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Monday, July 31, 2017

POSTSCRIPT: STALIN AS THE ANTI-AUTOCRAT, THE ANTI-TRUMP — Beautifully expressed in Pablo Neruda’s wondrous poem (From NEWSLETTER #103)


Beautifully expressed in Pablo Neruda’s wondrous poem
Introduction: Pablo Neruda was the most famous and beloved Latin American poet of his time. This great communist poet from Chile also served in the Chilean Senate, representing the railroad workers from whose ranks he came. His magnificent and lengthy poem, entitled “Let the Railsplitter Awake”, refers to Abraham Lincoln, arguably the only U.S. President who ever held a working class job. As a “railsplitter” Lincoln had helped build the railroads that spread across the USA. Neruda uses Abe Lincoln as a symbol of the best democratic traditions in the USA. Neruda tries to explain to the returning white and Afro-American servicemen who had fought in the U.S. military against fascism in Europe and Asia what was happening in the world in the post World War II period as the Truman Regime was shifting from the Soviet side to the fascist side upon the death of Roosevelt. Neruda was trying to convince this U.S. pool of anti-fascist fighters to continue to fight on the side of justice and democracy.

The following excerpt deals with Stalin and the high government and military officials of the Soviet Union who had just led their people and the world’s peoples in the global victory over fascism. In writing the piece above on Trump’s drive toward autocracy in the USA in 2017, I constantly thought back to Neruda’s description of Stalin, in particular, who helped rid the world of the Russian Tsarist Autocracy one hundred years ago in 1917 and then led the world in getting rid of the fascist autocracies in the 1940’s. Moreover, during the almost forty years that he led the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.) Stalin never accumulated any personal wealth and left nothing to his own children except a marvelous legacy of public service to the world’s peoples, and especially the Soviet and international working class. As Pablo Neruda’s beautiful poem shares with us, Stalin was the anti-autocrat, the anti-Trump.

Within three rooms of the ancient Kremlin
lives a man named Joseph Stalin.
The light goes out late in his room.
The world and his country give him no rest.
Other heroes have brought a country into being; beyond this, he helped to conceive his
and construct it
and defend it.
His immense land, therefore, is part of himself
and he cannot rest because she does not.
In other times snow and gunpowder
found him facing the old bandits
who wished (as again now) to revive
the knout and misery, the anguish of serfs,
the dormant pain of millions of poor.
He was against the Wrangels and Denikins
sent by the West to “defend culture.”
They were stripped of their hides there, those
defenders of the hangmen, and throughout the wide
lands of the U.S.S.R. Stalin worked day and night
But later in a leaden wave came
the Germans fattened up by Chamberlain.
Stalin confronted them at all the vast frontiers,
in all their retreats, in all their advances,
and as far as Berlin, like a hurricane of people
his sons arrived, bringing the broad peace of Russia.

Molotov and Voroshilov are there,
I see them with the others, the high generals,
the indomitable ones.
Firm as snow-covered oak-groves.
None of them has palaces.
None of them has regiments of slaves.
None of them was made wealthy by the war,
by selling blood.
None of them like a peacock
travels to Rio de Janeiro or Bogota
to command petty satraps, blood-stained torturers.
None of them has two hundred suits,
none of them owns shares in armament factories,
and all of them own shares
in the joy and construction
of that immense country where dawn resounds
arising from the night of death.

They said “comrade” to the world.
They made the carpenter king.
No camel shall pass through this needle’s eye.
They cleansed the villages.
Divided the land.
Elevated the serf.
Eliminated the beggar.
Annihilated the cruel.
Brought light into the deep night.



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