NEW YORK — Cuba’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Yuri Gala Lopéz, and Socialist Workers’ Party National Committee member Steve Clark were guest speakers at a July 30 meeting to celebrate the 69th anniversary of the attack led by Fidel Castro against the Moncada barracks in Santiago de Cuba and the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes garrison in Bayamo. The July 26, 1953 assault was a response to the military coup by US-backed tyrant Fulgencio Batista the year before.
While the assault failed to capture the garrisons and arm the insurgent workers in Santiago – 56 of the 160 fighters were murdered in cold blood by the regime, five died in action and 32 were imprisoned – it turned out to be the opening battle for the Cuban socialist revolution. .
What Cubans now call National Rebellion Day “marked the beginning of a new stage in our nation’s struggle to achieve our true independence,” Ambassador Gala said. It was celebrated earlier in the week in Cuba with the participation of Army General Raúl Castro and Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel.
The 1953 action “signified the solidification of a revolutionary movement which never wavered in its struggle until the final victory on January 1, 1959,” Gala said. The Cuban Revolution “remains strong because our people have inherited throughout their history solid concepts and revolutionary principles from men and women who gave their all”.
Clark highlighted the class composition of the young fighters – including masons, masonry workers, carpenters, peasants and farm laborers, and factory workers. “The socialist character of the achievements of the Cuban Revolution and the Marxist character of its leadership is what makes it so decisive for workers everywhere,” Clark said.
Sixty-five people attended the special activist labor forum, sponsored by the New York and northern New Jersey branches of the SWP.
A drawing by a Cuban artist of Fidel Castro giving a closing speech before the court that sentenced him in October 1953 was among the exhibits around the hall. These words, since known as History will absolve me, were printed clandestinely and used to popularize the program of the Cuban Revolution, carried out to the end by the revolutionary movement led by Fidel Castro.
Those in attendance recognized from the podium were Iván Casal and Yoangel Valido, second and third secretaries of the UN Mission in Cuba; members of the New York/New Jersey Cuba Sí coalition; Wilma Paster of Acción Revolución, an Ecuadorian band; Alegna Cruz of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party; and Juanita Young, whose son Malcolm Ferguson was killed by New York police in 2000. Young led a Mothers against Police Brutality delegation to Cuba in May 2016.
A reception before and after the program allowed participants to meet the speakers and chat informally.
“Inhuman American Blockade”
Gala pointed to Washington’s more than six-decade-long economic war against Cuba, waged by every US president since Dwight Eisenhower.
“During the Trump administration, 243 unilateral coercive measures were adopted against Cuba,” Gala said, and “remain in effect under the current US administration. No Cuban family is spared the effects of this inhumane policy.
For 29 years, Gala said, the United Nations General Assembly “adopted a resolution on the need to end the blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba.” The number of Member States voting for the resolution increased, with a tally of 184 to 2 in June 2021. “So Cuba is on the right side of history!
The next General Assembly vote will take place this fall.
Solidarity and internationalism guide Cuba’s foreign policy, Gala said. Cuba has developed three vaccines against COVID-19, the benefits of which “are not limited to our borders”. During the pandemic, Cuba sent 57 brigades to 40 countries to help fight the virus.
The ambassador ended his remarks by quoting Fidel Castro. “If we had given up after Moncada…we would have been defeated,” Castro said at a July 26, 1967 celebration. “That should always be our attitude and the great lesson of our history.”
Confirming the commitment made by Raúl Castro during the 2018 Moncada celebration, the Gala concluded with a standing ovation: “No matter how difficult the circumstances, no matter how great the challenges, our people will forever defend their revolution. socialist.
‘How are we?’
Across the spectrum of bourgeois politics, Steve Clark pointed out, everyone keeps asking the question, “How is Cuba? »
“You hear it from right-wing opponents of revolution,” Clark said. “You hear it from the liberals and the middle-class left. How does Cuba cope with power shortages and blackouts? Or on “the racial question”? Or ‘win the youth’? Or women and family?
Yes, of course, these are issues for Cuban workers and their leaders, Clark said. “But these are the Wrong question to simmer for the workers and revolutionary-minded youth here who support the Cuban revolution.
“How are we? That’s the question the SWP is interested in,” Clark said.
How do we manage to build the kind of working class party that can organize and get workers and farmers to emulate what Cuban workers have shown to be not only necessary but possible?
“How do we advance the prospects of a socialist revolution in the United States? And lift endless imperialist economic and military pressure on Cuban workers?
The Cuban revolution, said Clark, “did not only transform the lives, conditions and political consciousness of workers and farmers in Cuba. It marked a revival of communist leadership around the world.
“The Socialist Workers Party would not exist as the proletarian party we are today if it weren’t for the Cuban Revolution led by Fidel Castro and the leadership of the rebel army,” Clark said.
In 1960, Jack Barnes, now national secretary of the SWP, visited Cuba for the summer. Clark urged attendees to read about this experience in Barnes’ book Cuba and the coming American Revolutionwhich describes the profound impact of the Cuban Revolution on the politicization of workers and youth in the United States. After returning, Barnes helped start a chapter of the Fair Play Committee for Cuba at the college in Minnesota he was attending and soon after joined the SWP.
In the book, Clark said, Barnes recalls a lasting lesson he learned at the time of the US government-sponsored Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in April 1961. Barnes wrote that he had “says something slightly ultra-left and selfish on the phone”. Ray Dunne to feel guilty” that he was not in Cuba with young revolutionaries he had befriended during his trip in 1960.
Dunne was a seasoned SWP leader who had been a founding member of the Communist movement in the United States and led the Teamsters organizing campaigns that brought hundreds of thousands of truckers to join the union in the 1930s.
“Ray was fellow but unsympathetic,” Barnes wrote. “’You have no doubt what the people you were closest to in Cuba are doing,’ he told me. ‘They fight. And they assume you do the same, wherever you are. So you better prove them right and stop pandering to your emotions.
This lesson, Clark said, is at the heart of the SWP’s program and course: proletarian internationalism begins with building a communist party to advance socialist revolution where you are.
“It’s our commitment to the comrades in Cuba,” Clark said. “That’s why when SWP members speak at events there and chat informally with Cubans, our number one job is to explain what we’re doing to deliver on that commitment.”
“Cuban workers and farmers and their leaders have done their part for 69 years and counting,” Clark said. “The Socialist Workers Party offers itself – and the workers and young people with whom we speak and fight alongside – Fidel’s programmatic and action guide in History Will Absolve Me:
“Not ‘We promise to give you this or that.’
“But, ‘Organize and fight with everything you have.'”
End the American economic war against Cuba!
Other speakers at the event were Sussen Gazal, active in the July 26 Coalition in Boston, and Chris Hoeppner, the party’s candidate in Pennsylvania’s 3rd congressional district.
Gazal described his February 2020 trip to Cuba. Her experiences there, she said, convinced her upon her return that she “had a responsibility to educate, to inform, to protest, so that more people could spread the word.” truth about Cuba and demand an end to the blockade”.
Hoeppner, a freight driver on the railroad, described speaking with colleagues about the lessons the working class can and must learn here from the socialist revolution in Cuba. Hoeppner also reported on the successful effort to collect more than 2,400 signatures to put his name on the ballot as the SWP’s candidate for Congress in Philadelphia (see front page story).
The program ended with a toast led by Clark and Gala to the 160 fighters who opened the fight for true Cuban independence and socialist revolution in 1953, as well as an end to Washington’s economic warfare and restrictions on trip against the Cuban Revolution.