Revolution #238 Online, July 4, 2011

Remembering Alejandro del Fuego

Alejandro del Fuego, 1989-2011.
Photo: Li Onesto/Revolution

I was extremely saddened to learn of the death of Alejandro del Fuego, the young revolutionary communist from Houston.  My heart goes out to everyone who knew and loved him.

I got to know Alejandro a bit during the Revolutionary Summer Youth Project in July and August of 2009.  Revolutionary youth from all over the country came to New York City for several weeks to put revolution and communism on the map in a big and bold way and to introduce as many people as possible to the leadership for this revolution that we have in Bob Avakian. This coincided with the kickoff of the Revolutionary Communist Party's campaign, "The Revolution We Need...The Leadership We Have," and the release of the message and call from the RCP of the same name, which we took out very broadly to masses in Harlem and Washington Heights and throughout New York City.  At a moment in which "Obamamania" was very much in full force, we went out challenging and inviting people to confront the reality that we live under a system of capitalism-imperialism responsible for tremendous suffering throughout the world; that revolution to get rid of that system and aiming for a communist world is the solution to that suffering; and that, in Bob Avakian, we have the leadership we need to get to that solution.  In the process, we learned a lot. And we had a lot of fun. The summer project was a truly special and historic endeavor, and Alejandro will forever hold a special place in my heart because we were part of this together.

I remember Alejandro as a person of warmth, determination, liveliness and humor.  An enduring image of him that stands out in my mind is his warm, embracing smile. I also got the sense that he was passionate about music.   He was definitely a huge fan of the band Outernational, and I can still hear him whistling "Fighting Song," along with other tunes, during that summer.

When I saw the two photographs of Alejandro in Issue #237 of Revolution, I was brought to tears. For one thing, they drove home the cruel, heartbreaking loss of a youth who truly had so much more to contribute to the world. For another, they captured the person I remember. When I look at these photos, I see a person of conviction, defiance, hope and joy—a person who sees a radically different world that is possible and is challenging others to see it—and struggle for it—too. 

In BAsics, Bob Avakian says:

"If you have had a chance to see the world as it really is, there are profoundly different roads you can take with your life. You can just get into the dog-eat-dog, and most likely get swallowed up by that while trying to get ahead in it. You can put your snout into the trough and try to scarf up as much as you can, while scrambling desperately to get more than others. Or you can try to do something that would change the whole direction of society and the whole way the world is. When you put those things alongside each other, which one has any meaning, which one really contributes to anything worthwhile? Your life is going to be about something—or it's going to be about nothing. And there is nothing greater your life can be about than contributing whatever you can to the revolutionary transformation of society and the world, to put an end to all systems and relations of oppression and exploitation and all the unnecessary suffering and destruction that goes along with them.  I have learned that more and more deeply through all the twists and turns and even the great setbacks, as well as the great achievements, of the communist revolution so far, in what are really still its early stages historically." (BAsics 5:23)

Alejandro del Fuego was part of the Revolutionary Summer Youth Project that worked to spread the message and call from the RCP, “The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have,” in Harlem and Washington Heights during the summer of 2009.
Photo: Li Onesto/Revolution

Alejandro's life was most definitely about something. And in a time in which far too many people—including far too many of his generation—are choosing, with varying degrees of consciousness, to put their snouts in the trough, his example serves as a challenge to rupture with this empty and callous individualism, confront the world as it really is and live a truly meaningful life. His selfless dedication to the people of the world and his unyielding commitment to their emancipation—right up to the very end of his life—is profoundly inspiring.

About two months before his death, Alejandro was too ill to attend the April 11 event in Harlem—"On the Occasion of the Publication of BAsics: A Celebration of Revolution and the Vision of a New World."   He submitted a deeply moving statement that was read that night.  In that statement, he spoke with tremendous enthusiasm and urgency about the leadership and method of Bob Avakian, the great need to broadly popularize that leadership and method, and the powerful potential of BAsics as a tool for doing that.

He ended the statement by saying: "It is with great pleasure and pride that I've been able to at least scratch the surface of his immense body of work, attempting to grasp his exhilarating insights and how it is that he has developed these. This body of work can, in a qualitatively new way, with the release of BAsics, be spread among masses of all strata empowering them to envision and struggle for a liberated planet. I'm getting ready to get out there and spread BAsics, and this leader we have in Bob Avakian. I'm taking up the $200 Challenge, and I challenge you to do the same."

Tragically, Alejandro has been robbed at far too young an age of the opportunity to continue contributing all he could towards the emancipation of humanity. But a whole new generation of revolutionaries should take inspiration from the substance and spirit of Alejandro's statement, and of his life overall.

We have lost a comrade. But the goals to which he dedicated his life remain more urgent than ever.  As we continue to struggle towards those goals, let us keep Alejandro in our hearts. 


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