Helen Keller Reference Archive
First Published: The Toiler, November 19, 1921
Source: Helen Keller: Her Socialist Years (International Publishers, 1967)
Transcription/Markup: Anonymous/Brian Baggins
Online Version: Helen Keller Reference Archive (marxists.org) 2000
I love Russia and all who stand loyally by her in her mighty wrestlings with the giant powers of ignorance and imperialist greed. When I first heard of the glorious words, "Soviet Republic of Russia," it was as if a new light shone through my darkness. I felt that the sun of a better day had risen upon the world. Those glowing, hope-inspiring words, "Soviet Republic of Russia," meant that at last the principles of truth, justice and brotherhood had gained a foothold upon earth, and this thought has run like a shinging furrow through the dark years that have intervened. We have witnessed Russia's superhuman struggle in a world blinded by avarice and calumny. But despite intriques and blockades and the wicked misinterpretations of a stupid, dishonest press, she stands today firmly entrenced in her just cause, while the old social order is collapsing at her feet.
Oh, why cannot the workers see that the cause of Russia is their cause? Her struggle for economic freedom is their struggle, her perishing children are their children, and her dreams, her aspirations, her martyrdom and victories are an internal part of the workers' campaign for a better, saner world. Why can they not understand that their own best instincts are in revolt against a social order which enthralls masses of men and leads inevitably to poverty, suffering and war? How spiritually blind are men, that they fail to see that we are all bound together! We rise or fall together, we are dwarfed or godlike, free or chained together.
If the workers would only use their minds a little, instead of letting others do their thinking for them, they would see quickly through the flimsy arguments of the newspapers they read. They are told that the famine in Russia is caused by "Marxian socialism," and that four years of Bolshevism have brought Russia to the doors of the world begging for bread. If that is true, what has caused the famine in China? What is the cause of undernourishment in some of our southern states? And what is the cause of unemployment throughout this great, rich land? Begging for bread is not uncommon within the capitalistic nations, and these days we hear a great deal of soup kitchens and the bread line. These phenomena occur even in times which the newspapers are accustomed to speak of as "prosperous."
The famine in Russia is the result of a drought following years of war and a long imperialistic blockade of Russian ports, preventing entrance to them of all necessary supplies. This is the plain truth. Yet millions of sensible men and women have been deceived about conditions in Russia. But I trust that the good sense of the American people will soon surmount the wall of calumnies and prejudices which now prevents friendly relations between the two countries.
Through the mist of tears and sweat and blood of struggling men I salute her and wish for her the love of an awakened and grateful humanity.
Here is a thought that keeps singing in my mind but will not fold its wings for the formal limits of a letter:
Great, O Russia, is they task! Thine is the race immortal whose beams shall spread across the earth, wide as the wings of heaven, bright as the morning light. Lift high they flaming torch wherever men are slaves! Breathe upon them the life-quickening fires of thy creative mind. Give them the potent red light of thy courage, that they may look upon the faces of comrades in every land, and be to all their kind dear friends and neighbors. Then shall all men discover thee, a paradise upon the verge of doom.