Theme of the seminar for the inauguration of the Escola Nacional Florestan Fernandes of the MST, held from January 20th to 22nd, 2005, in the School Building, Guararema -São Paulo. This text is a synthesis of the seminar presented by Adelar Pizetta (member of the collective leadership of the school).
At the end of this seminar, we will be able to state that it was extraordinarily rich. The presentations, theoretical reflections, the exchange of experiences, challenges, afflictions, as well as the hopes, respect and humility among all, instigate us to build a wiser struggle. .
In the name of the MST, I want to acknowledge the importance of the participation of each and every one of you and take this opportunity to thank you all. We have learned a lot from the speakers, from all the participants. We were right to have for the inauguration of our school an event of such scope. We thank you all for that. .
Certainly, each educator, each leader have developed their own and collective thoughts, and have taken their personal notes. We started the seminar with some certainties and many anxieties. We will probably continue our praxis with many and new certainties and convictions but also with many and new anxieties, as part of a dynamic and open process of training and of peasants struggles. .
What I will try to do here, will not be a synthesis, I will not specify the conclusions drawn from the seminar. I believe that it is practically impossible to summarize something so grandiose, such as the discussions we have had here during these last few days. Therefore, I will make some comments, to reaffirm some aspects, some reflections that emerged during the course of the seminar which we gathered as a pedagogical means for accumulating as we elaborate. .
From these ideas, and the elements discussed in the last few days, we can all, continue our studies, our reflections and our elaborations about the Training of Political Cadres, extracting lessons from historical experiences. .
I will divide these comments into three topics:
1) Training as part of class struggle - as a need of the working class;
2) The character and the nature of training we want and are developing;
3) What - pedagogical method of the cadre and militant in their everyday actions. .
1. Training as part of Class Struggle.
a) There is a concrete reality which results from the historical processes and the endogenous and exogenous contradictions of each country. This reality influences and determines the need for training inside of the movements and the working class. Therefore, training must contribute for the "lifting of veils", for interpreting and for the knowledge of this reality which is beyond appearances. .
b) Nevertheless, for the training process to be successful, it is not enough the have the knowledge of reality. It is necessary to start transforming reality, through concrete actions. Training has the meaning of transforming people and realities. It only makes sense if it helps to organize the people, then the power of change is linked to the level of awareness, to the degree of organization and in the willingness for struggle of the masses. These factors and requisites, and it depends to a large extent on the qualification of the leadership, militants and leaders, who form, build the struggle and the organization. The main task in training is to motivate in order for those who have been silenced to come out of their silence, for the dominated to accept to come out of the domination through the struggle. .
c) Because of that, the mass movement determines the rhythm and the need for training. In other words, in moments of ascension of the mass Movement the ground for training is fertile. People learn a lot in revolutionary periods because they can unmask reality. On the other hand, during periods of decrease of mass movements; movements start forgetting training, and the ideological work. It is a kind of apathy that takes over movements and militants. How to train cadres during the decrease period of a mass movement? .
d)Training, no matter in which level it is developed, but essentially the training of cadres, must be linked to a Project. Therefore, if the movement or the organization is not concerned with elaborating, building a Project, it will not form cadres either. In other words, the Programme is an essential instrument for revolutionary training. .
e) The process of training cadres must contribute to form/build social forces, political forces. It is a fundamental requisite to accumulate forces. Social force is people organised; political force is people more and more aware and organized. Therefore, training must aim at preparing organisers of people. We cannot solve poverty, its causes and consequences without giving power to people. To give power to people is to give knowledge and to expand their participation in the political, social, cultural life of society. .
f) One of the main tasks in training is to eliminate the residues of the bourgeois ideology that is lodged in the conscience of militants and leaders, which is lodged in the conscience of the organization mainly peasant organizations. We must have the conviction, that there is no half ideology: it is either bourgeois or proletarian. .
g) The worker's struggles are an important training school. Class learns from struggle, doing the struggle, but, it through theory that it systematizes what has been learned, where it accumulates the lessons learned. It is theory that systematizes knowledge. Therefore, it is necessary always to link the two aspects: theoretical and practical. .
h) Those who do not form cadres will hardly ever reach their strategic objectives in the revolution. The organization will not go far, and if it does, it possibly means that it has changed directions, and it is no longer committed with the revolution. .
2. The Character and nature of Training.
a) It is important to understand training as a concept of politics. Training prepares, elaborates the theory that the struggle is to transform the impossible into possible. It is the art to make possible what is impossible today. Not as a mere desire, but as a way of building possible forces. That is why, it can never be dogmatic, nor spontaneous/anarchist. It must be prepared and implemented in a dialectic way, articulating the different kinds of knowledge and levels, as principles, values that collaborate in the construction of a political project with strategic objectives. .
b) Training must articulate personal experience with the experience of the working class - the history of class struggle and the universal history. In that sense, learning is permanent and collective. The part must be related to the whole, everyday life must be articulated with vast horizons. It must have a historical nature in the whole, in its dialectic totality. .
c) Knowledge comes with the study of theory, which systematizes explanations with the reflection about social practice. Without political and organizational practice nobody develops politically, no militant grows and becomes a political cadre. Therefore, cadres emerge from movements and from political struggle. They are the product of the conflicting process and not the other way around, but, it is important to observe that there is here a permanent and dialectic relationship. .
d) In terms of method, or else, the methods of training, they must be creative, collective, happy, open, and to offer the possibility of participation rather than authoritarianism. It must be a powerful, innovative praxis, since, if we build ourselves in the actual process, our making must be different, must be revolutionary. If in the past it was said that the ends justify the means, it is not completely mistaken, but, we must go beyond it: we will only get to just ends through just means. The revolution aims at democracy, which must contribute for the construction of the kingdom of freedom. We cannot wish to be like Che on speech and in practice resemble authoritarians. Revolution and democracy and inseparable aspects. .
e) Mística is a mechanism to celebrate, cultivate a political Project, through symbols, culture, memory, dreams. Mistica teaches to cultivate a Project, therefore, there is no Project without mistica as there is no mistica without a Project, without a cause. The masses must be contaminated by the mistica in order to be able to carry in their arms the cause of the revolution, and freedom. .
f) The activities of training - theory and practice - must take into consideration the aspects of reason and emotion. It is necessary to learn to talk to the heart for knowledge to get to the conscience. Sometimes the path is not direct; it must go through the heart, through the emotion for then to become awareness. .
g) It is necessary to value and respect culture, affection, to be fond of each other. Humanistic and socialist values are not cold. They need life in their actions, in our behaviour, in order to be able to be better explained and to become training references. .
h) Grassroots work is the main pedagogical instrument in the process of training of the masses. The insertion and the example of the leaders and trainers are strong arguments to form the conscience and mobilize organization. .
i) The training process the youth with their participation is strategic. Fail those, who do not plan and develop training for the youth, with a new ethic, new values, new discipline, with the spirit of sacrifice. It is necessary to find ways to involve, motivate and encourage youth participation in the processes of struggle, organization and training. .
3. The "What - Pedagogical Method" of the Cadre.
a) As previously mentioned, we will conquer the trust, and the adhesion of the masses, if we are an ethical and moral example. If we are coherent in all aspects. This is somehow difficult during a period of reflux of the mass movement. Personal behaviour is one of the best arguments, teachings in the training process. .
b) The training process must be necessarily thought out and developed with passion. Many see the struggle as a sacrifice to be made in the present in the name of a future freedom. But the struggle cannot be a sacrifice to be made for the future. The struggle must be our freedom. It is a process of building and conquering freedom. People must like each other; they need to plot, in other words, to have the same inspiration for struggle. .
c) Possibly the most difficult battle is the one we must fight with ourselves. To fight the deviations that we have inherited from bourgeois ideology: individualism, selfishness, consumerism, etc. which are lodged in our conscience and uses our behaviour to manifest when the opportunities arise. To be vigilant, to use criticism and self-criticism are indispensable. It is necessary to be cautious, careful with cadres and with the masses as well. .
d) The practice of political training is the art of organising people. Those who do not organize do not form, and training that does not accumulate in organic terms, it is not training. Therefore, we need to be vigilant to understand and fight the deviations and deficiencies of our training experiences: dogmatism, doctrinarianism, authoritarianism, paternalism, separation of content from real life, etc. .
e) There are no revolutionary cadres without culture, knowledge. Culture is the collective heritage of all practices and habits of the people. To know them and to produce them is the task of the cadres. .
f) Our method must be to convince, learning from people, without imposing, without discriminating, without underrating knowledge and cultures. Humility is a fundamental requisite of the leader in the training process and in the organisation of people. .
g) One of the main tasks of the cadres among people is to analyse and interpret with people the cause of their problems and collectively, through the organisation and conscious struggle, seek alternatives, solutions for the problems. Only people are the protagonist of their own emancipation. .
By way of Conclusion.
Therefore, you can see that it is not a matter of drawing conclusions. It is all part of a process that we are building collectively, because the things that we do right as much as our deficiencies come from groups, organizations, movements that make history. .
However, it is necessary to reaffirm the principles, conceptions and convictions that the work of political training is strategic. No movement or organization will triumph if it does not form adequately its political cadres. The revolution must be understood as a dynamic, creative, profound process, capable of transforming social structures and the people who live in them. Therefore, it is continuous, it happens inside of the actual revolution. The people that did not take care of these aspects failed and history has shown that retrocession can also take place. .
In that way, the word of command that is left at this time is: prepare yourselves. Prepare yourselves in every way, with all your powers for the impacts of class struggle. In that way, nobody can give what does not possess. Because of that we could list here a series of queries that are part of this training and political work process with the people: .
- We will only give tenderness if we are tender.
- We will only give hope if we continue being courageous and persistent.
- We will only transmit conviction if our praxis is convincing, firm.
- We will only be trainers if we are also prepared to be formed permanently through struggle, organisation, and study.
- We will only be cadres if we do not lose our ability to learn, to study, to listen to people and struggle with them.
I hope we can all be successful in this difficult but pleasant task of organising people, prepare for the struggle and form cadres in order to move forward in the process of revolution, for the construction of a new society of free men and women.
Professor Florestan Fernandes encourages us to dream, study, struggle, and organise people. I hope our school will be able to fulfil that role and make immortal the legacy and the life of Florestan Fernandes, through the study and the struggles of the Landless Workers and the Brazilian people.
Viva Florestan Fernandes! Thank you all for listening.
"Any black man or woman, who kill any slave master, even if they are in their sleep, will be always doing that in self-defence" (Castro Alves).