There is no coincidence that I decided to give this text a name in honor of Soundgarden song. To tell the truth, the idea of this article has been ripening in my head for a long time, but there was no right moment, a stimulus that would be an incentive to take up my old, dusty thoughts from the shelf of my intracranial library. However, I think it"s time to raise this issue for the American recipient.

"The Grapes of Wrath" an indisputable classic of 20th century American literature, written by John Steinbeck, for which he received the Pulitzer Prize, and national recognition in 1939, and then the Nobel Prize in 62. The following year, after the publication of the book, one of the greatest directors in the history of American cinema John Ford shoots the first and last film adaptation of this text with Henry Fonda in the lead role. How much has already been said about this film: that it is almost the greatest work of cinema in history, and about the inclusion of the movie in National Register of Films as one of the most prominent films in the United States, and about the position of Ford"s "The Grapes of Wrath" on the pedestal next to "Citizen Kane" by Orson Welles. Steinbeck"s original novel is mandatory for American students in schools and universities, and it is analyzed in detail. Nevertheless, I don"t think anyone in history has ever tried to analyze this portrait of the average family of the victims of the Great Depression, guess from whose historical point of view? Ours — Ukrainian. Moreover, let me, as a representative of this nation, something to say and deconstruct at the same time. 

There was a debate around the novel and the film, from which left-wing critics and the public always emerged as winners in straight sets. The "The Grapes of Wrath" certainly evoke at the slightest mention just a wave of admiration, fascination and reverence for Steinbeck"s literary talent, although, something tells me, not quite in front of him. In general, for me, the works of Steinbeck, Sinclair and Dreiser are a kind of names that make up the face of the national literature of the States in the twentieth century, under the label of "critical realism". "Critical realism", which certainly to some extent leaned to the left political view. Ford, an exclusively American director, as he was called by Jean-Luc Godard — "absolute director", undertook to transfer Steinbeck"s book to the screen, claimed that the novel interested him in the first place: "… not its social sound. I liked this simple family who set out in the hope of finding their place in this world" – he said, drawing a parallel with the Irish peasants who were driven out into the streets by their families.

That is, the work, which describes the suffering of farmers in favor of leftist ideas, is guided by the traditional values of the American family and uses the monomyth of the "big road", traveling through the vast expanses of the western United States to attract American viewers (readers). Thus is a kind of heredity of destiny, American leaders of the "Manifest Destiny", conquerors and colonizers of the Wild West, and modern impoverished, needy migrant farmers, victims of the Great Depression. This motif can be traced, even in modern American cinema, in particular the winner of the Oscar in 2020 — "Nomad lands". Leftist ideas have long been embedded in the American metahistorical narrative, making socialism and communism a logical continuation of the American way of life, as suggested by the aforementioned Upton Sinclair, spiced with Protestant values of "sacred labor" and "decent family." Thus, communist ideas again, as in the Soviet Union, take on a religious meaning, the dominant denomination, the country where they spread. In addition, if we add to this racial segregation and the struggle for minority rights, then in general it turns out — Go Down Moses! This paradigm shift is well illustrated by the example of Casey"s character. He was originally a Protestant preacher, but when his native community declined and became depopulated, he became morally sedentary, a drunkard, and lost faith in God. In the process of traveling with the family of the protagonist Tom Joad, he goes through a process of rebirth, finally becoming a member of a union that is trying to combat exploitation by organizing strikes. Casey finds his new faith and his new flock in the eyes of the workers who are directed at him as if he was the messiah. The struggle of the American government, and together with the ruling circles, with the trade unions only consolidated them, giving them the right to moral self-confidence. Accordingly, the image of the first Christian communities, essentially communes, in the American collective unconscious is translated into righteous trade unions. This is how the left made a separate peace with religion in America, and the union leaders became the nowadays New Testament prophets.

One way or another, but we are not here for this, we are in favor of dismantling brick by brick the arguments of Western, in this case American, Harvard leftists. The same ones that before the start of Russia-Ukrainian full-scale war predicted 72 hours of resistance to aggression against my country, and then about the impossibility of defeating Russia and territorial concessions to the "terrorist country" that is committing mass war crimes. The same Oliver Stones and Naom Chomsky, who complain about the need to preserve Putin"s face and deny the humiliation of the "marauding country." And also for the American right-wing forces, whatever they may be, to understand that Ukraine can become not only a good leading member of NATO and part of the Western liberal world, but also their personal victory in a narrative, semantic war with the ubiquitous left-wing opposition, that, already, for that matter, isn"t so oppositional.

"The Grapes of Wrath" became a stumbling block in American society, also because it was this work that convinced the average recipient that the Great Depression was the greatest tragedy in US history. However, believe me, my dear boy scouts and cute girls with cookies, you do not know what a tragedy is. Of course, I understand that for the American citizen, Ukraine is as far away as Mars or Venus, or they don"t even know about the existence of such country, and I look like some strict European snob who is going to tell the bitter truth to western consumerists who are already fat. Long ago, when the first shoots of this idea began to rise in my head, I was outraged by the way the American left was free to deal with the facts, the phenomena of crimes against humanity, and to draw meaningless historical parallels. Something similar has been going on since the 1960s and 1970s, when postmodernists and left-wing intellectuals of all stripes raised their heads in Europe, provoking a countercultural storm against "parental culture." When Michel Foucault compared modern bourgeois France to the Stalinist Gulags, Herbert Marcuse simply took and equated the societies of the totalitarian USSR and the entire Western liberal-democratic world in his work "One-Dimensional Man". They invented a weapon to deconstruct the arguments of their opponents, which is still used by Putin"s Russia. However, they had no idea that someone could turn their weapons against themselves.

What was my surprise when in the comments section under the clip for a song by the left-wing rock band Rage Against The Machine, I found a whole branch of blind support for the band"s views and justifications for the crimes of communism in the 20th century. Moreover, one of the arguments that infuriated me most, the graduate left-wing fighters against soulless capitalism, who had graduated from an American university with honors, was that they equated the Holodomor to the Great Depression. And this is not an isolated case. I cite this case from some of the comments there, not to point out the fallacy of an individual"s opinions, but to demonstrate how widespread and popular this line of thought is among left-wing intellectual youth in the United States.

Why are they doing this? To absolve oneself of responsibility for the crimes of communism, and to turn one"s attention to fascism and Nazism, which in their opinion are an expression of right-wing ideological thought, a red rag for all who are fighting for everything good, against everything evil. Let communism, not the ideology of the "third way", be the most aggressive ideology of the 20th century in terms of the number of victims. Just in the mass consciousness, Nazism and fascism are the ideologies of "pure evil", and communism is one of the ideologies that won the Second World War. So now, for example, to explain to the Western recipient what modern Russia really is, Timothy Snyder has to call it a fascist state, even though it is ideologically postmodern and at the level of attitudes imperialist. It turns out that Ukraine has to use the same discourse of Nazism and fascism and the denazification of Russia, because the more complex its own discourse, which shows the true nature of the Russian regime and Russian aggression, is more difficult to explain to Western audiences.

We deviated from main line, we return to "new left". Using the correctness of Stalin"s ideology, they are leftists, as if wearing a white coat of innocence, although this is not the case. These are Western intellectuals, the ideological ancestors of modern leftists: Bernard Shaw, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Andre Gide, the same Theodore Dreiser, and the masses of engineers and inventors who admired and traded with the Soviet Union, legitimized this anti-humanist regime. No, the left raised it, raised this monster, this monster in the form of Stalinism. Despite the fact that, yes, late Stalinism has all the hallmarks of a right-wing, patriarchal, authoritarian-totalitarian ideology, you are still its main sponsors. And even this idea with the Asian, Russian roots of Bolshevism and Stalinism is not a revelation of left-wing intellectuals. Oswald Spengler and Jose Ortega y Gasset, classics of right-wing intellectual thought of the first half of the 20th century, wrote about this. Neo-Marxists are always a snake that constantly gives up its skin, dropping it. Likewise, modern Western politicians, along with the rulers of public opinion, softened like paper from water, under the influence of left-liberal or populist ideas, such as Frau Merkel, Monsieur Macron, Signor Berlusconi, Barack Obama or Donald Trump, all these Gerard Depardieu, Naom Chomsky, Slavoj Žižek and Oliver Stone – were fed Rashism and Putinism from a spoon for years. 

Well, never mind, we are once again distracted by the problems of today. The leader of the idea of the same essence of the Holodomor and the Great Depression — is a famous American philosopher anarcho-syndicalist, and such is found outside of mental hospitals exist, Naom Chomsky. From his theses, it becomes clear that both the Great Depression and the Holodomor, in fact, the result of the same political and economic processes, or rather the rapid modernization of both countries — the United States and the Soviet Union. Therefore, he equates the collectivization of agriculture in Ukraine by the Bolsheviks to the appropriation of farmers" lands by large private companies. Indeed, these processes have much in common when viewed as superficially and detachedly as Chomsky. For some reason, the Bolsheviks and American land magnates seem similar to them. However, both historical phenomena were the result of one precondition — the program of modernization of economies. We say modernization — we mean industrialization and automatization. Automatization, mechanization and many other synonyms for describing the same process of filling our lives with technologies and machines have received their emblematic image in the filmographies of both countries. One of the most expressive was created in the same "The Grapes of Wrath" by Ford. The story of a Joad neighbor Muley and his family. He tells how the deedholders of the land evicted all the locals, and he was the only one who refused to go and now leads a miserable lifestyle of a ghost wandering the cemetery. The counterpoint to this story is visually the demolition of the Muley family"s house by Caterpillar tractor. The scene impresses and is forever etched in the minds of Americans, being reflected in many other works of art, including the song by Soundgarden. A formidable image of a tractor/bulldozer as a symbol of property injustice, the lawlessness of ordinary people. The iron heel of capital, as Jack London would call it. There is also a fear of something cold, mechanized. Fear of inevitable change. Steel course of progress. Notice what Muley says when his house is being demolished. He complains that his grandfather built it, his father and he were born in it. The consciousness of the ordinary farmer-peasant, tied to the land, is destroyed by new rules of life, new rules of industrial civilization, where there is no place for outdated traditions, heredity of property, sacred things. Man of modern civilization doesn"t have the feeling of the land under his feet, he treats everything material without a single soul. From now on, matter is a product, used, consumed and thrown away, forgotten. On this hook of feigned spirituality, the preservation of traditional values, the left is clinging, or clanged, to its potential unconscious, poor flock that has not had time to adapt to the new conditions of social life. A bulldozer is a laconic image of a mechanical beast that threatens to destroy the entire world of a settled farmer in the American latitudes.

At the same time, in Soviet cinema, agricultural machinery is used to plow fertile Ukrainian lands, to conquer nature for the benefit of man. In this way, the peasant is detached from the traditional perception of the soil under his feet as the land of his ancestors. This is best seen in the example of the ingenious film by Ukrainian film director Oleksandr Dovzhenko "Earth", which was designed to glorify the policy of collectivization. According to the Soviet, communist ideology, the machine is your friend, machine is your comrade, it will help you in farming, it is source of modernization in village.

Simultaneously, the one sitting behind the bulldozer is a familiar fellow villager from Muley. The appropriation of land is carried out by locals that was bought for a handful of dollars, who have found income for their families. You see, the capitalist system sets people against each other, they gnaw on a crumb of free cheese like rats in a jar. A similar situation was observed in the Ukrainian countryside in the early 1920s and 1930s. However, the difference is that the Bolsheviks recruited in their ranks, in the detachments that would be engaged in the dekulakization of wealthy peasants, the same landless rural poor as the same unfortunate Muley. When the kulaks were finished, the communist leadership of the Soviet Union took over in the 1930s, in order to destroy the gene of individual farming among Ukrainian peasants. The victims of this genocide, a deliberate artificial famine that went down in history as the Holodomor, were between 4 and 7 million Ukrainians. You see the difference, from the Great Depression the poor suffered financially, from the Holodomor — first the rich, and after them all. The Holodomor should not be equated with the Great Depression, but with the Holocaust, and used in discussions not to compare capitalism with Stalinist terror, but to equate Stalinism with Nazism. Ukrainians, in contrast to the suffering Californian farmers, paid with their lives for building a tyrannical, because there is no other, "equality and justice." The Great Depression was not a targeted genocide of a particular ethnic group because it did not fit communist (Russian) standards. However, Western left-wing intellectuals and public figures, immersed in their postmodern moral relativism, do not understand the difference between the Holodomor and the Great Depression, because for them "the end justifies the means". Yes, the rise of large-scale industry in the United States and modernization in the USSR became possible due to scientific and technological progress and production automatization, but the price in two different cases is different, and primarily due to the ideological program and political system. The victims of the Great Depression aren"t estimated at millions of deaths, no matter how left-wing ideologues in the United States try to invent them. In general, there are many rumors and exaggerations about the Great Depression, which are actively multiplied by the leftist community of American universities, where old hippies meet, who still have Paris 1968 and "summer of love" in 1967. Most of these myths and fairy tales have long been debunked by researchers such as Milton Friedman or Thomas Sowell, but who would believe that their theories and ideas would be taught in modern Western universities, which are the hotbed of neo-Marxism.

The last salvation of the left — is that Stalin was preparing for a great war, he is of course a tyrant, but he chose lesser of two evils. For the first time, the first artificial famine in Ukraine was organized not by Stalin, but by the Bolshevik Party led by Lenin, in 21-23 years. The same dekulakization, expropriation of property of wealthy peasants and landowners who were in the beginning. Secondly, what war was Stalin preparing for, if Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933 and the Holodomor began in 1932? In conclusion, did it help him somehow? At the beginning of the war, we saw the shameful flight of the Soviet, red "workers "and peasants"" army deep into Russian territory from the Wehrmacht offensive. Only when America began to supply the Soviet Union with ammunition, equipment, food, and strategic raw materials, including oil and supplies that the Red Army launched a counteroffensive, which ended in Berlin on May 8, with Soviet occupation of all of Eastern and Central Europe. That is, even the industry acquired by the Soviet Union at the cost of millions of innocents is incapable of basic defense. Of course, we can go even further now and talk about the fact that the Holodomor was not only in Ukraine, but also in the Kuban, Don, Kazakhstan, and the Volga region, but this still does not diminish the suffering of the Ukrainian nation, but only increases the crimes and the guilt of the Bolsheviks and their ineffective, inhuman, communist ideology. And after all that Ukrainians suffered in the 20th century, these American descendants of veterans of the "Great Patriotic War of the American people against the capital of the 1930s" sitting in the most prestigious universities in Stanford and Harvard still thinking they have the right to open their mouths about poverty and hunger in times of economic crisis and the horrors of "savage capitalism". It is impossible to blame the capitalism in general, because it is based on the principle of personal responsibility, so if violence is present in it, then it is exclusive and decentralized. The communist system carries out systemic and unlimited violence, because according to Marx, the state is violence.

Understand me clearly, the plot of "The Grapes of Wrath" would be impossible to imagine in Ukraine in the 30s, because the peasants did not even have passports until the 60s. They were essentially slaves tied to the land and their collective farm without the ability to move freely. In the Joad family, however, there is always the option of traveling and looking for a new source of income. America"s slogan: You have a right to happiness, but that doesn"t mean you have to. And are you still missing something? It is very infantile to want everything at once. This infantilism pushes the younger generation of intellectuals and their university mentors to left-wing political views. I am a Ukrainian, a person from the post-Soviet space, I grew up on Western cultural models since childhood, which is why I have always had a cognitive dissonance of Americans" dissatisfaction with the values of their own state, because I and my parents lacked them in the Soviet system.

By the way, about the collective farms, sometime near the end of "The Grapes of Wrath", after so many trials, the Joads arrive at the Department of Agriculture – in fact, the same collective farm where Conway meets them, a good gentleman similar to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Conway is a representative of a state that cares about its citizens, and the department of migrants seems to them a real Eden on earth, where they even organize dances in the evenings. Do you see this polarization? Everything that is private — aggressive, cruel, inhumane, on the same Keene Ranch they are treated as slaves, while the state, common, what belongs to all — is something caring, comfortable, civilized, humane. I am not talking about Californian farmers themselves are pointing out that Steinbeck is exaggerating their suffering in private migrant camps in pursuit of political gain. In fact, Steinbeck simply dreams of the same collective farms without property, without private initiative, that will work for the common good. Tried on own experience — it didn"t turn out.

This entire idyll was immediately destroyed only when confronted with a reality where there is no common good, but only individual initiative. This polite Mr. Conway even seems unnatural, not sincere, like a government order to promote Roosevelt"s New Deal, which in fact was nothing new, but simply continued Hoover"s policy. Nevertheless, even here, in this natural commune, characters have their problems because of uneducated, stupid Republican rednecks – oh, sorry Roosevelt was also a Republican – who believe that the camp is organized by the "reds" (communists). Of course, the sympathy of the spectator, in such situation will be on the side of the main characters, simple workers, because why is someone has to take away their comfortable area where they work and live. In fact, it"s just a favorite tactic of the left, to show stupid, superstitious conservatives who see "commies" everywhere, while putting their characters in parentheses of ideological confrontation, such as the same Putin"s clown Stone in "Born on July 4". Something like: "You think we are communists, how stupid you are? We are left-wing anarcho-syndicalists! You have never even heard of such things, stupid conservatives!" Although mostly there is no difference here.

Well, the finale of the movie with the speech of Tom Joad in front of his mother is still pure art and it would be wrong to gossip here. The acting in the picture for its time, the times of theatrical school play in cinema, is more than impressive. Henry Fonda has handled his role as a simple American "truth-seeker" who is forced to leave his family and go into exile again because of his problems with the law. Nothing to add here. In addition, Ford agreed to the proposal of producer Derril Zanuk. In this finale, the Joad family leaves the camp and goes on a twenty-day cotton harvest. Sitting behind the helm of the truck, Ma Joad tells her husband that now she will never be afraid, because the trials that befell the family hardened them. She concludes, "We"ll go on forever, Pa, cos we"re the people." Thus, the finale looks more optimistic than in the original novel.

This was the embodiment of the "New Deal" on the movie screen. Of course, this is a big picture, but to overrate its significance, especially the importance of its central theme for the world, is not worth it. You know what started in Europe in those years. Just the same, as Steinbeck, a fighter for a bright communist future, his ideological counterpart Walter Duranty, meanwhile, in his Soviet reports, described to the trusting Western reader the Soviet Union with its inhumane living conditions and bloody policy of terror as a pure country of milk and honey. Where no, no, no, no one could ever even imagine famine, moreover millions of deaths from it. Duranty used the euphemism "socialization" to denote collectivization, deliberately emphasizing the positive aspects of this policy. For him, "the crux of the struggle came in the villages, where an attempt was being made to socialise, virtually overnight, a hundred million of the stubbornest and most ignorant peasants in the world". That"s right, for some an experiment for the sake of a future hypothetical classless society, and for some millions of innocent souls lost. And even when Gareth Jones exposed the truth, Duranty continued to brazenly lie in favor of Stalin and the USSR. Negotiations for the recognition of the Soviet Union by the United States were ongoing. In November 1933, official relations were established, in honor of which the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR Maxim Litvinov gave lunch at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. Walter Duranty was the center of attention at this dinner, as well-known critic and journalist Alexander Woollcott wrote: "In fact, it seems that America recognizes both Russia and Voltaire Duranty." Duranty lied because US President Roosevelt needed it, who brought the Soviet Union out of international isolation. Washington"s policy was not to irritate the "devil", the "bear".

And, unfortunately, these "good" traditions continue in modern American politics, such gerontophiles, whose jaws have not yet shrunk from Parkinson"s disease, such as the almost 100-year-old marasmic Henry Kissinger, who is not clear why was awarded the Nobel Prize, for resolving the conflict in Vietnam. Because even that turned out to be futile, because after a while, North Communist Vietnam simply occupied the South, that"s all. Or the native column of the same Duranty "New York Times", which does not understand that negotiations with terrorists are not conducted. You cannot make concessions to the subhumans and freaks who level the whole city, shoot civilians with whole families, rape women and children, and drag on their prehistoric scrap metal, which for some reason is called tanks, everything that isn"t fit in the homes of civilian Ukrainians. The crimes of Stalinism may have had the features of right-wing ideology, but they became possible only thanks to Bolshevism, which emerged after the fall of the grain of communist, left-wing ideology on the fertile ground of human degeneration and amorality in Russia. The left does not take into account the national character of the people they intend to govern. That is why the evidence of the Holodomor among Russians and Ukrainians differs. Russians like to be biomass, to be oppressed, to be a rabid crowd from which their leader-czar will sculpt future world domination. I know it well. Why Russians were so willing to accept socialism and communism, because collectivism is in their national character, and those who are against it – they must be erased, which was the Holodomor. But we are not like that, Ukrainians, like Americans, are characterized by individualism, their own responsibility for their actions, and not blind faith in saint leader, no matter what Chomsky, Bernie Sanders and Žižek think about it.

The only difference is that Americans could reflect the Great Depression in art, in the same "The Grapes of Wrath", and make it an exaggerated national tragedy. Ukrainians were even afraid to talk about the Holodomor, because of the totalitarian regime in the USSR and the policy of denunciations, and their collective, ancestral memory was replaced by propaganda slogans and merry, musical Soviet comedies, such as "Cossacks of the Kuban" (1950), "They Met in Moscow" ( 1941), "Jolly Fellows" (1934) and other hypocritical thrash, which in Western cinema was called "Stalin"s Baroque". Seriously, this is the real power of cinema, the ability to replace memories with fictional tales about the wonderful past. My teacher of Foreign Cinema at the university told me how she did not trust her own grandmother, who survived the Holodomor, because she watched Soviet musical comedies and did not even want to know about any genocide of the Ukrainian people. Even now, the younger generation of Americans believes in true capitalist genocide during the Great Depression, thanks to the left-wing media and the culture around them, narrowing their horizons and not making it clear that other parts of the world were much worse off in times of economic crisis in States.

And finally, about the passage that may seem dubious to someone, about communism as the main plague of the 20th century and my alleged bleaching of Nazism and fascism. Judge for yourself, the Nazis and fascists deprived people of the right to freedom of speech, political expression, and someone on racial and national principles the right to life, while the Communists took life not on the narrow principle of nationality and race, but on the broader principle of class and took away the most fundamental right to food, the right to receive food for one"s labor, to feed one"s family. Fascism is the state"s external control over the economy, communism is direct control over food. I hope you draw your own conclusions. And as we see from recent events, this inhuman, unprincipled blackmail of the whole world by the "grain crisis", essentially the right of people to food, persists as an instrument of Russia"s policy against the whole world to this day. Of course, Putin"s Russia now has nothing to do with communist ideology in its original form, but it was this ideology that in 1917, after conducting a negative selection, released all the worst that was already present in the Russians.