"This immense crowd has no God anymore": Louis Aragon and the Proletarian Freethinkers

Aragon, Louis, French poet (1897-1982). Autograph manuscript signed ("Aragon").

[Moscow, 1932].

Folio. 4 ¾ pp. on 8 ff. In red ink.


Article in French entitled "Le 7 Novembre est bien la fête des Sans-Dieu" ("November 7 is effectively the Feast of the Godless") for the atheist magazine "La Lutte antireligieuse et sociale", organ of Proletarian Free Thought (better known as "Organisation des travailleurs sans dieu"). Louis Aragon spent a year in Moscow from early 1932 after breaking with the Surrealist movement, particularly André Breton. During this time he witnessed the enormous parade on Red Square for Revolution Day on October 15. In the article Aragon describes the event with a focus on anti-religious messages, contrasting the "byzantine" Saint Basil's Cathedral with modern architecture, engineering, and technological progress such as the planned Moscow Canal, achieved by communism. The military parade was followed by a parade of workers with their tools, products and anti-religious posters, for "this crowd has no God anymore, this immense crowd has no God anymore". And yet there are new idols, standing out against the old ones: "What an extraordinary figure made above this crowd, where you find the best shock workers of socialist construction, the best pioneers from the kolkhozes and sovkhozes, the baroque cathedral, like a phantom of the past!" In closing, Aragon enthusiastically describes the accompanying air show, likening the aircrafts to symbols of socialist progress, in comparison with the symbols of tsarism and orthodoxy: "And in passing with their straight wings they seem to deride the contorted golden eagles of the Tsars, the crosses with two crossbeams of the old church, where today only the voices of Marx and Lenin are heard, of the old church that is chained to the triumphal chariot of the Proletariat".

Louis Aragon was loyal to Moscow and Stalinism well into the 1960s, even defending the Moscow Trials in articles. When the scope of Stalinist terror was finally revealed, he distanced himself from Soviet communism and condemned its past and continuing crimes.

Several minor tears, somewhat dusty and smudged. Collector's note in pencil to the first page.

Art.-Nr.: BN#53786 Schlagwörter: , ,