My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

NEW YORK, Sunday—A few days ago a gentleman wrote me: "As I understand the program or philosophy of Communism, it is the accomplishment of the ten planks of the Communist Manifesto of Marx and Engels. As I understand the aims and purposes of the state Socialists, it is also the enactment of laws to legalize the same ten points of the Manifesto. If my understanding is correct, wherein do the Communists and state Socialists differ, and inasmuch as the Roosevelt and Truman Administrations have advocated at least half of the ten points or planks of the Manifesto, would you classify such programs as Communistic or state Socialistic and, if not, why not?"

I do not happen to have the old Marx Communist Manifesto at hand, but if this gentleman thinks that what has developed under Lenin and Stalin has any resemblance to what Marx wrote about, he is much mistaken, and nothing that either my husband or Mr. Truman advocated has any relation to what is being done today in the Soviet Union. There was no creation of fear, no police state during either Administration. There were some resemblances between the Hitler and the Stalin administrations in that both of them set up police states, but there were also some differences between the Nazi development and the Stalin development. The results, however, were somewhat similar.

I have certainly seen nothing in this country that resembles what has occurred in the Soviet Union under Stalin or did occur in Hitler's Germany, until very recently. The recent occurrences are more the excursions by one man or a few men into a few methods which have not before been used in this country. I hope our people will disavow these methods as being unsuitable for life in a democracy or a government which is called a representative republic. This is the only answer I can make to my correspondent. Of course, if he wants to discuss the theory of Marxism I will have to dig up a copy of Karl Marx, which I do not happen at the moment to possess. But these theories seem rather outdated today and not of great importance to any of us anymore.

* * *

Our trip in from Sioux City Thursday morning was smooth and pleasant and we had a very quiet day in Kansas City. I went there to speak at a dinner of the Federation of Jewish Charities, and this proved very successful. Somewhere around 1 a.m. we boarded the train for Chicago, where the convention of the Americans for Democratic Action was held.

As I look back on the trip I can not help but think with gratitude of the many kindnesses which have been shown us everywhere we have been. I particularly enjoyed the thoughtfulness and courtesy of the boys who looked after us in Sioux City. Whatever else Morningside College may produce in the way of education, I can testify that it has very thoughtful and kind hosts.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL