“Nothing human is alien to me,” said Terentius, an ancient Roman writer. Legacy to this day, this statement is very relevant. We live under conditions in which the thinking biped, who has been able to make himself by working with his hand, and who has achieved an upright position that allows him to stretch his gaze to wide horizons, is in danger of premature extinction.
The reasons are multiple. Climate change is one of them. Also present, more and more complex, is the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Many fell victim to direct impact in 1945, and a large proportion of the survivors slowly died of cancer, a side effect of the deadly weapon. In both cases, we are faced with the result of a civilizational model operating in terms of subjectivity and culture.
An inexorable chain of events, some of which take place in very remote places, affects the future of our individual existence and must be taken into account when making decisions and assuming the corresponding responsibilities.
I say this emphatically because I have experienced it first hand. When he was just over seven years old, he lived happily in Turin, the capital of Piedmont in northern Italy, where he had a warm foster home. I liked the school, and I shared with my peers summer games, country holidays. Suddenly, the war began, and the Nazis crossed the border into Poland. These were words and names unknown to me. However, the events that took place in such remote places definitely changed my fate.
Such a sudden turn aroused an urgent need to understand the world around us, arising from a long historical process subject to the requirements of emerging capitalism and disputes over the imposition of hegemonic power. Against the background of the development of capitalism and the industrial revolution, the seeds of emancipatory thought appeared.
In the eighteenth century, Jean-Jacques Rousseau published his analysis of the origin of inequality among men. During the next century, Karl Marx would undertake a monumental study of capital. As part of primitive accumulation, the contribution of wealth extracted from the lands of America was of decisive importance. In his research, Marx took into account the most advanced English process at that time to study economic factors, and from a political point of view, he referred to France, shocked by revolutionary outbreaks after the storming of the Bastille. , who overthrew the feudal remnants of the old system, in order to then go through the insurrectionary uprisings of 1830 and 1848 until it reached the Paris Commune. Then Lenin would have to define imperialism as the highest phase of capitalism and consider the possibility of building socialism in an economically backward country on the periphery of Europe.
Long before this, the need to break the legacy of colonialism was imposed on our America. From this point of view, our liberation ideology began to take shape. Simon Rodriguez, quoted by President Hugo Chávez so many times, was a visionary and forerunner. He lived in Europe and was well aware of the prevailing currents of thought at that time. Having settled in Upper Peru, on the territory of modern Bolivia, he tried to establish the compulsory teaching of the Quechua language and sought to ensure that after gaining independence, our countries were built on their own, not counting on outside interference. Despite Bolívar’s support, he clashed with Sucre in his ideas and died in extreme poverty.
In this panorama, José Marti assumes the size of a giant. A renovator of poetry, aware of the political and cultural reality of Europe, a shrewd observer of the hidden conflicts in our young republics through his sojourns in Mexico, Venezuela and Guatemala, he was the first to notice the essential features of the emerging imperialism, manifested in its continuous territorial expansion and through the exercise of its dominance through the economy and finance.
By the beginning of the 20th century, Marxism offered theoretical tools to propose transformational projects in the specific conditions of our countries, very different from those of the highly industrialized world of that time. From different parts of the continent, many have worked in this direction. Suffice it to name a few prominent figures. After overcoming the physical weakness and persecution he endured in Peru, José Carlos Mariategui began pioneering work. He sponsored the dissemination of his ideas through Amaut’s publication, which transcended local boundaries and promoted dialogue with intellectuals from other countries, especially Cubans. After his death, the Revista de Avans paid him a posthumous tribute.
Julio Antonio Mella understood early on the fusion of Marxist concepts and Martí’s legacy, updating the formulation of emancipatory thought. But Machado’s killers cut his life short. Consumed by illness and the efforts of the political struggle, Rubén Martínez Villena found the necessary space to identify some of the essential problems of the Cuban economy.
After the Second World War, the confrontation between the oppressors and the oppressed, between the underdeveloped and underdeveloped countries, according to the definition of Roberto Fernandez Retamar, will reach a planetary scale. In Africa, Asia and Latin America there has been an attempt to cut ties with old and new forms of domination. Some nations have achieved political independence through neo-colonial economic ties.
In defense of vested interests, the counterinsurgency was manifested with relentless violence. Lumumba was killed in the former Belgian Congo. Cuba emerged victorious, and after a long struggle, Vietnam was to win. These factors modeled a renewed emancipatory thought.
At the United Nations, in front of the most famous political leaders of the time, Fidel shocked the audience with the longest speech in history, to the point where many people came to visit him at the Teresa Hotel in Harlem, where he was staying. The essence of his ideas, scattered throughout speeches delivered in different circumstances, has to be collected and analyzed from an actual point of view. In the same way, the texts and notes of Ernesto Che Guevara must be conveyed to the present day.
In this difficult hour it is necessary to save the history of emancipatory thought in order to define the essential concepts and unite the wills on the basis of a decisive and urgent battle of ideas.
Source: Juventud Rebelde