The Communism of Prakash Kona
I am not an intellectual because I choose not to be one. I despise the word ‘intellectual” because it sounds pretentious and that’s what it is. It carries the sense of someone who is good at his work, likes to be seated in a position of comfort, thinks logically and is filled with good advice for others. I cannot think logically. I don’t want to and I don’t care to. Logic is not my cup of tea. It was never meant to be.
All artists are critical of the times they live in. They tell the truth as they see it because that’s why they’re here in the first place. I did not invent myself. I was invented by those who wanted to hear what I say and by friends with a sense of humor. My capacity for language-learning is pretty limited but I understand the languages of protest no matter how subtle or not so subtle they are.
Quintessentially Japanese even more so than Kurosawa, Kenji Mizoguchi is to modern cinema what Euripides is to Greek tragedy. Extraordinarily beautiful and with the faces of angels are the women in the movies of Mizoguchi. But the holy anger of Christ when he throws the moneychangers out of the temple hides in the hearts of those women protesting against what men have done to them. I understand why that happens as much as Mizoguchi himself if not the protesting women.
According to Freud, if Dostoevsky was not the great artist that he was he would have been a great criminal. All artists are in some sense endowed with the potential to be criminals. If art is a form of sickness then artists are compulsive-obsessive people and therefore sick too. I owe my sickness to writing. It’s a sickness of the heart and mind that every performer is cursed with. I’m sure I would be alive and happy without it. The sickness however defines me in a way that I would not have been able to define myself.
The communism I subscribe to is that of spirit more than anything else. It’s the communism of the mother-goddess in the Neolithic era of Anatolia, the Gnostics and of the authors of the Upanishads. It’s the communism of Jesus and Saint Francis. It’s the communism of the Buddha and Rumi and Saint Joan. It’s the communism of the tribes before patriarchy made an entrance. It’s the communism of Emma Goldman, Gandhi, Martin Luther King and John Lennon. It’s the communism of children at play. It’s the communism of the poorest of the poor and the downtrodden, of those who live in the villages, those who fight for alternate ways of looking at the world, those who never stop resisting and those who seem to disappear but are not extinct because they’re alive at the margins.
It’s the people’s government of the Paris Commune in the spring of 1871, the anarchist utopia in the middle of the Spanish Civil War and the communism of Spinoza, Tolstoy, Rosa Luxemburg and Antonio Gramsci. It’s the communism that Blake and Shelley imagined and we catch a glimpse of it in Pasolini as well. It’s the communism of mothers and daughters, of animals and trees and earth and sky and the stars.
You cannot have a classless society which has no place for the sacred. The point is to confront a disease of the spirit called greed. The point is not merely to impose an order based on economic equality from the outside. Such an order is bound to break down sooner or later. People have to believe that greed is unnecessary and money is not an alternative. In the absence of such a belief we end up replacing one set of injustices with another.
Anarchism is the birth-right of every new-born child immaterial of where she takes birth on this planet. That’s my right as well and yours. The idea of libertarian communism is in nature itself. To go against it is to go against nature. It is only natural that I made protest a way of life. There is no other way for me to be who I am.
Prakash Kona © 2010