IWL-FI International Secretariat
On the night of November 25, 2016, Fidel Castro passed away. His death has caused great impact to the world.
In 1959, Fidel lead the revolution that overthrew the dictator Fulgencio Batista, and since 1960 that revolution established the first Workers’ State of Latin America, right on the side of the US imperialism coast.
As a result of the revolution, the Cuban people achieved important victories that were expressed through major advances: full employment, food, public health and education, eliminating or diminishing to the top the social evils of capitalism. On these fields, Cuba surpassed countries that were much more developed, such as Brazil, Mexico or Argentina. Like this, it proved the huge potential of the expropriation of the bourgeoisie and the imperialism, the planned economy, the socialization of the main means of production and the monopoly of foreign trade. Even a poor country like Cuba became the expression of a possible alternative, through the path of struggle.
The Cuban revolution and its victories made of Fidel one of the most influent political figures of second half of the XX century, and without a doubt the main reference of the Latin American leftists.
Because of the prestige he acquired due to the Cuban revolution and its victories, millions of peoples in Cuba, Latin America and the world cry the death of the old leader, who they consider to be the symbol of that revolution. We understand that pain, and we support it in solidarity, as to those people a revolutionary leader has passed away.
Our Morenist tendency was, since the ‘60s, a great sympathizer and defender of the Cuban revolution. However, that did not impede us from hardly criticizing the Castrist leaderships, because the Workers’ State was ruled under a bureaucratic, repressive regime, with no real freedoms for the workers and the masses – like founding political organizations apart from the Communist Party, or founding independent unions other than the ones authorized by the government.
We also criticized it when (since its integration to the Stalinist world apparatus) it adopted the strategy of construction of ‘Socialism in one country’ and “pacific coexistence” with the imperialism, that was attempting to stop the revolutions exploding all over the world. A clear example of this is Nicaragua: in 1979, the Sandinist leadership led a triumphant revolution against the dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza, very similar to the Cuban revolution; in such situation, the Sandinist leadership asked Fidel Castro (who they considered its leader) what to do, and Fidel’s response was to “not make of Nicaragua a new Cuba”. This is: to not move forward towards the expropriation in the path of Socialism. Thus, Nicaragua remained a capitalist country and Sandinism progressively became a corrupt, repressive bourgeois party.
This integration to the “world order” accentuated since the end of the ‘90s, when Fidel and the Castrist leadership restored capitalism in Cuba. This reality, currently objectively undeniable, had deep consequences. The first one is that Cuba is no longer a country independent of imperialism, as it lives an advanced process of semi-colonization, first by the European imperialism and now opening the doors to the US imperialism too. The second one is the Castrist leadership (the same one that led the revolution) became a new “delivery” bourgeoisie, associated and subjected to the imperialism. The third one is since the capitalist restoration, this leadership started attacking and eliminating the great victories of the revolution, and the evils of capitalism that seemed overcame are now emerging once again, such as unemployment and massive prostitution.
Consequently with this, and in a clear contrast with its rebel past, Fidel and the Castrist leadership took to the extreme its role of defenders of the “world order”. As a clear expression of both facts (the hand-over of the sovereignty and the political role of Castrism), we can see the meetings and hugs with Barack Obama and the Pope Francis (who felt sorry for Fidel’s death, not formally).
We know our positions are deeply polemic and not shared by most of the left tendencies we polemized with in many of our texts. But, beyond the differences on the debate itself, there is a wrong tradition of silencing the criticism in front of the death. This is not our tradition: we respect the pain of the millions who saw Fidel as their leader, but together with that respect we also believe the truth is revolutionary and must not be silenced, even in the most painful moments.
This is why we vindicate the Fidel who confronted imperialism; the one that expropriated, together with the Cuban workers, the private property and means of production; the one that established the first Workers’ State of Latin America. We do not vindicate the Fidel Castro that avoided the expropriation, and therefore the continuation of the revolution, in Nicaragua and Central America. We do not vindicate the Fidel of the bureaucratic, totalitarian regime imposed to the island; nor the Fidel that, together with his brother Raul and the Cuban bureaucracy, restored capitalism and opened the doors to the multinationals. To say this truth is essential in the present times, precisely when we commemorate the 100 years of the Socialist, workers’ revolution in Russia. It is essential because today, more than ever, capitalism generates crisis through every its every pore, and its driving humanity to barbarianism and the planet to its destruction, posing on the table the necessity of the Socialist Revolution. From the IWL-FI, we say to the workers and the new generations that Stalinism is not synonym of Socialism; that the tragic restoration of capitalism in the countries that featured the revolutions of the XX century that expropriated the bourgeoisie could have been avoided if the workers had a revolutionary leadership, anti-imperialist, internationalist and anti-capitalist, based on democratic organizations of the urban and rural workers, of the exploited and the oppressed ones. This is the leadership we are trying to build, to recover the lessons of the Bolshevik Party, the true pioneer of the workers’ revolution and Socialism.