Hemingway Speaks. Does This Ring a Bell?


"Is the land there  [in the United States during the Spanish Civil War] owned by the peasants?"

"Most land is owned by those who farm it. Originally the land was owned by the state and by living on it and declaring the intention of  improving it, a man could obtain a title to a hundred and fifty hectares."

"Tell me how this is done," Agustin asked. "That is an agrarian refrom which means something."

Robert Jordan explained the process of homesteading. He had never thought of it before as an agrarian reform.

"That is magnificent," Primitivo said."Then you have a communism in your country?"

"No. That is done under the Republic."

"For me," Agustin said, 'everything can be done under the Republic. I see no need for other form of government."

"Do you have no big proprietors?" Andres asked.


"Then there must be abuses."

"Certainly. There are many abuses."

"But you will do away with them?"

"We try to more and more. But there are many abuses still."

"But there are not great estates that must be broken up?"

"Yes. But there are those who believe that taxes will break them up."


Robert Jordan, wiping out the stew bowl with bread, explained how the income tax and inheritance tax worked. "But the big estates remain. Also there are taxes on the land," he said.

"But surely the big proprietors and the rich will make a revoltuon against such taxes. Such taxes appear to me to be revolutionary. They will revolt against the government when they see that they are threatened, exactly as the fascists have done here," Primitivo said.

"It is possible."

"Then you will have to fight in your country as we fight here."

"Yes, we will have to fight."

"But are there not many fascists in your country?"

"There are many who do not know they are fascists but will find it out when the time comes."

"But you cannot destroy them until they rebel?"

"No," Robert Jordan said. "We cannot destroy them. But we can educate the people so that they will fear fascism and recognize it as it appears and combat it."


                                                                                                                                                  Ernest Hemingway "For Whom the Bell Tolls" (Chapter 16)

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  • Another perry of bombast from the want to be champ. The eternal struggle for equality must go on, so Papa takes his guns and goes to Spain to fight Franco.

    The US, yes, is a society of big estates and rich men, taking liberties everywhere, no Papa?

    Not quite.

    In fact, since the publication of For Whom the Bell Tolls, the accumulation of wealth in the hands of just a few has equaled out over the decades. Potter Palmer? Andrew Carnegie? John D. Rockefeller, Morgan? These are the men controlling the US now, right Occupy drones? Oh, they do not, nor their heirs?

    There is a Bill Gates, and a Steve Jobs, and they in turn created many wealthy people who not only worked for them but bought shares in their businesses? Tell me, how dose this work in the Republic that is so unfair and festering fascists? When will this revolution come, as there are too many people with wealth and some with none?

    The rich are different.... I wonder if ole Papa was thinking that when he was leaving Cuba and his house and his boat behind, because he was not a favored son of that Revolution. Or was he thinking the socialists are different?

    I have seen the house and the boat and it is a nice boat and there lived there a man who could write some great words but sometimes had trouble with logical thought and the man walked down the steps of his big house one day and across the lawn and past the graves of the cats and got onto a plane and left the small island forever. (Apologies to E.H.).

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