The great battle underway today on a global level is taking place in the minds of each and every one of us, rather than in specific physical locations. Revolutionaries, warriors of ideas, are not lacking; but the forces are dispersed in the face of a powerful, compact bloc of mass media which looks to turn human beings into captives of their emotions, disconnected from their ability to think.
It is no coincidence that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called for a communication revolution in November 2016, one that includes traditional media, social networks, streets, and walls, inviting us to assume the intense, necessary task of progressive thinking.
It was precisely this urgent work which was discussed by the Network of Intellectuals, Artists, and Social Movements in Defense of Humanity during its 15th summit held March 6-7 in Caracas, with more than 60 thinkers from Venezuela and other countries in attendance titled, “Emancipatory Communication or Colonized homelands.”
Just minutes prior to the meeting’s second day, Cuban Minister of Culture Abel Prieto Jimenez dedicated a few minutes to a dialogue, speaking of the times in which we live, insisting on the importance of the fight for critical, revolutionary thinking, saying, “The battle of consciousness and ideas must be won.”
Alina Perera Robbio: You have commented during this meeting that the left has not constructed a paradigm, in terms of communication, which could provide an alternative in the face of right-wing media hegemony. Would you share some reflections on this issue?
Abel Prieto Jimenez: Intellectuals from Venezuela and other countries have spoken here about this traditional weak point of the left, in the sense of being able to create a kind of paradigm, in terms of communication, that could be effective in the face of the lying, defamatory machine — to which we could add any number of adjectives — but which is undoubtedly effective in domesticating consciousness, dampening critical thinking, imposing on the people, for example, candidates who offer villas and castles, but later betray them.
That’s why we see everyday people voting against their own interests, everyday people voting against their country’s future, against conquests won. These are chilling things that are related to the world in which we live today, in which a few media corporations control everything.
There has been talk during this workshop of the role of social networks, of how even in electoral processes, those targeted for messages are very clearly defined, based on the great database these social networks provide, from which psychological profiles are created and different messages crafted for each one of these persons. That is to say, this is where the machinery of manipulation and trickery is, an issue that has been constantly raised in discussions within the Network in Defense of Humanity.
Perera Robbio: Circumstances have changed dramatically since 2004. The difficulties, as you say, have increased.
Prieto Jimenez: Fidel, Chavez founded so many extraordinary things. Then Evo (Morales), (Rafael) Correa, Daniel (Ortega), ALBA joined in. The Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA) was defeated in Mar del Plata (Argentina) — a truly glorious moment for the left in our America. Nestor Kirchner participated in the defeat of the FTAA and later so did Cristina (Fernandez). It was a significant moment. In Brazil, the Workers’ Party was in power; it was a time that really awakened many hopes, that made Latin America a pole.
We see now how there is talk of a pendulum. One of the most sinister things one can do is accept the idea that there was a pendulum swing toward the left, and now a swing to the reactionary right is coming. It’s crazy because history does not move by way of pendulum swings. History is made by men, women, the people, and I think what is most important is to put an end to the demoralization, the discouragement, the worry among progressive forces — stop the idea that what is happening now is fate, that neoliberal ideas can survive another ten years, instead of going to the ideas of Bolivar, Jose Martí, of Fidel, Chavez, of the Cuban Revolution and the Latin American Revolution.
Everything that happens is inevitably affected by our ability to communicate in an effective manner, in a serious, profound manner.
Perera Robbio: How can the left meet this challenge, continue the struggle, not be discouraged?
Prieto Jimenez: Participants in this 15th Network meeting unanimously concur on the need to leave here with an agreement on concrete steps, an action plan.
One of the tasks the Network could undertake is linking the nuclei of cultural resistance, the alternative media, radio, the work of digital guerillas in social networks. There are many people who have not allowed themselves to be defeated and are fighting for liberation, against the neoliberal offensive, but they are not linked up.
I think the Network must take on the task of attempting to link these forces, so that people understand we are facing a global struggle, and that the little wars at a local level are not going to resolve the problem, even though victories may be won at this local level.
The idea of ethical monitoring of the media is important. During this workshop, one participant spoke about the slander of Fidel that appeared in Forbes magazine, according to which the leader of the Cuban Revolution had amassed a huge fortune, and was among the richest leaders in the world. I told this speaker that Fidel said something tremendous on Cuban television, in front of many compañeros, saying that if they showed him just one scrap of evidence, he would resign immediately. This reply was never published by Forbes.
The mass media lies, and if there is a reply, they never accept the fact that they lied, and the lie continues floating about. It’s Goebbels’ theory: repeat and repeat a lie until it becomes true. This is the philosophy of all the mass media at this time.
There has been talk in this forum about what Venezuela (mass media) did with the guarimbas (violent street protests), of how they circulated pictures of acts of violence, of throat slashings, of beatings which never occurred and were attributed to the police and the Bolivarian government, supposedly taking place during confrontations with opposition demonstrators. That is to say, they are constantly disseminating slanderous lies. Well, there is talk of post-truth politics, of totally invented events meant to create destabilization, which suddenly go viral on social networks, so people believe them.
The situation is terrible. The mass media has trained a massive group of people, mostly young who are very aware of what is going on, of what is moving around the web, and who are very credulous. That is why I believe that the other thing we need to do is to promote the critical study of these communications phenomena, especially among adolescents.
The use of intelligence must be promoted. Let us recall what Fidel said many times: They want to dismantle our ability to think. This is the great project: that the people don’t think; that the people don’t critically examine the lies that are everywhere.
Something else which has been discussed during these hours is that which is customarily referred to as the training of young cadres, revolutionary cadres. In this regard, the issue of new technologies must be included, the necessity of knowing how to use them, the issue of the battle of ideas on social networks.
During these times, we can ask a question: Are we going to allow the thinking of Fidel, allow generations in Cuba and Latin America, to be seen as something archaeological, something of the past? Are Venezuelans going to let the thinking of Chavez be put away in a museum, as something that happened but has no relevance? I think this depends a great deal on us.
Friday, March 17, 2017
Karl Marx: The Man Who Changed The World Forever
|Karl Marx in 1861.|
Although Marx’s economic theory have been vindicated by History herself (e.g. the over-accumulation crises in capitalism etc.), the bourgeois propaganda still disputes the correctness of Marxist economics. However, even some of the most prominent representatives of bourgeois politics have admitted the truth about Marx. Here is what Paul Craig Roberts, an acclaimed bourgeois economist and former US Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy under President Reagan, wrote in 2009: “If Karl Marx and V.I.Lenin were alive today, they would be leading contenders for the Nobel Prize in economics. Marx predicted the growing misery of working people, and Lenin foresaw the subordination of the production of goods to financial apital’s accumulation of profits based on the purchase and sale of paper instruments. Their predictions are far superior to the “risk models” for which the Nobel Prize has been given and are closer to the money than the predictions of Federal Reserve chairmen, US Treasury secretaries, and Nobel economists, such as Paul Krugman, who believe that more credit and more debt are the solution to the economic crisis” (Counterpunch.org, 7 October 2009).
|Marx’s tombstone in Highgate, London.|
The work of Karl Marx consisted of the basis for the emergence of another great man- the leader of the Great October Socialist Revolution, Vladimir Lenin, who further developed the theoretical work of Marx and Engels in the era of Imperialism thus composing the revolutionary theory of Marxism-Leninism. Marx’s heritage became the foundation for the first socialist state in the world, the Soviet Union, while Marxism became the “moving wheel” for numerous popular movements across the world which aimed at social emancipation and the abolition of exploitation of man by man. Likewise, Karl Marx and his work inspired and influenced revolutionaries and extraordinary personalities-symbols of the 20th century’s socialism- from Rosa Luxemburg to Ernst Thalmann and from Ernesto Che Guevara to Fidel Castro and Ho Chi Minh.
By: Luis Toledo Sande on February 10, 2017
Had both Cuban leaders not followed that rule, they would have fallen into a vacuum that sterilizes thought and action; they would have waited and seen if the metropolis of the world provided them with the necessary answers to interpret and confront the grave challenges they faced instead of solving them with creativity.
These challenges were not only from Cuba—they also pertained to the rest of Latin America, from North American and even the rest of the planet. Both leaders created a guide against cultural colonialism—no matter where it came from.
A voracious reader like José Martí, Fidel Castro could very well have written the words the former wrote about himself: ‘Napoleon was born on a carpet that depicted the European war. I must have been born on a pile of books’.
In another manuscript, Martí made another confession that’s equally applicable to Fidel, ‘the book that interests me the most is the book of life, which is the hardest one to read, and the one that must be consulted the most in politics—which is nothing more than the art of guaranteeing humankind the full exercise of its faculties in a pleasing existence”.
The way to accurately assess the importance Martí had for Fidel—who called him ‘the most brilliant and universal Cuban politician’ and the ‘eternal guide of our people’— is not to seek similarities in their personalities, and even less to merely compare their written word. Because, as they knew, ideas are important, but their most important aspect is how they inform and change reality.
This explains why, when he was prosecuted for leading the revolution, Fidel declared Martí the intellectual author of the liberation of Cuba he carried out on July 26, 1953, and therefore, of all the revolutionary stage that exists until today. This was more than just quoting, it was a continuation of the purposes of the national hero.
Fidel’s revolution sought to accomplish Martí’s project for the country. Fidel avidly read Martí’s writings during his time in jail, underlining and annotating them profusely.
The regime that Fidel attempted to overthrow in 1953 was a tool of the US imperial power, one that Martí had already stopped in its plans to take control over Cuba and Puerto Rico to dominate the entire American continent.
Twenty years later, in 1973, Fidel said: “Martí gave us his ardent patriotism, his passionate love for freedom, dignity and decency, his rejection for despotism and his unlimited faith in the people. In his revolutionary preaching was the moral basis and historic legitimacy of our armed action.
That’s why we say he was the intellectual author of July 26 .” And on the path that Martí had signaled the Cuban Socialist Republic followed, guided by Fidel and by a Constitution presided by Martí’s will: ‘May the first law of the Republic be the respect of Cubans to the unconditional dignity of man’.
Words, ideas, action
Martí had a conviction he expressed until the very day before he fell in combat, in a letter to his Mexican friend Manuel Mercado: it was urgent to prevent the expansionist plans of the United States, and he was going to act against them, as he told Mercado: ‘Everything I did to this day, and everything I will do, is to that end,’ although in practice he was fighting the Spanish army.
This global strategy was also followed by Fidel, who, in Sierra Maestra, reacted to the destruction of a peasant’s house by a US bomb dropped from a plane. Then, the rebel leader made a confession to a comrade, Celia Sánchez, and it wasn’t just an emotional outlet but a political program: once the tyrant was defeated, he would fight against imperialism.
He eradicated the misery that most of the Cuban people lived in, and created the conditions for educational development and cultural flourishing that Martí enshrined: ‘To be educated is the only way to be free’. This notion of education was inseparable from reading, but also required independent thought.
The famous phrase Fidel pronounced in his defense, ‘history will absolve me’, references the speech Martí pronounced on February 17, 1982, known as the Tampa and Cayo Hueso Prayer. With conviction, he referred to the work towards unity that would lead him to create the Cuban Revolutionary Party: ‘history won’t declare us guilty!’.
The memory of the heart
That’s how organically Fidel embraced Martí. In Spanish, the etymology of the verb ‘to remember’ (recordar) comes from ‘what’s brought back to the heart’, and in other languages, ‘to memorize’ is ‘to know by heart’. That’s how Fidel embraced Martí’s ideas.
Both had the humbleness that characterizes the great. Martí used to say: ‘A man in and of himself is nothing, and what he is, he is thanks to his people. The privileged gifts that Nature gives to some of its children are worth nothing if they aren’t shared with the people, but if they are, they will be exalted by it, like the flowers on the top of a mountain.’
The people can only deposit its energy and trust on those who have the strength to carry it. This relationship between the individual and the masses, between leader and people, explains why Martí remained alive in the memory of Cubans and why Fidel will remain there as well.
Both were living examples of that which Martí wrote to Henríquez and Caravajal, ‘one must give respect and a human and kind nature to sacrifice’.
Source: Bohemia, English translation by The Dawn
Monday, January 23, 2017
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNIST BULLETIN #1
WFTU FOR THE PLUNDERING OF THE EMPLOYEES PROVIDENT FUND IN SRI LANKA.
Tsipras (right), whose popularity is collapsing, as far as opinion polls over the last few months are concerned, was the only European head of government to travel to Cuba for the Castro memorial service.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was again the target of stinging criticism over the weekend, although this time the source of ridicule was none other than well-known Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis, a nonagenarian leftist “icon” in the country.
In an “open letter” addressed to Tsipras and posted on Theodorakis’ website, the latter takes aim directly at the Greek prime minister’s visit, presence and statements in Havana last week, where he travelled to pay homage to the late Fidel Castro. This time, however, criticism against Tsipras was aimed from a distinctly leftwing angle.
Tsipras, whose popularity is collapsing, as far as opinion polls over the last few months are concerned, was the only European head of government to travel to Cuba for the Castro memorial service.
“Comrade Alexis, I have to hand it to you, you are crafty; the craftiest bloke in Greece since 450 BC until today; because you do as you please without considering anyone. You use your personal (corporate) jet, fill it with friends and head off for Cuba, leaving the bill, 300,000 USD, left to be paid by the suckers, who get paid 300 euros a month, at best,” was the beginning of the uncharacteristically harsh reaction towards Tsipras, whom Theodarakis once praised.
“You speak from the Plaza de la Revolucion, where Fidel spoke as a genuine and tough revolutionary … you act the part of revolutionary and when you return (to Greece), you again become what you were, a child that runs the errands of Merkel, Obama and Juncker, the ones who you pilloried in Havana…”