The Death of the Proletariat



I seek the proletariat.  Where is the proletariat?   Have they got lost?  Did they lose their way, like children?  Or are they hiding?  Have they gone on a voyage?  Are they afraid of us?  No.

Where is the proletariat?  I will tell you.  We have killed them - you and I.  All of us are their murderers.  

But how could we do this?  How did we wipe away the horizon?  What were we doing when we unchained the Earth from the Sun?  Where are we moving, now?  Away from all suns?  Are we not plunging continually?  Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions?  Is there still any up or down?  Are we not straying, as through an infinite nothing?

Do we not feel the breath of empty space?  Has it not become colder?  Is not night continually closing in on us?  Do we hear the gravediggers who are burying the proletariat?  The proletariat is dead.  The proletariat remains dead.  And we have killed them.

How shall we comfort ourselves, we murderers of all murderers?  What was most valuable and mightiest in all the world has bled under our knives.  Who will wipe this blood off of us?  What water is there for us to clean ourselves?  What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent?  Isn't the greatness of this deed too great for us?  Must we not ourselves become the proletariat, merely to appear worthy of it?  There has never been a greater deed, and whoever is born after us - for the sake of this deed, they will belong to a higher history than all history hitherto.

I have come too early; my time is not yet come.  The tremendous event is still on its way, still wandering; it has not yet reached the ears of men.  Lightning and thunder require time; the light of stars requires time; deeds, though done, require time to be seen and heard.  This deed is still more distant to them than the most distant stars - and yet they have done it to themselves.

(See here for explanation.)


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