Asja Lacis

9 diciembre
"After the meal, Asja comes to my room; Reich is also present. Before leaving, Asja tells the story of her illness. Reich accompanies her back to the sanatorium, and then returns. I'm lying in bed - he wants to work. But he soon interrupts himself and we talk about the situation of intellectuals here and in Germany; and about the techniques of contemporary writing in both countries. Which leads into Reich's reservations about joining the Party. He focuses on the Party's reactionary bent in cultural matters. The leftist movements which had proved useful during the period of wartime communism are now being completely discarded. It's only quite recently that the proletarian writers have been officially recognized as such (despite Trotsky), although they were at the same time made to understand that they could in no event count on governmental support.
Then the Lelevich case -measures taken against the cultural front of the left. Lelevich had composed a treatise on the methods of Marxist literary criticism. - In Russia, they put the utmost weight on taking an extremely nuanced political position. In Germany, a vague and general political background suffices, though it [would] nonetheless be essential to demand the same thing there. - The method of writing in Russia: the broad exposition of an argument and, if possible, nothing further. The cultural level of the public is so low that formulations would inevitably remain incomprehensible. By contrast, in Germany the only thing demanded is: results. No one cares to know how you have arrived at them. Which explains why German newspapers only place a minimal amount of space at the disposition of their reporters; here, articles of 500 to 600 lines are not a rarity. This discussion went on for a long while. My room is well heated and spacious, a pleasant place to stay".
-Walter Benjamin, Moscow Diary, 1926

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