Don’t You Love The Sun ?
Tags: Akari Akaza, Akkari~n, Alexander Bogdanov, Anatoly Lunacharsky, Chinatsu Yoshikawa, Culture-mongering, Day of the Black Sun, Friedrich Nietzsche, Futurism, Komsomol, Komsomol poetry, Kyōko Toshinō, Love, Maxim Gorky, Moura Budberg, Namori, Proletkult, Russian Futurism, Solar Eclipse, Sun, Technocracy, Total Eclipse, Vanguard, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Young Guard, Youth, Yui Funami, YuruYuri
(Akkari~n / Eclipse by Anison)
These young sisters of the Revolution have no anguish at all. They are more convicted than their older brothers, and are simultaneously both more tranquil and more energetic. I would put it this way : more bubby, they have more fizz. They rejoice in life, they love the sun with unusual directness.
They are jolly Komsomol members, companionable people. Young, rich in strength and joy, they know perfectly the bitterness of life as well, but do not fear it in the least. They recognize themselves not only as conquerors, but as builders of the new land as well. For this reason they have such a cheerful and happy music.
THE VOLOGDA INCIDENT
In 1921 the members of the Komsomol (Communist Youth League) committee in Tit’ma district of Vologda province declared themselves adherents of Nietzsche’s philosophy and even flaunted their affinity with the “Superman”. Presumably, such an outright identification with Nietzsche was unusual for a Komsomol group : one can hardly expect a more incongruous mix than the Marxism-Leninism of the Communist Youth League and Nietzsche’s philosophy. By then the philosopher had been anathematized as the exponent of a petty-bourgeois, nihilistic, individualistic world view, the herald of “philosophy of a dying class” that could only harm the young generation. The fact that this incident took place in a district of Vologda province, one of the most backward areas of northern Russia, removed from the cultural centers of Moscow and Petrograd, suggests that Nietzsche enjoyed enough popularity among Communist youth to cause consternation in some Party and Komsomol circles. In early 1922, referring to the Vologda incident, Oskar Tarkhanov, a Komsomol leader, wrote :
Petty-bourgeois influences sometimes appear even inside our League. They express themselves both in the way of life of our activists and in the behavior of the masses of League members. Now and then these influences take shape and character of all sorts of confused theories…The last number of Izvestiia Vologodskogo Gubpartkoma reports that the Tot’ma Komsomol uezd committe declared itself “Nietzschean” and sports the toga of the “Superman”. In this fashion, the philosophy of the dying class has found refuge within our League’s walls.
Given the politically sensitive nature of the subject, it would be almost impossible to establish the extent of the philosopher’s popularity among the Komsomol. Yet Nietzschean concepts appeared in early Komsomol literature, particularly in the Komosomol poetry of the Civil War and the early 1920s. The pages of such journals as Smena (The Young Generation) and Iunyi proletarii (Young Proletarian) were filled with paeans to the Komsomol’s role that evoked Nietzschean images.
The Komsomol’s vanguardism – The League’s claim to leadership in the revolutionary movement and in society in general – was a central tenet of the political culture of that mass organization. As the political leaders, industrial managers, and intelligenty to come of age after the Revolutin, the Komsomol exerted influence far beyond its relatively limited, albeit rapidly expanding, membership. Through its network of cells and clubs, its press, and its public activities, the Komsomol became one the most important revolutionary institutions to mold the identity, world view, and aspirations of Soviet Youth.
There a few direct references to Nietzsche in the poetry and in other Komsomol literature. One can assume, therefore, thay those motifs and concepts found their way into Komsomol culture through intermediaries more often than through first-hand exposure to Nietzsche’s work.
The works of Vladimir Mayakovsky, the beloved Futurist “poet of the Revolution”, appeared frequently in the Komsomol press. Nietzsche’s influence on Mayakovsky, recognized by his contemporaries, manifested itself in the poet’s contempt for the past, his enmity toward philistinism, and his exaltation of the “new man” of the future, the prophet who was willing to sacrifice himself for new truths. Just before the Revolution, other Russian Futurists hailed the separation of the generations and called on “those who are closer to their death than to their birth surrender” to the “swords made of the pure iron of youth”. To them, the older generation impeded “the locomotive of youth from taking the mountain that stands in its way”. These ideas became important components of the Komsomol’s vanguardism.
Among the most important intermediaries were the “Nietzschean Marxists”, Maksim Gorky, Aleksandr Bogdanov, and Anatoly Lunacharsky. The works of the immensely popular Gorky were a staple of almost every Komsomol reading list. During the Civil War the Komsomol established close links with the Proletarian Culture movement (Proletkult), which was heavily influenced by Bogdanov… From its earliest days the Komsomol was intimately involved with Lunarcharsky and the Commissariat of Enlightenment (Narkompros). The League received funds, teachers, and meeting places for its youth clubs and schools from the Commissariat.
Nietzsche hailed the historical role of youth, of “that first generation of fighters and serpent slayers which precedes a happier and more beautiful culture and humanity without having more than an inkling full of promise of this culture of happiness and beauty to come. What were the “Nietzschean” attributes of the young vanguard expressed in Komsomol literature ? For Nietzsche youth played the decisive historical role by breaking with stultifying trends that spelt the death of a people. Youth was particularly suited for his mission due to its instinctive “fire, obstinacy, self-forgetting and love, …(and) the heat of its sense of justice”. With striking similarity, for the Komsomol the most important traits – those most often mentioned in the official literature and fiction of the youth movement – were energy, strength, courage, and determination ; the most common image, for there were almost no female representations of the vanguard in these early works.(This changed in the mid- and late 1920s when the Komsomol began to recruit young women more aggressively).
The elevation of youth to a determining historical role in Nietzsche’s work was one of the currents that nurtured the Komsomol’s proclivity for generational conflict and rebelliousness. “We are wrathful thunder” proclaimed another poem. Youth’s defiance and fury were coupled with a capacity for self-sacrifice for the future. In Zathrustra the young warriors represented the “first-born” who were “always sacrificed” for the future without seeking to “preserve themselves”. This image found expression in the following Komsomol verses :
This song of a better destiny
Kindled the rebellious warriors
And we marched to the bloody battlefield
Isabel A. Tirado, Nietzschean motifs in the Komsomol’s vanguardism, p 235, 238, 240, 242