On the Cult of Personality and the Tolerance of Rich People

Looking back on the fierce debate over “socialism in one country” between Trotsky and Stalin before the Executive Committee of the Comintern in 1926, which he witnessed personally, Joseph Freeman, editor of The New Masses and founding editor of Partisan Review, had this to say:

If I had known and understood more, I would have foreseen there and then that the dogma that personality counts for nothing in history would lead to the cult of personality; and what that dogma really meant, as it turned out, is that you don’t count and I don’t count and our neighbors don’t count and most of us must be content to be as they had not been—but HE, the great, brilliant, genial Leader, the most colossal thinker and hero of all times, HE counts all the time in every thing.

In a different vein, here’s Mike Gold in a reply to Ezra Pound from 1930:

Oh, this charming trait of tolerance one finds in people who have incomes.

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