Welcome… / FRFI 202 Apr / May 2008

FRFI 202 April / May 2008


Condemn me, it does not matter, history will absolve me.
Fidel Castro

As Fidel Castro declined nomination for the Council of State the world’s media turned its scrutiny on Cuba. Journalists asked: What would happen now Fidel was no longer at the helm? Would the transition to a new leadership bring about crisis? Was this indeed the beginning of the end of socialism in Cuba? Such questions were answered by the calmness of the Cuban people themselves: the revolution is here to stay, socialism would continue to be built and developed.

This resounding and defiant message was brought to Britain by three Cubans – Orlando Borrego, Jesus Garcia and Yoselin Rufin, who answered numerous questions about the Cuban revolution during the hugely successful Cuba: Socialism into the 21st Century Speaking Tour (see pp7-10). As the British press and large sections of the so called ‘left’ denounced the leadership of Fidel and told lies about the Cuban revolution (see p10), the Speaking Tour spread the truth about the gains of the revolution and the necessity of building socialism here in Britain.

Britain is an imperialist country that is destroying the world and people’s lives in search of ever greater profit. Unlike in Cuba, where democracy comes from the mass of the people, here it is held in the hands of the few – the ruling class who control the political and economic system. While the Speaking Tour highlighted Cuba’s internationalist spirit in its support of the poor through health and education programmes, it also contrasted this internationalism with the actions of imperialist governments that rampage around the world:

In Palestine the people of Gaza are continuing to fight against the brutal onslaught of the imperialist backed regime of Israel (see p4) and in Latin America Colombia’s President Uribe receives tacit support from Washington for Colombia’s provocations against Ecuador and Venezuela. Such moves from imperialism have only gone so far as to strengthen solidarity between the revolutionary movements that are sweeping across the continent (see p11).

In Iraq the imperialist powers are resorting to the indiscriminate bombing and murder of the people. Unwilling to sacrifice their own troops in Basra, the occupation armies are arming and directing the security forces of the puppet government in an attempt to crush the resistance of the people. And in Afghanistan, the British and US armies are losing their tentative hold on the country and are calling for other imperialist nations to do more (see p6).

The global economy teeters on the brink of serious crisis as the financial system begins to unravel (see pp1, 3, and 5). In Britain the economic crisis means that the needs of the people are being squeezed further by the need for profit. We are seeing that even the fundamentals of the welfare state such as education and health are being ‘sold’ on the market leaving the working class with restricted provision (see p2 and 3). Furthermore, the state is attacking and marginalising the poorest sections of the working class by threatening cuts to housing and welfare benefits (see p4).

This attack on the working class has its sharpest expression in the persecution of asylum seekers and those who have fled imperialist destruction of their home countries to seek a living here. Many asylum seekers are being denied the most basic and important health treatment (see p16) while others have been locked up, forced to fight for a semblance of justice as best as they can through the British legal system, such as the case of the Harmondsworth Four (see p16). The racial fires are being stoked further by the ruling class with the white working class being told that their enemies are migrants from other countries (see p12). Divide and rule, whether it be here or in Iraq, is how the few have managed to always stay on top.

Many people, including much of the US working class, are being swept up by the Democratic presidential campaign circus between Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama (see p5). But despite the talk of change there is no difference in the class interest of such candidates, regardless of their gender, race or rhetoric. Ultimately there can be no parliamentary path to socialism, only a revolutionary path. This is what Cuba has demonstrated and this was the clear message that came out of the Speaking Tour. Now is the time to start building a revolutionary movement in this country. Read these pages, get educated and get active in the urgent work that we are doing (see p14).


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