Playa Giron

Sociecity’s Carla Vitantonio reflects on the plights of Italian revolutionaries whose stories are not unlike those who have come before them, and who are acting during the present day in concert with those in nations around the world.

Hasta la Vista la Victoria (illustration | sociecity)
Hasta la Vista la Victoria (illustration | sociecity)

Suddenly I wake up, I am 33 years old and this is not the rising sun of our red future [1].

All of my dreams fiercely dismissed in the name of an adult age which still waits to show itself, I may -perhaps- start doing what all human beings with a minimum amount of brainpower do, that is, start projecting.

On the contrary, today I stand still, breathing others’ utopias, asking myself questions as an eternal post-teenager.

One day, many years ago, there was a person in my life I used to call Comrade. THE Comrade, by excellence and election, the one with whom I shared, for a whole spring, the big utopia of a revolution.

Hence, Comrade, if you’re still anywhere in the world…

Comrade I ask you: what am I doing, with books of others’ revolutions in my hands, if new ones cannot be written?

Comrade, how can one abandon their dreams without feeling as a looser, not having transforming those dreams into realities?

How can we fight each single day, if the maximum we can get for our efforts, is a refurbished two-room flat?

Comrade, was it a refurbished two-room flat that you wanted? Was it what we wanted? Was it to say mine, yours, was this our aim?

Comrade, you, who at the end bent yourself, much earlier than I, and sat in front of your payroll, why did you do it? Is there anything that I cannot see, is there a secret you didn’t confess me?

Is it perhaps hidden in the payroll, this revolution that I didn’t understand?

How can we train each single day for an upcoming revolution, when by now we know that the revolution will never come?

Comrade, how did my revolutionary training tragicomically become the study — crazy but not so desperate [2] — for interviews that I will never get?

Comrade, is there any meaning, any sense, now that I know no revolution will come; is there any meaning in continuing taking buses at five o’clock in the morning [3] to go protesting against the umpteenth law that will be approved anyway, while meanwhile we, in the best case, will write a book or make a show singing the brave deeds of our fierce heroes gassed by barbaric hordes of enemies?

I do not know, Comrade, what you are thinking of, in your refurbished two-room flat which at the end of the day I envy, and which I would like to have myself, too.

I don’t know how you dealt with your revolution, but I continuously ask myself “what am I doing here,” and Comrade, Comrade, the saddest thing is that, for 13 years of my life I thought I was actually making this revolution. I thought I was making it from arranged stages, from the wooden panels which I was scrambling on, knocked up by a miracle in order to bring the theater out of theaters.

The saddest thing Comrade, Comrade, is that I terribly, completely believed it all.

And giving tours in my old car in order to gain a few coins were my battles.

And meals eaten after the show seemed to be my refuge after extremely dangerous actions.

And claps were unexpected successes of my fights.

And Comrade, Comrade, what I have been trying harder at for 13 years, has been sharing my revolution, my battle, and I believed, I trusted, Comrade.

Firmly yet foolishly.

Because you see, Comrade, now I feel like I’ve lost my war. My only, unique war, the only one I believed in. The war I secretly trained daily for. This war I lost, I lost, because when I looked behind myself, I discovered I was alone.

And the word we had no meaning.

(Mine, yours, me me me)

Comrade. You’re sitting in your refurbished two-room flat that once more I envy, whereas my tours are each day more solitary. I was the only one who believed in this revolution.

Therefore Comrade please, tell me which is the secret to transform my farce into a certain quality comedy. How can I pull through with my head held high.

I, the one who never read Che Guevara, and who now languishes listening to Silvio Rodriguez.

 

Footnotes:

[1] Quoting an old Italian Communist song that talks about Communism as “the rising sun of future” : Fischia il vento infuria la bufera/ scarpe rotte eppur bisogna andar/ a conquistare la rossa primavera/ dove sorge il Sol dell’avvenir.

[2] One of the most famous sentences from Giacomo Leopardi’s diary, which every student learns during their studies in Italy, which talks about a “crazy and desperate study”: uno studio matto e disperatissimo.

[3] Referring to the strong Italian tradition of organizing demonstration in the Capital, Rome. On these occasions, people from all over the Country arrive and demonstrate in the city center. It’s understood that this is why the life of all Italian activists is marked by certain kinds of appointments: a very early wake-up (3, 4, 5 o’clock am), a long journey, a huge demonstration, and a late coming back to each one’s town.

SocieCity Inspires Your Inbox - sign up for the bi-weekly digest