Sunday, January 28, 2007

Et dixit Koestler

From The Invisible Writing by Arthur Koestler. Becoming a comrade:

I learnt that the rules of common decency, of loyalty and fair play were not absolute rules, but the ephemeral projections of bourgeois society. Antiquity had one code of honour; the feudal era another; capitalist society still another, which the ruling class was trying to sell us as eternal laws. But absolute rules of ethics did not exist. Each class, as it became dominant in history, had reshaped these so-called laws according to its interests. The Revolution could not be achieved according to the laws of cricket. It supreme law was that the ends justified the means; its supreme guide the method of dialectical materialism.
Official meeting of a communist cell
The cell met once a week, but the more active members were in daily contact with one another. The official meeting always started with a political lecture by an instructor from district Headquarters (or by the cell leader after he had been briefed at H.Q.), in which the line was laid down concerning the various questions of the day. This was followed by discussion, but a discussion of a peculiar kind. It is basic rule of Communist discipline that, once the party has decided to adopt a certain line regarding a given problem, all criticism of that decision becomes deviationist sabotage. In theory, discussion is possible before a decision has been reached; in practice, decisions are always imposed from above, without previous consultation with the rank and file. One of the slogans of the German party said: 'The front-line is no place for discussions.' Another said: 'Wherever a Communist happens to be, he is always in the front-line.' So our dicussions always showed a complete unanimity of opinion.

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