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Antoni SZYMANSKI (1881-1942)



Catholic priest, a distinguished representative of Catholic scholarship and social thought in Poland. B. Oct. 27, 1881, Praszcza (county Wieluñ). Editor of the Pr¹d monthly and social activist (1928 founded the Society of Christian Science [Towarzystwo Wiedzy Chrzeœcijañskiej], from 1931 president of Polish Catholic Intellectuals League [Zwi¹zek Polskiej Inteligencji Katolickiej], organizer of "Odrodzenie" charitable festivals in Lublin. Wrote many works on subjects which he took interest in (Studia i szkice spo³eczne ["Social Studies and Essays"], Polityka spo³eczna ["Social Policy"], Bolszewizm jako pr¹d kulturowy i cywilizacyjny ["Bolshevism as a Cultural and Civilizational Current"], Ekonomika i etyka ["Economics and Ethics"], Problemy spo³eczne ["Social Problems"]). D. in Be³¿yce.

The selected fragments are from "Bolszewizm jako pr¹d kulturowy i cywilizacyjny", Pr¹d, April 1937, pp. 227-234-241-243.


   1. The characteristic feature of the socialist-Bolshevik culture is collectivity.

   Society is composed of individuals, it is a quantifiable and in a sense mechanical entity. Man is not important, as long as society lasts. [...]

   The group, the collectivity is the only reality. The individual is its element, but of less consequence than a cell in an organism. The cell lives through the organism, but has its own life. The individual does not possess his own mental life within the collectivity. He thinks the same, he feels the same, and he acts the same as the collectivity. [...]

   Individual life is supplanted with collective life. The individual does not have his own life and purpose. He lives and acts within the collectivity, through the collectivity and for the collectivity. He does not have rights as a person and, as an individual, he possesses only those rights that are granted to him by the collectivity. He does not have his own joys and griefs, but only collective joys and griefs. Cultural life, social life, and leisure have been transferred to clubs, factory buildings, and entertainment parks. Hence collective action, collective writing, all kinds of parades, team competitions. The poet and the writer describe collective action, mass feelings. The human being has been lost or is hardly to be seen. The aim of work is not to develop individual talents or realize individual good within the framework of the common good, but to realize the collective good, and only indirectly one's own. In the economic sphere man labors not for himself, but for the collectivity, and it is the collectivity that gives him the opportunity to satisfy his needs. [...]

   The idea of community is so strong in socialist thought, that in the initial phase of the Bolshevik revolution it assumed savage forms. When one discards natural moral law, and especially Christian morality, a woman loses her inherent human value and becomes a commodity. In Ekaterinodar the Bolshevik authorities issued documents empowering their holders to socialize girls upwards of ten years of age as they saw fit. In Vladimir it was decreed with the same purpose in mind that all women above seventeen should be registered. In his report to the English minister of war, general Poole wrote in January 1919 that in some Soviet cities commissariats of free love had been created and that virtuous women who would not submit to the commissars' decree were publicly flogged.

   What are the reasons for this socializing of the whole of life?

   A) Socialist economics claims that the capitalist economy leads to anarchy and economic disasters, and hence to its own collapse. The capitalist "husk is cracking. The last hour of the capitalist private property has struck. The expropriators will be expropriated".

   Private property will be replaced with public ownership. Anarchy of production will be supplanted with central, planned management. "Centralization of the means of production and the socialization of labor" will come about.

   The new system will be based on "co-operative" labor, on "joint ownership of land and of the means of production, created by labor alone".

   All goods are produced by common co-operative labor. This fact must find its reflection in the common ownership of the means and the tools of labor, in the common ownership of the products of labor, and in the central management of the entire economy. Instead of independent businesses, one big enterprise will be created. [...]

   This factory-society is conceived in a deeply mechanistic way. It is composed of individuals, not of personalities. [...]

Under socialism inherently human values are submerged, man as an independent, self-conscious and responsible creature is submerged.

   This is an inevitable consequence of historical materialism. Since economic relations are the only factor of development, man is reduced to nothing.

   Marx and other theoreticians of socialism recognize the influence of man and man-made institutions on the course of history, but only as secondary factors. Man is involved in production, in the creation of culture, and thus affects the course of events, but he thinks about and wants to achieve only what he has to think and want, determined as he is by economic factors. The spirit of man, his mentality, will, and feelings are products of economic factors, and not of an independent spiritual element. Therefore human personality has no significance in history. It is only an instrument in the hands of a creative, but only blindly creative matter. [...]

   3. The theory which claims that man is only an instrument of history, or to be more precise, of creative economic factors, is undermined even by socialism and bolshevism, which have boasted eminent personalities giving a new direction to history.

   Yet this theory has important practical meaning. It turns individuals into a group lacking individuality and will.

   The new historical factor of common ownership transforms society into a single whole, finding expression in the same thoughts, the same actions, the same feelings, in the communality of life and play.

   Together with the principle of common ownership, the theory transforms citizens into slaves of the state. No one possesses productive property, labor is the only source of income, and the state is the sole owner of enterprises; there are no businesses which are private, not owned by the state. When the state refuses employment, when it decides that a citizen is a liszeniec [1] , he is deprived of a chance to make a living. In an economy based on private ownership this cannot occur. If one does not find work in one company, one will find it in another. If a state-owned or syndicated company does not have a job for someone, he will find it in a private one, not to mention the fact that citizens have their own businesses.

   Being the owner of the goods produced, the state distributes them among the citizens. All citizens are dependent on the state as regards the satisfaction of their needs. The state has at its disposal industrial and agricultural products, apartments, paper needed for printing books and periodicals, schools and universities, railroads and means of transportation.

   The citizens constitute a mass that the state uses as it sees fit. Along with economic power, the state has political power accompanied by the whole apparatus of coercion.

   Socialism accepted the assertion of Engels that in the communist state "the government of men will give way to the administration of things and the management of production processes. The state will not be removed, but will simply wither away". Marx claims that the state will exist only in the initial stage of communist society, as organized oppression - because every state is organized oppression - in the hands of the proletariat. However, the problem is that the period of the dictatorship of the proletariat has lasted for too long. Moreover, it will continue to exist. Yet let us assume that the state will wither away. Then economic management will also perform political functions, connected with internal security and external defense. Economic power will find support in political power. This has already occurred: the same people exert political and economic power, people from the same class. They are intellectuals, who pretend to speak on behalf of the working class.

   Lenin was right, then, when he said that "all citizens will become employees of the state".

   4. One must add, though, that in practice the state finds its concrete expression in the ruling group. All citizens will become employees of the ruling group, having at its disposal the national economy and the means of state coercion.

   Along with Lenin, Stalin stresses the fact that the Bolshevik revolution, which is to transform human life completely, cannot be carried out without the dictatorship of the proletariat, that is without a strong, central, unconstrained organization whose organs are the trade unions, the Soviets, and particular comrades unreservedly committed to the cause, youth associations, and parties, as organizations of people from the proletarian mass. In this manner the entire life of Soviet citizens will be embraced by a strong framework created by the ruling group.

   5. The state as a representative of the collectivity stands at the head not only of the national economy and public life, but also of spiritual and artistic culture. It provides the impulse, it designates the tasks and the areas of interest, it organizes talents, it praises and condemns, and it elevates and humiliates. Socialism places culture under the control of the state.

   6. Having shed his personality, having rejected God, the Soviet citizen believed in Stalin, as an embodiment of the collectivity.

[1]      Prior to 1936, a former "exploiter" deprived of civil rights, from lishat', to deprive (translator's note).

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