[Marxism] El Telón de Azúcar, Cuba and socialism
nmgoro at gmail.com
Fri Apr 10 11:16:48 MDT 2009
What are many honest radicals outside Cuba trying to save Cuba from?
Whoever does a Google search for websites in English using
will begin to have a glimpse of it.
Many people -not only Stalinists, to be honest to ourselves- had a dream
during the 20th Century, a dream grounded in a somehow metaphisical
belief that whatever the chances the Soviet Union would never fall down.
This belief was not only naïve but in a sense crudely Positivist
(against Hegelian), and expressed a deep conviction that once socialism
had taken grip, however distortedly and cruelly, somewhere in a large
industrial society (and by the early 60s the SU was beginning to have
some of the traits of industrial societies), then every experiment
tending to favor national liberation in the Third World would find some
kind of at least passive support from that formation. The feeling that
there existed an umbrella, so to say.
But the umbrella was never so useful, to begin with. And it charged a
heavy price for those who attempted to develop socialist experiences
under its coverage.
Partly, this is what happened with the Cubans and their desperately
honest and necessary struggle for socialism. Many in Cuba (in my own
view, not exactly Fidel, but who knows and who cares in the end)
believed that since the umbrella would never disappear they would be
able to carry on their own kind of tiny socialism as the sugarcane
growers of the East. That they would be able to link the development of
the struggle for Cuban sovereignty against imperalist attacks by simply
finding a good, lasting shelter in a rather abstract "socialist global
This dream fell down and crashed like Humpty Dumpty. I guess we have all
faced this, or at least I hope we have all faced this.
Then, Cuba has had to adapt to this brave new world. The crude fact is
that Cubans have always known that the first thing they had to make sure
they would not lose was their own sovereignty, and they _chose_
socialism (and they were right) to make sure that the defense of that
sovereignty would be as strong as need be. But now they must go ahead
with their revolution without the umbrella.
So that their socialism begins to get a little bit tarnished. People who
dreamt of Socialist Paradises under the Umbrella are somehow pissed off.
But it is not a matter of chance that the hard-to-swallow film "El telón
de azúcar" has earned Camila Guzmán Urzúa, the Cuban child of Patricio
Guzmán (the film director "of Salvador Allende") great prizes in Cuba.
Cubans have always had, at least the Cuban leaders have always had, that
basic virtue that makes revolutionaries: realism. Élan and realism, that
is. They have learnt in a way few people can imagine what does it mean
to be a tiny island less populated than most large US metropolitan areas
left to their own forces in a hostile world. They have decided that
socialism will be, as it has always been, a global enterprise and that
while they will not be able to keep the whole project alive without the
Big Umbrella, they will step back on many grounds to make sure that
sovereignty, that most precious cornerstone of politics in a
semicolonial country, is not lost.
I am forwarding a list of websites in Spanish on "El telón de azúcar".
Websites in English can be googled by searching for Camila-Guzman-Urzua
Telón-de-Azúcar and requesting that the results be in English.
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