The Commission of the Madrid Book Fair attempts to exclude the Fundación Federico Engels

Mexican Marxist intellectual and Vice-rector of the Open University of Mexico Fernando Buen Abad Domínguez opposes the decision to exclude the Frederick Engels Foundation from this year’s book fair in Madrid. Also available in Spanish.

This is really monstrous. All attempts to silence the human intellect and reason by gagging it have failed and are doomed to fail. In prohibiting the participation of the Fundación Federico Engels in the Madrid Book Fair 2006 they are attempting to exclude a publishing house that is encouraging the development of scientific Marxism. By raising the level of consciousness, it is contributing to the worldwide mobilisation of the peoples fighting for a better world, which is only possible under socialism. This prohibition has intolerable implications. The history of all human struggles contains a long list of strategies and solutions that the people have developed to give voice to their ideas and aspirations. We must not betray this heritage. Silence must not win.

The editorial board of the Fundación Federico Engels deals with the most diverse scientific fields with a broad spectrum of theoretical and methodological subjects, from the most advanced academic topics to the most vigorous political texts. This activity is justified by a thousand reasons. Nobody has the right to unilaterally deny access to specialists and students, to political activists and to the public in general to a source of information, and a stimulus to action, which has won for itself a worldwide prestige. This prestige is not only due to its scientific contribution but also to its ability to make these ideas accessible to readers who previously had no contact with them.

It is really irritating to know that there are people capable of taking such arbitrary and provocative decisions that fly in the face of the intelligence. But matters are far worse when it is a case of an internationally celebrated Book Fair, the prestige of which makes one suppose that it would be guided by intellectual integrity, logic and responsibility. One might suppose that it would encourage the presence of good books and to make these available to the greatest number of readers, giving them access to the finest scientific works, despite all the negative features of the times we live in. What is needed is an understanding of the economic roots of capitalism and a profound diagnosis of its political and social implications. Censorship is one of the main enemies of progress. It tries to make it impossible for the people to understand, and this would make it impossible to take even the smallest step forward. This is why they attempt to deprive the people of access to scientific Marxist information and to silence the Marxists through censorship. Censorship is nothing but the cynical application of a fascist principle under modern conditions. Many publishing houses – and not only in Spain – utilise strategies based upon censorship. Whoever they are, they know what they are doing when they resort to the poisoned chalice of endless prohibitions. In all its disguises, censorship is a form of ideological warfare. Censorship not only serves to manipulate people’s minds, depriving them of the freedom of information. It is also the result of a struggle – which frequently resembles a war between rival mafiosi – to get control of the distribution networks and thus to imprison people’s minds. In other words, censorship is a way of stultifying human thought.

The distribution of books throughout the world has been hijacked by the big monopolies, uncontrollable and impenetrable. The cynicism of commercial censorship reigns everywhere. With ever-increasing frequency we note the intensification of attacks, prohibitions, baseless excuses. We must analyse and expose all forms of censorship, whether open or disguised. This task is as urgent as the production of written material on scientific socialism. It is part of the general struggle to provide the people with ideas and programmes for the conquest of real and permanent freedom. Censorship, whether direct or indirect, open or disguised, imposed or behind-the-scenes, ideological or economic, expresses the parasitism and decomposition of capitalism, which creates a kind of thought police in order to control information, reality, and ideas. It represents a kind of civil war in the area of ideas – a weapon of alienation.

Together with thousands of workers, intellectuals and revolutionaries all over the world, I demand that the Fundación Federico Engels be given its space at the Madrid Book Fair. A publishing house that has earned its prestige as a result of its ceaseless labour and active participation in the debates and struggles of our times all over the world deserves to be heard. Let us not allow silence to win.


Dr. Fernando Buen Abad Domínguez

Doctor of Philosophy. Vice-rector of the Open University of Mexico and Director of the Research Institute of the la Image, of that university. Member of the International Movement of Documentalistas. Member of the science comité of the Asociación Mundial de Estudios Semióticos. Member of the Fundación Federico Engels.