trotsky class and art

The victory of Stalin, who regarded the construction of socialism in the Soviet Union as a necessary exemplar to the rest of the world and represented the majority view, [195] did not, however, stop international propaganda. Our shirt has to be washed, our hair has to be cut and combed, and, most important of all, the rifle has to be cleaned and oiled. And in so far as the intelligentsia, even an arch-Soviet intelligentsia, is unable to merge its road with the road of the proletarian vanguard, to that degree it tries to find a political, ideological, artistic support for itself in the peasant, whether real or imagined. And amid the clash of arms, the Muses are silent. According to Trotsky, every class creates its own art and culture, but bourgeois culture developed in a protracted period of several centuries before taking power, while the proletariat did not develop its own culture before the revolution. Does the proletariat of today offer such a cultural-ideological milieu, in which the new artist may obtain, without leaving it in his day-to-day existence, all the inspiration he needs while at the same time mastering the procedures of his craft? But, first, I read your article in the last issue of Na Postu; secondly, I have just glanced through the verbatim record of your speech; and, thirdly, it must be said that one can tell beforehand, without listening to you, what you are going to say. But the bourgeoisie is a rich and therefore educated class. Culture is the organic sum of knowledge and capacity which characterises the entire society, or at least its ruling class. Individual workers or groups of workers are developing contacts with the art which was created by the bourgeois intelligentsia and are making use of its technique, for the time being, in quite an eclectic manner. The Ruling Class and the Spectre of Leon Trotsky. The work of the proletarian poets lacks an organic quality, which is produced only by a profound interaction between art and the development of culture in general. Antonio Labriola also made his vigorous comment on this sort of caricature. The revolution led to the victory of the proletariat, the victory of the proletariat is leading to the transformation of the economy. What was the reason for that? I don’t want to speak polemically. And by that time there will have grown up scientists who are educated under the new conditions. Well, and what about the Party? The essence of the new culture will be not an aristocratic one for a privileged minority, but a mass culture, a universal and popular one. In this process, the class characteristics of society will not become stronger, but, on the contrary, will begin to dissolve and to disappear in direct ratio to the success of the revolution. Comrade Pletnev, speaking here in defence of his abstractions about proletarian culture and its constituent part, proletarian literature, quoted Vladimir Ilyich against me. He says: they recommend the “fellow-travellers” to us, but did the old, pre-war Pravda or Zvezda print the words of Artsybashev, Leonid Andreyev and others whom now they would certainly call “fellow-travellers”? It’s not enough to approve, you should understand. Lu Xun was making a similar point when he said that although all sentiments are governed by economics, they are not ‘just’ so governed. There is no proletarian class viewpoint in Pushkin, not to speak of a monolithic expression of Communist feelings. But in its essence, the dictatorship of the proletariat is not an organisation for the production of the culture of a new society, but a revolutionary and military system struggling for it. But in fact, his writings on art and literature go back a long way before then. I do not mean to say by this anything against the Marxist work of criticism, which many in small circles and in seminars are trying to carry through in various fields. Title: Trotsky, … This refers to radio, to aviation, and to many mechanical discoveries. Someone may object that I take the concept of proletarian culture in too broad a sense. On the other hand, the revolution lays out the ground for a new society. This work is necessary and fruitful. The principal battles are ahead and may be not so far off. HTML Markup: David Walters. At the present time we can only create fancies about their tempo. This element is, of course, present in Pushkin, for Pushkin grew up on a particular social basis. The proletariat acquires power for the purpose of doing away forever with class culture and to make way for human culture. Today this weapon serves political aims almost primarily and exclusively. ‘To read Dante is to take a bath in the sea’, said Shevyryev, who was also against history, replying to Byelinsky.”) I don’t doubt that Shevyryev did express himself as Comrade Ryazanov says, but I am not against history – that’s pointless. Why, just this, that on the rationalistic plane Pilnyak is ahead of himself as an artist. We shall receive fresh technical and organizational help. High quality Trotsky gifts and merchandise. Marx and Engels were great political writers of the proletariat in the period when the class was still not really awakened. The fundamental stages of the development of mankind we think will be established somewhat as follows: prehistoric ‘history’ of primitive man; ancient history, whose rise was based on slavery; the Middle Ages, based on serfdom; capitalism, with free wage exploitation; and finally, socialist society, with, let us hope, its painless transition to a stateless commune. In contrast to the regime of the slave owners and of the feudal lords and of the bourgeoisie, the proletariat regards its dictatorship as a brief period of transition. Not long ago an entire booklet appeared, written by Pletnev, Tretiakov and Sizov, in which proletarian literature was defended by means of quotations from Lenin against Trotsky. But at present we do not yet intend to put Shakespeare, Byron, Pushkin in the archives, and we will continue to recommend them to the workers. And when people tell me that the artistic significance of Dante for us consists in his expressing the way of life of a certain epoch, that only makes one spread one’s hands in helplessness. But we haven’t, and that is not accidental. Knowledge in general begins with distinguishing between things and appearances, and not with chaotic confusion . Reprinted from Fourth International of July 1967. This nourishes the subconscious processes of their creativity. Leon Trotsky. But, all the same, the workers’ verses in Zvezda and Pravda do not at all signify the rise of a new, proletarian literature. All science, in greater or lesser degree, unquestionably reflects the tendencies of the ruling class. A shout: “But aren’t they the same thing?”) What do you mean: aren’t they the same thing? I wrote this book over a period of two years, during two summer breaks. I do not know. Shall we say to the worker: read Pushkin in order to understand how a nobleman, a serf-owner and gentleman of the bed chamber, encountered Spring and experienced Autumn? At present, in these years of respite, some illusions may arise in our Soviet Republic as regards this. Am I for the “fellow-travellers”, or against them? Trotsky, Leon 1879-1940. But if this is so, does it follow that we have no proletarian science? Trotsky accepted the premise that art has a class character. Stalin quickly gained the upper hand: in April 1923 he consolidated his hold on the Bolshevik Central Committee. That’s life. Our task in Russia is complicated by the poverty of our entire cultural tradition and by the material destruction wrought by the events of the last decade. But the fact is, Comrade Pletnev, that you know very well how matters stood, because you yourself appealed to me to save you from the thunders of Vladimir Ilyich, who was going, you thought, on account of this very “proletarian culture” of yours, to close down Proletkult altogether. Leon Trotsky was born Lev Davidovich Bronstein to David Leontyevich Bronstein (1847-1922) and Anna Lvovna (née Zhivotovskaya, 1850-1910) on 7 November 1879, the fifth child of a Ukrainian-Jewish family of wealthy farmers in Yanovka or Yanivka, in the Kherson governorate of the Russian Empire (now Bereslavka, in Ukraine), a small village 24 kilometres (15 mi) from the nearest post office. One can’t muddle things up in such a shameless way! History has known the slave-owning cultures of the East and of classic antiquity, the feudal culture of medieval Europe and the bourgeois culture which now rules the world. (Lelevich: “Komsomolia – there is the best of recent times.”) What times? ... Only the guiding layers of a class have a political program, and even this still requires the test of events and the approval of the masses. That was where I went wrong. Specialists may count the elements which the Renaissance owes to antiquity and those it owes to the Gothic and may argue as to which side is the stronger. It is quite possible that revolutionary poets will give us martial verses, but the continuity of literary development will nevertheless be sharply broken. However, there is nothing simpler than getting away from this evidence: why, of course, Lenin condemned chatter about proletarian culture, but, don’t you see, it was only chatter that he condemned, and we are not chattering but seriously getting down to work, and even standing with our arms akimbo. As we know, there is plenty of empty piety around: people “firmly agree” with Lenin and then preach the absolute opposite to his views. Every ruling class creates its own culture, and consequently, its own art. It was because the Decadents were then a young and persecuted tendency in bourgeois literature. However, this is a far cry from a proletarian culture in the sense of a developed and completely harmonious system of knowledge and of art in all material and spiritual fields of work. The length of this period depends entirely upon the success of the revolution. The bourgeoisie knows this very well, it likewise approaches art from its class point of view, it knows how to get from art what it needs, but only because it approaches art as art. If we draw the peasant, towed by the proletariat, to socialism – and we confidently believe that we shall draw him – then the creative work of the “peasant-singers” will evolve by complex and tortuous paths into the socialist art of the future. Individual achievements rise above this level and elevate it gradually. But it does so with the methods of the old society, with the class struggle, with violence, destruction and annihilation. A revolutionary class cannot stop its struggle because the party has not yet decided whether it should or should not accept the hypothesis of electrons and ions, the psychoanalytical theory of Freud, the new mathematical discoveries of relativity, etc. The development of bourgeois culture began several centuries before the bourgeoisie took into its own hands the power of the state by means of a series of revolutions. It will weaken and destroy, not expand, artistic creation, for we shall again have to mobilize and arm one and all. But this process will develop only through a series of historic stages. You do not proceed in your thinking from this vision of the future: you have your own, the vision of a group. The proletariat cannot postpone socialist reconstruction until the time when its new scientists, many of whom are still running about in short trousers, will test and clean all the instruments and all the channels of knowledge. He was brought up on Krylov, Gogol and Nekrasov. Can the literature, intended and suitable for the proletariat, which will be created in this period, be called proletarian literature? Trotsky … You begin by proclaiming a new era of proletarian literature, you create circles, associations, groups for this literature, you again and again refer to Demyan. I repeat once more that it is not possible to put in one historical category feudal, bourgeois and proletarian literature. Trotsky: A Biography. Publisher: New Park, London, September 1974, ISBN 0 902030 10 8. And if we, while today approaching other works of medieval literature merely as objects of study, approach the Divine Comedy as a source of artistic perception, this happens not because Dante was a Florentine petty bourgeois of the 13th century but, to a considerable extent, in spite of that circumstance. This is the fundamental problem – and the principal difference, in so far as we are arguing about the way forward. In different ages, in different social milieux, this expression has changed, that is to say, men have feared death in different ways. The León Trotsky Museum keeps all of his belongings intact and exhibits photographs of his family and his life as a revolutionary., His ashes and those of his wife-Natalia Sedova are kept in the Gardens of the Museum. This is a very, very long road. Many assumed that Trotsky would become the leader of the Communist Party after Lenin's death in 1924, but this wasn't to be. Empty piety, I repeat, is available in plenty: refer to Lenin and do the contrary. But the solution is a simple one: my crime is not that I incorrectly defined the social nature of the fellow-travellers or their artistic significance – no, Comrade Vardin even now, as we heard, “does not object” to that – my crime is that I did not bow before the manifestos of Oktyabr or Kuznitsa, that I did not acknowledge these groups as the monopolist representatives of the artistic interests of the proletariat – in short, that I did not identify the cultural-historical interests and tasks of the class with the intentions, plans and pretensions of certain literary groups. His struggle against Stalinism and for revising it all orders are custom made and most ship worldwide 24! Expand, artistic creation, for instance, strongly recommends Pushkin, that! Which was a major school of Marxist thoughts which directly defied the ideas of stalin s solution the... An all-European and world scale that interests us to him powerful piece the! 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