Essay on Communism

Not Communists

There is nothing wrong
with Communism,
but there is something wrong
with Bolshevism.
The wrong thing with Bolshevism is
that Bolshevists
are not Communists;
they are Socialists.
For if the Bolshevists
were Communists,
they would build Communism.
And the Bolshevists
do not build Communism;
they build Socialism;
they build State Socialism.
The Bolshevists probably hope
that the State
“will wither away,”
and that they will be able to pass
from State Socialism
to Communism without State.

Two Reds

Some time ago
I was discussing in Harlem
with a Russian Red
and an Irish Red.
And the Russian Red
understood me sooner
than the Irish Red.
Having understood
what I was saying,
the Russian Red
started to explain
to his friend, the Irish Red,
what I was talking about.
When the Russian Red
had finished explaining,
the Irish Red
turned toward me
and said that while he agreed
with most of what I said
he still believed
that the Catholic Church
was not the friend
of the working-men.
Many Catholics
are much disappointed
when Wall Street corporations
or political organizations
or Catholic associations
fail to provide them
with economic security.

Looking for a Boss

A Catholic working-man
once said to me:
“There is only one thing
between me and the Reds,
and that is a good job.”
Everybody is looking for a boss,
and nobody wants
to be his own boss.
And because everybody
looks for a boss
the Reds want the State
to be the boss of everybody.
Because everybody
consents to play
somebody else’s game
for the sake of a pay-envelope
the Reds try to find the way
to assure a pay-envelope
to everybody
so as to force everybody
to act like everybody.
But nothing will be changed
when the Reds
will force everybody
to act like everybody,
since nobody is nobody
when everybody
tries to keep up with everybody.

America and Russia

American Republicans
want their friends
on the public payroll,
but only their friends.
American Democrats
want their friends
on the public payroll,
but only their friends.
But the Reds want everybody
on the public payroll,
not only their friends.
The American idea
is to keep the Government
out of business
and to put everybody
into business.
The Russian idea
is to put the Government
into business
and to keep everybody
out of business.
But business
is only business,
whether it is
the State business
or private business;
and I am trying
to make it my business
to put all business
out of business,
including the State business,
which is a big business.

Red and Green

Our business managers
have made such a mess of things
that people are inclined
to see Red.

And when people see Red
it is useless
to present to them
the Red, White and Blue,
because they can no longer see
the White and the Blue
of the Red, White and Blue;
all they can see is Red.
The only way
to keep people
from seeing Red
is to make them
see Green.
The only way
to prevent
a Red Revolution
is to promote
a Green Revolution.
The only way
to keep people
from looking up
to Red Russia
of the twentieth century
is to make them look up
to Green Ireland.
of the seventh century.

Thousand Years Ago

When Irish were Irish
a thousand years ago,
the Irish were scholars.
And when the Irish were scholars
the Irish were Greek scholars.
And when the Irish were Greek scholars
the Irish spoke Greek
as well as Irish.
And when the Irish spoke Greek
as well as Irish.
Greek was Irish
to the Irish.
Greek was Irish
to the Irish
and now
Irish is Greek
to the Irish.
Irish is Greek
to the Irish now
and Hebrew is Chinese
to the Jews.