Letter from Gorky to Stalin
Dear Iosif Vissarionovich:
The emigre and bourgeois press bases its perception of
Soviet reality almost entirely on the negative information which
is published by our own press for self-criticism with the aim of
education and agitation. The products of the these "individual
journalists" of the bourgeois press are not as numerous and
harmful as they are made out to be, in contrast to our own
release of self-revealing facts and conclusions.
By strongly emphasizing facts of a negative nature, we open
ourselves up to our enemies, providing them an enormous amount of
material, which they in turn very aptly use against us,
compromising our party and our leadership in the eyes of Europe's
proletariat, compromising the very principle of the dictatorship
of the working class, because the proletariat of Europe and
America feeds on the bourgeois newspapers for the most part--and
for this reason it cannot grasp our country's cultural-
revolutionary progress, our successes and achievements in
industrialization, the enthusiasm of our working masses, and of
their influence on the impoverished peasantry.
It stands to reason, I do not think we can positively
influence the attitude which the bourgeoisie has already formed
towards the Union of Soviets, and I do know that European
conditions are zealously raising the revolutionary consciousness
of the European proletariat.
I also know that the one-sidedness of our treatment of
reality--created by us--exerts an extremely unhealthy influence
on our young people.
In their letters, and in their conversations with me, it
seems that today's youth displays an extremely pessimistic mood.
This mood is very natural. Direct knowledge of reality of our
youth from the central areas, especially our provinces is
limited, insignificant. To acquaint themselves with what is
going on they turn to the newspapers.
It is furthermore imperative to put the propaganda of
atheism on solid ground. You won't achieve much with the weapons
of Marx and materialism, as we have seen. Materialism and
religion are two different planes and they don't coincide. If a
fool speaks from the heavens and the sage from a factory--they
won't understand one another. The sage needs to hit the fool
with his stick, with his weapon.
For this reason, there should be courses set up at the
Communist Academy which would not only treat the history of
religion, and mainly the history of the Christian church, i.e.,
the study of church history as politics.
We need to know the "fathers of the church," the apologists
of Christianity, especially indispensable to the study of the
history of Catholicism, the most powerful and intellectual church
organization whose political significance is quite clear. We
need to know the history of church schisms, heresies, the
Inquisition, the "religious" wars, etc. Every quotation by a
believer is easily countered with dozens of theological
quotations which contradict it.
We cannot do without an edition of the "Bible" with critical
commentaries from the Tubingen school and books on criticism of
biblical texts, which could bring a very useful "confusion into
the minds" of believers.
There is a fine role to be played here by a popular book on
the Taborites and the Husite movements. It would be useful
to introduce here "The history of the peasant wars in Germany,"
the old book by Zimmerman. Carefully edited, it would be very
useful for the minds.
It is necessary to produce a book on the church's struggle
Our youth is very poorly informed on questions of this
nature. The "tendency" toward a religious disposition is very
noticeable--a natural result of developing individualism. At
this time, as always, the young are in a hurry to find "the