O que é este blog?

Este blog trata basicamente de ideias, se possível inteligentes, para pessoas inteligentes. Ele também se ocupa de ideias aplicadas à política, em especial à política econômica. Ele constitui uma tentativa de manter um pensamento crítico e independente sobre livros, sobre questões culturais em geral, focando numa discussão bem informada sobre temas de relações internacionais e de política externa do Brasil. Para meus livros e ensaios ver o website: www.pralmeida.org.

quarta-feira, 18 de julho de 2018

Gilberto Pires: inveja do Peru e sua limpeza no Judiciario

Da coluna diária do jornalista Gilberto Simões Pures:
ESTOU TOMADO PELA INVEJA
  
XVII- 189/17 - 18.07.2018
________________________________________

INVEJA
Ontem, ao tomar conhecimento de que o presidente do Peru, Martín Vizcarra, convocou o Congresso para um plenário extraordinário para tratar da DESTITUIÇÃO TOTAL do Conselho Nacional da Magistratura (CNM), cujos membros estão envolvidos em um escândalo de corrupção judicial, confesso que fiquei tomado por um forte sentimento de INVEJA.

 
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REFORMA INTEGRAL
Vizcarra, que já colocou em curso uma reforma integral do sistema de justiça que está promovendo no país, entende que a destituição em bloco do Conselho Nacional da Magistratura é -IMPRESCINDÍVEL e INADIÁVEL-.
A propósito, na semana passada (dia 13), mandou instaurar uma comissão de analistas que ficará encarregada da elaboração de uma proposta de REFORMA DO SISTEMA DE JUSTIÇA que deverá ser apresentada ao Parlamento no pronunciamento que Vizcarra fará no próximo dia 28, data em que o Peru celebra 197 anos de independência.

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MUDANÇAS URGENTES
Segundo a Agência Brasil, o presidente Vizcarra afirmou que, “diante dos escandalosos áudios que revelam a corrupção endêmica”, é imprescindível a realização de  “mudanças urgentes”, que “não se alcançam só com palavras, mas com fatos concretos”.
Imagem removida pelo remetente.INSTITUIÇÕES PERUANAS
Mais: “Não vamos permitir a decomposição das instituições do Peru, e estamos lutando de maneira frontal contra a corrupção, a fim de dar resposta às exigências e reivindicações unânimes da população, por transparência e qualidade institucional”, completou o presidente Martín Vizcarra.
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CONSTITUIÇÃO PERUANA
De acordo com o presidente, a proposta de destituição do CNM tem como base o Artigo 157 da Constituição Peruana, cuja aplicação é prevista para causas graves, incluindo os membros suplentes que deveriam substituir os conselheiros titulares em caso de vacância.
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CHEIRO DE PODRIDÃO
Pois, sem o menor medo errar, estou convencido de que bastou a leitura do primeiro bloco deste editorial para  que o forte sentimento de INVEJA que estou sentindo, já tenha atingido a totalidade dos meus leitores. Mais: estou convencido de que milhões de brasileiros gostariam muito que algo parecido acontecesse imediatamente no nosso SETOR JUDICIÁRIO, onde o cheiro de podridão é sentido por todos os cantos.

terça-feira, 17 de julho de 2018

Italo Calvino: Por que ler os clássicos? (NYRB, 1986)

Why Read the Classics?

Let us begin with a few suggested definitions.
1) The classics are the books of which we usually hear people say: “I am rereading…” and never “I am reading….”
This at least happens among those who consider themselves “very well read.” It does not hold good for young people at the age when they first encounter the world, and the classics as a part of that world.
The reiterative prefix before the verb “read” may be a small hypocrisy on the part of people ashamed to admit they have not read a famous book. To reassure them, we need only observe that, however vast any person’s basic reading may be, there still remain an enormous number of fundamental works that he has not read.
Hands up, anyone who has read the whole of Herodotus and the whole of Thucydides! And Saint-Simon? And Cardinal de Retz? But even the great nineteenth-century cycles of novels are more often talked about than read. In France they begin to read Balzac in school, and judging by the number of copies in circulation, one may suppose that they go on reading him even after that, but if a Gallup poll were taken in Italy, I’m afraid that Balzac would come in practically last. Dickens fans in Italy form a tiny elite; as soon as its members meet, they begin to chatter about characters and episodes as if they were discussing people and things of their own acquaintance. Years ago, while teaching in America, Michel Butor got fed up with being asked about Emile Zola, whom he had never read, so he made up his mind to read the entire Rougon-Macquart cycle. He found it was completely different from what he had thought: a fabulous mythological and cosmogonical family tree, which he went on to describe in a wonderful essay.
In other words, to read a great book for the first time in one’s maturity is an extraordinary pleasure, different from (though one cannot say greater or lesser than) the pleasure of having read it in one’s youth. Youth brings to reading, as to any other experience, a particular flavor and a particular sense of importance, whereas in maturity one appreciates (or ought to appreciate) many more details and levels and meanings. We may therefore attempt the next definition:
2) We use the word “classics” for those books that are treasured by those who have read and loved them; but they are treasured no less by those who have the luck to read them for the first time in the best conditions to enjoy them.
In fact, reading in youth can be rather unfruitful, owing to impatience, distraction, inexperience with the product’s “instructions for use,” and inexperience in life itself. Books read then can be (possibly at one and the same time) formative, in the sense that they give a form to future experiences, providing models, terms of comparison, schemes for classification, scales of value, exemplars of beauty—all things that continue to operate even if the book read in one’s youth is almost or totally forgotten. If we reread the book at a mature age we are likely to rediscover these constants, which by this time are part of our inner mechanisms, but whose origins we have long forgotten. A literary work can succeed in making us forget it as such, but it leaves its seed in us. The definition we can give is therefore this:
3) The classics are books that exert a peculiar influence, both when they refuse to be eradicated from the mind and when they conceal themselves in the folds of memory, camouflaging themselves as the collective or individual unconscious.
There should therefore be a time in adult life devoted to revisiting the most important books of our youth. Even if the books have remained the same (though they do change, in the light of an altered historical perspective), we have most certainly changed, and our encounter will be an entirely new thing.
Hence, whether we use the verb “read” or the verb “reread” is of little importance. Indeed, we may say:
4) Every rereading of a classic is as much a voyage of discovery as the first reading.
5) Every reading of a classic is in fact a rereading.
Definition 4 may be considered a corollary of this next one:
6) A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.
Whereas definition 5 depends on a more specific formula, such as this:
7) The classics are the books that come down to us bearing upon them the traces of readings previous to ours, and bringing in their wake the traces they themselves have left on the culture or cultures they have passed through (or, more simply, on language and customs).
All this is true both of the ancient and of the modern classics. If I read the Odyssey I read Homer’s text, but I cannot forget all that the adventures of Ulysses have come to mean in the course of the centuries, and I cannot help wondering if these meanings were implicit in the text, or whether they are incrustations or distortions or expansions. When reading Kafka, I cannot avoid approving or rejecting the legitimacy of the adjective “Kafkaesque,” which one is likely to hear every quarter of an hour, applied indiscriminately. If I read Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons or Dostoevsky’s The Possessed, I cannot help thinking how these characters have continued to be reincarnated right down to our own day.
The reading of a classic ought to give us a surprise or two vis-à-vis the notion that we had of it. For this reason I can never sufficiently highly recommend the direct reading of the text itself, leaving aside the critical biography, commentaries, and interpretations as much as possible. Schools and universities ought to help us to understand that no book that talks about a book says more than the book in question, but instead they do their level best to make us think the opposite. There is a very widespread topsyturviness of values whereby the introduction, critical apparatus, and bibliography are used as a smoke screen to hide what the text has to say, and, indeed, can say only if left to speak for itself without intermediaries who claim to know more than the text does. We may conclude that:
8) A classic does not necessarily teach us anything we did not know before. In a classic we sometimes discover something we have always known (or thought we knew), but without knowing that this author said it first, or at least is associated with it in a special way. And this, too, is a surprise that gives a lot of pleasure, such as we always gain from the discovery of an origin, a relationship, an affinity. From all this we may derive a definition of this type:
9) The classics are books that we find all the more new, fresh, and unexpected upon reading, the more we thought we knew them from hearing them talked about.
Naturally, this only happens when a classic really works as such—that is, when it establishes a personal rapport with the reader. If the spark doesn’t come, that’s a pity; but we do not read the classics out of duty or respect, but only out of love. Except at school. And school should enable you to know, either well or badly, a certain number of classics among which—or in reference to which—you can then choose your classics. School is obliged to give you the instruments needed to make a choice, but the choices that count are those that occur outside and after school.
It is only by reading without bias that you might possibly come across the book that becomes your book. I know an excellent art historian, an extraordinarily well-read man, who out of all the books there are has focused his special love on the Pickwick Papers; at every opportunity he comes up with some quip from Dickens’s book, and connects each and every event in life with some Pickwickian episode. Little by little he himself, and true philosophy, and the universe, have taken on the shape and form of the Pickwick Papers by a process of complete identification. In this way we arrive at a very lofty and demanding notion of what a classic is:
10) We use the word “classic” of a book that takes the form of an equivalent to the universe, on a level with the ancient talismans. With this definition we are approaching the idea of the “total book,” as Mallarmé conceived of it.
But a classic can establish an equally strong rapport in terms of opposition and antithesis. Everything that Jean-Jacques Rousseau thinks and does is very dear to my heart, yet everything fills me with an irrepressible desire to contradict him, to criticize him, to quarrel with him. It is a question of personal antipathy on a temperamental level, on account of which I ought to have no choice but not to read him; and yet I cannot help numbering him among my authors. I will therefore say:
11) Your classic author is the one you cannot feel indifferent to, who helps you to define yourself in relation to him, even in dispute with him.
I think I have no need to justify myself for using the word “classic” without making distinctions about age, style, or authority. What distinguishes the classic, in the argument I am making, may be only an echo effect that holds good both for an ancient work and for a modern one that has already achieved its place in a cultural continuum. We might say:
12) A classic is a book that comes before other classics; but anyone who has read the others first, and then reads this one, instantly recognizes its place in the family tree.
At this point I can no longer put off the vital problem of how to relate the reading of the classics to the reading of all the other books that are anything but classics. It is a problem connected with such questions as, Why read the classics rather than concentrate on books that enable us to understand our own times more deeply? or, Where shall we find the time and peace of mind to read the classics, overwhelmed as we are by the avalanche of current events?
We can, of course, imagine some blessed soul who devotes his reading time exclusively to Lucretius, Lucian, Montaigne, Erasmus, Quevedo, Marlowe, the Discourse on Method, Wilhelm Meister, Coleridge, Ruskin, Proust, and Valéry, with a few forays in the direction of Murasaki or the Icelandic sagas. And all this without having to write reviews of the latest publications, or papers to compete for a university chair, or articles for magazines on tight deadlines. To keep up such a diet without any contamination, this blessed soul would have to abstain from reading the newspapers, and never be tempted by the latest novel or sociological investigation. But we have to see how far such rigor would be either justified or profitable. The latest news may well be banal or mortifying, but it nonetheless remains a point at which to stand and look both backward and forward. To be able to read the classics you have to know “from where” you are reading them; otherwise both the book and the reader will be lost in a timeless cloud. This, then, is the reason why the greatest “yield” from reading the classics will be obtained by someone who knows how to alternate them with the proper dose of current affairs. And this does not necessarily imply a state of imperturbable inner calm. It can also be the fruit of nervous impatience, of a huffing-and-puffing discontent of mind.
Maybe the ideal thing would be to hearken to current events as we do to the din outside the window that informs us about traffic jams and sudden changes in the weather, while we listen to the voice of the classics sounding clear and articulate inside the room. But it is already a lot for most people if the presence of the classics is perceived as a distant rumble far outside a room that is swamped by the trivia of the moment, as by a television at full blast. Let us therefore add:
13) A classic is something that tends to relegate the concerns of the moment to the status of background noise, but at the same time this background noise is something we cannot do without.
14) A classic is something that persists as a background noise even when the most incompatible momentary concerns are in control of the situation.
There remains the fact that reading the classics appears to clash with our rhythm of life, which no longer affords long periods of time or the spaciousness of humanistic leisure. It also contradicts the eclecticism of our culture, which would never be capable of compiling a catalog of things classical such as would suit our needs.
These latter conditions were fully realized in the case of Leopardi, given his solitary life in his father’s house (his “paterno ostello“), his cult of Greek and Latin antiquity, and the formidable library put at his disposal by his father, Monaldo. To which we may add the entire body of Italian literature and of French literature, with the exception of novels and the “latest thing out” in general, all of which were at least swept off into the sidelines, there to comfort the leisure of his sister Paolina (“your Stendhal,” he wrote her once). Even with his intense interest in science and history, he was often willing to rely on texts that were not entirely up-to-date, taking the habits of birds from Buffon, the mummies of Frederik Ruysch from Fontanelle, the voyage of Columbus from Robertson.
In these days a classical education like the young Leopardi’s is unthinkable; above all, Count Monaldo’s library has multiplied explosively. The ranks of the old titles have been decimated, while new ones have proliferated in all modern literatures and cultures. There is nothing for it but for all of us to invent our own ideal libraries of classics. I would say that such a library ought to be composed half of books we have read and that have really counted for us, and half of books we propose to read and presume will come to count—leaving a section of empty shelves for surprises and occasional discoveries.
I realize that Leopardi is the only name I have cited from Italian literature—a result of the explosion of the library. Now I ought to rewrite the whole article to make it perfectly clear that the classics help us to understand who we are and where we stand, a purpose for which it is indispensable to compare Italians with foreigners and foreigners with Italians.
Then I ought to rewrite it yet again lest anyone believe that the classics ought to be read because they “serve any purpose” whatever. The only reason one can possibly adduce is that to read the classics is better than not to read the classics.
And if anyone objects that it is not worth taking so much trouble, then I will quote Cioran (who is not yet a classic, but will become one):
While they were preparing the hemlock, Socrates was learning a tune on the flute. “What good will it do you,” they asked, “to know this tune before you die?”
translated by Patrick Creagh
English translation copyright © 1986 Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc.

A Guerrilha do Araguaia: livro de Hugo Studart lançado em Brasilia

O lançamento foi um sucesso total: permaneci mais de 2 horas no Restaurante Carpe Diem, e a fila tipicamente continuava levando 2 horas de espera. Deve ter vendido mais de 200 livros.
Aqui está o convite. Logo abaixo a minha colaboração e a capa do livro. Depois o meu texto, oferecido como posfácio.

1285. “Uma tragédia brasileira: a loucura amazônica do PCdoB”, Posfácio a Hugo Studart: Borboletas e Lobisomens: vidas, sonhos e mortes dos guerrilheiros do Araguaia(Rio de Janeiro: Editora Francisco Alves, 2018, 660 p.; ISBN: 978-85-265-0490-5; p. 503-507). Versão original publicada no blog Diplomatizzando(9/07/2018; link: https://diplomatizzando.blogspot.com/2018/07/golpes-revolucoes-e-movimentos-armados.html). Relação de Originais n. 3255.


Uma tragédia brasileira: a loucura amazônica do PCdoB

Paulo Roberto de Almeida
Diplomata; professor no Uniceub.
 “Uma tragédia brasileira: a loucura amazônica do PCdoB”, Posfácio a Hugo Studart: Borboletas e Lobisomens: vidas, sonhos e mortes dos guerrilheiros do Araguaia(Rio de Janeiro: Editora Francisco Alves, 2018, 660 p.; ISBN: 978-85-265-0490-5; p. 503-507). Versão original publicada no blog Diplomatizzando(9/07/2018; link: https://diplomatizzando.blogspot.com/2018/07/golpes-revolucoes-e-movimentos-armados.html). Relação de Originais n. 3255; Relação de Publicados n. 1285.

Grandes revoluções sociais são fenômenos extremamente raros na história da humanidade. Ainda bem: elas provocam destruições enormes, uma grande mortandade de civis inocentes, perdas materiais significativas e muito raramente transformam para melhor as nações nas quais ocorrem. Geralmente necessitam ajustes adicionais, também dolorosos, para produzir efeitos reais no itinerário político ou econômico das nações onde ocorrem. Costumam “devorar” os seus filhos, consumindo, literalmente, lideranças inteiras de revolucionários improvisados; muitos deles desaparecem na voragem de combates, em novas insurreições, em golpes de palácio e o que mais houver.
As verdadeiras revoluções são raras por um motivo simples: elas não são feitas, apenas acontecem, sem que se possa prever antecipadamente sua ocorrência e seus desenvolvimentos. Muito mais frequentes e numerosos são os golpes de Estado, as quarteladas militares, o assalto planejado ao poder, as insurreições urbanas, revoltas rurais esparsas nos campos e outras mudanças de governo e ascensão de novas elites. Isso ocorre quando o antigo regime tenta se reformar, como evidenciou genialmente Tocqueville em O Antigo Regime e a Revolução(1848). Essas tomadas de poder, pela via da violência, se tornaram tão frequentes numa época – como o putsch de Lênin, em 1917, ou a marcha de Mussolini, em 1922 – que escritor italiano Curzio Malaparte, bom observador desses fenômenos, escreveu um manual, Técnica do Golpe de Estado, dois anos antes da ascensão de Hitler, em 1933, inaugurando uma tirania absoluta pela via “legal” das eleições; décadas depois, Hugo Chávez inaugurou um ciclo de “consultas populares” para a construção da sua “ditadura plebiscitária”.
E como foi no Brasil? Tivemos muitos golpes de Estado, é verdade, várias quarteladas, algumas guerras civis embrionárias – nas regências, como a revolução farroupilha no Sul, a revolta da Armada, no início do regime republicano, e a “guerra paulista”, no governo provisório de Vargas – mas nenhuma revolução social de caráter nacional digna desse nome. O abolicionismo que Nabuco pregava – que deveria ter sido seguido de reforma agrária e de uma revolução educacional, depois da abolição da escravidão – talvez merecesse esse epíteto, mas infelizmente não foi o caso. A revolução “liberal” de Minas Gerais, em meados do século XIX, ou as revoluções de Pernambuco – autonomista em 1817, republicana e federalista em 1824, nacionalista e “socialdemocrata” em 1848 – não se qualificam como verdadeiras revoluções sociais, ao mesmo título que outros exemplos na História, inclusive a própria Inconfidência mineira antes da independência. Em geral, foram movimentos conduzidos por elites esclarecidas, raramente processos saídos de “massas oprimidas”, mesmo com revoltas escravas ou de populações periféricas, todas extremamente marginais do ponto de vista político. Até praticamente o final do Império, o Brasil rural e atrasado, não tinha massas urbanas organizadas, como passou a ter depois, com a imigração e a industrialização.
O que mais tivemos foram intervenções das Forças Armadas motivadas por crises políticas, aliás na própria inauguração da República, para sepultar a monarquia já decadente. Ocorreram pequenas e grandes tragédias ao longo do século republicano: o messianismo de Canudos, erradamente interpretado como uma revolta monárquica contra a República, como no caso da revolta da Armada, o Contestado nos limites do Paraná e Santa Catarina, e várias revoltas de tenentes, para “liquidar” a república “carcomida”. Nessa categoria entra a “Coluna Prestes”, supostamente um prelúdio à Grande Marcha do Exército Vermelho de Mao Tsé-tung, mas que criou um mito, o do “Cavaleiro da Esperança”, aproveitado pela Internacional Comunista para teleguiar, de Moscou, a “intentona” de novembro de 1935, que constituiu, certamente, a primeira grande tragédia do comunismo no Brasil.
Essa tentativa de assalto ao poder, comandada por um bando de trapalhões, como demonstrado no livro de William Waack, Camaradas, vacinou definitivamente as Forças Armadas contra uma das mais poderosas ideologias do século XX, junto com o fascismo, e fez do anticomunismo a doutrina oficial, e permanente, do Estado brasileiro, condenando de antemão ao fracasso qualquer nova aventura nessa direção. A disposição ficou patente logo em seguida à intentona, materializada na Lei de Segurança Nacional, nos tribunais de repressão aos “maus elementos” nas hostes militares e, sobretudo, na dura repressão a todos os dissidentes da nova ditadura, o Estado Novo (1937-1945), pela polícia política comandada pelo Sr. Filinto Muller.
Os revolucionários dos anos 1960 se esqueceram talvez do precedente de 1935, que aliás não era objeto de tantas comemorações oficiais até que a inauguração de um novo, e longo, ciclo militar transformasse o mês de novembro, ao lado, obviamente, do 31 de março, num marco obrigatório dos pronunciamentos político-militares do novo regime. Aqueles que optaram, desde o início do período autoritário, pelo caminho da resistência armada ao “governo golpista”, à “ditadura militar”, ao “regime servil ao imperialismo”, o fizeram por sua própria conta e risco, numa completa inconsciência sobre as condições reais do “movimento popular”; sobrestimaram o apoio que teriam das “massas trabalhadoras”, operárias e camponesas, às suas aventuras guerrilheiras. “Cutucaram onça com vara curta”, como se diz na linguagem popular, e aprenderam duramente que o Estado brasileiro não era um simples títere do imperialismo americano, ou um “tigre de papel”, como repetiam os maoístas do movimento comunista brasileiro. 
Justamente, uma das maiores tragédias da história política brasileira recente, ao lado de episódios de guerrilha urbana rapidamente desbaratados pela repressão, é constituída pela incursão maoísta nas selvas do Araguaia, tal como descrita neste relato histórico exemplar do jornalista Hugo Studart. Além de ter honesta e objetivamente reconstituído essa loucura militar do PCdoB, seu relato precisa servir de denúncia dessa iniciativa insana dos dirigentes maoístas brasileiros, uma vez que ela levou jovens idealistas das cidades a uma morte estúpida nas matas da Amazônia. Antes dela, na impossibilidade de reprodução de uma insurreição ao estilo castrista da Sierra Maestra, dirigentes comunistas, seguidos por revolucionários das grandes metrópoles, já se tinham lançado na aventura da guerrilha urbana, sem muita estratégia e quase nenhuma tática, a não ser os canhestros assaltos a bancos, ataques a quarteis, alguns sequestros de diplomatas e de aviões, e uns poucos deploráveis assassinatos de pessoas, rapidamente aproveitados pelo regime militar para apegar-lhes o rótulo de “terrorismo”. Tudo isso ajudou ao endurecimento do regime, pela via do AI-5. A guerrilha urbana e alguns poucos focos esparsos foram expedita e duramente reprimidos pelas forças da repressão, tomadas de surpresa no início do processo, mas rapidamente organizadas sob comando militar e muitos apoios em setores das elites econômicas.
Bem mais complicado foi o episódio amazônico, a segunda vez na história das Forças Armadas, depois de Canudos, que elas tiveram de organizar expedições sucessivas de suas tropas para debelar focos reduzidos de “combatentes inimigos”, fracamente armados, mas que aparentavam representar um grande perigo para o regime republicano. Ambos episódios foram tragédias sociais, mas pode-se considerar aquele primeiro apenas o fruto de equívocos de interpretação de uma república “jacobina”, enfrentando o que seria a sua “Vendeia”, segundo as leituras francesas de um Euclides da Cunha. O segundo não: foi uma tragédia evitável, e cabe aqui responsabilizar direta e totalmente a direção irresponsável do PCdoB pelo imenso crime perpetrado contra um punhado de militantes idealistas, imaginando participar de um grande empreendimento de resgate social, e justiceiro, do pobre povo do interior, numa reprodução quixotesca do que teria sido a “guerra camponesa” de Mao Tsé-tung, então no auge do um prestígio inteiramente indevido, pela “revolução cultural” que ele tinha deslanchado para livrar-se de adversários no Partido Comunista Chinês. 
O PCdoB ainda não foi levado aos tribunais da história pelo crime cometido não apenas contra os pobres camponeses da região, mas sobretudo contra os seus próprios militantes enganados por uma direção dogmática, míope, absolutamente delirante em seus projetos de reproduzir a marcha de uma já mistificada “revolução camponesa” ao estilo chinês. Acresce que jamais fizeram um estudo aprofundado sobre uma região desprovida de condições mínimas de sobrevivência para os simples rurícolas, no estado normal de penúria que sempre foi a norma naquelas paragens, ainda mais para jovens urbanos de classe média, completamente desacostumados às durezas da agricultura de subsistência, extremamente primitiva, que caracterizava o imenso hinterland do Brasil. Não contente em enganar aqueles jovens, a direção do PCdoB ainda deixou-os entregues à própria sorte, totalmente desprovidos de meios para enfrentar as forças organizadas do Exército brasileiro, que ainda tatearam duas vezes, antes de se lançarem no trágico desfecho final, feito de violência excessiva e muitas ilegalidades, e mesmo crimes, perpetrados em nome do Estado. 
Sem dúvida que, como no caso do enfrentamento contra a guerrilha urbana, as forças de repressão cometeram crimes horríveis – torturas, assassinatos, eliminação de alvos escolhidos, desaparecimento de cadáveres –, o que se reproduziu em outra escala, e estilo, nas selvas do Araguaia. O crime maior, porém, de natureza política, de âmbito militar, e de dimensões históricas, foi cometido por aqueles dirigentes comunistas, de quase todos os movimentos de resistência armada, que resolveram travar uma “guerra” contra um inimigo que eles julgavam frágil, podendo ser abatido por alguns golpes “certeiros”, que apressariam a revolta das “massas trabalhadoras” e a derrocada de uma ditadura supostamente acuada pela crise econômica e pelas “contradições” de um regime capitalista periférico, submetido às “pressões imperialistas”. Quando se lê, hoje, os poucos manifestos, documentos programáticos e outros boletins “táticos” produzidos pelos dirigentes desses movimentos armados, impossível não ficar estupefato ante o imenso festival de equívocos políticos, de monumentais erros estratégicos, de total inconsciência social e de inconsistência intrínseca nessas peças de puro delírio sectário, que ainda assim ganhavam adeptos entre jovens revoltados contra a ditadura militar. 
Ao PCdoB, tanto quanto às Forças Armadas, e talvez até mais do que a essas, devem ser imputados a responsabilidade material e a condenação política da História, pela tragédia que foi a guerrilha do Araguaia, um delírio tão grande dos seus dirigentes, que nem mesmo os supostos aliados do PCC pretenderam sequer dar algum sinal de apoio concreto ao aventureirismo, a não ser algumas poucas emissões radiofônicas a partir da China e, logo depois, da Albânia. Esse julgamento ainda não foi feito, pelo menos não em toda a sua extensão, pois o PCdoB continua existindo como o legatário de uma aventura alucinante, pouco conhecida pela maioria da população, mas em relação à qual ele ainda pretende classificar como exemplo de “resistência popular” contra a “ditadura militar”, quando tudo não passou de uma tragédia dispensável e de um equívoco lamentável. 
O tribunal da História ainda aguarda o PCdoB: seu delírio político-militar não pode ficar impune, não pode continuar a ser mistificado ou permanecer desconhecido do grande público. Este livro, magnificamente construído segundo as melhores técnicas da história oral, e que adota o rigor metodológico dos grandes manuais da historiografia, focaliza cada etapa dessa tragédia brasileira, segue o itinerário individual de cada um dos embrenhados na selva, dialoga com seus familiares e amigos dos enviados a um desterro involuntário, além de, sobretudo, desvendar o comportamento indigno e a ação irresponsável dos dirigentes do PCdoB. Essa insanidade dos que montaram uma aventura de antemão condenada ao fracasso, mas que depois se escafederam nos desvãos desse drama patética, permanecia até hoje desprovida de uma avaliação independente, agora amplamente realizada por esta obra de pesquisa original. O PCdoB ainda não conheceu o seu tribunal da história: este livro, além de ser um relato intelectualmente honesto, tão objetivo quanto permitem os documentos remanescentes e os depoimentos disponíveis, sobre o delírio amazônico do (ainda hoje) único partido maoísta do Brasil, constitui, igualmente, uma vibrante peça de acusação, absolutamente necessária, para que esse processo possa ser feito. Vale ler, refleti sobre os seus dados, retirar as consequências e meditar sobre o futuro da política no Brasil. 

Brasília, 25 de março de 2018
Revisto em 12 de maio de 2018.
Versão original, completa, publicada no blog Diplomatizzando(9/07/2018; link: https://diplomatizzando.blogspot.com/2018/07/golpes-revolucoes-e-movimentos-armados.html).

A questao mais importante da nacionalidade: a qualidade de sua mao de obra - Paulo Roberto de Almeida

A questão mais importante da nacionalidade: a qualidade de sua mão de obra

Paulo Roberto de Almeida
 [Objetivo: subsídios a capítulo sobre a escravidão; finalidade: livro FDE-2]

Introdução
A questão mais importante, até mesmo crucial, da vida de uma nação é aquela relativa à dotação produtiva de sua população, ou seja, a qualidade de sua mão de obra, que representa a condição primordial, ou vital, de sua prosperidade e bem-estar. Mais do que quaisquer recursos naturais, ou seja, a dotação de fatores dada pela própria natureza, é a proficiência de seu capital humano que se traduzirá em níveis maiores, ou menores, de desenvolvimento humano, medido pelos indicadores de renda per capita, de esperança de vida, assim como de qualidade geral nas condições de vida (sanidade, atendimento básico em saúde, longevidade).
A questão mais importante de diplomacia econômica, no decorrer das seis décadas de existência do Império do Brasil, objeto do livro Formação da Diplomacia Econômica no Brasil, foi, indubitavelmente, a da mão de obra, ou mais exatamente, a da força de trabalho, não exatamente pela via de sua qualidade, mas simplesmente pelo expediente de sua disponibilidade. Tráfico e escravidão, ademais de serem questões centrais no Brasil do século XIX – como aliás já tinham sido nos três séculos anteriores de colonização –, constituíram duas das questões mais relevantes da diplomacia econômica do Império, a serem confrontadas pelas classes dirigentes e pelas elites governantes, a ponto de provocarem inclusive ruptura de relações diplomáticas com a principal potência daquele século, a Grã-Bretanha. 
Durante o regime colonial, tráfico e escravidão não constituíam problemas de relações internacionais ou de diplomacia econômica, a não ser residualmente. Desde a constituição da nação independente, contudo, eles se tornam questões relevantes na construção da nação, da sua organização política, de sua estrutura social, de sua base econômica, e igualmente de suas relações exteriores, ocupando parte não insignificante do trabalho de seus diplomatas e dirigentes políticos, ao provocar fricções e conflitos com o mesmo Estado que havia protegido a coroa portuguesa contra as investidas de Napoleão e depois protegido e assegurado a independência do novo Estado latino-americano surgido na terceira década do século XIX. 
Desde antes da independência, seja no âmbito das negociações dos tratados de 1810, que representaram o prêmio dado à Grã-Bretanha pela ajuda concedida no processo de transmigração da corte para o Brasil, seja depois, no quadro dos arranjos que se faziam à margem do Congresso de Viena, a diplomacia portuguesa já tinha sido obrigada a aceitar compromissos formais no sentido de encerrar o tráfico em prazo de tempo razoável, ou pelo menos a limitá-lo ao Atlântico Sul, para evitar a criação de um contencioso mais duro com a potência que se havia convertido ao anti-escravagismo pouco tempo antes, sob pressão de grupos religiosos e de precoces representantes de defesa dos direitos humanos dentre a sua opinião pública. De fato, a questão do tráfico negreiro, no Brasil essencialmente agrário do século XIX
configurou a mais perene e profunda tensão diplomática do Império, na medida em que condicionou duradouramente as relações com a maior potência da época. Através de um percurso repleto de incidentes, o Estado imperial defendeu os interesses do conjunto do escravismo brasileiro, logrando manter o tráfico até meados do século. O apego da Coroa à atividade negreira está acima de qualquer suspeita: em 1810, D. João VI [sic] curvou-se ao compromisso genérico da abolição gradual do tráfico apenas para evitar retaliações mais duras; em 1815, sacrificou o comércio negreiro ao norte do Equador em nome de uma relativa tolerância britânica no Hemisfério Sul; a partir de 1822, o governo imperial travou uma verdadeira guerra de posição, trincheira por trincheira, a fim de conferir sobrevida inesperadamente longa ao lucrativo negócio. (Magnoli, 1997: 86)

 Tal resistência explica-se pela importância do tráfico negreiro, e adicionalmente da própria escravidão, para a economia geral da colônia e do Estado independente, mobilizando capitais importantes no comércio exterior e nos ativos da economia produtiva de forma geral. Ambos constituíam uma das principais fontes de riqueza e de “acumulação primitiva” para parte substantiva da classe dominante ao final do regime colonial e no início da vida independente, os “homens de grossa aventura”, de que falou o historiador João Luis Fragoso em trabalho sobre a praça mercantil do Rio de Janeiro (1998). Segundo cálculos de outro historiador trabalhando sobre o mesmo tema, 30% dos comerciantes estabelecidos naquela mesma praça era constituída por traficantes (Florentino, 1997: 178). Não surpreende, assim, que, numa primeira etapa, a questão da supressão do tráfico – que foi, segundo Delgado de Carvalho, “um problema interno que se tornou internacional” (1959: 105) – tenha encontrado tremenda resistência no momento de organização da ordem política e social do novo Estado. 
Em sua “Representação à Assembleia Geral Constituinte e Legislativa do Império do Brasil”, sobre a escravatura, o “pai da Independência” José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva propôs, em 1823, uma “Lei sobre os escravos”, baseada na legislação da Dinamarca e da Espanha, incluindo inclusive medidas destinadas à “civilização” dos indígenas: 
Como Cidadão livre e Deputado da Nação dois objetos me parecem ser, fora a Constituição, de maior interesse para a prosperidade futura deste Império. O 1º é um novo regulamento para promover a civilização geral dos Índios no Brasil… 2º Uma nova Lei sobre o Comércio da escravatura e tratamento dos miseráveis cativos… objeto da atual Representação. Nela me proponho mostrar a necessidade de abolir a escravatura, de melhorar a sorte dos atuais cativos e de promover a sua progressiva emancipação. (…) É tempo, pois, e mais que tempo, que acabemos com um tráfico tão bárbaro e carniceiro… (Silva, 1840: 1-3).

As preocupações de José Bonifácio, ademais de serem profundamente humanitárias, eram igualmente econômicas. Dizia ele que “imensos cabedais saem anualmente deste Império para África; e imensos cabedais se amortizam dentro deste vasto País, pela compra de escravo, que morrem, adoecem, e se inutilizam...” (idem: 5). Mais adiante, na Representação, Bonifácio enfatizava: “Este comércio de carne humana é pois um cancro que rói as entranhas do Brasil, comércio porém, que hoje em dia já não é preciso para aumento da sua agricultura e povoação” (12). Bonifácio tinha perfeita consciência de que não seria possível libertar imediatamente os escravos, pois isso significaria a paralização da agricultura e dos demais serviços. 
Para emancipar escravos sem prejuízo da sociedade, cumpre fazê-los primeiramente dignos da liberdade: cumpre que sejamos forçados pela razão e pela lei a convertê-los gradualmente de vis escravos em homens livres e ativos. Então os moradores deste Império, de cruéis que são em grande parte neste ponto, se tornarão cristãos e justos, e ganharão muito pelo andar do tempo, pondo em livre circulação cabedais mortos, que absorve o uso da escravatura: livrando as suas famílias de exemplos domésticos de corrupção e tirania; de inimigos seus e do Estado; que hoje não têm pátria e que podem vir a ser nossos irmãos, e nossos compatriotas (13).


Ele propunha, então, sob a forma de artigos, que cessasse o tráfico em 4 ou 5 anos, e que se desse, aos homens “forros” uma “pequena sesmaria de terra para cultivarem”, incluindo os “socorros necessários para se estabelecerem, cujo valor irão pagando com o andar do tempo” (16). 
A verdade é que a representação, já pronta e preparada para ser apresentada, não chegou a sê-lo, pelo fato de o Imperador, em 23 de novembro de 1823, ter dissolvido a Assembleia Constituinte e cuidado, depois, de propor uma nova Carta, enquanto seu autor, aliás o primeiro ministro dos Negócios Estrangeiros do novo Estado, era preso e deportado. A exortação final de Andrada aos “generosos cidadãos do Brasil” – ao mesmo tempo em que invectivava os “traficantes de carne humana, senhores injustos e cruéis”– vinha datada de Paris, em 4 de outubro de 1825. 
A essa altura, o Chile já havia decretado a abolição total, em 1823, sem indenização, e no ano seguinte era a vez da América Central (Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicarágua e Costa Rica), com promessa de indenização, que no entanto não ocorreu. A Argentina já tinha concedido a liberdade aos filhos de mães escravas desde 1813, ao passo que a Grã-Bretanha já tinha abolido o tráfico desde 1807. Na França, o Diretório já tinha decretado, em 1794, a liberação total do sistema escravo nas colônias, medida revogada em 1802 por Napoleão (Sodré, 1939: 339-40). O Brasil preservou, como se sabe, o nefando comércio até meados do século, e foi um dos últimos países do hemisfério americano a abolir a escravidão, 
Diferentes tentativas foram feitas, ao longo do regime monárquico, seja para abolir o tráfico, numa primeira etapa, seja para abolir o sistema escravo, na segunda metade do século. Em 1852, uma proposta da Sociedade contra o tráfico de africanos e promotora da colonização e civilização dos escravos visava obter da Assembleia um “sistema de medidas para a progressiva e total extinção do tráfico e da escravatura”. Em 1865, Benjamin Fontana publicava um panfleto com “ideias, lembranças e indicações para extinguir a escravidão, salvar a propriedade e educar os libertos, afim de serem cidadãos úteis”. As sociedades maçônicas também se uniram aos abolicionistas, empenhados em extinguir a escravidão, mas “sem dano para a nação”. Uma Sociedade Brasileira contra a Escravidão lança, em 1880, um manifesto em favor da abolição, “endereçada aos fazendeiros, agricultores, ao Imperador, aos partidos constitucionais em geral, especialmente ao Partido Republicano, à juventude, aos filhos de senhores de escravos”, e à cidadania em geral. A maior parte dos abolicionistas demandava a eliminação imediata do trabalho escravo, sem indenização, embora esta fosse conduzida por etapas: a lei do Ventre Livre, de 1871, proposta pelo Visconde do Rio Branco, a que seguiu, anos depois, a dos sexagenários, considerada hipócrita, pelos emancipacionistas. 
Joaquim Nabuco foi, sem sombra de dúvida, um dos maiores tribunos contra a escravidão, tendo publicado seu livro sobre o abolicionismo em Londres, em 1883, uma obra de natureza mais sociológica do que propriamente política, na qual ele propunha não apenas a libertação dos escravos, mas também medidas para integrá-los à nação, pela via da reforma agrária e da educação. De volta ao Brasil, empreende diversas palestras e manifestações públicas em favor da causa, enfrentando a oposição dos escravistas mais renitentes, que não aceitavam sequer o princípio da abolição mediante indenização da propriedade escrava. Rui Barbosa também juntou-se ao movimento, apoiando a “Confederação Abolicionista” no sentido de exigir a aplicação da lei regencial de 1831, que declarava livres os escravos entrados no Brasil, impondo penas aos infratores. Quando a Lei Áurea foi finalmente promulgado, a monarquia caminhou para o seu ocaso. 
  
Referências: 
Almeida, Paulo Roberto, Formação da Diplomacia Econômica no Brasil: as relações econômicas internacionais no Império. 3ra. edição, revista; Brasília: Funag, 2017, 2 volumes; Coleção História Diplomática.
Magnoli, Demétrio, O Corpo da Pátria: imaginação geográfica e política externa do Brasil, 1808-1912. São Paulo: Unesp-Moderna, 1997.
Silva, José Bonifácio de Andrada e, 1763-1838Representação à Assembleia Geral Constituinte e Legislativa do Império do Brasil, sobre a escravaturaPropõe à Assembleia Geral Constituinte e Legislativa do Império do Brasil uma "Lei sobre os escravos", baseada na legislação da Dinamarca e Espanha. Rio de Janeiro : Typ. de J.E.S. Cabral, 1840 (disponível na Biblioteca do Senado Federal: http://www2.senado.leg.br/bdsf/handle/id/174487; acesso em 16/07/2018).
Sodré, Nelson Werneck, Panorama do Segundo Império. São Paulo: Nacional, 1939.

Paulo Roberto de Almeida
Brasília, 16 de julho de 2018

Obama sobre Mandela: homenagem no aniversario de sua morte

Transcript: Obama's Speech At The 2018 Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture
 
Dear colleagues, fyi and see also the webcast at 

   
 PRESIDENT OBAMA: (Cheers and applause.) Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you so much. (Laughter.)

AUDIENCE: Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!

OBAMA: Thank you. To Mama Graça Machel, members of the Mandela family, the Machel family, to President Ramaphosa who you can see is inspiring new hope in this great country – (cheers and applause) – professor, doctor, distinguished guests, to Mama Sisulu and the Sisulu family, to the people of South Africa – (cheers and applause) – it is a singular honor for me to be here with all of you as we gather to celebrate the birth and life of one of history's true giants.

Let me begin by a correction – (laughter) – and a few confessions. The correction is that I am a very good dancer. (Laughter.) I just want to be clear about that. Michelle is a little better.

The confessions. Number one, I was not exactly invited to be here. I was ordered in a very nice way to be here by Graça Machel. (Cheers.)

Confession number two: I forgot my geography and the fact that right now it's winter in South Africa. (Laughter.) I didn't bring a coat, and this morning I had to send somebody out to the mall because I am wearing long johns. (Laughter.) I was born in Hawaii.

Confession number three: When my staff told me that I was to deliver a lecture, I thought back to the stuffy old professors in bow ties and tweed, and I wondered if this was one more sign of the stage of life that I'm entering, along with gray hair and slightly failing eyesight. I thought about the fact that my daughters think anything I tell them is a lecture. (Laughter.) I thought about the American press and how they often got frustrated at my long-winded answers at press conferences, when my responses didn't conform to two-minute soundbites. But given the strange and uncertain times that we are in – and they are strange, and they are uncertain – with each day's news cycles bringing more head-spinning and disturbing headlines, I thought maybe it would be useful to step back for a moment and try to get some perspective. So I hope you'll indulge me, despite the slight chill, as I spend much of this lecture reflecting on where we've been, and how we arrived at this present moment, in the hope that it will offer us a roadmap for where we need to go next.

One hundred years ago, Madiba was born in the village of M – oh, see there, I always get that – (laughter) – I got to get my Ms right when I'm in South Africa. Mvezo – I got it. (Cheers and applause.) Truthfully, it's because it's so cold my lips stuck. (Laughter.) So in his autobiography he describes a happy childhood; he's looking after cattle, he's playing with the other boys, eventually attends a school where his teacher gave him the English name Nelson. And as many of you know, he's quoted saying, "Why she bestowed this particular name upon me, I have no idea."

There was no reason to believe that a young black boy at this time, in this place, could in any way alter history. After all, South Africa was then less than a decade removed from full British control. Already, laws were being codified to implement racial segregation and subjugation, the network of laws that would be known as apartheid. Most of Africa, including my father's homeland, was under colonial rule. The dominant European powers, having ended a horrific world war just a few months after Madiba's birth, viewed this continent and its people primarily as spoils in a contest for territory and abundant natural resources and cheap labor. And the inferiority of the black race, an indifference towards black culture and interests and aspirations, was a given.

And such a view of the world – that certain races, certain nations, certain groups were inherently superior, and that violence and coercion is the primary basis for governance, that the strong necessarily exploit the weak, that wealth is determined primarily by conquest – that view of the world was hardly confined to relations between Europe and Africa, or relations between whites and blacks. Whites were happy to exploit other whites when they could. And by the way, blacks were often willing to exploit other blacks. And around the globe, the majority of people lived at subsistence levels, without a say in the politics or economic forces that determined their lives. Often they were subject to the whims and cruelties of distant leaders. The average person saw no possibility of advancing from the circumstances of their birth. Women were almost uniformly subordinate to men. Privilege and status was rigidly bound by caste and color and ethnicity and religion. And even in my own country, even in democracies like the United States, founded on a declaration that all men are created equal, racial segregation and systemic discrimination was the law in almost half the country and the norm throughout the rest of the country.

That was the world just 100 years ago. There are people alive today who were alive in that world. It is hard, then, to overstate the remarkable transformations that have taken place since that time. A second World War, even more terrible than the first, along with a cascade of liberation movements from Africa to Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, would finally bring an end to colonial rule. More and more peoples, having witnessed the horrors of totalitarianism, the repeated mass slaughters of the 20th century, began to embrace a new vision for humanity, a new idea, one based not only on the principle of national self-determination, but also on the principles of democracy and rule of law and civil rights and the inherent dignity of every single individual.

In those nations with market-based economies, suddenly union movements developed; and health and safety and commercial regulations were instituted; and access to public education was expanded; and social welfare systems emerged, all with the aim of constraining the excesses of capitalism and enhancing its ability to provide opportunity not just to some but to all people. And the result was unmatched economic growth and a growth of the middle class. And in my own country, the moral force of the civil rights movement not only overthrew Jim Crow laws but it opened up the floodgates for women and historically marginalized groups to reimagine themselves, to find their own voices, to make their own claims to full citizenship.

It was in service of this long walk towards freedom and justice and equal opportunity that Nelson Mandela devoted his life. At the outset, his struggle was particular to this place, to his homeland – a fight to end apartheid, a fight to ensure lasting political and social and economic equality for its disenfranchised non-white citizens. But through his sacrifice and unwavering leadership and, perhaps most of all, through his moral example, Mandela and the movement he led would come to signify something larger. He came to embody the universal aspirations of dispossessed people all around the world, their hopes for a better life, the possibility of a moral transformation in the conduct of human affairs.

Madiba's light shone so brightly, even from that narrow Robben Island cell, that in the late '70s he could inspire a young college student on the other side of the world to reexamine his own priorities, could make me consider the small role I might play in bending the arc of the world towards justice. And when later, as a law student, I witnessed Madiba emerge from prison, just a few months, you'll recall, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, I felt the same wave of hope that washed through hearts all around the world.

Do you remember that feeling? It seemed as if the forces of progress were on the march, that they were inexorable. Each step he took, you felt this is the moment when the old structures of violence and repression and ancient hatreds that had so long stunted people's lives and confined the human spirit – that all that was crumbling before our eyes. And then as Madiba guided this nation through negotiation painstakingly, reconciliation, its first fair and free elections; as we all witnessed the grace and the generosity with which he embraced former enemies, the wisdom for him to step away from power once he felt his job was complete, we understood that – (applause) – we understood it was not just the subjugated, the oppressed who were being freed from the shackles of the past. The subjugator was being offered a gift, being given a chance to see in a new way, being given a chance to participate in the work of building a better world.

And during the last decades of the 20th century, the progressive, democratic vision that Nelson Mandela represented in many ways set the terms of international political debate. It doesn't mean that vision was always victorious, but it set the terms, the parameters; it guided how we thought about the meaning of progress, and it continued to propel the world forward. Yes, there were still tragedies – bloody civil wars from the Balkans to the Congo. Despite the fact that ethnic and sectarian strife still flared up with heartbreaking regularity, despite all that as a consequence of the continuation of nuclear détente, and a peaceful and prosperous Japan, and a unified Europe anchored in NATO, and the entry of China into the world's system of trade – all that greatly reduced the prospect of war between the world's great powers. And from Europe to Africa, Latin America, Southeast Asia, dictatorships began to give way to democracies. The march was on. A respect for human rights and the rule of law, enumerated in a declaration by the United Nations, became the guiding norm for the majority of nations, even in places where the reality fell far short of the ideal. Even when those human rights were violated, those who violated human rights were on the defensive.

And with these geopolitical changes came sweeping economic changes. The introduction of market-based principles, in which previously closed economies along with the forces of global integration powered by new technologies, suddenly unleashed entrepreneurial talents to those that once had been relegated to the periphery of the world economy, who hadn't counted. Suddenly they counted. They had some power; they had the possibilities of doing business. And then came scientific breakthroughs and new infrastructure and the reduction of armed conflicts. And suddenly a billion people were lifted out of poverty, and once-starving nations were able to feed themselves, and infant mortality rates plummeted. And meanwhile, the spread of the internet made it possible for people to connect across oceans, and cultures and continents instantly were brought together, and potentially, all the world's knowledge could be in the hands of a small child in even the most remote village.

That's what happened just over the course of a few decades. And all that progress is real. It has been broad, and it has been deep, and it all happened in what – by the standards of human history – was nothing more than a blink of an eye. And now an entire generation has grown up in a world that by most measures has gotten steadily freer and healthier and wealthier and less violent and more tolerant during the course of their lifetimes.

It should make us hopeful. But if we cannot deny the very real strides that our world has made since that moment when Madiba took those steps out of confinement, we also have to recognize all the ways that the international order has fallen short of its promise. In fact, it is in part because of the failures of governments and powerful elites to squarely address the shortcomings and contradictions of this international order that we now see much of the world threatening to return to an older, a more dangerous, a more brutal way of doing business.

So we have to start by admitting that whatever laws may have existed on the books, whatever wonderful pronouncements existed in constitutions, whatever nice words were spoken during these last several decades at international conferences or in the halls of the United Nations, the previous structures of privilege and power and injustice and exploitation never completely went away. They were never fully dislodged. (Applause.) Caste differences still impact the life chances of people on the Indian subcontinent. Ethnic and religious differences still determine who gets opportunity from the Central Europe to the Gulf. It is a plain fact that racial discrimination still exists in both the United States and South Africa. (Cheers and applause.) And it is also a fact that the accumulated disadvantages of years of institutionalized oppression have created yawning disparities in income, and in wealth, and in education, and in health, in personal safety, in access to credit. Women and girls around the world continue to be blocked from positions of power and authority. (Cheers and applause.) They continue to be prevented from getting a basic education. They are disproportionately victimized by violence and abuse. They're still paid less than men for doing the same work. That's still happening. (Cheers and applause.) Economic opportunity, for all the magnificence of the global economy, all the shining skyscrapers that have transformed the landscape around the world, entire neighborhoods, entire cities, entire regions, entire nations have been bypassed.

In other words, for far too many people, the more things have changed, the more things stayed the same. (Applause.)

And while globalization and technology have opened up new opportunities, have driven remarkable economic growth in previously struggling parts of the world, globalization has also upended the agricultural and manufacturing sectors in many countries. It's also greatly reduced the demand for certain workers, has helped weaken unions and labor's bargaining power. It's made it easier for capital to avoid tax laws and the regulations of nation-states – can just move billions, trillions of dollars with a tap of a computer key.

And the result of all these trends has been an explosion in economic inequality. It's meant that a few dozen individuals control the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of humanity. (Applause.) That's not an exaggeration, that's a statistic. Think about that. In many middle-income and developing countries, new wealth has just tracked the old bad deal that people got because it reinforced or even compounded existing patterns of inequality, the only difference is it created even greater opportunities for corruption on an epic scale. And for once solidly middle-class families in advanced economies like the United States, these trends have meant greater economic insecurity, especially for those who don't have specialized skills, people who were in manufacturing, people working in factories, people working on farms.

In every country just about, the disproportionate economic clout of those at the top has provided these individuals with wildly disproportionate influence on their countries' political life and on its media; on what policies are pursued and whose interests end up being ignored. Now, it should be noted that this new international elite, the professional class that supports them, differs in important respects from the ruling aristocracies of old. It includes many who are self-made. It includes champions of meritocracy. And although still mostly white and male, as a group they reflect a diversity of nationalities and ethnicities that would have not existed a hundred years ago. A decent percentage consider themselves liberal in their politics, modern and cosmopolitan in their outlook. Unburdened by parochialism, or nationalism, or overt racial prejudice or strong religious sentiment, they are equally comfortable in New York or London or Shanghai or Nairobi or Buenos Aires, or Johannesburg. Many are sincere and effective in their philanthropy. Some of them count Nelson Mandela among their heroes. Some even supported Barack Obama for the presidency of the United States, and by virtue of my status as a former head of state, some of them consider me as an honorary member of the club. (Laughter.) And I get invited to these fancy things, you know? (Laughter.) They'll fly me out.

But what's nevertheless true is that in their business dealings, many titans of industry and finance are increasingly detached from any single locale or nation-state, and they live lives more and more insulated from the struggles of ordinary people in their countries of origin. (Applause.) And their decisions – their decisions to shut down a manufacturing plant, or to try to minimize their tax bill by shifting profits to a tax haven with the help of high-priced accountants or lawyers, or their decision to take advantage of lower-cost immigrant labor, or their decision to pay a bribe – are often done without malice; it's just a rational response, they consider, to the demands of their balance sheets and their shareholders and competitive pressures.

But too often, these decisions are also made without reference to notions of human solidarity – or a ground-level understanding of the consequences that will be felt by particular people in particular communities by the decisions that are made. And from their board rooms or retreats, global decision-makers don't get a chance to see sometimes the pain in the faces of laid-off workers. Their kids don't suffer when cuts in public education and health care result as a consequence of a reduced tax base because of tax avoidance. They can't hear the resentment of an older tradesman when he complains that a newcomer doesn't speak his language on a job site where he once worked. They're less subject to the discomfort and the displacement that some of their countrymen may feel as globalization scrambles not only existing economic arrangements, but traditional social and religious mores.

Which is why, at the end of the 20th century, while some Western commentators were declaring the end of history and the inevitable triumph of liberal democracy and the virtues of the global supply chain, so many missed signs of a brewing backlash – a backlash that arrived in so many forms. It announced itself most violently with 9/11 and the emergence of transnational terrorist networks, fueled by an ideology that perverted one of the world's great religions and asserted a struggle not just between Islam and the West but between Islam and modernity, and an ill-advised U.S. invasion of Iraq didn't help, accelerating a sectarian conflict. (Applause.) Russia, already humiliated by its reduced influence since the collapse of the Soviet Union, feeling threatened by democratic movements along its borders, suddenly started reasserting authoritarian control and in some cases meddling with its neighbors. China, emboldened by its economic success, started bristling against criticism of its human rights record; it framed the promotion of universal values as nothing more than foreign meddling, imperialism under a new name. Within the United States, within the European Union, challenges to globalization first came from the left but then came more forcefully from the right, as you started seeing populist movements – which, by the way, are often cynically funded by right-wing billionaires intent on reducing government constraints on their business interests – these movements tapped the unease that was felt by many people who lived outside of the urban cores; fears that economic security was slipping away, that their social status and privileges were eroding, that their cultural identities were being threatened by outsiders, somebody that didn't look like them or sound like them or pray as they did.

And perhaps more than anything else, the devastating impact of the 2008 financial crisis, in which the reckless behavior of financial elites resulted in years of hardship for ordinary people all around the world, made all the previous assurances of experts ring hollow – all those assurances that somehow financial regulators knew what they were doing, that somebody was minding the store, that global economic integration was an unadulterated good. Because of the actions taken by governments during and after that crisis, including, I should add, by aggressive steps by my administration, the global economy has now returned to healthy growth. But the credibility of the international system, the faith in experts in places like Washington or Brussels, all that had taken a blow.

And a politics of fear and resentment and retrenchment began to appear, and that kind of politics is now on the move. It's on the move at a pace that would have seemed unimaginable just a few years ago. I am not being alarmist, I am simply stating the facts. Look around. (Applause.) Strongman politics are ascendant suddenly, whereby elections and some pretense of democracy are maintained – the form of it – but those in power seek to undermine every institution or norm that gives democracy meaning. (Applause.) In the West, you've got far-right parties that oftentimes are based not just on platforms of protectionism and closed borders, but also on barely hidden racial nationalism. Many developing countries now are looking at China's model of authoritarian control combined with mercantilist capitalism as preferable to the messiness of democracy. Who needs free speech as long as the economy is going good? The free press is under attack. Censorship and state control of media is on the rise. Social media – once seen as a mechanism to promote knowledge and understanding and solidarity – has proved to be just as effective promoting hatred and paranoia and propaganda and conspiracy theories. (Applause.)

So on Madiba's 100th birthday, we now stand at a crossroads – a moment in time at which two very different visions of humanity's future compete for the hearts and the minds of citizens around the world. Two different stories, two different narratives about who we are and who we should be. How should we respond?

Should we see that wave of hope that we felt with Madiba's release from prison, from the Berlin Wall coming down – should we see that hope that we had as naïve and misguided? Should we understand the last 25 years of global integration as nothing more than a detour from the previous inevitable cycle of history – where might makes right, and politics is a hostile competition between tribes and races and religions, and nations compete in a zero-sum game, constantly teetering on the edge of conflict until full-blown war breaks out? Is that what we think?

Let me tell you what I believe. I believe in Nelson Mandela's vision. I believe in a vision shared by Gandhi and King and Abraham Lincoln. I believe in a vision of equality and justice and freedom and multi-racial democracy, built on the premise that all people are created equal, and they're endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights. (Cheers and applause.) And I believe that a world governed by such principles is possible and that it can achieve more peace and more cooperation in pursuit of a common good. That's what I believe.

And I believe we have no choice but to move forward; that those of us who believe in democracy and civil rights and a common humanity have a better story to tell. And I believe this not just based on sentiment, I believe it based on hard evidence.

The fact that the world's most prosperous and successful societies, the ones with the highest living standards and the highest levels of satisfaction among their people, happen to be those which have most closely approximated the liberal, progressive ideal that we talk about and have nurtured the talents and contributions of all their citizens.

The fact that authoritarian governments have been shown time and time again to breed corruption, because they're not accountable; to repress their people; to lose touch eventually with reality; to engage in bigger and bigger lies that ultimately result in economic and political and cultural and scientific stagnation. Look at history. Look at the facts.

The fact that countries which rely on rabid nationalism and xenophobia and doctrines of tribal, racial or religious superiority as their main organizing principle, the thing that holds people together – eventually those countries find themselves consumed by civil war or external war. Check the history books.

The fact that technology cannot be put back in a bottle, so we're stuck with the fact that we now live close together and populations are going to be moving, and environmental challenges are not going to go away on their own, so that the only way to effectively address problems like climate change or mass migration or pandemic disease will be to develop systems for more international cooperation, not less. (Applause.)

We have a better story to tell. But to say that our vision for the future is better is not to say that it will inevitably win. Because history also shows the power of fear. History shows the lasting hold of greed and the desire to dominate others in the minds of men. Especially men. (Laughter and applause.) History shows how easily people can be convinced to turn on those who look different, or worship God in a different way. So if we're truly to continue Madiba's long walk towards freedom, we're going to have to work harder and we're going to have to be smarter. We're going to have to learn from the mistakes of the recent past. And so in the brief time remaining, let me just suggest a few guideposts for the road ahead, guideposts that draw from Madiba's work, his words, the lessons of his life.

First, Madiba shows those of us who believe in freedom and democracy we are going to have to fight harder to reduce inequality and promote lasting economic opportunity for all people. (Applause.)

Now, I don't believe in economic determinism. Human beings don't live on bread alone. But they need bread. And history shows that societies which tolerate vast differences in wealth feed resentments and reduce solidarity and actually grow more slowly; and that once people achieve more than mere subsistence, then they're measuring their well-being by how they compare to their neighbors, and whether their children can expect to live a better life. And when economic power is concentrated in the hands of the few, history also shows that political power is sure to follow – and that dynamic eats away at democracy. Sometimes it may be straight-out corruption, but sometimes it may not involve the exchange of money; it's just folks who are that wealthy get what they want, and it undermines human freedom.

And Madiba understood this. This is not new. He warned us about this. He said: "Where globalization means, as it so often does, that the rich and the powerful now have new means to further enrich and empower themselves at the cost of the poorer and the weaker, [then] we have a responsibility to protest in the name of universal freedom." That's what he said. (Applause.) So if we are serious about universal freedom today, if we care about social justice today, then we have a responsibility to do something about it. And I would respectfully amend what Madiba said. I don't do it often, but I'd say it's not enough for us to protest; we're going to have to build, we're going to have to innovate, we're going to have to figure out how do we close this widening chasm of wealth and opportunity both within countries and between them. (Applause.)

And how we achieve this is going to vary country to country, and I know your new president is committed to rolling up his sleeves and trying to do so. But we can learn from the last 70 years that it will not involve unregulated, unbridled, unethical capitalism. It also won't involve old-style command-and-control socialism form the top. That was tried; it didn't work very well. For almost all countries, progress is going to depend on an inclusive market-based system – one that offers education for every child; that protects collective bargaining and secures the rights of every worker – (applause) – that breaks up monopolies to encourage competition in small and medium-sized businesses; and has laws that root out corruption and ensures fair dealing in business; that maintains some form of progressive taxation so that rich people are still rich but they're giving a little bit back to make sure that everybody else has something to pay for universal health care and retirement security, and invests in infrastructure and scientific research that builds platforms for innovation.

I should add, by the way, right now I'm actually surprised by how much money I got, and let me tell you something: I don't have half as much as most of these folks or a tenth or a hundredth. There's only so much you can eat. There's only so big a house you can have. (Cheers and applause.) There's only so many nice trips you can take. I mean, it's enough. (Laughter.) You don't have to take a vow of poverty just to say, "Well, let me help out and let a few of the other folks – let me look at that child out there who doesn't have enough to eat or needs some school fees, let me help him out. I'll pay a little more in taxes. It's okay. I can afford it." (Cheers and applause.) I mean, it shows a poverty of ambition to just want to take more and more and more, instead of saying, "Wow, I've got so much. Who can I help? How can I give more and more and more?" (Cheers and applause.) That's ambition. That's impact. That's influence. What an amazing gift to be able to help people, not just yourself. (Applause.) Where was I? I ad-libbed. (Laughter.) You get the point.

It involves promoting an inclusive capitalism both within nations and between nations. And as we pursue, for example, the Sustainable Development Goals, we have to get past the charity mindset. We've got to bring more resources to the forgotten pockets of the world through investment and entrepreneurship, because there is talent everywhere in the world if given an opportunity. (Cheers and applause.)

When it comes to the international system of commerce and trade, it's legitimate for poorer countries to continue to seek access to wealthier markets. And by the way, wealthier markets, that's not the big problem that you're having – that a small African country is sending you tea and flowers. That's not your biggest economic challenge. It's also proper for advanced economies like the United States to insist on reciprocity from nations like China that are no longer solely poor countries, to make sure that they're providing access to their markets and that they stop taking intellectual property and hacking our servers. (Laughter.)

But even as there are discussions to be had around trade and commerce, it's important to recognize this reality: while the outsourcing of jobs from north to south, from east to west, while a lot of that was a dominant trend in the late 20th century, the biggest challenge to workers in countries like mine today is technology. And the biggest challenge for your new president when we think about how we're going to employ more people here is going to be also technology, because artificial intelligence is here and it is accelerating, and you're going to have driverless cars, and you're going to have more and more automated services, and that's going to make the job of giving everybody work that is meaningful tougher, and we're going to have to be more imaginative, and the pact of change is going to require us to do more fundamental reimagining of our social and political arrangements, to protect the economic security and the dignity that comes with a job. It's not just money that a job provides; it provides dignity and structure and a sense of place and a sense of purpose. (Applause.) And so we're going to have to consider new ways of thinking about these problems, like a universal income, review of our workweek, how we retrain our young people, how we make everybody an entrepreneur at some level. But we're going to have to worry about economics if we want to get democracy back on track.

Second, Madiba teaches us that some principles really are universal – and the most important one is the principle that we are bound together by a common humanity and that each individual has inherent dignity and worth.

Now, it's surprising that we have to affirm this truth today. More than a quarter century after Madiba walked out of prison, I still have to stand here at a lecture and devote some time to saying that black people and white people and Asian people and Latin American people and women and men and gays and straights, that we are all human, that our differences are superficial, and that we should treat each other with care and respect. I would have thought we would have figured that out by now. I thought that basic notion was well established. (Applause.) But it turns out, as we're seeing in this recent drift into reactionary politics, that the struggle for basic justice is never truly finished. So we've got to constantly be on the lookout and fight for people who seek to elevate themselves by putting somebody else down. And by the way, we also have to actively resist – this is important, particularly in some countries in Africa like my own father's homeland; I've made this point before – we have to resist the notion that basic human rights like freedom to dissent, or the right of women to fully participate in the society, or the right of minorities to equal treatment, or the rights of people not to be beat up and jailed because of their sexual orientation – we have to be careful not to say that somehow, well, that doesn't apply to us, that those are Western ideas rather than universal imperatives. (Applause.)

Again, Madiba, he anticipated things. He knew what he was talking about. In 1964, before he received the sentence that condemned him to die in prison, he explained from the dock that, "The Magna Carta, the Petition of Rights, the Bill of Rights are documents which are held in veneration by democrats throughout the world." In other words, he didn't say well, those books weren't written by South Africans so I just – I can't claim them. No, he said that's part of my inheritance. That's part of the human inheritance. That applies here in this country, to me, and to you. And that's part of what gave him the moral authority that the apartheid regime could never claim, because he was more familiar with their best values than they were. (Laughter.) He had read their documents more carefully than they had. And he went on to say, "Political division based on color is entirely artificial and, when it disappears, so will the domination of one color group by another." That's Nelson Mandela speaking in 1964, when I was three years old. (Applause.)

What was true then remains true today. Basic truths do not change. It is a truth that can be embraced by the English, and by the Indian, and by the Mexican and by the Bantu and by the Luo and by the American. It is a truth that lies at the heart of every world religion – that we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us. (Applause.) That we see ourselves in other people. That we can recognize common hopes and common dreams. And it is a truth that is incompatible with any form of discrimination based on race or religion or gender or sexual orientation. And it is a truth that, by the way, when embraced, actually delivers practical benefits, since it ensures that a society can draw upon the talents and energy and skill of all its people. And if you doubt that, just ask the French football team that just won the World Cup. (Cheers and applause.) Because not all of those folks – not all of those folks look like Gauls to me. (Laughter.) But they're French. They're French. (Laughter.)

Embracing our common humanity does not mean that we have to abandon our unique ethnic and national and religious identities. Madiba never stopped being proud of his tribal heritage. He didn't stop being proud of being a black man and being a South African. But he believed, as I believe, that you can be proud of your heritage without denigrating those of a different heritage. (Applause.) In fact, you dishonor your heritage. It would make me think that you're a little insecure about your heritage if you've got to put somebody else's heritage down. (Laughter.) Yeah, that's right. (Laughter.) Don't you get a sense sometimes – again, I'm ad-libbing here – that these people who are so intent on putting people down and puffing themselves up that they're small-hearted, that there's something they're just afraid of. Madiba knew that we cannot claim justice for ourselves when it's only reserved for some. Madiba understood that we can't say we've got a just society simply because we replaced the color of the person on top of an unjust system, so the person looks like us even though they're doing the same stuff, and somehow now we've got justice. That doesn't work. (Cheers and applause.) It's not justice if now you're on top, so I'm going to do the same thing that those folks were doing to me and now I'm going to do it to you. That's not justice. "I detest racialism," he said, "whether it comes from a black man or a white man."

Now, we have to acknowledge that there is disorientation that comes from rapid change and modernization, and the fact that the world has shrunk, and we're going to have to find ways to lessen the fears of those who feel threatened. In the West's current debate around immigration, for example, it's not wrong to insist that national borders matter; whether you're a citizen or not is going to matter to a government, that laws need to be followed; that in the public realm newcomers should make an effort to adapt to the language and customs of their new home. Those are legitimate things and we have to be able to engage people who do feel as if things are not orderly. But that can't be an excuse for immigration policies based on race, or ethnicity, or religion. There's got to be some consistency. And we can enforce the law while respecting the essential humanity of those who are striving for a better life. (Cheers and applause.) For a mother with a child in her arms, we can recognize that could be somebody in our family, that could be my child.

Third, Madiba reminds us that democracy is about more than just elections.

When he was freed from prison, Madiba's popularity – well, you couldn't even measure it. He could have been president for life. Am I wrong? (Laughter.) Who was going to run against him? (Laughter.) I mean, Ramaphosa was popular, but come on. (Laughter.) Plus he was a young – he was too young. Had he chose, Madiba could have governed by executive fiat, unconstrained by check and balances. But instead he helped guide South Africa through the drafting of a new Constitution, drawing from all the institutional practices and democratic ideals that had proven to be most sturdy, mindful of the fact that no single individual possesses a monopoly on wisdom. No individual – not Mandela, not Obama – are entirely immune to the corrupting influences of absolute power, if you can do whatever you want and everyone's too afraid to tell you when you're making a mistake. No one is immune from the dangers of that.

Mandela understood this. He said, "Democracy is based on the majority principle. This is especially true in a country such as ours where the vast majority have been systematically denied their rights. At the same time, democracy also requires the rights of political and other minorities be safeguarded." He understood it's not just about who has the most votes. It's also about the civic culture that we build that makes democracy work.

So we have to stop pretending that countries that just hold an election where sometimes the winner somehow magically gets 90 percent of the vote because all the opposition is locked up – (laughter) – or can't get on TV, is a democracy. Democracy depends on strong institutions and it's about minority rights and checks and balances, and freedom of speech and freedom of expression and a free press, and the right to protest and petition the government, and an independent judiciary, and everybody having to follow the law.

And yes, democracy can be messy, and it can be slow, and it can be frustrating. I know, I promise. (Laughter.) But the efficiency that's offered by an autocrat, that's a false promise. Don't take that one, because it leads invariably to more consolidation of wealth at the top and power at the top, and it makes it easier to conceal corruption and abuse. For all its imperfections, real democracy best upholds the idea that government exists to serve the individual and not the other way around. (Applause.) And it is the only form of government that has the possibility of making that idea real.

So for those of us who are interested in strengthening democracy, let's also stop – it's time for us to stop paying all of our attention to the world's capitals and the centers of power and to start focusing more on the grassroots, because that's where democratic legitimacy comes from. Not from the top down, not from abstract theories, not just from experts, but from the bottom up. Knowing the lives of those who are struggling.

As a community organizer, I learned as much from a laid-off steel worker in Chicago or a single mom in a poor neighborhood that I visited as I learned from the finest economists in the Oval Office. Democracy means being in touch and in tune with life as it's lived in our communities, and that's what we should expect from our leaders, and it depends upon cultivating leaders at the grassroots who can help bring about change and implement it on the ground and can tell leaders in fancy buildings, this isn't working down here.

And to make democracy work, Madiba shows us that we also have to keep teaching our children, and ourselves – and this is really hard – to engage with people not only who look different but who hold different views. This is hard. (Applause.)

Most of us prefer to surround ourselves with opinions that validate what we already believe. You notice the people who you think are smart are the people who agree with you. (Laughter.) Funny how that works. But democracy demands that we're able also to get inside the reality of people who are different than us so we can understand their point of view. Maybe we can change their minds, but maybe they'll change ours. And you can't do this if you just out of hand disregard what your opponents have to say from the start. And you can't do it if you insist that those who aren't like you – because they're white, or because they're male – that somehow there's no way they can understand what I'm feeling, that somehow they lack standing to speak on certain matters.

Madiba, he lived this complexity. In prison, he studied Afrikaans so that he could better understand the people who were jailing him. And when he got out of prison, he extended a hand to those who had jailed him, because he knew that they had to be a part of the democratic South Africa that he wanted to build. "To make peace with an enemy," he wrote, "one must work with that enemy, and that enemy becomes one's partner."

So those who traffic in absolutes when it comes to policy, whether it's on the left or the right, they make democracy unworkable. You can't expect to get 100 percent of what you want all the time; sometimes, you have to compromise. That doesn't mean abandoning your principles, but instead it means holding on to those principles and then having the confidence that they're going to stand up to a serious democratic debate. That's how America's Founders intended our system to work – that through the testing of ideas and the application of reason and proof it would be possible to arrive at a basis for common ground.

And I should add for this to work, we have to actually believe in an objective reality. This is another one of these things that I didn't have to lecture about. You have to believe in facts. (Laughter.) Without facts, there is no basis for cooperation. If I say this is a podium and you say this is an elephant, it's going to be hard for us to cooperate. (Laughter.) I can find common ground for those who oppose the Paris Accords because, for example, they might say, well, it's not going to work, you can't get everybody to cooperate, or they might say it's more important for us to provide cheap energy for the poor, even if it means in the short term that there's more pollution. At least I can have a debate with them about that and I can show them why I think clean energy is the better path, especially for poor countries, that you can leapfrog old technologies. (Cheers.) I can't find common ground if somebody says climate change is just not happening, when almost all of the world's scientists tell us it is. I don't know where to start talking to you about this. (Laughter.) If you start saying it's an elaborate hoax, I don't know what to – (laughter) – where do we start?

Unfortunately, too much of politics today seems to reject the very concept of objective truth. People just make stuff up. They just make stuff up. We see it in state-sponsored propaganda; we see it in internet driven fabrications, we see it in the blurring of lines between news and entertainment, we see the utter loss of shame among political leaders where they're caught in a lie and they just double down and they lie some more. Politicians have always lied, but it used to be if you caught them lying they'd be like, "Oh man." Now they just keep on lying.

By the way, this is what I think Mama Graça was talking about in terms of maybe some sense of humility that Madiba felt, like sometimes just basic stuff, me not completely lying to people seems pretty basic, I don't think of myself as a great leader just because I don't completely make stuff up. You'd think that was a base line. Anyway, we see it in the promotion of anti-intellectualism and the rejection of science from leaders who find critical thinking and data somehow politically inconvenient. And, as with the denial of rights, the denial of facts runs counter to democracy, it could be its undoing, which is why we must zealously protect independent media; and we have to guard against the tendency for social media to become purely a platform for spectacle, outrage, or disinformation; and we have to insist that our schools teach critical thinking to our young people, not just blind obedience.

Which, I'm sure you are thankful for, leads to my final point: we have to follow Madiba's example of persistence and of hope.

It is tempting to give in to cynicism: to believe that recent shifts in global politics are too powerful to push back; that the pendulum has swung permanently. Just as people spoke about the triumph of democracy in the 90s, now you are hearing people talk about end of democracy and the triumph of tribalism and the strong man. We have to resist that cynicism.

Because, we've been through darker times, we've been in lower valleys and deeper valleys. Yes, by the end of his life, Madiba embodied the successful struggle for human rights, but the journey was not easy, it wasn't pre-ordained. The man went to prison for almost three decades. He split limestone in the heat, he slept in a small cell, and was repeatedly put in solitary confinement. And I remember talking to some of his former colleagues saying how they hadn't realized when they were released, just the sight of a child, the idea of holding a child, they had missed – it wasn't something available to them, for decades.

And yet his power actually grew during those years – and the power of his jailers diminished, because he knew that if you stick to what's true, if you know what's in your heart, and you're willing to sacrifice for it, even in the face of overwhelming odds, that it might not happen tomorrow, it might not happen in the next week, it might not even happen in your lifetime. Things may go backwards for a while, but ultimately, right makes might, not the other way around, ultimately, the better story can win out and as strong as Madiba's spirit may have been, he would not have sustained that hope had he been alone in the struggle, part of buoyed him up was that he knew that each year, the ranks of freedom fighters were replenishing, young men and women, here in South African, in the ANC and beyond; black and Indian and white, from across the countryside, across the continent, around the world, who in those most difficult days would keep working on behalf of his vision.

And that's what we need right now, we don't just need one leader, we don't just need one inspiration, what we badly need right now is that collective spirit. And, I know that those young people, those hope carriers are gathering around the world. Because history shows that whenever progress is threatened, and the things we care about most are in question, we should heed the words of Robert Kennedy – spoken here in South Africa, he said, "Our answer is the world's hope: it is to rely on youth. It's to rely on the spirit of the young."

So, young people, who are in the audience, who are listening, my message to you is simple, keep believing, keep marching, keep building, keep raising your voice. Every generation has the opportunity to remake the world. Mandela said, "Young people are capable, when aroused, of bringing down the towers of oppression and raising the banners of freedom." Now is a good time to be aroused. Now is a good time to be fired up.

And, for those of us who care about the legacy that we honor here today – about equality and dignity and democracy and solidarity and kindness, those of us who remain young at heart, if not in body – we have an obligation to help our youth succeed. Some of you know, here in South Africa, my Foundation is convening over the last few days, two hundred young people from across this continent who are doing the hard work of making change in their communities; who reflect Madiba's values, who are poised to lead the way.

People like Abaas Mpindi, a journalist from Uganda, who founded the Media Challenge Initiative, to help other young people get the training they need to tell the stories that the world needs to know.

People like Caren Wakoli, an entrepreneur from Kenya, who founded the Emerging Leaders Foundation to get young people involved in the work of fighting poverty and promoting human dignity.

People like Enock Nkulanga, who directs the African Children's mission, which helps children in Uganda and Kenya get the education that they need and then in his spare time, Enock advocates for the rights of children around the globe, and founded an organization called LeadMinds Africa, which does exactly what it says.

You meet these people, you talk to them, they will give you hope. They are taking the baton, they know they can't just rest on the accomplishments of the past, even the accomplishments of those as momentous as Nelson Mandela's. They stand on the shoulders of those who came before, including that young black boy born 100 years ago, but they know that it is now their turn to do the work.

Madiba reminds us that: "No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart." Love comes more naturally to the human heart, let's remember that truth. Let's see it as our North Star, let's be joyful in our struggle to make that truth manifest here on earth so that in 100 years from now, future generations will look back and say, "they kept the march going, that's why we live under new banners of freedom." Thank you very much, South Africa, thank you.