Manic Street Preachers In Cuba

Red Rebel red-rebel at
Tue Apr 10 13:28:02 MDT 2001

Two articles on the Manic Street Preachers recent gig in Havana and their
meeting with Fidel.
First from Spark - Socialist Labour Party Youth newspaper (SLP being the
Party that the Manics support), the second from the Workers Weekly, paper of
the RCPB(ML).

Manics Break Blockade and Support Socialist Cuba!
MC RebelBase, Double Negative

On Saturday 17 February the well known British (Welsh) band played at the
Karl Marx Theatre in Havana Cuba. This concert broke the illegal US blockade
on thhis carribean island which has, for the last 41 years, resisted
imperialism and showed to the people of the world that a people can build a
society in the interests of the masses not a minority of exploiters and

Fidel Castro himself, president of Cuba realised the importance of this
event as he himself went to see the perfomance and met with the Manic Street
Preachers. Fidel led the applause when Manics lead singer played a tribute
to Elian Gonzalez and Socialist Cuba when performing 'Baby Elian'.

Importance of cultural movement in support of Cuba.

The importance of the cultural front of our movement should never be
undersestimated as it is one of the best ways to educate and inspire people,
especially young people, into our movement. Cuba, as well as rest of us, are
victims of the anti-social cultural garbage which comes out of the
imperialist (especially US and Briatin) countries. Communists must counter
this rubbish with our own cultural force and people like the Manics do us a
great service. It is very important for the young people of Cuba to know
that a popular music band, from the very heartlands of imperialism in
Britain, support their cause for socialism and against imperialism. It is
likewise as important for the young progressively minded people in the
imperialist heartlands to understand that we must support the Cuban people
as they fight for our interests as well. Even one young Cuban who is duped
by the imperialist coca-cola culture is one too many and must be inspired
back to the ideals of communism.

The only criticism one can make of the Manics is that they state that Cuba
'is the last' country which is opposing imperialism and providing a decent
life for their people due to socialism. This is simply not true as People's
Korea is also doing a magnificent job in building socialism, reuniting their
country and resisting imperialism in the eastern hemisphere. The Koreans
have a very vibrant and popular revolutionary culture which has no
competition from imperialist culture. This division between Cuba and Korea
is itslef a reflection of imperialisms offensive against the people of the
world. People's Korea is an impressive country with a social system as good
as any other socialist country (as The Economist admits when stating that
People's Korea has the most beds in porportion to its population in the
world. Education from pre-school to University is free, accomadtion is free,
and their is employment for all). Maybe it is because People's Korea is an
Asian country, not a 'latin' country like Cuba, that we in Europe and the
Americas feel less solidarity with Poeple's Korea. The point simply is that
we musn't forget the sacrifices and successes of the Korean people as well
as committing our solidarity with Cuba.

This is a minor criticism as I'm sure the Manics have no discriminatory
intent towards the Korean people and may just not know eneough about the
reality in Korea and, anyway, they are spot on on a lot of progressive
matters, not least their support for the SLP! They have a song dedicated to
the legendary communist and black civil rights fighter Paul Robeson who
suffered so much for his outspoken support of the USSR in the 1930'2, '40's
and 50's; they perormed on Top of the Pops a few weeks ago with a massive
Cuban flag as their backdrop; have written a song 'Free Speech won't Feed My
Kids' referrring to the imperialist hypocrisy in re-establishing capitalism
in the former socialist East Europe and USSR when 'free speech' means the
freedom for the capitalist ganagsters to imporverish the people at their
discretion and, having more insight then most 'radical' bands, realise what
nonsense the Beastie Boys talk when they support the Dalai Lama who wants
Tibetan people to live in a Medieval Moanrchical pro-imperialist country -
says Wire of the Manics, "I hate the way the Dalai Lama is useed as a
showbiz icon by the American gliterratti. Their own nation wiped out their
indegenous race, yet all they do is criticise China." (NME, 3March 2001)

It is great to see bands like the Manic Street Preachers and Asian Dub
Foundation as leading examples on the realtionship with our youth and their
ideals and culture through music. You never know, maybe one day Double
Negative will play in Havana and Pyongyang, the capital of People's Korea!


Reproduced From Workers' Weekly Vol. 31 No. 8, 3rd March, 2001

Manics Play to Sell Out Crowd in Cuba!

The Manic Street Preachers played their first show of 2001 at the Karl Marx
Theatre, in Havana on February 17. Rumours had been circulating about Fidel
Castro attending the gig after Nicky Wire stated he would be "very honoured"
if the revolutionary leader would attend. He did indeed attend, amongst a
5,000 capacity crowd. Although tickets were sold for the equivalent of 17p,
a large number were distributed to musicians and schools by the Cuban
Ministry of Culture.

In the one and a half hour set, playing in front of the Cuban flag, the
Manics premiered nine songs from their up coming album "Know Your Enemy",
including the Cuban inspired tracks "Baby Elian" and "Let Robeson sing".
"Baby Elian" was inspired by the case of Elian Gonzalez and the lyrics
include the line, "Kidnapped to the promised land / America the devils play
ground." Along with "Raindrops keep falling on my head", "Baby Elian" formed
James Dean Bradfield's customary acoustic spot. For the songs "Kevin Carter"
and "Ocean Spray", the band were joined by an Havanan trumpeter. The concert
was full of firsts. Nicky Wire took lead vocals for the first time on
"Watsville Blues". The band also played their first ever encore, and were
very warmly met by the crowd.

The band met with Fidel before the concert. Of this meeting Nicky said, "I
was completely overawed. I said to him, `Its gonna be noisy tonight', and he
said, `It's not as noisy as war'. Some bands go to see Tony Blair, we go to
see Fidel Castro." They also met with Fidel for lunch the day after the
concert. James told reporters that he was "buzzing", about the meeting with
the iconic leader. "We're having lunch with the guy tomorrow, I think I'm
just gonna let Nick do all the talking."

When talking about their reasons for playing the Cuban gig, Nicky said "We'
ve just got a lot of respect for the Cuban people and the Cuban culture, and
we wanted to do something really different this time." James stated that
"Cuba is an example that everything doesn't have to be Americanised". They
insisted that the visit was not "like a student Che Guevara sort of thing,
it's just that Cuba for me is the last great symbol that really fights
against the Americanisation of the world".

It is very encouraging to see a band taking a stand for what is progressive
in the world and opposing what is retrogressive. The US blockade against
Cuba is a major example of US imperialism, and the imposition of American
culture on the world. Taking a stand on this can therefore be seen as a
positive contribution.

This opens up the question of how do we create our own popular culture? It
is the people themselves who should participate in creating their culture,
and not have it imposed upon them in the form of a dictate. A culture
created by the masses can only serve to open the doors of society to
progress. The culture will come from the people, so will not serve the
ruling classes or the agenda they have. The manufactured nature of the
existing music industry and the state of the charts is proof that our
culture is not something we have created as a country or a people, but is a
product of the rich who profit from these pop bands. Music and culture
should not exist to serve the interests of the minority, but should reflect
us, the people of this country, and what we create. There is much talent and
ability around us, and this is not just the good music and bands that we are
already able to hear, but music that never gets heard. It is up to us as the
youth and the future, to create our own culture and one which serves the

The concert was a complete success, with the Cubans dancing and applauding.
Nicky Wire observed, "No one ever dances to us normally." The attention that
the Manic Street Preachers have brought to Cuba and its fight against the
American blockade is invaluable. The gig can be assessed as a great event by
a great band, in honour of the great stand that Cuba has made against
American imperialism.

To contact the Workers' Weekly Youth Group (WWYG), pass your messages via
Workers' Weekly:
Email wwyg at; write to 170 Wandsworth Road, London SW8 2LA; or
phone 020 7627 0599.

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