Esperanto
Author: David Poulson


What About the Workers? Conclusion

Author: David Poulson
Published on: January 8, 1999

Seldom has a political party had a more unsuitable name than the one known to posterity as the Bolsheviks. Although the name means "The Majority Party," the leaders of that party could never tolerate any minority opposition, no matter how small. And the history of the Russian Communist Party, as it became known, is characterized by brutality and betrayal. Within the USSR, political opponents of the ruling communist party were destroyed by the thousand, if not by the million. All debate, dissension or expression of alternative ideas was ruthlessly suppressed. (For more information see: http://metalab.unc.edu/expo/soviet.exhibit/repress.html )

In countries outside of the Soviet Union, communist infiltrators made strenuous efforts to infiltrate, take over and even destroy any kind of organization that showed the slightest inclination to support socialist ideas. The organization for Esperanto workers founded by Lanti was no exception and the attack on Lanti's ideology and personal leadership began the year after SAT was founded and was led by a formidable opponent: Ernest Drezen.

Ernest Drezen was not simply a Soviet puppet, infiltrated into the Esperanto movement for political purposes only. And although he was, in my opinion, one of the least attractive personalities associated with the Esperanto movement, he must take his proper place in our story.

A Latvian by birth, Drezen was educated in Russia and between 1915 and 1917 was a junior officer in the Army. After the October Revolution, he continued his military career in the Red Army, joined the Communist Party and became an important official. He was also an expert Esperantist with a large personal library of Esperanto material, and when Lanti first encountered him in 1922 he was the President of the main Esperanto association of the USSR (the Sovetrespublikara Esperantista Unio, or SEU). In later years, Drezen's expertise was enough to win him a place in the Esperanto Academy but he was never popular, and one of his fellow Akademianoj, the great Hungarian Esperantist Kaloman Kalocsay, described him satirically as follows:

Drezen, la rug^a-verda car'
Rigore regas en la SEU,
postulas oni lin obeu
en c^iu pens' kaj c^iu far'.

Drezen the red-green Czar,
Strictly rules in the SEU,
and demands that you obey him,
In all you think and all you do.

In Lanti, however, Drezen had met his match and after a nine-year struggle conceded defeat. IN 1930, although 45 members of the SEU enrolled for the SAT conference that year in London, not one of them put in an appearance. And the next year, all of the remaining Russian Esperantists - i.e., those members of the SEU who had not already been liquidated for their deviationist tendencies - left SAT en masse. In this way, SAT lost all support from the Soviet Union and the SEU was purged of all individuals who did not follow slavishly the party line, as interpreted through the mouth of its autocratic president, Ernest Drezen.

Ironically, however, despite the loss of an estimated 2,000 Russian members, SAT thrived, survived additional persecution from fascist governments during the late thirties and the forties, and remains a healthy organization today. But unhappily, in 1937 the Stalinist secret police turned on the members of SEU with the result that Ernest Drezen himself, in company with all other prominent Soviet Esperantists, were destroyed in their turn. Of the SEU leadership only two survived: Gregor Demidjuk from Moscow, who joined SAT in 1922, returned from Siberian exile in 1955, and a member of the Leningrad group, Simeon Podkaminer, another SAT pioneer, also survived his sentence.

As the conflict between the supporters of Lanti and those of Drezen was so protracted and so bitter, I think it appropriate to provide here, in Lanti's own words, the definition of socialism in which he believed so firmly. Here it is.

"Socialism is a social order ("sociordo") in which there would be no exploitation of one group of individuals by another; in which every worker would receive the full value of his labour, that is no surplus would be reserved for the use of a class or category of privileged individuals; a social order in which everyone would be able to freely develop his or her potential and would have the right to express openly and without embarrassment their opinions and the ability to publish them; a just and fair social order with no classes in which each individual could attain awareness of their own dignity. In a word, Socialism would be the attainment of the slogan which hypocritically adorns state buildings and monuments in France: Liberty, Equality and Fraternity."

Lenin, who described freedom as "a bourgeois prejudice" would have had no time for that definition, which owes much more to Bakunin than to Marx, nor would any of his successors to the leadership of the Russian Communist party. And under Stalin, the expression of such opinions resulted in a death sentence for anyone brave enough to utter them.

By contrast, Lanti's own view of the Communism to be found in Russia, became more and more hostile until, in 1935, he wrote:

"Soviet society, as it is now constituted, is a wholly new species with nothing in common with socialism. Some people describe it as "state capitalism," others compare it with the society of the Incas of Peru before their conquest by the Spaniards.

The name which one gives to any system of government in fact proves nothing. However, if one has to give it a name it is easy to show that the Stalinist regime has many similar features to those of Mussolini and Hitler so without any hesitation I would conclude that in the Soviet Union the form of government is RED FASCISM."

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PRI TUTKOMUNA LINGVO
PRI RUSA LINGVO
PRI ANGLA LINGVO
PRI ALIAJ NACIAJ LINGVOJ
BATALO DE LINGVOJ
ARTIKOLOJ PRI ESPERANTO
"" PRI "KONKURENTOJ" DE ESPERANTO
LECIONOJ DE ESPERANTO
.KONSULTOJ DE E-INSTRUISTOJ
ESPERANTOLOGIO KAJ INTERLINGVISTIKO
TRADUKO DE MALSIMPLAJ FRAZOJ
TRADUKOJ DE DIVERSAJ VERKOJ
FRAZEOLOGIO DE ESPERANTO
, . VERKOJ DE ZAMENHOF KAJ PRI LI
, PROKSIMAJ MOVADOJ
ELSTARAJ PERSONOJ KAJ ESPERANTO
PRI ELSTARAJ ESPERANTISTOJ
. EL HISTORIO DE RUSIA E-MOVADO
KION ONI SKRIBAS PRI ESPERANTO
ESPERANTO EN LITERATURO
. KIAL E-MOVADO NE PROGRESAS
HUMURO PRI KAJ EN ESPERANTO
- ESPERANTO POR INFANOJ
DIVERSAJHOJ
INTERESAJHOJ
PERSONAJHOJ
/ DEMANDARO / RESPONDARO
UTILAJ LIGILOJ
IN ENGLISHPAGHOJ EN ANGLA LINGVO
PAGHOJ TUTE EN ESPERANTO
NIA BIBLIOTEKO


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