Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesday Afternoon Cigar

We anticipated next week's Revolution with a CAO Brazilia and volume 2 of The Gulag Archipelago.

Page 155:

There was a famous incantation repeated over and over again: "In the new social structure there can be no place for the discipline of the stick on which serfdom was based, nor the discipline of starvation on which capitalism is based."

And there you are - the Archipelago managed miraculously to combine the one and the other.

Solzhenitsyn lists the similarities and differences between Serfdom vs. Gulag life:


"they were forms of social organization for the forced and pitiless exploitation of the unpaid labor of millions of slaves."

"just as a serf had not chosen his slave's fate, since he was not to blame for his birth, neither did the prisoner choose his; he also go into the Archipelago by pure fate."


"The serfs did not work longer than from sunrise to sunset. The zeks [prisoners] started work in darkness and ended in darkness."

"For the serfs Sundays were sacred; and the twelve sacred Orthodox holidays as well."

"The serfs lived in permanent huts."

"The serf on "barshchina," or forced labor, had his own horse, his own wooden plow..."

"The serfs were slaves, but they had full bellies."

"The serfs lived in families."

"In the life of one serf there was hardly ever more than one move..."

"...the entire situation of the serfs was alleviated by the fact that the estate owner had necessarily to be merciful to them: they were work money; their work brought him wealth."

Only one benefit the prisoner had over the serf:

"the prisoner might land in the Archipelago even as a juvenile of twelve to fifteen but not from the very day of birth!"

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