15 We Storm the
[This article was dated July 9, 2004. It was translated for CubaNews by Ana Portela. Available in Spanish here.
[We have edited the translation of this article somewhat. Its style is often challenging. It is largely written in a poetic, philosophical, and rhetorical manner that is part of the Latin American revolutionary tradition, a style whose models date from the nineteenth century with such revolutionaries as the Venezuelan Simón Bolívar and the Cuban José Martí, a style similar to that more recently encountered in the writings of the Zapatista leader Subcomandante Marcos.
[Celia Hart is a Cuban revolutionary, daughter of Armando Hart, one of the leaders of the July 26 Movement that overthrew the Batista tyranny in 1959; for many years Armando Hart was minister of education in the Cuban revolutionary government. Celia Hart recently wrote an article repudiating the failed notion of “socialism in one country.” We hope to post that earlier article by Celia Hart on the Labor Standard web site soon. For now, because of the significance of the upcoming vote in Venezuela on August 15, we emphasize the point Celia Hart makes in this article—that the working class and poor peasant rank and file are mobilizing in committees—“electoral patrols and Popular Squadrons”—to make sure the August 15 referendum in Venezuela will be victorious and will serve the interests of the workers and peasants. Other versions of Celia Hart’s articles can be found here and here.]
Nothing happening today can compare to what may occur in
The world that is falling around us seems determined to recover, in a few days, the years lost in a collective amnesia. History is winking its eye at us to prevent us from letting this moment pass us by once again.
The brutal strengthening of the blockade of my country, using
the constitution of the United States; the insecurity in Iraq, with its
photographs, even overshadowing Dante and his demons; Sharon, his walls and
Satanic arrogance; Kosovo ... Everything is turning Humanity into its own
accomplice. The ethical decadence of imperialism is not giving this “homeland”
But…I think it was José Martí who said, “When there aren’t many
decent men there are others who have the decency of many men. These men
represent thousands, entire peoples, and all of human dignity.” Today,
President Hugo Chávez of
Pitched against this, the social movements are becoming more radical and politicized from week to week. What will occur this August 15 will mark a new era for the left of the 21st century, this left that is gradually awakening from the silence of a cheap and tawdry European “socialism” and the evanescent cheers of neo-liberalism.
Soon it will achieve its first attempt at unity. We are now aware that “La Era vuelve a parir un Corazón” [The era is about to give birth to a Heart], as our Silvio [the Cuban singer Silvio Rodriguez] entitled one of his songs.
“The time has come for our
Chávez names them all as comrades in the fight. That’s what they are there for. That is the only way to keep them alive: To make their example useful.
Stupid imperialists! I repeat tirelessly “May God blind those willing to lose” [those heading for self-destruction].
Win or lose,
One of the indispensable intellectuals of my Homeland has said
more than once, “The roads of
Let’s stop here for a moment:
Chávez has a marvelous quantum duality. On the one hand he has been the president of this blessed world that has been the cleanest in classical electoral terms. Seven times he has placed himself on the ballot with an almost exaggerated civic-mindedness. Many comrades, including myself, were horrified when Chávez submitted to this recall referendum. “Of course this is a fraud! Why is he doing it?” But of course he had to offer himself. It was an offer expressing confidence that, even with imperialism against him, he could win in the balloting. It was the civic constancy of Salvador Allende tugging at his conscience.
There stands the President who swore loyalty to the Republic
complete with his tricolor presidential sash. “Isn’t that enough?” No, for now
the Comandante wearing a red beret appears, calling forth the sacred memories
of Che Guevara. Ah,
On August 15, La Higuera will be victorious ... and La Moneda, all at once and always planted in the heart of only one man.
With this victory, like that of April 2002 [the failed coup
against Chávez], this Homeland starts to form from the
Of course, as observed by many comrades in the scenario of combat, it is the organized population who can best defend the President in his battle. Civilian organizations take longer to discover the directions of change. The electoral patrols and Popular Squadrons made up of the workers and “the common people” in general are the real shields of Comandante Chávez to win in Santa Ines. It’s obvious: Chávez has given power to the people, men of dignity, for whom the Revolution was made.
In these two months, almost without realizing it, Chávez is
passing all power to the soviets. The social and political movements of
I received a very serious diagnosis from
One difference with the current situation is that the electoral patrols, UBEs, and squads that are now rising up—and organizing hundreds and thousands of people, perhaps millions by now—have not yet completed their work, but are barely beginning. Perhaps a sectarian dogmatic could think that today’s movement is less important because it comes at the time of an electoral dispute and is born as a defensive action. If someone believes this, it only demonstrates a great shortsightedness and limited knowledge of class struggle.
An impressive class struggle is unfolding in
Here I can make an aside: I don’t like to say or hear that a
country is “socialist”; I mentioned this in my work “Socialism in only one
country and the Cuban revolution.” Socialism in only one country proved to be a
complete theoretical failure. “Socialism” did not only break up in the
Consequently, comrades, don’t ask Chávez to build socialism in
And José Martí? Paradigm of patriotism. But understood as a necessary bridge to the world.
The Cuban Revolutionary Party [founded by Martí while living in
exile in the
It goes as follows:
The mother love of Motherland
Is not a ridiculous love for land
Nor for the grass our feet crush
It is the invincible hatred for those who oppress her
It is the eternal rancor for those who attack her
I place this verse in block letters. The concept of Homeland for Martí is related solely to a social and political purpose. The Homeland is a live commitment against its enemies. Anything else is ridiculous.
It is not passive contemplation and adoration. It is combat and action...
Well, why waste more words ... “Homeland is Humanity.”
Chávez looks on through the eyes of the American Homeland, to
start: He was criticized for his noble position over
Then, as I see it, what Chávez can do in a revolutionary
This time Bolívar will plow in fertile land in all of South
America, and here lie the many
It is perhaps the right time to beat the drums of Revolution in
It is absurd! This passport is shown another way. Imperialism
corners itself all alone. Chávez will triumph in the most radical process that
we can imagine—but for
Of course, anything can happen.
These are new times; there are more of us in the cart. I doubt
they can blockade
Chávez can become an Ernesto Guevara in power.
As for socialist revolution, amen to the indispensable role of men who constitute its objective expression.
I don’t know, and it isn’t even important, whether Chávez has a Marxist philosophy. The ideas of the old bearded man are objective. They are on the margin of our hotheads. I’ll give you a simple example: Although you may not know the law of universal gravity of Isaac Newton, don’t let the glass cup fall, because you will undoubtedly lose it.
In social practice it is the same.
That is why I think that any transformation in
The military leader, the romantic poet, and personal charisma are a subconscious part of acceptance of our leaders. The technocrats, no matter if they are honest and wise, don’t attract us. If you want, I can give the most recent example at hand in my country ...
Chávez was imprisoned for dreaming of a different
To aspire for a radical revolution in
Sometimes I fear, in the face of so much rhetoric suffered and
not understood, that many communist comrades are unaware of the responsibilities
we face. The only options for all socialist parties,
including those of
The European socialist practice silently set the same trap for
us. They got us so used to the manual that we let events pass us by, waiting
for a phrase from the classics that would stimulate us to action. I think that
something like this happened in my beloved
In the forward movement of progressive ideas, the Venezuelan
people now hold the reins. Whatever happens in
I’ll list a few curious details that illustrate the mixture of Homeland and Revolution in my lands.
Fidel Castro was not a member of the Popular Socialist Party
[the Stalinist, pro-Soviet Communist Party in
The mention made by a colleague in reference to my previous
article in reference to Che confirms this suspicion that tightens my heart. To
say that Che was Stalinist because he said it in a certain context is like
saying that our club won the football game because a specialist chose it as
favorite. Che could say what he wanted about Papa Stalin! Che chose a communist
life not by reading the difficult and revised texts of Stalin. Certainly not. He was called to this life by the
illiterates, the poor, the disappeared children of
In the same vein, I think that without Chávez there is no
Let us look up.
No doubt, not a single argument or little phrase taken from Das Kapital could prove the contrary. Yes. He is a mulatto, with the poetic language of the nineteenth century. Yes, he is a Christian. He believes profoundly in God. But continues to be now the creature most capable of changing the destinies of the Revolution in the world. History would not forgive us now for betraying Che in the name of communism!
The flag of the hammer and sickle was exiled from
Now we are called upon. For several years we have been invited to watch wars of conquest and anachronistic and incoherent speeches, towers that crumble, children torn to pieces, prisoners humiliated. Sparked by coca cola, cigarettes, and flashy cars.
In August, the Internet will turn happily to the left and we will witness the taking of power by the people. Let us join our forces to this battle. Let us form international brigades to support the Red Army and its chief from our countries and our keyboards. Today, all the communists of the world should hold a Venezuelan passport. If I had the gracefulness of Cinderella and a fairy godmother came to me, that is what I would ask for, to live through this revolution where my most sacred dreams fuse into one. The possible outbreak of a true world revolution, sung in Spanish, taking up the side of the poor.
The specter that was haunting Europe [in the opening sentence of
the 1848 Communist Manifesto] has bought itself a pretty hat and
is going around again, now haunting the
Something seems to be forgotten: What if we lose?
It doesn’t matter, Chávez has already won. If we lose the President, we still have the Comandante. Fidel did not win in the Moncada. Six years later the most authentic revolution of the West triumphed. The Venezuelan people will not need the Sierra Maestra nor the Granma ... There is one difference ... Fidel did not have us.
Now we can see them all: Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Che, together with Bolívar and Martí, being the first to support Comandante Chávez ... Let us sit down together, united, jubilantly singing the “International” in a thousand languages. That is what I propose for our August 15.
Workers of the world unite!