessa obl.          -   6000>>         -   1800  >>
Dnepropetrov obl. -  3200>>          -  1000  >>
                      Total  111 778            38 639
Dep. Chief Section of special settlements
NKVD USSR captain state security          Konradov

Source: N.F. Bugai, (ed.),  "Mobilizovat' nemtsev v rabochie kolonny... I. Stalin": Sbornik dokumentov (1940-e gody) (Moscow: Gotika, 1998),  doc. 11, p. 34. Translated from Russian to English by J. Otto Pohl.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

We have running water again for now

Today we had running water again. But, I am not sure how long it will last. It is amazing how much nicer life is with running water. I didn't have to run to the poly tank across the street twice this morning like I have had for almost every day this month. This week many of the poly tanks ran dry and I had to keep walking further and further to find water. But, this morning I did not have to leave the house to find water. I  even had spare water to boil for tea to drink and noodles with hot sauce to eat. Of course by this afternoon we many not have any running water again for several weeks. So it might have just been a one off. However, I was beginning to think we were never going to running water again. Even one day with running water is better than no days with no running water.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

History Department Lunch

This picture is from yesterday's History Department lunch here at the University of Ghana. I am the guy in the striped shirt on the right with glasses.

Friday, December 06, 2013

A Labor Army Testimony

In 1942 the Soviet government drafted Robert Avgustovich Ianke (Janke) into the labor army from Kazakhstan and sent him to a logging camp in Molotov Oblast (Perm today). In the spring of 1943 his work column suffered a devastating typhus epidemic. He described it many years later with the following words.
Of the 350 people, 100 died. And how, did they die. They went around these houses on a horse every day, on a horse they go around, collecting the bodies, those that were in the houses, but the common sick house was over on the river bank…They couldn’t cope with all of them. There was this special, this big barrack, it was called the sick house. They put all the people infected with typhus in there, gathered them up. It held 70, and it was full up. Full up. And those bodies, down below, they put them in a stack. And in March, it was already getting warm, they had put them in a stack, they were lying in this big stack, they dragged them all out of the houses and brought them out from that sick house. Well, they piled up 100 people there. And they made us dig – I took part myself – dig a mass grave.
Throughout 1942 and 1943 mass deaths from malnutrition, disease, exposure and accidents afflicted the Russian-Germans conscripted into the labor army. Similar scenes were repeated at numerous other camps in the Urals, Siberia, Kazakhstan, and European Russia.

 Source: Jehanne Gheith and Katherine Jolluck, Gulag Voices: Oral Histories of Soviet Incarceration and Exile (Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave MacMillan, 2011), 40.

Mandela and Palestine

While it won't get much airplay in the US and it will certainly never be mentioned by any "radical" American academics, Nelson Mandela and the ANC were strong supporters of the Palestinian liberation movement which they saw as similar to their own. In 1997 Mandela gave this speech on International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The hypocrites like Claire Potter, "The Tenured Radical" who claim that there is no comparison to the situation in South Africa under white rule and Palestine have simply ignored everything Mandela ever had to say on the subject. Her radical opposition to taking any type of concrete stand against apartheid in Palestine stands in very sharp contrast to the position of Mandela and the ANC. Unfortunately, the position of Claire Potter and Cary Nelson seems to be the orthodox position of "radicals" and "progressives" in US academia. The position of Mandela, however, has received a recent unexpected boost as people in favor of human rights for Palestinians have pushed back against the orthodox "radical" and "progressive" position as represented by Potter. The American Studies Association following in the footsteps of the the Association for Asian American Studies has endorsed an academic boycott of Israel.

R.I.P. Nelson Mandela

Africa has lost a great man and leader tonight. Nelson Mandela died in South Africa at age 95. The continent will miss him. Leadership is one resource that Africa has been lacking in the post-colonial era. Mandela was one of the greatest leaders in world history. He managed to successfully oversee what was potentially the most difficult transition from white rule to indigenous rule on the entire continent. If Africa had another dozen Mandelas it could solve most of the problems that ail her. Unfortunately, there was only one Mandela and now he has finally left this mortal coil. But, Africa is also a continent of great hope and even without Mandela I am optimistic that her people can continue to move forward. He will be remembered along with Lumumba, Nkrumah, and Sankara as one of Africa's greatest leaders.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Labor Army Document on Planned Distribution of Forced Laborers

Proposal to use Germans - men 17-50 years old  

2 January 1942 

Kraslag Krasnoiarsk krai has a program of lumber production for 1942 - 1700 thousand cubic meters; has prisoners - working - 17 000 people; deficit workers' strength - 6000 people; might take Germans - 8000 people; so that the program might be increased to 200 [sic] thousand cubic meters. 
Ivdel'lag Sverdlovsk oblast has a program of lumber production for 1942 - 2200 thousand cubic meters. On the condition that all working prisoners are transferred  - 16 700 people. (need 32 000) - to Sevurralag might take Germans - 30 000 people. (has 2500 Germans). 
Usol'lag Molotov oblast has program of lumber production for 1942 - 3500 thousand cubic meters; prisoners needed - 40 500; has - 32 130 people; might take Germans - 9000 people. 
Ust'vymlag Komi ASSR has a program of lumber production for 1942 - 1500 thousand cubic meters; prisoners working - 15 000 people; might take Germans - 7000 people. 
Viatlag Perm oblast has a program of lumber production - 1500 thousand cubic meters; has working prisoners 21 000 people; might take Germans - 10 000 people.  
Might organize a new camp in Novosibirsk oblast - Tomasinkii camp, given to the People's Commissariat of Forestry in 1940 - for a program of 850 thousand cubic meters. Germans it might take - 15 000 people.  
Total use for lumber preparation - 79 000 - 80 000 people. 
Bakal factory Cheliabinsk  oblast - for construction of Bakal metallurgical factory (mainly, in the stage of work up until August 1942) - 30 000 people. 
Bogoslov factory Sverdlovsk oblast - for construction - 5000 people. 
Solikamsk factory Molotov oblast - construction - 5000 people. 
Total for use in the economy of the USSR - 120 000 people. 
Deputy Chief of
Internal Affairs USSR

Source: N.F. Bugai, (ed.),  "Mobilizovat' nemtsev v rabochie kolonny... I. Stalin": Sbornik dokumentov (1940-e gody) (Moscow: Gotika, 1998), doc. no. 34, p. 57. Translated from Russian to English by J. Otto Pohl.