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Politics and Communism

 Communism is something that subordinates man to a human collectivity, from which one should conclude that the best way to fight Communism is to strengthen the individual against the masses. Since it is obvious that politics, the press, and topical literature, calculated for practical effect, desire to create a collective force capable of battling the Soviets, the task before serious art is quite different. Serious art will either remain what it has been for centuries—the voice of the individual, the medium of man in the singular—or it will perish. From this standpoint, one page of Montaigne, a single Verlaine poem, or one sentence by Proust is far more anti-Communist than the accusing choir, which you represent. They are free and therefore they are liberating.
Diary, 1953 [Trans. Vallee]


I could make certain accusations of an intellectual nature against Communism.
This philosophy is not convincing to me for many reasons—first of all because, in my understanding, Communism is not so much a philosophical or ethical as a technical issue. You say that in order for the spirit to function the right way, the needs of the body must be satisfied? You claim that everyone must be assured a minimum standard of living? Where is the guarantee, though, that your system can assure prosperity? Am I supposed to look for it in the Soviet Union, which, up to now, cannot feed itself without the labor of slaves, or in your reasoning, where you talk about everything except for the technical efficiency of the system?
Diary, 1954 [Trans. Vallee]


My literature must remain that which it is. Especially that something which does not fit into politics and does not want to serve it. I cultivate just one politics: my own. I am a separate state.
Diary, 1958 [Trans. Vallee]


What should one demand from the naïve but noble-minded scruples of those ‘working on themselves,’ perfecting themselves, analyzing, constructing their morality, trembling in the face of their responsibilities, suffering for all of humanity, those researchers, teachers, leaders, judges, inspectors, engineers of souls, finally martyrs, sometimes even saints—but not dancers, singers... . Art fried up in laboratories ... but what should one demand from these fried eggs, what can this omelet possibly resist?
I am not thinking of political warfare... Away with politics, art! Be yourself, pure and simple! Watch your nature, nothing more.
Diary, 1961 [Trans. Vallee]


“I want to write as far away as I can from politics...”

I will bet that the above Berlin memoirs will get into the paws of newspaper people; […] that I, an artist, will be given up to the columnist. I, a man, will become the prey of editors, the scapegoat of publicists, the carrion of nationalisms, capitalisms, communisms, the devil knows what else, victim of an ideology that is more a mythology, and a decrepit, infantile, sclerotic, bureaucratic, and worthless mythology at that.
Diary, 1964 [Trans. Vallee]