National Council of American-Soviet Friendship, “Open Letter to the American People on American-Soviet Friendship”

 

Corliss Lamont, ‘Open Letter’ (2)

 

Posted here:

Open Letter to the American People on American-Soviet Friendship

Introduction by Corliss Lamont

New York: The National Council of American-Soviet Friendship, 1943

Sorokin was one of the signers. His Russia and the United States was published in 1944.

Corliss Lamont (1902-1995) was an American socialist and advocate of various left-wing and civil liberties causes. He was Chairman of The National Council of American-Soviet Friendship, which was founded in 1943.

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

      May 2023

Bolshevik Feminist

 

from Barbara Evans Clements, Bolshevik Feminist: The Life of Aleksandra Kollontai (Indiana University Press, 1979), pp. 117-118:

Kollontai’s political fortunes rose with those of the Bolsheviks. At the Sixth Party Congress in late July, while she sat in jail, she became the first woman elected to the Central Committee, polling the sixth highest vote. In nominating her a Bolshevik candidate to the Constituent Assembly, Stalin placed her fifth on the list, after Lenin, Zinoviev, Trotsky, and Lunacharskii. When she was released from prison, Proletarii, the party newspaper, welcomed her back by declaring: “Greetings to the fighter, returned to our ranks.” Requests came in to the Petrograd offices for her pamphlets, and colleagues acknowledged her as one of their best orators. Pitirim Sorokin, a Socialist Revolutionary who was later to become an eminent sociologist, wrote after losing a debate with her:

As for this woman, it is plain that her revolutionary enthusiasm is nothing but a gratification of her sexual satyriasis [sic]. In spite of her numerous “husbands,” Kollontai, first the wife of a general, later the mistress of a dozen men, is not yet satiated. She seeks new forms of sexual sadism. I wish she might come under the observation of Freud and other psychiatrists. She would indeed be a rare subject for them. [Pitirim A. Sorokin, Leaves From a Russian Diary (Boston: Beacon Press, 1950), p. 59]

Sorokin’s anger at Kollontai and the Bolsheviks’ admiration for her sprang from the same source—Kollontai’s talent as a speaker. She had never been more effective in presenting Bolshevik demands for “peace, bread, and land” and “all power to the soviets.” Bolshevik popularity was greater than ever before, and Kollontai, buoyed by sympathetic audiences and by her party’s success, rushed happily from meeting to meeting. Her speeches, she felt, “expressed the general striving, the united mass will,” of the crowds who shared her radicalism. The final push by the people toward freedom and community had begun. Both then and later, Kollontai hailed the spontaneity of the revolution. She attributed the party’s success to the fact that it simultaneously expressed the will of the people and led their historically determined march.

— posted by Roger W. Smith

     May 2023

 

Pitirim A. Sorokin, commentary — Erich Fromm, “War Within Man”

 

Sorokin commentary; Erich Fromm, ‘War Within Man’

 

Posted here (PDF above) is Sorokin’s commentary (pp. 42-43) in

Erich Fromm

War Within Man : A Psychological Enquiry into the Roots of Destructiveness: A Study And Commentary

Philadelphia: Peace Literature Service of the American Friends Service Committee, 1963

Erich Fromm (1900-1980) was a German social psychologist and
psychoanalyst. Fromm belonged to a Neo-Freudian school of psychoanalytical theory.

It is well known that Sorokin had little interest in or sympathy with psychoanalysis and Freudianism.

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

    April 2023

“Eternal Memory”

 

‘A Long Journey;’ pp 49-51

 

Posted here (above) are the third movement of Dmitri Shostakovich’s eleventh symphony; and an excerpt from A Long Journey: The Autobiography of Pitirim A. Sorokin.

The third movement, “Eternal Memory,” starts with a halting motion on pizzicato strings, over which a noble melody (“You Fell As Victims,” most famous of all the revolutionary songs and whose deployment was by no means limited to Soviet composers) is heard on violas then extended to upper strings. A somber new theme, heard initially on woodwind and brass before being transformed on violins, begins the ascent to the apex, at the summit of which the climactic motif from the previous movement is sounded out balefully on full orchestra, underpinned by pounding timpani that continue as the intensity subsides. The viola melody, now a distant recessional, is heard again before pizzicato strings arrive at a questioning pause.”

– program notes to a recording of Shostakovich’s Eleventh

Note that the beginning of the third movement is so faint that it is barely audible for a minute or two.

A footnote: My uncle Roger Handy gave me a Christmas gift of Shostakovich’s eleventh  symphony in a premier recording by André Cluytens that was released when I was in college, for which gift I was and remain deeply grateful.

— posted by Roger W. Smith

     December 2022

 

Sorokin and Kondratieff

 

L to R; Nikolai Kondratieff and wife, Elena Sorokin, Pitirim Sorokin; Minnesota, 1927

Of … memorable reunions in Minneapolis, that with my closest old friend, Professor N. Kondratieff, must be mentioned. As a foremost agricultural economist and expert on business cycles, he was permitted by the Soviet Government to visit American universities and research institutions in his field. This task brought him to the University of Minnesota where he stayed with us for several days. It was a real joy for us to see him alive and well and to talk with him about our Russian friends, the economic and political conditions in Russia, and the basic problems of the world at large. Unfortunately this reunion was our last meeting. A few years after his return to Russia, he was accused by Stalin in 1931 of being the leading ideologist and planner of an anti-Communist reconstruction of Russian agriculture. As such, he was “purged,” and disappeared. We heard rumors that he had been banished and had perished somewhere in Turkestan or Mongolia. But exactly how and where he perished we have never learned up to the present time. Requiem eternam et lux perpetua to you, our dearest friend!

A Long Journey: The Autobiography of Pitirim A. Sorokin, pg. 233

 

*****************************************************

As the semester [at the University of Minnesota] got under way, they learned that their old friend Nikolai Kondratieff would be visiting in early November. Kondratieff was widely known in Russia as a theorist of economic cycles, a statistician, and an agricultural economist. Pitirim had not seen Kondratieff since staying with him in Moscow after being released by the Chekha. They had first met as boys at the Khrenovo Teachers’ Seminary when Pitirim was fourteen and Nikolai almost eleven. Kondratieff, like Sorokin, was expelled for revolutionary activities. When he learned that Pitirim was in night school at the Tscherniayevskye Kursy, he went to St. Petersburg, where the two were roommates for several years. They completed night school together and went on to the University of St. Petersburg. Nikolai had met Elena shortly after she became acquainted with Pitirim, and all had endured the trials of the revolution. Kondratieff had also served in the Kerensky government as the deputy minister for food.

Kondratieff’s visit lasted for nearly a month, and the Sorokins delighted in showing him the Twin Cities. Pitirim also introduced Nikolai to some of his colleagues in the department and to others in agricultural economics. As Kondratieff’s work had not yet been translated into English, American scholars were largely unaware of his ideas, although some knew of him as a Soviet economic planner and farm expert. Sorokin kept Kondratieff’s visit quiet because he feared that their association might create problems when his friend returned to Russia. Pitirim’s concern actually foreshadowed his friend’s ultimate fate. Five years later, Kondratieff’s economic ideas brought him into conflict with Soviet policies. He was jailed in 1930 and appeared in the mock trials of 1931-32 in which Stalin purged so-called enemies of the state. However, Pitirim did not sense that when Nikolai left for Washington in early December 1924 it would be the last time he would see his boyhood friend. Kondratieff..

Barry V. Johnston, Pitirim A. Sorokin: An Intellectual Biography, pp. 29-30

 

*****************************************************

Kondratiev was removed from the directorship of the Institute of Conjuncture in 1928 and arrested in July 1930, accused of being a member of a “Peasants Labour Party” (a non-existent party invented by the NKVD). Convicted as a “kulak-professor” and sentenced to 8 years in prison, Kondratiev served his sentence, from February 1932 onwards, at Suzdal, near Moscow. Although his health deteriorated under poor conditions, Kondratiev continued his research and decided to prepare five new books, as he mentioned in a letter to his wife. Some of these texts were indeed completed and were published.

His last letter was sent to his daughter, Elena Kondratieva, on 31 August 1938. In September 1938 during Stalin’s Great Purge, he was subjected to a second trial, condemned to ten years without the right to correspond with the outside world. However, Kondratiev was executed at the Kommunarka shooting ground by firing squad on the same day the sentence was issued. Kondratiev was 46 at the time of his execution.

Wikipedia

 

— posted by Roger W.  Smith

     December 2022

Наука и жизнь

 

Наука и жизнь (Science and Life). a Russian émigré magazine, was published in New York from March 1923 to July 1924.

I have copied all the issues from a microfilm at the New York Public Library. See PDF attached here.

An article by Sorokin appeared in the December 1923 issue (see attached).

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

     November 1923

 

Nauka i Zhizn

Sorokin, December 1923

 

dedication page, The Reconstruction of Humanity

 

Pitirim A. Sorokin

The Reconstruction of Humanity

The Beacon Press, 1948

 

dedication, The Reconstruction of Humannty

 

posted by Roger W. Smith

October 2022

a meeting in Winchester

 

Walicki Zniewolony umysł po latach PL-ENG

 

Posted here (Word document above) are the original Polish and an English translation by Angelina Weimann of an except from the following book:

Andrzej Walicki

Zniewolony umysł po latach

Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Czytelnik. 1993

Rozdział: „Rosja” (fragment)

 

Andrzej Walicki
Captive Mind After Years
Warsaw: Wydawnictwo Czytelnik
Chapter: “Russia” (excerpt)

 

Andrzej Walicki (1930 2020) was a Polish historian and a professor at the University of Notre Dame. He specialized in philosophy of sociopolitics, history of Polish and Russian philosophy, Marxism, and liberal thought. He was one of the scholars who formed the “Warsaw school of the history of ideas.”

Angelina Weimann: “Walicki  made a detailed study of Russian philosophy. It was not always well received because Poland, due to historical facts (the Russian partitions, Stalin’s regime, the USSR), is not an ideal place for the study of great Russians. However, thanks to Russia, many Polish scholars, including Sorokin’s teacher, Leon Petrażycki, received an excellent education and would become international scholars.”

See Andrzej Walicki, The Slavophile Controversy : History of a Conservative Utopia in Nineteenth-Century Russian Thought (Notre Dame Press, 1989)

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

      October 2022

 

Acknowledgment: I wish to thank Angelina Weimann for sharing this excerpt in the original with me; and for offering to do an English translation.

Roger W. Smith, Несколько Слов о Проф. П. А. Сорокине (A Few Words About Prof. P. A. Sorokin)

 

The New Review No. 308

Roger W. Smith, ‘A Few Words About Prof. P. A. Sorokin’ IN RUSSIAN

Roger W. Smith, ‘A Few Words About Prof. P. A. Sorokin’ – The New Review, No. 308

 

Posted here (Word document above) is my article “A Few Words About Prof. P. A. Sorokin,” which I submitted to the Russian language journal (published in New York ) The New Review.

I have also posted the Russian text of the entries in the issue of The New Review (No. 308) that pertain to me.

And the original Russian of my article “A Few Words About Prof. P. A. Sorokin.”

It was published in the current issue, in a Russian translation by the journal’s editor, Marina Adamovich.

The following are the details of the publication,. of both this article and correspondence between Sorokin and Tolstoy’s author Alexandra Tolstoy, which was also published with credit to me.

Роджер Смит

несколько слов о проф. П. А. Сорокине

перевод с английского — М. Адамович

Новый журнал

Но 308, Сентябрь 2022

стр. 189-191

 

Roger Smith, Neskol’ko Slov o Prof. P. A. Sorokin (A Few Words about Prof. P. A. Sorokin), translated from the English by Marina Adamovich, The New Review No. 308 (September 2022), pp. 189-191

 

Переписка Александры Толстой и Питирима Соркина

Публикация — Roger W. Smith

Новый журнал

Но 308, Сентябрь 2022

стр. 192-196

 

Perepiska Aleksandry Tolstoy i Pitirima Sorkina (Correspondence between Alexandra Tolstoy and Pitirim Sorkin), published by Roger W. Smith, The New Review No. 308 (September 2022), pp. 192-196

 

— Roger W. Smith

      September 2022

that which war and revolution unleash (Sorokin, 1922)

 

И война, и революция представляют могучие факторы изменения поведения. Они «отвивают» от людей одни формы актов и «прививают» новые, переодевают человека в новый костюм поступков.

Являясь противоположностью мирной жизни, они прививают населению свойства и формы поведения, обратные первой… Мирная жизнь тормозит акты насилия, убийства, зверства, лжи, грабежа, обмана, подкупа и разрушения. Война и революция, напротив, требуют их, прививают эти рефлексы, благоприятствуют им всячески. Убийство, разрушение, обман, насилие, уничтожение врага они возводят в доблесть и заслугу: выполнителей их квалифицируют как великих воинов и бесстрашных революционеров, вместо наказания одаряют наградой, вместо порицания ‒ славой. Мирная жизнь развивает продуктивную работу, творчество, личное право и свободу; война и революция требуют беспрекословного повиновения («повинуйся, а не рассуждай», «подчиняйся революционной дисциплине»), душат личную инициативу, личную свободу («дисциплина», «диктатура», «военные суды», «революционные трибуналы»), прививают и приучают к чисто разрушительным актам, отрывают и отучают от мирного труда. Мирная жизнь внедряет в население переживания благожелательности, любви к людям, уважения к их жизни, правам, достоянию и свободе. Война и революция выращивают и культивируют вражду, злобу, ненависть, посягательство на жизнь, свободу и достояние других лиц. Мирная жизнь способствует свободе мысли. Война и революция тормозят ее. «Где борьбу решает насилие ‒ все равно: насилие ли пушек или грубое насилие нетерпимости, ‒ там победа мудрых, положительная селекция по силе мозга и самая работа мысли затрудняется и делается невозможной».

 

Both war and revolution are powerful factors in changes in behavior. They “unleash” from people actions in some form or other and “instill” new ones, dress a person in a new costume of deeds.

Manifesting themselves as the opposite of peaceful life, they instill in the population attributes and forms of behavior the opposite of the first … Peaceful life hinders acts of violence, murder, brutality, lies, robbery, deception, bribery and destruction. War and revolution, on the contrary, demand them, inculcate these reflexes, and favor them in every possible way. They elevate murder, destruction, deception, violence, and annihilation of the enemy to valor and merit: they qualify their implementers as great warriors and fearless revolutionaries, give rewards instead of punishment and glory instead of censure. Peaceful life fosters productive work, creativity, personal rights and freedom; war and revolution demand unquestioning obedience (“obey, not reason,” “obey revolutionary discipline”), stifle personal initiative and personal freedom (“discipline,” “dictatorship,” ”military courts,” “revolutionary tribunals”), inculcate and accustom to purely destructive acts, detach and wean from peaceful labor. Peaceful life instills in the population feelings of benevolence, love for people, respect for their lives, rights, property and freedom. War and revolution cultivate and nurture enmity, malice, hatred, encroachment on the life, freedom and property of others. Peaceful life promotes freedom of thought. War and revolution hinder it. “Where the struggle is resolved by violence ‒ it is all the same whether the violence of cannons or the brutal violence of intolerance ‒there the victory of intelligent, positive selection according to the power of the brain, and mental activity itself becomes difficult and impossible.”

 

— от Питирима Сорокина, Современное состояние России (Прага, 1922 г.), перевод Натальи С. Сергиевой и Роджера В. Смита (перевод в процессе)

from Pitirim Sorokin, Sovremennoye Sostoyaniye Rossii (The Present State of Russia, Prague, 1922), translated by Natalia S. Sergieva and Roger W. Smith (translation in progress)

 

*****************************************************

There is a timeless quality to much of Sorokin’s writings. The title of Yuri Doykov’s biography, Питирим Сорокин: Человек вне сезона (Pitirim Sorokin: A Timeless Man), is very apt. Consider the current invasion of Ukraine.

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

     August 2022