If we compare the life of Soviet collective farmers not to some abstract ideal in mind all sorts of weird, not to people's lives in a completely different conditions decades later, and we compare the time when Stalin's farmers lived. We can compare them to certain assumptions, for example, with the reality that there were villagers in North America in those years — the United States and Canada. This is one of the richest Western countries, world leaders in the field of agriculture, a model of "democracy", "human rights", the "free market", etc. for citizens with an alternative perception of reality. These countries have had in relation to the USSR tremendous head start — they've had their industrialization over 70 years ago, did not know the war on its territory for many decades, at their doorstep while not going to the enemy army, there was no agrarian overpopulation, especially in Canada . Besides all this, the countries of North America has a huge natural advantage over Russia — the climate. Even in the agricultural areas of Canada it is much milder than in Russia and the conditions for agriculture are much better. Those populated latitudes, which in Canada are considered to the north, in Russia belong to the south, and the American plains significantly wetter than the Russian steppes.
Sharecropper family. USA, Arkansas 1935
In the southern United States in a subtropical climate, farmers remove the three (!) Crops a year. No stocks of hay for the winter and spending it on the ground, just Cast out the animal in the field — that's all. Farmers in warmer climes do not overstrain to sow all of two weeks when "the day feeds a year" to meet as soon as possible in the world of the growing season, and then clean up urgently, to thaw, frost and snow. Housing is enough to put a box of boards, which can hardly be heated. Compared with the climate of Russia — a paradise. Yes, capitalism, the market, "democracy" and "the election of two or more candidates." How, I wonder, have lived in those years in places such grace? And there lived a surprisingly bad.
Dorothea lounge. USA, 1936. Mother of seven children. (The other name — the mother-refugee)
Comment photographer (Dorothea Lounge) to this snapshot: "This woman — 32, they eat vegetables that are left in the field after frost and birds, which can kill children, they lived in a tent. Tent had to sell to buy food to children. "There were at least four million of these" workers "as they are affectionately known officially. http://www.english.uiuc.edu/maps/depression/photoessay.htm
Interestingly, in 1930 only 13% of U.S. farms had electricity, which is a well-known fact (http://www.agclassroom.org/gan/timeline/1930.htm). Only in 1936 there was an act of the state of electrification. Wow, the government had to make a fuss Roosevelt, the market and private initiative for some reason did not able to establish themselves.
The family of a poor American farmer, 30th
During the Great Depression for the U.S. Canadian farmers, as they say, even in encyclopedias — time "appalling suffering". 
Family farmer. "People are living in incredible poverty." USA, Oklahoma 1936
In the early 30's there was a drought in the U.S. and it's been hit hard by American farmers, in their language — to farmers. For comparison — in the mid-30s in the Soviet Union was also a very severe drought, and despite the climate, not that that does not happen any catastrophe — the country has continued to grow at the fastest rate in the world. But in addition to drought for American farmers had trouble more serious — the fall in food prices. Just because of the Great Depression, the American people became poor and there was a lot less. The authorities and the banks are urgently required from farmers to destroy crops and reduce food surpluses. A couple of years it (in 1933) as part of the Roosevelt "New Deal" took an act of "a correction" of agricultural production («AgriculturalAdjustmentAct1933»), who defined the rules of payments to those farmers who cut crops, grain buried in the ground, etc. . Amazing, is not it? At that time, the country tens of millions of people were starving, dying of hunger and malnutrition, at least hundreds of thousands, and next to them, under the protection of food destroyed.
Steinbeck told as it happened: "Oranges whole cars were poured on the ground. People go a few miles to pick up discarded fruit, but it is totally unacceptable … Millions hungry in need of fruits and golden mountains poured kerosene … Burn coffee in locomotive fireboxes. Burn corn instead of wood — it burns hot. Dump the potatoes and place in the river along the coast guard, not hungry all the catch. Cut the pig carcasses and bury in the ground, and let the earth soaked by rot.
It is a crime that has no name. It is a sorrow that does not change any tears.
People come with nets catch potatoes out of the river, but the guard chases them away … hear the squeal of pigs being slaughtered and covered with lime in the gutters, look for oranges mountains, on which slide down slides stinking manure, and in the eyes of the people defeated, in the eyes of the hungry matures anger … "
And that is typical, no one dares to talk about "man-made famine", although it is precisely because he is. No one breathless hysterics about "criminal inhuman treatment", "inefficient economy", although this is it.
The parents of the family of 9 people, living in the United States, Tennessee, 1935
Despair. Children living in the United States, 1935
Another trouble there and the massive soil depletion due to predatory eksplutattsii. Depleted soils without crop was blowing winds. As many as four generations of farmers sucked out of the ground all you can on the principle "after us — the deluge" is totally normal principle of capitalism. Take everything out of life now, do not think about tomorrow, it's a problem for future generations, even if they are taken care of. When destroyed the Soviet Union, we were told that if the land is owned by a peasant, he would take care of her. However, the catastrophic exhaustion of the soil has occurred in the United States, not the Soviet Union. Practice has shown that better care of the land planned economy and the person thinking about society, not blinded by selfishness blunt limited private owner.
When the private initiative and "democracy" has only been three years since enterprising farmers and local authorities began to move and just a year later (in 1934) was published the first piece of legislation, the so-called "Act of pastures", which restricted the activities that cause erosion and permitted the State Government to allocate money for the organization in place of meadows fields. The truth for this time had time to go around the world 20% of the farmers in the countryside and then lived a third of the U.S. population. Most of the farmers who are in debt from the banks and the "invisible hand of the market" began to destroy not listed. Armed with "agents of banks," that is hired thugs and "security agencies" roamed the expanses of North America, throwing away the farmers from their homes.
U.S. 30th. Ravaged the family farmer out of their land aimlessly
Went bankrupt farms for sale. USA 1933
In the U.S., hide how many people died of starvation 30s. Official statistics for the worst — destroyed in 1932, officially — reports of allegedly "not prepared." Apparently, in the 30 years in the United States have died from hunger, millions of people. Analysis of the age-sex pyramid shows the demographic dip in the 5-7 million people, most of whom are children, as happens with hunger. But this indirect estimates, the real information hidden. Telling about the tragedy in the United States hunted extrajudicial killings, imprisoned as a "communist agents" and "Soviet spies" to the 60s.
In the most severe in 1932 in the United States more than 25% of all households had no income.  It is tempting to ask: "So we talked about the collective?" A quarter of the richest countries in the world — in absolute poverty, while even in the poorest 20% of the collective people had a no, and income, not to mention alone their more successful brethren. But in the Soviet Union — is was hell, and in the United States — the natural difficulties.
The poor man's family, the United States, 30th
Tens of millions of impoverished desperate people fled to other areas where they felt that survive easier. So was inhabited by California, which had up to this very low population density. Lucky enough to live in shacks and charitable flophouse, who is less — in tents, who does not — on the street. The children died like flies. Thousands of 13-14 year olds who have parents died of hunger and disease or is no longer able to maintain them for years traveled the country on the roofs of freight cars, surviving on odd jobs, begging, stealing, dying and disappearing without a trace.
Homeless family travels on freight trains in search of any job. All their property — next to them. U.S. 30th.
Here's a he was in America at that time crunch "Big Mac."
In the USSR, then it was free health care and education. In the "torch of democracy" and the market is simple: if you want your child to stay alive — pay. By the way, how, I wonder, in the children of American farmers have to produce? How many of them have become professors, academics, doctors, generals, the great statesman? Like, really anybody? USSR, by the way, these cases simply do not count.
Orphan children to survive working in the cotton fields Dorothea Lounge, 1935, the United States, California
Despair. Penniless. The refugee camp of hunger. USA, California 1937
While the country was in turmoil from the Soviet people's energy and enthusiasm, America, and the entire Western world embraced despair and hopelessness. This is not fiction Stalinist propaganda, the Americans even now quite openly write about themselves.
Homeless people sleep on a small railway station. USA, 30th
I personally had the opportunity to talk with survivors of the Great Depression, Hunger in the United States and Canada. They tell a lot of their friends and relatives who have died from hunger, malnutrition and disease in these years. In desperation, people wandered around the country, trying to ride on the roofs of freight trains. They were caught and brutally beaten by the police in the area tried not to take away, so you do not feed in prison. Michael Lucas, in his book "Out of the Carpathian Mountains in Canada," recalls weakened from hunger police often simply beaten to death. In the "bastion of democracy" and no one was carrying any responsibility for it. Many people fell off the roof and crashed on the go or found a terrible death under the wheels of a train, many froze to death in the winter in the northern states and Canada. They often do not even dovozili to the cemetery — buried somewhere nearby. How many died of accidents — no one knows.
On the roofs of freight trains in search of any job. United States in 1933?
Especially scary was the position of "color" and blacks. Unemployment among blacks was 66% — 2/3. How many of them died then — God knows who counted them.
On the "public works" in labor camps. USA 1934
Work in labor camps. USA 1934
After the introduction of measures of "New Deal" Roosevelt those unemployed who are not able to employ massively herded into labor camps behind barbed wire. In contrast to the gulag prisoners convicted by the courts for their crimes, labor camp prisoners have committed no crimes. Who is it talking about human rights and the presumption of something there? By the way, they usually do not receive any salary, unlike the prisoners of the Gulag, by the way, are employed at a price set by the industry.
Free soup for hungry children, countryside, USA, 30th
Since the early 30's charitable organizations in major cities began distributing free soup for the desperate. Turn him often stretched for miles, far enough not to all. Often these soup kitchens were the only thing that saved people from starvation. The soup is not only handing out of humanity — it soon became clear that give a person a bowl of soup is easier than getting a problem when a desperate man will rob or steal.
Queue for free soup. USA 1936
Free soup. U.S. 30th
The face of hunger and despair. Free soup, USA 30th
As Americans belong to all of this? Very simply — "We went through it we become stronger!" More than a decade of despair, stupidity, hunger, devastation and stagnation — an occasion for pride and proof of the stability of system. Somehow, in the case of the USSR difficulties of the first couple of years in a lot worse baseline — straight hell, universal catastrophe and hysteria on "inefficient system." Obviously, this does not refer to the truth, and the dishonest manipulation of the psyche of people.
Poor slums Poland 30th.
Were there any problems in other countries in the same years? You bet. In addition, the country is full of "free market", "democracy" and all that, but where the peasants are always living on the edge of disaster. How, by the way, were living at the time the Mexican peasants? Go and prosper, because they did not have any farms or Stalin? But probably all heard the poverty of Mexican farmers simply fantastic, a gift that lived and still live in the "free market." That is not even a fabulous climate, needs proper social system. Very poor peasants lived in those years and in other Western countries. Very poor lived in England, France and Ireland. In Poland in the 30s was a real hunger, many people died. By the way, some of the descendants of the then inhabitants of Western Ukraine with bitterness recall the stories of his starving in the early 30's relatives blaming this on the exclusive personal stupidity of the Soviet Power. However, Western Ukraine then belonged not to the Soviet Union, and to Poland, where hunger free soup, as in the United States is not handed over.
Soup Distribution starving Poland in 1932.
Michael Shaturin well written about Israel, how life was there the peasants and peasant life under capitalism is not even in the thirties, and in quite a prosperous post-war. "In the" perestroika "and will often poured into his ears all about the" bad "Soviet collective farms and the" good "Israeli kibbutzim. Kibbutzim were established in a favorable climate, but the life of the early years there was very heavy. Despite the lies about the "voluntary membership" kibbutzim themselves have admitted that there has driven many of the early years of the famine in Israel. He is the Promised Land, it appears, was, although Stalin there like as not. Much higher than in the collective farms, the degree of socialization — it is not because "all Jews are brothers", and trace the hardest time. It seems that in general the degree of socialization, to a certain extent dictated not ideology, and is proportional to the difficulties of everyday life. But in the case of Israel, for some reason no one is howling about the "kibbutz slavery"! Although the orders were as follows: if a rich American uncle sent a kibbutz in gift jacket, this kibbutz member has not received due to it every 2 years jerkin, if someone received an inheritance, then handed the whole thing into the pot. Can you imagine what would be hysterical now nakruchivalas would be if in the farmers would have to take the inheritance cooperative. And in the kibbutzim — all it should be. Any idiot did not occur to compare kibbutz life with the "untwisted" by U.S. farms (although climatic conditions would allow such a comparison) and require "hometown of the Zionist state" is the same. On the contrary, had a wide circulation this anecdote:
There are an American farmer and kibbutzim. Farmer says:
— If I sit down in the morning in my car, it is only in the evening I shall reach to the opposite edge of my possessions.
At that kibbutz replies
— Yes, we also have a lot of cars.
Speaking of American farmers. I used to come often on Canadian farms, I had many friends there. Farms are all very different in the degree of prosperity. The very status of the farmer is nothing but a headache, do not guarantee it. The biggest farmer's privilege — to live in a nice house, because this house is built on their own land, and usually forces the family itself. In the city you build the house itself will not give — you have no license of the builder. That is, predatory mortgage banks pay for it is not necessary. However, there are some families who live in an old wooden huts. Warm toilet on the Canadian farm appeared a few decades ago, before anybody about this convenience I have not. Now there was a system of state insurance of agricultural risks (before about her speech and was not), but the farmers told me that the worst thing — the average yield (on the "three"), as in this case, no compensation shall be payable, and loans to banks and pay the necessary taxes. And it's all right now, in the 21st century, but 70-80 years ago it was very different.
It would be necessary to compare the life of the first collective farmers with no life of farmers and farm workers in the U.S. is the same 20-30 years. That is, in our opinion, farm laborers. I came across a rare book, an American researcher Carey McWilliams with the characteristic title "Land Disasters", about American "rural idyll". The book was translated into Russian. It is written in a strictly scientific, on the basis of U.S. official documents and government reports. No trace of communist ideology in the book the author, I did not find. How did this look the most "American farmers paradise" since the first collective farms?
— "There were thousands of shacks — the so-called "goat ranch", ie farm with such plots of land on which it was possible to get by grazing goats. In most houses there is no situation. Boxes, stools and benches replaced by chairs. This is — the limit of poverty, gaping like an open wound. Under such circumstances, widespread infectious disease. Medical care is almost completely absent. Quackery thrives."
In general, this book is a lot of interesting facts about rural life in the United States. It is a pity that the 1949 no one was reprinted … "
The message is clear — nothing out of the ordinary on the living standards of those years in the collective farms were not. There were legitimate difficulties organizing the new cases that were everywhere and always. These difficulties have been very successfully overcome.
See also: The Condition of the Working Class in England. Friedrich Engels