Thursday, March 8, 2012

Stalin's "Marxism and the National Question"

Mike McCombs -- a good friend, former karaoke co-conspirator and the sports editor of The Island Packet in Hilton Head, South Carolina -- recently sent me an email with this interesting book story:
"Ever owned a book by a mass murderer? Here's one by Stalin.1 Here's the cover. Don't know if it's rare or not but it was actually printed in the Soviet Union in 1950, so I'm betting there weren't millions of these floating around. At least not here. I paid $1 for this at a sidewalk sale at a bookstore in Hoboken, N.J., in 1997. I'll forward some more pics. The book is all paper, very fragile and about the size of my hand."
Some more details about Mike's book:
  • It's from the "Library of Marxist-Leninist Classics"
  • It was published by the Foreign Languages Publishing House in Moscow in 1950
  • The title page also includes the statement: "WORKERS OF ALL COUNTRIES UNITE!"
  • This publisher's note is included:

This book by Stalin, "Marxism and the National Question," was originally published in 1913. If you're interested, you can read the full text here, on the J.V. Stalin Archive.2

According to Wikipedia, the book represented one of Stalin's most important contributions to communist theory: "The groundwork for the Soviet policy concerning nationalities, laid [out] in Stalin's 1913 work Marxism and the National Question, [was] praised by Lenin."

The book isn't too hard to find, as it has been published quite a few times over the decades. Copies can be found on for $10 to $30, depending on the edition. It appears, though, that Mike has one of the less-common editions of this work.

1. He is also known, per various sources, as Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili, Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin, Иосиф Виссарионович Сталин (Russian) and იოსებ ბესარიონის ძე ჯუღაშვილი (Georgian).
2. Oh boy, this post is going to get this blog flagged by ALL KINDS of agencies, isn't it? (Hi, Mr. Petraeus!)

No comments:

Post a Comment