Fidel Castro, and the end of something
Fidel Castro died today. Farewell, El Comandante. May you rest in peace.
With him also died a beacon, a light that shone in this world. A light that said Cuba would not be ruled by America; become a puppet state, or be threatened and bullied. Cuba would not bow down to harsh blockades and embargoes, or listen to the cries and complaints of the exiles in Florida. There would not be another Batista, and no more Mafia or gangsters to exploit this poor country.
Some have described him as a dictator. Others say that he lived in luxury as his people struggled to survive. His alliance with the Soviet Union almost brought the modern world to war once again, during the missile crisis in 1962. The Soviets retreated, but Castro never gave in. He gave education to his people. He gave them a better health service, more freedoms, and less corruption than they had ever known. He may not have been perfect, nobody is. But anything was better than the Batista regime he replaced, and his determination to see through the Cuban Revolution was an inspiration to all of us on the Left.
The future for his country may now be uncertain. The vultures will be circling, and a Republican is going to be in the White House. But we had Fidel for when it really counted, and he never did less than stand up for what he believed in, and to try to get the best for Cuba. There have been few like him in my lifetime, and in the time I have left, I do not expect to see another.
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz 1926-2016. You will be missed.
Look up ‘Communism’ in WordPress, and you will find some really crazy blogs. With notable exceptions, they are all vehemently anti-Communist. Many are written by anti-Castro Cubans, and more by extreme Right groups, or Christian fundamentalists. What really grabs you, are the insane ideas and suggestions, all presented as facts.
Someone calling himself ‘holidayperspective’, from Denmark, believes that Communists are better treated than Nazis, despite the fact that they might have been responsible for more deaths in History. He uses evidence of hat badges to support this. See for yourself here; http://hollidayperspective.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/national-socialism-vs-communism/
This next genius uses the fact that the star symbol is used in many non-Communist countries as proof that they are all actually Communists. He includes all the EU, and America in this. Have a look ; http://peoplethinkthat.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/communism/
Check out this Texan lady, who asserts that Obama is a Marxist, and Muslime (sic) usurper SOB. What goes on inside her head, I wonder? http://newtgingrichforpresident2012.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/dhs-extinguishes-197-million-peoples-4th-amendment-rights-in-constitution-free-zones/
Another American, this time seriously discussing his ‘proof’ that Hitler was not Right-Wing, and was in fact, a Communist! I presume that he does not like his own Right-Wing views to be associated with Nazis. Tough. See what you think; http://whatdidyousay.org/2013/08/06/achtung-hitler-and-history-lies-weve-been-told/ Here is another post from the same man, claiming that Muslims and Communists have already taken over America. He actually lives there, so he must see his world from a really different perspective to those of us outside the U.S. http://whatdidyousay.org/2013/08/05/the-u-s-has-already-been-taken-over-by-muslims-communists/
Here’s another old favourite, the contention that Jews and Bolsheviks are one and the same, so Zionism and Communism are serving the same purpose. Does he really think that the modern state of Israel, or the Orthodox Jews who extol Zionist beliefs, have anything in common with International Communism? http://uprootedpalestinians.wordpress.com/2013/08/05/bolshevism-and-zionism-are-ideologically-indistinguishable/
I could go on with this all night, but enough is enough. The great thing about Blogging, is that we are all free to write about anything, and to publish our opinions on any subject we choose. Irrespective of whether or not I agree with anyone, I like the fact that they can churn out this stuff to their heart’s content, and would support their right to do so, within reason. What does worry me though, is the constant representation of ideas as fact; with spurious, intangible ‘evidence’ presented to support this. I hope that the bloggers mentioned increase their readership a little, courtesy of these links. Do keep writing, all of you; just a bit less hysteria and paranoia presented as truth. Please.
And to all Americans who genuinely believe that you live in a country that is remotely Communist, or ruled by Muslim fundamentalists. You really need to get out more.
“We are literally backing the same people in Syria that we are fighting in Afghanistan and that have just killed our ambassador in Libya! We must finally abandon the interventionist impulse before it is too late.” – Congressman Ron Paul, September 16, 2012
http://prolecenter.wordpress.com/2013/06/16/the-anti-empire-report-117-2/ William Blum
I read the above quote on another blog. It was in an article by William Blum, link above, that I can recommend as an interesting read. I just felt that this one quote sums up the complete nonsense of American foreign policy, and by default, the foreign policy of all their allies too.
When the Soviet Union was fighting the Taliban in the 1980’s, the West embraced the same religious fanatics we are currently castigating (and bombing). Arms were supplied, advisors sent off to assist, and their leaders, including Osama Bin Laden, and Abu Hamza al-Masri, were hailed as heroic freedom fighters. Thirty years later, and those Western allies are dumping the body of one in the ocean, (supposedly) and extraditing the other to face trial in the USA. During the Iran/Iraq war, spread over eight years during the same 1980’s, we were in no doubt who the West wanted to win. Iraq was hailed as the sensible aggressor, and their army would save the region from the excesses of the Ayatollahs, and fundamentalist Muslim fanatics. It is fair to say, that whilst no side actually won, the West was pleased that the Iraqis were not defeated, and that Iran had lost the flower of its manhood, in an relatively pointless conflict.
By 1990, the same country that we had supported for so long, including the supply of most of the weapons we later accused them of concealing, had become a sworn enemy, and the First Gulf War was the outcome. By 2003, the Iraqis had still not learned their lesson, and a laughable implication of their supposed role in the 9/11 attacks, ended with the destruction of the regime, and much of the country along with it. Not long after, those same Western allies invaded Afghanistan, ostensibly to help the legitimate government get rid of the Taliban, and to introduce freedoms for women, and non-fundamentalist Muslims there. Strangely enough, this was almost exactly the same reason the Soviets had given for their intervention, twenty years earlier.
Saudi Arabia, long held to be a friend of the West, is now beginning to be criticised. They are suspected of harbouring terrorists, and not doing enough to bring peace to the region. Their laws are too strict for ‘our’ taste, and they are controlling a cartel of price-fixing OPEC countries, making us pay too much for our oil. Iran is close to achieving the manufacture of a nuclear weapon, we are told. They are not friends of the West, and do not allow the necessary freedoms in their country. They also charge too much for their oil, and also choose who to sell it to. This huge country, with a population of 80,000,000, is written off by the West, with no regard to its former power and influence, as the once mighty Persian Empire. It is treated like a naughty schoolboy in the classroom that is the world, simply because it refuses to play the game with the Western Powers. Crippled by sanctions, reviled, and misrepresented, is it any wonder that it has become isolationist, suspicious, and unfriendly?
Being a former friend of America, Britain, and France, has become decidedly dangerous. Those countries that have never sought, or been granted this boon, are succeeding where others have failed. Cuba, China, North Korea, to name but a few, have escaped invasion by foreign powers, (at least in modern times) and in many cases are courted as business opportunities, or at the very least, tolerated, even ridiculed; but not bombed. The outcome of being a friend, enlisting support, and often taking power as a result, is plain to see. Give it a few years, and America, and their allies, will be back to take it all away again. Countries like Syria, Libya, and Somalia, would be wise to look at these examples, and change direction accordingly.
The only good Commie
There are many versions of the phrase: ‘The Only Good Commie, is a Dead Commie’. They mostly derive from America, and can be seen on T-shirts, bumper stickers, badges, and other places. To me, this begs the question, can there be good and bad ‘Commies’? Well of course there can, and history has shown us that this is true. In the same way that there can be good and bad Christians, or good and bad in any walk of life. Some people take a concept, or a faith, even a political belief, and corrupt it to their own ends. Some have used the principles of Communism to do good for the majority, even though this has made them unpopular with many others. Others have simply hidden behind the ideals, as they carved out personal empires, irrespective of the cost to their country.
There are others claiming to be communists, and perceived to be so, when they obviously are not. A good example of this would be the regime in North Korea, since the cessation of hostilities there, in the early 1950’s. This regime has a lot more in common with the dictatorships of the extreme right in the 1930’s, and the cult of personality that accompanied them. The leaders follow a dynastic principle, based on the right of one family to rule, echoing the ancient claims of royalty, in countries all over the world. It has little or no foundation, and is maintained by fear, lack of education, and intense propaganda.
An example of the opposite to this might be the leadership in Cuba, since the fall of Batista. True, there is no opposition to speak of, and it is not a democracy, in any accepted sense. The leaders live well, and better than most of the population, as is evident. However, they come from a background of communal struggle, and have kept the respect and admiration of most of the people, particularly the working classes. Those criminal elements, or wealthy landowners who resisted them, have mostly departed to America, to carry on their campaign of vilification from elsewhere. For many Cubans, the revolution gave them education, employment, and freedoms that they had never know. This may have been at the expense of many things that other counties consider to be essential, and it is true that the economic development of Cuba depended greatly on outside help, from sympathetic governments elsewhere. It is easy to forget that this is equally true of almost any country existing today, as there are few that can ever expect to ‘go it alone’. Cubans could easily have sought help from anti-communist countries to overthrow Castro, but they chose not to. This has not been driven by fear, or isolation, as with North Korea, but from the realisation that life is better for the majority, under the current system there.
Look past the red flags, and the iconography of Communism, and you will soon see that it is mostly driven by intellectuals, and well-educated individuals, who manifest their social conscience by the application of egalitarian politics. To make this work, they empower the working classes, and attempt to educate the traditionally conservative rural population. They unashamedly adopt the position that they will do right for most, at the expense of some, but that they must be allowed to do so unencumbered by the diversions of unnecessary elections, haggling landowners, and destructive opponents. These leaders are the opposite of those in other systems, where they use accumulation of personal wealth, the creed of acquisition, fear of change, and Nationalism, to promote their Capitalist philosophies.
Much is made of the so-called ‘secretive’ methods employed by Communists; closed borders, non-transferable currencies, and control of the media. Is it really so different elsewhere? Do we really believe that the so-called open policies of the British Secret Service, do not simply hide a huge system underneath? Because they have a website, and a photo of the head of operations, does this mean that we are free to act and feel in any way we wish? It would be naive to fall for this, in the same way that it would be childish to believe that our media is not subject to control, at every level. Propaganda works in two directions, so we are essentially no better informed than others in any country. We just think that we are.
To discount Communism as an idea, quoting the excesses of Stalin, Pol Pot, and Mao Tse-tung, is no different to dismissing Christianity over the Crusades, right-wing fundamentalists, or Vatican political involvements. In the right place, and managed by the right people, it may well hold the key to the future of man, as a social being.