“One Guy was a Communist …” – Giorgio Gaber & Sandro Luporini

One guy was a Communist because he was born in Emilia.

One guy was a Communist because his grandpa, his uncle, his dad … not his mom, though.

One guy was a Communist because Russia seemed like a promise, China seemed like a poem, and Communism seemed like a heaven on earth.

One guy was a Communist because he felt alone.

One guy was a Communist because he’d grown up much too Catholic.

One guy was a Communist because the movies demanded it, theater demanded it, painting demanded it, and so did literature: everything demanded it.

One guy was a Communist because they said he was.

One guy was a Communist because they hadn’t said quite everything.

One guy was a Communist because before (long, long before) he’d been a Fascist.

One guy was a Communist because he understood Russia was moving slow and steady, but it was winning the race (!)

One guy was a Communist because Berlinguer was a great man.

One guy was a Communist because Andreotti wasn’t.

One guy was a Communist because he was rich, but he loved the people.

One guy was a Communist because he drank a lot of wine and got teary-eyed when he went to working-class rallies.

One guy was a Communist because he was so firmly atheist that he needed a different God.

One guy was a Communist because he was so fascinated by working men that he wanted to be one, too.

One guy was a Communist because he couldn’t take another minute of being a working man.

One guy was a Communist because he needed a raise.

One guy was a Communist because … the revolution? Not today, no. Could be tomorrow. But the day after that, guaranteed!

One guy was a Communist because … “the bourgeoisie the proletariat the class struggle, shit!”

One guy was a Communist to piss off his father.

One guy was a Communist because the only TV channel he watched was RAI3.

One guy was a Communist because it was trendy, another guy as a question of principle, another one out of frustration.

One guy was a Communist because he wanted the state to take control of EVERYTHING!

One guy was a Communist because he didn’t know any government workers, civil servants, or their kind.

One guy was a Communist because he had confused dialectical materialism with the Gospel According to Lenin.

One guy was a Communist because he was convinced the working class was behind him.

One guy was a Communist because he was more Communist than anybody else.

One guy was a Communist because of the Great Communist Party.

One guy was a Communist in spite of the Great Communist Party.

One guy was a Communist because there wasn’t anything better.

One guy was a Communist because Italy has the worst Socialist Party in all of Europe!

One guy was a Communist because, when it comes to government, the only place worse off than us is Uganda.

One guy was a Communist because he’d had it with forty years of Christian Democrat governments full of idiots and gangsters.

One guy was a Communist because Piazza Fontana, Brescia, the Bologna train station, the Italicus Massacre, the DC-9 crash over Ustica, and so on, and so on, and so on!

One guy was a Communist because if you were opposed, you were a Communist!

One guy was a Communist because he couldn’t bear that wretched thing they insisted on calling democracy!

One guy, one guy thought he was a Communist, and maybe he was something else entirely.

One guy was a Communist because he dreamed of a freedom that wasn’t like what they had in America.

One guy was a Communist because he believed he could be happy in life only if other people were, too.

One guy was a Communist because he needed a push toward something new, because he felt the need for a different kind of morality. Because maybe it was just an aspiration, a flight of fancy, a dream. Maybe it was nothing more than an impulse, the desire to have the power to change things, to live a different kind of life.

One guy was a Communist because, when that impulse took you over, each one of us became more than just himself: it was like being two people in one. On the one hand, there was your personal toil, every single day. On the other, the feeling that you belonged to a tribe that longed to take wing and fly away to a different kind of life.

No, no regrets. At the time, maybe, a lot of people spread their wings without really knowing how to fly, a flock of theoretical seagulls.

And what about now?

Now we still feel torn in two: on one hand, we’re well-integrated men and women, obsequiously moving through the squalor of daily survival. On the other hand, we’re that seagull, who doesn’t even think about flying anymore. Because, by now, the dream has withered.

A double torment in a single body.

________________________________________

– Giorgio Gaber & Sandro Luporini
(“Qualcuno era comunista,” from “Pensare che c’era il pensiero” [Just Think What We Used To Think], 1995)

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