Unnecessary Violence Is Counter-Productive

By Pedro Campos and other comrades

Havana Sunset.  Photo: Caridad
Havana Sunset. Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES, Nov. 10 – This is written with bitterness; we would have preferred not to have had to do it, but ethical and revolutionary principles allow no another alternative.

We have been warning of the growing distance between Cuba’s executive-administrative offices and the people in general.  This has been due to political-economic and social errors committed over the last few decades and the absence of true dialogue with the grassroots and between revolutionary forces.

A revolution that doesn’t lead to the delivering of real power -control over the economy and all of the decisions that affect the workers and the people- ends up unforgivably to the contrary: repressing the left and its own people (as was demonstrated in the bankrupt socialist attempts of the 20th century in Europe and Asia).

Lately, serious errors made by the bureaucracy are accelerating political decomposition and fomenting division within the ranks of the revolutionary forces.

No true revolutionary is willing to support the reverse of the Cuban Revolution or the restoration of private capitalism, be it from the forces of the right or from the bureaucracy.  However, nor can we agree with repressing with violence those who simply express a different thought, or those who wish to peacefully express their points of views, even if we don’t agree with them.

“When they came to look for a communist, no one stood up; when they came to look for a Jew, no one stood up; when they came to look for me, no one was left.” This is what happened in fascist Germany.

“I can disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”  This has been a revolutionary maxim of all ages.

The actions of the enemy and the opposition should be rejected correspondingly.  To counter-revolutionary violence there is no alternative except responding in the same way.  But overreaction, responding with violence against peaceful action, has demonstrated itself in practice to be counterproductive and to create a backlash against those who apply it.

We who think this way cannot agree with the use of repressive actions against people who want to demonstrate peacefully and openly, even though we don’t share their positions – and steadfastly oppose them ideologically.

Two main reasons lead to the disapproval of actions of repression against peaceful opposition.

1.       To accept the violence would stolidly imply being an accomplice to the violation of the sacred human right of free expression, a right that has deep roots in the revolutionary history of Cuba.  From the Sierra Maestra Mountains, Fidel, Camilo and Che taught us to respect the opponent and to avoid unnecessary violence.  Likewise, in the Montecristi Manifesto, Marti established the ethical principles of the treatment of the opposition.

2.       These actions only serve to strengthen those whom they are directed against, supplying them with proof for their accusations of the violation of the rights of the Cuban people. This damages the international image of the Revolution and further complicates the already difficult domestic political situation.

Those who want to erase the colors of life and daub everything in black and white -those who act violently without need- are serving the enemies of the Revolution; they are helping to consolidate the people they are supposedly combating.

To reject unnecessary violence does not denigrate the revolutionary and socialist position; quite the contrary – it dignifies it.

5 thoughts on “Unnecessary Violence Is Counter-Productive

  • Wasn’t it Yoanni Sanchez herself who, some months back, intimated on her site that once the monopoly on political powere by the Revolutionary Government was ended that there would be violent retribution against those who had oppressed her and her friends? Not that two wrongs make a right, but both physical violence and heated-up verbally violent rhetoric arrive at the same dead-end. (And the latter often heats up emotions to the point of where they becomes catalysts for the former.) The ideal should always remain reasoned dialogue. On either side whoever resorts to phyical violence has admitted that they cannot convince by any other means. On the other hand, physical violence by the counter-revolution should be unequivically met with Revolutionary violence. (e.g. 1792 in France, 1961 in Cuba) . Finally, Dear grok, whenever I hear such terms as praxis my poor head begins to spin, though I know this signals your Marxist bona fides.

  • A march for peace(?) used by Yoani to display herself does not a protest movement make. Note she attacked the police officers first by resisting . Note also that she was not arrested.

  • Pedro, I assume you’re referring to the beating of Yoani Sanchez and another dissident, allegedly by Cuban state security agents.

    With respect, if you believe that the Cuban Communisty Party (which grants itself a monopoly on political, military and police power, and on all forms of public media) can peacefully tolerate an organized opposition movement that seeks to end this monopoly, you’re hopelessly naive, wilfully blind, or both.

  • What you say is true in itself, in the abstract. But what specific circumstances are you alluding to here? Cuba’s stalinist past indeed hangs like an albatross about the neck of its socialist praxis; but where indeed is the dividing line between the honest dissent of backwards elements, and the fraud of those who simply front for Imperialism, for whatever reason (even money)?

    We should all know by now that the imperialists are consummate experts at the use of the *form* of democratic dissent to mask a true *content* of malevolent subversion. This fact, however, has never been made clear to people in the West. And apparently not quite to a number of cubans, apparently.

  • The government has always seen things in black and white, there is an infinite number of examples in Cuba supporting that.
    I am glad to read this post, I agree 100% with it.
    Shame on them for repressing the people who want to express themselves. Shame on those who turn against their own brothers and enjoy the sad power of violence. They are poor human beings serving a sad government who promotes and allows this kind of behavior.

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