The selected fragments are from two texts by Ignacy Czuma: “Dzisiejsza filozofia sowieckiego prawa a romantyzm prawniczy” (“Current Philosophy of Soviet Law and Legal Romanticism”), originally published in Pamiętnik Literacki, organ of the Lublin Society of Friends of Science (Towarzystwo Miłośników Nauki), reprinted from 1930 facsimile, Lublin (pp. 22-43); “Bolszewizm” (“Bolshevism”), originally published in Prąd (Feb 1938), reprinted from Bolszewizm (collected articles): Lublin 1938, pp. 96-108.
The Soviet State developed in its structure those elements which in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries had a destructive effect on society and man, and hence called for their elimination and removal, instead of making them flourish and prevail. Sovietism accepted these agents of decay as its own, deemed them worthy of developing even if they carried with them the most evil and absurd sacrifices and destruction. Since Tsarist Russia differed as a state from, say, the French Third Republic in its attitude to religion, the Soviet Union rapidly caught up by introducing the separation of Church and state, and took further measures, already implemented in the West. These were: the complete banishment of God from public life; making the state morally self-sufficient (the state determines its own morality); banishing God from schools (the secularization of schools), banishing God from work, banishing God from the family (civil marriages were made obligatory), sequestering Church property, sequestering churches, etc. Having caught up with the West, the Soviet State goes a step further, namely it wrests God from the human soul, using all of the most criminal methods. It raises obstacles to renting churches, it spies on religious people and turns them in, harasses, kills and tortures the clergy, uses the machinery of the state to promote atheism, or rather a war against God and religion. After the previous stage effected by European civilization, that of banishing God from the life of society and the state, the ultimate step is taken on the way to wrest God from the human soul.
The Soviet State ceases to be a high-quality good of a separate kind. The nineteenth century made the state into an instrument of the political party, of Masonic lodges, of plutocracy; the Soviet State becomes a weapon of dictatorship which a handful of intelligentsia, with a high proportion of Jews, inflicts on the multitudinous nations subject to the Russian State. The state becomes an instrument of “oppression” – ostensibly used by the dictatorship of the proletariat, but in fact initially by the dictatorship of the party, but this also only ostensibly, because it is really a dictatorship of an oligarchy, and to be more precise, of an individual (Lenin, Stalin). The dictator and despot puts on a mantle of the dictatorship of the working class. The Soviet State does not bring people together, but destroys people and sets them against each other. This state is not spiritually edifying, but wrecks, kills and smothers. The role assigned by bolshevism to the state is all the more abominable that the dismantling and withering away of the state is announced (Lenin). In the course of events, it becomes more and more evident that the original phantoms of an amicable, “classless”, harmonious society which rules over things, not people, is becoming an increasingly bloody irony. The life of the state is then prolonged and ever longer or indefinite stages are proposed. Forms of government (or at least their appearances, but appearances can be attractive) are imposed of which the Soviet State was to be a negation (democracy, free elections, parliament, constitution, legislative, executive and judiciary powers, civil rights and obligations, etc.)
The Soviet State does not recognize any moral law above itself, and for that reason it has to resort, as did the nineteenth century state, to the only effective defense, which is coercion and violence. Coercion and violence, the grim daily reality of the Soviet State, elevated onto the highest plane of human existence, became the primary and the only foundation of social and national life. Not a spiritual bond, not a moral bond, but a bloody and savage coercion. Since the element of a moral goal and a moral order has been bloodily erased, the will again comes to the fore, amazingly enhanced in its role, blending with coercion and violence. There are no moral constraints on coercion and violence. The will has a savage freedom, exploited and abused, as we can see. The monstrous antics of the Roman Emperors seem like innocent play against this staggering and savage license of the will in the Soviet State. Under such circumstances we should not be surprised by the unbelievable, in their scale, experiments involving life, blood and terrible sweat as well as the humiliation and tormenting of human beings. Neither is the playful will - not tempered by any moral restrictions, having the immense state coercion at its disposal - constrained by reason, which has been placed out of immediate view.
The nineteenth century produced a type of head of state for ceremonies and official acts (touring the country, opening exhibitions, approving government nominations imposed by the parties, receiving diplomats, etc.); the Soviet State further reduced this defunct institution. The collegiate body is the pinnacle of the constitution, while ceremonial functions are performed by one person from this collegiate body. The actual supreme power resides elsewhere, as it does in a parliamentary republic. Thus the facts tell a different story than official pronouncements. In fact the Soviet State has had a monarchy since 1917 (Lenin), an absolute monarchy – after the ascendancy of Stalin we are dealing with a despotic monarchy – in its most perverted and cynical form.
The nineteenth century worked out a whole framework for the art of party politics. The party is a barrister, well paid because winning the case means gaining power, but a shameless and exclusive barrister. Nobody but the party has such a fine understanding of what is good for the people it represents, nobody but the party has the right to represent all of society or a portion of it. The party lives by lying, it promises a lot, delivers little, there are no means it would not use to stay in power or remove others from power, slandering its enemies and their actions, glorifying its own people and their actions. The party created a whole great art of winning and maintaining trust, it insinuated itself into professional life, local government, civil offices, often even the courtroom, the army, becoming a cancerous growth upon these institutions. The Soviet State has arisen from the party, and the party has been growing fat on the state. Corrupting the state’s moral structure made this task easier. However, the party is in its turn a springboard for concrete people. Once they are established with its help, the party becomes, as the state has done, a passive instrument in their hands. This continues now in the Soviet State and in every country where the party establishes itself and becomes ultimately perverted.
The nineteenth century removed God from the state. Thus it took away a standard for evaluating man, because without God man is an animal of little worth. Man must be valued on the basis of what he is. If he is only a transient animal, his value is quite different than if he is an indestructible, eternal person. Bolshevism adopted the concept of a dwarfed man that had been prepared for it by others in the West (materialism, Darwinism, and positivism) and gave this concept a cruel expression. […]
Having lost its moral bearings, the state itself creates morality. What kind of morality? The exploitation by the capitalist “mogul” and his ruthlessness, the “iron” economic laws of the nineteenth century, so blatantly directed against the dignity, value, agency and personality of the human being, are trifles when compared with this cruel exploitation of man, worker and peasant by the employer state. The economic bondage under capitalism has been transformed into an economic and feudal bondage under the Soviet State (collectivization, the Stakhanovite system, and so on). Social justice, maltreated already in the nineteenth century state, vanishes completely in the Soviet State. For when he turns his back on God and His Laws, man loses the awareness of what is right and what is wrong. Love among human beings owes its essential character and value to the love of God and it is in God that it seeks its surest measure and touchstone. Where there is no love, hate, the symbol of the Soviet State, flourishes.
Banishing God from the life of society and of individual human beings, the Soviet State loses its bearings in the order of human values. For the same reason the nineteenth century already brought material values to the fore. The Soviet State will go further along this path. The people are pointed to material things as the foremost value and aim in life.
The Soviet State does not recognize the broad range of autonomous goods: love of God for humans, love of one’s country (recently enjoying a comeback), love of one’s family, etc. For the materialist orientation leads to the mechanization and standardization of social life, it produces a homogenization of social phenomena or, to use a Nazi term, their Gleichschaltung.
The world has got used to the fact that lying has become so rampant in public life. However, we have learned to decipher the truth which with some effort can be glimpsed behind the catch phrases; “democracy”, “will of the people”, “struggle for peace”, and so on, these attractive embellishments hiding the unpleasant and painful truth. Yet there is no other country in the world where lying is so deeply and consistently ingrained in every act as in the Soviet Union. The Soviet State is erected on the framework of these outraging falsehoods. Let us review some of the major ones.
“The workers’, peasants’ [and others’] soviets constitute the political foundation of the Soviet Union”. In fact these soviets do not have any real importance, except as a facade. “All power belongs to the working class”. In fact the so-called working class has no influence whatsoever on power. In the Bolshevik State the bureaucratic and party apparatus has always held the power in all its expressions, and now this apparatus is thoroughly corrupt and depraved. Instructions issue from the dictator above and on their way down they are executed in utmost fear and utmost uncertainty whether they are effected in accordance with the wishes of the despot – who is compared to the “sun” and to a true demigod. “The exploitation of man by man has been eradicated”. In fact, that which was called “exploitation” before the revolution was incommensurable with what is now called the “eradication of exploitation”, and we should find a different term for the former, the latter being the most cruel “exploitation” in the accepted sense of the word. This does not mean that the “exploitation” of one man by another has been replaced by exploitation of man by the state, for in the Soviet Union we have both these forms of exploitation. Rather, this means that pre-Revolutionary injustice constitutes but a pale and small beginning of the cruel injustice, the cruel exploitation now inflicted upon man in the Soviet Union.
The Soviet State is a “voluntary association of Soviet republics”. History has seen various atrocities connected with subduing peoples, but if has rarely been witness to such artful tormenting of the conquered populations as we can observe in the Soviet Union. We may add to this the principle upheld by all Soviet constitutions hitherto: “Every republic is free to withdraw from the Soviet Union”. Upon my word! Explaining the articles of the proposed constitution, Stalin expressly proclaimed that the right to withdraw from the Soviet Union should be maintained, but only with regard to those republics which border with other states, and therefore can put their right of withdrawal into physical, geographic effect. If offered the occasion, the republics will surely take advantage of this right, even if it does not exist! Every Soviet citizen knows this. But now the clause about the right of withdrawal is included only in order to confuse and stupefy the naive outside Russia, and there are still many of them in this world, because it is not easy to accept that falsehood and fraud could have assumed such proportions. All these falsehoods and frauds perpetrated by the Soviet Union have the aim of persuading not the Soviet subjects, because after twenty years they are able to see through the mendacious slogans, but the foreign public. “The sovereignty of the Soviet republics” is also a lie! Yet how nicely it sounds to the naive and to fools! Not only can there be no talk of sovereignty, but the republics would be greatly relieved if they were awarded even a modest degree of local government: compared to the current sophisticated centralism it would bring some alleviation and ease. “The government is nominated in a joint session of both chambers of the Supreme Council (article 56 of Stalin’s constitution). We know that in the Western systems which emerged in the nineteenth century the nomination of the government by the head of state is only a formality in relation to the pressure exerted by the right of the parliamentary majority. If a constitutional lie is committed by Western civilization, why should the Russian constitution not resort to it? The Soviet dictator designates the government! Yet again they wanted to pull the wool over the eyes of the West! Behold! In your system it is only a matter of convention that the parliamentary majority designates the government, while in the Soviet State this power was vested in the “parliament” by the constitution. Article 52 of Stalin’s constitution also creates “immunity” of the representative. The Soviet “representative” could invoke this immunity. “The judges are independent and subject only to the law” (article 25). The cruel and bloody irony of the Soviet judiciary! “Freedom of conscience” (article 124 of Stalin’s constitution). Yes, that is what it says! This freedom of conscience has already cost rivers of blood. “In order to secure the citizens’ freedom of conscience, the church in the USSR is separated from the state, and the schools from the church. Each citizen has the freedom of religious worship and the freedom of anti-religious propaganda”. What does this clause say to the states of Western civilization? We are only doing what you have been doing for a long time! We separate the church from the state, as you have done, we separate the schools from the church, as you are doing, we grant freedom of anti-religious propaganda, as you do. Nothing more! This invoking the father by the child is very characteristic. I am doing what you have been doing for a long time, so this must be right, since you have been doing it for so long and are happy with yourself, therefore allow me to be happy with myself and you should be satisfied with me. Of course, the Soviet Union does not, in fact, recognize the freedom of conscience.
It has been noted that these outrageous lies are committed in order to cement the “popular fronts”. There is some political truth in it, but we are concerned with a different kind of truth. “Popular fronts” are held together, despite enormous discrepancies in political culture and norms of personal conduct, by one common harmonizing factor. “Popular fronts” are joined by forces which wage either open, or a secret and covert war against God, and aim at liberating the human community from the shackles of God’s Law and morality. This bond is much stronger than differences in nationality, than differences in political outlook, than differences in material standards and intellectual development. Thanks to his hatred of God and God’s Law, a French freemason, though a rich “bourgeois” entrepreneur and rentier, is closer to the Bolshevik than his wealth, lifestyle and nationality would suggest. Of course, all the more closer to bolshevism are socialist parties, which share its hatred of God and the Church, although for opportunistic reasons they do not yet exhibit it too openly in public, as bolshevism does at home, though outside it is recently trying deceitfully to lure even Catholics. This is the only essential and true explanation of the astonishing affiliations and friendly relations of bolshevism with “bourgeois” elements in the West.
Hatred of God, of the higher moral order, is stronger than barriers of station, nationality, culture, politics, etc. We should bear this in mind and not look for explanations where no essential explanations can be found.
The imitation of Western standards by the Soviet State is evident in Stalin’s constitution, especially in the clauses about “freedom of conscience”. The son invoking the father! Where he cannot do it sincerely, he does it disingenuously, but still he does it. For when the father lives a life that the son is proposing to live, the son wants to shift the burden of responsibility on the father by adopting his program. However, there is one more possibility. In its new constitution the Soviet State expressed the wish to retreat at least to the point from which it started, imitating the Western-European state in its bad traits. This constitutes a tacit acknowledgment that this retreat, were it achievable, is worth attaining.
“Freedom of speech”, “freedom of the press”, “freedom of association”, of “rallies”, “marches”, “habeas corpus”, “secrecy of correspondence”, all these so shamelessly mock the reality of the Soviet State that we cry out in astonishment: Is it possible that such perverse falsehoods and lies could be pronounced when the Soviet man is afraid of his own shadow, when he cannot find a minute’s shelter where he would be at least slightly more at rest and free?
The horror of this state frightens its creators. Perhaps they would prefer to reverse what they have done. However, it is too late. The “making” of the constitution is followed by the mass murder of former friends. God punishes the criminals with their own hands. They shed the last vestiges of human dignity before they are executed. They make themselves into “traitors of the people”, “enemies of the people”, “spies”, “vile renegades”. The Soviet State, which grew upon the utmost degradation, degrades its creators by inflicting upon them the death of traitors and social outcasts, accusing them of being sophisticated murderers, which they unfortunately are. “In the harshest human codes of law one cannot find sufficient punishment for the Moscow clique and above all for its leader”, writes Trotsky. Let us include Trotsky among the unpunished and then these words will be quite precise. The process of God’s punishment will continue, and if we live long enough, we will see it with our own eyes. This terrible betrayal of God, this brazen and impudent offending God which was begun by the decaying part of the West, and is now completed by bolshevism, freeing the state from its subjection to God’s Law, cannot go unpunished! Unless Western civilization turns back from this wicked road of betrayal and whole-heartedly returns to God, it will step by step enter its own destruction, just as a large portion of mankind, subject to the Soviet State, is being destroyed.