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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 8/17/13

Reflections on Fidel Castro's 87th Birthday; a Reply to Mr. Jay Janson.

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I started this as a comment on Mr. Jay Janson's congratulations to Fidel Castro on his 87 th birthday and his request to Fidel to launch a call to prosecute the U.S.A. in another Nuremberg Trial ( ). Once again, instead of a comment, an article started coming out.

I'm not a right-wing fanatic. Quite to the contrary, I'm a left-wing thinker, but I also live here in Cuba (and quite soon I may have to switch myself off the Net). I fully understand people outside Cuba supporting Fidel and seeing him as a symbol of resistance against imperialism, which is certainly not a joke. Fidel and Mandela are symbols. But Alan Woods, a British Marxist professor told Telesur recently: "The worst enemy of every revolutionary process is bureaucracy; it repeats the preaching of the Revolutionary Government and becomes in fact the new bourgeoisie." The tragic truth from inside Cuba is that bureaucracy has become oligarchy. People here are quiet ashamed to talk about it and are wary about commenting on it with foreigners. It is certainly justified: foreigners are of different sorts. Some can use it to wage a campaign in the right-wing media, looking for a replay here of the Libya-and-Syria scenario.

Fidel said many things in different times. Once (not so long ago) he told an American reporter that the Cuban model is not good for Cuba itself anymore. As for Jay Janson's reference to Fidel's comments about the Kennedys: Fidel was talking AGAIN in his new "Reflections" (or new "Confessions"---Aug.14, , in Spanish; the English version should appear on any time soon) about his meeting with a French reporter who was bringing a message from JFK. They were having lunch when the radio announced JFK was shot. He talked again about his meeting with JFK Jr. many years later. Mr. Janson's claim that the Kennedys tried to kill Fidel Castro many times certainly CAN be true--every American President since must have tried that too. But the problem is not just that, but the terrorism of all kinds Cuba has suffered throughout all these years. The very cases of Libya and Syria are a full replay of the screenplays of the Bay of Pigs and of the bandits fed from the air by the U.S. Government in the Escambray mountains in the 60's. These bandits have been defeated by the Cuban Revolution too (Qaddhafi was about to take Benghazi, but got betrayed by Russia and China, which allowed NATO's bombings). Terrorists who blew up a Cuban civilian aircraft in Barbados in 1976 were sheltered by the U.S. Government and treated like heroes in Miami. Then, later, Fidel sent a message to Clinton via Gabriel Garcia Marquez warning about terrorist attacks the Miami fanatics were preparing in seeking a military confrontation between the two countries. A delegation of the FBI visited the Cuban Ministry of Interior, where they were shown the evidence. The FBI promised an answer in a couple of weeks. Clinton and his FBI cracked instead on the sources of the information, giving birth to the case of the "Cuban 5"---another American Stalin-style megatrial. (Some of the others: May 1, 1886, Chicago; Sacco and Vanzetti; the Rosenbergs; the Puerto Rican independentists; Mumia Abu Jamal; Leonard Peltier; etc.).

Another thing Fidel said once is that, after the Soviet collapse, Cuba went under a double blockade. It was the Soviet collapse itself first, and then American laws pushed by the Miami oligarchy---Toriccelli, Helms-Burton, etc. Yes, it is absolutely fair to qualify it as a form of genocide, too. The U.S. government is chasing Cuban transactions with third countries. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen managed to get the American government to impose a fine once on a company that exported anti-polio vaccines to Cuba (and NATO's bombings of civilian quarters, schools, hospitals, and warehouses with food and medicines in Tripoli show clearly NATO's REAL policy of "protection to civilians" anywhere). Ros-Lehtinen managed to get the U.S. government to fine Swiss banks for switching old U.S. dollar notes for new ones, arguing they were coming from drugs (in Miami they're gonna be talking about drugs!). They were coming from tourism. The Swiss banks cancelled this operation for Cuba, and the Cuban government cancelled the circulation of the U.S. dollar in the country.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen visited the Guantanamo base and said she wished the Cuban people had the same conditions that the inmates there had (no further comments necessary). She visited Honduras after the coup and said she wished Cuban people were enjoying the same "freedoms" (gang violence, murders unsolved, especially those of union leaders and reporters---all virtually eliminated by the overthrown President Manuel Zelaya, along with the deficit; HONDURAS had dared to have a national surplus!). The list goes on and on. Only yesterday, as I write this (Aug. 15, 2013), Horacio Cartes assumed office as the new President of Paraguay (see my first article about this country with a hell of a history no one knows about). Cartes was accused of being a drug dealer, but the U.S. Government and "Monsanto" don't care.

So, with respect to the morality of external politics, Fidel is winning over and over. The Cubans went to help Africans obtain REAL independence without consulting over a damn thing with Moscow (find books by Piero Gleijeses: one is titled "Missions in Conflict"). REAL independence requires that the independence NOT be a continuation of colonialism under the mask of independence. (From a distance it seems that things finally have started to get better in Angola, for example; and it doesn't matter there that they've had the same President since 1982; Jose Eduardo dos Santos has gone through elections.) And Fidel is being silenced and twisted over and over. But at the same time, the very sad truth is that the bureaucracy-oligarchy here is turning the double blockade into a triple one; the border between the two is an absolutely gray area and the people here are DANGEROUSLY getting sick of it. Just as the people here on OpEdNews are aware that the American Fascist State is not bearable anymore, it's becoming increasingly clear here in Cuba that all this bureaucracy and all of its corruption--which they FINALLY talk about now--will not survive Fidel and Raul. I mentioned Mandela before. I've got a book titled "South Africa: From Apartheid to Neoliberalism" by the researcher Patrick Bond. It's Marxist and as left-wing as a book can possibly be, but it also fulfills Fidel's own principle: the first duty of every revolutionary is to tell the whole truth. And that's why it is also so terrible (same as Patrick Bond's articles).

It's true that Grenada finished up being another crime of American imperialism. But it is also true that the assassination of Maurice Bishop in the first place was the deed of a Stalinist fanatic named Bernard Coard. The whole story was told by an American named Steve Clark in the fantastic essay titled "Second Assassination of Maurice Bishop" (published by "Pathfinder" Publishing House). Written in the 80's and following freshly after the events, it presents Cuba as an example of a non-Stalinist exponent of the Revolution. In the end it describes the crackdown on a faction led by a character named Anibal Escalante in the 60's. Steve Clark compares Coard to Escalante, saying both shared a hatred of working people, thinking of them as no more than cattle. Steve Clark quotes Fidel's speech from 1962: "[Escalante's group] showed a truly petty-bourgeois spirit"because when people get upset by his mistakes, he (the petty bourgeois) never blames it on himself, he blames it on the people". He accuses the masses of being counter-revolutionary when the masses turn not against the Revolution, but against its arbitrary actions"." For example, the decision to give non-producing land to more people willing to work it has been adopted here recently---an absolutely fair and always needed measure. Bureaucracy impeded the process by swamping it with a demand for papers that the government itself had said were not needed anymore. But there was no crackdown like the one laid on the Escalante group. Instead, the government was practically begging the "officers" not to ask for lots and lots of papers.

Just today (August 15, 2013) there was a TV story about a fleet of cabs given to the capital of a province which has been awaiting permission to put the cabs into use for ten months now. It's good that the story got published. But my fear is that bureaucrats may already be acting in a conscious conspiracy of self-interest. As officially appointed public officers, they in fact exercise the right to private property. The reason for any conspiracy is a community of interests, and it's clear the officers all care about their "positions" more than about the Revolution or the country itself. And since the American blockade is precisely the right excuse, that puts them in a community of interests with the Miami mafia. The more impenetrable the blockade, the more they can hide and deny. (If the two parties have not got together yet, it's because the guys in Miami and the local openly counter-revolutionary dissidents are all fighting one another for all of the money being channeled into subversion here. It's American taxpayers' money, and the affair was investigated by the General Accounting Office of the U.S. Federal Congress without any further consequences.)

The combined evils of bureaucracy and corruption seem to be tearing the Bolivarian Revolution apart in Venezuela, a consequence doubtlessly reflected in the declining percentage of votes won in elections (even more evident since the death of Chavez). Maduro is reacting, but he is between two knives: on the one hand, the toughest measures are needed to fight those who are corrupt, the criminals and the "pro-American" fanatics (armed and motorized); but, on the other hand, since all of them are recognized as "politicians" by the Washington mobsters, the measures needed to combat them can be seen as an excuse for further interventions. (In initiating the long-promised campaign against corruption, Maduro again accused the U.S. Embassy of supplying money to the "opposition"; the campaign will include the use of military intelligence and scientific police, while Capriles' head of political campaigns is wanted by justice for running drugs and prostitution networks.)

We ARE at a historical turning point: Where will things lead from here? Will the American Military and Prison Industrial Complex impose Global Martial Law and genocide as the "Rule of Law," or will humanity find a way to preserve itself? Another thing Fidel said: "Big crises bring big solutions." On the one hand, this is again a true statement. But, on the other hand, apart from morality in external politics and state-provided social services, Fidel doesn't have a solution anymore. Right now, not even Cuba is prepared for the very possible collapse of the American Empire. Perestroika's initial idea was for BOTH sides to admit their mistakes and crimes, but the Soviet public got corrupted by Western consumerism. The American Empire is definitely rotten from the inside out, and, while the whole world is hostage to the West's Pyrrhic victory in the "Cold War," the Western-Israeli-Saudi-Banking Establishment HAS to be put on trial for crimes against humanity. Yet, if Fidel were to issue a call for it, as recommended by Mr. Janson, it would hardly (and sadly) be taken any more seriously than a joke.

What we need is what Fidel understood very well as a young man, after witnessing the "Bogotazo" in Colombia in 1948: namely, an alternative project---a clear alternative picture of how to organize society in a different way that would change people's very behavior and mentality. Today, it has to be something that would identify all of humanity as a biological species with one single social class. Global problems require one single global state---but not one that is at the service of the elites who reproduce themselves at the expense of the rest. The needed Global Government has to be under FULL and TOTALLY RESPONSIBLE control of the people. Such an idea is surging now, but it's still far from anything solid. While the right-wing doesn't care about its own crimes, the left-wing still finds it too emotionally painful to admit its own frequent shape-shift into the right-wing. Gorbachev was simply too chicken to apply serious Marxist analysis to characterize his own circle. Regrettably, Fidel and Raul are falling into the same trap--and that is after having criticized (and rightfully so) Gorbachev a lot. If the Cuban Revolution collapses before the American Empire does, the ideological consequences of it are going to be worse than those of the Soviet collapse. Fidel knows it. But it's also true that deep constitutional changes in Cuba are under the sword of a possible military intervention by the U.S. Government and the mobsters it represents, including those in Miami. Fidel knows that, too.

It is dangerous when any nation becomes dependent on a single person. One Single Global State will not work this way. But neither will it work according to the precepts of the American Establishment's "freedom"---of which there is in any case none left anymore (if there has ever been any). The main precept of this "freedom" is to dump humanity and the planet into a garbage-basket, just like the "scary" aliens of the movie "Independence Day." The closest to the model of One Single Global Society I would identify myself with was portrayed by the Japanese film director Shohei Imamura (1926-2006) in his 1983 movie "The Ballad of Narayama." In this movie, a village isolated from the world lives totally according to its own code. But it's a code that guides the survival of the village through the ages. There is a parade of attitudes and behaviors. But THE COLLECTIVE CONSCIENCE prevails. (Shohei Imamura's somewhat earlier movie "Eijanaika!" (1981) is a spectacular lesson in the STUDY of history from a class perspective, and perhaps the Japanese movie that has impressed me the most. CLASS INTERESTS prevail there.)

In the One Single Global State, the principles of truth, honesty, transparency and responsibility can only prevail by means of a dictatorship of the people themselves. "Freedom and Democracy" is NOT the "end of ideologies"; it is JUST another ideology and it produces the same kind of fanatics that any other one does. Fanatics are also the ones who switch ideologies the easiest: just like the socks they wear , they waste ideologies while never identifying themselves with any of them. We all have SOME ideology (values), and the best we can do with it is to BE AWARE of it all the time. Humanity today is spoiled by Western individualism. Would it be ready to sacrifice personal IRRESPONSIBLE "freedoms" for the common good? It's the basic existential question of the new project.  

In this connection, Rob Kall once quoted Buckminster Fuller, an American architect, who said: "In order to change an existing paradigm you do not struggle to try and change the problematic model. You create a new model and make the old one obsolete." Once again, it's the absolute truth. But the first requirement of the new model is for humanity as a whole, and each human being as a part of humanity, to look in the mirror. Truth, honesty and transparency have to be turned into tools of Politics, Economics, Social Affairs, even Finances. Science has to count resources left for our survival after centuries of capitalist devastation, and government has to channel human forces to it. The global economy has to be rebuilt so as to ACTUALLY satisfy human needs, instead of satisfying the caprices of a few at the expense of a genocide of the majority. (I wrote about this in my comments to Noah Jonathan's article "The Dollar Economy is a Pyramid. Who gets Screwed?".)

If war is a continuation of politics by other means, as von Clausewitz put it, then politics is a continuation of economics, using ideology as its main weapon. Those who devastate the world using both bombs and budget cuts as weapons of mass destruction, blame it all on the victims. The first step in solving a problem is to admit its existence and to formulate it clearly. So, are we capable of turning the whole world into a village like the one in "The Ballad of Narayama," or are we going to let the world be blown apart so the privileged bastards---only---can take off to wander across the Universe and waste every planet's resources? The aliens of the movie "Independence Day" are scary, because they are the personification of the very worst of humanity, especially of its Western part; they are the mirror of civilization--though we want to reject them, thinking we aren't like THAT. The movie has been vastly underestimated as brainwashing, which for the left-wing is even shame. The same has to be said about the combination of the movies "The Neverending Story" and "Air Force One": in them dreams become identified with the ideology of the American Establishment. However, the native-German directors, Roland Emmerich, the director of "Independence Day," and Wolfgang Petersen, the director of the other two, knew well what they were doing. It has less to do with their being Germans than with the devil they sold their souls and brains to.

In today's world, we all depend either upon Establishments or on people like Fidel Castro. Only the collective conscience can get us out of that. But the collective conscience has got to be synchronized. So far, each establishment has been synchronizing it according to its own needs or pleasure. The new ideology we must now all consciously adopt is the survival of humanity and the preservation of the planet for future generations. Yes, that means sacrificing personal freedoms for the sake of the species. It means that humanity must start acting more like a single organism concerned with its self-preservation. It's the most honest model we can think of in today's circumstances. It means work and responsibility for everybody--in our professions, with our families, and as citizens. The age of trusting someone else with what is our own responsibility, and then blaming him/her/them for failing our trust, is over. Getting a grip on our own fate as a species really would be a step forward in human evolution. Regrettably, though, it may never happen.

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