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Heinrich Heine, prophet?

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Oct 1, 2017 in Websites by TheOtherTink (21,080 points)

The German poet, Heine, had this to say about Communism, as far back as 1842:O

"Communism is the secret name of this formidable adversary, who posits the rule of the proletariat with all its consequences in opposition to the current regime of the bourgeoisie. There will be a horrific duel. How will it end? Only the gods and goddesses who mold the future know. For our part we only know that communism, though little talked about at present, and though it lives a sickly existence in hidden garrets on miserable straw, is even so the somber hero to whom an enormous, though transitory, role is reserved in the modern tragedy, and which is only waiting for its cue to come on stage. We must never lose this actor from sight, and from time to time we will send communiqués concerning the furtive rehearsals by which it is preparing its debut. Such notices will perhaps be more important than all the reports about electoral maneuvers, party quarrels, and cabinet intrigues."

https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/heine/lutece/ch44.htm

3 Answers

Marianne Oct 1, 2017
TheOtherTink Marianne Oct 1, 2017

Excellent links, Marianne.  :)

The Silesian Weavers

From darkened eyes no tears are falling:

With gritted teeth we sit here calling:

“Germany, listen, ere we disperse,

We weave your shroud with a triple curse-

We weave! We are weaving!

“A curse to the false god that we prayed to,

And worshipped in spite of all, and obeyed, too.

We waited, and we hoped and suffered in vain;

He laughed at us, sneering, for all of our pain-

We weave! We are weaving!

“A curse to the king, and a curse to his coffin,

The rich man's king whom our plight could not soften;

Who took our last penny in taxes and cheats'

And let us be shot like dogs in the streets-

We weave! We are weaving!

“A curse to the Fatherland, whose face is

Covered with lies and foul disgraces;

Where the bud is crushed before it can seed'

And the worm grows fat on corruption and greed-

We weave! We are weaving!

“The shuttle flies in the creaking loom;

And night and day we weave our doom.

Old Germany, ere we disperse,

We weave your shroud with a triple curse.

We weave! We are weaving!


O Heine, when the weavers finished,

The workers’ plight lay undiminished.

They only found a new Asura:

The cold, corrupt Nomenklatura.

Sie woben, sie woben!

Marianne Marianne Oct 2, 2017

Thank you, T(h)ink, and regarding Heine's inspirational verses about the Silesian weavers, resp. the song, here's a translation with the version in German:

http://poetrypoem.com/cgi-bin/index.pl?poemnumber=190349&sitename=verseofapoet&poemoffset=0&displaypoem=t&item=poetry


Their complaint reminds of the "canut revolts" (the Lyonnais silk workers):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canut_revolts


About the Jacquard loom:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacquard_loom

Virginia Marianne Oct 2, 2017

O'Tink, to me the Heinrich Heine poem recalls perhaps the Luddites...commonly believed to be rebelling against technical advancement, I read they were actually struggling for ideals such as fair wages, meaningful work, and reasonable working conditions in the oppression brought by the Industrial Revolution...

TheOtherTink Marianne Oct 2, 2017

Marianne. I just discovered a tongue-twister:  say "schlesischen" 10 times, fast.  :D

TheOtherTink Marianne Oct 2, 2017

I think you are right, Virginia.  But I think the Luddites were genuinely (and correctly) afraid that their investment in learning hand weaving would be lost.  I think they would have been satisfied to be grandfathered out of existence (i.e., no new apprentice weavers), much like the steam locomotive firemen were kept on even after the advent of diesel and electric locomotives.

image

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luddite

Virginia Marianne Oct 3, 2017

O'Tink, I don't really know if your idea about being the Luddites satisfied with being grandfathered out of existence is accurate, but it is very perceptive. And yes, your comment about concern over "their investment in learning hand weaving would be lost," that is an idea I read, and could not find the words, you have expressed it well.

Marianne Marianne Oct 4, 2017

Lol, T(h)ink - check these tongue twisters:

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zungenbrecher


and some examples in English:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tongue-twister

Rooster Oct 2, 2017

Wow! A little too far over my head this early in the morning! But interesting!

The Heinrich Heine Internet Archive - Marxists Internet Archive

Virginia Oct 2, 2017

Marianne and Other Tink,

What a fascinating dialogue you have posted! I knew very little about Heinrich Heine...so very poignant...a delight to know him better...

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