Earl Browder

“A Great Symbol of a Great Movement”

Speech delivered by the General Secretary of the Communist Party, U. S. A., at the funeral of Moissaye J. Olgin, at the Royal Windsor, New York, November 26, 1939.

Source: M. J. Olgin: Leader and Teacher
Published: Workers Library Publishers, New York, December 1939.
Transcription/HTML Markup: Brian Reid
Proofreader: Chris Clayton
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (marxists.org) 2006. You can freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Marxists Internet Archive as your source.

“A Great Symbol of a Great Movement”

IT IS A difficult and painful thing to say our farewells to a great friend, comrade, fellow-fighter, and fellow worker, who has become so intimately a part of the life of our great movement that it is difficult to think of his being gone from us.

Comrade Olgin, by a long life of struggle and of service to the masses, has become much more than an individual; he became a great symbol of a great movement. Comrade Olgin’s life and work, expressing that movement, carrying it to higher and higher stages, became great with the movement which he served. At all the great turning points, Comrade Olgin found his way with unerring instinct, that same instinct which always kept him in the closest bonds with the broad masses of the workers; and Comrade Olgin helped thousands and tens of thousands to find the correct path in this struggle.

I think that Comrade Olgin would not have wished to leave us. He was a man who loved life, a man greedy for every morsel of life, greedy for life for the masses, for the people and jealous of everything that reduced or attacked the possibilities of life for the masses.

Especially Comrade Olgin would have wanted to be with us through the great battles now beginning — but if he knew that the parting had to be now I am sure Comrade Olgin would have wanted it to be as it was — that he passed as a warrior, in battle, to the last moment engaged in the fight against the enemies of the people, to the last moment flinging scorn upon them, the traitors, the weak of heart, those who flinched and turned away from the battle; to the last moment he was the great tribune of the people, to the last moment he was performing the true function of the Bolshevik, of the Communist, of the one who finds life rich and well worth living because it is at the service of the Party of the working class and of the people, in which service the life laid down becomes ever more significant and worthwhile.

In the life and in the death of Comrade Olgin we have the example of that which makes our class the representative of the future of humanity itself, which makes our class the protector and the bearer of human culture for future history, of that which makes of all parties, the Communist Party vanguard of human progress, the guarantee that the forces of darkness will not prevail.

Comrade Olgin stands for all these things to each and every one of us. Comrade Olgin lives in the heart and memory of this movement. Comrade Olgin’s contribution is imperishable.

And so we say farewell to our great friend, to our great comrade and fellow-fighter. From his life, his work, from his death we gather new strength, new determination, new enthusiasm to march forward to the defeat of all the enemies of mankind; to the defeat of imperialism that threatens to destroy the world today; to the defeat of capitalist exploitation; to the defeat of race hatreds and intolerance and everything that divides man from man; to the defeat of all class and national oppression and exploitation; to the victory of the working class, to the victory of the people, to the victory of socialism — this is what Comrade Olgin means to us, and this day is a day not only of sorrowful parting but a day of firm and vigorous advance to the realization of the great cause for which Comrade Olgin was head and body.