Defensores de la humanidad / Carole Leal Curiel

The Defenders of Humanity

The murmur reaches me from Mexico. A friend of mine, who works with Mexico City's mayor Andrés Manuel López Obrador, warns me: "Check this Sunday's issue of La Jornada."

I find the article. It's signed by Luis Hernández Navarro.

I don't know who he is. I only know that he was at the meeting of intellectuals in favor of humanity, which took place recently. I read his account. He describes the meeting of about 350 old dreamers, all of them in their forties or older, tired of their grey hairs and beards, arriving from 52 countries. A conference that aims to "renovate modern thought."

How ironic. It's not the first forum celebrated in honor of the defense of humanity. Nor will it be the last. Much less after the Caracas Commitment of 2004.The first one took place in Mexico, in 2003, for the purpose of "relaunching progressive thought within the intellectual world." What in the hell might progressive thought be? They were inspired—he says—by that old encounter which took place in 1937: the World Congress against fascism. The enemy is a new one although it's always the same:the imperial North American offensive which is analogous, says the article, to what the rise of fascism represented at one time. The first encounter, the one in Mexico, didn't have the repercussions they had hoped for. They lacked the resources to expand throughout humanity until, of course, "the Venezuelan decision to reanimate the process changed the situation." Now they really have become the international of progressive thought in support of humanity and, why not?, in support of the Bolivarian revolution. Since the defense of all humanity "has been reborn with the support of the Bolivarian State." How pragmatic and clear of the Mexican writer.

Is it a case of a progressive-humanitarian pragmatism? The document signed by the humanists at this meeting concludes with "the conviction that another world is not only possible but inevitable." They are the ones, the defenders of humanity, who will relaunch modern thought and who will reedit the utopia of the New Man and the new society. The future belongs to them.

These are confusing times. Language is perhaps the clearest expression of these confusions. Is it enough to merely define oneself as progressive in order to be progressive? What does it mean to be progressive in today's world? Being antiglobalization? Defending another world? Blaming all of humanity's evils on the North's imperialism? Will Ricardo Nuñez's recent mea culpa now be classified as reactionary?

The Mexican's text evokes a conversation I had. It took place on the Orinoco river. A friend of mine, a French philosopher who belongs to the right, was questioning herself and questioning me while we waited for a boat: "If I approach the world, ideologically, from the French right and if your formation has been influenced by the left and by Marxism, what separates us? Both of us believe in and defend social justice; both of us are critical of ultraliberalism; we know the perversions of actual socialism; we coincide in our opposition to the North American neoconservatives. What is it that separates us then?" I didn't answer her question. Today I would say that what most unites us is the moral nausea that we feel when we encounter the progressive moralizing that ends up camouflaging, under the vacuous slogans of liberty and justice, the force and violence of those who perpetuate their hold on power in the name of their love for the dispossessed. After Caracas, the next meeting should be in Havana. Long live humanism!

{ Carole Leal Curiel, TalCual, 17 December 2004 }

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