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Zdzislaw STAHL (1891-1987)


Political journalist, economist, politician. B. Feb. 10, 1901, Lvov, in the family associated with the leaders of the National League (Liga Narodowa) and the National-Democratic Party (Stronnictwo Narodowo-Demokratyczne). 1930-35 deputy to the Sejm sponsored by the National Party (Stronnictwo Narodowe, SN). A critic of liberalism, he fervently supported the April Constitution with its model of a strong nation-state. In 1938 he was elected to the Sejm as a deputy sponsored by the Camp of National Unity (Obóz Zjednoczenia Narodowego) and wrote propaganda texts for this organization. 1934-37 editor of Dziennik Lwowski, 1937-39 deputy editor-in-chief of the governmental Gazeta Polska. In Sep. 1939 he was arrested by NKVD and sent to a Soviet gulag. From 1941 in the army of W. Anders in USSR. He frequently wrote about the Katyñ murders, criticizing the fact that the Western Allies kept silent on that subject. When the war ended, he remained in Great Britain, where he lectured in economy and law at the London-based Polish University-In-Exile. He belonged to the most eminent émigré political commentators, he wrote for Orze³ Bia³y and Polish Affairs, and published separate pamphlets. He focused on the problems of Soviet communism, the ways of combating and resisting it; he was opposed to all compromises with communism. He published scholarly works from the field of fiscal policy and law. His works include: Listy polityczne ("Political Letters", 1935), Idea i walka ("Idea and Struggle", 1938), Polityka polska po œmierci Pi³sudskiego ("Polish Politics After Pi³sudski's Death", c. 1936), Marksizm-leninizm i realizm a idea niepodleg³oœci ("Marxist-Leninism and Realism Versus the Idea of Independence", 1973), and Zbrodnia katyñska w œwietle dokumentów ("The Katyñ Massacre in the Light of Documents", 1948, with other authors). D. Nov 13, 1987, London.

The selected fragments are from Marksizm-leninizm i realizm a idea niepodleg³oœci. Wyk³ad na inauguracji roku akademickiego Polskiego Uniwersytetu na ObczyŸnie w dniu 25 listopada 1972 ("Marxism-Leninism... An inauguration lecture presented on Nov. 25, 1972, at the Polish University-In-Exile"): London 1973, pp. 11-15 and 17-20.

From the viewpoint of the communist ideology, which gives priority to economic interests, it is not the nation - an association based on a spiritual bond, to which material differences are subordinated and resolved in the spirit of the sovereign national community - but the class which constitutes the vital historical association, and class struggle provides the content of this history. Within this framework independent states are merely "superstructures" of the fundamental international class struggle, to which everything else should be subservient, and these "nation-state superstructures" should vanish in the course of further development. Therefore, according to the same Marxist-Leninist theory, the fundamental power of the essential and highest association, i.e. the class, is not the state but the party, as the leading representative of the working class. The headquarters of this international party are located in Moscow and constitute, especially in relation to the imposed satellite regimes, their real government.

This essential commitment to the future dismantling of the "nation-state superstructure", inherent in the Soviet doctrine, is not openly and undisguisedly communicated to the conquered nations. When, after the revolution, Lenin, and Stalin developed a doctrine supplanting the former Tsarist centralism with a new Bolshevik one, they worked out a formula that provided such a disguise. It is expressed in the principle that "culture should be national in form and socialist, that is, communist, in content". In the name of this utterly disingenuous principle, a total centrally governed Soviet tyranny was constructed, and formally it is not only a state founded on elections, but also a parliamentary democracy and an allegedly voluntary union of more than a dozen national republics. These republics even have the supposed right to secede from the Moscow headquarters and enter the path of complete independence.

When we consider the post-war policy of Moscow towards the European nations on which it imposed satellite regimes, formally recognizing their independence and ruling them politically through a party organization, we must not forget the above-quoted Leninist-Stalinist formula of the nations policy. It is a version and, as conceived by the Soviet communists, an introductory stage of enacting the very commitment which motivated the creators of the Union of Soviet Republics, a commitment through which they subjected to Moscow the same nations for whose independence they were calling and supposedly fighting prior to taking power.

The formula of a culture national in form and socialist, that is, communist, in content, the political aspect and expression of which is national independence as regards form, and communist, i.e. Soviet, independence, - directed by the party headquarters in the Kremlin - as regards content, plays an important tactical role and is crucial as a carefully thought-out method of social engineering, employed in relation to the conquered nations. It makes it possible to achieve the desired results in a piecemeal and indirect fashion, in those places where direct and open action encounters too much resistance. Such indirect methods are employed by Soviet psychological engineering especially towards two categories of what Marxism-Leninism treats as a "superstructure" of socio-economic class conditions: towards religion and national awareness. As regards the Polish nation, Moscow understands that it presents the greatest difficulties, on account of the established Catholicism of our nation and a strong national character, combined with a deeply entrenched, centuries-long aversion to Russia.


The Indirect Effects of the Ideological Lie

It would be a mistake, however, to downplay various indirect effects of the carefully thought-out communist methods, which open the way for the voluntary acceptance of what is rejected by Polish society when it appears without the pseudo-national and ideological mask. I mean here the psychological effects of the fact that the People's Republic of Poland, although actually ruled by the party in Moscow, is formally independent. During the period of the partitions, whoever was in favor of independence had to be opposed the partitions; the matter was clear and unambiguous. The Polish people were not asked to regard the anniversary of the partitions as a national holiday, and the monuments of rulers symbolizing the partitions were generally held in contempt. Today the 22nd of July, the anniversary of the creation of the satellite regime imposed on Poland by communist Moscow, is establishing itself as a Polish national holiday, and the younger generations are often unaware of the actual facts and historical deeds, worthy of national recognition. True, the healthy instincts of Polish patriotism are not directly violated, but they are perfidiously channeled towards false outlets, and I think no effective reaction has been elaborated yet.

In this circular and perfidious way the idea of Polish independence, though not attacked outright, is misrepresented in its content, or at least divested of its positive content. This false idea of independence and the fiction of an independent government also provide a moral excuse for the weaker social elements which surrender to it, although they would be incapable of overtly renouncing the idea of independence, that is, of its open betrayal. Thus the appearances, mainly of religious tolerance and of independent statehood, create a kind of psychological stepping-stone towards accepting the enforced reality of a system arising from Marxism-Leninism. It is a stepping-stone towards accepting a system whose materialist, atheist ideology is committed to dismantling historical national awarenesses and replacing them with an international and class awareness of the so-called proletarian internationalism, that is, a formation fundamentally, essentially at odds with Polishness. It is expected that this process will be aided by the passage of time and the effects of the new conditions of the communistic socio-economic system, a system which, as the materialist doctrine predicts, should completely transform the Polish national character.


Realism as an Ally of Sovietization

In so-called political realism [...] Marxism-Leninism finds an ally both in the field of practical psychology and on the level of materialist philosophy. I added the qualification "so-called" because the matter involves a concept of realism with which I disagree - a disagreement which I will explain later - and the qualification "political" because the term realism has different meanings in various fields of philosophy, metaphysics or epistemology, unconnected with politics.

Now political realism, as it is generally, but in my opinion wrongly understood, denotes an attitude of adapting to reality, regardless of the origins and content of this reality; it also implies that politics is an art of adapting. Such an attitude, although not contained in the Marxist-Leninist doctrine, suits its practical purposes when it is taken up by the group of nations subjected to the communist regime. For such a "realism" provides a theoretically passable justification for the acceptance of communism and for reconciling oneself with all the constitutional and ideological changes which communism has imposed on the conquered nations, including ours. Since "realism" teaches that one must adapt to every reality, even to an enforced one, it becomes an ally of Marxism-Leninism and the vanguard opening the way to its willing acceptance.

Such a conception of "political realism" also stems from the materialist theory which claims that external conditions are a determining factor of human awareness. Materialism says that these external conditions - man's physical environment - create a consciousness of man's being only a function and consequence of these material surroundings. Byt opredlayet soznanie - this is how Lenin formulated the view that the human spirit can be molded by means of external material conditions, or, in other words, that the human spirit can be transformed by the imposition of a new class-based, communist constitution. The communists themselves do not intend to adapt to foreign constitutions, as the precepts of the so-called political realism might ask them to do. They hope instead for the adaptation of those on whom they imposed their rule and their system. [...]

Categorizing politics and politicians in terms of the idealism/realism distinction is superficial, irrelevant, and false; it does not do justice to our concepts, although some persons of authority support it. For every policy must be realistic in its appraisal of reality and in its choice of means, but it must be idealistic in its ends, directed towards creative change. Józef Pi³sudski is called an idealist and a representative of Romanticism in politics, and yet he was capable of finding realistic means to shape the existing reality, which was opposed to his ends. Hence he was also a great "executor".

The ends of politics can be proximate or remote, easier or more difficult to attain. Yet the fact of their being difficult to attain or remote in time does not deprive politics of realism, if the policy is based on a realistic appraisal of reality and points to realistic - even if for the time being only indirect and piecemeal - means, or at least points in the general direction which the long path must take.

Furthermore, the appraisal of reality by so-called realists, who see only the surface of the world around them, so often fails! Before 1914 "realists" could not envisage a Europe without the three partitioning powers and regarded the independence project as an unreal pipe dream. In fact, neither their supposedly realistic judgement, nor the paths they suggested to the nation, turned out to be realistic. On the other hand, those who were able to discern a deeper historical tendency behind the external facade, and pointed to independence as the goal for the nation and who knew which means to select - namely armed struggle and carefully thought-out international diplomacy - are those who in fact proved to have been realists.

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