S0CIALIST CUBA; THE HOPE OF THE PLANET
The nature of the relentless and continuing colonial and imperialist domination of Cuba by Spain and the United States especially since 1898 changed dramatically with the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959. The imperialist vulture to the North was driven out militarily, economically, politically and culturally. However the imperialists, fearing that a new humane and just model for the overwhelming masses of people would not be good for exploitation and their super profits, used new methods of destabilizing the new Cuba. On October 8, 1987, the 20th anniversary of the death of Ernesto Che Guevara, Fidel said that Che "was totally opposed to using and developing capitalist economic laws and categories in building socialism." Che advocated that the "building of socialism and communism is not just a matter of producing and distributing wealth but is also a matter of education and consciousness."
It then becomes apparent why Cuba, a beacon of internationalist solidarity for oppressed peoples worldwide, became anathema not only to the transnational corporate ruling class and their political puppets in Wall Street, western Europe and Tokyo but also those who have rejected Marxism for more pragmatic philosophies; liberals, neo-liberals, neo-marxists, anarchists and various trends within social democracy. Those who have never
recognized a really existing socialism, who have embraced opportunism, were not prepared for nor could they accept the arming of the Cuban masses, or the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, the Peoples' Assemblies, the voluntary work or the use of moral incentives which were later modified under the pressures of the imperialist Blockade-an act of war-according to international law. No these folk could not accept Revolutionary Cuba's attempts at creatively applying Marxism-Leninism.
The revisionists and opportunists discount the terrorist acts, over flights, the C.I.A. funded Radio Marti, assassination attempts and the support for counter revolutionaries in and outside of Miami. No, they call for "free elections" bourgeois style which offers the evil of two lessers to the masses. Or they call for freedom for "dissidents" another useful code word that masks their counter revolutionary acts within Cuba and connections to
western imperialist sources. Some like the former Chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, Wayne Smith, calls for an end to the "embargo" (a more benign term) not because Cuba is a sovereign state which first and foremost means the right to self determination including the right to build socialism, NO. He and his ilk want to end the Blockade for ulterior motives namely to bring a little perestroika and glasnost to the island. In short they, like the gusanos, look to a smooth "post Castro transition" really
meaning a post socialist Cuba.
Cuba's nationalization and collectivization under the guidance of the Communist Party was a political and economic declaration of war against the capitalist countries and their financial representatives at the IMF and World Bank. (Canada is a partial exception) Cuba's staunch international solidarity includes supporting the armed struggle in Angola to providing doctors and training university students from other countries. This too is
deeply hated by those who would like to bring the "benefits" of gangsterism, corruption and poverty now "enjoyed" by the Russian people. Those whom Brecht called the intellectual pimps for the bourgeoisie belittle the heroic accomplishments of a Cuba under siege such as safeguarding the high standard of health, education, and literacy services while seeing to it that no one goes hungry or is homeless.
Does this mean that this beacon and alternative model to the "free market" has solved all basic social, political and economic questions? Of course not. In his eulogy honoring Che, Fidel asks "what are we rectifying?" Self critically including his own mistakes he says that "we're rectifying all those things -and there are many- that strayed from the revolutionary spirit, revolutionary work, and revolutionary responsibility; all those things that strayed from the spirit of solidarity among people. We're rectifying all the shoddiness and mediocrity that is precisely the negation of Che's ideas, his revolutionary thought, his style, his spirit, and his example." Of course Fidel had in mind a developing bureaucracy as well as technocrats and some intellectuals that never appreciated the fact that while there may be compromise in dealing with other states and Parties there could never be a compromise of the fundamental ideological underpinning of the Revolution-Marxism-Leninism.
Cuba is a multicultural mixture of Spanish, African and Indigenous peoples. Yet quite legitimately many comrades and friends have questioned Havana's policies and efforts toward bringing more people of color into higher government, Party and professional positions. The Central Committee of the Party acknowledged this problem 15 years ago and made decisions accordingly.
About three years ago I had the privilege of attending a meeting arranged by Black comrades who invited a member of the Department of International Relations of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party. Our guest Adelina, is a Black woman who was in the U.S. on a Fellowship to study the institutionalized racism in the U.S. There were many hard and challenging questions as to the proportionate representation of people of color and particularly those of very dark complexion in all spheres of society. Our guest provided data and policy decisions of the Party in the social, economic and political areas whose goal was to significantly improve this situation. The results of this truly affirmative action by the Party and government more than doubled the number of people of color in the leading bodies of society. This was accomplished in less than 5 years. Comrade Adelina indicated that the Party has made this an ongoing priority.
Unlike China, who, while professing socialism and the supremacy of the Party, is well on its way to dismantling its socialist infrastructure and accepting the IMF version of globalisation meaning an entry of transnationals into their economy using extremely cheap labor while a comparatively few become wealthy. The Socialist Republic of Vietnam is at a crossroads and seeking most favored nation status while Nike sets up an
outpost there for capital accumulation. It is too early to tell whether North Korea will travel the same path. Of course there are enormous contradictions between these countries and the developed nations. Frequently the former are forced into taking anti-imperialist positions which should be fully supported. Cuba does have joint ventures with Canada and Germany for instance but under conditions that guarantees benefits to
its economy. We must be crystal clear that there is no hybrid third way.
While certain compromises and even retreats are necessary at a particular historic juncture, (such as Havana's need for hard currency and the development of a mini parallel economy around tourism) the fundamental course is either socialist or capitalist. Solidarity with and material and ideological support for Socialist Cuba deserves the highest priority from all who seek to better.the human condition.
There are many liberals and some on the Left that see "more openness" and reform sort of a Cuban Perestroika with Raul at the helm. They will be disappointed.
May 14, 2008