The Cuban Revolution is one of the reasons that I became a revolutionary socialist and have remained an activist for almost 50 years.
Capitalism at a dead end, framed especially in the U.S. and Europe by white supremacy, presents a whole new set of challenges for our youth. Life is very different than it was in the 60s.
The exorbitant cost of higher education makes it impossible for working-class youth. If they do manage to attend university, the burden of student debt is crushing. And even with a college degree, young people still may find themselves stuck at a minimum wage job or unemployed.
On top of this are the official government institutions, especially the cops and the courts, that are carrying out a war against Black people. The rate of brutality and killings against primarily Black men, but women too, is unconscionable. At least 115 African-Americans have been killed by police so far this year—probably a conservative number.
This is nothing but the extension of slavery—the horrifying brutal system that enslaved Africans and was decisive in making the U.S. the rich superpower it is today. Today’s killer cops are yesterday’s slave patrols.
Brown folks are also being killed like dogs in the street. This includes a very high percentage of Indigenous people, who like Mexicans, had their land violently stolen from them by the U.S.
People of color in the U.S. today are experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder. But there is also a high level of resistance going on as well.
What Does Cuba Have to Do with It?
Cuba should give youth in the U.S. hope—inspiration—for how things could be if we were to fight for another kind of society—a revolutionary one. Cuba already brings hope to millions around the world.
First of all there are absolutely no killer cops or police brutality in Cuba. That alone is enough. But there is so much more to the Cuban Revolution.
Yet there are those who often express doubt and uncertainty that the revolution will withstand today’s phase of Cuba-U.S. relations, especially those who have never traveled to the island nation.
They fear that McDonald’s—which is often the only thing available in oppressed neighborhoods in the U.S.—will soon take over and that corporations that exploit workers here in the U.S. will go to Cuba and do the same there.
I am astounded by the many times I have heard people doubt that Cuba will keep Black power hero, Assata Shakur safe.
But I have complete faith and confidence in the Cuban Revolution, I know that Assata is safe there.
I believe strongly that Cuba will withstand this new phase of Cuba-U.S. relations. This is not based on wishful thinking or some Pollyanna view. It is based on the science that guides all revolutionaries.
I am confident that Assata is safe because Cuba’s security apparatus has a lot of experience in protecting those who matter. Fidel Castro Ruz would not be alive today otherwise.
WATCH: Che Guevara’s UN Speech
When the U.S. flag started to fly in Havana at its new embassy a year ago, many progressives here in the U.S. were dismayed. And of course on the face of it, it was disheartening. But that is a narrow view.
Of course, activists in the U.S. want to see U.S. flags come down around the world, not go up. The ending of U.S. imperialism would be a huge step forward for humanity.
But the U.S. flag flying in Cuba can also be interpreted as a sign of Cuba’s strength. The U.S. flag went up in the context of the strength of the revolution, not weakness. It went up while the founders of the revolution are still alive and strong.
It went up while the U.S. had tried everything else to overthrow the revolution and had failed.
The longest-running blockade in the Western Hemisphere, the economic, political and biological warfare could not bring down the Cuban Revolution.
What is it about Cuba that has stayed the hand of imperialism for over 50 years? It is such a tiny island, only 90 miles from the very country that has bombed Afghanistan for over 15 years, devastated Iraq, and is now intensifying intervention in Latin America, especially in Venezuela.
Today, one out of every 113 people in the world is displaced from their homeland, mainly as a result of the U.S.-NATO war in Syria and intervention in Africa, especially northern Africa, according to the World Council of Churches.
Yet no one flees Cuba because of repression, death squads or abject hunger and deprivation.
Imperialism is extremely powerful but Cuba has shown to the world that imperialism has feet of clay. This demonstrates that Cuba is indeed one of a kind.
This July 26 marks the 63rd anniversary of the assault on the Moncada barracks that marked the beginning of the revolution. Sixty-three years of history, leadership, ideological and military war against oppression.
There is no reason to fear that Cuba will stray from the course it has set for over 60 years. Who would want to return to the days of no independence?
Cubans need only to look over at Puerto Rico, Haiti or Mexico, to know they must defend their revolution to the death.
Fidel, one of the greatest leaders in world history, shaped and led the Cuban Revolution. He, along with others, built the Cuban Communist Party and created a vanguard leadership like no other.
They professed to be Marxist-Leninists almost immediately upon victory in 1959, assured that socialism could be created by ousting the banks and corporations that dictated society in other countries.
“The destruction of the old bourgeois apparatus, and the formation of the nascent state, the radical steps taken by the Revolution, and the creation of genuine, fighting organizations of the masses, confirmed the Revolution’s unmistakable trajectory,” wrote Granma, the official newspaper of the CCP.
This is the science behind the confidence in Cuba.
This party and this leadership succeeded because of a high level of skill, knowledge, principled behavior, a Marxist ideology rooted in Leninism and above all a genuine love of the masses. It continues to succeed because of Fidel, Raul Castro and so many other leaders.
I had the honor of traveling to Cuba some years ago with the group Pastors for Peace. Over a dozen of us filled a van for an unexpected outing miles away from where we were staying at the Martin Luther King Center in Havana. On the highway, on several occasions, a law enforcement agent attempted to pull the van over.
I asked the driver why they wanted us to stop and why he wasn’t stopping? He said it was because the van was filled with too many people and that it was a safety violation. And he added that he wouldn’t stop because Rev. Lucius Walker, founder of Pastors for Peace, needed to get back to Havana for a meeting.
I said to the driver, “Wow, if something like this had happened in the U.S., if a van full of brown and Black people had not stopped, we would have all been shot.”
He said shyly and quietly, “Here the government and the people are one.”
That is why the Cuban Revolution has survived and will continue to not only survive, but thrive.