Place: Cuba

In Defense of Socialist Internationalism: Answering the Propaganda of the Authoritarian “Left”

We have been slimed. An article by Ben Norton and Max Blumenthal on the recent Socialism 2019 Conference — which appears on their rancid website, The GrayZone, and is apparently being widely circulated — is a scurrilous attack not only . . .

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Against the GrayZone Slanders

A recent article in the GrayZone viciously slanders the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), Jacobin magazine, and Haymarket books, accusing these sponsors of the Socialism conference in Chicago last weekend of hosting paid government agents engaged in attempts at regime change in several countries. . . .

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At the Trotsky Conference in Beleaguered Cuba

Trotsky Conference in Cuba Poster
Last week I was in Cuba to attend an academic conference on Trotsky. The night before the conference began I had arrived very late at the government-regulated air B&B where I was staying. First there had . . .

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Fidel Castro: His Political Origin, Rule, and Legacy

Cuba has not been at the center of world attention for a long time, particularly after the collapse of the Soviet bloc considerably diminished the island’s importance to US imperialism. For the international left, political developments in other Latin American . . .

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Cuba: note for a balance sheet of ten years of reforms

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I. Since, at the end of 2007, Raúl Castro called for a broad national debate, ten years have passed. It was a kind of "social catharsis" of all the problems of the country. This fact can be marked as the beginning of a transformation process that has affected all the spaces of economic, political, social and subjective life in Cuba.

Cuban Civil Society

Its Present Panorama

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A civil society emerges, mainly, due to citizens’ need to actively involve themselves in the public sphere in order to address processes that impact their daily lives and affect their interests. At the heart of civil society, various social actors, with sometimes remarkable differences, group themselves around common issues that affect or interest all of them. Therefore, civil society is plural, characterized by the spontaneous organization of citizens and based on logics of autonomy, solidarity, and representation of specific identities; it is aimed at addressing collective demands, exploring solutions to issues that affect a given community, and having an impact in the public sphere.

review

The Real Tragedy of Che Guevara's LIfe

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In Latin America we have a saying, “Poner el dedo en la llaga,” a phrase that means to call attention to a delicate or worrisome point. However, llaga means literally an open sore or ulcer. I believe that Cuban socialist and scholar Samuel Farber puts his finger indeed on a significant sore point in revolutionary history with his latest book, The Politics of Che Guevara: Theory and Practice. While recognizing the undeniable determination, egalitarianism, and selflessness of Che Guevara in his fight against imperialism, Farber meticulously exposes the contradictions of Che’s thought and the political, economic, and social detours that Guevara took in his honest quest for a better world.

On the Death of Fidel Castro – View of a Socialist Cuban Living Abroad

A refreshing, unconventional view, with none of the usual leftist idolizing of Castro. We talk about Fidel's popularity in Cuba among the older generation, his success in standing for Cubans against U.S. designs, the dictatorial power he seized and some of the huge moves he made in Africa, some good, some awful (Eritrea, Syria, Ortega's Nicaragua today).

The Politics of Che Guevara: A Review

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Samuel Farber, The Politics of Che Guevara: Theory and Practice. Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2016. 192pp. $16.95

For two generations of activists, Ernesto Che Guevara has symbolized a kind of selfless heroism. His relative youth at his death in 1967 (he was 38) conserved his air of rebelliousness and the image of a man interested only in the struggle, rather than in power. Yet Sam Farber who acknowledges these qualities, describes him early in his new book, The Politics of Che Guevara, as “irremediably undemocratic”. The contradiction is striking and central to Farber’s critical analysis of Che’s life as a revolutionary.

Should Cuba Remain a One-Party State?

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The one-party state is a very controversial question that few of the left-wing critics of the Cuban regime have been willing to address. What follows is an attempt to explore, from the left, some of the issues around this topic.

On Racism and Revolution: An Interview with Cuban Activist Norberto Mesa Carbonell

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Since 1959, the Cuban revolution has been dedicated to racial equality. In a country where slavery was abolished only in 1886, the revolution offered many black Cubans their first access to land and education, through the new universal egalitarian policies, and an explicit commitment to eliminating racial discrimination. Even critical scholars argue that though it falls short of racial democracy, Cuba has done more than any other society to eradicate racial inequality.

Yet since Cuba’s “Special Period” began in the early 1990s, resources have been severely limited. Market-oriented reforms have come at the price of rising inequalities, which are not color-blind: racial tensions have increased substantially. To counter this trend, several black artists and public intellectuals have created a vibrant anti-racist activist scene, partly attached to the government-sponsored “Regional Afro-descendant Articulation of Latin America and the Caribbean, Cuban Chapter” (abbreviated in Spanish to ARAAC).

The Alternative in Cuba

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On December 17, 2014, Washington and Havana agreed to a path-breaking change in a relationship that, for more than fifty years, was characterized by the United States’ efforts to overthrow the Cuban government, including the sponsorship of invasions, naval blockades, economic sabotage, assassination attempts, and terrorist attacks.

Cuba – A Personal Reflection

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When in 1959 I was fourteen, my socialist, pacifist father gave me a gift subscription to Liberation, the leftist magazine sponsored by the War Resisters League that was published from 1956-1977. My parents had divorced and I lived with my mother in the town of Imperial Beach, California, on the Pacific Ocean and the Mexican border, while my father lived in Chicago. Liberation was my father’s way of seeing to my political education from a distance. In the pages of Liberation I first read C. Wright Mills’ essay (later a book) “Listen Yankee” as well as other articles about the revolution in Cuba.

The Church and the Critical Left in Cuba

ImageThe influence of the Catholic Church in Cuba is growing, a recent and unanticipated development. Why? Has there been a big religious revival that has filled the Church pews? Not really. So, if there has not been a major increase in Catholic religiosity, why has the Catholic Church become important? For entirely political reasons.

Cuba, Socialism and Democracy

     In January 2011, members of the Participatory and Democratic Socialism Movement proposed that the Cuban Communist Party adopt its "Proposals for the Advance of Socialism in Cuba." ("Socialism and the 'Citizens' Demand for Another Cuba," Pedro Campos, Havana Times, June 24, 2012)* These socialist critics of the Cuban regime offered a program of radical democratic proposals including full freedom of speech and press, freedom of association (including partie

LGBT Political Cul-de-sac: Make a U-Turn

Electoral Cul-de-sac

ON THE EVE OF 2009, it is impossible to speak of a national gay liberation movement, as that would entail active groups of people mobilizing at the grassroots to achieve common aims.

Visiting Raúl Castro's Cuba

ON JULY 31, 2006, THE CUBAN government announced that due to a serious illness, the nature of which was declared a state secret, Fidel Castro was stepping aside as the head of state. His younger brother Raúl, officially designated as his successor since the early days of the 1959 Revolution, was "temporarily" replacing the commander-in-chief. Raúl is reputed to be more pragmatic and a better organizer and administrator than his older brother.

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