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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

John Reed's final dispatches from Soviet Russia

Today is the anniversary of the death of John Reed, American communist and revolutionary journalist most famous for his magnificent chronicle of the Russian Revolution, Ten Days That Shook the World.

Reed died in Soviet Russia October 17, 1920 while travelling around to report on the Civil War and the birth of the world's first socialist state of which he was a full supporter.

Reed is one of only three Americans buried in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis.

Below are Reed's last two articles which appeared in the Liberator socialist magazine as well his poem Fog.

In the articles he speaks, among other things, of the revolutionary resolve of the people but also the terrible hardships due to the imperialist blockade; a blockade that led directly to his death as a result of a lack of medication to fight typhus. He also talks to both Lenin and Trotsky about the organization of and plans for the Red Army. The final article is left unfinished.

"We know what his crime was -- it is the oldest in all the codes of history, the crime of fighting loyalty to the slaves. And we pay our tribute to him now that he lies dead, only exactly as we used to pay it when he stood here making us laugh and feel brave, because he was so full of brave laughter. Our tribute to John Reed is a pledge that the cause he died for shall live" - from a memorial speech in John Reed's honour, New York, 1920.



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