Considerations on a Voyage to Russia – Part 3 of 9

In this sense, the Russian worker believes in his global mission. He he sees himself as the prototype, the model of man, called to take possession of the world. All of Russian life is conceived according to this model. It features it, confirms its right to life, idealizes it, and give it the occasion to enjoy its importance. Behind each public manifestation, behind each gesture of the worker himself, we mean to heatedly defend this claim that the worker is the most advanced man and bearer of the the greatest hopes. The German and Western workers all bear in their hearts secret bourgeois ideals. That is why they never has enough confidence in themselves to undertake a proletarian revolution. The Russian worker never submitted a bit to the influences of bourgeois civilization. Thus he could have the courage to profess that proletarian way of life. It is imposed with such a force that, in the cities, we see nearly no traces of other social classes. Beside him, no other type of Russian society dares to manifest. Even the “rejected” of the bourgeoisie, the sons and the daughters of “have been” men, adapt to the new society.

The environment, the milieu that marks the worker is the factory. It is a strangely artificial world, without any link to nature, detached from all that is organic. The man is before his creation. It is there, in the din of machines, that he works. It is there where we measure exactly his performance. The rhythm and tempo of machinery accordingly imposes its mechanical law on its organism. But exactly these machines, that submit him to their rhythm, are man made marvels. It is technology that teaches man how he can succeed by using his confidence and his intelligence. Each function on the inside of the factory is a triumph of man’s science and rationality. In this milieu, it forms a conception of life that encourages him to be very proud of human reason. We consider that his vocation is to become an agent in the factory and a factor of output in the processes of production. It seems that all the somber corners can be lighted, that the world no longer conceals mysteries, that there are no longer any technical problems we cannot resolve. The irrational becomes a chimera or mysticism. In general, it is mixed with counter-revolutionary designs that pollute the pure air of the factory. The air that is so pure that finally even relations between man and woman, working side by side on the line, lost their sensuality there.

Relations between the sexes are more neutral than in Western or Central Europe. They are ruled with a sovereign calm. Marriage as well as divorce are simple questions of convenience. The proletarian marriage is no more immoral by its relation to bourgeois marriage than bourgeois marriage was by its relation with ancient religious marriage. It simply corresponds to the situation today. They can longer do with too many manners. Man and woman, who, during the day, are occupied by their work and propaganda, no longer possess the certain psychic terrain on which “familial romanticism” can flourish. There is no longer any torrid sexuality. For this reason, prostitution has retreated in Russia. Berlin is incomparably more immoral than Leningrad, Moscow, or Kiev. The ease with which one can divorce excites the sexual imagination of the West. However Russia is far from confounding marriage with a brief erotic adventure. A communist who departs to the promiscuity of his girl dishonors himself and loses all credit.

These men and women, uniquely esteemed by the function of their productivity and between which there are no obscure erotic secrets, are evidently equal in rights. This equality is not controversial or aggressively underlined. Sex matters little for the person who, as a director of a factory, holds in his hands 20 or 25 thousand workers or employees.

This rationalist and materialist attitude, which characterizes the self confidence of these men, seems down to earth, or flat, but it is firmly anchored in their hearts. They want at any price to instruct, to inform: knowledge is power. The means of instruction and the pedagogical methods have attained a level and a perfection like none before. The Russian worker knows the raw material resources of his country. He is up to date on today’s state of Russian production. He sees through the infamy of the old social order. He knows the laws of the proletarian rising, as he knows the history of the evolution of man. And, in particular, he discovered the tricks that the monkey used to rise to the level of man. He handles the economic conception of history as an instrument permitting him to attack all questions and see them clearly. For him, there are no longer any impenetrable mysteries.

It prepares the worker, who made his proof in the factory, for more noble tasks. He studies chemistry, physics, and material technology. Having instruction means to be capable of becoming an expert in material technology. The state, the unions, even the factories organize courses and open schools permitting them to follow studies. The social sciences, that accompany the young Russian in the nursery, are, to say thus, the credo and the scientific foundation of the new doctrine of salvation. There they live and evolve even as Central Europe lives with Christian concepts and ideas. Otherwise, only technical knowledge and formation are next. What the curate was to the Middle Ages, the lawyer was to the French bourgeoisie, the technician and engineer is for the Russia of today.

In this “clear” atmosphere, saturated with materialism, the Orthodox Church must forcibly collapse, even if no one attacks it openly. It is far more aristocratic and mystical than the Catholic Church. Only old ladies and some aged men attend services. The prayers and the chants of popes behind closed doors no longer have any living link with the reality of modern Russia. Russia today believes in the tractor and mocks the old icons. In Central and Western Europe, we still do not realize that the air of modern factories is not convenient for any form of Christianity. In the large cities, the care for the salvation of souls is only practiced in psychological spheres that have yet to be entirely invaded by technical progress. Russian atheism is not Russian malevolence; it is only this form of metaphysics to which we are inevitably lead when everything is put under technology. When we are convinced that technology can resolve all problems, there is no longer any place for piety or respect for God.

However, the fervor of faith in technical progress and the self confidence of the proletarian still have other reasons that we find outside the rational, that reside in facts. The country possesses immense resources in unexploited raw materials. It has inexhaustible resources. They are the security of the proletariat. Even without being highlighted, they give wings to hope. That is the exceptional situation of the Russian worker! He can be certain that his work will not end in useless efforts and that he can draw riches from the entrails of the earth. The vow of poverty, freely pronounced, and the most severe discipline of work are all the more easier to support, in the extreme case, when he can always place his hope in these reserves.

Certainly, the worker type is a mediocre man, more sickly, more modest, and more dull than the members of the old ruling class. But he will probably be our destiny, because the earth has begun to impoverish. Consequently, he must be economic, he must count, plan, and establish himself until the last.

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