The Cardinal Rules

It’s become apparent to me that by faithfully following the Marxist-Leninist maxim of “From each according to his ability, and to each according to his need” –  and doing it so naturally, to boot! – my Home has come to resemble a Communist Commune/Community.

Everyone here contributes all that they can, whatever their skill and/or level of ability may be, and we all contribute through our own accord. That voluntarism, more importantly, applies to everything, even to the level of ability and skill that we want to put forth; in other words, whatever our individual trade may be, we individually – though with the strength of that entire human-network behind every decision – strive to excel at it. No decision, though in fact taken wholly individually and resolutely, is made in the name of one person, or of some interests over others, or without the consideration of the entire network – even our two dogs! Everything is debate and argument in the best sense of the word; everything is a consultation over and consideration of the ultimate goals, purposes and repercussions for everyone. But most importantly, above absolutely any other consideration – the very Essence of our Commune: Our Manifesto, as it were – is the thought of whether or not we, as individual ambassadors of our Home-Base – our own Anthill – are acting with the utmost integrity, with the most transparent sense of dignity, and with pervasive, unmasked and blunt sincerity…ALWAYS and FOREVER!…Sacred Principles violated FOR NO ONE! Not even God!

Moreover, everyone is free to take as much as they need or want. There are absolutely no restrictions, and yet, not one person dares or even enjoys falling victim to the predatory hands of excess. No one takes/buys/spends more than they really need, and whatever they want, is only within the confines of what they needed it in the first place. And curiously enough, everyone adamantly insists that the other “take more”, whether it be food, money, time, or any other thing under humanity’s shared blue skies, or within our own, womb-like abode. We never seem to be in dire need, simply because we never seem to go beyond them in the first place. Thus, there always seems to be abundance, as our very souls are seldom afflicted with true need or, worst yet, with true excess.

And it is interesting, once again, the “natural” way in which all this comes – and the way it all feels – even though it has all been learned: learned from the time we could barely walk; learned from the time when we were Knights inside our very own Kingdom, in the throes of childish ecstasy and innocence; learned throughout our young lives, through the years of school, sleep-overs and personal awkwardness; learned at every corner and instant of our lives, as the cardinal rule, that life was much sweeter when the sun’s warm and tender rays hit you, than when you’re accosted by millions of jewels; learned that the less that I had, the more I really gained; and learned that the only way to really gain that authentic enrichment, was to share from the little or the lot that I had, with he who didn’t have at all, or with he who had a little less; and learned, in my adulthood, that all those years when they were telling me those things to the point of redundancy, to the point of saturating my nerves, to the point of instilling angst and resentment towards them, was all so that it would now feel natural to do it, and, likewise, feel repulsive to do otherwise.

And yet, as with life, which so often seems naught but a paradox in itself, we also learned to have our little claws always sharp, albeit hidden – or rather tucked – under our inviting paws. We learned – as we were taught with the utmost poignancy – that precisely because we were to extend our paws to absolutely everyone who was in need of it, there would inevitably appear those who aspired to bite them, if not completely chop them off at the wrists. Yes, we were taught that with the responsibility of helping he who needed it and, at times, even he who wanted it, also came the resolute and absolute right to defend that spirit and that fight with everything, even with our lives! Particularly in a home where it’s doors are always opened to absolutely everyone, our guards, we were taught, should always be up.

We learned that peace and sharing were the Key to a happy life; and that strength of character and the resoluteness to defend it with violence where necessary and, more appropriately, against whom dares attack it, were the Locks to the doors. And curiously, it was in Nietzsche that I found the two sentences to express a lifetime of learning: “The lonely one – [free from all material wealth and pain] – offers his hand too quickly to whomever he encounters,” he says. “[But] [t]o some people you may not give your hand, only a paw: and I desire that your paw should also have claws.”

Not long ago I found it expressed again, but this time in a popular song by a hip-hop group called Calle 13, where they say, much like we were taught as kids: “No le tengo miedo a las confrontaciones/Porque yo me crié con invasiones/Y como las hormigas si tengo mala suerte/Defiendo mi hormiguero hasta la muerte” (Loosely Translated: “I’m not afraid of confrontations/Because I was raised amid invasions/And like Ants if misfortune should befall me/I’ll defend my Anthill till Death herself Calls me”).

However, despite that militant nature and constant vigilance over our own little Revolutionary Gains, the very coveted and seemingly evanescent virtues like Harmony, Peace, Love and Fulfillment are always constants, never variables. And though the building may be shaken by violent winds from time to time – by the “invisible hands that ben[d] and [torture] us the worst”, as Nietzsche puts it – the core of the structure remains as real as the sun’s daily rise. But, perhaps we have an advantage, because more than jewels, green-backs or vacation get-aways into the various oases around the world, satisfaction in our life consists on the harmony of the system; on its self-fulfillment; on its perpetuation of itself. As I see it, as long as the Sun continues to rise, our days will be bright, even the nights; even the unavoidably dark times that life cannot be without…The Sun always seems to shine inside our home.

The Individual Within the System

Moreover, in regards to our family dynamics, more specifically about our individuality within this seemingly enveloping organism/system – and much like the revolutionary guerrilla fighter Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara points out in one of his works about the New Socialist Man – I’ve noticed that we have not only not ceased to be individuals – lost our personalities, as if to say – but we’ve, in fact, gained much fuller ones, much sharper ones, much more creative ones that, while being entirely unique in each one of us, nevertheless naturally converge with the goals of and expected repercussions upon the entire system. In other words, though we are wholly different as individuals – with our own likes and dislikes, habits, hobbies, interests and even vices – our course of action in everyday-life seems to naturally opt for the most harmonious results for the home. Thus, we seldom have fights (though seldom does not mean never, and that is precisely due to the fact that some differences are simply irreconcilable, and thus, sometimes a clash occurs; however, the clash is no more – and goes no further – than the immediate parameter of that specific issue, then it is dead and over forever; it is all, in fact, quite therapeutic).

The most obvious example of this is between my brother and myself. Anyone that meets us and knows us for more than a couple of hours will readily admit that we are of extremely opposite temperaments: whereas I am more impulsive with my decisions and in my general behavior, perhaps even somewhat ‘neurotic‘ (quite like my dad), my brother is as calm and laid-back as a leaf floating through the air, though precisely knowing where its going to land (quite like my mom). Moreover, our artistic talents and hobbies differ a great deal: he is a musician who learned to play the guitar and drums almost instantly, as if he had always known how to do it, even though he had begun rather late, and yet, he does it extremely well; I, on the other hand, only remit myself to banging on the drums, mostly to let out some of that neurocity, but my real talent and interests are in writing.

These obvious differences – particularly in our temperament – have indeed led us through quite different ways at times, giving us each a different and unique set of obstacles to overcome and circumstances to deal with; we’ve likewise had different taste in women, different kinds of fights with our parents and friends (even different kind of friends), even different vices (though we may sometimes not admit them as vices but rather as hobbies). In any case, the point is that, though we have at times appeared to walk through different ways, at the end of the day, we have both – as well as our parents – traveled inside the same forest. And ultimately, it seems, in this time we’re living of apparent awakening – a time when it appears that we have all opened our third-eyes – we effectively have individually, though simultaneously, emerged from the forest at the other side, fully aware of our individual trek towards our communal future.

Communism, it seems, has seeped into my home.

The Home Must be Revived

Therefore, as I see it, the first point of departure for the type of Socialist Education that is to build the individual that will not only be receptive to but the protagonist of the communist world, must come even prior to formal schooling; it must come from the Home. As such, we must find projects that aim at restrengthening the real essence of family-values, the core of what is to become the Communist Society: a Free, Selfless, Creative, Moral and entirely Harmonious Community.


ARTÍCULO ORIGINAL: Nueve de octubre.

Cuando yo nací, el Che Guevara ya estaba muerto y su retrato había aparecido en la portada de la revista Life. Hay, ciertamente, pocos rostros tan impresionantes como los rostros de este hombre. Contadas imágenes o palabras provocan una compresión y un sobrecogimiento semejantes a los que sobrevienen con esas fotografías en las que siempre, sea en una posición u otra, en este o en aquel país, como un secreto que no resiste más, se deja ver la estampa misma de la sugestión.

Perdonen la confidencia, pero yo he llegado a su persona desde los terrenos más pueriles, desde las situaciones menos épicas. En caso de que quieran decir algo, ¿qué es lo que dicen los rostros del Che? ¿Hacia dónde, por ejemplo, miraba aquella tarde de 1960 en que Korda lo tomó desprevenido y lo incrustó con fiereza en todas las banderas y todos los pulóveres del mundo?

Los sucesos de La Coubre complementan las connotaciones dramáticas que por sí solas se desprenden de su cara, y hacen que olvidemos algo. El Che observaba los cadáveres, el mar de cubanos rabiosos, el hecho consumado y sin retroceso, el hombre envuelto en el vertiginoso remolino de la historia, el paso del tiempo, las víctimas como causa, pero también como azar, y así, sin que hayamos reparado nunca, la inmanencia le viene porque no mira la guerra con la gravedad o la cercanía de los estadistas, sino con la gravedad o la cercanía de los poetas. El Che era el Che, y era, además, Byron.

Hoy no. Hoy es otra cosa. Y esa condición oblicua no es exactamente la que prende en los eternos rebeldes, en las descafeinadas barricadas contemporáneas, en los adolescentes incendiarios. Los héroes corren dos riesgos gravísimos, siempre latentes. Primero: el hecho de sobrevivir a su propia heroicidad. Segundo: el hecho de no sobrevivirla. Primero: el hecho de que se les mitifique en vida. Segundo: el hecho de que se les mitifique en muerte. Todos los mitos son malos arquetipos de mitos anteriores, los cuales, a su vez, fueron reproducidos sobre el mito de Prometeo, tan falaz.

Los grandes hombres no son grandes hombres. Sus actos íntimos son comunes. Sus actos públicos y sus actos históricos también. Pero tampoco son sujetos de esquina. (No dejen, estudiantes, que los engañen con ninguna de estas farsas.) El Che recorre el continente en moto, y no podía sospechar, tan muchacho como era, que ese viaje era un viaje sin retroceso, un trayecto sin fin. En primera instancia, recorrer Latinoamérica es una acción natural que muchos otros han hecho antes y después.

El Che no sabrá nunca que terminará en México y, por más que se lo haya pensado madrugadas enteras, no sabrá tampoco cómo es que cae en la Sierra Maestra, y después en La Habana, y luego en la ONU, y más tarde en el Congo, y Europa del Este, y de nuevo La Habana, y casi finalmente Bolivia, y por último la muerte, y con la muerte el símbolo que es. Así como otros entran al ruedo del crimen, o de la diplomacia, o del aburrimiento, en algún momento el Che Guevara entró al ruedo de las epopeyas. Un ruedo, en esencia, igual a los demás. Si el crimen cambia la vida de unos pocos, la diplomacia la vida de nadie, y el aburrimiento la vida personal, las epopeyas cambian la vida de millones de personas, y esa es, visto así, la única diferencia, puramente cuantitativa.

Sin embargo, hay otro rasgo distintivo: el rasgo poético. Que no se define en los hechos, sino en el pensamiento. No se define en subir al Granma, sino en la decisión de subir al Granma. No se define en irse a Bolivia, sino en convencerse de que es imprescindible irse a Bolivia, y que para ello tan solo se cuenta con lo que cuenta el resto. Es decir, un cuerpo y un ideal (todos tenemos un ideal, por mezquino que sea). Que tus actos individuales tengan una finalidad colectiva es la verdadera distinción de estos hombres. Entender el destino de la humanidad como tu destino. O darle, en suma, esa explicación.

Lo que hace héroe al héroe es la completa disposición hacia empresas que rebasan sus límites físicos de sujetos normales. Lo que los hace sujetos normales es que a pesar de subordinar la realidad a pretensiones impensadas por el resto, no pueden hacer otra cosa que iniciar las revoluciones de cero, paso a paso, casi inconscientemente, con la misma inexplicable y ordinaria secuencia que alguien comienza un libro, o planifica un atraco, o termina una casa. ¿En qué momento justo los héroes se convierten en héroes? En ninguno. No hay, a pesar de las efemérides, momentos justos. Los héroes se convierten en héroes en el momento que se explican poéticamente. ¿Qué hay, pues, más épico que un poeta? Pero también, ¿qué hay más absurdo?

El asesinato del Che marca el fin de una época, y no deja de ser un acto ejecutado por un rapaz subalterno, un gatillo llevado hacia atrás por un don nadie. Cuando se mitifiquen las ideas, siempre tan férreas, y no los hechos, siempre tan manipulables, entenderemos a plenitud esa aparente contradicción.

La retórica pública establece un orden falso, lleno de imprecisiones y alarmantemente vacío de luminosos detalles. Tres mínimas escenas hacen que para mí el resto de la vida del Che adquiera las connotaciones que supuestamente se pide que tenga. Las tres son en los meses finales de su vida.

La primera cuando le dice a Aleida March, antes de irse para Bolivia, que eso es lo único que le puede dejar, lo único íntimamente suyo. ¿Qué? Una cinta con su voz, donde se escucha un poema de Vallejo y otro de Neruda. Pensemos en todo lo que el Che ha vivido, pensemos en el hombre que se ha ido convirtiendo, en todo lo que ha viajado y en toda la política internacional que ha hecho. Y pensemos luego en cómo lo único íntimamente suyo son esos versos escritos por otros, a esas alturas escritos por nadie.

La segunda ya en Bolivia, en plena guerrilla, cuando se aparta y trepa en un árbol y se roba tiempo para revisar un libro.

Y la tercera, escena que no aparece en ningún lugar, y que no es la fotografía bíblica con ojos entrecerrados de la revista Life, son esos segundos finales en los que el Che yace amarrado en un piso de tierra, de una casa presumiblemente de adobe, sucio, barbudo, en el corazón de la selva sudamericana, definitivamente por el suelo sus utopías, segundos en los que el mundo lo ha dejado solo, segundos en los que no recibe los aplausos de la Asamblea General, segundos durante los cuales nadie marcha por ninguna ciudad con su rostro en ninguna bandera, segundos en los que nadie llega y paga unos dólares y dice hágame el favor de tatuarme al Che Guevara, segundos en los que adelgaza considerablemente, pero no sufre hambre, segundos en los que sueña, en los que se vuelve intermitente y duro como una roca, en los que ni siquiera descubren sus huesos, en los que su guerrilla ya no existe, en los que piensa en Rosario o en sus hijos o, tal como aseguró, en Cuba, aun cuando no sepamos si en verdad lo hizo, segundos en los que sabe que va a morir a manos de vulgares soldados y sabe además que no existe ninguna escapatoria.

Nada de esto lo he aprendido en los oradores de devoción gratuita. El Che es el único muerto que no me parece muerto, pero que duele como si lo acabaran de rematar.