Saturday, November 16, 2002

Some were communists

This is by Giorgio Gaber, Italian singer, author, performer and, as this makes abundantly clear, ex-Communist. A lot of this is very Italian but I left it in because, well, because never mind if you don't get it. It explains a lot about Italy, really, including what Italians mean by "Communism". I do hope it falls under fair use. It's basically satire. I guess.

Emilia is the region in central Italy where the Communist Party has always won every election, with a long tradition of good administration.

Enrico Berliguer, a famously shy and honest, upright man, beloved by his supporter and respected by his adversaries, was to his premature death the leader of the Italian Communist Party.

Giulio Andreotti, now Senator For Life, was long a very influential figure in the Democratic Christian Party.

Piazza Fontana, Brescia, Bologna Station, Italicus, Ustica are all names associated with terrorist slaughters.

If I were ever a communist? Mah... in what sense? I mean...
Some were communists because they had been born in Emilia.
Some were communists because their grandad, their dad, their uncle... no, not their mum.
Some were communists because they saw a promise in Russia, a poem in China, and the Earthly Paradise in Communism.
Some were communists because they felt lonely.
Some were communists because their education had been too Catholic.
Some were communists because cinema demanded it, theater demanded it, picture demanded it, literature demanded it... everybody demanded it.
Some were communists because "History is on our side!"
Some were communists because they had told them.
Some were communists because they hadn't told them everything.
Some were communists because earlier, much earlier, they had been fascists.
Some were communists because they had understood how Russia went slowly but far.
Some were communists because Berlinguer was a good man.
Some were communists because Andreotti wasn't.
Some were communists because they were rich but loved the people.
Some were communists because they drank wine and went all soppy at fairs.
Some were communists because they were so much of an atheist that they needed another God.
Some were communists because they were so fascinated by workers that they wanted to be like them.
Some were communists because they were sick to death of being workers.
Some were communists because they wanted a rise.
Some were communists because the borguesois, the proletariat, class struggle, easy, no?
Some were communists because not today, not tomorrow, but the other day there'll certainly come the Revolution.
Some were communists because Marx, Lenin, Mao Tse Tung!
Some were communists because to get their fathers mad.
Some were communists because they only ever watched RAI 3.
Some were communists because of fashion, some for the principle of it, some out of frustration.
Some were communists because they wanted everything statalized.
Some were communists because they didn't know any State employee.
Some were communists because they had mistaken "dialectic materialism" for "The Gospel according to Lenin".
Some were communists because they were sure they had the working class behind them.
Some were communists because they were more communist than everybody else.
Some were communists because we had the Great Communist Party.
Some were communists despite having the Great Communist Party.
Some were communists because there was nothing better.
Some were communists because we had the worst Socialist Party in Europe.
Some were communists because the State, worse than here, only in Uganda.
Some were communists because after forty years of slimy thieving governments they couldn't take any more.
Some were communists because Piazza Fontana, Brescia, Bologna Station, Italicus, Ustica, etc., etc., etc.
Some were communists because everybody who was Against was a communist.
Some were communists because they could stand no more of that dirty thing we keep calling democracy.
Some were communists because maybe they were something else entirely.

Some were communists because they dreamed of a freedom that was not Pax Americana.
Some were communists because they could only conceive of being happy and free if everybody else was happy and free too.
Some were communists because the needed a drive towards something new, because they were ready to change each day, because they felt the need of a different morality, because maybe it was just a force, a drive, a flight, a dream, a desire to change things, to change life.
Some were communists because with this force by their side everybody was something more than just themselves, they were like two people in one. On the one side the everyday personal drudgery and on the other the sense that one belonged to a race that wanted to take flight, for life to change, once and for all.

No. No regrets. Maybe back then many had opened their wings without being able to really fly, like hypothetical seagulls. And what now? Now too we feel like two people in one, on the one side the integrated body that obsequiously travels through its everyday squalid survival, and on the other the seagull, lacking now even the wish to fly, because the dream has shrunk.
Two miseries in one body, alone.

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