Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

January 21, 2021

Cuba, Hip-Hop, and American Imperialism

Filed under: Counterpunch,cuba — louisproyect @ 2:24 pm

COUNTERPUNCH, JANUARY 21, 2021

Cuban Freedom Fighter Denis Solis: “Donald Trump 2020! That’s my president.”

When Charles Post and other independent Marxists teamed up with ex-ISOers to launch Spectre Journal, it struck me as a welcome left alternative to Jacobin. Although I am a subscriber and have urged others to subscribe, I am deeply troubled by a recent article by Sam Farber that exploits the San Isidro controversy as part of his decades-long crusade against the Cuban government.

On November 9, 2020, Cuban rapper Denis Solis was arrested for “contempt” in the San Isidro neighborhood where artists and musicians had begun using social media to protest attacks on their right to free expression. The New York Times article on the arrest links to a Facebook video made by Solis while a cop was in his apartment. Lacking subtitles, it is not easy to make sense of the confrontation. I can assure you that Solis calls the cop a maricon, the Spanish equivalent of “faggot”. I also invite you to pay special attention to what Solis says at 3:10 into the video, namely his support for Donald Trump. Even the Times found this impossible to ignore:

In a country hammered by U.S. sanctions, the politics of some in the group have raised eyebrows. Mr. Solís is a die-hard Trump supporter: In the video he posted of his arrest, he screamed: “Donald Trump 2020! That’s my president.”

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13 Comments »

  1. Bravo!

    Comment by fattirefinally — January 21, 2021 @ 7:08 pm

  2. Farber! Yuck. He and others, like Dan La Botz, have always been far off the mark when it comes to Cuba. La Botz told me once I should know better, for, if I remember correctly, strongly criticizing Bernie Sanders. I wonder who it is that should know better? Good piece, Louis.

    Comment by Michael Daniel Yates — January 22, 2021 @ 2:16 am

  3. So your argument is that an authoritarian state run by bureaucrats is necessary in Cuba because the people there would reject socialism if they had a choice.

    Quite a way from the dictatorship of the proletariat being required to suppress the overthrown bourgeoisie and petit-bourgeoisie, isn’t it?

    Also, the same guy in charge of the authoritarian capitalist government in Nicaragua today was in charge of the Sandanistas in the 80’s. This is a fact. Did he overthrow himself? Or maybe was it a bourgeois national movement from the beginning, like all the others Cuba supported in South America and Africa?

    Comment by Lomdoa — January 25, 2021 @ 5:27 am

  4. If one removed your name from it (and the Trotsky quote) and substituted Syria for Cuba, I could easily imagine this being written by Tim Anderson. In fact, he does write similar things about Cuba (though no doubt he would consider this article as too critical, perhaps even counter-revolutionary). In this very article you describe Cuba as ‘admittedly a garrison state’ – how is that any different from what Farber says? I don’t think I’ve even seen him call it a garrison state. Or is it just that he isn’t sufficiently praiseworthy of aspects of the Cuban system in your view? But then at the end of the article, you suggest Cuba – in 2021 no less – represents the threat of a socialist alternative. Well, which is it? A garrison state or an inspiring socialist alternative existing under difficult circumstances? Call me Platonic, but it is either closer to one or the other – you can’t seem to decide which. Do you favor socialists and leftists independent of the PCC in Cuba (of which there are a few) being arrested and imprisoned for organising, for example, non-government approved LBGTI+ demonstrations, as has actually occured? Besides the lifting of the embargo – which is obviously central – how exactly do you imagine change will occur in Cuba to make it less of a garrison state – through the self-reform and goodwill of the bureaucracy? There’s a good chance that a few ‘Platonic’, ‘socialism from below’ Marxists in Cuba will be at the forefront of organising for that change, holding in their hearts the kind of hopes for an independent socialist Cuba that inspired so many in the early 60s.

    Comment by Victor — January 25, 2021 @ 6:23 am

  5. If one removed your name from it (and the Trotsky quote) and substituted Syria for Cuba, I could easily imagine this being written by Tim Anderson.

    —-

    What kind of fucking moron are you? Syria was a capitalist welfare state that was ruled by a corrupt and brutal family dynasty. Then, after 2000, the welfare provisions began to disappear under Bashar al-Assad’s neoliberal rule. On top of that, from the very beginning under his fuck-ugly father, dissidents didn’t get 8 months in jail for calling a cop a “maricon”. They got tortured and murdered for even the slightest opposition to the state. For people who read this blog and have an IQ higher than 85, this should be obvious. Here are the facts on Syria:

    https://louisproyect.org/2016/12/14/the-economic-roots-of-the-syrian-revolution/

    Here are the facts on Cuba:

    http://www.columbia.edu/~lnp3/mydocs/state_and_revolution/cuba.htm

    Comment by louisproyect — January 25, 2021 @ 12:24 pm

  6. So your argument is that an authoritarian state run by bureaucrats is necessary in Cuba because the people there would reject socialism if they had a choice.

    No my argument is that if Cuba somehow was forced into making the kind of concessions that Nicaragua made in the late 80 and if the USA was able to fund the opposition in the same way, there is every possibility that a hungry and desperate people would vote for a capitalist party. Windbags like you who show up on this blog to spout revolutionary rhetoric have no idea what it means to be under military and economic pressure. The first proletarian revolution in world history went down the tubes the same way the Sandinistas did. No matter how committed the Paris Commune was to socialism, it could not withstand superior forces. If you had any experience leading a strike or any mass movement, you’d understand this. Since you are nothing but a Walter Mitty dreaming about revolution, I wouldn’t expect anything from you except phrase-mongering.

    Comment by louisproyect — January 25, 2021 @ 5:11 pm

  7. Sir, the Paris Commune was drowned in blood. It’s leaders were lined up and slaughtered. The workers in Russia were massacred in the Civil War, then the old Bolsheviks were murdered by Stalin. These were counter revolutions.

    The leadership in Cuba is the same as it was in 1959. The president of Nicaragua today is the same guy who was president in 1980.

    These are entirely different scenarios. No massacres were required to eliminate workers power (workers councils, assemblies and militias) in Cuba or Nicaragua, because workers power never existed.

    You don’t know about my personal life or activities. This is text on a website. Let’s leave aside the personal attacks and stick to ideas.

    Comment by Lomdoa — January 25, 2021 @ 5:46 pm

  8. ‘Sir, the Paris Commune was drowned in blood. It’s leaders were lined up and slaughtered. The workers in Russia were massacred in the Civil War, then the old Bolsheviks were murdered by Stalin. These were counter revolutions.”

    Why is every mother-fucking troll so lacking in reading comprehension? Cuba has survived as a postcapitalist society because it blocks USAID, NED and various NGO’s from getting a firm footing. If it was a George Soros model of an “open society”, it would be back in the hands of Bacardi et al. As for Nicaragua, it did have a counter-revolution. That should be obvious from Ortega’s kowtowing to the Catholic Church and his reliance on the IMF.

    Comment by louisproyect — January 25, 2021 @ 6:36 pm

  9. Some real fools parading their ignorance here.

    Comment by Michael Daniel Yates — January 26, 2021 @ 12:25 am

  10. You write:

    “In the Spectre article titled ‘The Criminalization of Opposition Politics in Cuba: AGAINST THE SOVIET MODEL’ (hysterical upper case in the original), Farber argues that even Fulgencio Batista was more democratic than the current government.”

    Every Spectre article’s subtitle is in all caps. It’s house style. You’ll find it used on every article the site has ever published. Hardly hysterics, comrade.

    Comment by Bob Barker — January 26, 2021 @ 3:20 am

  11. So the counter revolution was in Ortega’s own mind? I don’t even think the Maoists are that metaphysical.

    If that’s possible, we should be able to roll the film of counter revolution in reverse. All we have to do is convince Biden of the merits of socialism and we too can enjoy a “post capitalist society”. Right? It’s only logical following your above argument.

    We just have to hope he doesn’t change his mind again in the future or it’ll be back to capitalism. Just like Ortega. Right?

    Cuba isn’t “post capitalist.” Capital circulates. Wage slavery continues. Surplus value is extracted from the labor power of workers. There are no workers councils, no workers assemblies, no workers control over the means of production.

    M-C-M’ is the literal definition of capitalism.

    Just because you think the ruling class in fatigues is kinder than the one in suits doesn’t mean it’s anything but another form of capitalism.

    Believe it or not but a popular uprising can overthrow a government and still maintain capital circulation under a different set of administrators. Just ask the Marxist turned liberal Museveni.

    Your personal insults are meaningless and unimpressive. Work on your politics, you might have a better chance there. Give up the guerrilla worship. You live in America. It has no appeal to truck drivers in Iowa or railroaders in Kansas. As such a salt of the earth tried and tested labor organizer steeled in the bloody battles of proletarian hotbeds like Columbia University and Goldman Sachs, you should know.

    Comment by Lomdoa — January 26, 2021 @ 3:48 am

  12. So the counter revolution was in Ortega’s own mind?

    —-

    No. It was in the dead bodies and empty bellies of those who supported the FSLN. They were given a stark choice between supporting the FSL or continuing to endure clinics and schools being burned, their sons being killed defending them on one hand and “crying uncle” on the other as Reagan put it. I know I am dealing with someone extraordinarily ignorant but this might help: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contras

    As for seeing Cuba as capitalist, I didn’t realize Tony Cliff supporters could be such obnoxious, mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging imbeciles.

    Comment by louisproyect — January 26, 2021 @ 12:48 pm

  13. Thanks for the correction. I really like Spectre except for this article.

    Comment by louisproyect — January 26, 2021 @ 1:48 pm


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