In previous item about the misplacement of the Woke source, I noted that old-style Marxists in academia had given us objective and realistic descriptions of history and social structures and language.
I was trying to remember the name of a Marxist linguist whose work I once read, and tried googling with no success. I was conflating him with Hobsbawm, who was a historian.
The search turned up a huge surprise that applies DIRECTLY to Wokies. PDF at Academia.edu of course.
Stalin himself wrote about language and revolution in 1950, in response to a sort of ‘Ask Me Anything’ event at Pravda. He concluded that language can’t be forcibly changed and shouldn’t be forcibly changed.
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It is more than a hundred years since Pushkin died. In this period the feudal system and the capitalist system were eliminated in Russia, and a third, a socialist system has arisen. Hence two bases, with their superstructures, were eliminated, and a new, socialist base has arisen, with its new superstructure. Yet, if we take the Russian language, for example, it has not in this long span of time undergone any fundamental change, and the modern Russian language differs very little in structure from the language of Pushkin.
What has changed in the Russian language in this period? The Russian vocabulary has in this period been greatly replenished; a large number of obsolete words have dropped out of the vocabulary; the meaning of a great many words has changed; the grammatical system of the language has improved. As to the structure of Pushkin’s language, with its grammatical system and its basic stock of words, in all essentials it has remained as the basis of modern Russian.
And this is quite understandable. Indeed, what necessity is there, after every revolution, for the existing structure of the language, its grammatical system and basic stock of words to be destroyed and supplanted by new ones, as is usually the case with the superstructure? What object would there be in calling “water,” “earth,” “mountain,” “forest,” “fish,” “man,” “to walk,” “to do,” “to produce,” “to trade,” etc., not water, earth, mountain, etc., but something else? What object would there be in having the modification of words in a language and the combination of words in sentences follow not the existing grammar, but some entirely different grammar? What would the revolution gain from such an upheaval in language? History in general never does anything of any importance without some special necessity for it.
The old [economic] superstructure can and should be destroyed and replaced by a new one in the course of a few years, in order to give free scope for the development of the productive forces of society; but how can an existing language be destroyed and a new one built in its place in the course of a few years without causing anarchy in social life and without creating the threat of the disintegration of society? Who but a Don Quixote could set himself such a task?
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I had no idea that Russia had AMA sessions, and had no idea that Stalin took the time to think about language. His thoughts are strictly realistic and perfectly correct. His last sentence should be a severe rebuke to the modern “communists” and “socialists” who believe falsely that they’re following Marx and Stalin when they try to destroy an existing language in the course of a few years.
More likely they know exactly what they’re doing. As I wrote in previous item, they are causing anarchy and disintegrating society without replacing the economic base of robber barons.
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Everything we “learned” about Russia and Stalin was wrong. Our “understanding” of the Soviet economic system was unspeakably wrong, and our “understanding” of Soviet education was maximally stupid. Now another “learning” dissolves.