The socialist footnote

One of the great contributions to literature is what may be called the socialist footnote, or, rather, the communist party footnote. These immensely pleasurable texts appear, for instance, in the footnotes for each volume of Stalin’s Collected Works. Here you find that glorious language of communist depiction of one’s opponents, whether the ‘fifth column’ within the party or external and even international opposition. A few choice morsels from a rich feast. To begin with, nothing much seems to have changed with regard to newspapers:

Novoye Vremya (New Times)—an organ of the reactionary aristocratic and government bureaucratic circles. The Times—a London daily, founded in 1788, influential organ of the British big bourgeoisie. (p. 437)

As for one’s opponents:

The conference condemned the opportunist, capitulatory position of Kamenev, Rykov, Zinoviev, Bukharin and Pyatakov, who opposed a socialist revolution in Russia and took a national-chauvinist stand on the national question. (Works, vol. 3, p. 420)

J. V. Stalin sharply criticized the speeches of the traitors and blacklegs Kamenev and Zinoviev on the question of armed insurrection. (p. 450)

Here’s to restoring such glorious language to footnotes: opportunist, capitulary, traitor, blackleg …


Mao’s personal five-year plan

Mao didn’t restrict the famous and much-debated ‘Five-Year Plans’ to the realm of economics. He also had a personal one, expressed in 1957:

I, too, have a five-year plan. I’d like to live for five more years. If I can live for another 15 years, I’d be completely content and satisfied. … However, there are unexpected storms in the skies, and people are likely to experience sudden reversals of fortune. This, too, is a matter of natural dialectics. If Confucius were still alive today – if someone who had lived more than two thousand years ago is still not dead – that would be awful, wouldn’t it? (The Writings of Mao Zedong 1949-1976, vol. 2, p. 777).

Of course, he died in 1976, so he lived 19 more years. He must have died more than completely content and satisfied …

Stalin’s two commandments

Why use ten when two commandments are enough (Matthew 22:35-40)? So also Stalin:

The first commandment: Don’t allow yourselves to be provoked by the counter-revolutionaries; arm yourselves with restraint and self-control; save your strength for the coming struggle; permit no premature actions.

The second commandment: Rally more closely around our Party; close your ranks in face of the assault of our innumerable enemies; keep the banner flying; encourage the weak, rally the stragglers and enlighten the unawakened. (Collected Works, vol. 3, p. 113)