Talk:Ludo Martens

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Article in need of a full rewrite[edit]

I cannot help noticing the huge differences between this article, which incorrectly presents Ludo Martens as a historian, and the ducth version, which puts the emphasis on his career as a political activist and places his books in that context. As someone familiar with the life & works of Martens, I have to point out that the dutch article is more correct. Martens was in no way a proper historian. He had no academic qualifications in this field and no connection to a university or other academic institutions. His books on historical subjects are essentially apologetic and polemical works in the service of his ideological convictions. As it stands, this article is misleading, and probably deliberately so. I propose replacing it by a translation of the dutch version.

I cannot help noticing your huge bias against the author Ludo Martens. Like so many others on this talk page, it seems your main effort is to discredit and libel Martens' character and writing. I am reading his 'Another View of Stalin' right now, and it has very in-depth historical analysis, thoroughly footnoted and referenced. You must be another CIA sycophant lurking in CIA-Wikipedialand doing obediently as ordered: to smear and discredit an author whose book 'Another View' is basically an analysis of all of the CIA/Western government attacks of Stalin, proving them false with facts which debunk them. I hate assholes like you who come on here and attack a well meaning author like Martens, you are insufferable you asswipe.

'Recognized Authority'[edit]

"Recognized authority" on the Congo? That means at least one professional historian has, in print, said that his work should be taken as authoritative. I have yet to see such a statement myself. So what's the basis for this claim? Stan 16:03, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Do you monitor my edit history? I can hardly imagine another reason for your finding this article within an hour or so of its creation.
You say you've never seen a citation of Martens as an authority on the Congo? I take it you're well versed in the French-language literature on the subject of Congolese political history?
I don't accept your assertion that some "professional historian" must write "Martens is an authority on the Congo" for it to be true. He has written numerous books on the subject, some of which I have listed here, not to mention countless articles over the past thirty years. He is widely interviewed, within the Congo and without, and frequently appears on television and at international conferences as an invited speaker. His work is of a uniformly high quality and deserves better than to be sneered at by someone who obviously hasn't read it. Shorne 18:10, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)
As part of my admin-ly duties, I monitor "new pages", once in the morning and once in the evening - imagine my pleasure at seeing a nice start on an articleworthy person, since I was expecting to have to do it myself. But "recognized authority" is a pretty big claim, more so than something like "expert" or "specialist"; as someone who has been energetic in criticizing people for not providing proofs for their assertions, it was a little surprising to see you say something like this without providing any facts in support. Since the rest of us are not well-versed in the Congo literature, we're dependent on you (who presumably is) to provide the evidence of Martens' leading position. Poking through Martens' rather paltry number of Google hits, I saw lots of copies of his Stalin book, and lots of addresses to party congresses, but not much else. Sheer number of books and articles is not particularly meaningful, since anybody can run a printing press, and television, well, all the rightwingers you despise make television appearances too. What counts among scholars is peer review; who are Martens' peers, and how do they rate him? What about his day job anyway? Was he ever a professor? You've got a start, but there are lots of questions I'm terribly curious about! Stan 20:22, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Thousands upon thousands of hits is paltry? Martens is most certainly a "recognized authority," whether he is a leading authority is another question altogether. That said, I see nothing wrong with your request for this to be better qualified. Allow me to provide the discussion with some cursory aid on this front:

According to Ludo Martens, (Chairman of Belgium's Labour Party who is thoroughly familiar with Congolese problems)... (The Guardian, 7 February, 2001) El_C

Are you referring to this? Take a closer look - the Guardian was running an opinion piece by Klaus Steininger in Rotfuchs, the bulletin of the Communist Party of Germany. Martens does get lots of praise and adulation from the far left, but that's hardly a scholarly recommendation! Stan 00:25, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Yes, that's where I read it (though a very cursory glance), Communist Party of Australia website. Was this not published in the Guradian (the newspaper, print edition) on 7 Feb., 2001? If not, my apologies for the confusion. I wish I could provide more scholarly assistance, but my expertise are mostly geared towards the history of Central and Southern Africa (particularly the English-speaking countries/colonies). My grasp of French is, sadly, rather dismal. El_C
My French is just fine. Unfortunately, my familiarity with Congolese issues is considerably weaker. Shorne 09:49, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I'm sure the piece appeared in the print Guardian, but the key thing is that it is an opinion piece from a partisan source. I see Safire columns in the New York Times, but that doesn't mean the editors endorse all his opinions, nor do they fact-check his remarks. Googling seems to turn up hundreds of Congo specialists, so I don't understand why all the Martens endorsements I'm seeing are from highly partisan websites. Stan 17:58, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)
As an example of what I'm talking about, think of Crawford Young, who seems to be an acknowledged authority on the Congo - the blurb for his lecture at Copenhagen's Center for African Studies says he "stands out as the leading and most influential political scientist working on African politics" [1], and there are dozens of other such statements by people in the scholarly community. Stan 20:53, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)
It's peculiar that you raised the issue of a "paltry number of Google hits" for Martens. The number of hits for "Ludo Martens" is 7810. For "Crawford Young", it is 8170—but the majority of those seem to be about a guitarist or other person by that name. I'm sure Mr Young is very worthy, but it would seem that he loses—or should I say you lose?—on the count of Google hits.
The book Zaire: A country study, funded by the US Department of the Army (and thus most unlikely to teem with left-wing propaganda), uses both Martens and Young as sources.
I'm not going to get into an argument with you over the relative merits of historians whose names you saw in two minutes of searching on Google. You are being petty and ridiculous. I've already said what makes Martens an authority on the Congo. Some of his books are pretty much the only literature on their subjects (aspects of Congolese politics over the past few decades).
If you're so curious about Martens's personal life, why don't you write to him? His e-mail address is no secret; you can even find it on Google. I have no idea whether he'll entertain nosy questions—I certainly won't—, but you can always try. As for his "day job", I think I stated pretty clearly in the article that he is a historian and the chairman of a political party. That's enough to occupy even an especially capable person. What with those two jobs and the associated responsibilities, such as frequent interviews and talks given at conferences around the world (not just party congresses, as you inaccurately stated), he probably doesn't have much time left to install drywall or sell vacuum cleaners door to door.
To conclude, no, I'm not well versed on the Congo or most other parts of Africa. (Nor am I utterly ignorant of them. I'm sure I know a damn sight more about them than most Wikipedians do.) Indeed, my relative lack of knowledge of Africa is one reason for my recent work in creating articles on African writers for List of African writers (by country). (If you've been monitoring the new articles, you will have noticed my contributions in this area.) I've learnt a fair amount in researching certain authors, and I even intend to get hold of a few books by some of them. Far be it from my intention to force an agenda upon you, but may I suggest that the time that you invest in writing long screeds to destroy the reputation of an author you have not even read might be more profitably invested in creating articles on a few African writers? Shorne 22:25, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)
My my, more fun to critique than to be critiqued, eh? All I asked for was the support for a statement - you've been keen to add every gratuitous slander you can think of to rightwingers' articles, but then if I question an unsupported statement about a leftwinger, I'm out to "destroy" a "reputation"? I think Ludo can take care of himself just fine. Now the Country Study reference (from the Library of Congress, not the Army, as seen at [2]) is a good start, although it doesn't really call him out as anybody special. Also, if you're not well-versed on the Congo, how did you get knowledgeable enough to know whether he was a respected authority? The reason to ask about day job is that being a historian itself does not normally pay the bills, nor does being chair of a tiny party in Belgium; in fact the pattern is consistent with Ludo being a political activist that does a little bit of amateur history on the side, and is perhaps funded in ways that he would not like the world to know about. The highly unprofessional passages in his Stalin book (which I have read) are consistent with that pattern as well. And no, 8,000 hits for a political activist isn't really that much; I get 35,000 myself, without having ever been on television. Ironically, Crawford Young doesn't get so many hits (you have to add a "zaire" or "congo" to prune out other people of the name), but his first hit is an article in Foreign Affairs, and just a couple down is where Britannica recommends one of his books as a classic. Now that's what an authority looks like. Stan 00:14, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I'm not going to listen to rubbishy speculations about Martens's income or entertain political insults of Martens, me, or anyone else. His status as an authority on Congolese politics has been established; there is nothing else to discuss. As for the book "from the Library of Congress", it was indeed "funded by the US Department of the Army", as I said. Try reading before rushing to spew bile at people. Who knows? You might even learn something that way. Shorne 07:21, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)

[P]attern is consistent with Ludo being a political activist that does a little bit of amateur history on the side, and is perhaps funded in ways that he would not like the world to know about.

Perhaps? Amateur? That is far too premature and speculative to conclude at this point, unless Stan has reviewed the pertinent literature written in French. El_C

Just to smash Stan's irresponsible calumny to smithereens, I would like to quote from [3]. For the benefit of readers, I have translated the French.
On 27 June 2001, Martens responded publicly to someone claiming to have learnt "from a very reliable source" that he used to receive "130,000 francs per month from [Laurent] Kabila, not to mention airplane tickets and other benefits". Martens denied the charge and demanded either proof of the "very reliable source" or a retraction with apologies, saying that he would sue for libel if no response were forthcoming.
Martens's own words (again, in translation): "I am a member of a revolutionary party in a rich country. I never would have thought for a moment of asking for a single penny from a country that has been pillaged, ruined, and destroyed by the West and its lap-dog Mobutu. The person in charge of finances at the Workers' Party of Belgium knows that my work in the Congo costs more than 300,000 francs per year, paid for from the dues of Belgian workers, nurses, employees, teachers, and doctors.…"
I presume that the "francs" are Belgian (about 37 to the USD at the time of conversion to the euro), not Congolese (almost 400 to the USD today). Readers may do the division for themselves.
In any case, Martens has publicly disclosed the amount and the source of his funding. I won't bother to ask for Stan's apology, which he probably wouldn't give anyway. Shorne 09:39, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Heh, I didn't say anything about a Kabila connection, but thanks for turning up Martens' denial; that would be good for the article actually, plus his claims that the US engineered Kabila's assassination (which I didn't see in the Kabila article). Now since the standard has been set that a public denial is good enough to erase all suspicion, I expect not to see any libels against rightwingers that they have personally denied, Robert Conquest for instance. It's ironic that Martens threatens to sue for libel, seeing as how he had no problem libelling a great many people in his Stalin book! That's the next article to create... I still don't think Martens' status as an authority on anything has been established; undergrads that have written a good senior thesis can manage one citation, that doesn't make them authorities. As usual, the onus is on the article writer to provide the support for claims, not on the questioners. Since Ludo is being used as an authority for material in other articles, this is an important point. Insulting me in response to my queries doesn't prove anything, and readers of the article who look at this talk page are not likely to give much credence to the insulters. Stan 14:47, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I have no use for irrational people. This is the end of this discussion. Shorne 18:42, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Yup, the personal attacks reveal your true character and agenda. Stan 19:14, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Gentlemen, please! El_C

Let me sum up what was presented in support of the statement that Martens is a "recognized authority" on the Democratic Republic of Congo:

  1. Shorne wrote about Martens: He has written numerous books on the subject, some of which I have listed here, not to mention countless articles over the past thirty years. He is widely interviewed, within the Congo and without, and frequently appears on television and at international conferences as an invited speaker.
  2. Bulletin of Northeast Berlin Branch of the Communist Party of Germany cites Martens.
  3. Authors of A Country Study: Zaire list one of Martens' books in their extensive bibliography.
  4. K. van Walraven makes a reference to one of Martens' books in his Dreams of Power and lists the book in his extensive bibliography.

If we exclude communist partisan sources, we'll come to the conclusion that we have found only two sources which mention Martens and only one writer who seems to rely on Martens (BTW this author comes from the same geographical region as Martens and read Martens' work in his native Dutch). In my opinion this is much too little to support the thesis that Martens is an authority to anyone but some communist activists. I'm removing the questioned statement as unsubstantiated. Boraczek 20:10, 2 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Sadly, more conflict[edit]

I suggested a new version. Any comments? Boraczek 10:00, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I found your addition to be too POV, containing "heavy bias" in and of itself, not to mention that I am not sure how accurate all these statements are. El_C
OK, hopefully we can work out a compromise. Boraczek 10:40, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
There is no room for "compromising" over the insertion of your opinions—uninformed opinions at that, for I know damn well that you haven't read Martens's books any more than you've read your beloved Black Book of Communism. Your ideologically motivated smearing of Martens's reputation is unacceptable. Shorne 11:10, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I was talking to El_C, not to you, Shorne. I thought you ended your discussion here, as you said. Boraczek 11:14, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I won't allow you to damage this article with uninformed opinions under the guise of compromise. Shorne 11:42, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Since both of you have a history marred by much antipathy, maybe it'd be best, until the mediation proceedings are concluded, to avoid those article where either one of you is the principal author (Shorne is for this article). Just trying to avoid any unecessary conflict. El_C
If you meant editing articles, then I had already refrained from editing this article. As I said, my intention was to work out a compromise on the discussion page.
But what you wrote made me think that maybe I should refrain from taking part in the discussion as well, because Shorne would reject any suggestion of mine just because I made it. Maybe this is a good idea. Boraczek 18:14, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I don't reject suggestions just because you make them. I do, however, have big doubts about your seriousness that are bolstered by experience. Shorne 18:25, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Meaning that I should stand by and let people like Boraczek ruin anything I do? Shorne 11:10, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
What? No, until mediation is conncluded, you avoid the article's where he is principal author, and he avoids those article where you are principal author (such as this one). El_C
Wow, I fail on clarity with the first attempt, and spelling with the second one. Bravo me! Pretty out of it, sorry. Anyway, I think it would be a good-faith gesture until the mediator(s) become involve to try to sort whatever problems between you two. El_C
I appreciate your point, but I don't believe that that would be a fair solution under the circumstances. Besides, I'm already showing heaps of good faith by complying with the rules while VeryVerily wantonly disregards them. Given the dreadfully slow pace of mediation, I cannot agree to a "temporary" measure that would amount to a long-term unilateral abstention from editing. Shorne 11:42, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Sorry, I am not familliar with that dispute. But you misunderstood my point/proposal, and I, many other things, it seems. Please see my comment bellow. El_C
Armageddon will come before our case is even accepted for mediation. I can't even get a reply from any arbitrator to the questions I have repeatedly presented to their kangaroo court, much less get any action taken against VeryVerily and his protégé here on anything short of a geologic time scale.
Also, Boraczek is not the principal author of anything, as far as I know. I'm sorry, but I cannot agree to refrain from touching this article, which in any case is a work in progress, for months on end just because Boraczek chooses to follow me around and destroy everything I do. Shorne 11:42, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Let me explain Shorne's remark on the "kangaroo court". Two arbitration cases against Shorne are open. Shorne knows that he violated an array of Wikipedia rules and policies many times, so he expects he will be punished by the Arbitration Committee. In anticipation of this punishment, he questions impartiality and legitimacy of the Committee, even if his accusations are not justified. Boraczek 18:23, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Eep. I fail on the clarity attempt a third time. No, I meant you could continue to contribute to this one (and others to which you are principal author) and he will have to refrain from editing it/these — conversely, he could continue to work on the ones he is principal author of and you will have to refrain from editing these. But if he is not principal authors of any articles, I suppose he would not be inclined to agree with that (I just assumed he was, sorry). Also, I didn't realize the mediation/arbitration system is under such stress that there is a very long que. Moreoever, you clearly found your experience with one of these to be distorted enough to dub it a kangaroo court. I sincerely hope that this will prove to be an isolated case, on both fronts. I'm probably not helping. El_C
Sorry, English is not my native tongue (though I have have been speaking it for a decade now, so I can't make much excuses) and I sometimes I have difficulties being able to communicate my ideas, especially when I am not entirely lucid. Sorry for the confusion. I originally meant one thing, but ended up saying another. Writing concisely-and-effectively in English is difficult (well, for me). El_C
Sorry; evidently I misunderstood. I am willing to accept your proposal that each of Boraczek and me avoid articles primarily written by the other until the conclusion of our case for mediation. It seems fair that the person who has put the most effort into writing something should be favoured when there is an apparently irreconcilable dispute. (I had thought that you were proposing to favour the person who comes along and makes a quick change; that's why I was opposed at first.) Let's see whether Boraczek will agree to it.
By the way, your English is excellent. I had not noticed that you were a non-native speaker. Most of the errors that I have caught have pertained to spelling and other minor details. You write very clearly and expressively; indeed, you put most of the native English-speakers here to shame. Shorne 13:01, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Yes: I'm going to demand mediation, since it's obvious that you are unable or unwilling to participate in Wikipedia appropriately. Shorne 10:17, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)

How Martens is viewed by other historians[edit]

It's tough to find any other historians who even notice Martens' existence (positively or negatively), but I'm going to record what I find here, for reference:

More as I find 'em, although when one filters out wikipedia mirrors, the number of Martens cites drops way down... Stan 18:02, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)

'Misinformation' and 'corrections'[edit]

I was distracted by the unfortunate conflict (unrelated to the article), but I suppose it would be prudent of me to explain why I saw Boraczek's addition as POV and innacurate. I will examine the pertinent excerpt in parts:

Thank you for your comments, El_C. Let me try to substantiate my edits. Boraczek 13:35, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Martens is quite popular among the far left

Is he though? What do you base that on? Much of the Far Left is anti-stalinist whereas he is not an anti-stalinist (the reason I'm using a double negative is because this does not mean he sees himself as a stalinist). So if we are to speak of his popularity, this needs to be qualified far better.

Obviously, "Martens is quite popular among the far left" does not mean that all the far left supports him. Here, I simply relied on what Shorne and Stan said on this discussion page. Boraczek 13:35, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I don't believe I've said anything one way or the other about Martens's popularity. In any case, a few miscellaneous comments on a talk page are not likely to be good material for quoting in the article. Shorne 18:07, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
If you mean that what you write on discussion pages of Wikipedia does not constitute a reliable source of information, then I have no choice but to agree. So as to refresh your memory: [4] [5] Boraczek 07:28, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)

[B]ut he is not considered a credible source by most historians.

What is that most historians based on – we will need evidence (as cursory as it might initially be) to demonstrate that most historians do not find him a more credible source. Also, is the reference to his works on African history? Soviet history? Both? This needs to be qualified, and demonstrated with evidence.

Well, to know if Martens is considered a credible source by historians, we need to examine their works. My note refers to Martens's work in general, but I will focus on his work on the Democratic Republic of Congo, his alleged "realm of authority".
I went to a public library (Warsaw University Library) and I checked first 12 books I saw which: 1) described the political history of the Democratic Republic of the Congo; 2) contained references related to the political history of the DRC; 3) were published after 1985. I looked for any references to Ludo Martens. Here are the results:
1. Encyclopedia of twentieth-Century African History, ed. by P. T. Zeleza, Routledge, London & New york 2003
Martens is not mentioned in the "further reading" section on the DRC.
2. K. van Walraven, Dreams of Power. the role of the Organization of African Unity in the Politics of africa 1963-1993, Ridderprint, 1996
The bibliography contains 1958-1966: 10 jaar revolutie in Kongo by L. Martens. On p. 296 Van Walraven sends the reader to this book for further information, so we can assume that he considers this book a credible source.
3. J. D. Hargreaves, Decolonization in Africa, Longman, London & New York 1988
Martens is not mentioned in "Bibliographical Essay".
4. Afrika: političeskoje i social'noe razvitie v uslovijah socialističeskoj orientacij, Nauka, Moscow 1988
No reference to Martens.
5. Zarys dziejów Afryki i Azji 1869-1996, ed. by A. Bartnicki, Książka i Wiedza, Warsaw 1996
No reference to Martens.
6-7. Africa, ed. by P. M. Martin and P. O'Meara, 3rd ed., Indiana University Press, Bloomington & Indianapolis 1995
No reference to Martens in an article by E. J. Keller.
Martens is not mentioned in a bibliographical essay by N. J. Schmidt.
8-9. J. Gerard-Libois, J. Heinen, Belgique Congo 1960, Politique et Histoire, Bruxelles 1989
Martens is not mentioned in "Basic Bibliography".
10-11. J. Brassinne, J. Kestergat, Qui a tué Patrice Lumumba?, Document Duculet, Paris 1991
No reference to Martens.
12. A. Shyaka, Conflicts en Afrique des Grand Lacs et esquisse de leur résolution, Dialog, Warsaw 2003
No reference to Martens.
13. Konflikte seit 1945. Schwarzafrika, h. von Frank R. Pfetsch, Verlag Ploetz Freiburg, Wurzburg 1991
No reference to Martens.
14. A. Best, J. M. Hanhimaki, J. A. Maiolo, K. E. Schulze, International History of the Twentieth Century, Routledge, London & New York 2004
No reference to Martens.
15. Paul Johnson, Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Nineties, 2nd edition, 1991
No reference to Martens.
16. Najnowsza historia świata 1945-1995, ed. by A. Patek, J. Rydel and J. J. Węc, Wydawnictwo Literackie, Cracow 1997
No reference to Martens.
As you can see, out of 16 authors, 15 do not mention Martens at all and only 1 considers Martens a reliable source of information. Given this evidence, we can draw conclusions on all historians similarly as we draw conclusions on all the population from a sample of people who took part in a survey, that is to say, using statistical methods. The books I checked constitute a random sample. I will test the hypothesis that 30% of historians consider Martens' work a reliable source. If the hypothesis was true, then the number of historians in the sample who consider Martens' work a considerable source (n) would have the binomial distribution (expected value = 4.8, variance = 3.36). The probability of n < 2 is 0.7^16 + 0.7^15 * 0.3 * 16 = 0.0033 + 0.0228 = 0.0261 . If I choose the standard 1-tail significance level of 0.05, then the hypothesis will be rejected. This means that the evidence indicates that less than 30% of historians considers Martens' work a reliable source.
I don't treat this test as a definite and unique proof. Everybody can do the same thing as me - go to a public library, choose a random sample of books on the subject and check how many of them refer to Martens as a reliable source. Boraczek 13:35, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Lest the mathematically naïve be taken in by the preceding "analysis", I must point out that it is thoroughly false. The most damning fact is that the books selected do not "constitute a random sample". Two of them are in Polish. It is unlikely that the Warsaw University Library, fine institution though it may be, even possesses a random sample of the relevant literature.
I can see that you question the statement that the books I listed (I did not select them, BTW) constitute a random sample, but I can't see what your arguments are. That two books are in Polish? I can't see any reason why books written in Polish are "less random" than boooks written in English, French, Portuguese, Swedish or Zulu. The statement about WUL is very mysterious. What do you mean by "possessing a random sample of the relevant literature"? Boraczek 07:28, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)
In addition, Boraczek's assumption that an author's failure to cite Martens in a specific work constitutes proof that that author does not consider Martens a credible source is highly questionable. I repeated the exercise on a "random" sample of books from my own library and found few or no citations of people who are obviously widely recognised in their fields. It is particularly peculiar to attribute opinions to editors—all of the editors of a book, no less—, who are likely to have little say over the citations used by the authors in their compilations. I could also mention the use of surveys (books on all of Africa) and books of tangential importance (such as one on the Great Lakes region, most of which lies to the east of Congo-Kinshasa) and, of course, the problem of language (notice that the Dutch author van Walraven cited the Dutch version of one of Martens's books in a book written in English). But there's no need. The simple fact is that Boraczek has proven only that one author presumably regards at least one of Martens's books as credible. He has not proven a thing about other scholars. Shorne 18:27, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
So of all these books in your personal library, what are the ones that cite Martens as an authority? Stan 07:21, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)
1.If these authors considered Martens a credible source, then why did they omit his books and list many other books on the subject instead?
2. Could you tell us more about your "experiment" in your own library? Did you search for references to Martens and fail to find any?
3. I attribute opinions to authors, not to editors. Shorne probably misunderstood what I had written, if he said I attributed opinions to all editors.
4. All of the books in my sample are relevant - they (including the book on the Great Lakes region) describe the history of the DRC and give sources. I can't see why some of them should be excluded for alleged "tangential importance", etc. This would require further explanation, Shorne.
5. What do you mean by the "problem of language"? Works of Martens are published in English and French, so in fact every scholar can read them.
6. If I have proven that one author presumably regards at least one of Martens's books as credible, then I have also proven that 15 authors presumably don't know Martens or know Martens and do not consider him important, reliable or informative enough to mention him in a bibliography. A "primitive" conclusion would be that only 1 out of 16 historians in the world considers Martens a credible source. But I used more correct statistical methods to estimate the "popularity" of Martens. Boraczek 07:47, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)

What characterizes him [as an historian/thinker, I presume was the meaning] is his heavy bias

Heavy bias in terms of what? All chairs of political parties are heavily biased about the central tenats of their political doctrines – that is the nature of political parties. All historians are biased in some manner or another – that's why we have historiography. So the above seemed to me to be too anectodal, too POV, and lacking in resreach.

I still believe that a historian should write sine ira et studio, try to be impartial in his judgments and seek the truth. I agree that all historians have some kind of opinions. But I insist that historians should not let their opinions turn into bias in their historical work. Saying that "all historians are biased" is not exact and ushers acceptance for tendentious writing.
Have you read Another View of Stalin? It is quite obvious that the aim of this book is to rehabilitate Stalin. A historian should try to establish facts, gathering information with no prejudice and no selection based on his personal views and then draw conclusions. Of course, he has the right to have his opinion, but his opinion should not bring about bias in his collecting data. Martens's procedure, as his book shows, was quite different. The conclusion was first. And then he chose facts and interpretations which corresponded to the conclusion, that is, which were advantageous for Stalin.
The approach of Martens is revealed in this sentence: Defending Stalin's work, essentially defending Marxism-Leninism, is an important, urgent task in preparing ourselves for class struggle under the New World Order [6]. Martens overtly says that he wants to defend Stalin, because it benefits his political movement. He does not even pretend to be a neutral and objective researcher. Boraczek 13:35, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Of course he has a bias, like all other historians. So what? Your beloved Conquest isn't exactly subtle about his biases either.
You have yet to justify your claim that "his heavy bias" is "[w]hat characterizes him". Characterises him how? As a historian? Where did you get this information? Have you even seen his work on Africa? (The answer is no.)
You also have failed to prove that Martens started from a conclusion and culled facts to match it. What evidence is there for that allegation? You're operating in the realm of ad hominem attacks, not in the realm of critical examination of the data. Shorne 18:27, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
OK, so we agreed that Martens had a bias. Boraczek 08:09, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)

[E]xtensive use of offensive language in his books (calling historians liars, etc.).

Finally, what is this based on? We need evidence. Which books (plural) ? How is the language offensive – offensive language as expeltives, or offensive concepts/charges? Pivotal differene. Lastly, whom did he call a liar, and why?

Well, for example Shorne loves to insert links to this page [7], where we can read: Through their hatred of socialism, Western intellectuals spread Conquest's absurd lies. I think there's no need to argue that caling somebody a liar is offensive. Please notice that saying that somebody lies does not only implies that what he says is false. It also means that this person knows that what he/she says is false and intentionally tries to cheat other people. Martens is allowed to think that Conquest's estimates are wrong, but when did he prove that Conquest intentionally published false estimates? The word "lies" has nothing to do with the research on the subject and is a mere insult.
BTW In his reply to Conquest's claims Martens seems to make a factual error, confusing labor colonies (where families of the kulaks were sent) with gulags (where individuals were sent). And his statement that Western intellectuals hated socialism seems to be out of touch with reality. Boraczek 13:35, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Calling someone a liar who has lied is merely telling it like it is. Whether the disclosure is "offensive" is a matter of opinion, but its veracity or otherwise can in principle be established. We know, for example, that Conquest was employed by the British government to write false anti-Soviet propaganda. That counts as intentional misinformation and, therefore, as a lie. Whether the "absurd lies" mentioned above are established as such is something that we can discuss. I'm willing to check the facts.
If you're willing to check the facts, then please check them and tell us when and in which part of the text Martens showed that Conquest intentionally published false estimates. Boraczek 07:58, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)
By contrast, Conquest has been known to refer his entire opposition as "fucking fools", which is certainly offensive (even profane) and not based on facts. Yet we don't read on Conquest's page that he makes "extensive use of offensive language".
This is not an article on Conquest, so I don't find your remark relevant. Boraczek 07:58, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)
You also have not shown that the alleged "offensive language" is "extensive" (one mention of "lies" is extensive?) "in his books" (plural—again, do you claim to be familiar with them?).
Of course, this is only one example out of many. If you have read Another View of Stalin (have you?), then you know that I could find a similar example every two pages. I have only read Another View of Stalin, so I don't know how many books of Martens contain offensive language (1, 2, 5, or all). This is why I used the indefinite exression "his books". It remains true that Martens used offensive language in his books. Boraczek 07:58, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Please point to the alleged "factual error".
I said that Martens seems to confuse gulags with labor colonies (where kulak families were settlled) and here is an example: Conquest 'calculated' that 3,500,000 kulaks were `exterminated' in the camps. But the total number of dekulakized in the colonies never exceeded 1,317,022!. Martens uses the data about the labor colonies to apparently reject Conquest's estimate which is related to Siberian labor camps in general. It seems to me that he makes a mistake or maybe he is simply fraudulent in his polemics. Boraczek 08:20, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)
As for Western intellectuals' hatred of socialism, that seems like an accurate assessment to me. Of course there were exceptions, but the fact is that one didn't get very far in academic or other professional circles by waving the red flag. Shorne 18:27, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
On the contrary, Western European academic circles in the 2nd half of the 20th century were dominated by socialists and communists. For example, almost all famous French philosophers and sociologists shared socialist, communist or generally leftist convictions - including Jean-Paul Sartre, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Pierre Bourdieu, Jean-François Lyotard, Louis Althusser and many others. Boraczek 08:09, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I'd like to see the evidence that Conquest wrote "false anti-Soviet propaganda" - the only place I've ever seen the claim is on highly partisan websites, and we have no article on the IRD. The "fucking fools" reference is a quote from personal conversation, and well, if we were to discredit everyone who used bad language while talking to somebody else, WP would be a pretty empty place. It's quite another matter to put that kind of thing into something that purports to be scholarly work. On Martens' reputation, the lack of citations is very telling; the total that anybody has come up with so far is fewer than the citations of the work I did while still in school, not exactly "recognized authority" level. I'll bet twenty dollars (in the form of a donation to the Wikimedia Foundation) there is not a single peer-reviewed scholarly article or book in the world that cites Martens' Stalin book as an authority on anything. Stan 07:02, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Oh yeah, the statement that "Western intellectuals hated socialism" is just looney tunes. University officials in the US are perpetually having to cover for their proudly-socialist professors. The pseudonymous 172 is apparently one of these, so we even have the counterevidence on our own doorstep, so to speak. Real scholars would know better than to make those kind of sweeping statements. Stan 07:14, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)

So I must confess that I understand why Shrone was upset over this addition. It definitely takes the appearance of an agenda-driven POV rather than a productive, well-reserached and well-thought out contribution to the article. So, I urge you, if you actually reviewed compelling evidence that would cause you to come to such conclusions, please submit it here. Otherwise, I do not see what there is to compromise over. Which is to say, first comes the reserach/evidence than a comrpomise can be attempted. But you would agree, I'm sure, that one should not need to comrpomise with mostly anectodal contributions merely because said contributor(s) feel strongly in favour of these – the onus is in the contributor to establish his or her argument intellectually, emprically, etc. El_C

Thank you for taking the time to spell out the problems with Boraczek's insertion. I look forward to seeing a rational response from him. Shorne 11:19, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)

that challenges in particular the orthodox Western view of collectivisation in the USSR and the Great Purge

My objection to this part is: why is the view that Martens opposes called "Western"? The opinion that the collectivisation and the Great Purge were deleterious and resulted in millions of deaths is probably more widespread in Eastern and Central European countries, which experienced Stalinism than in Western european countries and in the US. I don't like the word "orthodox" either. We're talking about history, not about religion. My suggestion is "dominant view". Boraczek 13:35, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Nobody rejected my suggestion, so I'm putting it in the article. Boraczek 18:49, 2 Jan 2005 (UTC)


Both the French and Dutch wikipedia has his birthdate as 12th of March 1946. I changed it to that. 12:05, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

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