Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Cuba: "One day of the blockade is equal to 139 urban buses."

By Darrall Cozens
Wednesday, 14 November 2007
The large sign on the wall says it all: "One day of the blockade is equal to 139 urban buses."

There is no doubt that Cuba has suffered at the hands of the USA since the blockade was imposed. Yet despite being starved of essential resources the Cuban people have demonstrated a remarkable resilience and inventiveness. As they say here: "Todo se resuelve." Everything will be solved.

When you walk around the streets of the capital, you can see examples everywhere of this creativity in the face of adversity. Buses are often made from tin boxes put together and then placed on the back of a lorry. Children make scooters from old bike parts. Old cars from pre-1958 trundle along on a wing and a prayer. Yet these old models and lorries belch out choking thick black smoke that pollutes the streets.
It is, however, in the area of medicine and health that the blockade takes its greatest toll. Children suffering from kidney problems are denied basic life saving help in drug treatment. This is only one example. In the early 1990s after the collapse of the subsidies from the Soviet Union in exchange for Cuban sugar, some people suffered from blindness resulting from a vitamin deficiency. This was cured from scarce resources.

Cuba's ability to get by whilst at the same time help others has to be admired and it is an indication that the Cuban revolution is still alive despite all the difficulties it faces. Despite being isolated at the behest of the USA, Cuba has a patient doctor ratio that is the envy of even so-called advanced countries. And while Cuba takes care of its own in terms of health care, it also exports its skills and personnel to other countries.
The Granma newspaper of October 28th reported just one example. The retired Bolivian officer Mario Teran, who fired the fatal shot that killed Che Guevara, was cured of blindness in Bolivia under Operacion Milagro staffed by Cuban doctors. Since 1963 Cuba has sent medical teams to help others even more unfortunate than itself. Some 42,000 Cuban medical staff are active in 102 countries around the world and 53,000 young people are being trained in medicine both in Cuba and in their own countries. 60 million people world wide are benefiting from this medical help and since the programmes began some 300 million have been treated. In Nicaragua alone since Daniel Ortega was elected back in January some 10,000 have received eye treatment and for many it is the first time that they have been able to see. The whole of Misión Barrio Adentro which provides basic primary health care in the poor communities in Venezuela would not have been possible without the 20,000 Cuban doctors and nurses who participate in it.

The vote therefore at the United Nations to call on the USA to end its blockade of the island was welcomed in Cuba. 184 countries voted against the USA blockade and only four in favour of it. The USA was able to muster voting allies in favour of its policy from Israel, the Marshall Islands and Palau. Yet the question that has to be asked is why the blockade has not ended already, since the UN has voted by majority since 1992 against it. On the one hand it is clear that the UN's decisions can be vetoed by powerful members and therefore it is an instrument of the status quo on a world scale, used as a fig leaf when it suits the interests of imperialism, discarded when it goes against them. On the other hand the need is raised for an international campaign based on workers organisations that can truly defend the gains of the Cuban revolution.

Despite the heroic attempts by the Cuban people to carry on under extremely harsh conditions, problems remain. In the capital Havana many buildings are in a state of collapse yet provide homes to many Cubans. Roads are full of potholes and when it rains, they fill up with water that lies stagnant, a breeding ground for mosquitoes. There are regular disinfestations of commercial premises using smoke machines.
The blockade of Cuba has also meant that many traditional industries like sugar have reached the stage of collapse. However, unlike in capitalist countries, all workers from the sugar industry have been either re-employed elsewhere or been given access to full time education.

The sugar workers of Cuba were like the miners in the UK. Thatcher set out deliberately to destroy the mining industry in order to destroy the NUM. The sugar industry here has collapsed due to a combination of the end of subsidised purchases from the Soviet bloc and the collapse of prices in the world market, with the result that the most militant section of the working class has been dispersed.

There are two currencies working side by side; the official national currency and convertible pesos which are exchanged on par with the US dollar at a rate of 1:1. The local currency will pay for newspapers, public transport and is used in some food and clothes shops. Even if you are working and getting paid in the national currency, most find it very hard to make ends meet. If you want shoes or many items of clothing, you need convertible pesos. How do ordinary Cubans get them?

Firstly, there are remittances sent to families by Cubans abroad. Secondly, you work in the growing tourist industry and get tips from foreigners. Thirdly, you hustle. It is called "jineterismo". You are approached all the time by mainly young men, but often young women, who start by asking the time. If you respond, the play continues until you are hooked. And this is a problem. How do you know if a Cuban wants to speak to you because they are interested in what you think or wants to find out where you are from? You don't until gradually the motives become clear. On my second day here 6 young men tried to hustle me. Initially I engaged in conversation and it soon became clear what the main gripe was.

People also get by selling sandwiches on street stalls or by directly begging, especially the old.

The worst aspect of all of this is that on almost every street corner in the tourist centre of Havana there are pimps and prostitutes, while on opposite corners there are one or two police, some with dogs and some without, stopping and checking the IDs of anyone they want to stop. Yet prostitution is illegal and severely punished.

There is also a growing problem of street thefts using physical violence, something that previously did not exist. But people have to survive by any means possible.

On every street corner and in every doorway there are groups of young people, especially men, with nothing to do. Some of them might be receiving money from relatives abroad so they can live without working. Poverty is evident in terms of diet and clothing. Sections of society have become marginalised and therefore many seek a solution to their problems not in collective action but as individuals against the system

Almost every building has one or two guards in case someone tries to steal something. I walked past a very small organic garden in the old part of the city and there was a guard with a dog. He explained that it was his job to ensure that no plants were stolen!

This fear of theft reflects a growing unease and malaise. People have to survive and will find any and every method in order to do so.

While these problems exist in Cuba, they are nothing compared with the situation of poverty, destitution and crime one finds in any Latin American country and by comparison living standards (in terms of health care, access to education, living expectancy, etc) are still much higher in Cuba.

The other thing that strikes you is the growing level of disbelief between government pronouncements and the reality at street level. The papers are full of targets that have been met in different areas of the economy, but many basic needs remain unmet at street level. Even the TV voices occasional criticisms where for example a theatre has been closed for 6 months for minor repairs that should only have taken a few weeks, yet when wood was needed to effect the repairs it was not available.

People in the street realise that many of the shortages are due to the blockade, yet they are also beginning to realise that the way society is organised also has a lot to do with it.

On the one hand the planned and state owned economy has enabled Cuba to enjoy free education, free health care, very cheap housing and public transport that is so cheap it is practically free. Yet on the other hand there is almost no opportunity for ordinary Cubans to participate in the running of society. Socialism needs the oxygen of a workers' democracy with all citizens having the right to decide on policy at all levels.

The growing discussion here is therefore, where is Cuba going and what part can everyone play in that discussion? What you don't often hear is a desire to emulate the model of capitalist development that took place in the old Soviet bloc countries, but China is growing in influence here with 3 TV stations that all Cubans can access. Is this a sign that certain sections of the bureaucracy are looking at the Chinese model of capitalist development controlled by a "Communist Party" as a way out of the impasse?

In this context the recent visit of Hugo Chavez provoked some very interesting reactions. In his speech that was televised live he declared that he was a Trotskyist. When the speech was retransmitted that part was edited out and the press also said nothing of it. Yet millions heard it. It was just like the old photo of Lenin on a wooden podium with Trotsky standing on the steps that was airbrushed under Stalinism.
The effect here was electric. On the one hand those who are looking for a revolutionary Marxist way out of the crisis based on defence of the planned economy but seeing the need to extend the revolution to other countries as well as fighting for a genuine workers democracy were emboldened. Those who had perhaps only heard of Trotsky but knew nothing of him were then asking how they could get hold of his writings. Chavez is a hero here, so if he is a Trotskyist then they should be too! Even elements within the military are reading Leon Trotsky in their search for a solution.

There is an opening. Fidel released a speech that was published in Granma, official organ of the Cuban CP, on October 27th. The occasion was the 48th anniversary of the death of a leading revolutionary, Camilo Cienfuegos. Fidel quoted the famous words of Abraham Lincoln: "You can fool some of the people all of the time, or all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time." The words were directed at the USA but could equally be directed at sections of the bureaucracy here, which have been criticised by Fidel in the past.

What epitomised what is happening was a meeting that I went to on October 31st. It had been billed as a discussion on October 1917. The actual title was the influence of different socialist ideas on the Cuban CP up to 1953. Out of the three speakers on the platform, two of them mentioned the importance of Leon Trotsky and his writings, with one specifically saying that the development of the Cuban Communist Party cannot be understood without people having read the ideas of Leon Trotsky. There were about 70 people at the meeting.

These are early days here. There has been a small opening that is pushed wider by events, such as the visit of Chavez. There is a thirst for ideas at all levels of society. Ideas that will defend the gains of the Cuban revolution, will not mean a return to capitalism, but will mean a growing influence of the ideas of Trotsky. The concept of Socialism in one country has proved to be a fallacy as has the theory of the two stage revolution. Only the idea of the permanent revolution of Marx, Lenin and Trotsky will provide the answer to the Cuban revolution.


Havana
November 1st 2007
RENEGADE EYE

43 comments:

Mr. Beamish the Kakistocrat said...

Chavez is a hero here, so if he is a Trotskyist then they should be too!

Trotsky?

sonia said...

Hugo Chavez provoked some very interesting reactions. In his speech that was televised live he declared that he was a Trotskyist. When the speech was retransmitted that part was edited out and the press also said nothing of it.

There is a simple reason for it. In the early 1960's, Fidel Castro gave a hero's welcome to Trotsky's assassin, Ramón Mercader.
I bet Chavez is too ignorant to even know that historical fact.

Cuba has suffered at the hands of the USA since the blockade was imposed

If they want the blocade lifted, they know exactly what they have to do. Surrender and spread their butt cheeks.

This Graeme's post describes in minute detail what the Cuban government will have to do if they want US's sanctions lifted.

You can't have it both ways. You can't complain that US capitalism is enslaving the world, and then turn around and claim that you need that US capitalism to survive.

The Pagan Temple said...

HaHaHaHa Sonia, as you well know, the American blockade of Cuba don't have but very little to do with promoting capitalism, and even less to do with promoting democracy, it's all about political calculation involving Cuban immigrants, which are reliably Republican voters. Any politician of either party has to kowtow to them to a point if they have any chance of success in Florida, and any attempt at a moderate policy during a national election is a big drawback as well to winning the state of Florida.

The policy towards Cuba in the long run will be seen as a cut your nose off to spite your face deal. Of course we should end the blockade of Cuba and should have a long time ago. We should be able to be a presence on the island in the face of Castro's impending death, a moderating presence. Otherwise, the island will descend into utter chaos, and that will result in tens or maybe even hundreds of thousands of refugees flooding our shores. Once here, there will be nothing we can do about it as, by law, once a Cuban sets foot on our shores, he is automatically home free.

Well, that day is coming soon, because of this policy, whereas we could be a stabilizing presence if we had diplomatic relations with Castro now. We should have had those relations since the fall of the Soviet Union, at least. It was a golden opportunity that we passed up, again, for nothing but crass political reasons.

In the long run, it is going to end up as another excuse to stage a paramilitary invasion, on the pretext that is in the national security interests of the US, and it will have been manipulated all along. Cuba has vast reserves of oil off it's shores, after all.

Still yet, it is fine for the US to deal with a monstrous regime such as the PRC.

Farmer John said...

it's all about political calculation involving Cuban immigrants, which are reliably Republican voters.

Pagan,

Don't Bogart that joint, my friend, pass it over to me.

Terry said...

Sonia:
"You can't have it both ways. You can't complain that US capitalism is enslaving the world, and then turn around and claim that you need that US capitalism to survive."

You seem to equate trade with capitalism, which is a false inference. Humans have traded since ancient Sumer, perhaps since long before, whereas capitalism is a relatively modern phenomenon. Look it up.

Cuba has the right to trade and this is not necessarily achieved through capitalist means.

Please enhance your perception of the world.

Farmer John said...

If there is ANYTHING at all about the Castro regime I admire, it is their self-sufficiency. I admire North Korea for the same quality. If the Cubans were smart, they'd stop trying to "integrate" with the world economy, and concentrate on living the good life. But I guess if they did, Chavez would pull an Aldous Huxley "Island" on them.

But on the other hand, Castro and Raul do make a great Jack and Ralph. ;-)

Farmer John said...

terry say...

We bartar. Bartar GOOD!

Farmer John said...

Know what a caduceus is terry?

I didn't think so. Cause if you did, you realize that eventually there's only going to be ONE snake wrapped around that pole.

Farmer John said...

Now THAT is a HEALTHY snake. If Raul were smart... he'd work on that one instead of climbing on the scepter of power to fight with Hugo.

Farmer John said...

Happy Days in Cuba! The citizens of the town of Cienfuegos just got their first ration of beef since 1990. Things are looking up!

Dave Marlow said...

I appreciate your approach towards Cuba; acknowledging its faults and failings. I have always been uncomfortable declaring Cuba as a functioning socialist state because, at was pointed out, they lack true worker democracy.

One of the most common criticisms I hear of Cuba is that the country is in grave poverty and this is the fault of the government. Though I believe the government has mismanaged what few resources they had, Cuba lacks resources, by and large, to undergo industrialization to sustain their nation. This is precisely why the embargo has been so detrimental; without the Soviet Union to supplement the economy with industrialized goods, Cuba is just a primitive, agrarian island.

At some point, a revolution reaches such a degree of degeneration or deformity that it cannot be reformed. I am not sure if Cuba is at that stage but my gut instinct tells me yes.

Renegade Eye said...

The effect of Cuba on Venezuela gets all the publicity, while the opposite is more important. In Venezuela even with the craziness of the referendum, it still is
100x more democratic than Cuba. I'm not talking about bourgeoise democracy where gusanoes like Posada have voice, I'm talking about socialist democracy. The Cuban Communist Party hasn't had a congress in 12 years.


Beamish: I used to leave comments at the writer of the article's blog. He has gotten stupider since I last read his writing. His article on Trotsky was trite, ahistorical and factually incorrect. The part that Trotsky links to Bin Laden, by the fact they are both good writers is a gem.

Sonia: The key word is blockade, not capitalism. If China blockaded the US, it would be felt, and it would involve capitalism. The Floridians are not free to send $$ to relatives, or visit as desired. That is one effect.

Welcoming Trotsky's assassin, was an act related to the Soviet influence. I think Fidel is oblivious about such an issue.

Pagan: The US openly calls for counterrevolution in Cuba. They would like nothing better than European property destroyed, so that contracts don't need to be honored. There has been rumors of off shore oil in Cuba.

Farmer: The self reliance aspect is a hallmark of Stalinism. It's doomed to failure.

Terry: Cuba has the right to trade by any means it pleases. The rightist Floridians want nothing more than to turn Cuba into Haiti, by privatizing healthcare and education.

Renegade Eye said...

dave: Many accept Trotsky's ideas, without his method. I think he would have given full support to the revolution, but would have acknowledge this and that problen exists.

Both on the left and right, they are into support and oppose, instead of the dialectical method.

I think some on the left aren't prepared for events that will occur in Cuba. To prepare starts with acknowledging strengths and weaknesses.

The Pagan Temple said...

Ren-

No, the Cuban exiles in Florida don't want to turn Cuba into another Haiti, they think they are going to turn it into another Hawaii. However, what they end up doing to Cuba at least in the short term might well make Haiti look like Hawaii by comparison.

That off-shore oil is, I think, more substantial than mere rumors. It is almost definitely there, it's just that no one knows for sure how much. However, it is supposed to be significant.

Farmer John-

You must be the one bogarting those joints, otherwise you would remember everything you wanted to say in one comment.

Farmer John said...

Wow, Pagan... heavy!

Farmer John said...

Like... really heavy!

Farmer John said...

Wow!

I'm hungry. Anybody got any snacks?

LeftyHenry said...

Sorry Comrade, but Cuba is Marxist-Leninist not Trotskyist. Trots abandoned the Soviet Union while Castro claimed its fall was the most tragic event in history. I don't think there's any need to try to distort that in order to support the revolution. I think trots can support the revolution even if its not their ideology

Anok said...

My basic opinion on this is, quite simply, we need to get over it. (The US, that is - Cuba will need some getting over it as well).

While not all forms of trade are restricted, nor are all forms of travel between the US and Cuba - the growing resentment seems to be fueled less by humanitarian issues (to me, these are more important - but I don't speak for the rest of the world) and more by threats of punishment from the US combined with the use of frozen Cuban funds against Cuba.

I can see why the US doesn't want to end the embargo. I disagree with the reason, and in fact I disagree with the extreme length of time this little grudge match has gone on...but I can still see why.

Between being held responsible for paying back used funds (that weren't ours) possible lawsuits or other legal problems with regards to the use (re: theft) of said money, the humanitarian cost of the embargo, the perceived strength of a political movement the US does not want to see (Ren, you'll have to weigh in on that one), and definitely some countries sore at the idea of being punished for doing business with Cuba, by the US .

I have to say it, but really we have acted like a bunch of big school yard bullies with a bad temper, and an even worse propensity for grudges.

To quote Carter: "Our two nations have been trapped in a destructive state of belligerence for 42 years, and it is time for us to change our relationship." In other words, we need to grow up.

But thats just me.

Mr. Beamish the Kakistocrat said...

Ren,

I used to leave comments at the writer of the article's blog. He has gotten stupider since I last read his writing. His article on Trotsky was trite, ahistorical and factually incorrect. The part that Trotsky links to Bin Laden, by the fact they are both good writers is a gem.

Yeah, the Osama Bin Laden comparison there was a bit of a stretch, as OBL has already achieved his relevance in world politics (for better or worse), and Trotsky is still irrelevant to all but the most smallest cadres of historically ignorant leftists.

The Pagan Temple said...

Hmmmm-I wonder how well off the US would be right now if our most important trading partners collapsed, and if the most significant other developed nations of the world either refused to trade with us, or blockaded us and made it as difficult as possible for others to trade with us? I'd be willing to bet there'd be more whiny-ass corporate motherfuckers jumping out of windows en mass than anytime since the 1929 stock market crash.

And I bet the most sensible rebuttal I get to this will probably be yet another implication that I'm a sixties era hippie stoner, which, by the way, ain't true.

Of course, I suppose that's the best way to argue against logic and reason, just belittle it when you can't otherwise come up with a valid argument.

sonia said...

Pagan,

I wonder how well off the US would be right now if our most important trading partners collapsed, and if the most significant other developed nations of the world either refused to trade with us, or blockaded us and made it as difficult as possible for others to trade with us?

That has surely happened in a parallel universe where the Bolshevik revolution occured in the United States...

You might feel sorry for Castro and the Cuban Communists, but I don't. They got what they deserved. There is a price to pay for revolutions. Next time, they will think twice before nationalizing US companies.

Anok said...

There is a price to pay for revolutions. Next time, they will think twice before nationalizing US companies.

So what you're saying is that, lets say China sets up shop over here in America, takes over a vast amount of our companies, we fight back, take our property and businesses and companies back - we should be at the receiving end of an embargo, they way we did with Cuba? Threatening other countries to stop trade with us as well - as our society crumbles before our eyes? For decades?

Do you really believe that any nation - and the civilians who live in that nation - deserve to be treated that way?

Do you honestly believe that a country has no right to take control of the businesses and companies within their country?

Really?

The Pagan Temple said...

Sonia-

What kind of parallel universe are *you* living in? I don't feel sorry for Castro. Somebody could fill him full of lead in the next second, and I wouldn't feel any pity for him whatsoever. Where do you come up with this stuff at?

I do feel sorry for the Cuban people who are starving and suffering in large part because of our policies, however, I will grant you that.

That's just the point, it's the people who are suffering. Castro is not. Castro is far from suffering, not counting his current health condition, which has nothing to do with what I am talking about. It's never dictators like Kim Jung Il, Castro, etc., who bear the brunt of our policies, it's the people.

What do you expect them to feel, and think, and say. Maybe something like-

"Thank you America. May we have another one?"

Renegade Eye said...

Anok: I hope people from this blog will visit yours.

I've decided that the reason the embargo continues is not the Florida Cubans or Republicans. The spineless Democrats could end it. They are the biggest reactionaries of all.

Lefty Henry: Trots abandoned the Soviet Union while Castro claimed its fall was the most tragic event in history.

I'm not sure what your political stand is now that you aren't associated with RCP. Trotskyists atleast never called the Soviet Union "revisionist." They always supported their military defense.

I don't know what you mean by Marxist Leninist. This post supports the Cuban revolutionary process in a realistic manner.

Sonia: Pagan is correct that theoretically if China did an embargo on the US, it actually would be hurt.

Besides the embargo hurting Cuban people, garbage like Posada hurt Cuban. His violence is amoral.

Beamish: If you like Slate so much, read Hitchens article on Trotsky. The idiotic article you like omits things as Hitler wouldn't have come to power, if Trotsky's policy was followed by the CP, rather than Stalin's.

Pagan: Another thing is that you have to run through hoops, just to visit Cuba.

sonia said...

Anok,

So what you're saying is that, lets say China sets up shop over here in America, takes over a vast amount of our companies, we fight back, take our property and businesses and companies back

"Take over" ? "Take back" ? In your hypothetical case, those are purely Orwellians ("war is peace") concepts, meaning their exact opposite.

It China "sets up shop", those will be CHINESE companies. Created by them and financed by them. THEIRS. If the Americans "take them back", it's theft. Pure and simple.

If you want a company, don't steal it from others. Create your own !

Pagan,

I do feel sorry for the Cuban people who are starving and suffering in large part because of our policies

Which "Cuban people" ? Those who were celebrating when American companies were nationalized by Castro ? Or those who were escaping with their lives to Florida ?

The real, free Cuban people are in Miami. Those in Cuba are Castro's slaves.

sonia said...

Anok,

Do you honestly believe that a country has no right to take control of the businesses and companies within their country?

Any government can steal property (and they often do). US government can steal your property without facing any consequences. But when Cuban government steals property belonging to American companies, there are consequences. They are called "embargo"...

Mr. Beamish the Kakistocrat said...

Ren,

If you like Slate so much, read Hitchens article on Trotsky. The idiotic article you like omits things as Hitler wouldn't have come to power, if Trotsky's policy was followed by the CP, rather than Stalin's.

To rob a page from Stalin for a moment, Trotsky's idiocy (international agitation policies) outlived its usefulness. Recall that by the time the Nazi branch of the leftist tree turned on the Soviet branch of the leftist tree, Trotsky's organized military had already had its ass handed to it by Japan, Finland, and between those defeats were bogged down a few decades liquidating largely unarmed peasantry. In a word, the Red Army sucked. At least against armed opponents.

Stalin may have airbrushed Trotsky out of the leftist canon, but history puts him smack dab in the middle of responsibility and authorship of many of Russia's post-revolution domestic and foreign policies along WITH Stalin, Trotsky's loss of the scapegoating contest notwithstanding.

I believe the real Trotsky is more despicable as both homocidal monster and double-talking hypocrite than the mythological Trotsky. He's not the worst, but neither is smallpox compared to ebola.

Té la mà Maria - Reus said...

A visit to your blog of our part and to wish passes you a good weekend, we have been marauding awhile for your blog, which is still so interesting as always
Regards of your friends of Reus Catalunya

Graeme said...

If the cubans in Miami were smart, they would want the blockade to end and take away Castro's main excuse for all of Cuba's failures. It is telling that they would let their fellow Cubans suffer in the hopes that someday they will get the island back and once again turn it into the playground of the rich.

In my view, without worker democracy Cuba is just another monarchy parading as a socialist state. Much like North Korea in that regard. That isn't to say that they haven't done quite a bit of good or the Cuba revolution wasn't needed, but it certainly isn't a socialist country.

Renegade Eye said...

Beamish: If you liked Trotsky, I would have to evaluate his role as a revolutionary.

Graeme: A priviledged bureaucracy is different than a monarchy, being imprecise on such a topic, leads to political action that can go wrong.

Té la mà Maria - Reus: See my Basque post.

Sonia: Cuba offered compensation to the expropriated companies.

Anok said...

Sonia,
Your point would almost be valid if it wasn't colored with nationally biased revisionist history.

You have to look beyond the obvious, and you have to understand that there are three sides to every story, your side, their side, and then there's the truth. You do also realize that the "War is peace, Freedom is slavery, Ignorance is strength" Orwell quote was from his book, a fictional work, quoting a fictional character, right?

I have posted my opinions and some historical background about this debate on my blog. (Its too long to post as a reply, and it does include research and source links).

I'll give you a teaser however: "Basically, to answer Sonia's query about "taking back" companies, yes Cuba was indeed taking back companies that had been sold out from under them while being under constitutional restrictions akin to Martial Law, topped with decades of war and poverty. They didn't just take back companies however, they took back their country. The Platt Amendment had put Cuba into a trade based strangle hold, an economically crippling tactic, still used by our government today."

Mr. Beamish the Kakistocrat said...

Beamish: If you liked Trotsky, I would have to evaluate his role as a revolutionary

Conversely, if you evaluated his role a revolutionary, I still wouldn't like him. He might not have been interested in Stalin's ice pick, but Stalin's ice pick was interested in him.

The Pagan Temple said...

Not being a leftist myself, I have no personal alignment with or support for Trotsky's past internationalist policies (or for that matter, none of any others), but some of his internal policies are a different matter. His theories as to the efficacy of preventing an entrenched bureaucracy are still valid. It would have made a great lot of difference in how Cuba turned out if they were adhered to.

For that matter, when it comes to things like that, we could use a few Trotsky's here in the good old USA. We can start first off by cleaning out the State Department, and from there we can move on to the Justice Department, Interior, Defense, etc., wile some departments, such as Education, we can eliminate all together, and probably a good many others as well.

Anybody have any theories as to how many people we should can from the Department of Homeland Security? The whole damn Department, perhaps?

By the way, Trotsky wasn't killed by an ice-pick, it was an ice-ax.

Mr. Beamish the Kakistocrat said...

Pagan Temple,

We could use more people in the United States capable of conditioning the Red Army for the atrocities they committed on the Eastern Front in World War 2 via decades of atrocities on their own people before that?

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Tula 49 said...

Lefty Henry:

There is no proof that Trotskyists simply abandoned the Soviet Union. They constantly pointed out that a political revolution was needed to regenerate the Soviet Union and eliminate the bureaucracy that ended up destroying it. Trotsky hammered this point out many times in his writings.

Cuba today is a different story, being a mild form of proletarian bonapartism. Calling for Castro's overthrow would put one in the camp of counter-revolution. Trotskyists are not being clamped down on, nor are workers in general. It is quite possible to reform things in Cuba for such a regeneration.

The only way out for Cuba is for the revolution to spread to other countries. The USA would never lift the blockade unless they were pressurized from the workers do to as such, and that seems a way off at the current moment. Revolutionary flames are spreading throughout Latin America and socialists must build up their forces and be prepared to lead the revolution to victory and to spread it all over the world.

Farmer John said...

Burn, baby, burn!

Nice attitude, Tula. How many deaths is the revolution worth?

Ixion's Wheel spins countless revolutions. Why anyone wishes it to spin faster is beyond me.

sonia said...

Revolutionary flames are spreading

Burn, baby, burn!


Fortunately, there are always fire fighters like Pinochet to extinguish the flames...

Otherwise, the country burns to the ground. Like Congo, Somalia or Haiti.

TTC said...

I love the way that no one seems to recognize the fact that castro stole all private property from US interests. But that as not enough, he also stole ALL private property from Cubans. This is the real reason for the embargo.
I don't personally believe that the embargo has done anything but strengthen castro's position over the years, and am convinced that there is no more an ardent supporter of the embargo than fidel himself.
It is imperative to have a powerful enemy in order to install a lasting dictatorship. Fidel does nothing unless it promises to strengthen his perpetuity in power or to make him look good so that the useful idiots can tout his revolution as a benign entity.
It is obvious from reading this post that none of you have had to actually live in Cuba. Yes, you may have visited it, but visiting and living are actually two very different worlds.
If castro was so worried about the people, why enslave his own and treat them like garbage?
How come there is no medicine for the general population yet the pharmacies at the airports sell all kinds of medicine?
Why pay the people in valueless currency and collect in valuable US currency?
Why use US currency at all if the European Union has not embargoed him?
As a Cuban, I find it offensive that my country has been degraded to the point where it is being compared to Haiti. The Cuban peso reached a maximum value of $1.05US before castro's revolution.
The revolution is a failure, castro is a failure, the future of Cuba is bleak. It will be very difficult to overcome fifty years of slavery.
I really see very little to applaud castro about. There have been no advancements, or glorious achievements. Those who hate the US can use Cuba as an example all they want, I believe there is plenty around to make the US look bad, no need to use a useless dictator like castro to do it.

Anonymous said...

滿.............................................

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