300 Air-Conditioned Rooms, Dining Room and all hotel facilities. DriveIn Entrance. Beautiful Swimming Pool and Cabanas. Yours for a Perfect Vacation! …..0 woman and made his escape by fleeing in a “diplomatic car,” one likely belonging to the American Embassy. I ruminated aloud about the fact that there were rumors that at the close of our Civil War, President Jefferson Davis had been arrested as he attempted flight likewise dressed in the garb of a woman. Igor smilingly commented that this may have been where Kerensky got the idea. The comments on these early days of “Our Party” caused me to bring up the name of Trotsky. To my amazement Igor did not know that he had lived in Mexico and had been assassinated. I filled him in as Well as a halting memory would permit. The name of the assassin had escaped me, but I was able to tell of his entry into the house of Trotsky and the brutal attack with the ice axe, designed for use in mountain climbing. Igor was enthralled, whether from boyish relish of a mystery and murder or from his discovery of a new aspect of party history, I could not say. I became bold enough to suggest that many considered that Stalin had plotted and engineered the murder. Ile rubbed his chin reflectively and said, “It is possible; it is possible,” but one could not mistake that he was referring to Stalin the deposed hero, and not to his connection with “Our Party.” All day I tried to draw Igor out to learn some of the things I wanted to know, but I had the frustrating sensation that it was I who was being drawn out, and not my guide. I tried my art of cross-examination, 10 The Texas Observer John B. Mills, Chairman of the Board Cecil Mills, President but there was always for Igor the sanctuary of “I do not understand.” It took me many an approach to get over to him my thoughts about the introduction of the profit motive into Russian plant operation and distribution, pioneered in accordance with the theories of a professor at Kharkov University, and in the end he was noncommittal except for saying that plant managers could produce as much as they liked. I as yet have not asked him about some of the remarkable inefficiency some have reported as resulting from the quota systemplanned production by bureaucrats rather than production geared to demand. I had seen a report about a furniture factory that had been given a quota in cubic meters and had complied by producing nothing but large, ungainly wardrobes that even the Soviet citizens could not and would not use. I tried on occasion to learn from Igor whether there had been any relaxation of government controls of business and the general freedom of the people, but this was extremely difficult.. I sensed at last that the trouble was the polarity of our thinking: I considered controls evil, he considered them virtuous. Some of the tenets expressed in Erich Fromm’s Escape From Freedom came to my mind. Igor would not have known how to use freedom from controls, ‘nor would he want it. “Our Party” was making the best of all possible worlds, and controls were a part of it at least he did not accept my suggestion that things were lbosening up. By late afternoon. I had realized that file fteakt C-C k eg i ltia Oe viunter 1-I COTE c144 ,e Lvz., anct ASSOCIATED FEDERAL HOTELS LA CONCHASAN JUAN WESTWARD HOPHOENIX there had to be some better common ground of approach if our discourse was to be of value. I asked Igor if he had read Jack London’s Iron Heel, and he said he had. I then tried to explain to him that we had had our own revolution after 1906, when London wrote : that Theodore Roosevelt had gone on a trust-busting crusade and that the depression of the thirties had been followed by a complete economic revolution. He showed polite interest. I went on to tell him of our “throw-away economy” in which obsolescence is built in and replacement parts are deliberately made not available. He could not in the least comprehend what I was saying. His political and economic outlook came purely from Karl Marx; he was steeped in the class struggle. To him, there had to be in capitalism a mistreated exploited worker class, barely subsisting while the capitalists lived in luxury. I told Igor that I certainly enjoyed my purple ease, as London would have it, but that he would find disagreement as to the subjugation of the laboring class in our country. I thought what the Dallas Morning News would have had to say on the subject, but did not mention that journal to him, for after all, we Americans are entitled to keep the closet door locked on some skeletons. I did try to explain our unemployment insurance plan, and he was amazed. It did not seem possible to him that anyone could be paid for not working, unless by old age pensions. He wondered if people would not loaf and purposely do nothing if they were paid not to work, and I replied that there were those in our society who definitely held the view that they would and did, but that personally I felt any such loafers were in tie distinct minority: that in 1931 and 1932 I had seen too many frightened men on the road as tramps, men who were willing to work at anything, for me ever to believe that any but the professionals preferred idleness. He said these things could not be in the Soviet Union; that there is no unemployment. This point seemed to be the chief ground for his contention that communism is superior to capitalism. Again, he could not conceive of any capitalistic society not seething with the class struggle. His conception of our great production of consumer goods was stores bursting with merchandise and the masses of working people having no money to buy anything. I explained to him that the only way to distinguish a capitalist from a worker in America is to examine the lockboxes and bank accounts of the two, for with our easy credit workers could and did own luxury items, even pleasure boats, but I don’t believe he bought this. The concept of the exploited masses under capitalism was far too firmly entrenched in his mind to be shaken by a wild Texan. He listened to my description of the war on poverty and our program for retraining displaced workers, and when I was finished he remarked again that the Soviet Union has no unemployment. He insisted that when one of our factories close down, the employees, having been used up, are abandoned. I attempted to explain collective bargaining and the transfer of workers under their Enjoy Luxury at The GUNTER… Inexpensively Downtownsteps from all shopping, entertainment and all activities. Motor Lobby. Fine food around the clock. 550 rooms with bath, air conditioning. Finest Convention Facilities for groups large or small. TI ROBERT DRISCOLL HOTS L
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