The controversy surrounding the celebration of Columbus Day notwithstanding, the various radical Soviet avant-garde project submissions for the 1929 international competition to design a memorial to Christopher Columbus in Santo Domingo were pretty incredible.
Engels’ 1847 speech on Columbus’ accidental journey to what would become known as the Americas is appended below. After that, there are a couple excerpts from Franz Mehring’s 1895 text On Historical Materialism.
Minutes of Engels’s Lecture to the London German
Workers’ Educational Society on November 30,1847
The discovery of America
Written: November 30, 1847;
Source: MECW Volume 6, p. 627;
First published: in Archiv für die Geschichte des Sozialismus und der Arbeiterbewegung, jg. 8, Leipzig, 1919.
Citizens! When Christopher Columbus discovered America 350 years ago, he certainly did not think that not only would the then existing society in Europe together with its institutions be done away with through his discovery, but that the foundation would be laid for the complete liberation of all nations; and yet, it becomes more and more clear that this is indeed the case. Through the discovery of America a new route by sea to the East Indies was found, whereby the European business traffic of the time was completely transformed; the consequence was that Italian and German commerce were totally ruined and other countries came to the fore; commerce came into the hands of the western countries, and England thus came to the fore of the movement. Before the discovery of America the countries even in Europe were still very much separated from one another and trade was on the whole slight. Only after the new route to the East Indies had been found and an extensive field had been opened in America for exploitation by the Europeans engaged in commerce, did. England begin more and more to concentrate trade and to take possession of it, whereby the other European countries were more and more compelled to join together. From all this, big commerce originated, and the so-called world market was opened. The enormous treasures which the Europeans brought from America, and the gains which trade in general yielded, had as a consequence the ruin of the old aristocracy, and so the bourgeoisie came into being. The discovery of America was connected with the advent of machinery, and with that the struggle became necessary which we are conducting today, the struggle of the propertyless against the property owners. Continue reading