We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Under socialism, the crows will not fly away

In the comments to my earlier post about the West Indies Federation, Bruce relayed something his schoolteacher once told him:

Question to the class:

There are ten crows sitting on a wire.

You shoot one. (This was back when guns, shooters and shooting had not been totally criminalized by the ruling-class sociopaths).

How many are left?


That would be the answer expected from most kids.

Correct answer?


Crows, unlike most of the lamestream media, academics and politicians, are NOT STUPID.

To which Niall Kilmartin replied:

Bruce (November 23, 2017 at 8:11 am), there is a socialist version of your ‘crows’ story.

At one of the glumly festive parties Stalin used to inflict on his politburo cronies, he told the story of how, while he was in exile in Siberia under Tsarism, he was out skiing and saw several crows perched on a branch. He shot a couple then skied back for more ammunition, returned and shot the rest. After he left the room, Beria said, “He’s lying” (understandably the others were cautious in responding, fearing a provocation). Conquest, in his biography of Stalin, charitably suggests the story may have been just a Siberian version of the old US Western “tall tale’, told for entertainment as a whopper not intended to be believed. It has also been suggested that the crows’ feet were frozen to the branch and Stalin for once in his life was telling the truth.

Whatever the truth of it, the moral is clear: under socialism, the crows will not fly away.

Far be it for me to say that our Shadow Chancellor is taking tips from Stalin, but that line did remind me of what I heard him saying on an audio clip posted last week by Guido Fawkes:

McDonnell now sure there won’t be a run on the pound.

John McDonnell has changed his tune from Labour conference […] Now he insists “there’s never going to be a run on the pound” and “of course” he isn’t planning capital controls if it happens. Only a few years ago McDonnell used to openly threaten the City with capital controls if they opposed his policies.

6 comments to Under socialism, the crows will not fly away

  • Paul Marks

    Of course when “Stalin” was in exile under the Tsars one could go skiing – there are plenty of photographs of well dressed and well fed Marxist Revolutionaries sitting around in exile (from which they could easily escape abroad) before the First World War.

    Exile became rather different when the Marxists took power – and the country became much harder to get out of.

    As for John McDonnell – he sees things (or used to see things) as a situation rather like 1917 or 1789 or even 1860.

    I say “1860” as I am thinking of the “unification” of Italy – where the “liberals” went around bank robbing (sorry “getting the banks to make their contribution to Italian unity”) in Naples – the south of Italy has never really recovered from the looting and high taxes (and language persecution, and conscription in Sicily) imposed by “liberal” “unification” in 1860 – one could see why Karl Marx (the idol of John McDonnell) was so cynical about 19th century “liberals” – in mainland Europe (and in Latin America) “liberals” normally turned out to be a pack of thieves – bank robbers (like “Stalin” himself later) and worse.

    But one must remember what the wealth was in 1789 (French Revolution), 1860 (Italian “unification”), 1866 (German “unification” – i.e. the conquest and looting of places such as the Kingdom of Hanover) and the Russian Revolution of 1917 – money meant GOLD, physical GOLD (the gold that “Lenin” paid his mercenaries with in 1917 – when everyone else had to make do with worthless paper, and starve).

    Robbing banks and robbing individuals meant something real when one was dealing with PHYSICAL stuff (gold). Now “money” is mostly just figures on a computer screen – CREDIT that can be moved in a second. Even the London “gold market” is mostly NOT gold (it is a lie – a vast “legal” fraud).

    John McDonnell is starting to work out that THERE IS NOTHING MUCH TO STEAL. Yes houses and the clothing that people wear and so on, that could be stolen (“the rich” left naked and in the street – before being rounded up) – but not the vast amounts of money (physical money) that he thought he would get (in his 1917 mind).

    Oh well – Mr Corbyn and Mr McDonnell will have to be satisfied with sending “the rich” to Death Camps. No real financial gain in doing that (no gain of gold any other real commodity) – but it will be emotionally satisfying for the Comrades.

    What about poor people who oppose socialism?

    Socialists worked out that problem long ago – a poor person who opposes socialism is a “henchman” of the capitalists. Just as Robespierre held that opponents of the Revolution of 1789 were “enemies of the people” – it is even possible for the MAJORITY of persons to be “enemies of the people”, as the philosophy of Rousseau (from which Karl Marx copied so much – without admitting that he had done so) holds that the “will of all” (say ordinary people screaming for help as they are being dragged to be thrown, tied up, in a river) does not matter – it is not the true “General Will” which only the enlightened Revolutionary (the “Lawgiver”) knows.

    Or as “Lenin” understood – if, to achieve Communism, even “nine tenths” of the population have to go – “we should not recoil from these sacrifices” – YES, 90% of the population can be “enemies of the people”, in this philosophy.

    Take, for example, ME – I appear on this site, therefore I am clearly a “henchman” of Perry de Havilland (a “capitalist”) – so, from the point of view of “Socialist Legality”, the case against me is open-and-shut. The Comrades (such as Mr John McDonnell) can have me executed, with a clear conscience.

  • Watchman

    Perry is a capitalist. I had him down as a cunning anarchist plant…

    And having written that, I am imagining a cactus that refuses to admit the idea of personal property.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    There are actually several answers to the ‘crow’ problem besides those given; for instance, how many are left, for how long? Immediately after the shot, there is a very short period with nine crows on the wire; then there’s none.

    Or, how many crows, where? The nine fly-aways are somewhere. Or, how many crows in what condition? One dead and nine fly-aways is ten. Or, one dead crow on the ground ‘left’, is one.

    So the correct answers are nine, none, nine again, ten, and one.

    This is why I detest ‘clever’ people who aren’t quite clever enough.

  • Mr Ed

    The Comrades (such as Mr John McDonnell) can have me executed, with a clear conscience.

    Dear Sage,

    They would wish fervently not to have you executed, until they had denounced you as an ‘Imperialist running-dog‘, ‘capitalist hyena‘ or some other ‘criminal’. If they torture too many people, they start running out of labels and you might be denounced (a badge of honour, mind) as an ‘Armenian Bourgeois Nationalist‘, and so your suffering would help them meet the quota. Best of all would be ‘Tsarist General’, showing that wilder the accusation, the more fervent the accuser’s adhesion to the principles of Marxism-Leninism.

  • Julie near Chicago

    PfP, I knew you was a smart gent with a sensible flash-point.

    Agree entirely with your ultimate remark.


    Mr Ed, According to the statement by Dr. Jordan Peterson that I heard earlier today — toward then end of a 2 1/2-hour lecture — your remark seems to imply a prejudice (his word, not mine) against Mr. Ulyanov.

    Well…if this be prejudice, the Doc quacks quite noisily.

    But Donald D. is smarter.

  • Mr Ed


    How can I have a prejudice when I judge on the facts? Lenin died long before I was born, all his crimes were perfect long before I was born, and facts don’t change. Pre-judice is to judge without evidence, to base on assumptions. And if that is the video I am thinking of, full of whiny Canadian commies, the sheer fatuity of the assertions is remarkable. What is worrying is how far they have got.

    We need to remind people that the Communists lie, kill and distort.