The Third International after Lenin

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Cuban example

An editorial from 1995:

Cuba: Rebel, Don't Cower! 

Is it a foolhardy mistake for revolutionary Cuba to stand up to the U.S. Goliath in today's world? This is the message Washington and Wall Street would have working people believe. Powerful evidence in recent months, however, has confirmed the opposite. By acting decisively in defense of the revolution, Cuban working people and their government have pushed back the wealthy U.S. rulers and their international cohorts.

The latest U.S. attacks, including the new law that tightens the economic squeeze on Cuba, are a product of increasing imperialist weakness, not strength. Instead of faltering, the Cuban revolution has grown stronger.

Above all, the U.S. rulers' policy toward Cuba is determined by the fact that they lost the cold war. For several decades, Washington tried to pressure the bureaucratic castes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe to police the working class in those countries, hoping this would eventually weaken these states enough to launch a direct assault on them. But imperialism lost its enforcers when those regimes shattered in face of working-class resistance in 1989-91.

As Washington's recent hostile measures against Cuba and war moves against China and Yugoslavia indicate, imperialism will be unable to overthrow any workers state and reestablish capitalism short of direct military intervention. Working people in those countries are now resisting demands by the capitalist powers to squeeze them further.

This blow to imperialism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe was one of the first major consequences of the world capitalist economic crisis, announced by the 1987 stock market crash. Instead of a new world capitalist order, the 1990s opened a period of economic depression, instability, and sharpening rivalries between imperialist powers - as well as recurring working-class resistance. And the Havana-Washington axis of conflict remains the most direct manifestation of the international battle between imperialism and the dictatorship of the proletariat.

The most dramatic proof that U.S. imperialism lost the cold war is the fact that the Cuban revolution has emerged politically stronger. Since the crumbling of the Stalinist regimes, the Cuban working class has been weighed down less than ever by the burden of Stalinist political miseducation; it has become less isolated from class struggle around the world.

For 37 years, Washington's goal has been to undermine and overthrow the Cuban revolution. Politically incapable of using direct military power against the Cuban people, U.S. imperialism has employed "low-intensity warfare." It has tried a mercenary invasion, the encouragement of counterrevolutionary terror, threat of nuclear annihilation, an economic and trade embargo, assassination attempts, occupation of the Guantánamo Naval Base, and a campaign to isolate Cuba internationally. All this has failed to break Cuba's working class and its communist vanguard.

Unlike the petty-bourgeois regimes in the former Soviet bloc countries, Cuba's revolutionary leadership has not made any fundamental concessions to imperialism. It has refused to subordinate the interests of workers and farmers to accommodation or collaboration with the masters of the empire to the north. The communist leadership in Cuba has not only remained determined to defend the revolution, but has not budged from its internationalist course in support of the world struggle for national liberation and socialism.

Thus, the 37-year-long trade embargo and other hostile U.S. moves are not an irrational policy for the superrich class. They are pragmatic moves that spring from imperialism's cold- blooded class interests. And they are a result of weakness.

In the last six years, despite a formidable economic crisis that followed the abrupt disruption of aid and trade on favorable terms with the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, Cuban working people have tenaciously resisted the effects of the world capitalist crisis. They have come out stronger and more confident of their own capacities. While everywhere else in Latin America working people face a worsening economic and social calamity, in Cuba they have succeeded through their collective efforts in putting their country on the road to economic recovery.

The resilience of the Cuban people has frustrated the U.S. rulers. As a result, the Clinton administration - which answers to the billionaire ruling families and to them alone - has lashed out with measures to tighten the embargo and travel ban. As the column by Naomi Craine on this page explains, the "Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act" was not a hasty reaction to Cuba's shooting down of U.S.-based planes invading its airspace, but a calculated move in Washington's bipartisan war on the socialist revolution in that country.

The new legislation also registers the intensifying trade offensive by Washington against its capitalist competitors, especially in Canada and Europe. Despite their howls of outrage over Washington asserting its domination of the imperialist Atlantic alliance, Ottawa, Paris, London, and Bonn are not about to put their meager economic ties with socialist Cuba ahead of those with the U.S. colossus.

As Carlos Lage, vice president of Cuba's Council of Ministers, explained recently, the Cuban people will certainly feel the harsh impact of the tightened trade embargo. But they will do so as a sovereign and socialist people, not as a people on its knees. A common remark voiced by Cuban workers today is, "The Helms-Burton law is criminal, but we're not going to lose any sleep over it."

The strength of Cuba's working people has been demonstrated in their preparations for the upcoming congress of the Central Organization of Cuban Workers (CTC). In tens of thousands of factories, farm cooperatives, and offices, workers are discussing how to assure their revolutionary power, collectively increase production of food and other basic products, combat profiteering by middle-class layers, and defend their socialist revolution against Washington's military threats, economic assaults, and ideological war. They know, as President Fidel Castro recently put it, "there is no alternative to socialism...because without it, we would lose our independence."

For working people in the United States and around the world - from Chicanos protesting racist attacks to strikers defending their picket lines and young feminists marching for women's rights - the example of Cuba answers the well-worn arguments of the oppressor, who always tells the oppressed: "The odds are against you." From the streets of Havana to the fields of Guantánamo province, the reply to Washington has been, and is, "Yes, but we beat you anyway."

That is the truth about Cuba that workers and young fighters everywhere must tell. One of the best ways to find out for yourself is to go to Cuba and attend the CTC convention. In the United States and elsewhere, working people can take part in educational events and protests against the Clinton administration's anti-Cuba policies and undemocratic measures, such as the subpoena of members of Pastors for Peace to appear before a grand jury and the denial of visas to Cuban youth leaders invited to tour U.S. campuses. Through such activities, it will be possible to win more people to demand:

U.S. Hands Off Cuba!

The Militant - 4/15/96 -- Cuba: Rebel, Don't Cower!

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