Card Carrying Commies (1)

During the days of the Soviet Union, people frequently joined the Communist Party mainly by reason of their political beliefs or for career advancement. It must have been like joining the Church of England or being a Freemason or buying your way into a top university like Oxford or Cambridge. It was not compulsory, but entirely by coincidence, everybody in the top jobs had done it.
Communist Party members had a booklet to prove their membership, pocket sized at 11 cm by 8 cm. Now that the Evil Empire has collapsed (the Soviet Union, not the Church of England or the Freemasons) you can buy old ones which belonged to previous Party members on ebay. Here is one of the job lot of 10 that I bought years ago. I only paid £3 each so I’m already making a profit from the deal if you have a look at current prices:

The lettering is in the Russian Cyrillic alphabet which is based on Ancient Greek. Here is the Greek alphabet, beloved of mathematicians and physicists, and ancient Greeks, presumably:

The top four words of the red cover of the booklet mean “Proletarians of all countries, unite”. You might recognise the “Pi-Rho-Omicron-Lambda” of the first word. Here is Marx’s phrase printed more clearly:

The second version of the Communist mission statement above is in Ukrainian because, as you will see, both of the Party members in these blog posts are from the Ukraine. Ukrainian is slightly different from Russian. You can always recognise Ukrainian because it has the letters  “ i ” and “ ï ”.

This means “Communist Party (of the) Soviet Union”.

You might recognise the “Kappa-Omicron-Mu-Mu” of the first word. Soviet Union begins with the non-Greek letter ‘C’ which is our letter ‘S’. You will have seen it perhaps on ice hockey players with their CCCP letters.

The abbreviation at the bottom is “ц-K” which stands for “Central Committee”. “ц” is a non Greek letter which means “ts” as in “bits”. “KПCC” is again “Communist Party (of the) Soviet Union”.

The first page on the inside has some bald bloke on it:

His autograph is at the end, “Ulyanov (Lenin)”. The quote, again with lots of Greek letters, is “(The) Party (is the) Intellect, Honour and Conscience (of) Our Epoch”. The words in brackets are not in the text. Russian does not normally have “the” “a” or “is, are”.

More from “Know your Enemy” next time.



Filed under History, Humour, Politics, Russia

19 responses to “Card Carrying Commies (1)

  1. I used to have a copy of the Communist Manifesto but it was an English translation!

    • I think.It must have been originally written in German, although I am.not too sure of that. I must admit, I’ve never read all of it, despite its brevity. In actual fact, I don’t think I’ve read any book by a politician in full, right to the very end. That’s certainly true of Mein Kampf where I managed just thirty pages. It is sooooo boring!

  2. I often wondered how the Russians developed their alphabet. You always have info here that no one else has, John. Exactly how HIGH is your I.Q. anyway?!!

    • The alphabet was developed supposedly by a Bulgarian monk called St Cyril. I studied Russian at school from age 13 onwards with just one year of it at university. It was difficult but I did enjoy it. To get into the school I went to, I had to pass exams, and these selected people over 120 IQ. Since then I feel it’s all been downhill.

  3. The big thing when I was an idiot was a copy of Mao’s Little Red Book.

    • I too was an idiot but an idiot who could touch his toes and who could run for a bus and usually catch it! I too had a copy of Mao’s LRB, but I didn’t know then what I know now. I can never understand why he is never ever mentioned alongside Hitler and Stalin. He certainly out-slaughtered Uncle Joe by some margin.

  4. When will you cash in, John 🙂

  5. Chris Waller

    It has always fascinated me that the various Utopian schemes proposed by such as Marx, Lenin, Mao et al. invariably culminate in the slaughter of millions. Similarly the late and unlamented German Democratic Republic, and indeed the current Democratic People’s Republic of Korea are anything but democratic. Is a heightened sense of irony required to be a dictator? Discuss.

    • The person who is always forgotten in this is Napoleon who was very much a dictator but a benevolent one. His achievements as a reformer were way beyond those of any elected politician of recent history.
      Personally, I am not so sure of how democratic we are. I go out and vote regularly, but nothing ever seems to change for the better, particularly at local.level, where votes for the party who have masterminded some of the worst schools in the country are weighed rather than counted. I

      I think you would enjoy the political and philosophical blogs of Frank Toritto. Here’s one …..

  6. Jan

    So where do we ONs figure in the class struggle?

    Despite its public school categorisation I always considered the place to be very much a grammar school … with brass knobs on.

    • I can’t speak for the years after 2013, but historically, before, say, 1985, NHS has always operated very much as a grammar school with lots of scholarships paid for by various people, including various government bodies, both local and national. As such, the school found huge numbers of boys who would win Open Scholarships at Oxford and Cambridge, in some of the poorest areas of Nottingham.such as Sneinton and Forest Fields. For the most part they were lower middle class boys, educated in local schools, the sons of clerks, commercial travellers and men occupying any number of lower positions. Overall, it must have been a really vibrant contributor to social mobility within the city.

  7. The Russian alphabet baffles me completely, mind you, so do most languages! I consider the first lesson done!

  8. Very interesting, where did you buy it from ?

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