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October in Cuba: WFPSC participates in international political education school

La Maza, Silvio Rodriguez

Si no creyera en la locura

Se la garganta del sinsonte

Si no creyera que en el monte

Se esconde el trino y la pavura

Si no creyera en la balanza

en la razón del equilibrio

si no creyera en el delirio

si no creyera en la esperanza

Si no creyera en lo que agencio

Si no creyera en mi camino

Si no creyera en mi sonido

Si no creyera en mi silencio

Que cosa fuera

Que cosa fuera la maza sin cantera

Un amasijo hecho de cuerdas y tendones

Un revoltijo de carne con madera

Un instrumento sin mejores resplandores

Que lucecitas montadas para escena

Que cosa fuera corazon que cosa fuera

Que cosa fuera la maza sin cantera

​The Mallet, Silvio Rodriguez

Wouldn't I believe in the madness

Coming out of the mockingbird’s throat

Wouldn't I believe that the mountain

Hides both trill and thrill

Wouldn't I believe in scale

in the reason for balance

Wouldn't I believe in delirium

Wouldn't I believe in hope

Wouldn't I believe in what I do

Wouldn't I believe in my journey

Wouldn't I believe in my sound

Wouldn't I believe in my silence

What would it be

The Mallet without a quarry

A lump of ropes and tendons

A jumble of rubber with wood

An instrument no more flashy

than little lights mounted for stage

What would it be, my love

What would it be

The Mallet without a quarry

The Solidarity Collective is solidifying existing organizational connections, branching out towards new ones, and growing its leadership through not only delegations but also our active participation in transnational educational and political development spaces.

This past October, Cuba Program Co-Director Natalia Fajardo was invited to an important espacio de formacion* on the island: CMLK’s School of Political Education for Latin American and Caribbean movements.

The Martin Luther King Memorial Center (CMLK in Spanish) is our main partner in Cuba. An ecumenical and educational organization, CMLK is a continental reference point for their work supporting churches and other segments of society in their journey to create a more humane, more just nation.

One important gift CMLK offers to social movements in Abya Yala (the broader American continent) is its annual school. On its fifth edition, this year it featured 40 participants from 26 organizations, including four from the United States, representing a recognition of the importance of the organizing efforts of social movements in that country. Participants also included members from Movimiento Amplio por la Dignidad y Justicia (MADJ), which we accompany in Honduras, and Proceso de comunidades negras (PCN), who we work with in Colombia.

Natalia summarizes the experience as

CMLK School - I am because we are

Subjectivity beyond perception

Spirituality beyond religion

Critical Pedagogy beyond a methodology

School beyond a desk, pen, and paper

Lessons lived beyond told.

The surprise of learning at this school happens at every instant, every interaction, every process. There is not one component more important than others. More than concepts learned in a classroom, the school is made up of experiences, structured and spontaneous; in pairs or in a group; thinking or dancing; reading a poem or listening to one.

CMLK founder Reverend Raul Suarez opened the school with the history of the space.

“We started with nothing more than commitment. People fought me on naming the center after Martin Luther King. Why not after a local hero? I didn’t argue back but stood my ground because MLK was a man of commitment, of struggle, of loyalty, that’s why he was killed”

he tore up.

“We are still here thanks to delegations from the U.S, Europe and also latinamerica. We have become a big family”.

WFPSC is lucky to be part of this family.

The school touched upon three main notions: Subjectivity, which Natalia defines as “feelings and actions within a political concept; the dispute of senses and ideas which mobilizes people”. It is our duty as social movements to create and struggle for emancipatory subjectivities, in part by developing leaders that become active subjects in such struggle. For instance, the perception of Cuba in the U.S. Mainstream political discourse would want you to think that Cuba is a scary and sad place, the enemy. But at WFPSC, we use our delegations to create an opposite narrative, one of hope.

Secondly, the school delved into spirituality. Here’s a definition by Brazilian feminist scholar Ivone Gebara:

“Spirituality is the deepest movement within the human being, what keeps alive the desire to be alive, in its sense of existence, in its capacity to open oneself to others and to help each other… The passion and attraction capable of making us leave our individualism behind…the thirst to yearn for a world where all beings live with dignity… that ‘one thing’ which soothes our pain, which, despite everything, invites us to keep on living”.

There is spirituality all around us, not just in holy or beautiful places, but in the everyday grind to survive.

Third, the school examines CMLK’s pedagogy, which includes popular education as a concept, a way of being, not just a methodology. It makes the group (not just the person) the subject of the learning process, highlighting that educational efforts must be intentional and fit within an organizational method. It also reminded us of the importance of play, of fun, in learning.

In summary, The school answers a call to create, in ourselves, our movements, and society as a whole, possibilities to feel and act towards an emancipatory project, and to engage with the role popular education plays in this. Put another way, our call is to corazonar, to bring the heart, into our everyday life, our organizational struggle, our world.

Participating in the school is not a privilege, but a responsibility to share the lessons by working towards justice, and at WFPSC we renew our commitment to build transnational solidarity.

*formacion: a process of political education and leadership development. It applies to people and the collectives they create.


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