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.