University Students vs. University Leaders

Marx as a man of his time, overwhelmed by the difficulties and seeking solutions.

By Daisy Valera

Last week, Eduardo (a friend studying meteorology) and I thought it would be good to present the Cuban television adaptation of the play Marx in the Soho, by US writer Howard Zinn, at our school.

The screenplay presents Karl Marx as an ordinary man, not as the super theoretician we all imagine.

Therefore, we thought presenting this work would be a way to share our interest in history and politics with other students at our faculty.

This desire to carry out the initiative emerged after spending almost four years seeing the leaders of the FEU (Federation of University Students) spend their time throwing parties, organizing sporting events, and forcing the rest of the student body to attend political activities that few were interested in.

So we rolled up our sleeves.

On Monday, we made and hung up posters that included a brief synopsis of Marx in the Soho, as well as the time and place where it would be shown.

As we expected, the following morning we had the president of the school’s FEU in our faces; he’s in charge of history and politics, as well as the leader of the UJC (Young Communist League).

They had pulled our posters off the walls and demanded that we explain our intentions to them.

Although our explanation was clear, they insisted that our activity should not take place.

Their arguments were:

– No activity can be carried out at the school if the leaders of the FEU do not authorize it.

– The activities to be held during the month must be registered in an official document.

– Activities must be supervised by a professor.

In short, they showed us their effectiveness in finding reasons to prevent rank-and-file members of the FEU from exercising their right to expression, from being spontaneous and demonstrating that there are other ways of doing things.

Despite all their protests, we held our activity. We weren’t going to allow this little group that holds power to make decisions for us. We refused to accept being turned into marionettes so that they could later proclaim the FEU a still viable organization.

That was a declaration of war on our authoritarian leaders.

For the time being, we will continue working…and preparing for the next battle.

Daisy Valera

Daisy Valera:Soil scientist and blogger. I write from Mexico City, where Havana sometimes becomes so small that it disappears. However in others, the Cuban capital is a city so past and present that it steals your breath.

3 thoughts on “<em>University Students vs. University Leaders</em>

  • May 3, 2009 at 4:19 am

    You did the right thing (whether Zinn’s work is worth such trouble is another matter). However, the bigger issues involved still need to be addressed, of course. Such tight control over political expression cannot last. It’s not democracy — of any sort. What the bureaucrats need to learn — and maybe the hard way — is that the best way to defeat imperialist intrigue and the Miami Mafia is to let the masses develop their own thinking and praxis to the highest level possible. And then they’d eat the Miami gusanos for breakfast.

    The hard part of course — the most vulnerable moment — is the beginning. And so everyone is stuck there, right?

  • March 22, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Perhaps, “…The time is out of joint.”… as Hamlet says.


  • March 22, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    !Bravo, Daisy! I am glad you and the other students did not allow yourselves to be intimidated. A good choice, too. Where I live there is a professor at Marlboro College, Jerry Levy, who actually looks just like Marx, and without resorting to make-up he often performs this play.
    Not only Marx, but Zeus Himself had certain, err, human failings. Hera often suspected Him of hanky-panky when, looking down from their home on Mt. Olympus, she saw a gathering of clouds below–and She was right! He would be consorting with either a beautiful mortal, or demi-god. Nothing much has changed, either amongst the gods or the mortals, during the past millenia. Besides spouses cheating on each other, there have aways be petty tyrants trying to abuse whatever little fiefdoms of power they too possess. Let us hope that they can grow beyond this parochialism; by now they should know that for the Revolution to be dynamic, they must trust the people, and encourage them to take their own initiatives. Otherwise, the Revolution becomes a dead letter, undeliverable to future generations.

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