The life of the expatriate

Scene: Eugene Dennis has been in Moscow for a while, and has begun to consider leaving the USSR to work for the Communist cause in other countries: the Philippines (“it is a US colony and we have a social responsibility”), South Africa (“so closely related to the Negro question at home”), and China (“the key to the whole Far East”).

He sat on the edge of my bed, his hands cupping his pipe bowl, elbows resting on his knees.

“You have a right to be angry, I should have given you the choice. But I was told that you could come even if you decided to go back when I leave. I wanted these couple of months together. You can go back or stay, after I leave. It’s up to you–but at least we’re together now.”

The admission of his love and need ordinarily would have satisfied me, but I pressed on.

“Why so soon? Wouldn’t a couple years here at the Comintern be good, and we’d be together.”

His words came slowly as he paced again. As always, now too he sought the precise words with which to convey his thoughts. He said a short stay in Moscow was beneficial. Exchanging ideas and experiences with comrades from other Parties was helpful. “But a long stay, the life of the expatriate, is not for me; it is not good for anyone.”

Peggy Dennis, The Autobiography of an American Communist: A Personal View of a Political Life 1925-1975.

Eugene Dennis decided to leave: he became the Comintern’s representative to the Communist Party of South Africa, and then of the Philippines, and then he went to Shanghai. After four years abroad, he and Peggy returned to America.

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2 responses to “The life of the expatriate

  1. Pingback: The life of the expatriate | Reaction Times

  2. Pingback: This Week in Reaction (2015/07/19) | The Reactivity Place

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