Re Re "Progressives" Should Think Twice About Piling Onto Cuba

Ralph Johansen michele at
Thu May 1 17:33:43 MDT 2003

This was sent to Richard Menec. Since then I see that Michael Albert has
signed the statement that Walter Lipmann has circulated here, for which,
Thank you for taking the initiative in sending Emile Schepers's message on
to Michael Albert.

I have read Albert's response. He walks right past great chunks of the
argument against signing these petitions, most of which are contained in the
Schepers piece. He does not confront specific statements of fact that
Schepers raises, and in effect papers over rather than admitting with some
attention to detail the veracity of those facts and their significance.

I will concentrate on the unquestionable fact that Cuba, aside from the
issue of its 'genuine' socialist credentials, in successfully opposing
endless US attempts over 44 years to destroy the Cuban state and polity set
up by Castro and the 26th of July movement, has thereby created and
sustained, with very evident popular support, in refusing to knuckle under
to its neighboring monster, a model and a source of inspiration for all
other peoples subjected to the imperialism of the US and its international
organs, and others complicit in or submerged by its designs.

The context cannot be stressed too strongly. The US government has
designated Cuba, as usual without credible documentation, as one of a small
group characterized as 'the axis of evil', who are targeted for
recrimination and extermination. The US has with renewed purpose then
proceeded to act in ways intended to promote destabilization, giving
substantial sums to dissident groups in Cuba, funds which were admittedly
spent and had to go into the pockets of those indicted and convicted, and
providing facilities and publicity for their activities. These acts included
hijacking and endangerment of the lives of others. These are acts in concert
with a foreign power which would not be permitted, especially given the
clear and present danger entailed, for a moment by any rational and prudent
state government, especially one with the astonishing track record for
survival under dire threat of the Cuban government. This was obviously
building, by US provocation and design, to a confrontation facilitated by
internal subversion within a small beleaguered country, financed and led by
an enormous external power.

To sign a petition opposing the response to this threat by the Cuban
government, aside from everything else and at this juncture, obviously
reflects badly on the signators among those who are also threatened by the
destabilizing intentions of the US regime. These American leftists mark
themselves as having come down on the side of the tyranny being inflicted by
the larger and more powerful and ominous powers in the world, and by that
token and to that extent they have lost a portion of support and

To ignore all that in his response leaves Albert still without adequate
cover or excuse for what I can only describe as an egregious error. And it
also leads me to question again the forward thrust of the analyses of the
existent world put forth by those who question the state form of
organization, capitalist or socialist - in a savage capitalist environment,
where people are mired in the lag and muck of ages - the upholders of the
anarchist and council forms who eschew a consistent class analysis of the
political economy in which states and peoples must survive - or perish -
and who adhere to disembodied concepts of bourgeois right without due regard
for context. And who analogize too facilely to the worst features of the
Soviet Union.

It is that realization that caused me, some years ago, while still
recognizing much of the dedication and energy of its editors and the
frequent salience of its contributors, to cancel my sub to Z.

As to those members of Solidarity who signed on, I am nonplussed. [I'm a
member of Solidarity, and this is not a position deliberated on and taken by


----- Original Message -----
From: Richard Menec
Sent: Tuesday, April 29, 2003 2:37 PM
Subject: Re: "Progressives" Should Think Twice About Piling Onto Cuba -
Karen Lee Wald

Thank you for this Ralph.  A very essential read indeed.  After exchanging
several emails today with Michael Albert at ZNet, he has apparently agreed
to reply to various concerns, and has suggested I be the conduit to
Socialist-Register, which he apparently does not subscribe to.  When (if?)
the Albert response comes in I'll forward it immediately.

I also fired off this excellent article (below) to Albert.

Richard Menec

----- Original Message -----
From: Ralph Johansen
To: socialist-register at
Sent: Tuesday, April 29, 2003 2:06 PM
Subject: "Progressives" Should Think Twice About Piling Onto Cuba - Karen
Lee Wald

I haven't seen this posted to the sources I'm sending it to. Long
but really essential reading, in order to get a fuller picture regarding
what's taking place in Cuba.

Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2003 10:00:48 -0700
From: "Infocom" <walterlx at>
Subject: "Progressives" Should Think Twice About Piling Onto Cuba
(One of the best argued discussions I've
yet seen, expanded and improved from
the author's first comments on this and
one well-worth circulating far and wide.

(Thanks to Karen Lee Wald for sharing
this with her list which is how I got it.)

"Progressives" Should Think Twice
About Piling Onto Cuba
by Emile Schepers, in Chicago

The jailing of 75 hangers-on of the US diplomatic mission in
Cuba, and the only tangentially related execution of three
violent criminals who hijacked a ferryboat, have produced
howls of glee from the right, and of anguish from some who
either really are, or at any rate consider themselves to be,
people of the left.

The right wing response is as predictable as it is nauseating.
It partakes of the Goebbels tactic of the "big lie".   For
example, this past week president Batlle of Uruguay accused
Cuba of executing people merely for wanting to leave the
island.   Not only is this wildly untrue and slanderous, but
also reveals attitudes of people of his ilk.


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