Monday, September 05, 2005
So long and thanks for all the thrills
Thanks for bringing me to Leningrad, comrade. :)
The locals have probably guessed by now where these crumpled drawings have come from. In Portugal there is something called "Festa do Avante", a yearly festival organized by the Portuguese Communist Party, but attended by people of all political colours (even the sort of individualistic no-party freaks like me - the only "parties" I trust are the recreational ones). I had never attended it until this year when my friend sort of dragged me into it. Well, after three days, and now that it is over, I can say that I have not yet been converted to the Communist Party but I certainly have been converted to the Party of the Communists.
Communism may not work, but communists surely do! :)
The festival cannot be compared to any other that I attended, and this thanks mainly, not to the events, but to the people. The festival comes together from the selfless giving of volunteer work, and it is full of passion and dedication, that shows everywhere from how well things work to how friendly the staff is, even as the day is ending and everyone is surely exhausted to the point of collapse. This is not an ideologically neutral fact. There is a coming together that cannot happen in an ideology like capitalism, dependent upon hard competition for its success. Cooperation - that is circumstancial in capitalism but central to Communism - is the key to this.
Whatever our political affiliations, this spirit of generous and selfless cooperation is someting that must be salvaged. It is surely something that might be adequately taught to a child, far before she is ready for the subtle forms of directed egoism that make capitalism work (undirected egoism, of course, needs no teaching as it comes far too naturaly to most children). Ii is something that should survive whatever else may be built on top. Essentials should not be forgotten.
A casual note: Go to most festivals or parties and notice how most of the beautiful girls parade themselves. They parade their beauty as if on display, hidden behind glass, haughty, jealous, snob, distant, complete with a metaphorical price tag. I have always found this quite repulsive. Even in that respect there was a difference at this festival: In the way they danced, walked, talked, the girls where giving their beauty away, with open smiles, natural friendliness, and genuine happiness...
PS: In case you were wondering, the mention of "leningrad" comes from the simple accident that shostakovich was being played as I first arrived at the event.