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Thread: Damn, Fidel is dead!

  1. #21
    "200 million children in the world today sleep in the streets — none of them are Cuban".



    Fuck every detractor of Cuba until their eyes bleed.
    "We say to the workers: 'You will have to go through fifteen, twenty, fifty years of civil wars and international wars, not only in order to change existing conditions, but also in order to change yourselves and fit yourselves for the exercise of political power."'

    MARX (On the Communist Trial at Cologne, 1851).

  2. #22
    Hezbollah Offers Condolences to Cuban Leadership, People over Castro Death


    Cuban revolutionary icon Fidel Castro Cuban revolutionary icon Fidel Castro
    Lebanon - Live News - News - Top

    Head of Hezbollah International Relations Department Sayyed Ammar Al-Moussawi phoned, on behalf of the party, the Cuban embassy in Beirut to offer condolences over the death of the major leader Fidel Castro.

    Stressing that Castro has been always the minaret of the rebels across the world.

    Al-Moussawi expressed his full trust that the revolutionary leadership in Cuba will continue following the path of the late leader Castro.

    Source: Al-Manar Website

    http://english.almanar.com.lb/114706
    "We say to the workers: 'You will have to go through fifteen, twenty, fifty years of civil wars and international wars, not only in order to change existing conditions, but also in order to change yourselves and fit yourselves for the exercise of political power."'

    MARX (On the Communist Trial at Cologne, 1851).

  3. #23
    Cuba and the Struggle for Survival (Part 1)
    by Rick Smith / August 28th, 2008

    The following is Part 1 of an edited and enhanced radio interview conducted in August 2008 with Dr. Doug Morris, Eastern New Mexico University Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

    Rick Smith: One of the things I love hearing about is what is happening in other countries. I like to hear from the inside and I like to hear different opinions. This is why we have our next guest, Dr. Doug Morris, from Eastern New Mexico University. He just returned recently from Cuba, and I am always interested and fascinated to find out what goes on in the closed-arena there. Why did you go? I can’t go, as far as I know… how did you get there?

    Doug Morris: I went as part of the “Research Network in Cuba Group,” sponsored by the US based “Radical Philosophers Association.” The group does research in Cuba and participates in a yearly conference at the University of Havana as part of that research, and shares that work back here in the US in various academic and public settings. A number of the participants travel back and forth to Cuba numerous times over the year to carry out research and to keep open lines of communication, for example around socialist economics and agriculture. The group travels legally on an academic research general license provided by the US State Department. There are different categories for research and legal travel to Cuba, including journalistic research, so one would guess that you would be able to obtain a license to do “legal” journalistic work and research in Cuba. We should add that it is not Cuba that is trying to keep US citizens out of Cuba; rather, it is the US government that is violating our Constitutional right to travel.

    I should also say that the reasons for going to Cuba are many and also share that I am not an expert on Cuba. Cuba is not my primary area of academic interest but more peripheral. Cuba remains a source of interest and inspiration mostly because Cuba is attempting to carry out a social project outside of the global neoliberal model, a neoliberal model that places profits first and is a source of many global calamities and much human suffering. Cuba’s project, filled with contradictions and struggles, is working to ensure that people come first. Cuba remains an inspiration because they have accomplished so much under very trying conditions and circumstances, not least of which is the presence of the hostile global behemoth just to the North.

    Cuba, as one Cuban scholar pointed out, always “walks on a razor’s edge, and does so in a world that stands on the edge of a precipice.” In other words, Cuba, always struggling to survive, is often forced to pursue policies against their basic commitments, but they must survive, and they are trying to survive as a socialist island in a rising sea of neoliberal abominations. There is no rule book available for revolutionaries so they can simply open to page 155 to find the answer to the latest dilemma. Cuba, though it walks on a razor’s edge, is an inspiring source of alternative political, economic, agricultural and pedagogical knowledge that we, standing on the precipice, so desperately need as we now face ever-growing global threats through climate change, ecological catastrophes, growing poverty and inequality, food and hunger crises, water shortages, political authoritarianism, corporate tyranny, and an increasingly militarized globe. So, Cuba has been designated the only sustainable society in the world by the World Wildlife Fund, and that is of great importance at a time when a sustainable human future is in serious question.

    As to Cuba being a “closed-arena” one must be careful on how that gets interpreted because people in the US will use that to intimate that Cuba is some kind of Stalinist society in which people lack all freedoms, where everyone lives under constant surveillance and fear, where people are abducted from the streets in the middle of the night if they disagree with State opinion, where people are sent off to torture camps, etc. But that is not the case in Cuba, although one might draw links between what was just described and the US base at Guantanamo, a real core of human rights abuse on land that belongs to Cuba but is occupied by a US Naval base. The “closed-arena” in Cuba is partially a myth created by US propaganda in order to keep the US population distanced from understanding what really happens in Cuba, and partially a consequence of Cuba living constantly under the threat of US aggression, a situation that compels certain forms of centralized control and suspicions that may occasionally result in forms of repression beyond that which one could support.

    One might ask why US power is interested in keeping US citizens from understanding what is happening inside Cuba, and I would argue that the primary reason is that Cuba is working to carry out an experiment in economics and politics that puts human interests and well-being first, is committed to ecological rationality and sustainable agriculture, and assumes that there are sets of human rights that should be honored, for example, the rights to food, health care, education, housing, employment, access to culture, sports, participation, etc. Cuba sees these rights as basic to human needs, and they should not therefore be available only to those who can afford them in the market. The problem with Cuba from the perspective of US power, I would say, is that if Cuba succeeds in carrying out this people-first experiment in politics and economics, it will demonstrate the legitimacy of what in Cuba is called “people’s power.” The Cuban revolution violated 150 years of US policy and belief as expressed in the Monroe Doctrine, i.e., US power owns the hemisphere and US power will determine who does what and in whose interests, etc.

    Soon after the Cuban revolution the Kennedy Administration made it clear what the problem was. The Cuban model, they suggested, was providing a source of inspiration for people across the hemisphere who had been robbed and exploited for hundreds of years, people who now might want to follow the Cuban example and take matters into their own hands to advance their own interests and live lives outside of misery, poverty and despair. Of course, if that interferes with profits and power concerns, that is intolerable from the perspective of US power. So, one of the central problems with Cuba from the view and interests of US power is that Cuba can show that a society can be run by the people through various interactions between formal and informal democracy, between participatory and representative forms of democracy, and, crucially, Cuba can demonstrate that a society can be run in the interest of people without resorting to a profit-based and tyrannical economic system.

    And, secondly, the threat of US aggression is very real as history has demonstrated quite clearly. More than 200 years ago, John Adams argued that Cuba is a “natural extension of the US,” and that Cuba should be annexed by the US. Jefferson wrote that “Cuba [is] the most interesting addition that can be made to our system of states,” and John Quincy Adams referred to “the inevitability of the annexation of Cuba,” suggesting that it would eventually fall into US hands by the laws of political gravity, like “a ripe fruit.” In the 1850s, the US Ostend Manifesto warned against Cuba becoming “Africanized [like Haiti]… with all the attendant horror for the white race.” In addition, of course, were commercial interests, and by the 1880s Cuba was a key US commercial “partner,” especially around sugar. The US provided 70% of the Cuban market. Prior to the US intervention in Cuba’s second war of independence, the US undersecretary of war, J. Breckenridge wrote that Cubans were incapable of managing their own society, that they had only “a vague notion of what is right and wrong,” and therefore the US should “destroy everything within our cannon’s range of fire, impose a harsh blockade so that hunger runs rampant, undermine the peaceful population, and decimate the Cuban army.”

    In 1901, the US forced the Cubans to accept the Platt Amendment, still used to “justify” the US military base at Guantanamo Bay. It also gave the US the “right” to intervene in Cuban affairs anytime to “preserve Cuban independence” (but not independence from US intervention, of course), and to protect life, liberty, and crucially property. The US acted on the amendment in 1906 and militarily occupied Cuba until 1909. From 1901 until 1959 and the triumph of the revolution that overthrew the US backed Batista dictatorship, Cuba, in Robert Scheer’s words “was more of an appendage of the US than a sovereign nation.” Most of the land and resources was under various forms of US control.

    The US has, for close to fifty years now, been hostile to the Cuban revolution, has wanted to reestablish US domination over Cuba, and has engaged in outright military aggression, economic strangulation of multiple sorts, endless forms of terrorism, biological and chemical warfare attacks, diplomatic maneuvers to isolate Cuba, introduced legislation such as the Helms-Burton Act and the Torricelli Bill to punish Cuba and other countries that deal with Cuba at a time when Cuba was in dire straits and in need of serious assistance not further punishment, sponsored people who carried out bombing attacks in Cuba or blew-up a Cuban airplane (killing all on board), planned dozens of assassination attempts against Cuban leaders, engaged in widespread propaganda attacks around the world against the Cuban experiment (a good portion of it through US embassies), funded anti-Cuban think tanks, etc.

    We should also keep in mind, that if we consider the definition of terrorism to be “the use of force and violence, or the THREAT of force and violence, to intimate, coerce or control, in order to advance ideological, political, religious or economic interests,” a close paraphrase of the official US definition, then the US is engaged in terrorism 100% of the time because the announced policy of its willingness to not only attack anyone, anywhere, anytime for any reason, made formal in the 2002 National Security Strategy of the United States, and demonstrated in the illegal US attack against Iraq, but the US also reserves the “right” to use nuclear weapons in a first strike. That means the US is always engaged in the THREAT to use force and violence around the world, i.e., always engaged in terror. Cubans are well aware of this, and we should be too.

    The continuing hostility against the Cuban revolution is grounded, arguably, in three main considerations. The first is the commercial and financial losses for US business interests in Cuba. The Wall Street Journal referred to the revolution as a “watermelon.” The more you slice it “the redder it gets.” For example, Cuba nationalized the oil refineries. Cuba had signed a trade deal with the Soviet Union in early 1960, and it included Soviet crude. At the command of the US government Texaco and Standard Oil refused to refine the crude, thus forcing Cuba to nationalize the refineries. Nationalizations were carried out with offers of compensation based on the reported assets and earnings provided by the companies in their official record. These assets and earnings were typically underreported in order to save on taxes.

    The second is Cuba’s commitment to pursue a course of economic, political and social development that is independent of US hegemony, and the concomitant threat that the Cuban revolution could provide inspiration for others in the region to challenge US domination.

    Advisor to JFK, Arthur Schlesinger stated that the problem with the Castro regime, i.e., the Cuban revolution, was that it represented a successful resistance to US hegemony, and that defiance undermined 50 years of US policy in the region. In other words, the Cuban revolution was providing an emancipatory opening for people to move beyond subservience and subjugation. In short, as the Administration said, “the poor and underprivileged [i.e., exploited] might demand opportunities for a decent living,” and that is simply unacceptable. The Kennedy Administration responded to this “threat” by implementing the “Alliance for Progress.” Interestingly, about ten years after the Alliance began, a major US study demonstrated that Cuba, the one country excluded from the Alliance, was the only country that had achieved what the Alliance purported to be carrying out, for example, advances in public health, education, transportation, as well as the integration of rural and urban sectors.

    And, the third is Cuba’s commitment to international solidarity, revealed in Cuba’s international projects in medicine, literacy, and agriculture, as well as “Operation Miracle,” through which more than one million people have been treated to restore their vision. Cuba demonstrates that international relations can be built on solidarity rather then exploitation, domination and aggression. And then there is the matter of people’s power, i.e. people taking matters into their own hands.

    RS: What was the purpose of the conference in Cuba?

    DM: The purpose of the conference includes efforts to build bridges of solidarity and understanding between Cuban and US academics and Cuban and US citizens. The conference itself revolves around different areas of research including research in economic matters, philosophical issues, education, agriculture, various forms of social organization, history, projections about what kind of future we should struggle for, the role that civil society plays in creating popular empowerment in Cuba and the role that civil society could play in producing citizen empowerment in the United States, etc.

    RS: Would you say we are not politically empowered in the United States?

    DM: I would argue that the Cuban population is much more politically empowered than the population in the United States for a fairly simple reason, one that is surely considered a controversial perspective by many people in the US. Cuba has a much different, more wide-ranging and stronger concept of democracy than we have in the United States.

    In the United States the notion of democracy basically stops at the most elementary, rudimentary and least developed form of democracy, electoral democracy. Every two or four years, people are permitted to vote for a set of candidates who are essentially pre-selected by the owners of society, the business class. Anyone who challenges the interests of the owners is essentially marginalized or excluded from serious consideration. The case of Dennis Kucinich demonstrates this rather clearly. We vote for one or another of the corporate-sponsored candidates and very little changes in terms of the public interest being advanced, in terms of public well-being improving, in terms of pursuing the overall public good, in terms of the public developing capacities, resources and knowledge to meaningfully and effectively shape politics in ways that represent real public concerns, such as universal health care, environmental protection, a political system that responds to public concerns, better education, less militarism, infrastructure repair and development, a fairer economic system, etc.

    Electoral democracy in the US generally produces a form of competition limited to major parties funded by wealthy elites and the corporate sector, and while public interest and enthusiasm, in some sectors, can be temporarily elevated by the hyper-spectacles that are regularly presented during campaign season, the barrage of PR materials, or by the constant repetition of largely empty slogans around “hope” and “change,” the final result is that very little of substance changes in regards to policies that promote, represent or fulfill public interests, needs and concerns, or stimulate public empowerment.

    The public is largely aware of this sham, and that is surely one reason why participation in electoral democracy is so low in the US. In electoral democracies, voters vote every two or four years, with virtually zero input into policies and programs, but as George Soros makes clear, “markets vote every day,” suggesting that without meaningful forms of democratic participation in the economy and in social arrangements, democracy remains a largely empty and formal vessel, a shadow that hides the substance of power and decision making which lives and works largely at the corporate level.

    In Cuba, I would suggest, they have extended the idea of democracy beyond electoral democracy (they do have elections in Cuba, contrary to what we have been taught in the US), to include political democracy, which is the beginning of more participatory forms of democracy, as well as social democracy and economic democracy. So, elections in Cuba are not funded and controlled by elites but organized by the people.

    RS: Wait a second, how it that possible? Castro has been the leader their for a long time; is he being elected? What I keep hearing is that he is a communist dictator.

    DM: Cuba, as I understand it, is carrying out an experiment, and this has to be emphasized, what is happening in Cuba is an experiment being carried out under extremely harsh conditions not of their own choosing. Still, it must be said that Cuba exhibits none of the chronic human abominations one witnesses in most other countries of the region: there are not droves of homeless people rotting in gutters, no children starving, no mass illiteracy, no high levels of infant mortality or unemployment, no death squads roaming the countryside, no monstrous inequalities, no high levels of political and social instability, etc. There is a housing crisis, but there are programs underway to address the housing crisis. For example, in 2006 Cuba constructed roughly 110,000 new houses, and in 2007 roughly 67,000 new houses. They project that if they can average 50,000 new houses per year for ten years, they will have addressed the main issues of the housing crisis, and they are on target to meet those expectations.

    What they are attempting to do in Cuba is mobilize the collective intelligence and imagination of a population of people to manage and run the society and they are doing it through a combination of participatory and representative democracy organized through local and national political organizations such as the Youth Communist League with roughly 800,000 members of young people between the ages of 14 and 30, the Communist Party of Cuba with roughly 1.5 million members (it should be noted that the Party is not an electoral party, that is, the Party does not participate in the nomination or election of political candidates at the local, provincial or national levels of assembly elections, nor can the party propose legislation in the representative political bodies; this is not to say that the Party lacks influence in Cuban politics, it is clearly very influential across Cuban society in its role as sort of protector and stimulator of socialist consciousness and in encouraging people to, as they say, “Be like Ché,” which essentially calls for developing a concern for and a commitment to the collective good and a willingness to make sacrifices for the collective good).

    Then there are the mass organizations that include the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, the Women’s Federation, the Worker’s Unions, Student Federations at the University, Secondary and Elementary school levels, professional organizations and the organs of the state which include judicial bodies, the armed forces, the Organ’s of People’s Power that include the National, Provincial and Municipal Assemblies, and the Popular Councils that serve as a bridge between neighborhoods and Municipal Assemblies, the Council of State, and the Working Commissions of the National Assembly of People’s Power. The National Assembly has legislative authority and the delegates to the assembly are elected by the Cuban electorate. The National Assembly chooses from among the members of the Assembly the Council of State. The Council of State is then responsible for selecting the Council of Ministers.

    As I understand it, the Council of State selects a president, but the president must first be nominated at the level of his local municipality in order to achieve the status of National Assembly representative who then moves into the Council of State, etc. Furthermore, as I understand it, the status of President does not accord any dictatorial powers, but it does provide the opportunity for the President to present arguments for or against any piece of legislation. There are numerous cases over the years in which Fidel argued one way and others argued the other, and Fidel’s position did not carry the day. Legislation and decrees must be ratified by the National Assembly. Fidel’s status, or now Raul’s status, provides a symbolic and influential power in Cuba that others may not have by virtue of their participation in the Cuban revolutionary struggle since the early 1950s, in particular since the attack on the Moncada Barracks in 1953, 55 years ago this July 26th.

    At the same time, one should note that there has been a significant turnover in the Cuban political system over the last decade or so, and many of those running the system are in their 30s and 40s. The creation of the Popular Councils in the early 90s, in the early years of the Special Economic Period (after the Soviet Union collapsed and Cuba lost roughly 85% of its trade overnight), was carried out as a bulwark against centralization and bureaucracy and as a way to enhance local government power and popular participation. Candidacy Commissions, made up of people from the mass and popular organizations and presided over by members of the worker unions were established to organize the provincial and national assembly elections. Their primary purpose is to ensure a fairer representation from across the populace. In other words, the citizenry is involved in both nominating and electing its representatives. Provincial and national elections are held every five years, and municipal elections every 2½ years.

    Roughly half the representatives in the National Assembly are from the Municipal Assemblies and the other half are comprised of national figures who are politicians, scientists, intellectuals, artists, athletes, workers, etc. Of particular interest to the audience for this program in the US, “where working people come to talk,” is the role of unions in Cuba and the worker assemblies. Isaac Saney, in his book, A Revolution in Motion, describes how Cubans are involved in an intense political learning process and how “the system responds to popular demands for adjustment.”

    In 1993, during some of the worst times of the Special Economic Period when the Cuban economy was in the gutter, and Cubans were suffering, the National Assembly wanted to introduce a tax on wages. Union representative opposed this proposal on the grounds that the workers had not had an opportunity to discuss and debate the measures. The National Assembly thus delayed any action until the worker’s parliaments could meet. There were three months of meetings, over 80,000 meetings, involving over 3 million workers where these matters were discussed and debated, and new proposals were offered. National policy reflected worker views. When the new tax law was finally passed the taxes were primarily on the self-employed rather than on wage workers. This is one example that demonstrates how mass consultations and input from citizens distinguish the Cuban experiment from other countries.

    All Cuban citizens can vote upon turning 16, and they can be nominated by fellow citizens in local popular assemblies at the age of 18. So, people are nominated in neighborhood mass assemblies at the local level to serve in Municipal Assemblies. It is a process of consultations and dialogues within popular and community organizations. We should also note that

    Cubans possess the capacity to recall the representatives they elect if it is determined that the performance of the representative is unsatisfactory. This Cuban right is carried forth in periodic meetings, sort of accountability sessions with constituents, where representatives report on their work.

    Let me return to the point of moving from electoral democracy to political democracy, and then from there into social and economic democracy. Democracy becomes more engaging politically when forms of effective and more participatory political representation are permitted and encouraged. In short, where there is established public controls on the financing of elections, not private control by those who own the society; where access to vital information is available and accessible rather than the kinds of limited access we experience in the US through the dominant corporate media where we very seldom learn what public opinion really is and only see it refracted through corporate interests; where the role of lobbies is constrained (so in the US the oil lobby spent roughly $83 million last year and will probably surpass that figure this year in attempts to direct legislation and voting their way…the pharmaceutical industry, the Chamber of Commerce, Phillip Morris and General Electric are near the top of lobbyists working to ensure that policies are endorsed and legislation passed to protect and promote private power, corporate profits and wealth for the privileged…), so lobbying would be constrained except to the extent that lobbying is carried forth in the public interest not to promote private power and wealth.

    Political democracy also would be a form in which legislative bodies are empowered to carry out the will of the people, by the people and for the people; with the people having opportunities to recall candidates who are not serving the interests of the public; where there are instruments through which the public can express its interest and concerns through forms of collective consultation, dialogue, discussion and referenda; and where there are more equitable and responsible distributions of power. To some folks in the US this “of, by and for the people” notion of democracy would sound crazy, but it does reflect a rather Lincolnesque notion of democracy and that is as American as apple-pie, yes?

    Democracy becomes more meaningful when politically engaging forms are combined with electoral forms in the context of social forms that recognize citizenship as a component of a social contract in which rising standards of living are measured through how well the society provides access to basic services and needs around food, recreation, education, social security, health, housing, arts, and transportation. In short, effective citizenship is rooted in social justice, a de-commodification of society, as well as equality of rights and conditions because people are fundamentally citizens in a participatory democracy rather than consumers in a profit based and undemocratic and dehumanizing market system.

    Basically, in a social democracy needs are not satisfied through the ability to purchase commodities but are seen as a social right and duty. This form of social democracy eliminates the rampant exclusionary prejudice present in commodified markets where goods, needs and services are available only to those who have enough money and power for purchase rather than being available to all by virtue of their condition as citizens and human beings living under a mutually fulfilling and responsible social contract. This is the de-commodification mentioned above. In the United States, all of the goods and services mentioned above, from food, to health, to education, to sports, etc. are not available to people as a human right, but are seen as a privilege and available only to those who can purchase them on the market. I would suggest that is very anti-democratic and it has the consequence of dehumanizing people and social relations because too many people lack the ability to have their needs satisfied and they don’t live in a culture dedicated to fully developing their capacities.

    http://dissidentvoice.org/2008/08/cu...-for-survival/
    The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his “natural superiors”, and has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous “cash payment”. It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom — Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.

  4. #24
    Cuba and the Struggle for Survival (Part 2)
    by Rick Smith / August 29th, 2008

    Rick Smith: We are talking about Cuba and during the break Dr. Morris shared an interesting observation when hearing this John Lennon song. Can you share that with the audience?

    Doug Morris: Sure, the song is John Lennon’s “Power to the People.” In Cuba, the popular form of democracy is called “People’s Power.” Under harsh circumstances, filled with many conflicts and contradictions, some successes and some failures, and in no way static, it could be argued that they are attempting to create a form of people’s power in which the population can participate in meaningful and effective ways in shaping the decisions and managing the organization of how people live together with one another in society in order to satisfy needs and fully develop human abilities.

    RS: So, they are really trying to be the antithesis of America; instead of us being the “me” society, they are really trying to be the “we” society.”

    DM: They are definitely the antithesis of the neoliberal model that has been imposed on the world. One of the serious struggles for Cuba is that Cuba is a tiny island attempting a people-first experiment in politics and economics and it is trying to exist in a rising sea of global neoliberal capitalism whose values are in opposition to the values that Cuba is trying to implement. The Cuban values they are trying to implement, not always successfully, Cuba is not “Utopia,” and in fact, Cuba is not interested in utopia, they are interested, in mobilizing people to create a people-first social order around the values of social justice, critical inquiry, respect for others, a rising standard of living measured not in the accumulation of commodities but in the flourishing of human well-being, full and meaningful employment, substantive forms of equality and freedom, freedom of the sort where people have the knowledge and ability to make meaningful choices that impact their lives, sustainability and ecological rationality, around notions of civic courage and a deep concern for the collective good because they understand that the free and creative development of each is conditioned on and nurtured by the free and creative development of all and the free and creative development of all is conditioned on and nourished by the free and creative development of each.

    That is in opposition to the neoliberal values that are rooted in self-interest, profiteering, privatization, hyper-individualism, ruthless competition and rapacious greed. All of this gets back to a comment made earlier in your show about people falling through the cracks in the United States. If you operate a society on those neoliberal values you are going to have large and growing numbers of people sinking through the cracks because there is little sense of the common good and little sense of mutual responsibility.

    So, getting back to notions of democracy, a substantive democracy cannot stop at the level of formal electoral procedures, it must develop projects and processes dedicated to the ongoing creation of a good and decent society grounded in promoting inclusive, informed, involved and energized citizens. It must be a society that recognizes and understands the crucial and reciprocal links between social conditions and individual fulfillment. I don’t want to suggest that Cuba has succeeded in all of these domains, and I don’t want to suggest that Cuba is without serious struggles, mistakes and contradictions politically, economically and socially, but as I understand the struggle in Cuba, the development of more substantive forms of democracy, economically, politically and socially, is central to the Cuban project of empowering the citizens.

    Integral to such projects and processes is economic democracy. That, arguably, is the most advanced form of democratic unfolding, and it is virtually entirely lacking in the US because the economy is under the control of tyrannical institutions called corporations, institutions over which the public has very little control, especially since the introduction of neoliberalism’s agenda of deregulation, i.e., eliminating the capacity for the public to regulate what corporations do, and privatization, i.e., policies that hand over all public spaces to corporate exploitation, including the space of the public mind. For a compelling discussion of substantive democracy, I would recommend a fairly recent piece by Atilio Boron, called “The Truth About Capitalist Democracy.” It is published in a wonderful Monthly Review Press book titled Telling the Truth, edited by Leo Panitch & Colin Keys. It is part of the ongoing Socialist Register series, always worth reading.

    So, in the end, I think one can say that because the Cuban experiment provides a deeper and more expansive notion of democracy through which Cuban citizens can participate more broadly in running and managing their society, the Cuban population is more empowered than the US population.

    RS: One thing I find most interesting is that one of Cuba’s largest exports is the export of doctors. They export doctors to Venezuela, for instance, in exchange for oil. What is amazing to me is that this is a country that has not surrendered to neoliberal, IMF, WTO plans. They have not been pried open as an export model. They have remained their own entity and have found ways to exist despite all the pressures against them. On the one hand you say it is an amazing story, but on another hand you say aren’t a lot of their people suffering in poverty and starvation. We see this in the media when they talk about Cuba; they never say anything good. I’m excited to hear about what you are saying, but is the other side true as well.

    DM: It depends how you measure poverty. Cuba is a poor country, no doubt. But if understanding poverty is linked to access to basic human needs such as food, health care, education, housing, child care, recreation, and we look at Cuba’s infant mortality rate, life expectancy and measures of sustainable development, all areas in which Cuba has equaled or surpassed the US, and then also note that in Cuba there is not really the ability to profit off the suffering and exploitation of others because it is a non-profit based society, and add the more egalitarian distributions in Cuba, then the poverty in Cuba is of a much different sort than one finds in most other countries of what is sometimes called the “developing” world.

    Furthermore, Cuba, a poor country, exports more doctors than any country in the world, as far as I know, and those doctors work with the poor. It is one of the Cuban examples of working to address the horrors of poverty on an international scale. The others include the literacy workers and the agricultural workers Cuba sends to other countries to assist in addressing issues of poverty. So, an important question would also be “how is it that Cuba accomplishes so much, given so little?” And answering that question would lead us to start examining the benefits of alternative ways of organizing society; that is, ways of organizing built around social, political and economic democracy.

    The poverty at the height of the Special Period when Cuba lost about 85% of its trade virtually overnight, when the GDP was down roughly 40%, and caloric intake was at the level of Haiti, that was very serious poverty, but Cuba survived, and that survival points to the resilience of the Cuban revolution. One might say that during this harsh period Cuba attempted to equalize the suffering and also ensure that those who needed assistance most were given assistance first.

    As of 2005, the Cuban economy basically had recovered to where it was back in 1989 before the onset of the Special Period. In 2005, the GDP was up 12.5%; in 2006, it was up 12%; and in 2007 it was up about 7%. This is compared to an average in Latin America between 4 and 5%. Around the world one in five people live in abject poverty. In Latin America, about 60% of the people live in poverty and a good portion of those people live in abject poverty. Latin America, outside of Cuba, has the most acute inequality in the world. One would be hard pressed to find many people in Cuba living in abject poverty, in part because of the social programs in Cuba that provide access to food, health care, education, etc., and Cuba has the lowest rate of inequality in Latin America.

    Around the world there are about 100 million street children. In Cuba, one sees no street children. Half of the world’s more than a billion people living in severe poverty are children. In Cuba, there is a major investment in children; so again, one would be hard pressed to find any Cuban children suffering under conditions of extreme poverty. 90 million children in Latin America live in poverty. 200 million children around the world lack access to basic health care. Cuban children have access to health care. There are about 115 million children around the world of primary school age who are not in school, and who will probably remain illiterate. Cuba has a 100% literacy rate, and virtually all Cuban children attend schools that produce what some consider the best education in the hemisphere at the elementary level.

    So, you don’t see Cuban children going hungry the way you do in other developing countries. You don’t see elderly people eating cat food to survive. In the United States, 13 million children live in poverty. About 10 million children lack health care coverage. Millions of US children attend schools that provide at best a very poor education in schools that are deteriorating. 50% of the children in the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. live in poverty.

    People here often talk about a lack of freedom in Cuba, and there are some freedoms lacking. For example, Cubans are not free to live in a society that does not provide health care for all of its citizens. Cubans are not free to live in a society that does not provide a great elementary education for its children. Cubans are not free to live in a society dedicated to international relations grounded in domination and military aggression. Cubans live in a society that is dedicated to carrying out international relations founded in solidarity and that gets back to your point about the export of doctors, the export of literacy workers, and the export of agricultural workers, both scientists and farmers. The latter export is crucial because Cuba is carrying out an experiment in sustainable agriculture that is very successful and that is one reason why Cuba is considered the one country in the world that has achieved a point of sustainable development.

    So, Cuba is engaged in an internal struggle for a people first society, while at the same time they always have a foot in international solidarity. The international relations with countries like Venezuela help to ensure that the social project in Cuba based in human dignity, social security and meeting human needs continues in the context of being a poor society that has been living for 50 years now under the threat of US military violence, under US terrorism and US propaganda against Cuba, the economic blockade.

    So, yes, Cuba has poverty, for sure, but it is not the kind of poverty one sees in every other Latin American country.

    RS: During the break we were talking about another freedom in Cuba. We have family medical leave in the US, but it is unpaid, in Cuba apparently it is paid medical leave. When you think about it, that is an important family value.

    DM: Absolutely, that is a deep family value. For example, maternity leave in Cuba, which has also been extended to fathers, provides mothers 18 weeks of leave, 6 before birth and 12 after birth at full pay, and an additional 40 weeks at 60% pay, and they keep their job. There is a national subsidized day-care for children starting at one year of age. In 2003, the leave-option was extended to fathers for 60% pay for 40 weeks. So, families can now decide if the father or mother stays home with the children during those 40 weeks. Labor laws have also been passed to protect women from work-related activities that may be harmful during pregnancy. Women have six paid days of leave during pregnancy to attend prenatal care sessions and examinations. Creating social programs that support families are deep investments in family values.

    Cuba has a social contract that grows out of something very, very important. Any serious social contract should grow out of a very serious commitment to the well-being of young people and Cuba ensures that every child is well-fed, has access to great education, access to health care, and Cuba sees children as a vital investment in the future. Furthermore, providing access to employment, and now a project directed toward meaningful employment, social security, health services and primary care along with preventive medicine, multiple forms of education including a new “univeralization of university education” program through which Cuba wants to work to ensure that every Cuban receives a university education, literacy projects, social assistance for the sick, etc. are all social commitments linked to family values, because the values families bring to the table are not disconnected from the values encouraged in the society in which the family is living and growing.

    RS: OK, now the BIG question… considering that we seem to revel in the fact that we have 1,300 billionaires. How many billionaires do they have in Cuba?

    DM: ZERO!

    RS: Ah, there the problem…

    DM: Cubans live in a non-profit based society. That is a key value difference in Cuba. That is why, arguably, people develop a different sense of having a link in a chain of human activity and why one could argue that there is a different set of “family values” in Cuba. In the United States we often lack an understanding of our links through this chain of human activity because our relationships are mostly driven through commodities and we thus develop a relationship with the next commodity we are driven to purchase. That is not so true in Cuba because it is a non-profit society, so you don’t have people promoting commodities through 24/7 advertisements and commercials. In fact, in Cuba you don’t see billboards advertising commodities, you only see billboards celebrating the accomplishments of the revolution, or reminding people of the plight of the Cuban Five where the billboard announces accurately “In prison in the US for fighting terrorism.” The Cuban Five have been in US prisons now for ten years because they were engaged in a fight AGAINST terrorism.

    So, in Cuba, rather than developing relationships with commodities, people have greater opportunities to develop a concept of what it means to develop meaningful and supportive relationships with fellow human beings. Again, I do not want to paint a utopian picture. Cuba does definitely have serious problems, but miraculously there is a lot of resilience in the Cuban struggle and they have found ways to continue this project under harsh conditions.

    Phone question: I was wondering what it might take to become a citizen of Cuba, and I was wondering if Dr. Morris was going to become a citizen of Cuba or if he is going to remain a US citizen?

    DM: The first part of the question I cannot answer, what it would require to become a Cuban citizen. As to the second part, it is easy: I am going to remain a US citizen.

    RS: OK, so you have laid out a very utopian view of Cuba, one that most people have never heard, including me. It seems like a great place, so why do we see people leaving? Why would anyone leave?

    DM: People regularly leave any area of the world to go to other areas. I am sure that plenty of people leave Pennsylvania every day to go to other areas of the US. These moves are typically driven by economic reasons. Historically, when poor countries exist next to rich countries, some people in the poor country will make the choice to try to go to the rich country in an attempt to improve their economic situation. It is not an entirely irrational decision under the circumstances. Cuba is a poor country, and it is located next to the richest country in human history, the United States. So, it makes sense that some Cubans would be leaving in order to try to get to the US.

    In the US media there is often a flood of coverage when Cubans leave Cuba and it is presented from a perspective that suggests that Cubans are leaving because of political persecution.

    But even the US Interest Section in Havana states that they are hard pressed to find real cases of political persecution in the processing of visa applications. In the 1990s, they wrote that most people were applying in order to escape deteriorating economic conditions. They noted that human rights cases are the least solid category of the refugee program and they are the most susceptible to fraudulent claims. So, Cuban emigration does not exist in a historical vacuum. We rarely hear that roughly 600,000 Colombians fled in the years 1999 to 2002, or of the more than 500,000 who left Ecuador in the same period.

    Compared to the rest of Latin America the number of Cubans leaving, legally or illegally is almost surely both relatively and absolutely lower. Still, the number of Cubans who leave is overplayed in the public mind because of the overblown coverage Cubans receive. So, we hear about Cubans but we do not hear about Salvadorans, Haitians, Peruvians, etc. who leave. In addition, there is a long-term US policy of encouraging Cuban emigration, something that is not done with other countries. Radio Marti, a US propaganda station that encourages Cubans to leave, broadcasts regularly into Cuba. During the Special Period the US intensified the blockade by passing the Helms-Burton Act and the Torricelli Bill, both designed to make the Cuban economy scream, with the concomitant impact of encouraging Cubans to leave for economic reasons.

    Cuba and the US signed an immigration agreement in 1994 calling for the issuing of a minimum 20,000 visas by the US per year. The number of visas offered by the US typically falls far below that number. Cuban law is clear regarding immigration. People can leave Cuba after they have received the proper documentation and authorization to do so from the country to which they wish to migrate. Then there is the Cuban Adjustment Act. Because of the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966, Cubans receive preferential treatment compared to other immigrants.

    Cubans are welcomed by the US far more than any other migrants from Latin America and with special conditions attached for Cubans. Cubans get a greased path to work-permits, a social security number, and permanent residence status in the US. While others are generally seen as economic refugees, Cubans often fall into the category of political refugees from the US perspective and are given what amounts to political asylum. That designation is essentially US propaganda. A political refugee must clearly demonstrate a well-grounded fear of persecution to be granted asylum in the US, but persecution has little to do with US judgment in the case of Cuba.

    Persecution in Cuba compared to persecution in many other Latin American countries over the years is virtually invisible. When Haitians fled the vicious and murderous US backed military dictatorship in the early 90s they were clearly escaping from very harsh political repression and persecution. The standard US response was to send them back to Haiti, sometimes to be killed. The same was true of Guatemalans in the 1980s, etc., etc. There are many such cases.

    While Cuban immigrants are granted political asylum virtually 100% of the time, those from other countries are only granted asylum in a minority of cases, well-under 50%. Unlike others, Cubans have no stringent requirements. Cubans who make it to US soil are typically granted financial assistance for basic necessities, for education, a fast track to employment, access to welfare and unemployment, etc.

    We could ask some other questions: “Why do so many Mexicans leave?” “Why is there not a Mexican Adjustment Act, or a Haitian Adjustment Act?” If there were such acts, how many Mexicans and Haitians, not to mention people from every other country in Latin America, would go to the US? Clearly, there would be millions of people rushing across borders.

    So, given all that is done to encourage Cubans to leave, and to grease the path to the US, one might ask a different question, “Why do so few Cubans leave Cuba?” I think it was at the 1994 Pan American games where the US put on a major propaganda effort to entice Cuban athletes to defect. Huge sports contracts were offered, there were billboards put up to make the offers very visible and very attractive. Of the many hundreds of Cubans who participated in the games, only a few decided to defect. We should note that 1994 was the height of the Special Period when Cubans were suffering most. Athletes from other countries told the Cubans that if the US offered them the same things they were offering the Cubans, virtually 100% of the people would take the offer.

    If we want to understand some of the darkness behind US foreign policy imperatives, we might reflect on why the US has over the years typically returned people to hellish conditions of repression, back to countries with the worst human rights records, where people suffer poor health, malnutrition, possible death squad terror, homelessness, high infant mortality, poor education, etc., but when it comes to Cuba, a country with perhaps the best health care and education in Latin America, the best reforestation project, the most serious commitment to sustainable agriculture on the planet, an infant mortality and life expectancy rate soon to surpass those of the US, some of the best scientific research in all of the Americas, the US is working overtime to encourage people to leave? Again, at the core, I would argue, is US power’s opposition to the Cuban “people-first” rather than “profits-first” project.

    RS: The more I learn about Cuba the more I am amazed that in this country we are not following best practices. We are not attempting to do things differently to make our lives better. We seem to be plodding along the same path and it is leading down the same failed road we have been in the past.

    DM: Can I mention one last thing related to that where Cuba is offering an alternative that I think the rest of the world should study very carefully? There is a growing global food crisis. Last year alone 100 million more people were put into conditions of chronic hunger, beyond the 800 million who already live in conditions of chronic hunger. Cuba is carrying out an agricultural experiment in sustainability that is unlike any experiment, as far as I know, being carried out in any other country.

    The Cuban experiment, part of the larger decentralization and expansion of democracy experiment in Cuba, is rooted in an ecological rationality that involves: bio-control of pests and the use of organic fertilizers, along with animal traction in place of tractors that use fuel and despoil conditions (farmers also discovered they can develop a relationship between an animal and the interactions with local environmental conditions and of course no relationship can be established with a tractor); soil conservation; a decentralization of control and decision making that has encouraged more popular participation; a diversification of crop production and crop adjustments even at the very local level of a single farm; a redistribution of land to farmers; a commitment to small farms that inspires more worker participation, production, enthusiasm, and a sense of belonging; fair prices for farmers (contrary to the neoliberal model that is undermining small farmers across the globe) without increases in food prices at the market; increased community participation which includes a tapping into local knowledge; the creation of energetically and democratically organized cooperatives called Basic Units of Cooperative Production; environmental education programs in rural communities; and an inversion of the standard pattern of rural to urban migration.

    In Cuba there is an urban to rural migration. All of this is carried out within Cuba’s continuing commitment to the larger humanist social project. Whereas in the not too distant past more than 80% of farms were under State control, that has been reduced to under 15% as part of the decentralization plan and the commitment to small, organic farms that link the land to the people and the people to the land and that encourage the democratization of production, distribution and consumption.

    So, this Cuban revolution in sustainable agriculture is a possible model that could raise people’s ecological consciousness across the world, transform the way we think about the relationship between people and the environment and between people and people, and perhaps, from that, we can also develop a consciousness around alternative forms of economic and political organization grounded in forms of substantive democracy.

    Istvan Meszaros, in The Power of Ideology, reminds us that at this point in human history anything other than global solutions to the crises and challenges we now confront is really unacceptable because our problems on a global scale are so immense and multiple that the elementary conditions for human survival on the planet are seriously in peril. Perhaps the Cuban example, even with all of its conflicts and contradictions, can inspire us so that we can develop a consciousness on a global scale in order for people to better understand Jose Marti’s point of how our “homeland is humanity,” and start to build relations evolving from another of Marti’s maxims: “from the good of all; for the good of all.” Viva la revolucion!

    http://dissidentvoice.org/2008/08/cu...rvival-part-2/
    The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his “natural superiors”, and has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous “cash payment”. It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom — Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.

  5. #25
    Cuba remains an inspiration because they have accomplished so much under very trying conditions and circumstances, not least of which is the presence of the hostile global behemoth just to the North.

    Cuba, as one Cuban scholar pointed out, always “walks on a razor’s edge, and does so in a world that stands on the edge of a precipice.” In other words, Cuba, always struggling to survive, is often forced to pursue policies against their basic commitments, but they must survive, and they are trying to survive as a socialist island in a rising sea of neoliberal abominations.
    It's not my intention to rehash drama, but this is tragically topical to our current discussion. Rarely is the rest of the world analyzed in relation to Castro, Lenin, Stalin, etc, even by self proclaimed "communists." I'm surprised some leftist logician hasn't coined a "Communist Vacuum Fallacy", where conclusions are made without any acknowledgement of its relative conditions and outside influences. It's the same for the Soviet Union. Communism is fresh in the grand scheme of civil society, gains cannot be ignored due to learning experience.

    "No communist is Marxist enough for you all!"

    Then...

    "Fidel is a dictator! He does not represent communism to the workers"

    ----------------------------------------------------

    "You can't ignore allies, even if they don't believe the same as us!"

    Then...

    "Stalin is a murder! Bureaucrat who manipulated materialism!"

    ----------------------------------------------------

    "We have to do what's practical" - CPUSA

    Then...

    "None of these countries were true communism"

    Where's the practice here? SteelPirate, if you're reading this, this isn't directed to you.

    The whole world wants to kill you, but you're the murderer. R.I.P. Fidel.
    Last edited by solidgold; 11-27-2016 at 02:23 AM.

  6. #26
    Our Right to Be Marxist-Leninists
    by Fidel Castro Ruz
    The 70th anniversary of the Great Patriotic War will be commemorated the day after tomorrow, May 9. Given the time difference, while I write these lines, the soldiers and officials of the Army of the Russian Federation, full of pride, will be parading through Moscow's Red Square with their characteristic quick, military steps.

    Lenin was a brilliant revolutionary strategist who did not hesitate to assume the ideas of Marx and implement them in an immense and only partly industrialized country, whose proletarian party became the most radical and audacious on the planet in the wake of the greatest slaughter that capitalism had caused in the world, where for the first time tanks, automatic weapons, aviation, and poison gases made an appearance in wars, and even a legendary cannon capable of launching a heavy projectile more than 100 kilometers made its presence felt in the bloody conflict.

    From that carnage emerged the League of Nations, an institution that should have preserved peace but did not even manage to stop the rapid advance of colonialism in Africa, a great part of Asia, Oceania, the Caribbean, Canada, and a repugnant neo-colonialism in Latin America. Barely 20 years later, another atrocious world war broke out in Europe, the preamble to which was the Spanish Civil War, beginning in 1936.

    After the crushing defeat of the Nazis, world nations placed their hopes in the United Nations, which strives to generate cooperation in order to put an end to aggressions and wars, such that countries can preserve peace, development, and the peaceful cooperation of the big and small, rich and poor, States of the world.

    Millions of scientists could, among other tasks, increase the chances of the survival of the human species, with billions of people already threatened by food and water shortages within a short period of time. We are already 7.3 billion people on the planet. In 1800 there were only 978 million; this figure rose to 6.07 billion in 2000; and according to conservative estimates by the year 2050 there will be 10 billion.

    Of course, scarcely is the arrival to Western Europe of boats full of migrants mentioned, traveling in any object that floats -- a river of African migrants, from the continent colonized by the Europeans over hundreds of years. 23 years ago, in a United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development I stated: "An important biological species is in danger of disappearing given the rapid and progressive destruction of its natural life-sustaining conditions: man." I did not know at that time how close we were to this.

    In commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Great Patriotic War, I wish to put on record our profound admiration for the heroic Soviet people, who provided humankind an enormous service. Today we are seeing the solid alliance between the people of the Russian Federation and the State with the fastest growing economy in the world: the People's Republic of China; both countries, with their close cooperation, modern science, and powerful armies and brave soldiers constitute a powerful shield of world peace and security, so that the life of our species may be preserved.

    Physical and mental health and the spirit of solidarity are norms which must prevail, or the future of humankind, as we know it, will be lost forever. The 27 million Soviets who died in the Great Patriotic War also did so for humanity and the right to think and be socialists, to be Marxist-Leninists, communists, and leave the dark ages behind.



    Fidel Castro Ruz

    http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2015/castro140515.html
    May 7, 2015 10:14 p.m.
    "We say to the workers: 'You will have to go through fifteen, twenty, fifty years of civil wars and international wars, not only in order to change existing conditions, but also in order to change yourselves and fit yourselves for the exercise of political power."'

    MARX (On the Communist Trial at Cologne, 1851).

  7. #27
    They are grave dancing this morning on all MSM channels. It is appalling and expected.
    "America was never great"

    "Anyone who analyzes the state of affairs in the world will find that it is the imperialists and capitalists, who subject the world to the worst poverty, the worst backwardness, and they are simply the scourge of mankind." - Fidel

    "Privilege begets psychopathy" - blindpig

  8. #28
    Diane,

    Your level of ignorance about Cuba and Fidel and most importantly the historical circumstances and conditions that have impacted both over the last five decades is appalling. Stick to writing about what you know. Your comments here are pure propaganda that are as reactionary and disturbing as anything that comes from the US State Department. Disgusting.

    Try EDUCATING yourself- this comment of yours is so ignorant and inaccurate it belongs right next to any of the most right-wing comments one could find about Castro:

    "Fidel made Cuba a vassal state of the USSR, persecuted and imprisoned dissidents, rounded up homosexuals and put them in prison camps, prevented freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and freedom of expression, and impoverished Cuba."

    Cuba was designated the only sustainable society in the world by the World Wildlife Fund. Cuba has zero child homlessness. Cuba has excellent education and some of the best trained doctors in the world. Cuba exports more doctors to NEEDY places than any other country in the world. Cuba has universal health care. Cuba has virtually zero obesity. Cuba has invaded ZERO countries. I could go on.

    Maybe stick your predatory US colonial country when offering any criticisms about Fidel and Cuba. And ALL OF THE ABOVE is with a CRUSHING EMBARGO that has hampered the country for years and constant attack for decades.

    Read the following and learn a little- then apologize to your readers for your crass and UN-EDUCATED comments here.

    the antithesis of the neoliberal model that has been imposed on the world. One of the serious struggles for Cuba is that Cuba is a tiny island attempting a people-first experiment in politics and economics and it is trying to exist in a rising sea of global neoliberal capitalism whose values are in opposition to the values that Cuba is trying to implement. The Cuban values they are trying to implement, not always successfully, Cuba is not “Utopia,” and in fact, Cuba is not interested in utopia, they are interested, in mobilizing people to create a people-first social order around the values of social justice, critical inquiry, respect for others, a rising standard of living measured not in the accumulation of commodities but in the flourishing of human well-being, full and meaningful employment, substantive forms of equality and freedom, freedom of the sort where people have the knowledge and ability to make meaningful choices that impact their lives, sustainability and ecological rationality, around notions of civic courage and a deep concern for the collective good because they understand that the free and creative development of each is conditioned on and nurtured by the free and creative development of all and the free and creative development of all is conditioned on and nourished by the free and creative development of each.

    That is in opposition to the neoliberal values that are rooted in self-interest, profiteering, privatization, hyper-individualism, ruthless competition and rapacious greed. All of this gets back to a comment made earlier in your show about people falling through the cracks in the United States. If you operate a society on those neoliberal values you are going to have large and growing numbers of people sinking through the cracks because there is little sense of the common good and little sense of mutual responsibility.

    So, getting back to notions of democracy, a substantive democracy cannot stop at the level of formal electoral procedures, it must develop projects and processes dedicated to the ongoing creation of a good and decent society grounded in promoting inclusive, informed, involved and energized citizens. It must be a society that recognizes and understands the crucial and reciprocal links between social conditions and individual fulfillment. I don’t want to suggest that Cuba has succeeded in all of these domains, and I don’t want to suggest that Cuba is without serious struggles, mistakes and contradictions politically, economically and socially, but as I understand the struggle in Cuba, the development of more substantive forms of democracy, economically, politically and socially, is central to the Cuban project of empowering the citizens.

    Integral to such projects and processes is economic democracy. That, arguably, is the most advanced form of democratic unfolding, and it is virtually entirely lacking in the US because the economy is under the control of tyrannical institutions called corporations, institutions over which the public has very little control, especially since the introduction of neoliberalism’s agenda of deregulation, i.e., eliminating the capacity for the public to regulate what corporations do, and privatization, i.e., policies that hand over all public spaces to corporate exploitation, including the space of the public mind. For a compelling discussion of substantive democracy, I would recommend a fairly recent piece by Atilio Boron, called “The Truth About Capitalist Democracy.” It is published in a wonderful Monthly Review Press book titled Telling the Truth, edited by Leo Panitch & Colin Keys. It is part of the ongoing Socialist Register series, always worth reading.

    So, in the end, I think one can say that because the Cuban experiment provides a deeper and more expansive notion of democracy through which Cuban citizens can participate more broadly in running and managing their society, the Cuban population is more empowered than the US population.

    ...

    http://dissidentvoice.org/2008/08/cu...rvival-part-2/

    Here is Part One:

    Cuba and the Struggle for Survival (Part 1)
    by Rick Smith / August 28th, 2008

    The following is Part 1 of an edited and enhanced radio interview conducted in August 2008 with Dr. Doug Morris, Eastern New Mexico University Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

    http://dissidentvoice.org/2008/08/cu...-for-survival/

    Found here:

    https://dianeravitch.net/2016/11/26/...omment-2620454
    The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his “natural superiors”, and has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous “cash payment”. It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom — Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.

  9. #29
    Sunday, November 27, 2016
    Pablo Neruda- Poem for Fidel Castro (Song of Protest)

    https://communismgr.blogspot.com/201...stro-song.html

    Poem by Pablo Neruda- Song of Protest.


    Fidel, Fidel, the people are grateful
    for words in action and deeds that sing,
    that is why I bring from far
    a cup of my country’s wine:
    it is the blood of a subterranean people
    that from the shadows reaches your throat,
    they are miners who have lived for centuries
    extracting fire from the frozen land.
    They go beneath the sea for coal
    but on returning they are like ghosts:
    they grew accustomed to eternal night,
    the working-day light was robbed from them,
    nevertheless here is the cup
    of so much suffering and distances:
    the happiness of imprisoned men
    possessed by darkness and illusions
    who from the inside of mines perceive
    the arrival of spring and its fragrances
    because they know that Man is struggling
    to reach the amplest clarity.
    And Cuba is seen by the Southern miners,
    the lonely sons of la pampa,
    the shepherds of cold in Patagonia,
    the fathers of tin and silver,
    the ones who marry cordilleras
    extract the copper from Chuquicamata,
    men hidden in buses
    in populations of pure nostalgia,
    women of the fields and workshops,
    children who cried away their childhoods:
    this is the cup, take it, Fidel.
    It is full of so much hope
    that upon drinking you will know your victory
    is like the aged wine of my country
    made not by one man but by many men
    and not by one grape but by many plants:
    it is not one drop but many rivers:
    not one captain but many battles.
    And they support you because you represent
    the collective honor of our long struggle,
    and if Cuba were to fall we would all fall,
    and we would come to lift her,
    and if she blooms with flowers
    she will flourish with our own nectar.
    And if they dare touch Cuba’s
    forehead, by your hands liberated,
    they will find people’s fists,
    we will take out our buried weapons:
    blood and pride will come to rescue,
    to defend our beloved Cuba.
    - Pablo Neruda.

    https://communismgr.blogspot.com/201...stro-song.html
    "We say to the workers: 'You will have to go through fifteen, twenty, fifty years of civil wars and international wars, not only in order to change existing conditions, but also in order to change yourselves and fit yourselves for the exercise of political power."'

    MARX (On the Communist Trial at Cologne, 1851).

  10. #30
    Poem by Pablo Neruda- Song of Protest.
    Beautiful, very moving.
    "America was never great"

    "Anyone who analyzes the state of affairs in the world will find that it is the imperialists and capitalists, who subject the world to the worst poverty, the worst backwardness, and they are simply the scourge of mankind." - Fidel

    "Privilege begets psychopathy" - blindpig

  11. #31
    The world bids farewell to a giant of world history
    International media feature the news of Fidel Castro's death

    Author: Redacción Internacional | internacionales@granma.cu
    november 26, 2016 17:11:20

    From all corners of the planet, recognition of the life and work of one of the great leaders of the 20th century and thus far into the 21st - the guerilla in the Sierra Maestra and international statesman who changed forever the history of Latin America and the peoples of the world: Fidel Castro.

    Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro was among the first to make a statemt following Fidel's death, late November 25, at 90 years of age, calling for the preservation of his anti-imperialist and emancipatory legacy, writing on his Twitter account, "Sixty years since the Granma yacht 's departure, Comandante Fidel Castro has passed into immortality."

    Evo Morales, President of Bolivia, in a telephone contact with teleSUR, said that the best way to honor Fidel is to consolidate the unity of the world's peoples, and never forget his unrelenting resistance to the imperialist model, adding, "Fidel has given us lessons in struggle, perseverance, liberation, and the integration of the world's peoples."

    Likewise, Salvadorian President Salvador Sánchez Cerén expressed "profound pain upon hearing of the death of a dear friend and eternal comrade," saying that Fidel would live forever in the hearts of peoples struggling for justice, dignity, and brotherhood.

    Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico's head of state, emphasized the role played by the Comandante in promoting relations between the two countries, based on respect, dialogue and solidarity, while the daily La Jornada, with one of the highest circulations in the country, featured the news of Fidel's death, calling him a "central figure" of the 20th century.

    India's Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, sent his condolences to the government and people of Cuba, writing on Twitter, "India mourns the loss of a great friend. May his soul rest in peace."

    Sonia Gandhi, leader of the opposition Congress Party in this country, lamented the great loss and emphasized Fidel's struggle for the oppressed of the world, and his role in the Non Aligned Movement.

    South African President Jacob Zuma, likewise expressed the pain he felt upon hearing of Fidel's death, "a great leader and revolutionary," saying, that the solidarity of Cuba in the struggle against apartheid would never be forgotten.

    The president of the Russian Senate's international relations committee, Konstantin Kosachov, commented that Fidel will always be included in world history, since, with his leadership, Cuba was able to resist external pressure and chart its own course.

    Cuban singer songwriter Silvio Rodríguez, on his blog Segunda Cita, sent his condolences to "Fidel's family and the people of Cuba, the world and universe, for the loss of one of the most extraordinary human beings of all times."

    Ivan Marquez, head of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People's Army (FARC-EP) negotiating team in peace talks with the Colombian government, said that the world had lost "the most admirable revolutionary of the 20th century," adding, "Thank you, Fidel, for your great love of Colombia. May the Peace Accords of Havana be our posthumous tribute."

    Several Colombian media outlets interrupted their nighttime programming to broadcast news of the death of the Cuban leader, including RCN, Noticias 24 and Cable Noticias, featuring interviews and pieces on his life and work.

    Both the influential magazine Semana and daily El Tiempo featured the news on their webpages.

    The French daily Le Monde published a piece recalling the close relations Fidel shared with numerous intellectuals and artists of international renown, including Gabriel García Márquez and Jean-Paul Sartre.

    In Ecuador, according to Prensa Latina, the Agencia de Noticias Andes disseminated Raúl Castro's announcement of the Comandante en Jefe's death, while the digital version of the daily El Telégrafo devoted several article on its front page to the leader of the Cuban Revolution.

    The Italian news agencies AGI, ANSA, RAI, and important dailies like La Repubblica, Correire della Sera, La Stampa, Il Sole 24 Ore, and Il Messagero, featured the news on their webpages.

    http://en.granma.cu/mundo/2016-11-26...-world-history
    "We say to the workers: 'You will have to go through fifteen, twenty, fifty years of civil wars and international wars, not only in order to change existing conditions, but also in order to change yourselves and fit yourselves for the exercise of political power."'

    MARX (On the Communist Trial at Cologne, 1851).

  12. #32
    Honors to Fidel, prophet of the dawn

    Let’s go, you ardent prophet of dawn, along those unmapped paths,

    to liberate the green alligator that you hold so dear.

    CHE

    Let’s go, you ardent prophet of dawn, to build the new world that you dreamed of, spreading humanity among the poor of the earth and sowing solidarity, peace and respect between people in the hearts of all of us.



    One of the world's most beloved and emblematic leaders, the main protagonist of the twentieth century, has emerged as a strategist with a vision beyond his time, always pointing to the future.

    Comandante Fidel Castro began his march towards eternity and we don’t feel grief or mourning, because he leaves our souls full of his example and actions of love for a better world.

    As the poets expressed it, only when we give the word to the sea and listen to the testimony of the jungle, can we know the dimension of being, of which the trees know his age and repeat with the waves his name to sing with the wind his history, which is the heartbeat of the salt, the flight of the seagulls, the hours of the malecón, the royal palm, the amber cane, the rainbow of the tocororo bird, the white-blue flag of the ruby ​​in the sky and the memory that rages in the heroic blood of a whole people, when they sing La Bayamesa.

    Among so many other things that express his sublime stature as a true revolutionary, we learned from him that every enemy can be defeated; that no weapon, no force is capable of surrendering a people who decide to fight for their rights; that whoever is not able to fight for others will never be able to fight for himself; that ideas don’t need arms, insofar as the great masses are capable of conquering them; that when an energetic people weeps, injustice trembles; that there is no independence and no revolution without socialism and without international solidarity; and that to be internationalist is to pay off our debt to humanity ...

    Without any repentance, he challenged the condemnations of the oppressors, facing the trial of history, convinced of his absolution, because he knew of the unobjectionable justice of his struggle for a free country, of which he was sure that he would rather drown in the sea than consent to be anyone’s slave.

    In him, Bolivar; in him, Martí; in him, the peoples in struggle, hasta la victoria. That is why Our America, the mestizo America, the mulatto America, the Hispanic America, the African America, will keep, for ever and ever, in the amphora of its breast, his unflinching example, his unspeakable glory and infinite love for the true Fidel, for the man of the imposing beard, for the man of the sugar cane, for the sincere man and eternal guerrilla fighter.

    With the combative verb from our souls, every fighter of the FARC, in the name of humble Colombia, which thanks to him, will finally feel the caress of Peace, we say hasta siempre to Fidel; Honor and infinite gratitude to the human being and the comrade; Honor and infinite gratitude to the comandante, to his rifle, his light, and the glittering brilliance of his star.

    FARC-EP Central High Command

    http://farc-epeace.org/communiques/f...-the-dawn.html
    "We say to the workers: 'You will have to go through fifteen, twenty, fifty years of civil wars and international wars, not only in order to change existing conditions, but also in order to change yourselves and fit yourselves for the exercise of political power."'

    MARX (On the Communist Trial at Cologne, 1851).

  13. #33
    That was a wonderful expression of loss and grief.

    That is why Our America, the mestizo America, the mulatto America, the Hispanic America, the African America, will keep, for ever and ever, in the amphora of its breast, his unflinching example
    "Our America" stretches from the Arctic Ocean to Terra del Fuego, from Atlantic to Pacific. Folks are going to have to learn to accept this. These are interesting times...
    "America was never great"

    "Anyone who analyzes the state of affairs in the world will find that it is the imperialists and capitalists, who subject the world to the worst poverty, the worst backwardness, and they are simply the scourge of mankind." - Fidel

    "Privilege begets psychopathy" - blindpig

  14. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by solidgold View Post
    It's not my intention to rehash drama, but this is tragically topical to our current discussion. Rarely is the rest of the world analyzed in relation to Castro, Lenin, Stalin, etc, even by self proclaimed "communists." I'm surprised some leftist logician hasn't coined a "Communist Vacuum Fallacy", where conclusions are made without any acknowledgement of its relative conditions and outside influences. It's the same for the Soviet Union. Communism is fresh in the grand scheme of civil society, gains cannot be ignored due to learning experience.

    "No communist is Marxist enough for you all!"

    Then...

    "Fidel is a dictator! He does not represent communism to the workers"

    ----------------------------------------------------

    "You can't ignore allies, even if they don't believe the same as us!"

    Then...

    "Stalin is a murder! Bureaucrat who manipulated materialism!"

    ----------------------------------------------------

    "We have to do what's practical" - CPUSA

    Then...

    "None of these countries were true communism"

    Where's the practice here? SteelPirate, if you're reading this, this isn't directed to you.

    The whole world wants to kill you, but you're the murderer. R.I.P. Fidel.
    The Vacuum Effect is only a small taste of what has been lost as we approach the 25th anniversary of "Full Spectrum Dominance". Interestingly, Anaxarchos came to disagree with the idea of FSD instead positing a dormancy that stopped short of hibernation, simply awaiting the right moment to be rekindled (Donbass, KKE..)

    In truth, it is the opposite assertion -- the necessity for a full reboot -- that drastically alters the way we would view the world if it is true. It is perhaps more accurate for theory than practice -- but things always seem to run in that direction (out of necessity perhaps since thinking conforms to reality and not the reverse). Clarity emerged from the rotten corpse of Social Democracy rather than from the living corpus of the Second International..and in many ways Christmas 91 marked the beginning of a reprise although gaining a toehold seems harder fought this time (our own bias at work, I think). In many ways, the same scenario played out in the wake of the continental revolutions of '48 in the previous century -- with the clearest heads emerging in the most unexpected of locales (Russia..)

    Practice -- organized resistance -- runs in fits and starts, akin to wildfires. 'Statistically' predictable but each flare up appears as a random variable (and not because of incomplete information/inadequate theory eg The July Days as proof). This being the case, it lends itself to semantic misunderstandings (disputes) regarding the definition of "determinism" that at times seem juvenile; at times profound.

    Questions, questions -- for each one we pose, we can peel away the surface layer and reveal several more

    Why does Marxism matter? Who are our allies? What do we believe and why? What is practical?

    Who are we (ideology)? Where do we stand (partisanship)? What is gained by successfully answering these questions? HAVE we successfully answered these questions (and who is the "we" doing the talking)?

    No, not rocket science. But the difference is mainly that it is fueled by sinew and sweat rather than sodium perchlorate.
    "What our fish really cost us now is not the positive labour-pain expressed by the number 10 — for this we should have undergone at any rate — but the negative loss of an enjoyment which we might have had, indicated by the number 12."
    Abstinence makes the hare grow fonder

    "Bern" it down Prop it up

    No Child Left Behind Alive; (White) Race To The Top

    H for America: The White Devil you know is better than the White Devil you don't.

    "..superiority lies with him who was reared in the severest school"
    -Thucydides

  15. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Kid of the Black Hole View Post
    The Vacuum Effect is only a small taste of what has been lost as we approach the 25th anniversary of "Full Spectrum Dominance". Interestingly, Anaxarchos came to disagree with the idea of FSD instead positing a dormancy that stopped short of hibernation, simply awaiting the right moment to be rekindled (Donbass, KKE..)

    In truth, it is the opposite assertion -- the necessity for a full reboot -- that drastically alters the way we would view the world if it is true. It is perhaps more accurate for theory than practice -- but things always seem to run in that direction (out of necessity perhaps since thinking conforms to reality and not the reverse). Clarity emerged from the rotten corpse of Social Democracy rather than from the living corpus of the Second International..and in many ways Christmas 91 marked the beginning of a reprise although gaining a toehold seems harder fought this time (our own bias at work, I think). In many ways, the same scenario played out in the wake of the continental revolutions of '48 in the previous century -- with the clearest heads emerging in the most unexpected of locales (Russia..)

    Practice -- organized resistance -- runs in fits and starts, akin to wildfires. 'Statistically' predictable but each flare up appears as a random variable (and not because of incomplete information/inadequate theory eg The July Days as proof). This being the case, it lends itself to semantic misunderstandings (disputes) regarding the definition of "determinism" that at times seem juvenile; at times profound.

    Questions, questions -- for each one we pose, we can peel away the surface layer and reveal several more

    Why does Marxism matter? Who are our allies? What do we believe and why? What is practical?

    Who are we (ideology)? Where do we stand (partisanship)? What is gained by successfully answering these questions? HAVE we successfully answered these questions (and who is the "we" doing the talking)?

    No, not rocket science. But the difference is mainly that it is fueled by sinew and sweat rather than sodium perchlorate.
    You sure got a whacky way of speaking, my friend. That said, your insight is top notch.

  16. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by solidgold View Post
    You sure got a whacky way of speaking, my friend. That said, your insight is top notch.
    Believe it or not (I'm staying agnostic, myself) I'm told I'm autistic.

    What we could really use is a foil to bounce our ideas off of and gain an insight into our own practice as it is perceived externally to ourselves. Not quite in the mold of Rakhmetov (he would have to be descended from a Khan in that case) but our protagonist would need a stern constitution -- figuratively of Iron or Steel -- and an adventurous spirit like a Privateer -- the proverbial Cowboy.

    Our fictitious Iron Cowboy (too wacky? too obvious?) would be a master interrogator (Torquemada?) and would demand a full account of our beliefs and belief system. Got any candidates in mind to play the role?
    "What our fish really cost us now is not the positive labour-pain expressed by the number 10 — for this we should have undergone at any rate — but the negative loss of an enjoyment which we might have had, indicated by the number 12."
    Abstinence makes the hare grow fonder

    "Bern" it down Prop it up

    No Child Left Behind Alive; (White) Race To The Top

    H for America: The White Devil you know is better than the White Devil you don't.

    "..superiority lies with him who was reared in the severest school"
    -Thucydides

  17. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Kid of the Black Hole View Post
    Believe it or not (I'm staying agnostic, myself) I'm told I'm autistic.

    What we could really use is a foil to bounce our ideas off of and gain an insight into our own practice as it is perceived externally to ourselves. Not quite in the mold of Rakhmetov (he would have to be descended from a Khan in that case) but our protagonist would need a stern constitution -- figuratively of Iron or Steel -- and an adventurous spirit like a Privateer -- the proverbial Cowboy.

    Our fictitious Iron Cowboy (too wacky? too obvious?) would be a master interrogator (Torquemada?) and would demand a full account of our beliefs and belief system. Got any candidates in mind to play the role?
    Your savantism expresses itself equally through comedy as it does theory.

    Homeboy seems to have gone off the reactionary rails altogether but I don't want him gone.

  18. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Kid of the Black Hole View Post
    Believe it or not (I'm staying agnostic, myself) I'm told I'm autistic.

    What we could really use is a foil to bounce our ideas off of and gain an insight into our own practice as it is perceived externally to ourselves. Not quite in the mold of Rakhmetov (he would have to be descended from a Khan in that case) but our protagonist would need a stern constitution -- figuratively of Iron or Steel -- and an adventurous spirit like a Privateer -- the proverbial Cowboy.

    Our fictitious Iron Cowboy (too wacky? too obvious?) would be a master interrogator (Torquemada?) and would demand a full account of our beliefs and belief system. Got any candidates in mind to play the role?
    A wacky Torquemada Cow-Boy made of Steel, eh? Yeah, someone springs to mind. Certainly not a Rakhmetov...
    "America was never great"

    "Anyone who analyzes the state of affairs in the world will find that it is the imperialists and capitalists, who subject the world to the worst poverty, the worst backwardness, and they are simply the scourge of mankind." - Fidel

    "Privilege begets psychopathy" - blindpig

  19. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Dhalgren View Post
    A wacky Torquemada Cow-Boy made of Steel, eh? Yeah, someone springs to mind. Certainly not a Rakhmetov...
    http://www.iww.org/de/history/librar.../copinyourhead

    Authoritarian Leftists: Kill the Cop in Your Head

    By Lorenzo Komboa Ervin - Black Autonomy, April 1996.

    It's difficult to know where to begin with this open letter to the various European-american leftist (Marxist-Leninist and Marxist-Leninist-Maoist, in particular) groups within the United States. I have many issues with many groups; some general, some very specific. The way in which this is presented may seem scattered at first, but I encourage all of you to read and consider carefully what I have written in its entirety before you pass any judgements.

    It was V.I. Lenin who said, "take from each national culture only its democratic and socialist elements; we take them only and absolutely in opposition to the bourgeois culture and bourgeois nationalism of each nation". It could be argued that Lenin's statement in the current Amerikkkan context is in fact a racialist position; who is he (or the Bolsheviks themselves) to "take" anyone or pass judgement on anyone; particularly since the privileges of having white skin are a predominant factor within the context of amerikkkan-style oppression. This limited privilege in capitalist society is a prime factor in the creation and maintenence of bourgeois ideology in the minds of many whites of various classes in the US and elsewhere on the globe.

    When have legitimate struggles or movements for national and class liberation had to "ask permission" from some eurocentric intellectual "authority" who may have seen starvation and brutality, but has never experienced it himself? Where there is repression, there is resistance...period. Self-defense is a basic human right that we as Black people have exercised time and time again, both violent and non-violent; a dialectical and historical reality that has kept many of us alive up to this point.

    Assuming that this was not Lenin's intent, and assuming that you all truly uphold worldwide socialism/communism, then the question must be asked: WHY IS IT THAT EACH AND EVERY WHITE DOMINATED/WHITE-LED "VANGUARD" IN THE UNITED STATES HAS IN FACT DONE THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF WHAT LENIN PROCLAIMS/RECOMMENDS WHEN IT COMES TO INTERACTING WITH BLACKS AND OTHER PEOPLE OF COLOR?

    Have any of you actually sat down and seriously thought about why there are so few of us in your organizations; and at the same time why non-white socialist/communist formations, particularly in the Black community, are so small and isolated? I have a few ideas...



    I. A fundamentally incorrect analysis of the role of the white left in the last thirty years of civil rights to Black liberation struggle...

    By most accounts, groups such as the Black Panther Party, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, American Indian Movement, and the Puerto Rican Independence Movement "set the standard" for not only communities of color but also for revolutionary elements in the white community.

    All of the above groups were ruthlessly crushed; their members imprisoned or killed. Very few white left groups at the time fought back against the onslaught of COINTELPRO by supporting these groups, with the exception of the smaller, armed underground cells. In fact, many groups such as the Progressive Labor Party and the Revolutionary Union (now known as the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA) saw the repression of groups they admired, and at the same time despised, as an opportunity to assert their own version of "vanguard leadership" on our population.

    What they failed to recognize (and what many of you generally still fail to recognize) is that "vanguard leadership" is developed, it doesn't just "magically" happen through preachy, dogmatic assertions, nor does it fall from the sky. Instead of working with the smaller autonomous formations, to help facilitate the growth of Black (and white) self-organization (the "vanguard" leadership of the Black masses themselves and all others, nurtured through grassroots social/political alliances rooted in principle), they instead sought to either take them over or divide their memberships against each other until the group or groups were liquidated. These parasitic and paternalistic practices continue to this day.

    The only reason any kind of principled unity existed prior to large-scale repression is because Black-led formations had no illusions about white radicals or their politics; and had no problems with kicking the living shit out of them if they started acting stupid. Notice also that the majority of white radicals who were down with real struggle and real organizations, and were actually trusted and respected by our people, are either still active...or still in prison!



    II. The white left's concept of "the vanguard party"...

    Such arrogance on the part of the white left is part and parcel to your vanguardist ideas and practice. Rather than seeking principled partnerships with non-white persons and groups, you instead seek converts to your party's particular brand of rigid political theology under the guise of "unity". It makes sense that most of you speak of "Black/white unity" and "sharp struggle against racism" in such vague terms, and with such uncertainty in your voices; or with an overexaggerated forcefulness that seems contrived.

    Another argument against vanguardist tendencies in individuals or amongst groups is the creation of sectarianism and organizational cultism between groups and within groups. Karl Marx himself fought tirelessly against sectarianism within the working class movement of 19th century Europe. He was also a staunch fighter against those who attempted to push his persona to an almost god-like status, declaring once in frustration "I assure you, sir, I am no Marxist". It could be argued from this viewpoint that the "vanguardist" white left in the US today is generally ,by a definition rooted in the day to day practice of Marx himself, anti-Marx; and by proxy, anti-revolutionary.

    Like your average small business, the various self-proclaimed "vanguards" compete against each other as well against the people themselves (both white and non-white); accusing each other of provacteurism, opportunism, and/or possessing "the incorrect line" when in fact most (if not all) are provacateurs, opportunists, and fundementally incorrect.

    The nature of capitalist competition demands that such methods and tactics be utilized to the fullest in order to "win" in the business world; the white left has in fact adapted these methods and tactics to their own brand of organizing, actively re-inventing and re-enforcing the very social, political, and economic relations you claim to be against; succeeding in undermining the very basic foundations of your overall theory and all variants of that theory.

    Or is this phenomenon part and parcel to your theory? In volume four of the collected works of V.I. Lenin, Lenin himself states up front that "socialism is state-capitalism". Are you all just blindly following a a dated, foreign "blueprint" that is vastly out of context to begin with; with no real understanding of its workings?

    At the same time, it could be observed that you folks are merely products of your enviroment; reflective of the alienated and hostile communities and families from which many of you emerge. American society has taught you the tenets of "survival of the fittest" and "rugged individualism", and you swallowed those doctrines like your mother's milk.

    Because the white left refuses to combat and reject reactionary tendencies in their (your) own heads and amongst themselves (yourselves), and because they (you) refuse to see how white culture is rooted firmly in capitalism and imperialism; refusing to reject it beyond superficial culture appropriations (i.e.-Native american "dream catchers" hanging from the rear-view mirrors of your vehicles, wearing Addidas or Nikes with fat laces and over-sized Levis jeans or Dickies slacks worn "LA sag" style, crude attempts to "fit-in" by exaggerated, insulting over-use of the latest slang term(s) from "da hood", etc), you in fact re- invent racist and authoritarian social relations as the final product of your so-called "revolutionary theory"; what I call Left-wing white supremacy.

    This tragic delemma is compounded by, and finds some of its initial roots in, your generally ahistorical and wishful "analysis" of Black/white relations in the US; and rigid, dogmatic definitions of "scientific socialism" or "revolutionary communism", based in a eurocentric context. Thus, we are expected to embrace these "socialist" values of the settler/conquorer culture, rather than the "traditional amerikkkan values" of your reactionary opponents; as if we do not possess our own "socialist" values, rooted in our own daily and cultural realities! Wasn't the Black Panther Party "socialist"? What about the Underground Railroad; our ancestors (and yes, even some of yours) were practicing "mutual aid" back when most European revolutionary theorists were still talking about it like it was a lofty, far away ideal!

    One extreme example of this previously mentioned wishful thinking in place of a true analysis on the historical and current political dynamics particular to this country is an article by Joseph Green entitled "Anarchism and the Market Place, which appeared in the newsletter "Communist Voice" (Vol#1, Issue #4, September 15, 1995).

    In it he asserts that anarchism is nothing more than small- scale operations run by individuals that will inevitably lead to the re-introduction of economic exploitation. He also claims that "it fails because its failure to understand the relation of freedom to mass activity mirrors the capitalist ideolgy of each person for their self." He then offers up a vague "plan of action"; that the workers must rely on "class organization and all-round mass struggle". In addition, he argues for the centralization of all means of production.

    Clearly, Green's political ideology is in fact a theology. First, anarchism was practiced in mass scale most recently in Spain from 1936-39. By most accounts (including Marxist-Leninist), the Spanish working class organizations such as the CNT (National Confederation of Labor) and the FAI (Federation of Anarchists of Iberia) seized true direct workers power and in fact kept people alive during a massive civil war.

    Their main failure was on a military, and partially on an ideological level: (1.) They didn't carry out a protracted fight against the fascist Falange with the attitude of driving them off the face of the planet. (2.) They underestimated the treachery of their Marxist-Leninist "allies" (and even some of their anarchist "allies"), who later sided with the liberal government to destroy the anarchist collectives. Some CNT members even joined the government in the name of a "united front against fascism". And (3.), they hadn't spent enough time really developing their networks outside the country in the event they needed weapons, supplies, or a place to seek refuge quickly.

    Besides leaving out those important facts, Green also omits that today the majority of prisoner support groups in the US are anarchist run or influenced. He also leaves out that anarchists are generally the most supportive and involved in grassroots issues such as homelessness, police brutality, Klan/Nazi activity, Native sovereignty issues, [physical] defense of womens health clinics, sexual assault prevention, animal rights, enviromentalism, and free speech issues.

    Green later attacks "supporters of capitalist realism on one hand and anarchist dreamers on the other". What he fails to understand is that the movement will be influenced mostly by those who do practical work around day to day struggles, not by those who spout empty rhetoric with no basis in reality because they themselves (like Green) are fundementally incapable of practicing what they preach. Any theory which cannot, at the very least, be demonstrated in miniature scale (with the current reality of the economically, socially, and militarily imposed limitations of capitalist/white supremacist society taken in to consideration) in daily life is not even worth serious discussion because it is rigid dogma of the worst kind.

    Even if he could "show and prove", his proposed system is doomed to repeat the cannibalistic practices of Josef Stalin or Pol Pot. While state planning can accelerate economic growth no one from Lenin, to Mao, to Green himself has truly dealt with the power relationship between the working class and the middle-class "revolutionaries" who seize state power "on the behalf" of the latter. How can one use the organizing methods of the European bourgeoisie, "[hierarchial] party building" and "seizing state power" and not expect this method of organizing people to not take on the reactionary characteristics of what it supposedly seeks to eliminate? Then there's the question of asserting ones authoritarian will upon others (the usual recruitment tactics of the white left attemping to attract Black members).

    At one point in the article Green claims that anarchistic social relations take on the oppressive characteristics of the capitalist ideology their rooted in. Really? What about the capitalist characteristics of know-it-all ahistorical white "radicals" who can just as effectively assert capitalistic, oppressive social relations when utilizing a top-down party structure (especially when it's utilized against minority populations)? What about the re-assertion of patriarchy (or actual physical and mental abuse) in interpersonal relationships; especially when an organizational structure allows for, and in fact rewards, oppressive social relationships?

    What is the qualitative difference between a party bureaucrat who uses his position to steal from the people (in addition to living a neo-bourgeois lifestyle; privilege derived from one's official position and justified by other party members who do the same. And, potentially, derived from the color of his skin in the amerikkkan context) and a collective member who steals from the local community? One major difference is that the bureaucrat can only be removed by the party, the people (once again) have no real voice in the matter (unless the people themselves take up arms and dislodge the bureaucrat and his party); the collective member can recieve a swift punishment rooted in the true working class traditions, culture, and values of the working class themselves, rather than that which is interpreted for them by so- called "professional revolutionaries" with no real ties to that particular community. This is a very important, yet very basic, concept for the white left to consider when working with non- white workers (who, by the way, are the true "vanguard" in the US; Black workers in particular. Check the your history, especially the last thirty years of it.); i.e.- direct community control.

    This demand has become more central over the last thirty years as we have seen the creation of a Black elite of liberal and conservative (negrosie) puppets for the white power structure to speak through to the people, the few who were allowed to succeed because they took up the ideology of the oppressor. But, they too have become increasingly powerless as the shift to the right in the various branches of the state and federal government has quickly, and easily, "checked" what little political power they had. Also, we do not have direct control over neighborhood institutions as capitalists, let alone as workers; at least white workers have a means of production they could potentially seize. Small "mom and pop" restaurants and stores or federally funded health clinics and social services in the 'hood hardly count as "Black capitalist" enterprises, nor are any of these things particularly "liberating" in and of themselves.

    But white radicals, the white left of the US in particular, have a hard time dealing with the reality that Black people have always managed to survive, despite the worst or best intentions of the majority population. We will continue to survive without you and can make our revolution without you (or against you) if necessary; don't tell us about "protracted struggle", the daily lives of non-white workers are testimony to the true meaning of protracted struggle, both in the US and globally. Your inability or unwillingness to accept the fact that our struggle is parallel to yours, but at the same time very specific, and will be finished successfully when we as a people, as working-class Blacks on the North American continent, decide that we have achieved full freedom (as defined by our history, our culture, our needs, our desires, our personal experiences, and our political idea(s)) is by far the primary reason why the white left is so weak in this country.

    In addition, this sinking garbage scow of american leftism is dragging other liberating political vessels down with it, particularly the smaller, anti-authoritarian factions within the white settler nation itself and the few [non-dogmatic and non- ritualistic] individuals within todays Marxist-Leninist parties who sincerly wish to get away from the old, tired historical revisionism of their particular "revolutionary" party.

    This seemingly "fixed position", along with many other fixed positions in their "thought", help to reveal the white left's profound isolation and alienation from the Black community as a whole and its activists. Yet, many of them would continue to wholeheartedly, and retardedly, assert that they're part of the community simply because they live in a Black neighborhood or their party headquarters is located there.

    The white left's isolation and alienation was revealed even more profoundly in the criticisms of the Million Man March on Washington. In the end, the majority of the white leftist critics wound up tailing the most backward elements of the Republican Party; some going as far as to echo the very same words of Senate majority leader Bob Dole, who commented on the day after the march that " You can't seperate the message from the messenger." Others parroted the words of House majority leader Newt Gingrich, who had the nerve to ask "where did our leadership go wrong?"

    Since when were we expected to follow the "leadership" of white amerikkka; the right, left, or center without some type of brutal cohersion? Where is the advantage for us in "following" any of them anywhere? What have any of them done for us lately? Where is the "better" leadership example of any of the hierarchical political tendencies (of any class or ideology) in the US and who do they benefit exclusively and explicitly? None of you were particularly interested in us before we rebelled violently in 1992, why the sudden interest? What do you want from us this time?

    Few, if any, of the major pro-revolution left-wing newspapers in the US gave an accurate account of the march. Many of them claimed that only the Black petit-bourgeosie were in attendence. All of them claimed that women were "forbidden" to be there, despite the widely reported fact that our sisters were there in large numbers.

    "MIM Notes" (and the Maoist Internationalist Movement itself) to their credit recognize that white workers are NOT the "vanguard" class: yet because they themselves are so profoundly alienated from the Black community on this side of the prison walls they had to rely on information from mainstream press accounts courtesy of the Washington Post. And rightfully alienated they are; who in their right mind actually believes that a small, "secret" cult of white campus radicals can (or should) "lead" the masses of non-white people to their/our freedom? Whatever those people are smoking, I don't want any! I do have to say, however, that MIM is indeed the least dogma addicted of the entire white left millieu that I've encountered; but dogma addicted nonetheless.

    I helped organize in the Seattle area for the Million Man March. The strong, Black women I met had every intention of going. None of the men even considered stopping them, let alone suggesting that they not go. Sure, the NOI passed on Minister Farrakhan's message that it was a "men only" march, but it was barely discussed and generally ignored.

    The Million Man March local organizing committees (l.o.c.'s) gave the various Black left factions a forum to present ideas and concepts to entire sections of our population who were not familiar with "Marxism", "anarchism", "Kwame Nkrumah", "George Jackson", "The Ten-Point Program", "class struggle", etc.

    It also afforded us the opportunity to begin engaging the some of the members of the local NOI chapter in class-based ideological struggle along with participating community people. Of course, it was impossible for the white left to know any of this; more proof of their profound isolation and alienation. At the time, despite our own minor ideological differences, we agreed on one point: it was none of your business or the business of the rest of the white population. When we organize amongst our own, we consider it a "family matter". When we have conflicts, that is also a "family matter". Again, it is none of your business unless we tell you differently. How would you like it if we butted in on a heated family argument you were having with a loved one and started telling you what to think and what to do?

    This brings me to two issues that have bothered me since January, 1996. Both comments were made to me by a member of Radical Women at the International Socialist Organization's conference at the University of Washington. The first statement was: "I don't recognize Black people as a 'nation' like I do Native people."

    My first thought was "who the fuck are you to pass judgement upon a general self-definition that is rooted in our collective suffering throughout the history of this country?"

    She might as well join up with the right-wing Holocaust revisionists; for this is precisely what she is practicing, the denial of the Black holocaust from 1555 to the present (along a parallel denial, by proxy, of the genocide against other non- white nations within the US). Our nationalism emerged as a defense against [your] white racism. The difference between revolutionary Black nationalists (like Huey P. Newton and the Black Panther Party) and cultural nationalists (like Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam) is that we see our nationalism as a specific tool to defend ourselves from groups and individuals like this ignorant person, not as an exclusive or single means for liberation.

    We recognize that we will have to attack bourgeois elements amongst our people just as vigorously as we fight against white supremacists ("left", "center", or "right"). The difference is that our bourgeosie (what I refer to as the "negrosie") is only powerful within the community; they have no power against the white power structure without us, nor do they have power generally without the blessing of the white power structure itself. Our task, then, is to unite them with us against a common enemy while at the same time explicitly undermining (and eventually eliminating) their inherantly reactionary influence.

    The second stupidity to pass her lips concerned our support of Black-owned businesses. I pointed out to her that if she had in fact studied her Marxism-Leninism, she would see that their existence goes hand-in-glove with Marx's theory that revolution could only ensue once capitalism was fully developed. She came back with the criticism, "Well, you'll be waiting a long time for that to happen".

    Once again, had she actually studied Marxism-Leninism she would know that Lenin and the Bolsheviks also had to deal with this same question. Russia's economy was predominantly agricultural, and its bourgeois class was small. They decided to go with the mood and sentiments of the peasantry and industrial workers at that particular moment in history;..seize the means of production and distribution anyway!

    Who says we wouldn't do the same? The participants of the LA rebellion (and others), despite their lack of training in "radical 'left-wing' political theory" (besides being predominantly Black, Latino, or poor white trash in Amerikkka), got it half right; they seized the means of distribution, distributed the products of their [collective] labor, and then burned the facilities to the ground. Yes, there were many problems with the events of 1992, but they did show our potential for future progress.

    Black autonomists ultimatly reject vanguardism because as the white left [as well as elements of the Black revolutionary movement] has demonstrated, it errodes and eventually destroys the fragile ties that hold together the necessary principled partnerships between groups and individuals that are needed to accomplish the numerous tasks associated with fighting back successfully and building a strong, diverse, and viable revolutionary movement.

    The majority of the white left is largely disliked, disrespected, and not trusted by our people because they fail miserably on this point. How can you claim to be a "socialist" when you are in fact anti-social? How do you all distinguish yourselves from the majority of your people in concrete, practical, and principled terms?



    III. Zero (0) support of non-white left factions by the white left.

    I've always found this particularly disturbing; you all want our help, but do not want to help us. You want to march shoulder to shoulder with us against the government and its supporters, but do not want us to have a solid political or material foundation of our own to not only win the fight against the white supremacist state but to also re-build our communities on our own behalf in our own likeness(es).

    Let white Marxists provide unconditional (no strings attached) material support for non-white factions whose ideology runs parallel to theirs, and let white anarchist factions provide unconditional (again, no strings attached) material support for factions in communities of color who have parallel ideologies and goals. Obviously, the one "string" that can never be avoided is that of harsh economic reality; if you don't have the funds, you can't do it. That's fair and logical, but if you're paying these exorbitant amounts for projects and events that amount to little more than ideological masturbation and organizational cultism while we do practical work out of pocket or on a tiny budget amongst our own, it seems to me that a healthy dose of criticism/self-criticism and reassessment of priorities is in order on the part of you "professional revolutionaries" of the white left.

    If the white left "vanguards" are unwilling to materially support practical work by non-white revolutionary factions, then you have no business showing your faces in our neighborhoods. If you "marxist missionaries" insist on coming into our neighborhoods preaching the "gospel" of Marx, Lenin, Mao, etc, the least you could do is "pay" us for our trouble. You certainly haven't offered us much else that's useful.

    To their credit, the white anarchists and anti-authoritarian leftists have been generally supportive of the Black struggle by comparison; Black Autonomy and related projects in particular. Matter of fact, back in October of 1994 in an act of mutual aid and solidarity the Philadelphia branch of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) printed the very first issue of Black Autonomy (1,000 copies) for FREE. One of their members actually got a little upset when I asked how much we owed them for the print job. In return (and in line with our class interests), we allied ourselves with the Philly branch and others in a struggle within the IWW against the more conservative "armchair revolutionary/historical society" elements within its national administrative body.

    Former political prisoner, SNCC member, Black Panther, and Black autonomist (anarchist) Lorenzo Komboa Ervin credits the hard work of anarchist groups in Europe and non-vanguardist Marxist and anarchist factions in the US for assisting him in a successful campaign for early release from prison after 13 years of incarceration.

    In no way do we expect you or anyone else to bankroll us; what I am offering is one suggestion to those of you who sincerly want to help; and a challenge to those who in fact seek to "play god" with our lives while spouting empty, meaningless rhetoric about "freedom", "justice", "class struggle", and "solidarity". To those people I ask: Do you have ideas, or do ideas have you? Actually, a better question might be: do you think at all?



    IV. Bourgeois pseudo-analysis of race and class.

    It only makes sense that the white left's analysis of race and class in amerikkka would be so erroneous when you're so quick to jump up and pass judgement on everyone else about this or that, but deathly afraid of real self-criticism at the individual or collective level; opting instead to use tool(s) of self- criticism as a means to reaffirm old, tired ideas that were barely thought out to begin with or by dodging real self-criticism altogether by dogmatically accusing your critics of "red- baiting". Clearly, it is you who "red-bait" yourselves; as the old saying goes, "Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones!" Action talks, bullshit walks!

    Some of the more backward sections of the white left still push that old tired line "gay, straight, Black, white, same struggle-same fight!" Nothing can be further from the truth. Sure, we are all faced with the same "main enemy": the racist, authoritarian state and its supporters; but unlike white males (straight or gay) and with some minor parallels to the experiences of white women, our oppression begins at birth. This is a commonality that we share with Native people, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, and Asians.

    As we grow up, we go from being "cute" in the eyes of the larger society, to being considered "dangerous" by the time we're teenagers. As this point is driven home to us day in and day out in various social settings and circumstances some of us decide, in frustration to give the white folks what they want to believe; we become predatory. This dynamic is played out in ghettos, barrios, chinatowns, and reservations across the country. Even those of us who choose not to engage in criminal activity, or aren't forced into it, have to live under this stigma. In addition, we as individuals are still viewed as "objects" and our community as a "monolith".

    We then enter the work force...that is, if there are any jobs available. It is there that we learn that our people and other non-whites are "last hired, first fired", that our white co-workers are generally afraid of us or view as "competition", and that management is watching us even more closely than other workers, while at the same time fueling petty squabbles and competition between us and other non-white workers. Those of us who are fortunate enough to land a union job soon find out that the unions are soft on racism in the workplace. This only makes sense as we learn later on that unions in the US are running dogs of capitalism and apologists for management, despite their "militant" rhetoric.

    Most unionized workers are white, reflective of the majority of unionized labor in the US; who constitute a mere 13% of the total labor force. This is why it is silly for the white left to prattle on and on about the labor "movement" and about how so many of our people are joining unions. That's no consolation to us when Black unemployment hovers at 35% nationally; many of those brothers and sisters living in places were "permenent unemployment" is the rule rather than the exception, and many more who find work at non-union "dead end" service industry jobs. One out of three of our people is caught up somewhere within the US criminal "justice" system: in jail, in prison, on parole, on work-release, awaiting trial, etc as a direct result.

    In addition, many white workers are supportive of racist Republican politicians, such as presidential candidate Pat Buchannan, who promises to protect their jobs at the expense of non-white workers and immigrants. What is the white left or the union movement doing about all of that?

    It shouldn't be suprising that the white left still preaches a largely economist viewpoint when it comes to workers generally, and workers of color in particular. This view is further evidence of not only your own deviation from Marx, but also from Lenin, by your own varied (yet similar) definitions.

    Lenin recognized why the majority of Russian revolutionaries of his time put forward an economist position: "In Russia,...the yoke of autocracy appears at first glance to obliterate all distinction between the Social Democrats organization and workers' association, since all workers associations and all study circles are prohibited; and since the principle manifestation and weapon of the workers' economic struggle, the strike, is regarded as a criminal (and sometimes even as a political) offense."

    In this country, the distinction between the trade unions and revolutionary organizations is abundantly clear (even if some groups like the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) still fail to make the distinction themselves) and the primary contradiction within the working class is that of racial stratification as a class weapon of the bourgeoisie and capitalists against the working class as a whole.

    Yet, the white Left (along with the rest of the white working class) fails to see its collaborationist role in this process. And this goes right back to what I said earlier in this writing about the need for a serious historical and cultural critique amongst all white people (and not just the settler nation's left-wing factions) that goes beyond superficial culture appropriations or lofty, dogmatic proclaimations of how committed you and your party is to "racial equality". To even consider oneself "white" or to call oneself "white" is an argument FOR race and class oppression; look at the history of the US and see who first errected these terms "white" and "Black", and why they were created in the first place.

    I remember last summer, around the fourth of July, I had a member of the local SWP try to tell me that the American War of Independence was "progressive". Progressive for whom? Tell us the truth, who were the primary beneficiaries of the American Revolution? You know the answer, we all do; only a total, unrepentant reactionary would lie to the people, especially on this point.

    Howard Zinn, in his work "A People's History of the United States", points out how early 20th century historian Charles Beard found that of the fifty-five men who gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 to draw up the US Constitution "a majority of them were lawyers by profession, that most were men of wealth, in land, in slaves, manufacturing, or shipping; that half of them had money loaned out at interest, and that forty of the fifty- five held government bonds, according to records of the [US] Treasury Department. Thus, Beard found that most of the makers of the Constitution had some direct economic interest in establishing a strong federal government: the manufacturers needed protective tariffs; the moneylenders wanted to stop the use of paper money to pay off debts; the land speculators wanted protection as they invaded Indian lands; slaveowners needed federal security against slave revolts and runaways; bondholders wanted a government able to raise money by nationwide taxation, to pay off those bonds.

    Four groups, Beard noted, were not represented in the Constitutional Convention: slaves, indentured servants, women, men without property. And so the Constitution did not reflect the interests of those groups." (Zinn, pg.90)

    Come to terms with your white skin privilege (and the ideology and attitude(s) this privilege breeds) and then figure out how to combat that dynamic as part of your fight against the state and its supporters. Your continued backwardness is a sad commentary when we uncover historical evidence which shows that even before the turn of the century some of your own ancestors within the white working class were begining to take the first small steps towards a greater understanding of their social role as the white servants of capital. A white shoemaker in 1848 wrote:

    "...we are nothing but a standing army that keeps three million of our bretheren in bondage...Living under the shade of Bunker Hill monument, demanding in the name of humanity, our right, and withholding those rights from others because their skin is black! Is it any wonder that God in his righteous anger has punished us by forcing us to drink the bitter cup of degradation." (Zinn, pg.222)

    We can even look to the historical evidence of Lenin's time. Prior to the publishing of Lenin's "On Imperialism", W.E.B. DuBois wrote an article for the May, 1915 edition of the Atlantic Monthly titled "The African Roots of War" in which he vividly describes how both rich and poor whites benefit from the super- exploitation of non-white people:

    "Yes, the average citizen of England, France, Germany, the United States, had a higher standard of living than before. But: 'Whence comes this new wealth?'...It comes primarily from the darker nations of the world-Asia and Africa, South and Central America, the West Indies, and the islands of the South Seas. It is no longer simply the merchant prince, or the aristocratic monopoly, or even the employing class that is exploiting the world: it is the nation, a new democratic nation composed of united capital and labor." (Zinn)

    Yet, the self-titled "anti-racists" of the left continue on with their infantile fixation on the Klan, Nazis, and right-wing militias. Groups that they say they are against, but in fact demonstrate a tolerance for in practice. Standing around chanting empty slogans in front of a line of police seperating demonstrators from the nazis in a "peaceful demonstration" is contradiction in its purest form; both the police and the fascists must be mercilessly destroyed! As the Spanish anarchist Buenventura Durruti proclaimed back in 1936 "Fascism is not to be debated, it is to be smashed!" There is no room for compromise or dialogue, except for asking them for a last meal request and choice of execution method before we pass sentence; and even that is arbitrary!

    True, tactical considerations must be examined, but if we can't get at them then and there, there is no "rule" that says we can't follow them and hit them when they least expect it; except for the "rule" of the wanna-be rulers of the Marxist-Leninist white left "vanguard(s)" who only see the fascists as competition in their struggle to see which set of "empire builders" will lord over us; the "good" whites who regulate us to the amerikkkan left plantation of "the glorious workers state", or the "bad" whites who work us as slaves until half-dead and then laugh as our worn out carcasses are thrown into ovens, cut up for "scientific purposes", or hung from lamp posts and trees. You people have yet to show me the qualitative difference(s) between a Klan/Nazi- style white supremacist dictatorship and your concept of a "dictatorship of the proletariat" in the context of this particular country and its notorious history. So far, all I have seen from you all is arrogance in coalitions, petty games of political one-upmanship, and ideological/tactical rigidity.

    Let's pretend for a minute that one of the various wanna-be vanguards actually seizes political power. In everyone of your programs, from the program of the RCP, USA to even smaller, lesser known groups there is usually a line somewhere in there about your particular party holding the key levers of state power within a "dictatorship of the proletariat". Have any of you actually considered what that sounds like to a community without real power? Does this mean that we as Black people are going to have fight and die a second time under your dictatorship in order to have equal access to employment, housing, schools, colleges, public office, party status, our own personal lives generally?

    Look at our history; over one hundred years after the Emancipation Proclaimation (the 1960's) we were still dying for the right to vote, for the right to protest peacefully, for the right to live in peace and prosperity within the context of white domination and capitalism. Today, after all of that, it is clear that the masses of our people are still largely powerless; we stayed powerless even as public schools were being desegregated and more of our elites were being elected to Congress and other positions. The same racist, authoritarian state that stripped us of our humanity was now asserting itself as our first line of defense of those hard-won concessions in the form of federal troops and FBI "observers" (who watched as we were beaten, raped, and/or killed) sent to enforce The Civil Rights Act of 1968 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

    As we have seen since that time, what the white power structure grants, it can (and will) take away; we can point to recent US Supreme Court decisions around voter redistricting as one part of our evidence. We can also look to the problem of mail and publication censorship in the US prison system (state and federal) that has come back to haunt us since the landmark 1960's first amendment legal challenge to the state of New York that was won by political prisoner and Black/Puerto Rican anarchist Martin Sostre. And then there's the attacks on a prisoners' right to sue a prison official, employee, or institution being made by the House and Senate. Give us one good reason to believe that you people will be any different than these previous and current "benevolent" leaders and political institutions if by some fluke or miracle you folks stumble into state power?

    No "guarantees" againt counter-revolution or revisionism within your "revolutionary" party/government you say? There are two: the guns, ammunition, organization, solidarity, political consciousness, and continuous vigilance of the masses of non- white people and the truly sympathetic, conscious anti-authoritarian few amongst your population; or a successful grassroots- based revolution that is rooted in anti-authoritarian political ideas that are culturally relevant to each ethnicity of the poor and working class population in the US. Judging by the general attitudes and theories expressed by your members and leadership, we can be rest assured that it is virtually guaranteed that the spirit of 'Jim Crow' can and will flourish within a white-led Marxist-Leninist "proletarian dictatorship" in the US. It's clear to me why you all ramble on and on about the revolutions of China, Russia, Vietnam, Cuba, etc; they provide convienient cover for you all (read: escapism) to avoid a serious examination of the faults in your current analysis as well as in the historical analysis of the last thirty years of struggle in the US.

    These are the only conclusions that can be drawn when you all are so obviously hostile to the idea of doing the hard work of confronting your own individual racist and reactionary tendencies. When your own fellow white activists attempted to put together an "Anti-Racism Workshop" for members of the Seattle Mumia Defense Committee, many of you pledged your support (in the form of the usual dogmatic, vague, and arguably baseless rhetorical proclaimations of "solidarity" and "commitment to racial equality") and then proceeded to not show up. Only the two initial organizers within the SMDC and two coalition members (neither affiliated with any political party) were there. Make no mistake, I have no illusions about white people confronting their own racism; but I do support their honest attempts at doing so. Here we have a situation in which an ideological leap amongst the white left in Seattle may have been initiated; yet, the all- knowing, all-seeing "revolutionary vanguard(s)" of the white left were too busy spending that particular weekend picking the lent out of their belly buttons. Are we saving our belly-button lent for the potential shortages of food that occur during and shortly after the revolution [is corrupted by the mis-leadership of your particular rigid, dogmatic, authoritarian party]?



    V. The bottom line is this: Self-determination!

    For most white leftists, this means that we as Black people are demanding our own seperate nation-state. Some of our revolutionary factions do advocate such a position. Black Autonomists, however, reject nation-statism [For more on that, refer to page 15 of any copy of Black Autonomy newspaper].

    Regardless of whether or not the Black masses opt for a seperate homeland on this continent or in Africa, we will be respected as subjects of history and not as objects that the state, its supporters, or the white left decides what to do with.

    The answer to "the Black question" is simple: It is not a question; we are people, you will deal with us as such or we will fight you and the rest of the white settler nation...by any and all means necessary! We will not be cowed or dominated by anyone ever again!

    Too many times in the course of American (and world) history have our people fought and died for the dream of true freedom, only to have it turn into the nightmare of continued oppression. If the end result of a working-class revolution in the United States is the continued domination of non-white people by white "revolutionary leaders" and a Left-wing [white supremacist] government, then we will make another revolution until any and all perpetrators and supporters of that type of social-political relationship are defeated or dead! Any and all means are completely justifiable in order to prevent the defeat of our revolution and the re-introduction of white supremacy. We will not put up with another 400+ years of oppression; and I'm sure our Native and Hispanic brothers and sisters won't tolerate another 500+ years of the same ol' shit.

    Ultimatly, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"; that's the main reason I decided to publish this, as yet another humble contribution to the self-education of our people. The second reason is to, hopefully, inspire the white left to re- examine your current practices and beliefs as part of your process of self-education; assuming that you all in fact practice self-education.

    Reject the traditions of your ancestors and learn from their mistakes; or reject your potential allies in communities of color. The choice is yours...

    "It is a commentary on the fundementally racist nature of this society that the concept of group strength for black people must be articulated, not to mention defended. No other group would submit to being led by others. Italians do not run the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith. Irish do not chair Chistopher Columbus Societies. Yet when black people call for black-run and all-black organizations, they are immediatly classed in a catagory with the Ku Klux Klan." -Kwame Toure (Stokely Carmichael), Black Power; Vintage Press, 1965.

    For Further Reading:

    "Black Autonomy, A Newspaper of Anarchism and Black Revolution" Vol.#1, issues #1-#5; Vol.#2, issues #1-#3. 1994-1996.

    Bookchin, Murray "Post-Scarcity Anarchism" Ramparts Press, 1971.

    Ervin, Lorenzo Komboa "Anarchism and the Black Revolution and Other Essays" Monkeywrench Press, 1994

    Jackson, Greg "Mythology of A White-Led 'Vanguard': A Critical Look at the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA" Black Autonomy staff, 1996.

    Mohammed, Kimathi "Organization and Spontaneity: The Theory of the Vanguard Party and its Application to the Black Movement in the US Today" Marcus Garvey Institute, 1974.

    Sakai, J. "Settlers: Mythology of the White Proletariat"

    Zhenhua, Zhai "Red Flower of China" Soho Press, 1992.

    Zinn, Howard "A People's History of the United States" Harper- Perrenial, Revised 1995.

    Pamphlet produced by the staff of Black Autonomy, A Newspaper of Anarchism and Black Revolution. First printing, April 1996. Feel free to copy and distribute; just give us our props.

  20. #40
    http://www.iww.org/de/history/librar.../copinyourhead

    Authoritarian Leftists: Kill the Cop in Your Head

    By Lorenzo Komboa Ervin - Black Autonomy, April 1996.
    The relationship of the above to the on-going discussion is tenuous at best.

    Ervin admitted that he had a bunch of axes to grind, some very specific, and though he promised clarity he produced an incoherent, broad brush smear. The incoherence derives from the crude merging of two separate issues, the relationship of socialist organizations to black people in the USA and the anarchist critique of communism.

    Of the former there is much to be said, much relevant criticism, though anchoring this on the behavior of a few marginal sects is disingenuous. There has been no effective Communist Party for half a century, in the 1st half of the 20th century CPUSA was truly a vanguard of civil rights. Shit, they supported the 'Black Belt' concept 80 years but that is conveniently unmentioned. Yes, white folks got a way to go in shedding the straight jacket of ruling class ideas, but if you're a Marxists ya got no other choice.

    I got no time for the anarchist critique, it is the whine of immature petty booj idealism. To relentlessly drone on about 'authoritarianism ' displays an inability to comprehend class relations, is clueless as to how one class supersedes another. To dismiss the necessity of the vanguard party and the dictatorship of the proletariat likewise displays a childish preference for wishful thinking over hard reality.

    Gotta wonder what SP and his buddy Ervin got to say about Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution.
    "We say to the workers: 'You will have to go through fifteen, twenty, fifty years of civil wars and international wars, not only in order to change existing conditions, but also in order to change yourselves and fit yourselves for the exercise of political power."'

    MARX (On the Communist Trial at Cologne, 1851).

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