Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2467

The new US-Cuba relations and the capitalist powers

Cuba and the US have just resumed normal relations after decades of US boycotts and hostility.

I was in Cuba for five weeks in 1961 not long after the US Bay of Pigs invasion had been swiftly repulsed. Just two years earlier the Cuban revolution had toppled dictator Fulgencio Batista whose state violence and corruption the US had supported.

Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, beat him with barely a battalion of middle class and rural guerrillas. Cuba’s switch to the Soviet bloc was evident, so were the armed militia on the streets.  

Batista had given US capitalism free reign in a semi-colonial setting resulting in extremes of poverty, sickness, homelessness and unemployment.

The revolutionary government brought in state-led and voluntary supported solutions. It provided the people with free education and health care, nationalisation of land, property and industry, rent control and public housing, a political programme not dissimilar to that of Jeremy Corbyn.

Should he get into office the opposition he’ll face will not be just in parliament or within his own party. It will be from capitalist powers outside the British political system, which, after more than 50 years of deterrence, Cuba also had to contend with.

Inevitably the question will be put, faced with undemocratic opposition to Corbyn’s humane programme, will his supporters fight for a revolutionary road? And what kind of revolution do we need to build?  

Cuba’s survival, despite the collapse of the rest of the Soviet bloc, should not persuade people to follow Castro’s path. His victory was decided by the military prowess of his small army. Not by the masses of the working class.

This may be why US researchers who I kept in touch with, sent me a published report recently on how they had listened to Guevara declaring admiration for Israel. No doubt because of its military prowess and armed kibbutz. 

The wrong sort of politics will lead us along the wrong roads.

Nick Howard Sheffield

Attacks on vulnerable

The government’s refusal to class sanctioned jobseekers with mental health conditions as “vulnerable” is as callous and cruel as it is cynical.

In 2013-14 record numbers of sanctions affected one in six jobseekers. Many of these are people with mental health conditions, who make up 50 percent of all benefit claimants.

Throughout their vicious attacks on benefits the Tories claim to be protecting the “most vulnerable”. This has always been a lie.  

We must unite across impairment groups, disabled and non-disabled, workers and claimants to fight their attacks.

Ellen Clifford London Dpac

GM food for thought?

The Scottish government is right to ban the growing of genetically modified (GM) crops.  

GM crops under capitalism are developed to patent seeds for profit. It largely favours intensive industrial farming. 

We’re often told that we need GM crops to prevent famine, but we already have more than enough food to feed the world—the problem is distribution.

Until our food is produced for need and not profit we should not let profiteers gamble with our food production by playing with a science of which the long term consequences remain uncertain.  

Cheryl McCormick Glasgow

Playtime for profiteers  in a south London park

A company called Go Ape is due to open a tree-top adventure playground in Battersea Park, south London, next month. The catch is that they charge quite a bit for entry.

Wandsworth council demolished the wonderful original adventure playground in 2013. It was a public service, free for all, and it enabled families from all backgrounds to mix. It catered for young people up to their teens, but its replacement is only suitable for primary school children.

Some 86.6 percent of people opposed the plans in the council’s own survey. Local teenagers have been robbed of their playground, and now this.

Go Ape is not welcome. I encourage others who feel the same to be there on its opening day to make their opposition known.

Colin Crilly Wandsworth Against Cuts

Don’t let bigots deny us abortion rights

Thank you for your article highlighting the abortion clinic closing due to “protests” (Socialist Worker, 1 August).

It is alarming that Christian fundamentalists can exert such pressure and terror that an institution to  legally help women is shut down.

There is a similar case in the German city of Stuttgart. They are also staging “pro-life” marches in Berlin each September—the biggest with thousands of participants carrying white crosses. These people are linked to far right clerical and secular organisations and parties.

And they are liars. Their claim of abortion causing serious psychological damage has been time and again refuted.

The most interesting study comes from the US in 1989. Surgeon General C Everett Koop wanted to prove “Post Abortion Syndrome”, and failed. Koop was so embarrassed that he tried to suppress the findings.

“Pro-Lifers” pose a massive threat to women’s rights and sexual self-determination. We have to counter them.

Rosemarie Nuenning Berlin, Germany

Rulers speak different to us

Not many people know that Britain’s rich one percent speak a different dialect from the rest of us. When millionaire David Cameron said, “We are all in the same boat,” he was speaking onepercentese. 

What did Osborne mean when he said, “This will be a budget for working people”? Again onepercentese. Please can Socialist Worker readers send me other examples to compile a short dictionary called Understanding Onepercentese. 

Richard Pitt Sheffield
[email protected]

Listen to Buffy Sainte-Marie

I was pleased to hear singer songwriter Buffy Sainte?Marie interviewed on BBC Radio 4 recently. In the 1960s she wrote the protest song Universal Soldier, after the US government denied it was at war with Vietnam.

But most memorable was Soldier Blue on the massacre by the US Army of a Cheyenne village at Sand Creek. It was written for the film of the same name in 1970.

She was also the first woman to appear on television breast feeding her baby, something which even to this day is frowned upon.

John Appleyard West Yorkshire

A French London Tube strike

Love the French idea of going to work but not charging anyone to travel, #HitThemInThePocket.

Gareth Phillips on Twitter

Privatisation never a solution

National Gallery strikers should remember that privatisation has been a failure wherever its claws tear the people apart.

Derrick Gaskin on Facebook

?National Gallery all-out strike

Solidarity to an inspiring group of workers—proud to have been on their picket lines

John Burgess on Twitter

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