My Concept of Revolution

Osmel Almaguer

HAVANA TIMES — “There are two types of revolutionaries,” a friend of mine said to me, though I didn’t respond, since I completely disagree with him. “There’s one type of revolutionary — I’d like to tell him — that you can identify by their level of honesty.”

Revolution means changing the world, but to be able to change the world you have to understand it, and it’s essential to be aware of what people don’t like.

Those people who are activists in institutions and organizations here, and in them maintain a “vigorous” attitude against “what’s poorly done” and who – in order to hang on to some benefits – slap around others who “talk crap” in the street, aren’t always revolutionaries.

There’s a lot of parroting, a bunch of idol worshipping; a great deal opportunistic pleasure seeking, and a whole lot of shamelessness – much of it even sadistic, though disguised as being “revolutionary.”

The best example of a revolutionary that I’ve always had is my father. I recognize this because he’s capable of giving his life for the ideas in which he believes. I recognize this because even from his “battle position,” he does more than what’s asked.

He generates ideas, tries to improve the lives of people, fights for the community, and — above all — he respects my ideas, even though he doesn’t share all of them.

I too consider myself a revolutionary, though I don’t think the same as many people who label themselves as such.

I hate nationalism. We all know that extreme nationalism is the threshold of fascism. Nor do I like the idea of “defending the revolution at any cost.”

There are diseases that must be suffered for the body to cure itself, and as much as it hurts us to see our loved ones suffer and cry, we have to go through with that cure. That’s how we must act.

And right now, secretismo (“secrecy-ism”) can serve as the perfect hiding place for the bacteria that our country is trying to eliminate.

There are many things that must be changed in Cuba and that change has to be done quickly. In such a turbulent period, ideas too often get blown adrift among the chaotic currents.

My ideas are no exception. But if there’s one thing I can be sure of, it’s that it’s not the same to say “the standard of living of Cubans is acceptable according to such and such parameters” as to say “the perception of Cubans on their standard of living is much lower, relative to the hardships they suffer.”

Either I’m wrong or I just did my duty as a revolutionary, though some will say the contrary.

One thought on “My Concept of Revolution

  • You open an interesting and relevant subject, Osmel, the question of being “revolutionary.”

    Our US movement has all but discarded the term “revolutionary” in describing ourselves. We now use “transformationary.” This is not because we are “afraid” of revolution. It is because we believe that the term is grossly overused and is often used fraudulently; but also because it is a term that helps the monopoly capitalist enemy to separate us from the people, and sets us up for repression.

    We are transformationaries. Whether a “revolution” will be necessary at some point in the future for the US people to achieve the socialist government they will come to desire, will be answered by history, not by frothy rhetoric.

    Socialist state power might be achieved in any given country by various means. These might include workers’ insurrection; military coup; civil war; guerrilla war; electoral accession to office, backed up by overwhelming public support; or perhaps others. What is important, we feel, is that the new socialist government should undertake a correct program of social transformation.

    The Cuban Revolution undertook a state monopoly ownership program, and the transformation toward a classless society has faltered after a half-century. (We will not make that mistake.)

    In Cuba, it seems to me that those who hope to “perfect” the socialist model by discarding the disproved state monopoly principle might wish to call themselves transformationaries, rather than revolutionaries. Cheers.

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