Henry Poulaille 1933
Source: Prolétariat, No. 1, July 1, 1933 in La littérature et le peuple, Les Amis d'Henry Poulaille & Plein Chant, 2003;
Translated: by Mitch Abidor.
Prolétariat, an experimental review, aspires only to be one of the centers for the elaboration of proletarian literature. It wants to be a tool in service to the proletariat. It doesn’t intend to sacrifice to the prejudices common to literary and artistic circles and will not enter into the quarrels among scholars that constitute the intellectual activity of the elite. Some time ago it was possible to still believe that only these elites had something to say and worth making known. They always think they represent something. On the left as well as the right people are all too happy to expel the productive class from the realm of expression. Any pretext, even the worst, is acceptable. Nevertheless, it is only right to take notice of this: this class which once was not even urged to read and couldn’t have even if it had wanted to, has since learned how to read. Why should it remain at this stage? Today, in one way or another, this class wants to be heard in its turn.
Just as we had no doubt of the success of our first attempt, killed by the financial crisis, we have no doubt of the success of our new anthology. By which we mean a moral success, for none of us have any illusions about the question of money. The latter, incidentally, will play no part in it. No collaborator will be paid, any profits to be used to improve the review. As was the case three years ago, the same team sets out again, free and under the orders of no one, the review appearing under the entire responsibility of its editorial committee. Not having any watchwords to respect, Prolétariat places itself outside any political party.
This does not imply that we close ourselves off from any political responsibilities, but at Prolétariat we believe only in the emancipation of the workers by themselves and not through the intermediary of the representatives of the working or rural classes in parliament or literature. We at Prolétariat do not stand outside the struggle, but we have no intention of submitting to dictated directives.
Prolétariat is also not a literary boutique. If this were so we'd have chosen another title! This review, the emanation of a free group of writers who are not professionals in the field of letters, have as their sole ambition serving a cause that neither the press, nor reviews, nor established groups desire to occupy: that of authentically proletarian expression. At Prolétariat we do not intend to monopolize proletarian literature but rather to prevent it from being crushed under the caricatures that are populism and sloganizing literature.
“The proletariat first of all,” we say. Those who shamelessly, for political, aesthetic, or sentimental ends demand the right to be “at the side of the proletariat” will not figure in our table of contents. We pledge on our honor to reserve as much of our column space as possible to the authors who live at the very heart of the proletarian class.
Born under the sign of labor, Prolétariat issues an appeal to those who work.