Saturday, December 26, 2009

Notes on Ron Walters' Comments Criticizing Cuba

Ron Walters' Comments on Cuba Mirror the Same Narrow Perspectives on the Current Situation in the United States

Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire

Editor's Note: These continuing attacks on Cuba should not be surprising when coming from academics like Ron Walters who have moved further to the right politically over the last several decades. Walters' analysis of Cuba is representative of the distance that exist between this strata of the African American community and the realities of not only revolutionary Cuba but the concrete conditions prevailing inside the United States.

Intellectuals like Walters focus mainly on electoral politics involving the Democratic and Republican parties. Both of these parties are capitalist and imperialist and even the Democrats, who the Congressional Black Caucus represents in the US Congress, still supports the enemies of progress both domestically and internationally. Obama's internal and foreign policy reinforces existing social relations, race relations and class structures.

Obama has increased the defense budget, escalated imperialist involvement in Central Asia, the Horn of Africa, Latin America and the Middle-East. The Pentagon and the financial sector still controls the main domestic and foreign policy imperatives inside the United States. Despite the majority of people opposing the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military presence in these geo-political regions remains and expands.

Obama has been roundly condemned by progressives for ignoring the depression-like economic conditions that exist among the masses of African Americans in the United States. Even elements within the African American political elites such as the Congressional Black Caucus, the NAACP and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, have pointed out that Obama's policies fail to address the historical, social and economic discrimination against their constituencies.

Consequently, the decisions that are made by a Democratic-controlled government, are the same racist, capitialist, imperialist and zionist projects that negate the interests of the majority of the people inside the United States as well as around the world.

With writers such as Walters placing so much emphasis on the Democratic and Republican parties, they ignore the political trends and movements that are taking place on a community-based level where real change is on the agenda. The struggles surrounding the economic crisis, the militarism of US imperialism and the continuing national oppression and racism under a purported "post-racial" era of the Obama, requires a national and class conscious movement to bring about fundamental change which can not be achieved under the present administration.

Below are notes from Walter Lippmann on Ron Walters, one of the American professors who signed a statement recently attacking revolutionary Cuba.

These are a few notes on Ron Walters' recent Cuba commentary:
http://www.thedefen dersonline. com/2009/ 12/18/racist- or-revolutionary -cuba%E2% 80%99s-identity- is-at-stake/

Ron Walters' discussion of racism in Cuba raises important issues, but misses many aspects of the Cuban treatment of these complex and difficult themes. Perhaps Ron Walters is unfamiliar with the considerable Cuban literature on race, racism and how they play out in Cuba today. Coming from the United State of America, where racism is a central facet of the social and political culture, and where ignorance of Cuban reality is maintained through a travel ban, that's not surprising.

In my opinion, people from the United States ought to be careful to avoid thinking that the experiences and lessons of life in the US can be applied to every other country on earth without taking into account that country's history, culture and experiences. I believe Ron Walters has made that kind of error here.

The United States didn't elect its first Black president until 2008, in the third CENTURY after gaining its independence from the United Kingom. Cuba, which had and continues to have racial problems of its own, elected its first black president in 1940, at a time when the island had only achieved formal and juridical, but not practical nor actual independence, from the United States of America. Actual independence, I would argue, only began on January 1, 1959, with the triumph of the Cuban Revolution.

Though I am non-Black, and can't discuss racism with the same personal experience foundation that blacks can, I've attempted to follow these issues for many years. I've traveled to Cuba and stayed for extended periods of time. In addition, I direct an Internet-based news service, CubaNews, available at http://groups. group/CubaNews/

Part of the work of the CubaNews list is to locate Cuban materials on these themes, and to make translations of them for the English-speaking public. Even as fierce an opponent of the Cuban Revolution as Carlos Moore has found himself citing my work and my personal website regarding these issues, as you can find in his recently-published autobiography, PICHON. (see the footnotes to the book)

Among the accomplishments of the CubaNews list has been locating and translating from Spanish to English articles on racism, a continuing problem, from the contemporary Cuban media. I'll cite a few examples and hope that Ron Walters, and anyone else interested in these matters, will take a look at what Afro-Cuban authors have had to say about them. Citations below.

Thank you,


Esteban Morales: Cuban Color

Esteban Morales: Challenges of the Racial Problem in Cuba:

Esteban Morales: Anti-Cuban Subversion - The Race Issue

Miguel Barnet: Preserving Memory:

David Gonzalez and Walterio Lord:
Some Quick Comments on Carlos Moore's PICHON: docs2346. html

The Independent Party of Color: html

The Teachings and Lineage of Walterio Carbonell:

Esteban Morales: Malcolm X - An Unyielding Revolutionary: html

Fernando Martinez Heredia: Malcolm X Still Speaks to Us

Fernando Martinez Heredia: The Meaning of a Centennial

Fernando Martinez Heredia:
Social diversity is not a weakness of the nation,
but a very important element of its wealth.

Alberto N. Jones: Unmasking the Promotors of Racial War in Cuba

There are many, many more, but these are a few to get an interested reader started.

Finally, Makani Themba-Nixon of the Praxis Project, one of the sixties signatories to the letter, has publicly withdrawn her signature.

Walter Lippmann
Los Angeles, California

1 comment:

bathmate said...

Really wonderful..I like this blog very much.