[Marxism-Thaxis] The Future

Sam Pawlett rsp at SPAMuniserve.com
Fri Oct 13 20:53:08 MDT 2000


  "So going somewhere where there is very little motor traffic can be a
revelation, even when this lack is not so much planned but produced by
economic strangulation. There are few places where a major city can be
experienced without the assaults of the internal combustion engine, but
Cuba is one. Lying awake listening to the sounds of Havana, you have the
impression of being in a vast dormitory. Only an occasional engine masks
the tapestry of sound woven near and far of peoples' voices and animals'
cries. While in most cities the life of the place is blanketed out by
the monotonous drone of traffic, here the complex spaces seem alive with
incident. The remarks of your neighborhood are distinct. Crowing
cockerels wake you in the morning, and in the soft light you can feel
the city stretch. At night artificial light is scarce. The city has
protective darkness thrown over it, lifted in some areas only by candles
and oil lamps from open windows, in others by occasional electric lamps
which dramatically highlight some crumbling coloumn or portico, while
throwing the area around it into it is the people and particular sounds
that seize the attention against a background of deep silence.

"Daylight reveals a disintegrating city of grand colonial palaces and
mansions, impresssive in scale and detail, inherited by the poor, who
nowlive in a chaotic and ramshackle splendor. Each doorway is a porch
and each workplace open to gaze. People treat the street as their home,
and it returns their intimacy and warmth. Children wander freely and
without fear. They play hide and seek in and out of the doorways, or
around skips and giant 1950's cars beached on the curb; or they careen
down the streets on makeshift go carts. Even hardships are remade as
virtues by these people; petrol shortages have led to the rule of the
bicycle
each one precariously carrying two or three people over potholes and
obstructions, their warning bells rung assidiously.

"Cuba's strong sense of community life is of course based on many other
factors besides the lack of motor traffic. Nevertheless it is important
that here streets are no longer merely roads, where people pass but do
not stop and where no one can afford distraction (on pain of death), but
rather a common ground on to which homes exit, a place owned and used by
people. In surrendering this to the car, we have unwittingly given up a
precious asset, owned by no one and everyone, andin doing so have
altered every facet of our own lives."  *Gargantua*.Julian Stallabras.
Verso.1996.p131-2.

Sam Pawlett

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