Today, Wednesday January 6th, marks the 83rd anniversary of the birth of the ideologue of the New Universalist Humanism, the Argentine philosopher Mario Rodríguez Cobos, better known by his pseudonym, Silo.

At the beginning of the 1990s, in the midst of the rise of anti-humanist neoliberalism, Silo deepened inhis book “Letters to my Friends” the philosophy of New Humanism, its political and social practice, which he preferred to define mainly as an attitude and perspective towards life. As expressed in the Document of the Humanist Movement, from which we transcribe his introduction:

“Humanists are women and men of this century, of this era. They recognize the antecedents of historical humanism and are inspired by the contributions of different cultures, not only those that currently occupy a central place. They are also men and women who are leaving this century and this millennium behind and projecting themselves into a new world.

“Humanists feel that their history is very long and that their future is even more extensive. They think of the future, struggling to overcome the general crisis of the present. They are optimistic, they believe in freedom and social progress”.

“Humanists are internationalists, they aspire to a universal human nation. They understand globally the world in which they live and act in their immediate environment. They do not want a uniform world but a multiple one: multiple in ethnic groups, languages and customs; multiple in localities, regions and autonomies; multiple in ideas and aspirations; multiple in beliefs, atheism and religiosity; multiple in work; multiple in creativity”.

“Humanists do not want masters; they do not want leaders or chiefs, and do not feel themselves representatives or chiefs of anyone. Humanists do not want a centralized State, or a Parastate to replace it. Humanists do not want police armies, nor armed gangs to replace them”.

“But between humanist aspirations and the realities of today’s world, a wall has been erected. The moment has come, then, to tear it down. To do so, it is necessary to unite all the humanists of the world”

Thus, Silo rescues Humanism as history, but also as a future project and as a tool for current action.

In a world where inequality and poverty are increasing rapidly, he proposes a humanism that contributes to the improvement of life, that confronts discrimination, fanaticism, exploitation and violence.

In a world that is rapidly globalizing and that shows the symptoms of the clash between cultures, ethnic groups and regions, it proposes a universalist, pluralistic and convergent humanism.

In a world in which countries, institutions and human relations are destructured, it presents a humanism capable of promoting the recomposition of social forces.

In a world in which the meaning and direction of life has been lost, it defines that there must be a humanism capable of creating a new atmosphere of reflection in which the personal is no longer irreducibly opposed to the social, nor the social to the personal.

Silo proposes that the interest should be in the construction of a creative humanism, not a repetitive humanism; a new humanism that, taking into account the paradoxes of the times, aspires to resolve them.

And evidently all of these, which are humanist aspirations, become challenges for the Humanist Parties.

Because it implies breaking with the system of beliefs that respond to a pattern of violent, alienating, discriminatory, excluding, enslaving and predatory global power. This will require a project with a very deep depth and numerous tasks in the present, in order to subvert this pattern of power.

Because the model of society that they promote for us, saying that it is to generate wealth and progress for all, deep down we know that leaving out broad sectors of the population because for the benefit of large corporations is neither supportive, nor equitable, nor inclusive, nor democratic.

Because the capitalist system in globalization is designed to impose worldwide political and economic forms that do not respect the local organizational forms that do not conform to its project of expansion, turning every social activity into a commodity and a business opportunity.

Because it implies the challenge of building new ways of doing politics, which are inclusive, participatory and transparent, providing accountability, performing their actions facing the people and turning their backs to the economic power.

And it is here where Silo’s work acquires a transformative historical perspective, because it includes an ethics, a sensitivity, a collective commitment that no member of society will be excluded, nor will they be made invisible.

As 2020 marks the tenth anniversary of the emergence of the Federation of Humanist Parties and more than three decades since the birth of the first humanist political collectives, it is a good moment to reflect on our political action. About the achievements, the forms and the practices that should be sustained, changed or deepened in order to advance in the humanization of our immediate environment.


“The question is whether we will be spectators of life or promoters
of actions that organize the transformation around us,
real vital transformers that measure and project in their action
the consequences that we will produce in ourselves and in others”.

“You must then assume and give a response of supreme rebellion
and changing environment and thus, the our proposal
is the action that promotes the simultaneous personal and
environmental modification, that action which intentionally
provokes change and directs it with a sense open, broad,
generous, and so you will soon see the rebirth with strength
in the hearts of men and peoples, the light of life”.

“Our proposal is the joyful, resolute and permanent Action Transforming;
transforming action which is that full of intentionality
oriented to the humanizing change of ourselves,
of the environment around us and of all this land, our land”.

Silo (1989)

International Coordination Team
Federation of Humanist Parties