E. Lanti 1922

Three Weeks in Russia

Source: Vortoj de Kamarado e. Lanti. La Juna Penso, Laroque Timbault, 1979 ;
Translated: from Esperanto for marxists.org by Mitch Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) marxists.org 2016.

At the seat of the Comintern:

“How long do you count on staying here” Comrade Doriot, the secretary of the Comintern Youth International, a Frenchman I had the occasion to meet at the Hotel Lux.

“About three weeks.”

“You're acting wisely, not procrastinating in your efforts. We're not used to things happening quickly around here. What’s more, one never knows when one can leave.”

And so, I decided to immediately go to the seat of the Comintern. Doriot pointed out the way there, drawing the route on a sheet of appear. Drawing in hand, I left.

I found the place without much trouble. There, not far from the Kremlin is a tall building on whose fašade can be read in four languages the famous phrase: “workers of al countries unite.”

I approached the entrance. There, two soldiers standing guard blocked me from going in. One of them spoke a few words I couldn’t understand and gestured towards the adjacent door. I went over to it, entered, and saw women seated at a counter. Silently, I showed them my pass, wrote the name of the comrade I wanted to visit, and received a slip, with which I returned to the soldiers. They then allowed me to enter. On this occasion gesture alone served to allow us to understand each other.

The person I was visiting was absent. I waited for an hour in the antechamber, when finally a German-speaking woman made it understood that I should return at 2:00 p.m. And so I left. On the way to the hotel I luckily run into Doriot again, wh had come to pay a visit to the seat. He agreed to accompany me and present me to Comrade Rakosi, secretary of the Executive Committee of the Comintern.

Rakosi was not very receptive. He spoke to me thusly:

“So, you're Comrade Lanti! I've seen your mandate and it’s not worth much to us. We don’t know your organization. Is it communist? Do you know any communist Esperantists here? What’s more, we can’t be bothered with Esperanto. We have other, more serious, more pressing tasks. I don’t understand why you've come here from Paris for this. You are to go back as soon as you can. The Comintern can’t pay for tourists.

My blood was beginning to boil and I replied curtly to Rakosi:

“So you think that I intend to be a guest of the Comintern? Never! On the contrary, I'm accustomed to paying for communism and not living off communism. You're wrong to think such a thing of me. I'm paying out of my own pocket for my stay here. I have a regular mandate and I must fulfill the mission confided in me. If for you the matter of a world language is a bagatelle I, rightly or wrongly, as an internationalist consider it a serious matter. A man like Romain Rolland asserte that internationalists are wrong to not pay attention to this question.”

“Ah, Romain Rolland, a non-Communist writer,” Rakosi interrupted with a dismissive laugh.

“If on this subject only the opinion of a communist has any value, let me cite the name of Henri Barbusse who, though a writer, is a communist. He too thinks that an international language is truly necessary for a real International to live, not an International of polyglot chiefs.”

“'Is Henri Barbusse really interested in this question?” Rakosi asked me, slightly wonderingly?

I then presented him a copy of the instructional book published by the Federacio de revoluciaj esperantistoj franclingvaj [Federation of Francophone Revolutionary Esperantists] for which Barbusse wrote the forward. Rakosi flipped through the book and said

“Please take a seat.”

From that moment, the tone of our conversation grew a bit more agreeable. I explained to him about our movement and showed him the circular from the French minister Berard banning the teaching of Esperanto in public schools. After conversing for twenty minutes Rakosi confessed that it was possible that our activity could be useful for communism but ended by saying that the Comintern could not at this time take up the matter.

I then answered that it was not at all my intention to bother communist leaders with matters prematurely. That was not my mission. I had only come to explore the labors of the Study Commission for the Adoption of an Auxiliary Language of the Third International, which was established at the second congress. I had to learn if the communists could rightly view this undertaking as serious and worthy of the attention of all communist world-languagists. And I added that though I am an Esperantist I am ready to make propaganda and teach in any official language of the Comintern.

Hearing the words “labors of the study commission” Rakosi laughed and said what I already reported in the October issue of the Sennacieca Revuo. He added that no one has the right without the support of the authority of the Comintern to make propaganda for any international language.

All that was left to me I order to fulfill my mission was to request an official attestation of this declaration. Rakosi gave the document to me without hesitation:

Moscow, August 14, 1922

Comrade E. Lanti, delegate of the Esperanto organization SAT, coming to Moscow with the approval of the International Secretariat of the French Communist Party with the aim of investigating the labors of the Study Commission for the Adoption of an auxiliary Languge by the Third International, is officially informed that this commission has already been liquidated and that the Communist Intranational has taken no decision concerning the adoption either of Esperanto or Ido.

Secretary of the ECCI