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46

(1923) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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I must confess that I do not share the
indignation many feel at a number of the ways in which
this was done; for instance, that men and women
of the different classes were forced to do public
work once a week, and that even ladies of the
upper class and aristocracy, who had not been
accustomed to any kind of work previously, had
every Saturday to join in cleaning railway stations
or scrubbing other public buildings. It even
appears to be wholesome in many ways for members
of all classes in the community to learn together
the need of work, provided, of course, that they
are not taken away from more important work,
or that health and age do not stand in the
way.

One outcome of a conviction of the importance
of work was the arrangement by which the affairs
of the municipalities were to be administered by
local soviets, or councils, composed of
representatives of the different categories of work.

That the manual worker, or labour-proletariat,
was taken as the centre of gravity, while the
recognition of the value of brain-work was less
clear, at any rate, at the outset, was natural enough
in view of what has been said above.

It represented a not altogether unreasonable
reaction against the earlier tyranny of the so
called upper class. What was wanted was to give
due emphasis to the new way, and this led to the
catch-word “Dictatorship of the Proletariat,”
driving home the protest against the old.

But not only the so-called intellectuals, meaning

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