Aimé Césaire, creador de libertades (fin) / Oswaldo Barreto

Aimé Césaire, Creator of Liberties (Conclusion)

The fact that these days people all over the world are talking about the death of Aimé Césaire as an event that has repercussions on the political and cultural actions now taking place in almost every corner of the planet, this is related to the way that man linked his life with those of all black people and, through them, with that of all the earth’s pariahs.

We want to say that what a young colonized man of the Antilles, educated in the European metropolis, forged as a personal project continues to be a program for a struggle that belongs to millions simultaneously grouped together and spread all over the world. And this project, that Césaire forged during the years preceding the explosion of the First World War and that he himself baptized as “negritude,” is an endeavor that involves “assuming the social and cultural consequences of being from black Africa or a descendant of black Africans.” And assuming that modality of “being in the world” – as was already said in that era – meant for the artist and politician with a vast knowledge and a stubborn will to autonomy that Césaire already was, giving himself over to a search for the paths of liberty, lost liberty or a liberty yet to be reached.

To seek liberty, as with the search for independence, is relatively easy. What is costly, as we well know, is to maintain them, to avoid above all that they be confiscated from us precisely in the name of liberty and independence. And Aimé Césaire, as an artist and politician, regardless of the genre in which he worked within both fields (poetry, drama or essays, as an artist; mayor of Fort-de-France, the capital of his island, for over 50 years, or member of the French Parliament during numerous periods, as a politician; and promoter of innumerable forums, encounters, congresses and publications, where he tended to fuse his aptitudes for accomplishment in both), was always willing to pay the necessary price for maintaining the search for liberty. In this way he adhered to the communist movement when it seemed like the only true path toward achieving the emancipation of mankind. And when it became evident that actually existing communism had become the complete opposite: the path toward the dominance of a single man over masses that are submissive to him, Césaire publicly renounced his condition as a member of the French Communist Party (“I don’t betray or deny, I want doctrines and political parties to be built to serve mankind, not for mankind to serve doctrines or political parties.” Letter of Resignation from the CP) and formed a political party in his native country and for his native country, with no pretensions other than to undertake a “Copernican revolution against that entrenched custom of political parties on the left and right, of acting for us, planning for us, thinking for us (and in this way seizing from us) the initiative in everything, which is a primary condition for exercising liberty.”

{ Oswaldo Barreto, Tal Cual, 28 April 2008 }

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