The Other Enemies of the Revolution

Jimmy Roque Martínez

HAVANA TIMES – Elio Delgado’s post, “The Enemies of the Revolution,” left me surprised at the ingenuousness and blindness of the content. I know that it’s not much different from other writing by that author, but this time it’s worth the trouble of offering some simple rejoinders.

I’m an anarchist and I don’t feel any desire to save the Cuban Revolution as I’ve known it. But I’m not a counterrevolutionary either.

The example that Elio offers of the May 1st parades is almost offensive to the Cuban workers who – as everyone knows – are not interested in marching to the Plaza. They do so because their workplaces require them to.

It’s absurd to believe that the workers don’t display signs demanding an increase in their salaries because they trust the Cuban government. The salaries in Cuba have been insufficient for more than 20 years and the government hasn’t solved the matter.

The island’s leadership has adopted measures such as raising the retirement age, raising the prices of all products, especially of food, and introducing a tax for workers to pay.

In addition, they’ve imposed a Labor Code that leaves a large segment of Cubans unprotected. The Code doesn’t include any right to strike, and in addition legalizes the government’s theft of a part of the low salaries that foreign firms pay Cuban workers on the island.

These are the measures that the revolutionary state has approved for the workers, who in addition are not allowed to carry signs that call for their rights- not in the May Day parade, or in any other.

They are kept from doing so by the State Security forces and by the fear that has been instilled in them.

Elio refers to anarchy as “the position that argues for the disappearance of the State and all other power and the free association of individuals.” Yes, that’s close to what anarchy is. The free association of individuals is equivalent to liberty and human rights. Who can be against these values?

The author states in astonishment: “Yes, anarchist positions in the 21st century itself.” Doesn’t he know that anarchist organizations have played a decisive role in the foundation of the world anti-capitalist movement; in the events of the 15M protests in Spain and the neighborhood assemblies that were formed afterwards; in the Occupy Wall Street movement in the US; and in the gigantic demonstrations in Brazil in 2013?

People should be free to express their ideas without facing consequences for their lives. That ideal isn’t possible in many parts of the world; it’s true, much less in Cuba.

Finally, Elio, a multi-party system isn’t necessarily more democratic, but the history of the 20th century has shown us that a one-party system is definitely much less so.

You have to converse with people, go out onto the street and observe. You have to love the people and desire their well-being. It pains me to watch the elderly going through the trash. That shouldn’t be happening in a country that allows itself to be called socialist and revolutionary.

Definitely, it’s neither socialist nor revolutionary and every day it moves farther away from being so.

28 thoughts on “The Other Enemies of the Revolution

  • well you didn’t answer a question regarding consumerism so i ask you again. Do you own
    a TV, computer, cell phone, toaster, fridge, netflix (tv) wifi (computer cell phone) CAR, buy gas,
    pay utility bills, go to coffee shops, drink, eat fast food, take medical weed, go to movies, buy books, read books to your liking, smoke cig’s, listen to music of your choice, enjoy city parks,
    eat good ice cream ( see Coppelia) or just preach a change in a system other than one presently in the US? i threw in a few that have nothing to do with consumerism but what the F! look forward to your response.

  • You have an interesting history.
    and to comply with (Leninist/totalitarian) Circles Robinson, were Cuba to follow the anarchism of Kropotkin, of Bakunin , of Chomsky , there would be no totalitarian forms in Cuba only the democratic systems as these people saw as inevitable in the future of humanity.
    In his penultimate paragraph the author fails to acknowledge the crushing embargo in describing dire poverty in Cuba.
    IMO, that failure to deal with reality brings his entire article under suspicion.
    Lastly , Poder Popular is a quite adequate democratic electoral system as written and it obviates the need for ANY political parties.
    Leninism has caused it to be corrupted into a top-down reality and perhaps only normalization of relations with the Empire will bring about conditions conducive to the institutionalization of democratic systems .
    Multi-party systems are eminently corruptible in a capitalist economy . You need look no further than the USA. for proof of that.

  • No more than I would conflate the interests of any totalitarian ruling elite with those governed including in the USA .
    As an anarchist I have little love for any existing government OR top-down power structure.
    Question Authority.

  • ….well at least he does no pretend to be 71 years old!

  • John, the mistake you seem to be making is to automatically equate the self-interests of the Cuban nomenclatura with the interests of the Cuban people.

  • Well I do have the opportunity to buy a book by Chomsky and if I desire any other author and i did march and protest the Vietnam was and was on the front lines so that perhaps is more than the people of Cuba have and yes I do read ZNET and even right wing bloggers from Miami. In fact, like JFK, when I was a kid read seven newspapers a day. Oh, another fact, that you may or may not be familiar with Berkeley Barb, East Village Other, Village Voice and were staples some that I can’t remember because I came from the sixties. Abbie Hoffman sat next to me a few times and personally didn’t like him. You needn’t worry about educating me but one thing I recommend is seeing how the other side lives and try to change things without being confrontational
    My comment regarding the second amendment, and I don’t own a gun and never will, is the shit will hit the fan if everything you want happens. A question I think I asked but if not do you own a computer? Do you own a cell
    phone? If not I admire you for living the way you preach so what’ s the answer?

  • John and Bjmack you are straying far away from the subject of the article. If you wish to continue commenting here please return to the original article.

  • Ah yes the beloved and misquoted 2nd amendment -No one seems to read the qualifying opening to that amendment which speaks to the need for an armed means to repel enemies when there is no standing army to do so.
    I would not be stupid enough to buy weapons to protect me from the U.S. government
    Even were you to have all the guns you could possibly buy, anti-aircraft missile batteries and nukes, if the USG wanted to kill your ass, you’d be dead .
    Not many can outgun their local police much less heavily armored SWAT teams, State police, the National Guard and finally any and all the armed forces.
    Obama has more than doubled military outposts in Africa and like all presidents before him will maintain free-enterprise capitalism in the world as instructed by his owners. This involves eternal war until the end of the American Empire or any empire .
    The price of empire nowadays is eternal war
    Gay marriage, pot legalization, other social matters are bread and circuses for the masses while the wealthy take some 90% of all money made since the so-called end of the recession. These steps represent no threat to the established capitalist order.
    Center-right Obama like conservative Republican
    G.W. Bush gave billions to the wealthy and let millions lose their homes as the wages of the middle class have sunk and jobs go elsewhere. (This last the fault of globalization and automation).
    Obama does not represent change . He represents continuity of the status quo which is privilege for the wealthy at the expense of the working class and poor.
    You might want to find alternative sources of information and disabuse yourself of these illusions in which Obama is an overall force for good .
    As usual I recommend a daily dose of reality at ZNet .
    Try this:
    1) go to ZNet
    2) pick a story out of the recent articles that is about something you know or are interested in.
    3) read what that particular author has to say
    4) compare his facts, perspectives with those you find at your regular sources of info .
    5) decide who is the most factual
    6) repeat daily
    The odds are hugely in favor of your not doing this
    based on more than 10 years of my personal experience and several fairly recent university and media studies. It is the nature of the right to not look into things that are in heavy factual disagreement with their present beliefs.
    Personally , I look to be proven wrong at every opportunity and relish the attempts made to do so .
    Every new argument is valued information in a very big picture.

  • The elimination of the embargo has nothing to do with any interpretation of socialism.
    The Cuban leadership would be stone crazy to let down its guard as long as the USG is out to crush the revolution as the maintenance of the embargo amply shows is the case.
    Cuba is Fidelista and not Stalinist as are all other Communist Parties. All those so-called communists believed in and followed revolution in one country policies ( Stalinism) which in the U.S. or other capitalist countries included choosing the lesser of the evil bourgeois capitalists running in a given election , something a principled communist, socialist or anarchist should/would never do.
    IMO, it is already too late to alter the course the Cuban leadership will take AFTER normalization .
    If the U.S Congress drags out the elimination of hostilities, the Cuban leadership will , for sure , maintain its Leninist ways.
    If it no longer fears any sort of outside attack, if the economy rockets as many hope and expect , the Cuban people who already support their government, if only to oppose imperialism which the Cuban people recognize as an existential threat I’m fairly confident that surge in wealth will bring about a new enthusiasm for the revolutionary government.
    That support should allay any fears the leadership may have in introducing democratic socialism as their “Communist Party” label and revolutionary promises dictate they SHOULD.
    They will do what they will do and at this time, no one can say what’s in the minds of the Cuban leadership nor how long it will take to end U.S. hostilities from which ending all changes will flow.

  • John, I’m not a big fan of either party but like him or not Obama has made some significant changes. Gay marriage and major political recognition,
    Middle East specifically Iran, less combat in Iraq, embassies in Cuba and Health Care. Now some may not like the guy for the aforementioned changes but they are large. Regarding Capitalism, the federal reserve has pumped over five trillion dollars to fix an economy that was in ruins seven years ago and I for one still weep over that one. I also think that if the empire collapsed
    you better take advantage of the second amendment because it wouldn’t be
    bears and mountain lions you’d have to worried about. Anarchists would be the first to get tarred and feathered. Be careful what you pray for!!

  • Once the embargo has been defeated as suggested by you there will be no space left in Cuba for other interpretaions of socialism.
    If the Cuban givernment were genuine in putting the struggle against the embargo first it would seek to build a broad alliance rather than alienating those who disagree with both the embargo and its narrow form of pseudo-socialism. Rememebr Spain, when the Soviet Union put the fight against non-Stalinists above the fight against Franco. Bythe time you finally decide to criticise the Cuban government it may well be too late.

  • You have no personal knowledge about the way Cubans in Cuba actually think. time to get a passport and go and spend some time in the reality of Cuba.

  • What has changed in the USA is that it has become an oligarchy which is a government run by the wealthy far more so than in the past and due to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the wealthy could spend any amount of money they wanted to elect a person.
    Each of the candidates for the presidency and other major offices in the USG receive funding from corporations after promising to serve the corporate needs once elected .
    Each of the two major-party candidates for president gets around a billion dollars and most of it from relatively few very big donors and often those donors give to both candidates to ensure influence.
    No it’s not a conspiracy, it’s just how capitalism corrupts everything and everyone.
    We do have the best government money can buy.
    And…there is absolutely no chance that those in power will ever relinquish their enormous power until capitalism collapses.
    You can think about when that will be.

  • Anarchists can have disagreements even though we all agree on democracy being essential.
    As long as the U.S. embargo is inflicted upon Cuba, I will excuse the totalitarian state capitalism in Cuba as temporarily necessary .
    Cuba’s economic system must be allowed to normalize before its problems can be pinned on the Cuban government and if at that time the leadership does not move towards a socialist i.e. DEMOCRATIC society or worse, reverts to totalitarian neo-liberal capitalism as many of you posters wish , then I’ll have more than plenty bad to say about the Cuban leadership.
    A great many posters believe that trading the autochthonous Cuban totalitarian state capitalism for a U.S. -style totalitarian free-enterprise system without the present social safety nets would be preferable .
    The problem with thinking that way is that the overwhelming majority of 11 million Cubans do not agree with that thinking.

  • .
    Regarding your school-yard level response :
    I totally understand your reluctance to enter into any serious discussion about democracy given your totalitarian bent
    I prefer to live in the heart of the beast and effect change from within. Thank you

  • That’s not what I wrote at all. First of all, I did not yell. Secondly, I did not tell John he has no right to speak, nor am I suggesting he be exiled.

    What I am asking is a very reasonable question: why if he hates America so much does he continue to live there? He is free to leave and go live in Cuba, for example. The fact that he choses to live in America, and that he has never been persecuted or harassed by the government for expressing his opinions does show that life in America is not at all the horrible experience he would make it out to be, and he knows it.

    Likewise Dan, although you have frequently visited Cuba, you always return to live in America, which you claim is a terrible country. That strikes me as a tad hypocritical.

  • Griffin, Martinez is courageous and I agree with him half way. As someone who knows directly a major player in the anarchy world, and love him, they’re mostly dogmatic and sadly won’t compromise or budge from their beliefs. I certainly admire some of their thinking but overall as stubborn as the Irishman who’s writing this. The world needs less ideologues and more free thinkers to become more progressive. We certainly don’t need more Fidel’s, who to his credit did some job ridding Cuba of a bad man BUT as many expat’s who supported him, became unbending and scary. Independence for Cuba I support and although I wasn’t in Cuba when the revolution came to a close, the vacuum that was created by Batista must never happen again. I only hope the Cuban people make the right choices when they get the opportunity to do so. Elio is sincere but part of the problem.

  • My feelings Marti is that there is a major shift from the Capitalistic approach we witnessed for years in this country. The Federal Reserve has been the only player here and if people think government intervention didn’t save the real estate market, banks and inner cities they’re living in Fantasyland. It’s now controlled by the same folks who put us in this situation so we need to change the dynamics to make it work better without the dire consequences we will be soon facing. Spend the little bit you have because I don’t think it’ll be worth as much when the final results are realized.

  • Wait a minute. Don’t you Cuba haters exorcise the Cuban government for limiting dissent ? It’s funny that when the US is criticized the first thing you do is yell fuera gusano, i.e., love it or leave it. You true concern for freedom of expression is doubtful.

  • John, you repeatedly have claimed to be an anarchist. How about defending the flesh and blood Cuban anarchist Jimmy Roque Martinez rather than making ever more excuses for the Stalinists running Cuba?

  • It must be horrible for you, living as you do in such an evil, undemocratic totalitarian empire, with no human rights or freedoms, chained to a wall, toiling as a slave, beaten daily…

    sad face… : – (

    Why don’t you move to Cuba?

  • In all his writing about bad economic conditions, Jimmy did not once mention the very effective U.S. embargo and the poverty it has caused island-wide and as intended.
    To criticize the Cuban government is fine . To do it in this one-sided fashion while the island , the revolution is under an existential attack is something I would never do or agree with.
    To take the side of those who would re-impose U.S. style totalitarian systems is not something I would wish to do.
    If and when the U.S. stops its hostilities and Cuba does not democratize, you will be hearing plenty from me against that government BUT not until the U.S. ends its attempt -aided by witting and unwitting accomplices -to impose its imperial will on the people of Cuba.
    After that, my view of the revolution will depend on if and how it moves toward anarchist ( democratic) ideals.
    To be clear: I support the Cuban fight against the U.S. attempt to crush the revolution. I oppose the anti-democratic top-down (Leninist) Cuban political system and the likewise undemocratic nature of the PCC but deem those faults secondary in importance to the defense of the revolution in the face of the existential U.S. threat.

  • Anarchism BECAUSE it is centered on bottom-up democracy is anathema to both the U.S. oligarchy and the present Leninist Cuban leadership, both of which have assumed totalitarian control of their respective countries.
    Both countries’ economic and electoral systems need democratization and while Cuba has a small chance of carrying out that democratization, the USA IMO will be the last country to go that route, totalitarianism being essential to any empire.

  • The early Cuban Anarchists, many of who were leaders in the revolution against the dictator Machado in the 1930’s, had established power centres in the trade unions of Cuba. In the 1950’s in Cuba, as the Communists took over the Cuban trade unions, these old guard Anarchists were violently expelled from the unions.

    After the Cuban Revolution, as Castro then took over the Communist Party, the old anarchists were few and with little power. They were told to either join the Revolution, or be labelled counter-revolutionaries. Eventually, even those who joined the Revolution were purged.

    Martinez is a courageous man to declare his political alignment so clearly. He might consider himself as not a counter-revolutionary, but the Castro regime does see anarchism as a threat to their hold on power, which is the same thing in their mind.

  • Individual freedom is a hard thing to secure. Always groups emerge that want to rule over the masses. Some time by naked force, but often under the guise of theocratic benovolance or fairness and equality social order. Always the price is personal liberty. Of all the flawed systems, free market with regulation to control monopoly enterprises gives the individual the most personal freedom. It is not so eassy, as always some one wants to help generate better outcomes for some and thus the end of freedom starts.

  • Very good analysis and clearly, the author is correct in his assertion that political freedom is not happening in Cuba. Self government is the way to go but an example on how this isn’t being carried out would be Greece. The recent referendum, 60% in favor of not going along with the recent EU agreement, is sad and indicative of how peoples voices are not being adhered to. On the other side, Ireland voted to legalize gay marriages is mind blowing and a positive as to what the will of the people decide and legitimize. Cuba has a long way to go but I’m optimistic that changes will be faster rather than slower. thanks! The key will be social media and getting the message out. Oh, it’s your country JImmy so good luck!

  • We who partake in these columns are well acquainted with another anarchist, Mr. John Goodrich. But his views are in contrast with those of Jimmy Roque Martinez although both write that the political system in Cuba operated by the Castro family regime is not socialist. But Jimmy says that the free association of individuals is equivalent to liberty and human rights.
    I do not associate the writings of Mr, Goodrich with those same values he who tends to support the Castro family regime without any personal knowledge and to attack the freedom offered by countries in the Western capitalist world – don’t get confused with the continuous stream of criticism of all things American which will inevitably form any responses from Mr. Goodrich, the racist Analyser, the misogynist Dan, Dani, the rambling Nidal et al. But they should note Jimmy’s comments about the regime in the first part of his article – and query which of two self confessed anarchists is correct about Cuba – Mr. John Goodrich or Jimmy Roque Martinez?

  • It’s ironic that while I would likely disagree with most of this writer’s political views, we seem to completely agree with each other regarding the Elio Delgado Legon’s false claims.

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