Ideological Freight

Standard

Let’s unload some of that. A 1950 excerpt from Bertolt Brecht:

Thus through Kazakhstan, land of the nomads

Went the word and call of the academy.

Each work brigade challenged the other

To raise millet as never before.

And in village and field, in school and workshop

There was on this great day in spring excitement in the air.

And Berziyev summoned the leaders of the collectives

“Rosa Luxemburg” and “The New Way.”

“Short is the day. Out to the field!

Your worth as comrades is in the yield!”

That they might beat him in the contest

The old man challenged them in work.

And following the new rules of competition

He shared with them his finest seeds.

“Short is the day. Out to the field!

Your worth as comrades is in the yield!”

And when man and tractor returned

To Collective Kurman, a happy exhausted crew

They fetched the weights and scales

And weighed twenty-five hundred kilos per hectare.

—Stanzas 26 through 29 of Die Erziehung der Hirse (“The Rearing of Millet”) by Bertolt Brecht, translated by Robert C. Conard in collaboration with Ralph Ley (New German Critique Number 9, Autumn 1976)

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