by the Rev.
J. F. T.
I S German-Russian antipathy chiefly political or ideological?
It was pointed out once in this paper that Nazism and Communism are, in many respects, identical.
The Soviet has persecuted and liquidated with unprecedented ferocity—the Nazis are said to do the same. Whatever is supposed to jeopardise the State may be ruthlessly eliminated. Both Soviet and Reich are the enemies of private capitalism ; property may be confiscated with little refetence to the rights of ownership. In Russia and Germany alike, we are told that the State is endowed with the prerogatives that belong only to God ; Statolatry in both countries being the order of the day. Both family and individual are means to an end, and not (as we Catholics affirm) ends, so to say, in them
selves. The Soviet has for years openly avowed its atheism ; a tradition which not even the war with Germany tan make it for
get overnight. Rosenberg is quoted to prove that if Nazi Germany is not actually atheist it is certainly pagan. If Nazis have not the same missionary zeal as their Cummunist vis-a-vis, they are inclined, at least, to export their ideas to,ixthe embarrassment of their neighbours.
Russian Witness We find ourselves fighting nominally against the pagan. .society Of Nazism; but it is a Russian writing in The Christimi News Letter who reminds us that " bourgeois society has long been a godless society. not only tit its conscious ideas. but in its life which is much more important." We are not thus excused, however, from the duty of recognising both ally and enemy for what they are.
We can scarcely complain that denunciathan of the enemy has not been sufficiently generous; but we may wish that a little more skill had been used in the trick of turning the bully of eighteen months ago into the plucky fellow of to-day. The beatification of the Bolshevik has been altogether too quick a process; even though it be held that the Public is one faculty short— having no memory.
We must have balance even in war time, and a consistent judgment in tespeet of both Nazism and Communism. Not long ago those were dubbed Leftists who saw in Communism something more than an opportunity for mere hysterical condemnation. It was improper in those days to suggest any menace othei than the Red menace.
Now things are different. The world-wide aggression of atheistic communism and holshevik pet secinion of Christianity are convenieatly ignored. We remember being rebuked for too rigorous a criticism of Fascism, but I am told now that it is the supreme evil. I confess I should like to meet some of my old friends who held that it was almost a heresy to dispute the justice of General Franco's cause, but who now regard failure to fall in with Great Britain as one of the four sins crying to Heaven for vengeance.
Universal Bogey In general we are not happy unless we have a universal bogey on which to pin the evils of our time. When we have recognised that the one thing that is wrong with Nazism, Communism and the so-called democracies is godlessness. there will be some hope of peace and world prosperity. 1 have been re-reading Spiriclonova's Open Letter to the Central Executive of the Bolshevik Parry. Here is not thc outpouring of emotional anti-communism but a calm indictment from a courageous and high-souled champion of freedom in conflict—first, with the tyranny of the Tsars and then later with the tyranny of the Soviet Government. This was Maria Spiridonova who marched behind the Red flag in 1905, who shot Luzhenovesky, who most of her life has languished in prison.
As early as November 27, 1918, she wrote: " Never in the most corrupt of Parliaments, never in the most venal papers of capitalist society, has hatred of opponents reached hatred of one group of Socialists for their
such heights of cynicism as yours . . a hatred of one group of Socialists for their closest comrades and allies.
Betrayal of the Workers The October Revolution, in which we marched side by side, was bound to conquer, because its foundation and watchwords were rooted in historical reality and were solidly supported by all the working masses. But your policy developed into a betrayal of the workers. Instead of the socialisation of industry you have introduced state capitalism. A system of coercive exploitation remains in force, . Workers, in order not to die of hunger, march against peasants, and take away their last piece of bread. Terrible seeds of dissension have been sown between inseparable brothers, the peasants and the lantory worker—a dissension that will not soon disappear.
" In the name of the proletariat you have wiped out all the moral achievements of our Revolution. Things that el y aloud to Heaven have been done by the provincial Chekas, by the All Russian Cheka. A bloodthirsty mockery of the souls and bodies of men, torture and treachery, and then murder, murder without end, done on denunciation only, without waiting for any proof of guilt. These nightly murders of fettered, unarmed, helpless people, these secret shootings in the back, the unceremonious burial on the spot of bodies, robbed to the very shirt.not always quite dead—what sort of Terrorism is this? The woad Terrorism used not merely to con
note revenge and intimidation. No, the Foremost aims of Terrorism were to protest against tyranny, to awake a sense of value in the souls of the oppressed, to rouse the conscience of those who kept silence in the face of this submission. The Terrorist nearly always accompanied his deed by the sacrifice of his or her own liberty or life. Only thus could the terrorist acts of the Revolu tionaries, be justified. But where are these elements to he found now?'"
We quote at length not because there is anything new about the oft-repeated horrors of the early Bolshevik regime, but beeause of an examination so accurate in its early insight, as to have been accounted since prophetic.
Tarim Upside Down
Bolshevism is Tsarism upside down. To the capitalist class, to anything that stands in the way, even because of personal antagonism, it metes out the same treatment a.v was dealt by the Tsars to the serfs. A worse Terrorism—the same suppression of liberty. of free speech and free Press.
Continuing to review Bolshevism in contra-distinction from Creative Revolution, Spiridonova continues: "The working classes have brought the Revolution under an unblemished red flag, a flag red with their own blood. Their moral authority and sanction lay in their sufferings for the highest ideal of humanity. Belief in Socialism is a belief in the nobler future of humanity—a belief in the abolition of all kinds of force, in the brotherhood of the world. You have damaged this belief. You have helped to give the people a little justice: but you have taken Monstrous power upon yourselves, and have assumed absolute authority over the souls and bodies of the workers. And when the People began to reject you, you laid them in chains in order to combat alleged ' counter revolution.' I do net accept you as a tribunal fit to judge our ideas. T do not accept your jurisdiction. If any tribunal is to sit over us I appeal to the International and the verdict of history. Your tribunal consists of Party Members. In the name of Party Discipline it will have to carry out everything decided by your Party. A time may come when a protest will arise within your Party itself against a policy which stifles the spirit of the Revolution."
Left-Wing Revolution is not Bolshevism. Bolshevism merely stepped in when the Revolutionaries had done their work. What we must face frankly is the fact that though a craut. in the German morale and subsequent revolution need not spell Bolshevism, nevertheless, a peace in which the interests of a victorious Russia are to be pre-eminent, may well do so. For Catholics, there should be no time at which to see and speak the Truth is impolitic.