(This column was first published in the Amandala issue of Sunday, August 27, 1995)
A journey – – Applause – –
Mao-Tse-Tung once said that the journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step. Twenty-five years later he was ruler of all China. The single step taken recently to bring the young men of this fledging nation together in the establishment of their own headquarters and the jobs program with the Infrastructure Project is to be applauded and nurtured. It means someone is beginning to listen to the youths, and more importantly, believe that they are able to develop into responsible adults capable of contributing to the development of the nation.
In the last column it was suggested that for those who do not have the aptitude for academics or do not wish to continue their formal education to the secondary and tertiary levels, a program of apprenticeship to the armed forces be considered; that they would be trained as mechanics (to service the army vehicles), as plumbers (to repair and maintain the sanitation system), as electricians (cadres for the Mollejon project), agriculturalists (to supply the forces with its food). And even as they learn these basics of a modern society, they would be exposed to the most sophisticated technology of the coming century such as hands on training in computer technology, telecommunications and over-all knowledge of the complex logistics that will be so necessary for their survival and by extension that of the nation.
Cynics, detractors and subversives aside, the money is there, the land is there, and now we must have the will and guts to implement it.
The money saved in the restructuring of the forces to fight a guerrilla war, will be used to develop and maintain the program. The land that we are now putting in “Reserves” will be allocated for the necessary facilities. It will be agreed that instead of using the Cockscombs, the Tiger Bays, and the Cisterns for foreigners to come at their convenience to look at birds every now and then, to dispatch dead butterflies for the pleasure of the North, and to traverse the countryside with their rallies earning big bucks for their “camels” promoters, these reserves would be better utilized for the development of our young. Have no doubt about it: as soon as the North is ready to exploit the wealth of these “reserves,” they will institute a propaganda blitz, selling the idea of why the reserves are necessary for our survival, even as they control these portfolios. The history of King Mahogany will be repeated.
We must have the will and guts to implement the program. The concept envisaged is a populace one, all the people encouraging the youths to become engaged in the development and sustenance of their country. This is predicated on the premise that our government also become a populace one: that all the people have control of their legislature, that they can instruct, sanction, indict and remove their president and representatives when merited.
The skills and discipline learned by Mao’s troops on their long journey to Peking (Beijing) have enabled them to rule to this day. Let us hope that the long march of our youth will also end in the control of their country, not under a Mao’s tyranny, but as a “Participatory Democracy.”