Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Early Soviet Socialist Horrors by Jacob H. Rubin 1921
Early Soviet Horrors by Jacob H. Rubin 1921
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Followed by Soviet Spy.
The first day when I arrived in Moscow I had to report to the Foreign Department to get a permit of residence and they gave me a permit and they gave me three meals a day and in addition to that they furnished a spy, free of charge. Every foreigner gets a spy thrown in the bargain and they don't charge him anything for it. I knew that man was a spy—his room was right next to mine. He claimed to be an American-a certain Mr. Williams. The reason I found out he was a spy was because the first time when he talked to me he began to criticise the Soviet Government and I knew that no one in Russia would dare to do such a thing because anyone that would criticise the Soviet Government is considered to be a counter-revolutionist and the penalty for that is death, the more he criticised the Soviet Government, the more so he gave himself away and the more I praised it. Then he began to praise the United States and I criticised the United States. You see, I became a diplomat by necessity. This all reported to the Foreign Department and that helped me to a certain extent to get a permit to leave Russia in the future.
Rags and Nails in the Bread.
Now, I will tell you what kind of meals I had. I got a pound and a quarter of black bread each day that consisted of everything but flour. First I thought the bread was made of linen because I found linen rags in there. I found nails and matches —the bread was repulsive and not fit to eat and let me tell you, gentlemen, as bad as the Soviet bread was, it was still worse without it. I know what it means to be without bread because I had the experience to be three and a half days without a crumb of bread; then the Soviet bread was not bad at all. They gave me for dinner a soup. I will give you the recipe of the soup providing you promise me not to use it. The soup was made out of potato peelings and it was the most delicious soup I had in Moscow and, do you know why? Because I didn't have any other soup. On Sundays and holidays they prepare a special dish— a soup made of herring heads and I want to tell you, gentlemen, I heard the soup coming.
One day I gave a banquet and there were four of us present. I paid thirty-two thousand rubles for that banquet and according to the market or exchange now it would cost me probably two million rubles. I paid thirty-two thousand rubles for that banquet for four of us and after the banquet we were all hungry and this is what we had: Each one had a white roll, I paid five hundred rubles for each roll; a pound of honey, ten thousand rubles; a pound of sugar, ten thousand rubles; twenty-five cigarettes, one thousand rubles; a small box of matches, two hundred and fifty rubles. I counted the matches in the box for the purpose of statistics and I found it contained sixty matches of which forty-two were no good and eighteen in working order.
Freedom That Is Not Freedom.
Free trading was prohibited before and now—now, they are going back and adopting one phase of the capitalistic system. But I am telling you of my personal experience. No one had a right to buy or sell or do any trading or change money because anyone that did that was considered to be counter-revolutionist and retarding the progress of the international movement and, as one Russian told me: “We have no Czar, we have no money, we have no food, we have no business, we have no competition, we have no order—all we have is freedom,” and that isn't true, either, because tens of thousands of dealers are in jails and in prisons in Russia now for no other reason than that they were found guilty of buying and selling and are considered to be counter-revolutionists. There isn't any individual in Moscow that has something which is worth anything—the individual is absorbed in the nation. The nation owns everything for the benefit—supposed to be for the benefit of the people, but who gets the benefit? Two per cent—the Extraordinary Commission.
But this is not the reason, gentlemen, that I was disillusioned with Socialism, because I suffered, or because I was starving—that isn't the reason. The reason why I became disillusioned with Socialism was because after studying for twenty-two years the philosophy of Karl Marx from books, I learned more in the first two months in Moscow than with all my twenty-two years' studying from books.
Marx Forgot Human Element.
With due respect to that great philosopher Karl Marx, let him rest in peace, who wrote a masterpiece on political economy called “Das Kapital”, he made one little mistake and that mistake was that he forgot to take human nature into consideration—otherwise he was all right because when I was in the Russian prison in Odessa there were with me young Russians—revolutionists and fanatics—young men at the age of love-and the Russian young fellow in love with an ideal, is ready not only to give everything he has, but to give his very life for the ideal, and, what happened? The same idealists, the same fanatics, when the first opportunity presented itself to them, became opportunists, and then hypocrites, and that is the reason that in the beginning of Soviet rule in 1918 there were nine fanatics to one hypocrite; now, there are nine hypocrites to one fanatic.
Socialism Cannot Work Out
Socialism cannot work out. Karl Marx tried to work out the human mind like a piece of machinery - he thought it was a mathematical problem, but he found there was something higher - that the human mind cannot be figured out like a piece of machinery.
The only thing worth living for is incentive and the Soviet Government has destroyed incentive and killed energy.
You know Russia is a great agricultural country and before the War seventy-five per cent of the Russian people were peasants, and the peasants were divided into three classes—besides the landlords—A. B. and C. Class A was the rich, independent peasant that had more land than he could work himself; Class B was the peasant that had just enough land that he could work but not enough to make him independent from the landlord, and Class C was the landless peasant—the laborer. So, what did they do? Class A employed Class B—he gave Class B his land and they divided the proceeds, each one getting fifty per cent. Class B has employed Class C to work the land for Class A, but when the revolution broke out under the Kerensky rule they divided the land in some parts of Russia among the peasants.. What happened then? The peasant, realizing that the land belonged to him, an incentive was created—he became energetic—he worked hard and his family worked hard on the land—take, for example, the great harvest of 1918.
Soviets Nationalized Land
But when the Soviet government took possession of Russia the proletariats in the big centers objected to dividing the land among the peasants because this is not Socialism. Socialism means that all the means of production must be concentrated in the hands of the government for the benefit of the people. By dividing the land among the peasants the government has created two classes - the peasant became and independent class and the proletariat the dependent class. The Soviet government nationalized the land and gave each peasant an allotment just like a workman—so much and no more—forty bushels of grain, forty bushels of potatoes, one horse and one cow. The peasant, realizing that that was all he can get—so much and no more—his incentive was destroyed and his energy killed. Why should he work hard and produce a hundred bushels of grain when he could get only forty bushels? Do you know why? There are twenty-five million of Russian people starving now? Why should they starve in Russia? Russia is the greatest and richest agricultural land for the purpose on the earth. Before the War it occupied one-sixth of the globe and had a population of 175 million - rich in natural resources and containing millions of acres of virgin land, never touched by the hand of men. She should produce enough to feed the world, and yet she is starving. Do you know why? Because the present system has destroyed the energy of the Russian people and they have lost heart to work.
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