How would a Marxist approach interpret the poem "My Friends, My Comrades" by Javed Shaheen?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

"My Friends, My Comrades" is an inspirational poem written for Marxists by the Marxist poet Jahved Shaheen, who died in 2008.

The poem expresses the Marxist belief in the inevitable progress of history toward a glorious Marxist future. This is shown, for example, in the final two lines:

We shall march forward
Towards a brighter world

Another tenet of Marxism the poem expresses is that victory over the forces of capitalism and other evils will not be won without struggle, sacrifice, and solidarity. This struggle will inevitably be bloody, because those who hold power will not willingly give it to the people. Therefore, the poem uses stirring language to help the masses involved in the struggle stay strong: the bodies of the comrades will "turn to stone," and though blood will flow, none of the efforts and sacrifices of the faithful will "go to waste." The blood of the comrades, the poem says, will make fields "blossom" with new life. The poem expresses solidarity through the repeated use of the pronoun "our."

The speaker uses imagery to direct readers to imagine a better future:

My friends, my comrades
The winds will sweep away
The black clouds,
The sun will shine
Every corner of meadows and forest shall light up

In sum, the poem expresses the Marxist belief in violent struggle and ultimate victory for the cause, ushering in a beautiful tomorrow.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

"My Friends, My Comrades" is a poem by Pakistani poet and Marxist activist Javed Shaheen. The poem calls for unity among all Marxists around the world. The poem features vivid details of the working-class struggle by portraying literal work, as illustrated in the the first line of the first stanza: "Our hands will become hardened and scruffy."

Shaheen uses imagery that provokes scenes of the proletariat—janitors, miners, farmers, etc.—literally and figuratively working together in the struggle against the capitalist system that oppresses them and against authoritarian regimes that aim to eliminate them. The poem can be viewed as a short, succinct manifesto on the importance of solidarity among comrades.

The poem frames the Marxist community as the light against the darkness of the world. Like individual gas lamps clustered together, the Marxists believe they, together, can bring illumination to a world that has tried to "darken," or silence, the revolutionary cause.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial