It might sound intriguing to the reader hearing about hope at this time we are undergoing. Surely, insecurity, fear and hopelessness are the feelings hanging in the air. So imagine, talking about hope in revolution! Furthermore, what kind of revolution can we think at this moment?
By: Ana Godoy
Looking around, we come across the face of irrationality staring at us, telling that lives are less important than economy. Then, we´re sure that hope doesn´t exist; that it’s gone with the arrival of barbarism. But, precisely because of this whole scenario, we can have the deepest hope that a new world is possible.
Considering theory, the one which is concerned to explain the mechanism of the world we live in, we always read about the existing contradictions of our society, and how they are the driving force of the transformations. Thus, we feel happy, in theory, knowing that one day, who knows, the revolution will come. But, there are differences between theory and life, even though the theory pursues “giving life to the substance”. Confronting the contradiction on paper and living it in practice are very different matters.
One of the characteristics of the crisis is opening wide those contradictions that we read on the books, turning then transparent to our eyes. It causes us insecurity, and maybe, even, the willingness to give up. However, facing them with resolution and serenity is the task for this moment, and this conviction in the future is what makes us revolutionaries.
Yes, we live in a world in which the production and circulation of goods is infinitely more important than the life of any human being that walks through the earth, and that´s how it is every day. This moment is peculiar since this problem is printed on the newspaper headlines. It has been causing political instability and reaching people’s front doors.
The real problem is that we have for so long developed a society that gives preference to the things, goods and money, rather than to life, necessity and human well-being; maybe just for half a dozen people in the world.
When talking about revolution, we invariably go back to Marx; the great German revolutionary who has relinquished everything because he was sure that a socialist revolution not only was possible, but it was also the only way out. Many people view him just as an economist, who had uncovered the capitalism laws and demonstrated with some formulas the contradictions enclosed in that system. However, the Marxist theory is not about goods, formulas or general laws of society. The Marxist theory is about humans, and there’s nothing more important than talking about people in a moment like this.
Actually, the Marxist socialist theory is about hope. It is about the pursuit of happiness. It is a theory created from the certainty that it is not possible to live in a world in which people have to choose between dying of a disease or dying of hunger. Each written line, each page revised was done looking for an alternative to burst the cycle of misery, hunger and humiliation which the worker is subjected to. We ask the reader’s permission, to quote an excerpt of a letter written by Marx’s daughter, Eleanor, telling about her father’s theory.
“It is odd, but, I believe many people don’t understand how much the notion of happiness is important for the socialists, and how it is inside the very heart of Marx’s thought. Happiness is, in the end, the great ultimate goal of our struggle; not as a simple pursuit of individual pleasure, but as the human being self-realization; the right that each individual has to express and perform his or her capabilities. The right of being fulfilled, putting his or her humanity in what he or she does, whatever it is: a goal, tillage or a work of art. May everyone be happy, performing their capabilities and being part of a collectivity, a group that recognizes them as its own. Many people do not always associate the ‘free development of each one as the condition for the free development of all’ with the notion of individual happiness. They do not understand that this ‘free development of each one’ is, precisely, the condition to be happy. Or they think that this is something for the future and should be delayed to the future. They do not realize that being happy is something to seek in the present; that it must not be a utopia. Instead, it is something required, presently, to be attempted as of now, something that makes us better people and, therefore, more capable of facing the long struggle. I do not believe it to be an overstatement when I think that the beauty of life, the joy of living are what should guide us and what can give us some strength; that the revolution means not only the search of life and liberty, but also the pursuit of happiness.”
It is exactly in moments like the one we are now undergoing, that each line of this letter makes more sense. There is no economic plan that could settle millions of people’s lives around the world and simultaneously solves the problems of the banks and multinationals. This society we live in neither secure well-being nor happiness for the whole population. It is for us to pave the way to get there.
That is why hope is our fuel at this moment. The irrationality won’t prevail, because people, workers, will react. It is not possible to live a long time in appalling conditions and on top of that missing our loved ones. The uprising will come; and with it the possibility of building a world in which life is worth more than goods.
The current generation has not lived a global crisis as the one we are now coming across. We have not lived a global catastrophe on the scale of a war neither faced the unfolding of those processes. However, for sure it will rise to be heiress of the legacy left by ancient men and women who had given their lives for believing in the possibility of building a society in which we could be fulfilled and happy.
We may be appointed as utopians. People may allege that socialism has not worked out. We can just say to these persons: you have not understood it yet! The capitalism does not secure the future of humankind, and we hear it screaming in our ears at this moment.
We will build a new world, not only for a simple wish, but because we do not want to see any of our beloved ones going anymore.
We finish this text with the end of Trotsky’s speech at the funeral of Joffe, who was a member of the USSR Left-wing Opposition, which had struggled against the Stalinist betrayal to the October Revolution: “We will lift high the Leninst flag of the international proletarian revolution and we will take it to the world communism. Long live the revolutionary communist party”.
Originally published on the blog Theory and Revolution
Translated by Roberta Maiani