Why I Joined the Communist Party – Pablo Picasso



I would have liked better to have replied to you by means of a picture’, he told us; ‘I am not a writer, but since it is not very easy to send my colours by cable, I am going to try to tell you.’ ‘My membership of the Communist Party is the logical consequence of my whole life, of my whole work. For, I am proud to say, I have never considered painting as an art of simple amusement, of recreation; I have wished, by drawing and by colour, since those are my weapons, to reach ever further into an understanding of the world and of men, in order that this understanding might bring us each day an increase in liberation; I have tried to say, in my own way, that which I considered to be truest, most accurate, best, and this was naturally always the most beautiful, as the greatest artists know well. Yes, I am aware of having always struggled by means of my painting, like a genuine revolutionary. But I have come to understand, now, that that alone is not enough; these years of terrible oppression have shown me that I must fight not only through my art, but with all of myself. And so, I have come to the Communist Party without the least hesitation, since in reality I was with it all along. Aragon, Eluard, Cassou, Fougeron, all my friends know well; if I have not joined officially before now, it has been through ‘innocence’ of a sort, because I believed that my work and my membership at heart were sufficient; but it was already my Party. Is it not the Communist Party which works the hardest to know and to construct the world, to render the men of today and tomorrow clearer-headed, freer, happier? Is it not the Communists who have been the most courageous in France as in the USSR or in my own Spain? How could I have hesitated? For fear of committing myself? But on the contrary I have never felt freer, more complete! And then I was in such a hurry to rediscover a home country: I have always been an exile, now I am one no longer; until the time when Spain may finally receive me, the French Communist Party has opened its arms to me; there I have found all that which I most value: the greatest scholars, the greatest poets, and all those beautiful faces of Parisian insurgents

Published in L’Humanite, 29-30 October 1944

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