Octavio Paz: Political thought


“… Originally, Paz supported the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War, but after learning of the murder of one of his friends by the Stalinist secret police, he became gradually disillusioned. While in Paris in the early 1950s, influenced by David Rousset, André Breton and Albert Camus, he started publishing his critical views on totalitarianism in general, and particularly against Joseph Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union. In his magazines Plural and Vuelta, Paz exposed the violations of human rights in communist regimes, including Castro’s Cuba. This brought him much animosity from sectors of the Latin American left. In the prologue to Volume IX of his complete works, Paz stated that from the time when he abandoned communist dogma, the mistrust of many in the Mexican intelligentsia started to transform into an intense and open enmity. Paz continued to consider himself a man of the left, the democratic, ‘liberal’ left, not the dogmatic and illiberal one. He also criticized the Mexican government and leading party that dominated the nation for most of the 20th century. Politically, Paz was a social democrat, who became increasingly supportive of liberal ideas without ever renouncing to his initial leftist and romantic views. In fact, Paz was ‘very slippery for anyone thinking in rigid ideological categories,’ Yvon Grenier wrote in his book on Paz’s political thought. ‘Paz was simultaneously a romantic who spurned materialism and reason, a liberal who championed freedom and democracy, a conservative who respected tradition, and a socialist who lamented the withering of fraternity and equality. An advocate of fundamental transformation in the way we see ourselves and modern society, Paz was also a promoter of incremental change, not revolution.’ … In 1990, during the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin wall, Paz and his Vuelta colleagues invited several of the world’s writers and intellectuals to Mexico City to discuss the collapse of communism. …”
W – Political thought
Dissent – Poetry and Action: Octavio Paz at 100
Octavio Paz and Intellectual Independence in Defense of Freedom and Democracy
[PDF] Octavio Paz: eight decades of poetry, politics and history


II International Congress of Writers for the Defense of Culture.

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