Stalin’s magnificat

Stalin was rather fond of the Bible in his library, reading it often and memorising quotations. So it should be no surprise that occasional echoes should appear in his writings. This one appears in his speech after the October Revolution, given to Finnish workers in November 1917:

I should like first of all to bring you the joyful news of the victories of the Russian revolution, of the disorganization of its enemies, and to tell you that in the atmosphere of the expiring imperialist war the chances of the revolution are improving day by day.

The bondage of landlordism has been broken, for power in the countryside has passed into the hands of the peasants. The power of the generals has been broken, for power in the army is now concentrated in the hands of the soldiers. A curb has been put on the capitalists, for workers’ control is rapidly being established over the factories, mills and banks. The whole country, town and countryside, rear and front, is studded with revolutionary committees of workers, soldiers and peasants, which are taking the reins of government into their own hands.

Compare the ‘Magnificat’, spoken by Mary in Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus:

My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour …
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name…
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.


9 thoughts on “Stalin’s magnificat

  1. omg! And try reading Stalin’s speech,with a quaver A – dotted quaver A – semi-quaver G – crotchet F# rhythm. It works perfectly!

    Ergo: Stalin was mediating Bach!!!

      1. What’s on second, Shostakovich is on third.

        Your teenage boy-like idolization of the Great Man of History concerns me greatly, Chairman Boer. Even a cursory reading of Dialectical and Historical Materialism should have made you realize what tar pits of idealism you are getting sucked into. It is as though you have cast aside the material kernel of history and retained only the idealistic shell. And once you’ve returned to the unctuous embrace of Hegel, it is a short step to “alchemy, Kabbalism, Mesmerism, extrasensory perception, spiritualism, dowsing, eschatology, prisca theologia, philosophia perennis, Lullism, Paracelcism, Joachimism, Rosicrucianism, Masonry, Eckhartean mysticism, “correspondences” secret systems of symbolism, vitalism, and cosmic sympathies”.

        The Soviet economic transition was not caused by the mythic Great Man, but by STEEL WORKS! Technology let the USSR defeat Hitler (just). Not, silly ideas by nineteenth-century German dreamers.

        His soul. Stalin’s only contribution to the great technological leap forward was to destroy souls, including Shostakovich’s.

      2. You are seriously full of shit, Deane. You should know better than to shoot your mouth off before actually doing a bit work so you might know what you are talking about.

      3. Full of shit, good and kindly Professor? I am put in my place.

        If only I read enough Stalin, I too could find hidden references to the Magnificat in his speeches to communist cadres.

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