Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

Cuba Reconsidered or: How to Break a Revolution in 60 Years

By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit

Exile in Happy Valley

When I was twenty years old, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara stood taller than Jesus on the cross. Wild eyed, twin fisted, bearded banditos taking on the greatest empire the world has ever known with nothing but a thick veil of cigar smoke shielding their flaming hearts from swords the size of shark’s fins. The Cuban Revolution seemed like something out of a Werner Herzog epic. A tale too absurdly fantastic to possibly be true yet somehow it was. Somehow a rickety ship full of broken seasick renegades crash landed into an ambush and the bullet riddled survivors managed to escape with their lives, deep into the dark heart of the Sierra Maestra Mountains. Somehow this ragged flock of bloodstained anti-heroes managed to immerge from the heavily jungled jaws of defeat to smash an American made dictator to bits and launch a raucous rum soaked revolution ninety miles from the belly of the beast. Somehow they did it. Somehow, against all the odds, they persevered. Even when they died, they persevered. Staring down the barrel of a nuclear holocaust, they sneered ‘So the fuck what?’ with such gravitas that it made every freak with a dream written in flames stand a little taller than Christ.

When I was twenty years old, I believed that the Cuban Revolution was the greatest act of love that machine guns could possibly perform. I thought Havana was Valhalla. At 33, I’ve managed to wring the cigar smoke from my eyes to reveal a very different picture. I’ve come to realize that the reality of the Cuban Revolution is a bit different from what it came to symbolize in the flaming hearts of disenchanted loser like me. Cuba may not be the tyrannical horror story cooked up by those rabid jackals in the Southern Florida press but it’s hardly the outlaw utopia I once dreamed of either. The unvarnished reality is that Cuba may not be a dictatorship in the traditional sense of the word, but it is an authoritarian state. The Cuban people vote for their favorite local Communist Party kiss-ass to represent them at the National Assembly and that National Assembly then chooses their fearless leader. It’s essentially British Parliament with less respect for civil rights. And that’s the greatest kept secret of the Cuban Revolution, in spite of all the fiery rhetoric pouring from both ends of the narrative, the result was just another bourgeoise, top-down, social democracy. There’s really nothing revolutionary about it beyond the propaganda. The people there are about as oppressed and bored as the rest of us and some of them want another revolution.

How the fuck did we get here? How did we get from the Quixotic-Leninist dreams of Che Guevara to another carceral bureaucratic purgatory. The truth is there is one piece of communist propaganda that is very true. Castro may have fucked up the revolution but he had a lot of help from his enemies back in Washington. Even before taking power, the Cuban Revolution has been under a constant state of siege from the American Empire who continues to find their very existence insulting. The CIA and their terrorist cronies in Little Havana have spent the last sixty years hurling everything they could get their bloody mitts on in Havana’s general direction. The infamous failure of the Bay of Pigs Invasion was only the tip of a very ugly iceberg.

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  1. > Cuba may not be a dictatorship in the traditional sense of the word, but it is an authoritarian state. The Cuban people vote for their favorite local Communist Party kiss-ass to represent them at the National Assembly and that National Assembly then chooses their fearless leader. It’s essentially British Parliament with less respect for civil rights.

    Great observation (although the British don’t respect civil rights at all anymore) – a conclusion I came to around the Elian Gonzales nonsense after I did a bit of research. Although I never had any romantic notions about Cuba or Communism. Or “Revolution” for that matter, which is just another word for “totalitarian coup.”

    > Quixotic-Leninist dreams of Che Guevara

    It was all bullshit since day one. Guevara was just a wanna-be dictator like all the rest, right or left. All imperialists – since Alexander the Great – tell everyone, and themselves – how moral and righteous they are. It’s human nature.

    > When Castro first came to power he was a non-denominational left wing populist promising direct democracy and open elections. It was only after years of American sponsored abuse that he turned to Soviet style Marxist-Leninist drudgery in an act of desperation and maybe this is the real intention of American sanctions, not to starve a nation into overthrowing a regime unacceptable to the empire, but to shellshock a revolutionary experiment into becoming an aching authoritarian nightmare so Uncle Sam can tell kids like me with red stars in our eyes, “See, I told you revolution was some messed up shit.”

    Nah – even without US sanctions Castro would have turned “Soviet style Marxist-Leninist drudgery.” The whole “left wing populist direct democracy” is just a sales pitch. Even the idea of “direct democracy” is frankly silly. How many people are going to read through pages of legal verbiage to directly vote on legislation? Even if they did, you’d still have to have judges to “interpret” and adjudicate disputes. So then you have a kritarchy, which is just another form of oligarchy, with a fig leaf of the “rule of law.”

    > America has been playing this game of revolutionary sabotage going back to the Russian Revolution, another fiery leftist eruption that even jaded anarchists like Emma Goldman believed had libertarian potential.

    Romantic nonsense. The Bolsheviks were terrorist totalitarians from day one, and Lenin was literally financed by Imperial Germany to disrupt Russia. They got lucky and the first thing they did was destroy the economy then attack striking workers. Trotsky was a racist genocidal maniac who made Stalin look benevolent. The Czar was better than all of them.

    All the rest of it – this could have been written by a Frenchmen bemoaning the loss of the “true spirit of the republic” after the Reign of Terror. “Revolutions” always turn out that way, and all “revolutionary leaders” – right or left – are no different than Hitler – or Caesar. Narcissistic power seekers. Apparently, this author just preferred the Left Wing Marketing style as opposed to the Right Wing Marketing style.

    > popular indigenous revolutions

    It’s one thing to overthrow a foreign ruling class, to declare independence, to send the invaders home. This of course requires an “indigenous” group and a “foreign” group. Yet … that is exactly what all of the Left-wing Communists say is bad … “we’re all one, man.”

    Overthrowing a domestic ruling class is a trickier subject. Someone is always going to be in charge. Ideally, you want your friend in charge and you want him to have aligned interests with the rest of the tribe.

    Marx was totally correct about feudalism and the development into factory capitalism, the contradiction between owners and workers and appropriation of labor value. Once production scales past a family farm or workshop, you are going to have a hierarchy, hopefully one based on some more-or-less objective metric of merit and ability.

    Guess what? We have collective ownership of the means of production in America. It’s called “the stock market.” The problem is we have a monopoly on Fiat Funny Money that the ruling class just prints up to buys anything they want with. Now BlackRock is buying up suburban houses and is telling people they will just have to rent from now on.

    I don’t think Ron Paul gold coins are going to solve the problem, either. But I can tell what is a problem, and what is not a problem.

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