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Tuesday, 8 March 2022

Is Socialism Being Built in the Soviet Union?: A debate between three revolutionaries


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Translator’s Introduction

This is an English translation from Esperanto of a work by Eugene Lanti. Eugene Lanti was an important political figure and theorist whose ideas on nationalism, international solidarity and socialism are worth explaining briefly. Eugene Adam was born in 1879 in Normandy France, he became much more well known by his pseudonym of Eugene Lanti. Lanti was born into a family of poor peasants, and worked as an agricultural labourer and furniture maker in his youth, his educational background was largely self taught. During the First World War he served as an ambulance driver, while serving on the Western Front he learnt the constructed language Esperanto.

In 1920 he moved away from Anarchism and became a founding member of the French Communist Party. And a year later in 1921 Lanti established himself as an important man in Esperanto circles by founding and leading the Sennacieca Asocio Tutmonda or SAT. In English this roughly translates as the World Anational Association, SAT was an organisation designed to support the growing Esperanto Workers movement and was open to Esperantists of many different tendencies, from Social Democrats, Communist Party members and Anarchists. Its goals were to promote the Esperanto language, not just as something to learn for the curious, but as an active tool for dialogue and communication, and to assist workers groups all over the world to communicate and build links of support and exchange. It still exists and hosts international meetings and dialogues to this day. SAT during the 1920s-30s was quite a large and active international organisation, and through its activity and his membership in the French Communist Party, Lanti got to visit and know many members of the Soviet government and its active Esperantist movement.

The relationship between Esperanto and the Soviet Union is very complex. During the time of the Tsars the Esperanto movement which was founded in Bialystok by Dr Zamenhof in 1887, the language and its proponents faced official opposition and sanction, but were eventually able to gain a grudging tolerance. After the Revolutions of 1917 the language and its goals of world peace and international brotherhood proved quite popular and the Esperanto community grew very quickly. However Lenin himself and several other leading Bolsheviks opposed the language and some speeches and articles were published by them attacking its idealism lack of “materialist” base.

Despite this not only did the language become more popular, it also gained some official tolerance and support. A Soviet Esperanto Union was formed, and international communication between Soviet citizens and the rest of the world through Esperanto became common. However during the rise of Stalin things began to change, at first the Soviet Esperanto Union became more critical of Lanti and SAT for the participation of non communist party affiliated groups and members, then a split was forced with Esperantists who were members of pro Moscow Communist parties ordered to leave SAT and join a rival International of Proletarian Esperantists. Meanwhile communication with the Soviet Esperantists became more and more difficult and much of the responses that were received had taken on different and more militantly loyal tones.

Eventually Esperanto in the Soviet Union was effectively outlawed, the official organisations were shutdown, and members were rounded up, many were charged with acts of terrorism or collaboration with foreign powers, or support of Fascism, despite Esperanto suffering similar levels of repression in Nazi Germany and Franco’s Spain. At best Soviet Esperantists were forced to give up the language and its promotion, worse fates befell many others, from prison terms, forced labour, exile and even in some cases executions. Esperanto would remain a taboo topic until well after World War II and the death of Stalin.

All this had a profound effect on Lanti. While a member of the French Communist Party and in the early days of his leadership of SAT he had been criticised for having a subservient attitude to the Soviet Union. SAT members who valued freedom and were critical of dictatorship “Proletarian” or otherwise even went so far as to leave the organisation and set up their own.

However, the increasingly obvious evidence of what the Soviet Union’s “building of socialism” was actually creating cause doubts to grow in Lanti. Eventually he left the Communist party and stepped a way from a leading role in SAT and devoted himself to developing new ideas. This pamphlet was an important early step in his moving away from Stalin’s dictatorial machine and in the same year he founded a new journal Herzulo (Heretic) which was openly critical of the Soviet Union.

He remained a sharp critic of dictatorship and especially dictatorship wearing a red mask of socialism until the end of his days. In 1937 he embarked on a sort of global tour of the worlds Esperanto movement leaving France forever and travelling through, Spain, Portugal, Northern Africa, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and South America. He stayed in Mexico City for the remainder of his life which ended sadly in 1947 by suicide. Throughout his life he encountered and collaborated with many important figures in Esperanto and the world socialist movement, George Orwell spent time with him as Lanti was in a relationship with Orwell’s aunt Ellen Kate Limouzin, who would marry Lanti in 1934. There is some speculation that the New Speak from Nineteen Eighty Four is based on Esperanto and some scholars suspect that this might also have been the start of Orwell’s drift into criticism of totalitarianism. (See A Mentor to Orwell? By Ulrich Lins)

Today Lanti is mainly remembered for developing theories of sennaciismo, often translated into English as Anationalism, I think Anti-nationalism can also work as a translation. Sennaciismo is an interesting and important response to nationalism and the popular versions of internationalism, but as far as I can tell its concepts have little bearing on the arguments in this pamphlet.

A few Notes on the text

This pamphlet by Eugene Lanti is a fictionalised discussion between three revolutionary workers trying to get to the heart of what exactly is happening in the Soviet Union and what impact this is having on the workers of the world. It was written in 1935 just before the Soviet Union made some very important international and internal policy shifts. The three speakers Futer, Ruper and Iver, are fictional though are based on Lanti’s experiences and people he had met in his days as a political organiser and theorist. Futer seems to have been drawn largely from the life of the Polish born(1896) Esperantist and Anarchist Natan Futerfas. Not only is the name similar but Futerfas was an active Esperantist in the Russian Empire and early Soviet Union, and came into contact with Lanti through this activity.

In 1924 Futerfas was arrested by Soviet authorities but released after a short period in prison, because some of his friends were part of the officially approved Soviet Esperantist movement and had influential contacts. Unfortunately this would set a pattern with Futerfas being arrested and often forced into internal exile several more times. In October 1937 he was sentenced to death on a host of charges from being a member of a Socialist Revolutionary terrorist cell, (Futerfas had never been a supporter of that party) and a member of a foreign Anarchist centre, and for spreading counter revolutionary propaganda. He was executed by firing squad on the 27th of October 1937. Though Futer is not an exact representation of Futerfas, it seems clear that he has been combined with other Soviet comrades that Lanti had met in his time.The Anarchist historian Nick Heath has written a biography of the life of Natan Futerfas and this can be read online at the website

I suspect Iver is a combination of Lanti’s co-author Ivon, with his precise information and statistical data, and Lanti himself. Meanwhile Ruper who becomes something of an antagonist as the discussion progresses may seem at times like a caricature or a parody, though it saddens me to say that of the three speakers Ruper was the one who was easiest to picture in my mind. Even though Ruper is a ghost from 1935, his manner of arguing and his chosen arguments are incredibly close to that of the modern day Stalin supporters I’ve had the misfortune to encounter in the 21st century.

Some contextual notes and key terms

As stated this text was written in 1935 during the interwar period. As that is the case some of the context and references made in the work to people and events have become somewhat obscure in the modern day. I’ve added footnotes where I felt some more information would be useful, and the footnotes that were in the original text have been marked as such to preserve the original argument as much as possible.

However I think it might be beneficial to briefly outline some of the terms and events that form the backbone of some important points throughout the text.

Soviets: Russian word for council, the Soviets of the early Revolutionary period and 1905 Revolution were councils of workers, peasants, soldiers and sailors. Instead of electing a representative group like in a Duma or parliament, these councils planned and directed their own affairs with much more participation from the population. During the Revolution it was these Soviets that organised or supported the seizing of landed estates, the running of the factories, the organising of militias and defence squads, and attacks on counter revolutionary forces.

Where it gets confusing is that in 1922 the Bolshevik party constructed what they called a Soviet government and renamed the territory under its control (much of Imperial Russia) the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or more commonly the Soviet Union. The issue besides naming confusion is that as early 1918 the Bolsheviks had been subverting and marginalising the Soviets and pushing a party dominated ministerial government instead. So by the 1930s this strange parallel system exists where Soviets still exist, but they no longer perform any real function unless mandated by the officials within the Party structure.

Bolsheviks/Communists: Throughout the text all three of the speakers keep using these two terms to refer to the political party that rules the Soviet Union. Usually the two terms are synonymous and interchangeable. However in a few cases both terms are being used to draw some distinctions between them, usually comparing the older Bolsheviks with the more modern Communists, so its worth keeping in mind.

Marxism-Leninism: The officially sanctioned ideology of the Soviet Union from Stalin’s leadership until its dissolution in 1991. Most people including some of the speakers in the pamphlet call this Stalinism. This can confuse some people since Stalin died in 1953 and his successors were not shy about their criticisms of Stalin, but overall those criticisms never challenged the fundamental political structure of the Party or Soviet society. The reason for the name Marxism-Leninism is that officially Lenin was the adapter of Marxism to Russian conditions. But in reality it was just used to explain why the Soviet Union wasn’t a classless, stateless society, free of exploitation despite years and decades of effort.

The text makes frequent use of the word orthodox, particularly in relation to the Soviet leadership, this is a reference to Stalinism and means officially sanctioned. For example an orthodox newspaper is a pro communist newspaper that reports without comment or substantive criticism the officially policies of the Soviet government.

Comintern: The Communist International also known as the Third International; founded in 1919, officially it was supposed to be an organisation to assist revolutionaries around the world. It very quickly became a tool for the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to influence and dominate foreign labour movements. It lost much of its original mission and became a sort of transmission system for the Soviet Union to its affiliated parties abroad.

In 1943 it was abolished as a concession by Stalin to the rest of the Allied powers during World War II.

Historical Materialism: This is a concept popular to most strands of Marxism, to simplify its a study of history that places emphasis on material conditions as the main driver of societal development and change. The problem with explaining it is that it depends on whose using the words, from Marx and Engels and ever since the concept has been reinterpreted many, many times. For the purposes of this pamphlet in the Soviet Union, Historical Materialism had been turned into a sort of guiding principle and article of faith.

In essence historical materialism became the main ideological justification for everything the Soviet Union had done or was doing at that moment.

Five Year Plans: The Five Year Plans are discussed throughout these pamphlet and are still a common talking point among defenders of Stalin. The first two Five Year Plans 1928-33, 1933-38 established the future pattern of the Soviet economy and that of most nations built in its image. The last Soviet Five Year Plan was started in 1991. The first two are famous and infamous for the staggering level of production that resulted in such a short time.

After the First Five Year Plan the Soviet Union became the second most industrialised society on the planet, just behind the United States of America. However there is some worrying features of these achievements, despite the rapid progress in heavy industry the First Five Year Plan also saw a devastating famine in 1932-3 in Ukraine, Southern Russia and Kazakhstan. And many of the construction projects associated with the Plans were built with forced labour, forcible seizures of grain and livestock were also very common during this period.

Is Socialism Being Built in the Soviet Union?

By Eugene Lanti

and M. Ivon


“The complete victory of the socialist revolution is not possible in one isolated country: It demands the active support of several progressing nations, amongst which you do not find Russia.”

Lenin at the Congress of the Soviets 1919.

“Due to its very nature, socialism cannot be founded nor established by chance”

Rosa Luxemburg


“Every Christian longs to visit the sacred tomb of Jesus Christ”


The Russian Bolshevik party has had Russia in its hands for 18 years and has ruled over one sixth of the world. The Soviet government now has normal and official relations with all the major capitalist states. To establish modern industry the Soviet Union has received help from many thousands of engineers and technicians from many countries. From England, Germany, France, USA and other lands came abundant machines and special parts. And after the acceptance of the Soviet Union into the League of Nations no one apart from the most faithful enthusiasts can still declare that every capitalist state is ready to attack and suppress that nation “Ruled by the workers and peasants” that country that is “building socialism”.

Every proletarian, every exploited worker naturally has a great interest and wants to know in precise and sufficient detail about the conditions of the Soviet workers. Is it for this reason that they simply accept with good faith the official information, which is published abundantly in organs more or less subservient to the Soviet government? Is this why they blindly trust the reports of delegates who went for a few weeks to the Soviet Union as tourists, and who always remained under the supervision of guides and official interpreters? Why the testaments of famous people like Herriot and Wells are considered, whose authority to the workers is nearly infinite, they have written fat books, but after spending only a few months in a country whose language they did not know, and interacted almost exclusively with official circles. Could these conditions create the correct impression and present to them a real picture of conditions for Soviet peasants and workers?

To the above questions I without hesitation reply No!

Workers must become aware of their mutual situation through direct relationships. Esperanto and the World Non-national Association (SAT) give me that possibility. For over ten years I have corresponded with many Soviet friends and comrades, and asked them precise questions. The answer I received were checked against the others. I recommend this method to other comrades, and request that others who have correspondence with the Soviet Union send me their information.

Things have developed so that over the past two years it has gotten harder and harder to receive answers to direct questions. You must already know about the censor who aims to check every letter and is becoming more and more severe. Because of this correspondents either stop responding completely or reply in a manner indistinguishable from that found in the daily orthodox communist newspapers.

More and more I came to suspect the veracity of official information, I’ve had the opportunity to speak in person with people who I know to be totally trustworthy who have stayed for some years in the Soviet Union and who maintained intimate contacts with soviet workers and peasants they had met. These people went to Soviet Union full of enthusiasm and ready to dedicate their strengths to the building of a social order in which the whole population would live freely and in good conditions. But they all returned after a short time completely dispirited.

Following my survey of these interpreters, I became firmly convinced that the proletariat should not for any reason imitate and admire what is being done in the Soviet Union. Furthermore I feel strongly that I must publish my long and objective survey widely.

I know that many members of the workforce have strong desires to know about the living conditions of their brother workers in the Soviet Union. Despite the great bluff and costly organs of the Stalin Oligarchy, doubts attack many thoughtful people. But they lack the necessary means to start learning the truth and acquire a firm conviction. This modest text has no other purpose than to help truth seekers in their research, by putting before their eyes the results of my own experience.

To paint a picture sufficiently lively; to give to the truth a pleasant and not annoying character, and to make its contents easily assimilated, I framed this in the form of a dialogue. But the words I’ve put into the mouths of the participants of the discussion correspond absolutely to the facts and reality. Nothing has been invented. Only the form has been worked on and arranged.

This pamphlet appears with the name of Ivon as a co-author, that is because this person delivered to me a great part of the material and checked the rest, after my sieving and ordering, because of his sincere and competent testimony is the most valuable of everything I’ve received. For this reason I wanted the reader to know that I alone did not produce the contents of this work.

E. Lanti
June 1935.

What is Socialism?


Futer, Ruper and Iver where meeting to discuss the question “Is Socialism being built in the Soviet Union?” There idea was to compare their ideas and exchange knowledge about the facts so they could build an accurate impression and real picture of the current situation. With a few words we’ll introduce the three participants to the readers.

Futer, Futer was a party member from the foundation of the Comintern until 1928. He fervently defended the politics of Lenin, Trotsky and other important leaders of the Revolution. However this party member was always open to every critique; his spiritual state is characterised by the Metaphysical Doubt recommended by Descartes.

A fervent reader of the orthodox communist newspapers, Ruper is an enthusiastic admirer of Stalin and of Bolshevik politics. However he never joined the party, despite being its most fanatical defender. This type swarms in the revolutionary movement.

Iver is a technician, he weighs and measures everything and does not let himself get snared easily in the nets of system and doctrine. He has lived and worked for several years in the Soviet Union, knows Russian well and has travelled through much of that vast territory, from Moscow to Vladivostok, Leningrad to Baku etc. He possess strong observation capabilities and is well informed about the situation within the USSR.

It would be useless for our purpose to sketch the physiognomy of our participants. So we will immediately present you with their discussion.


Futer: For our discussion to be as targeted and useful as possible, it is necessary for us to first agree upon the meaning of the terms which concern the main object of our discussion. I propose to you this definition of Socialism: A social order in which the exploitation of humanity by humanity does not exist; in which every worker receives the total value of their work, i.e. that no surplus value should transfer to a category or class of privileged people. A social order where everyone can freely develop all their talents, and would have the right to state their opinion about everything and everyone openly and without censure, and have the freedom to share their thoughts; a social order without classes and just, where people, all people can become conscious of their own dignity. In a word, socialism is the fulfilment of that phrase which hypocritically covers the state monuments and buildings in France; Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.

Ruper: That definition is idealistic, not Marxist, and so is without value. Socialism is a society ruled by the working class. “Does the proletariat rule in the Soviet Union?” that is the question!

Iver: In my opinion, your disagreement is totally unimportant. Unfortunately it is very easy to prove with facts, that the situation in the Soviet Union does not in anyway match your definition Futer, nor yours Ruper.


New Classes: Oligarchs, Patricians…

Iver: No one would deny that, during the early days of the revolution the Soviet working class more or less effectively ruled through Soviets and Unions. But very soon after that the Bolshevik party artfully succeeded in capturing leadership over the whole country by setting up cells in every organisation. For a long time the Unions, co-operatives and soviets have in actuality – though not officially – no influence on decisions. From these cell organisations the party has built a state apparatus which they call the “Dictatorship of the proletariat”, but which in reality is drastic suppressing force over the masses and is controlled by a new class.

This ruling system is completely new to History.

Those who call this new ruling class; Oligarchy, or Patriarchy, are comparing it to what has existed in Ancient times. But we do not dispute over words. What is important, is reality itself, and who they represent. It is necessary to live in the Soviet Union, not as a bureaucrat in the halls of the Comintern, but as a worker in the factories and workshops, to know what the words party member means to a simple worker. I present to you the role of the sub bosses and spies in some big capitalist factory and you will begin to understand a little, how the Soviet proletariat views the party members; it is the feelings of fear and hate. There is however a small difference: in a democratic capitalist regime, the worker feels free when he crosses the threshold of the factory and returns home. In the Soviet Union the spying eyes of the party are everywhere: in the factory, in the meeting places and even in the home.

If you know that, there exist nearly 2,500,000 party members, compared with 170,000,000 ordinary people, than I leave it to you, to decide whether or not this rule by a minority over the vast majority can truly be called the “Dictatorship of the Proletariat”.

Ruper: But you forget or are silent about how the Bolshevik party represents the true interests of the proletariat, that it is its most conscious part and that it has the trust of the masses. The Party, founded by Lenin, is the elite of the working class, and it is intolerable to hear such an insult about an organisation which has successfully led the Revolution.

Futer:No one denies the great merits and qualities of Lenin and Trotsky-

Ruper: Ha! Do not speak of Trotsky, that traitor…

Futer: !- Both eminent leaders of the October Revolution. But, since then 18 years have passed, Lenin has died and been turned into a Saint, whose body is adored at the Red Square in Moscow, and his portraits have replaced the charmed icons in the homes of new believers; the “traitor” Trotsky, is in exile and is an ex-president of the Comintern, Zinoviev, sits in jail with thousands of old, and less famous Bolsheviks; the question follows that we must investigate the present state of the Bolshevik party, its current action and not the role that it played at the start.

One must not ignore the lessons of History: this has happened too often, that a revolutionary, libertarian movement becomes reactionary and despotic, after its leaders conquer the state. The catacombs of Christianity are totally different to inquisitorial Catholicism of the Middle Ages, and the present; the French Revolution after a few years, 1789-93, soon took part in Bonapartism and Militarism. There are over examples I could mention.

From the 2,500,000 members, which we calculate at present, in the sole existing party in the Soviet Union, the number of Bolsheviks from before the Revolution is proportionally very small. And all those who did not agree to trust in the ideals and servitude, and supported the dictatorship of Stalin, they all sit in prisons…

Ruper: What has always characterised the Bolshevik party is its fierce discipline. It is totally normal for some objectionable members to be exiled if they have for some reason or other impeded the building of socialism. You did not say that the regulation of the party is out of order, or that its members are in a privileged situation; none of them has an income more than 300 roubles per month.

Iver: Ha! Comrade, your remark is very typical, and shows your great illusions in the Soviet Union: that point about the party regulations has expired a long time ago, and I assure you that it is no longer applied. Besides the 300 roubles salary is more than double the average and is followed by relatively good privileges, however it is a fact that currently party members can expect 1,000, 2,000 or even 5,000 or more roubles every month.

But of course what does a salary mean to a Soviet Majesty, if he has at his disposal a comfortable apartment, country house, luxury car, the ability to travel freely in luxurious trains: in other words, if everything is arranged for the benefit of his social life so that he can can enjoy the same comforts as a rich man in capitalist countries? But everything belongs to the state, you will no doubt reply. Well, does that make the comforts less opportunistic? In this kind of arrangement there still exist advantages: when ever there is a defect or a breakdown, the user does not have to pay for repairs or for new replacements.

It is a fact, a verifiable fact that the highly placed “people’s representatives”, as you call them, have for their exclusive service special magazines, special lodgings or homes, even villages in the country, to pass the summer time. Meanwhile the humble workers live without any comforts three-four people in one room. And when the lowest salaried workers travel, then they pay to use the trains “Maksim” and they sit in the “Tepulska” wagon.

Ruper: Don’t tell fables! Never have I heard about any strangely named vehicles.

Futer: That’s understandable, they never talk about those kinds of facts in the orthodox party newspapers. Well then, here is a good opportunity for teaching: The existence of special trains and carriages demonstrates that classes have not disappeared. I strain my ears.

Iver: There exist three different kinds of train for passengers:

  1. Luxury trains, which are equivalent to the international trains in Europe.
  2. Rapid trains,
  3. Maksim trains.

And in for every train there are different classes, only they do not use that term to signify differences, instead they use soft and hard. The “soft” carriages are close to the 1st and 2nd classes in Europe, and the “hard” to 3rd. But in the “Maksim” trains even the “hard” carriages are divided into further classes, these are called the Tepulska. These carriages are similar to the carriages used in France and other European countries to transport cattle. The sole difference is that in them are crude benches and a stove in the middle of the carriage.

On the first category of train the most important “people’s representatives” and foreign tourists travel; in the second, middle ranking “representatives”, officers and relatively well paid workers; in the third, mostly peasants and the poorest paid workers.

Similar conditions apply to ships: there are three classes, or four if you include the deck, where the passengers with the cheapest tickets stand.

Ruper: But that is only temporary: you must not forget that in the present they are “building” socialism, and that construction has not finished. By the end of the second Five Year Plan, there will no longer be any classes on one sixth of the world...

Iver: Possibly, possibly, I can only again assert that there is no visible evidence of the disappearance of classes; on the contrary, it is easy to spot evidence of the deepening and expansion of the present forms. I can even say that they are creating castes. The term “class” is not quite an appropriate qualifier for the existence of special provisions for certain special categories of people; leaders of production and Party, bosses of the Red army and Navy, G.P.U.1, militia, qualified technicians etc. And there are stores where only these special persons can buy things. To which belong special houses, maternity wards, kindergartens, schools, hospitals etc. In capitalist countries, only the possession or the lack of money divides the people into classes. In the Soviet Union this division includes a social function. Presently, the masses can still aspire to obtain these privileged roles, but we already see a tendency, to only allow the children, parents and friends of the “People’s Representatives” to enter the superior schools, and thus acquire the capabilities to belong in the future to one of the still forming new privileged classes.

Futer: I know for certain that several famous authors like M. Gorky and A. Tolstoy2 can earn more than 20,000 Roubles every month. Is it not a fact that the former owns his own luxury mansion in Moscow and can spend the majority of this time in Italy?

Iver: Yes, that is true, I saw with my own eyes the extravagant properties of Gorky, and it is no secret that he also lives very well in Capri, that small island in the Gulf of Naples3.

Futer: That explains to me the reason why more and more former Soviet authors are expressing their sympathy for Stalin’s regime; so that they can get vast riches, their works are translated into Russian and the state publishing houses pay them exorbitantly for the author rights.

Ruper: I do not deny the facts, but I protest the manner in which you have interpreted them. By giving advantages to authors and to scientists the proletarian state seeks to support and push forward culture and science…

Futer: If your understanding about Soviet matters were correct, if the experts were only concerned with their work than at least after their death, there would be no distinction made between their cadavers and that of a humble worker. However, this is not so: Lunarcharsky4 died last year, in an aristocratic French spa, ambassador Dovgalesky also died in Paris, well, both bodies were transported to Moscow and interred with great pomp and ceremony. Is this not a typical example of a class society? Of the existence of diverse categories of privileged people? How can anyone see in this the signs of the disappearance of classes! No! Totally the opposite, these very significant events prove the existence of a new Oligarchy of the new Patricians. And these new oligarchs and patricians act against the ordinary populous in a manner more crude and more cynical than did the old aristocrats from Tsarist times. To prove my assertion I turn to a letter I received from a Soviet comrade not too long ago.

“… Comrades! We are very ashamed to praise the accursed Tsarist period, which we thought to the point of shedding our blood. But our hearts quiver with indignation when we see our current jackal-government strive to suffocate and kill, every living thought, every emotional doubt in their divinity, meanwhile they have done every possible to improve their station, by cruelty and bestial torture…”

Ruper: Those words, are the words of a White Guard, a counter-revolutionary! Do you know the son of a bitch who wrote these monstrous lies!

Futer: No, I do not know him. And I will confess that, if not for having in my possession tens of similar letters from other sources, and if I had not heard myself from the mouth of Iver and other trusted people, who have lived for years within the Soviet Union, and returned totally dispirited, then I too, like you, would have believed that this letter had been written by a White Guard. Unfortunately, it is telling the truth, and I request that you do not get excited, and that you listen to another portion of this long and heartbreaking letter, which I want to cite in its entirety:

“… In our country everything is based on terror and malicious deception. The peasants wanted to receive land, but have gotten collective servitude. They fanfare the concept of free labour, but this just means that millions have to work without pay, as a punishment for a host of minor offences “The guilty”. They are digging the Baltic-White sea canal, the Volga-Moscow canal and the Volga-Don canals5. They build railways and hack down forests. This they do for bread crumbs as “criminals”, who will be killed through hunger, if they do not complete the required labour quotas. This they have called “Socialist fortitude” and “Conquest” etc. But in reality, is just the fight of the starving for a few pieces of bread, a few grams of sugar etc.”

“In every factory or workshop there are many different classes of canteen. In the most clean, with the most nutritious food, the director, heads of department, important communists, important engineers and so on eat. In this canteen the costs are proportionally the lowest. Other canteens are for lesser engineers, technicians, managers, middle ranked communists: others still are for the obedient and subservient workers, and another for “Urdaniki6” (Shock workers, labour instigators). The higher the class of the canteen, the better and more abundant the food; the lower the class, the greater the dirt and proportional costs of the meals. There knives, forks, mustard etc, is often missing.”

“… Comrades! We are very amazed that the proletariat protests against fascism, but not against Jackalism. Truly, the fascists are only less experienced imitators of the Jackals, One must tremble with indignation with the realisation that the working classes battle for freedom has hit a dead end. We revolutionary Esperantists, know and feel better than anyone, that all absolutists are nothing more than slave masters.”

Futer: I do not wish to give comment on this letter from a Soviet proletarian, I will simply state that it is more believable than the greatest bluff constructed by the Moscow oligarchs, and servilely published by the hired editors of the orthodox communist newspapers and its more or less subordinate and pretend neutral press. The proletariat does not rule in the Soviet Union, but is ruled and exploited by an oligarchy of technocrats and party members. There are more or less proletarian, but the interests of this new class grow more and more divergent from the popular masses.


The Living Conditions of the Soviet Proletariat

Lenin crouches on a steps during some congress of the Comintern

At the conclusion of the reading of the letter, Ruper became very excited and talked about the great achievements of the first Five year plan, about the Dnieper development and the amazing leadership capabilities of Stalin the Great, who with an iron hand completely guided the whole physical existence of the Soviet Union. He asserted that under the Tsar the Russian people were have savages, and so it follows that one could not expect them to have already reached the level of a full developed cultural life. Futer listened silently, with an ironic demeanour, while Iver began to chalk onto a black board the following table.

Monthly budget of different families of workers in Moscow

(In Roubles at the end of 1934)

1 Bachelor

1 Wage earner, 2 non wage earners, including

1 Child

1 Wage earner,

3 non wage earners, including

1 Child

2 Wage earners,

2 non wage earners, including

1 Children

2 Wage earners,

3 non wage earners, including

2 Children

2 Wage earners,

4 non wage earners, including

3 Children

1) Food... 49.20 80.74 103.13 129.94 152.23 174.74
2) Rent for one room (1)... 12,__ 15,__ 15,__ 20,__ 25,__ 30,__
3) Clothing and Linen 12.50 25,__ 31.25 37.50 43.75 50,__
4) Other Expenses (2)... 29,__ 48,__ 56.50 67,__ 75.50 84,__
Sum 102.70 168.74 205.88 254.44 296.58 338.74

1) At present working families in the Soviet Union typically live in one room only.

2) This calculates the costs of: Newspaper, Tram tickets, petrol, tobacco, soap, matches, salt, tea, Vodka etc.

Price in Paris (in Francs, value set at the end of 1934) of the things which can be

bought by Moscow families with their monthly salaries.

(Values approximately equivalent)

1 Bachelor

1 Wage earner, 2 non wage earners, including

1 Child

1 Wage earner,

3 non wage earners, including

1 Child

2 Wage earners,

2 non wage earners, including

1 Children

2 Wage earners,

3 non wage earners, including

2 Children

2 Wage earners,

4 non wage earners, including

3 Children

1) Food 167.05 242.85 287.90 409.90 454.90 499.85

2) Rent for one


60,__ 60,__ 60,__ 60,__ 70,__ 70,__
3) Clothing and linen 16,__ 32,__ 40,__ 48,__ 56,__ 64,__
4) Other expenses 72,__ 110,__ 122,__ 157.50 174.50 192.50
Sum 315.05 444.85 509.90 675.40 755.40 836.35

Iver: What can we conclude by comparing the two tables? Irrefutably they prove, that the living standards of the Soviet worker are still three times lower than that of the French worker, because the latter can buy three times as many things with his salary compared to his Soviet colleague. These is the state of life for the vast majority of the Soviet citizenry, 18 years after the victory of the revolution. And that is despite all the vast quantity of machines, devices, engineers, technicians etc, that have come from the capitalist nations to help industrialise the country.

I tell you, that the situation of the peasants, after the establishment of the “Collective farms” considerable worse than those of the industrial workers. The exploitation of the peasantry is truly monstrous and cruel. To begin to have an understanding of this fact, it is sufficient to note that the government seizes by force the wheat at a price which it sets itself, and then it resells that wheat in the form of bread at ten times that price in the cities. This simple example shows how severely the sweat and blood of peasants is being sucked out.

Futer: In 1917, the peasantry supported the Bolsheviks, who promised them land and peace; today they state bitterly, that they have only received “collective” servitude – plus, a chance to die in the Red army during the soon to arrive war.

Ruper: I do not believe these malicious assertions, they do not drive away the proof, that the situation is more and more improving in the Soviet Union, because in January this year the government ended the system of bread rationing. You must acknowledge this fact and that not every picture shows dark colours…

Iver: Well, because you give me an opportunity to speak on the ending of bread rationing, we shall see what significance it has. You will, no doubt, be dismayed to learn that in that decision, which was proudly boasted throughout the whole orthodox communist press, there is still a great deception. The numbers say:

Before WWI 1925-27 1933 1934 1935 (1)

1) Price of one kilogram of wheat bread in Moscow (Roubles)

2) Rye











3) Monthly, nominal salary average in Moscow (roubles) 25-30 100-110 140 150 165
4) Value of monthly salary in kilograms of wheat bread in Moscow (roubles) 375(2) 450(2) 235 125 82.50

1) After the abolishment of bread rationing.
2) The material living standards at the height of the “New Economic Policy” (1925-27) was approximately equal to that before the First World War. The difference between the numbers 375 and 450 is explainable by the prices for agricultural production relating to industry, which was in 1925-27 lower when compared with that of 1913, when the prices for industrial production were higher.

As we can see, this table shows us that the raising of wages was slower than the increased production of bread. From 1934 until 1935 it even doubled, and when linked to rye bread, salaries were raised only by 10%. So the crude, terrible fact is that in 1913 and before the famous Five year plans, a worker could buy in Moscow more than 400 kilograms of bread with his monthly salary, but now can only buy 82.50kg!!

It is also worth noting in Paris a worker, spending 800 Francs monthly (i.e. one of the lowest paid workers), can with this sum purchase 485kg of wheat bread.

If you would study these tables well, you will also see that an unemployed man with wife and child receives in Paris an allowance (528 Francs) by which he can live as well on 300 roubles in Moscow. If one remembers, that the average wage is only 165 roubles, ten you will once again have an accurate picture of living conditions for the humble workers in the “land of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat”.


How the New Oligarchs and Patricians treat the Workers

Futer: The Soviet comrade, whose letter I have cited, dubs his governors “Jackals”, by this he shows his indignation, which I understand, but I feel that this term is not quite appropriate. The tiny clique of highly placed ministers, which make up the Politburo (Political Leadership), can be adequately called oligarchs according to the etymology of that word; for the “People’s Representatives” as a whole the word Patrician is more or less fitting.

Just like how the ruling classes throughout History have begun to form plays an important role, and has many sacrifices and martyrs during its conquering action. The Bolshevik party is not an exception to this rule. Everyone already knows, that many eminent Bolsheviks lived most often in exile or in prison during the revolutionary period. During the civil ware and during the battles against the White army, their courage was frequently lauded, and on occasion worthy of admiration.

But that heroic time has passed. Now, the party incontrovertibly dominates the political life of the Soviet Union absolutely. The situation for the party member is such that it is fundamentally different than it was from the time of the founding of the party to its victory. At the beginning membership of the party gave only an opportunity for suffering persecution, jail and even death. Today it is the opposite: the sole reward for a member, is to give him or her many privileges and possibilities to acquire important positions as they like.

Given the objective of our discussion, I would like to demonstrate several similarities – I do not say that they are the same- between the Party leadership and the Patricians of Ancient times. I will make only one comparison; the patrician class in Rome was built out of several families; it had special rights and law. In the Soviet Union, the secret work goals of the party cells within all enterprises and organisations is comparable to the special rights of the Patricians; and the Soviet party leaders also have their own law, they are responsible for their actions especially before the Party – the sole arbiter of the right to exist in the country, this we must not forget.

You often hear severe criticism addressed to the Bureaucracy from the mouths of the Moscow oligarchs. It is a fact that the Bureaucracy sucks out a large part of the surplus value from Soviet production. But that does not mean however, that every individual bureaucrat is himself privileged and belongs to a special class. Many live very miserable lives and are not responsible for the system that has created this parasitic relationship7. It is for this reason that I feel that the term Patrician is necessary and an acceptable way to qualify this new class or caste, which bears the responsibility for the ruthless exploitation over the entire Soviet people.

But enough of this!… Let us now examine how the oligarchs and patricians act against the Proletarian class. Iver has the speech.

Iver: You already know what conditions of misery the great majority of the Soviet people live, regarding food and housing. But are the proletarians treated any better in the workplaces of the Soviet Union in comparison to capitalist countries? Does the Soviet worker experience less stress and has more favourable conditions?

Before we answer these questions by bringing up facts, I would first remind you, that the working class in all countries often strike and fight to abolish the wage system or the piece rate. This system is the most hostile, to weak, old and inexperienced workers, this is why the capitalists always built the norms of production around the capabilities of the young and experienced workers. Well, in the Soviet Union, this same energy sapping system is being applied everywhere, even on the peasantry within the “Collective Farms”!… In every factory there is a special board, consisting of pace setters8 and technicians who precisely deduce the average time for every action and objective. The pace setter “photos” every move a worker makes, which he classifies as absolutely necessary, useful or not useful. By this “photo” and by statistical analysis they create an average, calculated from the results of several workers. This specialist devises a new standard and with the consent of the supervisor or manager, these standards are applied throughout the factory.

The director of the factory (we must not forget that he belongs to the privileged category, and can earn 800 Roubles or more every month, and has at his disposal a car, a comfortable apartment etc.) naturally pushes for harder and faster work routines, because the oligarchy in Moscow has instructed severely that the production output must always improve. If the director neglects these instructions, he risks losing his good position. That explains, why the Soviet bosses behave just as exploitative and unsympathetically as their counterparts in capitalist factories. However, workers naturally tend to more or less covertly oppose this relentless tendency to raise standards. But the Oligarchs and Patricians know the Machiavellian lesson Divide ut imperes9; and have found methods to make this tendency ineffective, by categorising the workforce, those dubbed “Urdaniki” (labour instigators, Shock workers, trainers, drivers). The role of these workers is to deliver a base for the setting of standards. They are generally made up of strong and youthful workers, who produce more than 200 units per hour, when the standard is 80. To qualify as an “Urdaniki” it is first necessary that they quickly surpass the standards and customs of their fellow workers; secondly, they must be political reliable regarding the Party. As payment for these beautiful qualities the “Urdaniki” receives several advantages: he, for example will enjoy a desert during work breaks, (this is joy is totally unknown among the other workers for several years now); his meal contains more plates with meat: a spoonful of oil will be poured into his porridge, (the other workers have nothing more palatable than grease for their porridge); he can buy a greater quantity of goods from the co-operatives, as an example, an extra kilogram of meat every month, i.e. 2 ½ kg instead of 1 ½ kg, 500g or 1kg of sweets in addition to the kilogram of sugar, he is allowed to receive monthly, (this is a great pleasure in a land that drinks a lot of tea). If his family has more members than he can provide for with these things, the “urdaniki” through buying and then reselling these goods can make 4, 5, 6 times more and can trade profitably. Another important advantage he enjoys is that he has a greater chance of being accepted into the Party, which is the first step to reaching a truly privileged position.

But these repayments and hopes he must buy with ceaseless servitude before the bosses and the continuos surpassing of production standards. He must also inspire and cajole the less diligent and spy on his colleagues. Never forgetting that the Party is totally right, and without political error. Occasionally he will be encouraged to write to “Comrade” Stalin, requesting a new loan, asserting that this is the will of the whole factory. This is done at the behest of the Party cell, which receives secret instructions on the necessity of preparing mass agitation favourable to the loan projects of the Moscow oligarchs.

In this case, let me point out how demagogically they act, arranging the whole thing, as if the encouragement came from the crowd, enthusiastically and eagerly wanting to “build socialism”. The result of this artifice is that 10% of salaries are retained, to cover the costs of the loan. No one has the courage to say that they do not want to participate in this comedy. He would be categorised as a “Counter-revolutionary” and everyone knows the consequences of the use of that word in the U.S.S.R….

Futer: Let us not forget, that the worker is chained to the factory by the internal passport, which has existed since Tsarist times, and reintroduced in 1933. Anyone who leaves the factory and the city defined by the passport without permission loses all legal access to a livelihood. Those who have the “Wolf ticket” as Soviet comrades call it (this means being issued with a restrictive alternative to the internal passport, or having no passport at all) risk being thrown in prison or sent into internal exile. The worker is legally linked to the factory; the peasant to a “Collective farm” and this situation means that the serfdom of the Middle Ages has returned to one sixth of the world. But it cloaks itself with a red mask, and its return has been hailed as the way to build socialism! They also display the emblems of the agricultural and industrial workers everywhere, the Sickle and the Hammer, and through these and other artifices has succeeded not only in exploiting the Soviet Proletariat, but has deceived vast numbers of workers throughout the whole world.

In no capitalist nation, not even in Hitler and Mussolini’s is the working class treated so severely and without compassion as they are in the country of Stalin. I could cite many facts from the masses of letters I’ve received over ten years from Soviet citizens, which can prove completely this assertion. But I prefer to mention information from a story which was reported in the press according to information sent by the official information office “TASS10” itself.

It is not uncommon that railway accidents happen. In capitalist nations, the train driver if he is not himself a victim is usually found not guilty after an inquest. And if that does not happen, then the whole working class protests loudly and demands the freedom of the arrested. And it has never been the case that the worker was condemned to death for his “guilt”. What do we see happening in the USSR? Allow me to cite these dispatches.

  1. “Moscow, 20th of March 1933” – The guilty in the railway catastrophe, which happened on the 4th of March close to Moscow, the train driver Fedunin and his assistant Cikov are condemned to death. The third accused is punished with imprisonment.
  2. “Moscow, the 5th of November 1934” – The Superior Tribunal of the USSR, have reached a verdict in the trial following the accident that occurred in the station Osnova. The three accused are found “guilty, for the crime of neglectfulness at work during their shift”. The officer Linik is found guilty of “disobeying safety regulations”, is declared an “enemy of the people and the Soviet state” and is condemned to death by firing squad. The two other accused are condemned as follows: the signaller Junosev, five years in prison, and the main rail switcher Pavlenko, three years in prison.
  3. “Moscow, the 19th of January 1935” – Yesterday the guilty men responsible for the railway accident on the 9th of this month in the Rostov-on-Don region, which killed six people were tried. The chief accused Gusev received the death penalty, the other eight will receive prison terms ranging from between two to eight years.

Any comment on these facts could only weaken them. I will however make one remark, it is well known that the material state of the Soviet rail ways is very poor; often the cause of the accidents seem to be a lack of maintenance and defects. But the Patricians cannot be guilty can they? So it is necessary to find a scapegoat, which is why the rail workers become the most appropriate sacrifice on the bloody alter of the myth of the misnamed Dictatorship of the Proletariat. These facts prove the credentials of that Soviet comrade who called the Moscow oligarchs “Jackals”.

Ruper: That presentation of Soviet affairs cannot abolish the fact that the great majority of workers approve and occasionally acclaim their rulers. No man in the world is more popular in Stalin. And do not forget that all decisions of the last congress of the party were approved unanimously. You must judge the revolution as a whole and not by minor details.

Futer: I will only remark on this apparent animosity, that both Hitler and Mussolini have also very successfully used the same tricks. In their own nations they are no less popular than Stalin in the Soviet Union; they also enjoy the praise of the people. Both latter dictators definitely learnt from the Bolsheviks how to promote themselves and organise their parties, “Iron discipline”, and can achieve unanimous decisions.


Great Mystification: The Ballots

Ruper: Well, you cannot deny that in the USSR there are Soviets, which are the building blocks of the proletarian dictatorship. Soviets do not exist in Italy and Germany, nor in other fascist or capitalist countries. This is why during demonstrations we, class conscious workers enthusiastically and vigorously cry out: Soviets Everywhere! Have you not read in our newspapers, how capitalist democracy is a dirty and broken thing? The Soviet system is truly democratic. Are you defenders of capitalist democracies?

Futer: No, absolutely not! I know very well how financiers and big capitalists have many tools at their disposal to subvert the democratic system. By supporting a massive publishing machine and press they often mislead the workers. The best idea, the most correct program cannot be spread due to lack of money. But it is a fact however, that workers parties exist, which publish newspapers, posters, and other propaganda, that they can organise meetings and demonstrations etc. I really want to agree with you, that under capitalism democracy is more principle than effective reality; I have no admiration for the plutocracy that rules in Britain, France, USA or any other capitalist nation. But I would not trade a one eyed horse for one that is blind. No democracy of any kind exists under the dictatorship of Stalin, Hitler, or Mussolini.

Also I will cede to you that during the first years of the Revolution that the Soviet system was democratic, but today when I use the words “Soviet Union” I think that the word is a contradiction: It is certain that the Soviets have for a long time ceased to exist there. When you shout “Soviets Everywhere!” I would add “Especially within the Soviet Union”.

Ruper: …!!??…

Futer: Do not get excited please, I would like you to listen to an explanation by Iver on the function of ballots in the U.S.S.R.

Iver: In practice the village and city Soviets, are only organs similar to the communal councils that exist in France and elsewhere, but with less independence and power. The people only have the right to elect the members of these soviets, and the latter has the right to choose their Executive Committee and congress delegates. The Executive Committees do not themselves hold leadership, they leave that to the presidency and at the high levels of administration to various People’s Commissars.

The Council of People's Commissars and the presidency of the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets promulgate the laws and decrees. Then follows every four years11 the congress of Soviets from all over the country. At which the delegates can only approve the political work done during those four last years, it is too late to explore another political orientation. It is therefore quite ridiculous to call “delegates” The elected to the Soviets, as if they had a mandate given by the electorate, who had the right to control and occasionally dismiss their deputies: those who have only the "right" to approve the deeds of four years are not controlled or dismissed, except by the upper organs.

Now, let us examine the practice of “ballots” within the framework of the factories. According to a proposal by the “Politburo” (Political Executive of the Communist Party) and prepared by the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets, the president should publish the date and conditions of the ballots; then immediately the 9700 journals in the country spread and clarified in the same manner the new decree. Meanwhile every secretary of the Communist cells in every factory had already received detailed instructions from the district and city committees how they must arrange the whole matter. He immediately convened the board of the cell, in attendance is the president of the union committee and the factory director. The secretary, who reports, draws attention to the fact that it is necessary to organize the election in detail and to prevent in order to bar immediately at the beginning to possible "counter-revolutionary" tendencies. Everyone understands very well that all this is done to achieve the point of view that has been defined at the Kremlin. To this end, a detailed plan is drawn up: each secretary of the cell is assigned a task and no one will forget that he will monitor its implementation. So a list of candidates is already set up: The dates and places of the meetings, the names of the speakers, those of the chairpersons, are defined etc. etc.

The first step in this plan generally is the private meeting of communists from all work departments. The name of every attendant is recorded. Some of those communist leaders report and explain the tasks of the cell members amongst the “masses” to win the ballots: they have to be constantly vigilant to find the discontented and immediately record their names.

Then there is a meeting at which the "deputies" report, although they have absolutely not played any leading role for the duration of their term of office; they deliver a speech that is repeated throughout the whole country, about the "successes of socialism" in their region, about the benevolent and indispensable role of the Party and about the genius of Stalin.

The meeting is held at immediately after the end of the work day, often within the workplace, so that no one can be absent. Everything happens as arranged; the president already elected by the cell board and presented by the organizing committee for the elections or by a union committee is unquestionably elected; the commissioned speaker speaks from the official point of view; others also speak and all in the same sense; "urdaniki" and those who aspire to become such, express their approval of the speeches heard, because they know well that it is the opportune moment to payback the theater tickets and other trinkets they have received or hope to receive...

To understand exactly the extent of the boredom of this electoral agitation, it is necessary to have experienced it with one's own eyes and ears: from morning to evening, constantly your attention is drawn to the same agitating words, to the same trite phrases.

From the outside, this kind of meeting can look lively and spontaneous, however, it is definitely arranged before hand. The majority of attendants are silent, awaiting the end of this comedy about whose meaning they are not mistaken. According to the Bolshevik manner of procedure, everyone can ask the orator questions, but these questions must by made in person or in writing and cannot be done anonymously. No one is brave enough to voice a thought contrary to the official party view point. It does sometime happen however, that annoying questions arise that have not been signed reach the president. But on those questions they are quiet, and a discreet inquiry is made to discover the identity of the anonymous questioner. Misfortune for him! If they are successful.

However a “critic” is trendy, one is even encouraged to criticise. But what kind of criticism! It is directed only at those, who have not fervently followed the instructions of the board enough, those who deviated from the “correct” line of the party. A “critic” of this type is effectively a key feature of the meetings, because this is the best way to prove their devotion and political loyalty, and the best chance to get a better position, and more pleasant situation. Careerists without scruples and a lot of cunning, know well when its the right time to “criticise”. For years the word “critic” has another meaning in the USSR.

Finally the “election” happens. The president writes down the names of the candidates, who propose party members, following instructions disclosed at the meeting. And then they vote by raised hands (Everyone must have the courage to express their opinions, no?). It sometimes happens that not every attendant raises their hand, at which point the president simply says:

“Those who do not approve of the candidate list raise your hands”

It requires a lot of courage to vote against the candidates proposed by the leaders, that is why no one raises their hand, and the “election” is carried unanimously.

Given what I’ve just said, you will no doubt ask me “why then do the workers agree to participate in that kind of farce?” For people who have not lived for a long time in the Soviet Union it can be difficult to understand, a great talent of description is needed. The Soviet atmosphere, its all encompassing influence can not be shown or felt with a few sentences. I only ask, that you do not forget, that every Soviet citizen must have an Internal passport, (It has no use in matters of international travel!) and work registration, without this he can not be hired, nor receive lodging etc. In other words, he cannot live except by means of begging, or as an inmate of a prison or work camp. Furthermore for every worker there exist multiple forms that contain knowledge about him, held by various groups and agencies:

  1. At the housing committee, detailing where he lives.
  2. At the distribution office detailing what he receives and buys
  3. The factory hiring office
  4. The Factory stores
  5. A secret report compiled for the army and secret police
  6. Document compiled by the Union office, and the leader of the communist cell if he is a member

And I have spoken only of the report slips for “honest” citizens: apart from these, even more reports are held by the police on suspect individuals.

Now you may suppose that if someone does not attend the meetings the union committee will not his absence; that in itself is not very important, but if he expresses discontent or utters heresy. Then that will be added to his reports very soon with the secret police. And then an arrangement of a sort will be decided. They can always find a Party member wishing to demonstrate his loyalty to his superiors, or a party aspirant, to denounce the malcontents and heretics. By a denunciation of the “enemies” of the regime they are guaranteed to enjoy some reward, or at least open up a path to obtain one. The Soviet climate is swarming with obedient servants always ready to demonstrate their fervour, their political loyalty, with the hope of a little improvement in their miserable situation. That is why when votes happen, at 17:00, you give up the supervision of the factory sub-boss and transfer to the supervision of another sub-boss generally called a “People’s Representative”, whether Union or Party. This boss invites you to go with him to election meeting; he does not order, but you know very well that this man is responsible for you civil loyalty and will note your absence; then you think about your passport, about your ration card, so that even if you are very disgusted, you will go with your boss. Little by little, you grow accustomed to these humiliations and finally almost unconsciously you will take part in all the agitation and arrangements of the Party. If you are younger than 25-30, you will not know another regime and the words: self criticism, revolution, socialism, democracy will easily come to you, and you will naturally behave like a loyal citizen.

In addition to that, think about the intense, one-sided and incessant agitation that affects people tediously, devastatingly or seductively according to their temperament. Also consider that the absolute condition for success in any career, at every grade, is to publicly show your approval to the regime: if you want to become a supervisor, boss, department head in science or art, or simply want to maintain a position already gained, the first and most important condition is to suppress in yourself any human dignity, and serve loyal according to the dictates of the regime. This is why, to the eyes of the uninformed the elections can give the impression of some kind of democratic process; it is why Soviet citizens take part in them, and never vote against the proposed candidates.

Ruper: I was really waiting impatiently for you to finish your tendentious explanations. But I am content to place the proof that you are seeking to mislead me under your nose. Do you believe that I am so lacking in knowledge about Soviet affairs? Even supposing, that what you have presented in a counter-revolutionary manner are reality, that however cannot influence me. The situation, which you have described no longer exists. You must consider the fact, that on on the 6th of February 1935 the Congress of the Soviets of the Soviet Union approved a project to improve the voting system, presented by Comrade Molotov12. And in this proposal is found a point concerning the making of votes secret. So with that being the case, what value does your malicious words hold for the global proletariat?

Futer: I do not wish to speak for Iver, but I will simply note that this would mean that even the Kremlin oligarchs and finally begun to understand that the until now the manner in which elections were conducted was too obviously a scandal. Everyone already knows, that Mussolini and Hitler allow secret ballots. Those dictators must have understood earlier than Stalin, that there does not exist any danger to their absolutism, because the people still lack any ability to stand their own candidates and agitate in favour of them.

Possibly the visit of the eminent French “democrat” Herriot13, to the Kremlin also had an effect on this development. He no doubt would’ve pleaded for the Soviet Union to wear a democratic mask to make its entry into the League of Nations easier, and also make alliance with France more palatable. He no doubt explained that the French democratic establishment needed to have at least the impression that the Soviet regime had was tending towards democratisation.

Iver: There is no motive for me to be silent on the “project” that you have just described Ruper, apart from however, the fact that it is only a project, which will only become a reality after four years! And according to what have read in the Soviet press, this project contains in practice nothing of true democratic value. Already Futer has commented on the effectiveness of this project, that after four years!… it will only raise the Soviet election system up to the standards that exist in Italy and Germany. I wish only to discuss concrete realities in the present and not describe potential futures. In regards to the true motives that pushed Stalin to agree to these voting reforms, we can only make conjectures. To those of Futer I will add that the murder of Kirov14 by his fellow Party member Nikolaev, may also have forced the Kremlin leaders to think up new ways to continue containing the growing discontent that no doubt exists within the whole population.

What is certain is this, without or with secret ballots, the absolutism of Stalin will continue to weigh upon the whole population. Without the freedom to meet, publish newspapers and propaganda, to share a program or to criticise the official regime, real democracy cannot exist. In the Soviet Union only Party members have existing rights: and we must not forget that even the ordinary members do not have the ability to act in a manner that has not been permitted by leadership in the Kremlin. In those kinds of conditions the secret ballot is a silly farce….


Red Militarism

Futer: Those who make a comparison between the regimes currently existing in the Soviet Union, Italy and Germany, must accept that they are similar in many ways. Naturally their also exist between them differences. The dictatorship of Mussolini is not completely the same as that of Hitler, nor is the absolutism of Stalin a perfect match to his colleague in Berlin.

But one of the key traits they all share is militarism. It cannot be denied that on this point the Soviet Union has made great progress. Amongst the many competing accounts I would like to mention those made by the Italian General Grazioli15, who recently visited the “nation where they are building Socialism” and reported very favourably on the Red army. Interestingly he declares that its morale seems to be similar to that of Napoleon’s armies after the French Revolution. Technically it is also very well equipped. It is evident, our leading fascist that the main aims of the first Five Year Plan concerned providing this logistical support. And he stresses in his report, published in the Journal of Italy (Giornale d’Italia), that the main character of the Soviet military apparatus is more offensive than defensive.

The expert Grazioli has no motive to submit a false report and so we can trust his words, no?

Ruper: You hoped to shame me with this report of an Italian General, but its effect is the opposite. I well know that the Red army is powerful and battle ready: it is in service of the world revolution and every class conscious worker must thank Stalin and Voroshilov16.

Futer: You are so blind! What did the “Red army” do to help the rebelling Bulgarian Communist succeed in their revolution? Did it help the Canton Commune escape a defeat that lead to the murder of more than 30,000 Chinese revolutionaries17? Did it try to prevent in anyway the destruction of the German Communists by Hitler? Nothing whatsoever! I do not want to waste time discussing whether it is capable of fulfilling the role ascribed to it in the demagogic speeches of the Bolsheviks. I only which to talk about the facts.

The Red army is fulfilling its imperial tasks very well, in its fighting against the Georgians who wished to preserve their independence. It even fought against the Chinese to preserve the Manchurian rail way which Stalin sold to Japan not long after18. And now, an alliance with the French army, it is preparing for an eventual war against Germany. Do these incontestable facts prove your assertion? No, of course not!

On the other hand, did you know that for a year now a large-scale and intense propaganda has been carried out in the Soviet Union to inculcate patriotism towards the Soviets, which did not happen at all when the Red Army actually fought for a revolutionary goal against Kolchak, Deniken the White army etc. Now Stalin wants to chauvinistically train the entire population. I will prove this assertion by turning to this article which appeared in Pravda, from Moscow, dated the 19th of March 1935:

“Soviet patriotism prepares and nurtures heroes, brave leaders, millions of courageous soldiers, ready to halt an avalanche, and strike down the enemies of the nation and exterminate them. From the mother’s milk our youth learn to love for the country. We must patriotically teach the new generations so that the interests of the country stand above everything else, and will be held more dearly by Soviet citizens than their own lives. All the riches of science, all the possibilities of technology must be used to activate and strengthen Soviet patriotism.

In this situation the school plays a decisive role. A lot depends on the teacher, the materials, the language of the parents, the history of the country, its geography, the structure of the state etc. to educate the children, so they become committed patriots. Every anniversary, every historical event, every movement must be dedicated to heroism and the glory of the Red army, through museums, excursions, are appropriate methods for the educating people, to keep their eyes fixed against the boarders of our nation, to ceaselessly monitor the movements of our enemies.

By taking every care, using all art and diligence, we raise the unconquerable spirit of Soviet patriotism. Soviet patriotism is one of the most amazing phenomenon of the October Revolution. How much strength, beauty is found in it!

Soviet patriotism is a glorious flame that burns throughout our country. It motivates life, it powers the motors of our tanks and largest bomber planes, of our torpedo boats and it guides our artillery. Soviet patriotism stands guard at the borders of our nation, where our ignoble enemies, threaten our lives, our power, our glory. And if the enemy launches an attack, Soviet patriots will take up arms and with their courage, will behave in a manner so heroic that it has not yet been seen in the history of humanity, and will drive the fascist thieves from the earths surface.

The undefeatable martial spirit of Soviet patriotism shines and grows!”

Would this sound any different coming from Hitler or Mussolini?

Ruper: Obviously these speeches sound a little strange to our ears. But they are explainable with the Marxist dialectical method. Currently the situation in the world is different than during the first year of the Revolution, and so tactics and agitation must also take on another form. But the end goal remains the same: the world revolution. The Red army with definitely act in accordance with that goal at the most opportune time. Stalin is not unaware that Germany is intensifying its war preparations and threatens the peaceful building of socialism in one sixth of the world...

Futer: Catholics can also always prove “dialectically” all kinds of deeds of the Pope… But you must not forget, that Hitler decided to reintroduce conscription after France prolonged the terms of its compulsory military service and after the report of Tukhachevsky19 to the Congress of the Soviets of Moscow. Iver, who attentively reads Russian language newspapers could possibly give us some more precise information.

Iver: From Izvestia (The News) of 31st of January 1935, I note that this relates to the report that I just read out.

“During the past four years our military planes have increased by 330%, the number of our fast tanks 2,475%, of our light tanks 760%, our medium tanks 792%

The number of machine guns has increased by 2 ½ times according to formations. Heavy artillery has doubled… the number of Submarines have increased by 535% the number of coastal defence ships by 1,100% and our Torpedo boats at 470%… The number of our soldiers has grown from 600,000 to 940,000… the military budget of the year 1934 was calculated at 1,665 million Roubles, but the Commissariat of Defence has instead spent 5 Billion Roubles, and declared that the budget for 1935 will be 6.5 billion…”

These numbers explain, why during the last seven years only 1,100 million was spent on the building of schools, (an insufficient number, the children have to learn in 2 or 3 combined classes in the day), and why the budget for healthcare is so laughably low. In the report by Kaminski, published in Izvestia (21st of January 1935) you can read the following confession “During the year 1934 only 20% of our hospitals have enough medication and disinfectant to be habitable”…

Buy, very characteristically, Kaminski, makes sure to mention in his report the installation of a few marvellous hospitals, that are being used by the Kremlin, where the oligarchs can remain healthy and receive rest, in conditions that are the envy of even the rich of capitalist countries.

Futer: These facts, which no one can deny, explain well, why you can today find in some of the most reactionary French newspapers plaudits for Stalin and very favourable commentary on the “Russian army”. And why also the Russian White guard exiles in France can send to the press this significant communique.

“The Union of Russian Youth expresses to the French people its vigorous contentment, which is experienced by Russian nationalists, after the signing of the treaty by Laval20 and the Soviet Government. The URY approves of the treaty with Moscow for two reasons. First, it is an important shield to external threats, and on the other hand it is a thinly veiled stage in the liquidation of the communist system by a nationalist revolution.”

This communique was not published in L’Humanite (Humanity, the newspaper of the French Communist party) and so it seems that Ruper never heard about it…

Ruper: Of course I haven’t! I have not read this travesty of a letter that was only published in bourgeois and counter revolutionary papers. Only class traitors read the bourgeois newspapers….

Why have you not mention that Comrade Livinov proposed several years ago universal disarmament in the name of the USSR, but the bourgeois governments rejected that proposal?

Futer: It would truly be a miracle if capitalist states agreed to dismantle their own armaments. It was the opinion of Lenin and all revolutionaries that capitalism is the womb of wars. It “carries in it war, just as the clouds carry the thunder” as Jaurès21 said. So it follows that the proposal of Commissar Litvinov was totally laughable and senseless. It reminds me of a similar adventure during the time of Tsar in 1898. Yes! 37 years before Tsar Nicholas II had already chaired a meeting in the Hague in the Netherlands, and it had disarmament in its program. Stalin and Litvinov have essentially done nothing to guarantee peace. They have only made an empty proposal in order to deceive the gullible. Hitler has also made peace declarations on several occasions.


New Religion, New Mysticism

Futer: What best defines a religion is its dogma, this is the foundation of the faith of its worshippers, and is the basis of their intolerance. The newer the religion, the more fanatical its zealots. Another clear demonstration of a religions spiritual state is its cult of relics, and respected icons: also blind faith in the fulfilment or rites, obedience to eminent leaders, a mystic faith in a future paradise and salvation from the current miserable situation.

All of these features can be found in the new religion that has been born in the Soviet Union. The oligarchs in the Kremlin have turned the works of Marx and Lenin into a new dogma, which no one can object to in public, but must bow their head and express their agreement without reservation.

But the works of the famous theorist (Marx) and those of the less famous strategist, tactician and applier of theory (Lenin) are so heavy, that it is necessary to publish collections to aid in their teaching; and in order to work through the confusion and define the “true” way to interpret them, the intervention of a holy Pope is needed. Stalin has already played this role for several years. Heretics like Trotsky, Riazanov, Zinoviev and other less well known heretics, can either speak in exile or are silenced in the prisons and labour camps.

In the Soviet Union the new dogmas are shielded by every newspaper, every book, every film, every theatrical production etc. which are submitted to a rigorous censor. Another guarantee is the compulsory use of the new orthodox compendiums and officially interpreted texts in every school, in every club and at every event. The chief concern of every Soviet citizen who wishes to continue enjoying some privilege or to gain one, is to fervently study latest speech by Stalin, so they can recite and discuss it correctly.

Every Christian longs to visit the scared tomb of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem; Muslims the pilgrimage to Mecca and to visit the tomb of Muhammed. The founders of the new religion expertly imitate these examples, and have placed within Red Square in Moscow a mausoleum for the sacred cadaver of the profit Lenin. The old icons were thrown onto great heaps of rubbish, but were soon replaced with pictures of Lenin and Stalin, imitations of the Catholics, who have displayed on the wall of their room a painting of the crucifixion and the Pope. The embalmed body of Lenin is guarded day and night by two Red army soldiers. And many millions of pious have already made a pilgrimage to the holy tomb. No one is brave enough to go before this relic without removing their headdress. Just like how no one is courageous enough to sit when the holy Internationale22 is sung: everyone must stand and take up a pious demeanour.

Marxism-Leninism orthodoxy is a religious and philosophical phenomena, as defined by the highest body, the “Politburo”. Stalin is the supreme pontiff and his speeches have for the new religion’s worshippers have the same authority as the papal edicts for Catholics. The Party’s Executive Commission is similar to Catholic Inquisition; its goal is to expose heretics and denounce them to the Internal Police (the G.P.U.), whose role is the same as the Inquisitorial Tribunals.

The dogma that surrounds the “historical mission of the proletariat” does not have a scientific base. It is a religious ideology, a myth, which plays as similar role to that of the “chosen people” of the Jews. The Five Year plans have succeeded very well in giving to the Soviet people hope in future life of happiness, even though in 1928, before the beginning of the first plan, the conditions of living were higher than now.

Ruper: You lie!…

Futer: Thank you! But perhaps you should remember the numbers that Iver showed us in his tables. Faith and desire have no value in the face of facts.

It is also a fact, that mysticism represents a powerful force, which priests of every kind can expertly misuse. In this regard the Bolsheviks have become masters. By building a religion out of the teachings of Marx and Lenin, they have mystified the people and have succeeded in securing their regime.

Who at the beginning of the 20th century thought that the time of the sudden birth of new religions had passed, was gravely mistaken. The racism of Hitler and Rosenberg, the Italianism of Mussolini and the Marxism-Leninism of Stalin put before our eyes this error to which we were blind. And these three different religions have a common trait: the State is esteemed and all powerful: the state subjects must obey in every way this God and always be prepared to offer their lives for its defence.

I believe that Iver will not contradict my understanding of Soviet matters, but I would like him to explain in more precise detail than I have, the way in which the Kremlin oligarchs have used “dialectical Marxism” to limit the minds of their subjects.

Iver: As Rosenberg has given Hitler the philosophical material needed to justify racism, “comrade” Stetskii23, the chief propagandist and agitator of the Central Committee of the Party, provides Stalin with arguments drawn from historical materialism to adapt to his own uses. He already knows perfectly well how to juggle ideas.

Although the people generally accept the decisions of the higher ups very obediently, there can still be found people who see the contradictions of the Stalin regime and the teachings of Marx and Lenin. In “State and Revolution” for example it explains that the apparatus of the state will disappear immediately once the capitalist class has been definitively exterminated, and when the collectivisation of production has been achieved; when in other words, socialism is realised. After the “Liquidation of the kulaks as a class”, after the peasants are gathered into the collective farms, and workers in the factories, then logically socialism must have been victorious and the state disappeared. But that has not happened, and instead the oppression of the whole population is still actively occurring. Well, “comrade” Stetskii can explain easily, as we are growing closer and closer to the death of state, the suppressing power of the state must be strengthened (!?).

Futer: Theologians can also explain very well, the limitless goodness, the limitless power and the limitless perfection of God, despite God’s creation of an imperfect world, and toleration of evil…

Iver: At the last congress, the Moscow journalist Stetskii emphasised that “the whole press, even the wallpapers in the factories, must be dedicated to promoting the decisions of the XVII congress of the Bolshevik party” and that the “mobilisation of the masses” around the congress “must continue until every major theses penetrates the consciousness of every worker”.

And these recommendations were applied literally. To complement the usual propaganda methods, they even started circulating political examinations about Stalin’s speech to the congress.

The secretary of the communist cell in every workplace must take care of matters concerning the Party members; the other workers, are a matter for the Union committee, and every instructor must submit to a committee of qualified examiners, who by wise questioning check whether he has read and understood the speech, which was published in pamphlet form with over 8 million copies; after the examination they will give each worker points. Those who score too low will have to be examined again and in the event of failure risk his name being added to a black table.

Because of this many workers procrastinate, and make excuses, that they are old, or barely literate, and as remedy for these problems the Union puts together a team of expert propagandists, who can visit the workers at home in the evening. There, they explain to the whole family how wise and prudent the decisions made at the congress were. Later they will question the worker to make sure, that their explanations were understood. Proudly the journals report on the deeds of the “Urdaniki”, who have passed the examines and have taught the “good speech” to their wife and children and have requested the examiners come to them on a rest day to test the whole family.

Where it is not possible to visit everyone in person they set up special political courses for rest days where they must learn like Catholics attending Catechism, according to the Union newspaper Truda (Work) on the 12th of May 1934, “Rest and teaching at the same time”.

At 8-10 years old children in elementary school have to learn in lessons about the recommendations of the XVII congress. Such overzealousness on the part of teachers attracted the attention of Bubnov, the people's commissioner for public education, who instructed that only 12-year-old pupils be given such lessons.

This fact at least demonstrates well how effective state power is over its subjects. The main concern of daily life for a soviet citizen is to ask themselves: “Do I understand Stalin’s speech correctly? Can I answer questions about it in an acceptable manner? Am I showing enough zeal and approval?” etc. It is necessary to have lived in this atmosphere to fully understand that Stalin’s regime is a terrible oppressing slavery, and that it has nothing in common with the rose tinted reports of tourists and bought authors. In the Soviet Union, their reigns the greatest starvation of free thought.

Ruper: In my opinion, the work of the Soviet leadership is very good, very joyous, and focused. However I do not know Comrade Stetskii, which you have mentioned, very well. But he no doubt knows better than me, and better than you and Futer, the true meaning of the teachings of Marx and Lenin. You forget that Marxism is scientific socialism, in contrast to the idealist and utopian systems of Fourier, Saint-Simon and other pioneers. But to teach science it is necessary to know its fundamentals. It is certain that Comrade Stetskii is an expert in scientific socialism; he has studied the complete body of work on historical materialism and I understand well, that Stalin enjoys his assistance. I am completely certain that they are teaching the people only the truth. You spoke of freedom of thought, this is just petite-bourgeois foolishness: I myself give up easily freedom of thought on diverse sciences, whose axioms and principles I do not know. The Soviet Union is the greatest laboratory in which scientific socialism is applied. Currently they are still experimenting there: but I completely trust the experimenters and belief in the success of their experiment.

Futer: I am envious of the faith and simplicity of Ruper. To possess a firm, unshakable faith, that gives the soul comfort. Unfortunately I cannot unlearn what I have learnt about real scientific truths that all experts agree on. When scientists disagree, it means that the subject of the experiment does not demonstrate truths, but hypothesises. If Marxism is actually a science like you claim, the experts would not be in such disagreement. There would not exist so many different Marxist schools, but there are. Plekhanov and Martov24 were experts on Marxism despite not always agreeing with Lenin. Kautsky, Trotsky, Bukharin etc, are other authorities on Marxism with little mutual agreement. From these we have to conclude that historical materialism is only a hypothesis, an ideology which has become a religion in the hands of the Kremlin oligarchs.

It seems to me completely obvious that present example of the USSR, shows best how shaky historical materialism is. This dogma can be summed up here:

The ideological manifestations in any Society are the reflection of its social and political superstructure, which itself is the effect, the result of its economic substructure: therefore, to predict the social, political, legal: ideological development of a society, it is necessary and sufficient to be able to define, with the help of the Hegelian dialect, its economic development.

Applying this method of reasoning to capitalism, as Marx has stated previously, when it reaches the last stage of its evolution it would inevitably give birth to socialism. If that hypothesis is correct, then socialism would be established first in Britain, Germany and other nations where capitalism shows clear signs of decay. However in one of the most developed capitalist societies, Germany, we do not see socialism, but instead a governmental system whose political, legal and ideological super structure is racism, and nationalist mysticism, which cannot be based in anyway on its economic substructure.

In contrast, the first attempt to establish socialism is happening in a country, where capitalism only at the beginning of its development. The objective conditions required by Marx for the building of socialism did not exist in the Empire of the Tsar. In the USSR, it is not the economic substructure that plays the key role, but an ideology with an economic mask. This has been shown to us by Iver with precise examples, the ideology of the Soviet people is forced on them by propaganda and agitation favourable to a kind of philosophical system, namely Marxism-Leninism.

The examples of Germany and the Soviet Union have shown everyone not blinded by doctrine that ideas play the crucial role in the life of society, and that they are not a reflection, but on the contrary that stamp the body of the State itself. Certainly Marx could not have foreseen this; he did not suppose that his doctrine would become the basis for a new religion, a mandatory teaching for 170 million people on one sixth of the world.

“What is history”, Renan said, “if not the most inappropriate union of ideas.” It has indeed unfolded in disparate directions, in which psychological and individual factors often play the decisive role.

Ruper: The actions of individuals and the strength of ideas can delay or accelerate the arrival of socialism. Lenin and Stalin know the way that humanity is marching and have pushed it forward.

Futer: Do you also say the same of Hitler? Of course not! And no one could prove, that human societies absolutely have to continue to evolve from a lower state to a superior one. Civilisations have collapsed totally and disappeared. The same could happen to our European capitalist civilisation. The danger also plays an important role in some circumstances; that’s why no can predict the future of humanity. There it is monstrous to experiment with the flesh and blood of millions of people, as Stalin and his cronies do, even if they did not have doubts about success. If one judges by what has been done up to now in the Soviet Union, it is frightening to consider that Stalin’s monstrosity will not bring about socialism but another system reminiscent of ancient times.


What is being built in the Soviet Union?

Futer: In the beginning of our discussion we saw that Ruper and me did not agree on the meaning of the term socialism. But, as promised, Iver showed us that reality of life in the Soviet Union matched neither my definition nor that of Ruper: people are exploited their even more ruthlessly than in other nations; surplus value, instead of going into the pockets of capitalists, serves to support the great number of bureaucratic parasites; freedom of thought and expression does not exist, nor does the right to associate or found organisations whose aim is to criticise the deeds of the current leadership and agitate for another governmental system; no political parties, except for the Bolshevik party has a right to exist; the people have lost their dignity and have to servilely show their obedience to and acceptance of all decisions by the government and support their application; new classes are forming, which can approximately be categorised as:

  1. The Kremlin Oligarchy, whose living conditions are on par with the big bourgeoisie of the capitalist nations.
  2. Patricians, whose living standards correspond to the average amongst the bourgeoisie.
  3. Skilled workers, whose condition is close to the unemployed of advanced capitalist nations.
  4. The 100 million masses, who are half starved.

We could even go further and talk of another class, made up of the 5-6 million workers suffering from many different categories of prisoner, who suffer many different types of punishment, found in isolated prisons or labour camps, under the observation of the G.P.U. and forced to dig canals, or chop down forests.

Ruper: As usual, you do not want to understand, what you do not want to see, that they are building socialism and therefore that the enterprise is not finished. The great, miraculous building projects which now stand everywhere in that vast nation and which are admired by every visitor, they are factual proofs, that the leadership of the U.S.S.R. with a strong and unshakable hand are laying the foundations that will guarantee its completion. You cannot deny the existence of these great works. So why do you barely mention them in your malicious argument? Why do you not give the necessary and just attention to these facts? I do not understand your inability to admire the miracle, which has been taken an agricultural and backward country into one of the most industrially advanced. Your attitude towards the heroic efforts of the entire people to reach and even surpass the industrialisation of the capitalist nations leaves me indignant….

Futer: Evidently we do not speak the same language, despite using the same words. Have you never read about the vast industries of the United States, where cities grow in the deserts like fungus in a wood? Has not Japan also developed in a similar manner for another example? Yesterday the entire French press was ecstatic with reports on the new transatlantic ship Normandy, “The largest, fastest, the most luxurious ship in the whole world”. We, would you not laugh in my face if I approvingly and confidently asserted that socialism is being built in France?

It is generally – but not unanimously – agreed, that large scale industry is a requirement for the building of socialism; however, that condition is not sufficient. We must not equate industrialisation with the building of a free, just, classes society free of exploitation. You accuse me, of not wanting to see these “great Soviet building projects”; Excuse me! I did not close my eyes but regarded soberly, that these sights did not hide from the suffering and misery of the people whose flesh and blood and slavery built these things that made it hard for you to see the fate of the builders.

Ruper: You are exaggerating in this regard and I want to put a good proof under your nose: The Soviet people multiply more and more; the population of the U.S.S.R. has already grown by 1-2 millions yearly. Well?!…

Futer: … Are you being serious? If yes, I will rebut that your “argument” works against your theory. It is a well known fact, that the more you improve the living standards of the people, then the fewer the number of births. This is a general phenomenon. In Japan the population has also grown by more than a million per year, that that shows that the living standards of the proletariat is very low. If you want to have a serious opinion on this question, I advise you to consult comparable statistics from different countries. Contrary to you faith, the increase of the Soviet population indicates its miserable state.

But even if the living standards of the whole Soviet population was above that of every other nation, I would still not conclude from this, that they were building socialism there. A person is not just a stomach alone: they also have a brain, heart and a desire for freedom. Socialism is incompatible with the lack of democracy. And this lack best characterises the current Soviet regime. It was not long before the “dictatorship of the proletariat” was turned into a dictatorship of one person. Even in the sole political organisation to be allowed to exist, the Bolshevik party, democracy is also absent. Its General Secretary, Stalin, chooses the functionaries or dismisses them, according to his whim.

Despite the constitution outlining that Stalin has no representative position in the government, he in actuality rules over the whole population absolutely. Until the visit of the English statesman Eden and the French minister Laval, he hid his effective rulership behind puppets like Kalinin (officially the President of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR) or Molotov (President of the People’s Commissariat of the Soviet Union). It seems that he no longer believes this artifice is still necessary; he has openly treated with the representatives of England and France, in the manner of a true leader of government; just like Hitler and Mussolini do. This new manner of behaviour makes clear that Stalin has reached the highest steps of absolute rule. He no longer needs to wear a mask. His total power also shows how his subjects have ignobly crawled and flattered him. On this point I would like to mention just one example. At the last congress of the soviets some social climber called Avdeyenko gave to Stalin the following speech:

“Our whole love, our sympathy, our strength, our heroism, our life, everything belongs to you: Take them, Great Stalin, leader of our great nation. Order our sons and they will take to the air, or go under the earth, in the water or into space. The people of all times and from all people’s will say your name, as the most wise, as the most noble, as the strongest, the most beautiful. Your name is engraved on every factory, on every machine… If my beloved wife gives birth to a son, the first word that I will teach him will be: Stalin.”

I do not know what is more sickening to the human dignity of a true revolutionary, the shameless flattery of Avdeyenko, or that Stalin accepted it. At least there is no doubt that such a custom signifies fascism, not the emancipation of the proletariat. Despite his strong desire to find justifications for Stalin's rule, I doubt whether Ruper approves of the way in which Avdeyenko expresses his admiration for the Soviet “Fuhrer”.

Ruper: I do not like that kind of praise very much. It does however prove that Stalin is respected, loved and symbolises the enthusiasm of the whole people in his grandiose and meritful plan to build socialism in one sixth of the whole world. If I desire to see justifications in everything that is done there, then you see with your magnifying glass nothing but stains. By this manner of investigation you have succeeded only in spreading doubts among the ranks of the proletariat; You destroy hope, trust and courage. In another word, you are doing counter-revolutionary work, who stirs indignation within me. I say to you plainly, that you belong to the same sort that Soviet Power is duty bound to send to a punishment cell. None of your tendentious, malicious criticisms against the USSR can have an effect on me. I firmly believe that they are building socialism over there, while we are struggling with financial crisis and unemployment. No! No! Gentlemen, you will not succeed in planting seeds of doubt within me. Your hostile attitudes toward the Fatherland of the world proletariat can only serve Hitler, who is preparing to attack it. You nauseate me gentlemen. I can’t understand how I could remain still for so long listening to your perfidious talk. But enough is enough!… Good day! Long live Stalin!….


Now alone, Futer and Iver spend some time in silence, they are concerned with the strength of the Moscow mysticism and its ability to infect the mind of an honest worker as strongly as Rome can infect the minds of the Catholics. Finally they start to discuss:

Futer: We must understand the indignation of Ruper. It is a naturally expression of every man who clutches at his hopes, and wishes to make his dreams a reality. It is in a way cruel to destroy the illusions of people who need them. But still…

Iver: But still, those who know as we do, over the past several years in mind and soul the monstrosity of Stalin’s experiment cannot remain silent. I consider it a duty to alert the working class, so that it does not in anyway give up its eternal right to criticise and protest and organise to demand more justice and freedom. The State has become God just as happened in Italy and Germany. That is why little by little the working class is losing the ability to oppose the formation of new classes and it allows the exploitation by the oligarchs, who treat them as nothing more than material to be used up in the pursuit of their grand plans. While the working class itself believes in the need of these building projects, they will not have the ability to state their own opinions. For example, while the great majority of the people is half starved, they are building in Moscow a luxury metro system, whose main purpose is to invoke the admiration of those tourists and the foreign workers delegates. In regards to boasts and schemes, the Kremlin Oligarchs are masters…

Futer: It is more and more obvious that we can only answer no to the question that was asked at the beginning of our discussion: No, Socialism is not being built in the Soviet Union. Even if the whole population achieved good material living standards, and that is not the case, but even then this would not mean the existence of a society that socialist theorists, including Lenin, have described and predicted. Lenin had said many times that the revolutionary aim was “a completely democratic republic”; that the Soviets must operate on the “highest form of democracy”. In regards to wages, Lenin said in State and Revolution, that in the beginning of the proletarian revolution “To organize the whole economy on the lines of the postal service so that the technicians, foremen and
accountants, as well as all officials, shall receive salaries no higher than "a workman's wage".
After 18 years, is there even the tiniest sign of wage equality?

Iver: Its the opposite, the tendency is to increase the differences. Now in Moscow, for example, the monthly wage of the worker varies between 70 and 300 Roubles; the lowest grade of officer, from 80-200 Roubles; those of specialists, professors and “representatives”, from 350 to 2,000 Roubles or more; pensions for invalid workers are around 25-50 Roubles25: special pensions (for widows and children of important people) from 250 to 750 Roubles. You do not usually hear about these wage differences, but lately the high salaries of the leaders are practically being glorified. For example in Izvestia (9th of May 1935) it is reported, that according to the boss of a furnace factory in Kryvyi Rih (Ukraine) whose salary for the month of April was 3,300 Roubles!… In that same factory unskilled workers make around 100 Roubles monthly. For the boss to earn such a high salary he would have to push his workers without compassion harder and harder to increase production. His salary comes from the sweat of the workers, who work beyond the standards defined by the plan and succeeded. We must not forget that everywhere in the Soviet Union, even in the collective farms now, wages are paid according to piece rates. In the factories, work generally operates on a moving scale, whose speeding up tendencies are constantly increasing.

Futer: At the realization of these indisputable facts only he who stubbornly closes his eyes does not see that the now-forming Soviet society is of a whole new kind, but has nothing in common with socialism. Some call it “State Capitalism” others compare it to the society of the Incas of Peru before the Spanish conquest.

The qualification given to any system of government proves in fact nothing; if, however, such a thing is required, it would be easy to show many features of the Stalinist regime that in many respects resemble - I do not say: the same - those of Mussolini and Hitler, and I conclude without hesitation: RED FASCISM reigns in the Soviet Union.

Iver: ?… Until we meet again!…

Futer: Until then!

  1. State Political Directorate, a branch of the Soviet Secret police, officially dissolved in 1934 and replaced with the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD) which would become infamous during Stalin’s purges↩︎

  2. Maxim Gorky author of socialist fiction including the novel Mother who became close the Soviet government, one of his more well known political interventions was the supporting of a 1934 law criminalising homosexuality throughout the Soviet Union. And Aleksey Tolstoy a distant relation to the more famous Leo Tolstoy, emigrated back to the Soviet Union after leaving during the Civil war period (1917-23) and had a successful literary career including popular works of science fiction.↩︎

  3. I don’t know how much time exactly, but it is true that Maxim Gorky was able to spend a lot of time in Italy and took frequent trips there throughout the 1920s-30s. Though the Fascist government denied him the right to stay in p Capri, but despite that from 1922-32 he was essentially a permanent resident of Sorrento, stating that Italy’s climate eased his tubercular symptoms. When he returned to the Soviet Union in 1932 he was showered with awards and given a mansion in Moscow, its now the Maxim Gorky museum. ↩︎

  4. Anatoly Lunacharsky, leading Bolshevik and first People’s Commissar for Education (1917-29)↩︎

  5. These forced labour projects, especially the White sea canal are estimated to have killed tens of thousands of workers.↩︎

  6. Urdaniki or Shock workers, originally a Civil war term for workers performing arduous and urgent tasks. Came back during the Five Year plans as a label for workers who outperformed their assigned work quotas. Urdaniki became closely associated with the concept of “Socialist Competition” whereby workers would compete amongst themselves to beat officially production targets and their rival work teams. Often the competitions were organised and supervised by the Unions. ↩︎

  7. According to a report presented at the XVIII Congress (1934) of the Russian Bolshevik party, between the 21,883 millions of wage earners (does not include the peasantry) then existing in the Soviet Union, around 8 million of them are employed as functionaries and officers, i.e. more than one for every two workers. [Footnote in original text]↩︎

  8. People who time the movements of the workers. [Footnote in original text]↩︎

  9. Divide and Rule↩︎

  10. The Russian News Agency, founded in 1904, was taken over by the Soviet government and turned into the Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union. TASS was the central agency for international news broadcasts.↩︎

  11. According to the Constitution the Congress of the Soviets of the Soviet Union is supposed to be held nearly every two years. But the time between the congresses continues to get longer, in proportion to the strengthening of Stalin’s dictatorship. So the Congress held at the beginning of this year followed the last one after an interval of four years. It is also worth noting that according to statutes the Comintern is also supposed to hold a congress every two years, but the last time this happened was in 1928 or seven years ago. This shows that in all countries the Communist parties have become mainly propaganda outlets hired to serve the diplomatic goals of Stalin – which is more and more closely resembling the Tsar, as evidenced by the recent alliance between France and the USSR. [Footnote from the original text. ↩︎

  12. Soviet Foreign Minister and loyal Stalinist, so loyal in fact that Molotov was a key accomplice in many Soviet strategies and schemes including the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and the subsequent treaties with Nazi Germany. Was so loyal to Stalin that even the arrest of his own wife on charges of treason didn’t deter him.↩︎

  13. Édouard Marie Herriot, was a French radical politician and was the Prime Minister of the France three times during his career. He was a proponent of strengthening relations between France and the Soviet Union, and infamously on a visit to the Kremlin in 1933 publicly denied the Holodomor, mass famine in Ukraine which killed between 3-4 million people. His comments included calling Soviet Ukraine "like a garden in full bloom" and "When one believes that the Ukraine is devastated by famine, allow me to shrug my shoulders". ↩︎

  14. Sergei Kirov, Communist party leader in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), a popular figure amongst the Communist party, with some speculating that he was a potential rival to Stalin for leadership. His assassination in 1934 and the quick processing and execution of the assassin Leonid Nikolaev, has left a lot of questions, with many at the time and since suspecting foul play. Either way his death was used by Stalin as ammunition to launch the first Great Purge of the Party, and was an early sign of the escalating waves of repression by Stalin against suspected enemies. ↩︎

  15. General Francesco Grazioli, a conservative monarchist, after the First World War Grazioli became a supporter of the Fascist movement. Held various military and government posts in Fascist Italy, and was considered something of an expert on the Soviet Union, advocated a separate peace between Italy and the USSR in 1942.↩︎

  16. Kliment Vorshilov, a Marshal of the Soviet Union (the highest military rank), he became very close to Stalin during the Great Purge of the army when he denounced many of his fellow officers, he personally signed hundreds of execution orders. He commanded the Soviet invasion of Finland which was a disaster over 300,000 casualties. He also was one of the signatories to an order to execute thousands of captured Polish officers after the Soviet invasion of Poland, among other infamous activities.↩︎

  17. The Canton Commune of 1927 was an uprising by the Communist Party of China against the nationalist KMT. It placed the Soviet Union in an awkward position as it was supporting both sides. The defeat and massacre of Chinese Communist did little to alter the Soviet Union’s policy of support to the nationalist government.↩︎

  18. The Sino-Soviet Conflict of 1929, and then in 1931 following the Japanese invasion of Manchuria the Soviet government sold its controlling stake in the rail line to Japan.↩︎

  19. Mikhail Tukhachevsky, Marshal of the Soviet Union, senior officer of the Red army, and important military theorist, dubbed the Red Napoleon by the foreign press, he was a proponent of military modernisation and was denounced as a traitor and executed in 1936. ↩︎

  20. Pierre Laval, at this time the Prime Minister of France, held a number of important roles in the collaborationist Vichy government following the surrender of France to Nazi Germany in 1940. After the liberation of France Laval was tried for treason and shot by firing squad in 1945.↩︎

  21. Jean Jaurès important French Marxist, leader of the French Socialist Party on the eve of World War, Jaurès vigorously opposed French involvement in the conflict and the growing international militarist frenzy. A right wing nationalist murdered him in July 1914.↩︎

  22. Important anthem of the labour movement globally, became the national anthem of the Soviet Union before being replaced in 1944.↩︎

  23. Aleksei Stetskii, head of the Department for Culture and Propaganda, and the Union of Soviet Writers, he took a leading role in many Soviet propaganda campaigns in the 1930s, including campaigns of denunciation and defamation of enemies like Trotsky. In 1938 he was arrested and executed as part of the Great Purge.↩︎

  24. Georgi Plekhanov and Julius Martov, the former was one of the first Russian Marxists, and was a pioneer of spreading Marxist thought in the Russian Empire. Lenin had been a student of his but the two fell out in 1903 of disagreements on political strategy. Julius Martov was another important Marxist theorist and contemporary of Lenin in the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, the Bolshevik-Menshevik split resulted in Martov being a leading figure of the Menshivik fraction. ↩︎

  25. At the correction of the proofs I am informed that in Moscow, (and not in the whole country), these pensions now vary from 50 to 80 Rubles. But that means nothing if one ignores the purchasing power of the Ruble, which also varies greatly. From the same source I find out that the price for 1kg of gray bread in Moscow is now close to 2 rubles. [Footnote from original text]↩︎

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