My Intro to Politics

Esteban Diaz

I spent my childhood with all of my family in a very humble neighborhood in Buenos Aires. There I had the opportunity to meet a communist for the first time, my father, although at the time I didn’t know exactly what that meant.

I remember one of the first lessons he gave to my sister and I. Sitting on a wood bench that my grandfather had made he started to explain what freedom was while he was drawing us a flying dove.

People should always respect each other he said; love between two people should be sincere, with equal rights. He spoke of how beautiful the world would be if there weren’t borders and in place you would find bouquets of flowers; a world without racism or xenophobia.

In the coming years I accompanied him to neighborhood meetings to discuss the manner in which to resolve the most important problems that we were afflicted with. These included unemployment, the high incidence of drug addiction among adolescents, obtaining legal ownership to the property on which we were living, how to make sure that the children go to the schools, being recognized as citizens, and become conscious that we were living in a State that was only concerned about us at election time to elect “representatives of the Argentinean people.”

In this way, as their companion, I participated in all the protests that they were organizing, always united with a group of friends, the kids of other neighbors who were also participating.

There I had my first impressions of the USSR, China and Cuba. It became increasingly more routine to listen to them talk about those countries.

Throughout all of this time I could see how the workers, employed and unemployed, were organizing, how they were making important decisions like how to improve the quality of the electric lighting, and how to organize to defend themselves against the police that were repressing without hesitation.

They organized cultural activities to try and motivate people away from alcohol, drugs and social violence. They held open debates on the subjects that they themselves would select by raising hands in a popular vote, and raised political awareness that an organized people was capable of moving ahead with any project.
Looking back and analyzing more thoroughly this situation, it became clear to me that the daily methods that I was observing in those years were something that was possible. That we shouldn’t have to depend on “a super leader” to change things that were bad, that people’s massive participation in life’s daily problems was the most democratic government that could have existed. All this made me more interested in politics, both theoretical and practical.