From the December 1957 issue of the Socialist Standard
“Soviet scientists who claim to have found a Rip Van Winkle deep method of prolonging animal life far beyond normal expectation, are to start experimenting on humans.
Their biggest success in experiments so far is a small white lapdog called Mika. He was brought to them in 1950. aged 16, with all the symptoms of advanced senility, and was expected to die at any moment.
Mika was immediately put to sleep with drugs and not awakened for three months. The dog lived until April 1957, claim the Russians, nearly seven years above his normal life expectation.
The Soviet scientists stumbled on the method while carrying out experiments investigating the devastating effect of lack of sleep on the living organism. So far experiments have been on animals only. Work on humans is to be carried out at the Longevity Institute of the Moscow Medical Academy.” (Sunday Express, 23/6/57).
The writer has long been aware of the devastating effect on his own and other people’s health of the vicious scream of the alarm clock, forcing one out of a nice comfortable bed, blinded with sleep; to stumble downstairs, snatch a hurried “cuppa” and race for the bus; to arrive exhausted at the place of work, to do another “stint” of profit-making for the boss. What a lousy life!
Spare a thought, however, for the poor capitalist. Maybe he has been making a mistake. Perhaps if these experiments prove successful he may realise it. Indeed, he may campaign for a shorter working day so that wage-slaves may get more sleep, live longer and produce more profits. They may even raise the retirement age to ninety—that would save them millions! “A delightful thought, eh! Ponsonby? ” “Why yes, my dear feller!” On the other hand, the workers, given more time to think, may get wise to the swindle of Capitalism and decide to put an end to “Wage Slavery,” and to live long and happy lives in a Socialist society. They may, indeed, WAKE UP AND LIVE.