ProstheTic

Originally Published September 3, 2011

“Lightning flashes of insight into the mirth of a dark sky…”

The joy is in feeling eternal.

As it starts to work on me, it blinds me from the trouble ahead.  The light seems clearer and shinier, and for some unknown reason I dare not try to explore, I feel 100%.  Bright Colors are nice, but this calm is essential…

The first moments come unexpected.  My body feels flushed.  There is heat building up from within and it slowly seeps through my skin.  Before I know it, the warmth has taken over my body and if I didn’t know better, I would swear I were floating.

An overwhelming calm wraps me like a blanket.  I feel safe, but more importantly I feel as if I could completely be secure about the future, because I think that as long as I can sustain this feeling, the rest of the pieces will simply fall into place.  It is an amazing feeling, because regardless of the tumultuous events happening around me – the thunder destroying me and the monsoon soaking me – I feel no worry; I am safe, as if in a womb.  There is no worry.

Though my body remains still, I feel as though my mind has reached places few of us have seen or been to.  I feel as though I’ve felt something only the Saints were supposed to feel.

But I hold no grudge.  And I repudiate selfishness and egoism.  So I don’t intend to make this feeling solely mine.  I intend to share it with the world; to allow light to radiate through me; to inspire the fellow who thought about surrendering.

I feel no heaviness, and I feel no weight. I am full – not an empty vessel – but there is no strain needed to lift me up. I am weightless.  I float.  I am above the ground and above mediocrity. I am high above. It’s a feeling of eternity.

This is the feeling I felt, and which blinded me. This is what I attempted to sustain…..

 ******

But I couldn’t.  The moment was over.  The high became a low. The calm was suddenly shaken by a storm.

With eyes wide open – gazing straight ahead at the dismal future and the ensuing struggle – I realize now I was duped.

It wasn’t eternity: it was deceitfulness.  It wasn’t empowerment: It was weakness. It wasn’t happiness: it was merely a sedative. And finally, it wasn’t life: it was just – and forever nothing more – a drug.

Narcotics.

A sensation. A high. An alternative reality. But it was a drug.

Now it is gone.  And now, in this erratic calmness – in this soothing emptiness – at the bottom of the barrel – after the smoke has cleared and the snow has melted – at the last hour – in this place of quiet, I reflect:

I was just getting high. I made no progress.  I sedated myself….and now that is all gone.

The future is bright; but the road is covered in shards of glass, and I forgot my shoes inside a wilderness…

ECUADOR: FLYING HIGH WITH CORREA

Overwhelming Change: “Nothing Can Stop Us Now!”

My eyes filled with tears the first time I saw the video of NEE-01 PEGASO – Ecuador’s first space satellite – playing the Ecuadorian National Anthem in space. The images of the Earth from 900 km above gained a new profound meaning as the notes struck a melancholic chord in me, taking me back to the early years of elementary school, when we’d stand in line every Monday morning, singing along to that fantastic tune booming behind the poles where flags waved.

But it wasn’t necessarily the memories that moved me, particularly because back then I didn’t notice any of that. It was an overwhelming realization that the mess of a country I left behind almost 15 years ago to never look back has advanced in ways I never thought possible.

Since President Rafael Correa was first elected in 2006, the nation has taken great strides forward, most notably reclaiming political stability in a country that had seen 10 presidents thrown out in explosive popular revolts in less than a decade. The rates of reduction of poverty (one of the best in the region) has also been a major cornerstone of the so-called Christian Socialism the government has identified itself with. But that was expected…at least by me. The government is doing precisely what its mandate is, and needs no more accolades than knowing it has the support of an overwhelming majority of the nation’s population (If I recall correctly, Correa just won the election with over 65% of the votes). That’s not to say that it’s perfect, but its mandate is not to be perfect; it is to pull a nation out of the seams of hell.

So when I saw the video of the satellite carrying that tri-colour flag through space, the magnitude of the transformation that the country has undergone was simply overwhelming. That, I had not expected. I was completely moved with pride. Pride of having been born in a country that, after all it went through – after being recognized internationally only for its corrupt leaders and indigent levels of poverty – had finally been blessed with a leader that had vision.

******

The Ecuadorian Civilian Space Agency (Agencia Espacial Civil Ecuatoriana (EXA)) is the “first space agency in the history of Ecuador,” and was founded in 2007 with the aid of the State through the Ecuadorian Air Force, according to its website. It is planned for 10 years and will see three ambitious phases implemented, including the first Ecuadorian astronaut in space, the first landing on the moon and the first satellite, the latter of which has been achieved.

Ronnie Nader is leading the program, and is Ecuador’s first astronaut, receiving his training in 2007 in the Russian Federation “on the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center…designed to train a scientist to perform research during short term suborbital space flight,” reads the website.

The EXA joined the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) in 2008 – “the world’s leading space advocacy body with 246 members…across 62 countries,” according to the IAF website. It also joined the Guinness World Record book for the “youngest human being ever to fly in microgravity, the RIM-G, a system allowing almost any person to fly micro-gravity without being sick, opening the door for thousands of Ecuadorians to the marvels of 0-(gravity) and to a new set of research opportunities.”

NEE-01 PEGASO, the satellite, which was launched from China on April 26, since Ecuador does not have a launching station, is tiny (1.2kg, 10x10x10cm), but was nevertheless able to transmit images and data from space for seven days, before it was hit by the debris of a Russian satellite on May 23.

It’s main mission is to study the environment in space in order to be able to build bigger and better satellites.

******

The idea that kids I grew up with and new generations could watch images of space delivered by their very own satellite, right at home, is astounding. Of course, many of them may have to go to public libraries, or the homes of kids who can afford computers and internet…but the possibilities are slowly emerging.

Ecuador is no longer a nation characterized by rampant corruption and poverty. Though the West may continue to denigrate Ecuador’s government, suggesting that it is authoritarian and a dictatorship, just as it does with other nations in full Revolutionary Motion, such as Venezuela and Cuba, to name a couple only, the undeniable jumps forward that this tiny Andean nation has made in the last seven years, is simply awe-inspiring.

People in Ecuador are seeing something they have not in a long time: the splendour of possibilities, and the results of having a government with integrity and genuine aspirations of progress.

…It was knowing all of this, that brought tears of utter pride and joy to my eyes…

THE BEAST GETS CLOSER…IT GROWS BIGGER

Originally written on Sunday, May 5, 2013

4:43 p.m.

A Much Needed Change of Pace

I’ve just returned from a small, personal excursion to the London Museum of Archeology and the Medway Valley Heritage Forest, IMG_20130503_205244 which seems to surround the former. Despite the Museum’s small size (it was just a bit bigger than my apartment, minus the separate/divided rooms) it held a few interesting artifacts and facts about the First Nations that settled in and around Canada. These included the tribes that settled at the Lawson Site, which apparently bordered the edge of what now is the Museum; at the back, past the parking lot, a re-creation of that village had been propped up, displaying a Longhouse (and a smaller Longhouse), Tents and a few other landmarks that created a vague, though palpable resemblance of what those pre-modern times of hunting and gathering must’ve looked like. But more inviting that the Museum itself, at least to me, were both the forest behind the recreated Lawson Village and the Heritage Forest, the latter of which I traversed until I found a nice, quiet place by a stream that seemed to flow with crystal-clear water, and where I sat alone with my thoughts as I tried to return to those simpler times, traveling inside a cloud of smoke that seemed to linger in the air for just a few moments before entirely vanishing, just like those figures in my mind…Yes, it was among all that nature that I felt the most free.

The path was long and sinuous, resembling a snake that stood still. The sun was beaming with full force, though its strength diminished a bit since it had to poke through the foliage that rested so very high above my head, at the very tips of awesomely huge trees which seemed to, indeed, scrape the sky. At my sides, through the intricate web of trees and branches that separated the darkness and bowels of the forest from my apparently forsaken path, an orchestra formed and carried me along with its tune: a marvelous melody of birds’ songs that repeated their beautiful pattern with clock-like precision every four seconds or so, and then the response from their aviary comrades which would come shortly thereafter, extending and fulfilling a melody that uttered a love story. The shrubs shrouded from time to time, and twigs snapped as little but lightning-fast feet scurried around the floral-maze…It almost felt like eyes were peering at me from behind the bushes, but they were kind eyes – at least they felt as such – which made the path no longer feel deserted and forsaken, but rather like a live, breathing organism that accompanied me. The Snake, it seemed, had regained its life…And perhaps, I felt, it was my presence that had had something to do with it.

As I continued walking, enjoying that serenade emanating from within the very Soul of the Forest, the peculiarity of being alone in a new place – though not really alone – became apparent to me again, just as it had on those now long-gone days when I had traveled the Venezuelan streets alone, armed with nothing but my recorder, my pen and enough money to refuel on ice-cold beers. Yes, the magnificently impactful experience of being alone in a new city, or country, or forest, or house, will never leave me…I’m not sure if that is an experience that most travelers share; I have met so many experienced travelers from all over the world and with so many IMG_20130505_142025different personalities, goals, vices and stories, that a really focused conversation or analysis of their feelings at being alone once again has never materialized. But, as in many things in life, and without at all descending into that banal “individualism,” which really is egoism (and, sometimes, border-line anti-social tendencies), that plagues most of the world, if not all of it, I must admit that in this case, the feelings of other travelers on the matter is really of no concern to me, at least in regards to my purposes, which focus on deep and critical self-analyzing and on the creation/implementation of a revolutionary process for self-evolution.

Into the Grinder

What I mean by all of that, is that I’ve realized that it is when I’m thrown head-first into the Grinder that I feel most alive, most free, most useful. I wither with routine; I find myself rotting, both from the inside and the outside, whenever I have (or choose) to do the exact same thing every day…and that includes the things that my eyes see, that my ears hear and which, thus, create the images and ideas that my brain propels. It is the excitement and panic that I feel – the Fear and Loathing, in the words of the Good Doctor – that seem so wild and pleasing at the same time. It is knowing that things have changed, that the walls have morphed, that the ground has gained life. It is knowing that at any given time, I may find the Stairs that Lead Straight Up, just as likely as I may find the Elevator that Plunges Downwards. It is knowing that happiness and utter despair are both new friends and foes that wait for and lurk behind me, and that I may come out all the better at the other side precisely because of them. It is knowing that I am taking steps nearing either the Head or the Tail of Snake…but that I am, indeed, taking them.

As a matter of fact, I will never forget the steps I already had the pleasure of taking in Mexico, or Cuba, or Venezuela.

Particularly in the latter – in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela – I experienced some of the most amazing things in my life, including, in its own way, a desolation of the soul that blinded me from any reason and which nearly destroyed my sanity and my health…Yes, for some odd reason – and certainly without being a masochist, for I abhor unnecessary pain (and likewise, cherish the opposite) – even those depressing experiences taught me something; they made my brain and my thoughts react a certain way which, sooner or later, would come to form some of the most powerful convictions in me. Of course, in retrospect, if I could choose to do things differently – to have taken a different path among the Long Snake that was that trip – I certainly would do so; but, for that, I’d need to think like I do now, which is physically/metaphysically/mentally and any other kind of degree of impossible, given that it was precisely those experiences from which I learned and eventually evolved into the Beast that I am today…Indeed, as a Wise Fool once said, He who makes a Beast of Himself, gets rid of the Pain of Being a Man….And pain, there is!

And it is in this way that my experiences here in London thus far, and those to come over the course of the next year, are surely to teach me something…For much more than just becoming a Journalist – a profession which I admire with all the Integrity in me, and which I’ve devoted myself to entirely – my time here will be used more like narcotics for an addled brain: uppers, downers, herbs, medicines, whatever you want to call it, the experiences will all cause new chemical reactions, feelings, thoughts and behaviours to go along with it. And all of this will accumulate to a Refined Me; to an individual that, much like the Snake, has Shed its Old Skin. The essence remains – the soul is intact – but the Ideas Grow.

The Individual who Propels the Great Wheel

I remember thinking at some point today – as I rode the bus through what I could only describe as one of the quaintest towns/cities wherein I’ve had the pleasure of residing, however briefly – that while it is very true that Ideas Never Die – a maxim not only true and widely known, but which has regained its fervour after the unfortunate death of Commander Hugo Chavez – they are insufficient to really Propel the Great Wheel forward. As important and powerful as they are, it’d be a sin (to put a religious twist in there) to allow the Idea to remain static and to eventually become sedentary, if not regressive, within the context of the ever-changing societies and conditions around the world. I had in mind, at that moment, the aforementioned events of Chavez’s death, and the subsequent battle between the two opposing (political) sides.

Though it is very true, again, that the Movement and Revolutionary Fervour that he revived in Latin America will continue – for, as we’ve agreed, Ideas Never Die – the Greatness and the Supremacy (not in terms of class or any other such exclusionary terms, but rather in a sense of greater preparedness, both physically and ideologically), of the Individual (now in the true sense of the word) is vital…Nay, Unforgivably Necessary!

Indeed, to conclude with the Venezuelan example and the political implications for the Latin American continent, if we allow the ideas that Chavez left as his legacy – what we could, to use his own term, call 21st Century Socialism – to stagnate, to become an unchanging model, then it only becomes dogmatic; worst, it becomes antagonistic to the context of the society. My faith resides fully with President Maduro, for he’s proven himself capable – at least thus far, in his short terms as both interim- and elected-president – to not only continue Chavez’s legacy, but to nourish it and allow it to Grow and Evolve. Nevertheless, new Individuals must be born and moulded with the Revolutionary Ideas that are overtaking the Continent, so that they may lead said Ideas towards their Ideal – so that they may continue to nourish them and perfect them.

And it was with that thought, as I rode the bus, that I regained the consciousness of being, once again, alone in a new place…and with all the tools that are therefore necessary and available  to Mould a New Man out of myself…To pry deeper into my Real Self; into all my “Wild Dogs,” as Nietzsche would say. For my ideas and convictions, as ingrained and solid as I know they are, hunger for Change and Evolution and Progress

Alas, I am getting Closer to the Head of the Beast!!IMG_20130503_202245

******

Hasta la Victoria Siempre!

Patria, Socialismo o Muerte!

ARTILLERY FOR THE MIND: ON THE “VANGUARD”

PART I – COMPARING THE GREATEST DEMOCRACY IN THE WORLD

This was another thing that until recently simply didn’t click. To be fair, the terms are all better understood when as a base – a foundation – a premise – we consider that the new Socialist State is to be Created. The lack of this understanding is in no small part why some of these concepts, such as ‘The Vanguard’ and especially the ‘Dictatorship of the Proletariat,’ have been misinterpreted and misunderstood by the general public, myself included, given that the terms are analyzed under the very same framework that is trying to be revolutionized/changed.

If we think of applying these terms utilizing the exact same tools of the previous system – the Bourgeois Democracy, with all its pillars, balances of checks, parliamentary chambers, jargon, etc. – then some of these concepts will understandably be met with resistance, ambivalence and, at the very least, misinterpretation.

As for me, however, now that I’m convinced of this fact – that the new society must be started from anew – the term Vanguard makes a lot more sense.

To explain what I understand by this concept, I think I want to first gloss over – very superficially – the structure of the regular presidential process applied in the United States, supposedly the freest and most democratic country in the world.

Though they do, indeed, hold elections every four years where a new candidate (or incumbent, if it’s his first term) from either of the two parties – Democrats or Republicans – are elected to be president of the country for a maximum of two terms, this fact simply doesn’t seem like a comprehensive enough yard-stick to measure, evaluate and eventually deem a system a Great Democracy. Then to go on and use the same dwarfed yard-stick against countries that don’t have presidential elections, such as Cuba, for instance, and deem them Dictatorships is – it goes without saying – ludicrous.

Let me explain.

The running candidates in the U.S.’ presidential elections always seem to be a rotation of all the former governors, senators, representatives, ambassadors and, at least from what I could tell from these past elections (2012), even leading business men. I think the only position where someone from the “common citizenry” (not a known politician moving up in ranks or being appointed) can aspire to reach is that of mayor. Then, of course, after enough time and with discipline, perseverance and adherence to the rule of law, he/she can aspire to move up in the ranks…or so the story goes. Of course, it is expected, as is anywhere else in the world, that the person who aspires to run for mayor will be someone who has been involved in the community, who knows what the problems are in his community and who has a more or less developed understanding of what it will take to solve said problems…of course, again, so goes the story.

Yet the corruption, mismanagement, discrimination and simply lack of functioning at the mayoral level in most of the major U.S. cities is not something that I am creating because I am against that system; it is a truth that has been documented by the mainstream press time and time again. The fate of the real common citizenry the people: the laborers  the truck drivers, the shop-keepers, the nurses, the factory-workers, the taxi drivers, even the professional/middle classes, who also are suffocating under the pressure of that tiny 1% at the top – it seems is destined to be at the hands of the most savvy businessman that can squeeze his way in.

PART II SHEDDING THE OLD SYSTEM: PARTICIPATORY – NOT REPRESENTATIONAL – DEMOCRACY

In the Creation of the New Socialist State, every remnant of the old system must be shed, or, at least, as much as possible. But this doesn’t mean succumbing to a dictatorship.

As new nations continue to, as Che has written somewhere, “fall off of the weakest branches of the Imperial Tree,” either through Liberation Struggles or Revolutions of a social nature (even if not necessarily of a socialist nature), the movement and the struggle itself is, at all moments – during the actual armed guerrilla war, or the peaceful movement, or even after victory, in the oceanic depths of a nation seemingly isolated from everything, but really only far away from every vestige of the old society as the new society begins its birth – led by a group of people who’ve been ideologically, physically and mentally trained for such a task; they are led by the Vanguard.

While many people understand the concept that the guerrilla war or even the peaceful movement has to indeed be led by a group of people better trained to do so, the thought that the same group should have any influence on the reconstruction of the political, social and economic atmosphere of the nation seems disparate if not entirely backwards to them. But perhaps it isn’t properly understood that after victory, the group, which in the first place was formed by the People, has not a Controlling Role per se, but rather one of Impulse, of Movement, of Pushing the masses forward, or even Pulling them where necessary.

In Cuba, the Guerrilla that began as 80-something men somewhere in Mexico, was formed of people, among them Fidel Castro and Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, that had never had any military training prior to the experience. Some of them had fired guns and were avid marksmen, but most were laborers, peasants and even professionals from the common citizenry (Che was a doctor, though Argentinean), that had literally taken up arms to take back their nation from Imperial Domination. Though they received some military training in Mexico, they were leading a fight mostly on Ideology…and a whole bunch of fucking courage, of course!

As the fight went on in the thick jungles of the Sierra Maestra, the Guerrilla that had began as 80-something men started to swell as the fighters began educating the peasants they found isolated and spread throughout the mountain, forgotten – or rather, neglected – by Batista’s Dictatorship, which had funneled the booming economy to the very top, leaving most of the people as forgotten peasants in the mountains and impoverished, illiterate, sick, hungry, nearly zombie-like bodies in the rest of the cities throughout the country. And education, at that time, didn’t necessarily mean in terms of ideology, for the revolution, at that time, still had not taken up Socialism as its goal, though as the fight went on, more communist, socialist, and left-wing groups joined the fighting both in the mountains and the cities. Education was literally Education: peasants in their 40s, 50s, 60s and so on, had, for the first time, learned what their names looked like on paper, and that they themselves could do it. They were taught their own history – that of the Latin American continent – and why their land and family were often abused – in every sense of the word – by thugs from the government.

Well, as the fighting goes on, as the people from the cities and the mountains see the legitimate goal of the revolution and begin joining them, the Vanguard itself begins to expand. At this moment, it still comprises the fighting groups, but after Victory and, more specifically, after Fidel officially announces a year after they’d won, in 1961, that they’d led a Socialist Revolution and were now, in effect, a Socialist State, the group would comprise elements directly from the common citizenry.

Now, it is true that the president – who at least nominally continues to be Fidel Castro – is not elected and that, in fact, the position was simply inherited by his brother, Raul Castro. So it is here that begins what needs explaining, though to most people, entirely convinced of the backwardness of “socialism,” it may sound like justifying. But let me give it a try anyway.

To create a new state, every vestige of the old one must be shed. In the attempt to do so, the Revolutionary Government must, as Castro did, abolish everything and every vehicle through which supporters of the old system could again slither their way in, to infect it from within the political-judicial sphere, like a goddamn cancer. He abolished Congress and did not allow any of the people who had participated in the previous rigged elections to participate in government.

Now, though I’m not 100% knowledgeable of the entire political system in the island, I do know that they have a National Assembly whose 614 members are not only elected by the public, but half of the members are comprised by nominees from youth/student groups, women groups, trade unions and members of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, which are a little more than 8 of the 11 million Cubans living there. Then they go on to choose the members of the other legislative/executive bodies, who are in charge of passing/proposing laws, ratifying them, executing them, etc. There is no need, now, to get into the semantics of the political structure itself.

The Vanguard, which as we’ve seen began with the Guerrilla Fighters in the mountains, then grew with the peasants and common citizenry that joined the fighting, now, after Victory, begins looking for more and more people to join it. And how? By looking for the people that are choosing to open their eyes, or people who are legitimately giving themselves willingly (and understanding exactly what it means to do so) to the task of creating a new society. Going into detail would take a lot more analysis, but let’s just look at a couple of ways.

PART III – REAL COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

Firstly, with more than 8 of the 11 million citizens voluntarily joining the so-called Committees for the Defense of the Revolution – in every neighborhood of the country  – it is clear that “People Power” is indeed more than just a term. Critics of the system say that this is essentially a “secret police” that monitors every activity, and every minute detail of peoples’ personal lives, tattling on the ones that are plotting against government or who simply are dissidents. This is the loss of freedom they woe. However, the roles of these bodies are much more than simply monitoring, though it has never been denied that one of those is indeed to monitor for counter-revolutionary activities.

Castro himself has been quoted saying of their purpose: That they exist “In the face of Imperial Aggression, we’re going to implement a system of collective vigilance…so that everybody knows who lives on every block, what they do on every block, what relations they have had with the tyranny, in what activities are they involved and with whom do they meet.” (Context is imperative here. The quote comes from CNN, so I will always question its entire veracity, but nevertheless, it does sound like Castro; however, it was said in 1960, at the very top of the tensions between the U.S. and Cuba, and when the former was actively and militarily trying to topple the revolution and infiltrate its ranks. Moreover, also placing this quote in the context of the creation of a new society with a selfless mentality, where we are as much in tune with other people’s lives and needs as we are with our own, this type of “collective vigilance” can be understood as the typical – and necessary – effort to increase community involvement, participation and identity, where neighbors aren’t just individuals living beside each other, alienated from each other’s lives but for a “hi” in the morning and a “hi” at night, but rather they are members of a neighborhood – which itself is a member of a society – where everyone’s efforts affect everyone else.) But there’s more to their purpose, which directly links with the need for a Vanguard and, even more importantly, for the need of specific type of people to join the Vanguard.

The criteria that is looked for in candidates that are nominated to be members of the National Assembly, who in turn will elect, among themselves, members to go on to form the Council of State, is, above all, merit, patriotism, ethical values and revolutionary history. Now, though to some that may sound like a bunch of bull, consider what the 8 million members of these neighborhood committees are involved in doing, most notably in regards to social activities that get people to work together and disaster relief.

From Wikipedia, citing information from National Assembly of People’s Power as well as the above mentioned CNN article:

“Its defenders note that [the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution] have other important responsibilities…these include arranging festivals, administrating voluntary community projects, and organizing attendance to mass rallies. Proponents also emphasize that CDR helped to put medical, educational, or other campaigns into national effect and that, being organized on a geographical basis, they also act as centers for many who do not work in farms or factories and hence include a large proportion of female membership. The CDR’s also take an active role in vaccination campaigns, blood banks, recycling, practicing evacuations for hurricanes, and backing up the government in its fight against corruption.”

Indeed. In Global Justice: Liberation and Socialism, which I quote again below, Che describes an occasion at the beginning of the revolution where these type of community efforts were exemplified in the people.

The following passage describes both the type of attitude that is trying to be harnessed in the new society, and the final goal. I quote:

“At other opportunities in our history, the total commitment to the revolutionary cause was repeated. During the October Crisis, on the days of the Floral Cyclone, we saw exceptional acts of valor and sacrifice realized by an entire people. Finding the formula to perpetuate that heroic attitude in every-day life is one of our fundamental tasks from the ideological point of view” (34).

PART III.I – SIDE-NOTE ON DETRACTORS

Just for the sake of some objectivity, I want to very briefly address some points that detractors criticize.

It reads in Wikipedia:

“However, a 2006 Amnesty International report noted CDR involvement in repeated human rights violations that included verbal as well as physical violence.[5] Critics also contend that the CDR’s are a repressive tool, giving the government a heads-up about dissident activities on the micro-local level, by tattling on the non-compliant.[1] They identify CDR’s as “one of the lead entities responsible for the wave of repression sweeping through Cuba,” most recently, the brutal beatings and detention of 75 members of the Ladies in White in Havana in 2011 and 2012.[6][7]

First: Amnesty International is enraged at alleged “verbal as well as physical violence,” and therefore is constantly condemning the “dictatorship” in Cuba and its “human rights abuses.” Yet they say absolutely not one single word when violent attacks by cops towards women, minorities, youth, (peaceful) protesters have been CLEARLY AND EMPIRICALLY DOCUMENTED time and time again in the United States. I do not intend this to be a “if you do it, why can’t we?” argument; I say it simply to point out the illegitimacy and injustice of an international body that claims to be non-partisan while defending human rights, yet turning a blind eye to the obvious abuses in any country that has not rattled the status quo. It is simply a matter of ILLEGITIMACY, HYPOCRISY AND INSINCERITY. Thus, to me, going by the information provided by Amnesty International regarding human rights abuses, is as objective as using the Bible – the very book I question – as empirical/objective evidence of the existence of God.

Second: “Critics say it is a tool for giving a heads up to the government about dissident activities on the micro level by tattling on the non compliant.” Two things to say about this: One is that once it is established that a new society is in creation – that the task has been embarked upon by the masses (MAJORITY) – any non-compliance automatically means the wish/fight to keep the old one alive, therefore being counterrevolutionary, therefore being illegal. Period.

But, second, to those who feel the weight of that sentence to be too heavy, let me just paraphrase what someone else said: The U.S. has the FBI, which is comprised of federal government agents monitoring absolutely every single person’s email, phone calls, etc., with a file on everybody! It is so commonly known, that even in movies and sitcoms, the FBI’s all-seeing-eye is often parodied. Cuba may have something similar, though it is comprised of people – not government officials – who have accepted the new task of creating a new society. Moreover, the CDRs have additional, more important roles, as was mentioned above.

Detractors also mention brutal repression “sweeping through Cuba.” In an article (http://www.wbez.org/blog/achy-obejas/2011-10-20/ladies-white-cubas-shame-93335), it is written:

“The Ladies in White came about after what’s referred to as Cuba’s Black Spring, those months in 2003, when state security agents descended on dissidents like a series of flash floods. We’d hear the racket in the neighborhood in the wee hours, get up, sneak a peek out the door and see the street blocked; somebody’s house was getting sacked.

“Eventually, the government condemned 75 men and women to sentences that went up to 30 some years, the evidence against them technologies such as computers and cells that weren’t legal on the island then, payments from abroad for articles and interviews, the eyewitness reports of men they’d thought were comrades in arms and turned out to be government spies embedded in their midst.

“One of the condemned men was Hector Maseda, an independent journalist and leader of the unofficial and thus illegal Cuban Liberal Party”

From my point of view, if those certain computers and cells were illegal, then you are committing a crime, right? That’s how it works? When people do something they feel shouldn’t be a crime but get punished – are they being repressed or punished for committing a crime? Here in Canada, recreational weed is illegal, though I, as a chronic user, certainly don’t see why it should be and even advocate for the opposite. However, if I am caught smoking a joint by a cop, whether I believe it unjust or not, the fact remains that I am breaking the law and that I will have to deal with consequences. Period.

“Payments from abroad for articles and interviews”? In a time when it is known that the U.S. is trying to topple the Revolution (which it continues to do)? To “pay” for interviews? What kind of journalist from “abroad” – whatever country that may refer to – pays for interviews and articles? No self-respecting journalist does this. It goes against every ethic of the profession. Plus it is penalized, even here in Canada. In fact, when I read that sentence in the article, something actually clicked: Oh, I thought. So that’s how they get all their “misinformation” which they feed to the American public about the “hardships,” “volatility” and “repression” in Socialist Island: Buying News…

Lastly, someone may argue that the sentences were too long. Too long??! They are counter-revolutionaries trying to undo/undermine/sabotage (through every avenue, even lies/illegal ones) the efforts thus far made at creating a new system in order to return to one which they know kept the majority of the population oppressed, hungry, homeless, illiterate and sick. At the very best, they are simply looking out for their own interests, unable to cope with the social movement in the country and unable to lock arms with the masses that are indeed moving forward; at the very best, in other words, their self-interest causes them to choose to walk alone, away from the masses (the MAJORITY). So, in my opinion, let them rot! Thirty years is not enough! But perhaps that is why I am not the leader of a nation; I may be too harsh; too impulsive; not wise enough; not diplomatic enough, who knows.

Even so, later on, brokered through Cuba’s Catholic archdiocese with the Cuban and Spanish governments, early releases were granted. “Most of the freed men chose to leave the island, to settle in Spain and the U.S. as part of the arrangement.”

What a surprise. Where else would they go??

PART IV – IDEOLOGICALLY ADVANCED

Anyway, back to the Vanguard.

As more people from the common citizenry continue to excel in the previously mentioned camps, namely merit, patriotism, community involvement, heroism, volunteerism and, of course, ideological prowess, as part of their routine life as either members of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution or even outside of it (though apparently the majority are in it), the Vanguard continues to grow.

Those more ideologically advanced – the ones that understand the Marxist-Leninist Theories of the Construction of Socialism – as well as the ones that have the more meritorious qualities, such as volunteerism, heroism, community involvement, what have you, are the ones in charge of helping the rest of society reach the same level of culture and to then go on climbing together (note the contrast to competition, where the winner – the more advanced – does not have any obligation to help the “losers” reach the same level). This is part of the Direct Education that Che believes is essential in the formation of the new Man, and calls “Auto-Education.”

I quote from Socialism and Man, itself a part of the short anthology, Global Justice: Liberation and Socialism (Pg. 39).

“In our case, direct education acquires a much greater importance. The explanation is convincing because it is true, not filled with subterfuges. It is exercised through the educative apparatus of the State in terms of general culture, [technique] and ideology, through such organisms as the Ministry of Education and the divulgation apparatus of the State. Education then is absorbed by the masses, and the new type of advocated attitude turns to habit; the masses continue to make it their own, and pressure those who still have not educated themselves. This is the indirect form of educating the masses…

“But the process is conscious; the individual constantly receives the impact of the new social power and perceives that it isn’t totally adequate for him. Under the influence of this indirect education, he tries to accommodate himself to a situation he feels just and whose very own lack of development has impeded him from doing so until now. He auto-educates.

“In this period of construction of socialism, we can appreciate the new man that is being born. His image is not yet finished; it couldn’t be, since the process marches parallel to the development of new economic ways.”

And it is through this socialist education that the new Vanguard swells in numbers of members, pushing forward from behind, and pulling from the front, all of the people who have yet to accept the creation of the new system, or who need help understanding the steps to be taken, or who consciously move forward with them, though still not sure of the final goal. Ultimately, as the numbers continue to increase to engulf the entire population, the Vanguard ceases to exist as every member becomes consciously a New Man. This, of course, is Communism.

I quote again, from page 39 and 40.

“Not counting those whose lack of education makes them opt for the solitary path, towards the auto-satisfaction of their own desires, there exist those who, even inside this new panorama of a unified march, tend to walk isolated from the masses that accompany them. What is important is that they daily go on becoming more and more conscious of the necessity of their incorporation (integration) into society and, at the same time, as engines of the same.

“They no longer march alone, through skewed roads toward distant aspirations. They follow their Vanguard, constituted by the Party, by the leading laborers, by the leading men and women who walk linked to the masses and in tight communion with them. The Vanguard has its view fixed on the future and in its prize, but this isn’t perceived as something individual; the prize is the new society where men and women will have different characteristics: the society of the Communist Man.

“The path is long and full of difficulties. Sometimes, due to taking the wrong route, we’ll have to take steps backwards; other times, due to walking too fast, we’ll lose sight of the masses; on occasions where we go too slow, we’ll feel the breath of those stepping on our heels. In our revolutionary ambitions, we try walking as fast as possible, opening paths, but we know that we must feed from the masses, and that they, in turn, will only be able to advance if we encourage them with our example.

“Notwithstanding the importance given to moral stimuli, the fact that there exists a division between the two principal groups (excluding, of course, the minority fraction of those who do not participate, for whatever reason, in the construction of socialism), indicates the relative lack of development in the social consciousness. The Vanguard group is ideologically more advanced than the masses, who know of the new values, but insufficiently. While in the first group (vanguard), a qualitative change is produced which allows them to sacrifice themselves in their leading roles, the second group (masses) only sees halfway forward, and must therefore be subjected to stimuli and pressures of a certain intensity; it is the Dictatorship of the Proletariat imposing itself not only over the defeated class, but also, individually, over the victorious one.

“All of this begs, for its total success, the necessity of a series of mechanisms – the revolutionary institutions…”

A MILD AND VERY BRIEF RESPONSE TO ANOTHER UNFOUNDED ATTACK AGAINST SOCIALISM

Fidel Castro becomes the leader of Cuba as a r...

There is a 12 second video on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0maXjDMaW8&feature=share) whose description reads as such:

(TRANSLATED FROM SPANISH)

“In the interview conducted by a Venezuelan reporter named Vanesa Davies who is one of the spearheads of the Chavista propaganda (sic). She asks Fidel a question whose answer openly demonstrates that the SOCIALISM OF THE 21ST CENTURY is simply the same RANCID COMMUNISM OF FIDEL. It’s not that there were doubts but take hold of this all those that are still not convinced that they are trying to transform Venezuela into Cuba.” (sic)

This is what is said in the video, also translated from Spanish:

Q: “What is Socialism for you today/now?” 

A: “For me? It’s Communism…the very same that Marx himself defined as Communism”

In response to this video and its comments, I have the following to say:

It is neither Fidel’s nor Chavez’ trip.

In my view, this snippet of a video in no way supports the opinion held by the person that recorded it or that uploaded it (in case those two are different people), who interprets what is said as evidence that “they want to transform Venezuela into Cuba.” The transition from Socialism to Communism is the natural and normal trajectory of that political and economic evolution – the trajectory that is supposed to be realized according to the economic and political theories dictated by both the Socialist and Communist ideologies. Socialism is (very simply put for the sake of brevity) the “in-between” between Capitalism and Communism – it is the Path taken from Right to Left. The main objective is Pure Communism, and, in my view, most Socialist countries today have not had the privilege of realizing that end yet, including Cuba; most of these are still fighting the Good Fight against Capitalism through Socialism – they are in Transition, as it were (when the fight is finally won, then Pure Communism will have been realized). Therefore, in my opinion, what is trying to be done is not to “transform Venezuela into Cuba” but rather to finalize that transition from Capitalism, through Socialism and towards Communism. If and when this finally happens in Venezuela, by no means will the country have turned into Cuba, because not even Cuba, as I just mentioned above, has implemented Pure Communism, at least to my knowledge (part of the reason why there are still economic and political issues despite the obvious and immense Social advancements achieved, which are themselves something to be argued about in depth, but at another time). So, both Venezuela and Cuba continue to fight the fight, aspiring to the eventual Victory of Pure Communism.

On the other hand, this video in no way “uncovers” Chavez, as the title suggests. It is insincere to title these 12 seconds of video that way. If the person wanted to honestly inform the public of the lies and other corrupt and disgusting practices that he/she is keen on accusing Chavez of, and which were supposedly corroborated by this video and interview, then it would have behooved him/her to record the entire program and not just the 12 seconds that the person so ignorantly assumed would help explain their anti-Chavism. The Context surrounding all three — the question, the answer and the interview itself — is imperative in order for the viewer to arrive at his own well-informed and educated conclusions, which is, after-all, the main point of NEWS and INFORMATION. But that has obviously not been done here. Nevertheless, they have still managed to discredit themselves (and their message) more than they had ever intended to do for Chavez and Socialism in general. The video at no point in its minuscule time-span shows Fidel “uncovering” Chavez – he’s not even mentioned; and this on top of the already evident prejudice in the person that recorded the entire 12 seconds instead of the entire show. On the contrary, the video accomplishes the very opposite by very concisely explaining the purity of Chavez’ Socialism – the Socialism of the 21st Century, which in these days, in fact, embraces and belongs to not only Socialist/Chavista Venezuela but rather the entire of our Beautiful Latin America; it explains very sincerely the goals of real Socialism – in one word: Communism!

The other thing I gather from the video is that Fidel explains, or rather responds, to the question of how he sees Socialism in Venezuela today. I think he answers that “for [him this is] Communism – the very same that Marx himself defined as such.” That which Marx defined as Communism in the 19th Century, at the top of his brilliancy and voiced through his great COMMUNIST MANIFESTO – that is Pure Communism which even I think Fidel, erroneously and hastily but with good and sincere intentions, has accredited to the great Bolivarian Venezuela.

Fidel simply seems to be explaining the inevitable (which, comparatively, is as inevitable as the depressions and other economic-ticking-time-bombs that Capitalism is subject to and which are daily and globally decimating it, just as it has scientifically been foreseen since feudal times): that regardless of the country or of the person in power – of course, as long as that person has Pure Ideals in mind and Humanitarian and Social Advancements at heart instead of Personal and Economic Gain – ideals truly characteristic of figures such as Chavez, Fidel, Correa and Morales, among others – regardless of these two variables, Pure and Uncorrupt Socialism, like Cuba’s and Venezuela’s, is that which simultaneously produces the necessary conditions needed to arrive at Communism as well as drives the society that adopts it towards Communism.

If anyone wishes to know more about Pure Communism I invite you to look for material to read or to ask me to direct you to some, which I’ll be happy to do, because there is definitely lots of it out there (and I have some gems too!) You just have to look for it. Because, honestly, going to Fox News and CNN for news about Chavez or Venezuela or Cuba – or about any other place, for that matter, whose politics or economics are not aligned with the Local Interests of the U.S.A. – is infinitely the worst choice…If we do, we may as well just burrow our heads deep inside the Earth, or better yet, simply undergo a voluntary lobotomy and get this fucking charade over and done with….

And of course any comments…ALWAYS WELCOMED! Let’s get the ball rolling here…Undoubtedly, not everyone agrees with what they’ve just read…

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HASTA LA VICTORIA SIEMPRE!

PATRIA, SOCIALISMO O MUERTE!