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Hasta Siempre, Fidel Castro


#1

Hasta Siempre, Fidel Castro

Marc Becker

The passing of Fidel Castro is one of those events that highlights a deep divide that separates the United States from most of the world.

While the mainstream media in the United States reports from the frontlines of Miami where exiles celebrate in the streets the death of who they characterize as an authoritarian dictator, condolences and tributes pour in from the rest of the world for the revolutionary leader.

Was Castro a “brutal dictator,” as President-elect Donald Trump tweeted, or a hero?

It depends, of course, on one’s perspective.


#2

Here is some evidence to put in the "brutal dictator" column:
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/11/27/don-t-forget-fidel-castro-s-brutal-oppression-of-gay-people.html


#4

Your confused conflation of electoral politics and especially presidential electoral politics with activism, much less revolutionary struggle, is absolutely hilarious in its idiocy.

Even Fidel, for the sake of the Cuban people, was certainly wishing the USAn voters had voted for Hillary over Trump. So you will need to put Fidel on your "Shills for Killary" list too.


#5

Yes, Jed1957, Fidel's oppression of gay people was wrong. Such treatment is, essential, a violation of human rights.

The problem with much of US 'experts' pining on Fidel, is that they are almost uniformly twisting legitimate critique of Fidel Castro into a 'proof' of the failure of socialist and of the 'fact' that the only possible political-economic system is capitalism.

Yes, criticize Fidel for his oppression of gays and dissidents. But don't ignore that fact that Fidel himself admitted that he treatment of gays was wrong:

http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/08/31/cuba.castro.gays/

And don't use criticism of Fidel to portray the Cuban revolution as dead. Try listening to the voices of progressive Cubans, such as gay rights activist Mariela Castro:

Changes in Cuba are more heartening that the digression into misogyny, racism, xenophobia, and war, back in Trumpland.


#6

Even Fidel, for the sake of the Cuban people, was certainly wishing the USAn voters had voted for Hillary over Trump. So you will need to put Fidel on your "Shills for Killary" list too.

Care to site any sources?

Are you referring to this quote:

“En la primera ocasión, hace dos semanas, se produjo uno que causó conmoción. El señor Trump que se suponía un capacitado experto quedó descalificado tanto él como Barack en su política” - Fidel Castro
( https://www.cubanet.org/noticias/fidel-castro-trump-quedo-descalificado-en-el-primer-debate/ )?

Hardly a ringing endorsement of Hillary, much less any push for progressives to vote for plutocrat friendly, war-monger Hillary Clinton rather than the more progressive Jill Stein.


#7

The "experts" make no mention of the corrupt dictatorship of the U.S. puppet Batista, only the failure of a socialist government that provided education and healthcare; funny how that works. I heard Jesse Jackson's radio program yesterday; he had no derogatory comments of Castro, he knew of the Batista government before him. I sure don't want to see the U.S. try some sort of regime change as they are constantly trying to push their failed neoliberal ideology onto Latin American governments as it stands.


#8

I am a little confused as to exactly what type of system existed in Cuba, a socialist system brought by revolution( communism) or a state capitalist system..
Did the workers in Cuba control the mean s of production or did the government?
Were the workplaces democratized?


#9

"There are no janitors in the hospitals because it pays more money to steal janitorial supplies and sell them on the street than it does to actually have a job there. Therefore, the halls and rooms are covered in blood, urine, and feces, and you need to bring your own sheets, blankets, pillows, towels, and mattresses when you are admitted. Doctors have to reuse needles on patients. My mom’s aunt had a stroke and the doctor’s course of treatment was to “put her feet up and let the blood rush back to her head.” That was it. And this is in Havana, the big city. I can’t be sure, but I’d imagine things there are a lot better than they are in more remote parts of the country."


#10

Hi BuddhaNature,

I have heard Marxist economists denigrate Cuba as a strictly 'State Capitalist' system and, thus just another example of the inevitable failure of capitalist economics.

I will assume that your question is sincere and not a cynical attempt to denigrate the Cuban revolution.

It is my opinion that the Cuban economic system was by no means an ideal democratically run socialist system. However, having family and friends who live there, having spent time there, and through dialog with Cuban academic, economists, and political leaders, I would not call it a strictly State Capitalist system either - especially now. The Cuban government, even from early on, implemented measures that were intended to promote democratic input. Some, such as worker and neighborhood groupings (Comite Pro Defensa de la Revolucion, Confederación de Trabajadores de Cuba, etc.), failed miserably and came to be understood as repressive organizations. Another strategy that seem to have failed was the insistence on consensus in workplace decision making. I've seen many progressive organizations insist on such a 'democratic' practice. In Cuba, however, many Cuban workers, with whom I spoke, came to see that as just another means of keeping them in check.

With the passing of Fidel, there is a near consensus in the US, even among 'progressives', that the Cuban revolution failed and is dead, dead, dead! ! ! The reality, however, is that Cuba is still evolving. At least now, there seem to be a growing sector of worker owned cooperatives.


#11

In the Big Picture, FAILURE is much more at home HERE in the USA than in Cuba. Our people here are farther from exercising Power and Rights than they have been for many decades, and the tendency is to get worse.


#12

Thank you for your response..
It is my understanding that about 25 years ago socialists begin to take a good look at what had gone wrong with systems in China and Russia and the conclusion was that those systems had not stayed true to Marx's writings and were in fact not socialism at all, but state capitalist systems. That it was time to get back to what Marx's had written of, that the movement had strayed.
There is so much negative commentary in the US on socialism it self much of time by people who obviously never read one page of Marx, and have no idea what so ever what Marx’s was saying.
But some people are beginning to wake up to the idea, especially the younger generation, those that did not grow up during the cold war era with all that negativity about socialism.
They are more open to looking at alternatives to a system that as done as Marx predicted and concentrated wealth at the expense of the working class. They give me hope for the future.


#13

Funny how so many Americans criticize the government in Cuba without mentioning the 6 decades of embargo that America imposed on Cuba.

But that is the American way. Try to wreck governments and countries that try to share because that is not good for the billionaires!!


#15

Please excuse my interruption with your conversation with Steve.

It is my belief, as supported by history, that it is impossible for real socialism/communism to work under centralized governance. It always results in the people suffering under totalitarian rule, corruption, crushing economic living conditions, and the total eradication of democracy and freedom.

Centralized socialism/communism utterly destroys everything socialism and communism really stand for ... equality and a truly free and democratic society under self-rule without an authoritarian ruling class.

As an anarcho-communist, I believe in a decentralized socialist society in which in which workers and community members will take responsibility for and control of their interpersonal relationships, their neighborhoods, their local government, and the production and distribution of all goods and services.

For these reasons, anarcho-communists call for the common or collective ownership (not state ownership) and democratic control of productive resources, for a guarantee to all of the right to participate in societal production, and to a fair share of society's product, in accordance with individual needs.

Power, control and decision-making must remain with the people ... locally.

That's why decentralized socialism/communism will work and why state socialism/capitalism has always, and always will, fail. The power and authority cannot be in the hands of select few elites.


#16

Explain then the economic success of socialist Scandinavian countries like Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland.


#17

To start with, the Scandinavian model in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland is not socialism. The Scandinavian model is a capitalist-based system with more state-sponsored socialized programs than most other countries.

If the means of production and distribution are not owned by and controlled by the workers and/or community members ... it's not socialism / communism.

The big companies in the Scandinavian model countries are owned by stockholders ... just like the U.S. That's hardly socialism or even state socialism where the state owns the means of production and distribution.

There is a difference between the actual reality and the propagandized perception of the success of the Scandinavian model.

In a February 2015 interview with Jacobin, Petter Nilsson of Sweden’s Left Party probably spoke for most of his nation’s Marxists when he said:

There’s this joke on the Swedish left that everyone would want the Swedish model, and the Swedes would want it perhaps more than anyone. What’s considered to be the Swedish model peaked in maybe the late ’70s, early ’80s and has since gone through quite the same developments as the rest of Europe with the neoliberal wave.

Source: How Swedish Socialism Failed

Please read the entire article for more information.


#18

Explain then the economic success of socialist Scandinavian countries like Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland.

They didn't have pay the USA for fighting two world wars which saved the USA's economy twice over.


#19

The dictator of the Cuban right, Fulgencio Batista, was just fine and deserving of US support for all those years - "he was a SOB, but he was our SOB" - funny how that works. The same was true of Saddam and many other tools of repression and capitalist domination, supported, armed and funded until they no longer served their purpose - there are many still in power. The depraved joy exhibited in Miami is representative of that legacy and hatred...........................

VIVA CUBA LIBRE!


#20

As truthfirst said above, there is the little matter of 6 decades of embargo, of spiteful revenge and malicious US interference against Cuba. This same reality plays out against all "enemies" of the US, especially small ones. Iran is another example of that enemy never to be forgiven, or asked forgiveness of, simply because they defied the exceptional and indispensable empire.

I know little of Castro or any of the Ayatollahs, but it seems credible that if such as those see US spies and saboteurs everywhere, their fears and assertions are probably well-founded.


#21

Imagine Cuba without a sixty year long embargo. It could have been a social democracy the likes of Scandinavia. Despite the US imposed hardships, Cuba loves Fidel. They deeply appreciate all he did for them while under constant attack for being the threat of a good example.

If Cuba manages to avoid oligarchy corruption, it could still become a wealthy social democracy, thanks to Fidel.


#22

If the EMBARGO had an identity, say, a single, bearded face like that of Fidel, everything would have been seen quite differently over the years.