Approaching José Martí’s vocation for justice is something transcendental because it connects us with one of the facets of Marti’s thought that deserves -especially in the present times, in view of the humanistic crisis that has been poured on us- a greater approach, a coherent and intentional treatment and under the perspective of continuing to promote the ethical, humanist and anti-imperialist legacy of the man also known as the Apostle.
The vocation for justice of the most universal of Cubans, from the early years of his life, made him become a just jurist very early on.
Martí was a just jurist not only because he had studied law, but also because he knew how to understand that the essence of the profession was in constantly carrying out justice, in turning to it and using it as a weapon to face his great libertarian, emancipatory battle for the full dignity of the human being.
Was not Martí a just man?
Let us remember his feelings before the injustices committed against the slaves, his reaction (as a man of law and justice) before the crimes of which he was a witness, and even a victim, in the political prison.
In his adolescence, from the patriotic formation that he received from his teacher Rafael Maria de Mendive, he reached the conviction that he had to form the condition of just man from the own reality lived by the Cubans under the bloody iron arm of the Spanish colonialism and from the ethical and patriotic influences taken from the fathers of our nationality.
Then it is worth saying that the Apostle of Cuba is a just jurist because, above all, he is a just man.
Then we can extract from his own life that his law studies were the result of a serious and conscious exercise of thought, which led him to study something that would allow him to go out on the road with the revolutionary spear on his arm, to fight for his homeland, which is also to fight for humanity.
Let us not forget that maxim that says that men fight for bread and for right; then Martí saw, with his innate ability to foresee, that to achieve justice, it was necessary to put it as high as the palms, it was necessary to conceive and prepare a legal battle, with the tools that the Law provides us, with the being and the duty to be, with an ideological platform capable of establishing the necessary program that later became Marti’s choice “with the poor of the Earth.”
Martí was a just man because he was, in addition, a good man; this is a core aspect of Law once it is translated into the form of social (juridical) conscience: the art of the good and the just, from the Roman tradition of which we are children, and which we must uphold because the more we cling to the essences of our system of Law (Roman-French), the more immune we will be to the anti-values shown to us by the Anglo-Saxon system.
A brief glance at Martí’s humanism puts the Master in his rightful place. Martí is an essential exponent in the confrontation to the dominant culture in the world today, that of the capitalist system, that of “having”; the one that does not advocate for social justice, for the eticity of human behavior, for humanism concretely.
And it is not by chance, it is not an anomaly of capitalism, that is how it works; that is its raison d’être.
Humanism, dignity, the synergy between law and ethics, the balance in the very materialization of justice, are not characteristics of the Anglo-Saxon system of law (and it is laudable to clarify that we are referring specifically, in this relation, to the United States of America: its system of law is proportional to the culture it promotes).
Thus, we can expect no less from Martí than his affiliation to the culture of “being,” which is based on respect for human dignity, for the ability of human beings to associate, for being good and just.
These ideas make us reflect on the danger that represents for humanity, and of course for Cuba, the cultural war of unimaginable dimensions, dominating human minds, based on the construction of ways of life that have nothing to do with the “values” of socialism.
And I bring the term socialism to the table, because precisely this cultural war is directly and indirectly directed to the “perception of socialism” as a system of misery, poverty, decadence; in short, a whole cultural construction in human beings to continue sustaining capitalism. Even today, in its monopolistic face, dominated by transnational corporations, under the prison represented by the media siege, distorting, inducing the values of the capitalist system; these are reproduced, they are accepted by those who have not awakened from the stultifying sleep that constitutes the aforementioned culture.
Now, how can Martí help us? His work, his emancipatory and current thinking is undoubtedly a strength for all of us.
Martí is the moral soul of the nation, the spiritual guide of Cuba, the light that makes us militants for social justice.
It was not by chance that he chose to be on the side of the poor, of the dispossessed, of those who were denied any possibility of exercising their rights. This is Marti’s electivism, his whole character, his human condition at the service of the poor and needy, an element that did not remain alone in Martí’s thinking.
His choice had to be practiced, he made of his life a vigil for justice. “To do is the best way to say,” he taught us, and he did a lot for ideas that constitute an important foundation in his thought and action: the utility in virtue, the balance of the world, the idea of good and the culture of doing politics.
We will find in Martí the antidote to the humanistic crisis, his ethical postulates, his vocation for justice, his anti-imperialism sustain the socialist counterculture (or resistance in our case), and consequently arm us in the cultural battle (which is also ideological), as well as in the search for a prosperous and sustainable socialism; an enterprise that cannot be assumed without a critical look at subjectivity or spirituality; following Marti’s keys of the present we live in, of the human beings who are colonized on a daily basis.
That is why Martí is a current jurist. He teaches us to look with judicial eyes at the imperialist invitation that continues to harm us; he continues to provide us with the ethical tools to legislate, to exercise the law, to carry out justice.
His universality, a character that emerges from his autochthony, shows us an integral Martí in the assumption of Law as a natural weapon in this current battle that is also juridical, and must be won from Law and justice.