Communism of Fidel Castro or Capitalism of United States cannot provide solution to humanity’s problems!


On this site an article in the form of an obituary on the occasion of the death of Fidel Castro was posted under the caption “Fidel Castro: An obituary – a beacon of the exploited lot gone!”. To this article, a comment is made by Stephanie Ellison.  The substance of this comment – which is quite lengthy – is that Communism (of which votary was Fidel Castro) and Capitalism (against which this Fidel Castro fought and won) both have not been able to provide a solution to the problem, with which our world is afflicted. Then, it is hinted in this comment that in fact the solution to this problem lies in the spiritual way of life for humanity (and this spiritual way of life is not any religious way of life but essentially superior to any and all religions).  We are posting that comment here so that it may be read as an independent article. In addition to that, we are posting here as a second part of this article a write-up (which is a part of rather full article available on this site HERE), which points out the reasons why Communism – represented by Fidel Castro – could not be the solution to remedy the ills of Capitalism. Here goes the first part:

By: Stephanie Ellison

Now, you can see that western models of civilization are not viable; capitalism nor communism.

There is more to this story. If you have read the BJP’s (political party in India) position paper on its philosophy, then you will understand that both Capitalism and Communism are not viable civilizational options:

http://www.bjp.org/about-the-party/philosophy/?u=integral-humanism

Please understand; when I say dharma, I’m not referring to Hinduism specifically (as dharma is more of a civilizational mode of living, like western classical Greece is a different mode of civilization). The following is adapted from my post on a deaf forum, in which the topic was originally about more and more dangerous drugs being found and used in America.

Western civilization is set up such that the four goals in the life of a person (as is viewed from a Hindu perspective) are not pursued equally. What are these goals? They are 1) dharma; 2) artha; 3) kāma; and 4) moksha. Dharma is “right thinking, right action” in a cultural context, which depends on where you are and your family circumstances. Artha means security, economically and having needs met, etc. Kāma is enjoyment of life (not just sex as most westerners think when they see or hear the words “Kāma Sūtra,” but enjoyment of arts, music, relationships with family, friends, and your spouse, religious festivals, etc.). Moksha is the fourth and final goal in Hinduism. It means liberation from the cycle of birth and death, or saṃsāra.

Continuing on, this means that Western civilization pursues these goals very unequally. Typically the life of an average person is like this:

They grow up in public school, learning the three Rs, and they may go to church.

They go to college to learn a profession or calling.

They go into the work world for various reasons. Typically, one has to make a living, so they tend to pick one they are good at, even if they’re not happy with it (very typical in office jobs and retail jobs, which is what the majority of jobs seem to be in this country).

They want to make as much money as they can for what they do because it isn’t exactly what they want to do, but they have to get money coming in. And because they may hate their jobs and don’t get much vacation time relative to other Anglo-Saxon countries, they seek pleasure and thrill-seeking, and this becomes extreme over time until it finally blows up in their face or they have a melt down at work. The latter almost happened to me, so I had to leave before I burned bridges behind me over two years ago.

Having done this, they are now in retirement, so much of the time is spent catching up on things they couldn’t do, like traveling to countries, learning to do new things, getting together with people they didn’t have time for. They may maintain their church schedule (if any) as usual, once a week unless they’re on a trip.

All this means that they spend the first part of the life learning to be a docile, obedient worker, the second part of life as a docile, obedient worker doing only what they’re told, and even many managers who have the “status” of a management position don’t necessarily have the “state of mind” of a leader (being able to lead, based upon development as a leader), but that’s what they were given, and they have to wing it, then the third part of their life in pleasure-seeking is typically done with drugs or alcohol to numb the discomfort of being caught as a cog in a machine, and fourth, when they finally retire, they feel bored/empty inside because there hasn’t been any inner science ongoing during their life time (being a member of the Abrahamic religions is NOT the same thing as Indic inner science).

Also, this means that they are very well developed in the material, manifest, tangible world at the expense of inner development. Lacking inner development as young adults, there are holes inside, and they’re seeking for something to fill those holes; often, it turns to greed.

These are symptoms of a Capitalist society that places too much emphasis on making money (artha) and thrill-seeking (kāma) in an unproductive way (costs a lot of money to enjoy/not enough time away from work) at the expense of doing what’s right (go ahead and try those broker deals, as long as you don’t get caught by the regulators) and at the expense of spiritual development at the highest possible level (mokṣa) because to reach that level, Capitalism as it is now simply will not exist because such people will feel guilty doing all the wrong things to cheat and suppress one another. Individualism is expanded in inappropriate ways, at least in the long run, civilizationally speaking.

Communism, on the other hand fails also because dharma, “right thinking, right action,” is mainly about “doing what is right for the state” at the total exclusion of the individual, meaning artha (making money as the state sees fit) and kāma (what is allowed given your allotted income among other things) is tightly controlled, and moksha (part of spiritual development) is heavily suppressed, if not attached to a prison term. Individualism is crushed under such a regime.

Dharma is a third civilizational option aside from capitalism and communism. It, however, has been messed with by Mughal invaders from the northwest territories beyond India and the Britishers/Europeans later on. It has problems right now, and it remains to be seen if it can extricate itself from the nexus of Muslims, Christians, and Communists attempting to divide up or Balkanize India (breaking up India along racial, ethnic, cultural, and linguistic fault lines created by the invaders/existing fault lines expanded upon by the invaders). If you want to read more on the comparison between Capitalist, Communist, and Dharmic societies, go to the link I provided above.

Anyhow, traditionally, Dharmic civilization typically has the four goals of life AND the four stages of life (student, householder, retired (doing service for humanity), and renounced from the world (concentrating on spiritual preparation for end-of-life)), and it’s very well worked-out because they had already known what it meant to be capitalist and communist thousands of years ago and found them lacking. Dharmic culture, in its untampered state, shows a maturity of knowledge and understanding that is presently beyond both Capitalism and Communism.

You will see that elements of Dharmic society already exists in Anglo-Saxon cultures. See, at the same time that European countries had controlled and enslaved Asian countries during the colonial period, imposing their cultures upon the natives and suppressing what seemed to be objectionable activities among the natives, Europeans were being influenced in turn, such as the importation of China ware, paintings, Indian arts and fabrics, etc. Now, you see things like yoga, ashrams, vegetarianism/veganism, ethical treatment of animals, open-mindedness to LGBTQIA and other religions, etc. Even people like Carl Jung, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoureau, Albert Einstein, as well as the philosophers Arthur Schopenhauer and Alfred North Whitehead looked into Dharmic culture. People like these realize that our present civilization would be stuck if we continue to stay in a Eurocentric, imperialist, and capitalistic mindset without adapting to the needs of people today.

For one thing, Western civilizations are “grabbing,” selfish ones. I mean, think about it. Who has most of the wealth today? How much does the rest of us have? What is our position relative to animals and nature? Dharmic civilizations tended to be inclusive and generous ones, such that everyone had a place within society, because the mindset of a Dharmi (person who lives within a dharmic civilization like India, Nepal, Himalayas, etc.) is very different. For the most part, because of the giving nature of the culture in a provident natural environment as opposed to the hostile environment of the desert regions, where Western civilization got its start, people are giving of one another, people know how to conserve resources, such that people feel secure and rarely run into shortages of anything, and have mastered the ability to live as civilized beings while living within nature in a sustainable way, a fine balance to maintain that western civilization has not managed to master to this day. Please note that I’m recalling Dharmic civilization at its height or Golden Age before the Mughal invaders showed up.

My guru had the following to say a few years ago:

http://www.nithyananda.org/content/day-49-clarityactiontransformation-talk-nithyananda-bhagavad-gita#gsc.tab=0

“Knowing, acquisition and preservation; acquiring and preserving, is the ultimate foolishness. I wanted all our disciples to work on this. Enter this sacred secret in your book of heart. Acquiring and preserving, how it is foolish! Analyze, analyze think, think. See how the society is trying its best to make acquiring and preserving as meaningful by not giving the medical care to all. See why, why do you think medical care is not given for all in the western way of living. You are made to understand, ‘ehhh now itself acquire and preserve so that in the old age when you are sick you will be given a medical care’. Depriving the basic necessities is the way humanity was exploited to believe the acquiring and preserving is an important habit. Visionaries who created the concept of acquiring and preserving as a sacred, as an important act, as a necessity for the human beings by depriving many of the basic needs to human beings are conspirators of humanity not visionaries of humanity.

“In Indian medicinal system whether you are sick or not the village doctor is always paid. He gets his share the moment harvesting is done. If you are sick, your harvesting will be less, he will get paid less so he will ensure the whole village is healthy by the right preventive methods, diet, lifestyle and giving the right medicine which will not bring side affect; in the beginning of the disease itself. I feel at least in the future India should return to its original glory and all the basic needs should not be used as a blackmailing point for human beings to believe, acquiring and preserving is a big thing in the life. It should be done as a joyful creative expansion, not as a basic blackmailing threat. I do not know whether I will be able to make it or see this is as a reality or not but I will dare to dream. I will dare to dream, at one day society will have a system where acquiring and preserving is not forced upon you and you are not blackmailed to believe that is a basic important thing necessary for life.

“It is one of the great illusion; if it is done as a expression of joy and creativity, I am not against it. But when it is done with a blackmailing ‘unless you do it, you will not have food, you will not have shelter, you will not have medical care; you will not have support in the old age’. These are all blackmailing; I tell you, capitalism should not becoming blackmailing. We will come up with non blackmailing capitalism. I dare dream non blackmailing capitalism as the future India, future Bharat.

“Sit with this one sacred secret. All acquiring and preserving is based on your insecurity and dependence. Understand it is a collective foolishness with which you are suffering. These are all collective mental epidemics with which humanity is suffering. Even if you are acquiring and preserving, be out of this mental epidemic by awareness and un-clutching. Sit straight, contemplate on this one truth. Acquiring and preserving is one of the most foolish thing, collective unconscious epidemic; collective mental disorder. Even if you are forced to acquire and preserve in your life because of society, let you be at least consciously be un-clutched from it.”

Second part by: Shreepal Singh

Marxist theory has two important inbuilt concepts of “dictatorship of Proletariat” and the Communist party as the “vanguard of this Proletariat”. These two concepts are extremely pragmatic in nature and the only viable devices to meet the requirement of the work to be accomplished. The Communist thinkers came to the conclusion that the “vested interests”, which fully control the capitalist State through their money-power, would not permit such a drastic change in the social order unless they are compelled by force. These two concepts of Communists allow them to organize, execute and complete this drastic social change in a manner that is controlled, precise and calibrated like an army operation.

  But here comes the weakest point of this method. We are not talking here the techno-military superiority of the powerful “keepers of the present social order”. We are talking here of the inherent weakness of this method of bringing a change by violence. In this method, as of necessity, a small group of leaders has to constitute themselves into a command center. Even among this small group, most often an individual has to take the required initiative of the mission to be accomplished. But there in this group the working is not smooth and cohesive; there is intra-competition and rivalry; and, under the trying circumstances, a sole leader emerges like a shining star; he is the “Leader”; his word is the “Command”. It is the inner story; it is the real story. Outwardly, the “Leader” is only the “beloved” of the command group; the command group is only the “vanguard” of the exploited millions of people; and, the “exploited people” rule themselves through their vanguard etc. etc. Here comes the crux. Seen from the spiritual wisdom, human beings are by and large governed by lower impulses, like hatred, love, jealousy, anger etc. and the “Leader” and his competitors and / or cronies are also not immune to these human weaknesses. It is but inevitable that a great and benevolent social change brought by this method is doomed to end in a reign of violence and terror; And, at the end, the people oppressed by this violence throw away the “Leader”, unfortunately, along with the social order, which they mistakenly identify with the “Leader”. It is a classical example of throwing away of the bath-water along with the baby.

Fidel Castro: An obituary – a becon of exploited lot gone!


By: Prabhat Kumar Roy

26 November16 Fidel Castro died at the age of 90.

At 10.29 pm on Friday, November 26, the Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro died at the age of 90. His brother Raul Castro announced the news to the Cuban population and the world around midnight in a televised speech. His death was not unexpected, as he had been ill for a number of years and had already stepped down from his formal political responsibilities, but still it came as a shock to both friends and enemies.

His whole life was closely linked to the Cuban revolution. An appraisal of his role is in fact an appraisal of the Cuban revolution, the first to abolish capitalism in the Western Hemisphere and one which for over five decades resisted the onslaught of US imperialism, barely 90 miles to the north.

When commenting on the death of Venezuelan president and revolutionary leader Hugo Chavez, Fidel said: “Do you want to know who Hugo Chavez was? Look at who is mourning and who is celebrating.” The same can be said of Fidel Castro. News of his death were received with jubilation by the counter-revolutionary Cuban exiles in Miami, by the reactionary opposition in Venezuela and media commentators around the world, right-wing and “liberal” alike.

On the other hand, Fidel’s death was felt as a blow by millions of workers and youth, revolutionary and left wing activists in Latin America and around the world, for whom Fidel was a symbol of the Cuban revolution, of standing up to imperialism, of guaranteeing good quality healthcare. There is a very good reason why the ruling classes around the world hated him so much and why US imperialism plotted over 600 different ways of assassinating him. It was the threat of a good example that the Cuban revolution gave to the oppressed of the world. The Cuban revolution, by abolishing capitalism, was able to eradicate illiteracy, give all its citizens a roof over their heads, create a first class health service which has reduced infant mortality and increased life expectancy to levels in the advanced capitalist countries and massively improved the education standards of its people. All of this in a country which prior to the revolution had been the brothel and casino of the US and despite the decades of terrorist harassment and the criminal trade blockade and embargo imposed by Washington.

We stand unconditionally for the defense of the Cuban revolution, for the same reasons. That is our starting point. Any appraisal of the figure of Fidel Castro and of the Cuban revolution has to be a balanced and critical one, if we are to learn anything from it. But it has to start from the standpoint of recognising the historic gains of the revolution, which were achieved by expropriating capitalists, imperialists and landlords.

To give just a few examples: the Cuban revolution abolished illiteracy and has now abolished child malnutrition. Life expectancy at birth in Cuba is 79.39 years, higher than in the US at 78.94 and over 16 years longer than in neighboring Haiti’s 62.75. The Infant Mortality Rate (deaths of infants under one year of age per 1,000 Births) in Cuba is 4.5, whereas in the US it is 5.8 and in Haiti: 48.2.

Fidel was born in 1926 in Birán, in the Holguín province in the east of Cuba, into a family of landowners. He attended private religious schools in Santiago and then Havana. He became involved in politics when he started to study Law at the university in Havana.

Cuba was the last Latin American country to achieve formal independence, but as soon as it had freed itself through revolutionary struggle from decaying Spanish imperialism, in 1898, it fell into the claws of rising US imperialism. The powerful neighbor to the north dominated the Cuban economy almost completely and through that exercised control of its political set up. For a period of time, the Platt amendment formalized this humiliating domination in the form of a clause in the Cuban Constitution which allowed for US military intervention in the country. A burning sense of injustice and a deep felt desire for national sovereignty inspired several waves of revolutionary struggle in the first half of the 20th century. Fidel became acquainted with, and was inspired by, the most important figures of Cuba’s war for independence.

At the same time, the island had a large working class which had developed militant traditions, starting with a powerful anarcho-syndicalist trend, then later a militant Communist Party, a large Left Opposition, an insurrectionary general strike in 1933, etc. National and social liberation had become closely intertwined, for instance in the thinking of Julio Antonio Mella, the founder of the Cuban Communist Party, of Antonio Guiteras, the founder of the Joven Cuba movIn 1945, when Fidel went to university the generation of middle class youth that was becoming involved in radical politics was not at all attracted to the Cuban Communist Party (officially known as the PSP), rather, they were repelled by it. The PSP, following the “democracy against fascism” policy of the Stalinized Comintern, had participated in the 1940-44 government of Fulgencio Batista.

Fidel was attracted to anti-imperialist policies, which included his participation in a failed military expedition to the Dominican Republic to overthrow the Trujillo dictatorship in 1947. In 1948 he was part of a delegation to a Latin American students congress in Colombia, where he witnessed the Bogotazo uprising which followed the assassination of radical leader Jorge Eliécer Gaitán on April 9.

Castro also became linked to the Ortodoxo Party of Chibás, a popular senator who denounced the corruption of the Auténtico Party, which he had originally belonged to and who committed suicide in 1951.

By 1952, Fulgencio Batista had carried out his second coup. Fidel and a group of his comrades (including his brother Raúl, Abel Santamaría, his sister Haydée and Melba Hernández) started to organize a fighting organization, mostly drawn from the youth of the Ortodoxo Party. On July 26, 1953, they carried out a daring assault on the Moncada Army Barracks in Santiago. Their aim was to capture a large number of weapons and issue a call for a national uprising against the Batista dictatorship. The attempt failed, and nearly half of the 120 young men and women who took part were killed after being captured.

Fidel’s speech in the dock, which he used to explain his program and ended with the famous words “Condemn me! History will absolve me”, made him famous. The program of what became known as the July 26 Revolutionary Movement (M-26-7), was summarized in 5 revolutionary laws they had planned to broadcast:

·        The reinstatement of the 1940 Cuban constitution.

·        Agrarian reform.

·        The right of industrial workers to a 30% share of company profits.

·        The right of sugar workers to receive 55% of company profits.

·        The confiscation of holdings of those found guilty of fraud under previous administrations.

It was a progressive national democratic program, which also contained a number of points aimed at improving the conditions of workers. It certainly did not go beyond the limits of the capitalist system, nor did it question private property. After a period in jail, Fidel was amnestied and went to Mexico.

On the basis of the Moncada program they organized a group of men to travel in the Granma boat to Cuba at the end of 1956. Again, their idea was that this would coincide with an uprising in the east of the country, around Santiago. Yet again, their plans did not work out and most of the members of the expeditionary force were either killed or captured in the first few hours. Only 12 remained and retreated into the Sierra Maestra mountains. And yet, within just over two years, on January 1, 1959, Batista was forced to flee the country and the Cuban revolution had triumphed.

The victory of the revolutionary war was due to a series of factors: the extreme rottenness of the regime, the guerrilla war in the mountains which, using revolutionary methods of agrarian reform, had managed to win over the peasantry and demoralize the army conscripts, the widespread opposition in the llano (the plains) amongst the middle layers and, last but not least, the powerful participation of the worker’s movement (which is less known). The final blow to the regime was the revolutionary general strike called by the M-26-7 which lasted for a week in Havana until the arrival of the guerrilla columns.

For the next two years, there was a process of rapid radicalization of the revolution. The implementation of the national democratic program of the Moncada, particularly agrarian reform, provoked the wrath of the ruling class, the shedding of the more moderate elements from the first revolutionary governments, the enthusiasm of the masses of workers and peasants who were pushing for more, the counter-reaction of US imperialism and in response to all this ever more radical measures of the revolution against imperialist properties on the island.

The consistent implementation of a national democratic program had led to the expropriation of US multinational corporations and since these dominated key sections of the economy, this led to the de facto abolition of capitalism by 1961. Once I asked a Cuban comrade who had been involved in the revolutionary and trade union movement in Guantánamo since the 1930s, how he would characterize Fidel and the leadership of the M-26-7, and he replied that they were “revolutionaries pequeño-burgueses guapos” (courageous petty bourgeois revolutionaries). Here “petty bourgeois” was meant not as an insult but as a description of the class origins of many of them, as well as a description of the program they had fought for. The fact that they implemented their program courageously pushed them much further than they had anticipated. It is to the credit of Fidel Castro that he did carry the process to the end.

The existence of the USSR at the time, also played a role in the course events took after the revolutionary victory. This is not to say that the Soviet Union encouraged them to move against capitalism. On the contrary, it is on record that the Soviet Union discouraged them and advised them to proceed cautiously and slowly. In spite of this, the fact that the Soviet Union was able to fill the gaps left by the growing belligerence of the US (selling them oil, purchasing sugar cane, breaking the blockade) was an important factor.

For about 10 years, however, the relationship between the Cuban revolution and the USSR was an uneasy one. The Cuban Communist Party (PSP) had only joined the revolutionary movement in its last stages and the Cuban leadership was proud of its own independence and had its own base of support. The first period of the revolution was one of wide ranging discussions and debates in all fields (foreign and economic policy, the arts and culture, Marxism) in which the Stalinists attempted – not always successfully – to impose tFidel and the others were deeply suspicious of the USSR, particularly after the way in which Khrushchev had reached a deal with the US at the time of the 1962 missile crisis without even consulting them. Furthermore, particularly at the insistence of Che Guevara, they attempted to spread the revolution to other countries in Latin America and beyond, something which clashed with the policy of “peaceful coexistence” pursued by the Soviet Union as well as with the profoundly conservative outlook of most of the Latin American Communist Parties.

Those attempts to export the revolution failed, partly because of the crude way in which the experience of the Cuban Revolution was generalised. The idea that a small group of armed men taking to the mountains would in a short space of time lead to the overthrow of reactionary regimes (which was in itself an oversimplification of the conditions which allowed the Cuban victory) was proven wrong in practice. Perhaps the most extreme example was that of Bolivia, a country which had seen a partial agrarian reform and which also had a militant and politically advanced mining proletariat, and where Che Guevara’s attempt led to his death in 1967 at the hands of US imperialism (which had also learnt some lessons from Cuba).

Progressively, the Cuban revolution became isolated and therefore more dependent on the Soviet Union. The failure of the 1970 “ten million ton sugarcane crop” and the economic dislocation it caused, only increased this dependency. Close ties with the USSR allowed the Cuban Revolution to survive for three decades, but also brought in strong elements of Stalinism. The Quinquenio Gris (Five Grey Years) of 1971-75 saw the use of repressive measures to impose Stalinist thinking in the fields of the arts, social sciences and many others. It was also at this time that homophobia and discrimination and harassment of gay men (which already existed and had been inherited from the previous regime) became institutionalised.

The way the revolution had triumphed, through the leadership of a guerrilla army, also played a role in the bureaucratic nature of the state in the revolution. As Fidel  explained: “a war is not led through collective, democratic methods, it is based on the responsibility of command”. After the revolutionary victory the leadership had huge authority and widespread support. Hundreds of thousands took up arms at a moment’s notice in 1961 to defeat the Bay of Pigs invasion. One million people gathered in Revolution Square in 1962 to ratify the Second Declaration of Havana.

However, there were no mechanisms of revolutionary democracy through which ideas could be debated and discussed and, above all, through which the masses of workers and peasants could exercise their own power and hold their leaders to account.

The Cuban Communist Party, for instance, which resulted eventually from the fusion of the Stalinist PSP, the M-27-6 and the Revolutionary Directorate, was founded in 1965, but did not hold its first congress until 1975. And it was not until 1976 that a formal constitution was passed.

A planned economy needs workers’ democracy as the human body needs oxygen, as this is the only way of keeping a check and control over production.

This process of bureaucratization also had an impact on the foreign policy of the leadership of the Cuban revolution. The Cuban revolution has a record which is second to none in terms of international solidarity, sending medical aid and help around the world. It also played a crucial role in the defeat of the South African regime in Angola, a struggle in which hundreds of thousands of Cubans participated over many years.

However, in revolutions such as that of Nicaragua in 1979-89 and in Venezuela more recently, while offering invaluable practical and material support and solidarity, the political advice given by the Cuban leadership has been that of not following the same path as the Cuban revolution in abolishing capitalism. This had disastrous consequences in both countries. In Nicaragua the USSR applied enormous pressure for the Sandinista leadership to maintain a “mixed economy” – i.e. a capitalist one – and then to participate in the Contadora peace negotiations which ended up strangling the revolution. The Sandinista leadership was very close to and had a lot of respect for the Cuban revolution. Fidel’s advice, however, was the same as that of the Soviet Union: do not expropriate the capitalists, what you are doing is as much as can be done in Nicaragua today. That advice proved fatal.

In Venezuela too, while the Cuban revolution provided invaluable support (particularly with the Cuban doctors) and solidarity, the political advice which was given was again that of not going down the road the Cuban revolution had travelled 40 years earlier. The result of making half a revolution we can see clearly today: a massive dislocation of the productive forces, the rebellion of capitalism against any attempt to regulate it. This advice not only had a negative impact on the Nicaraguan and Venezuelan revolutions, but it has also compounded the problem of isolation of the Cuban revolution itself.

The heroic resistance of the Cuban revolution after the collapse of the USSR is truly impressive. While the leaders of the “Communist” Party in the Soviet Union moved swiftly and effortlessly towards restoring capitalism and looting state property, Fidel and the Cuban leadership defended the gains of the revolution. The “special period” as it was known, was also a testament to the vitality of the Cuban revolution. A generation was alive which still remembered what life was like before the revolution and others could compare their own living standards with those of neighboring countries under capitalism. The leadership resisted, and the Cuban people, in a collective manner, found ways and means of overcoming the economic hardship. Completely isolated in the face of the US blockade, Cuba had to make important concessions to capitalism, while maintaining the bulk of the economy in state hands. Tourism became one of the main sources of income, with all the accompanying evils it comes with.

The development of the Venezuelan revolution, particularly after the failed coup in 2002, provided another lifeline ten years later. This was not only due to the exchange of Cuban doctors for Venezuelan oil, but it also rekindled the enthusiasm of the Cuban masses in seeing revolution developing in Latin America again. Economic difficulties and the exhaustion of the revolution in Venezuela – precisely because it did not go all the way and expropriate the property of the oligarchs and imperialists as Cuba had done – means that this is now coming to an end.

The impasse the Cuban revolution finds itself in has pushed an important section of the leadership in the direction of Chinese or Vietnamese-style market reforms and concessions to capitalism. Many steps have already been taken in this direction. They hope that such measures will at least bring some economic growth. That is an illusion.Today the world capitalist system is in crisis and it is doubtful how much it will want to invest in Cuba. Cuba does not possess the enormous reserves of cheap labour which are one of the key factors of the Chinese economic “success”. Even if all of this were not true, the restoration of capitalism in China has been accompanied by a massive polarization of wealth, the brutal exploitation of the working class and the destruction of the conquests of the Chinese revolution.

It is in this context that Obama attempted a shift in US tactics. The strategy remains the same: the restoration of capitalism in Cuba and the destruction of the gains of the revolution, but instead of continuing with the failed tactic of direct confrontation, funding of counter-revolutionary and terrorist groups, etc., they have now decided that it might be wiser to destroy the revolution from within by using the domination of the world market over a small island with very few resources and a very low level of labor productivity.

Clearly, the imperialists saw Fidel, even after his formal retirement from official political office, as an obstacle to this process. He publicly denounced bureaucratic and growing inequality and warned of the danger of the revolution being destroyed from within. In a famous speech at the University of Havana in November 2005, he talked of “our flaws, our mistakes, our inequalities, our injustice”, and warned that the revolution was not irreversible and could end up like the Soviet Union. “This country can self-destruct; this Revolution can destroy itself, but they can never destroy us; we can destroy ourselves, and it would be our fault,” said Fidel, and he added, “Either we defeat all these deviations and make our revolution strong, or we die.”

Bureaucratism, however, is not just a deviation, or the problem of a few individuals. It is a problem which stems from the lack of workers’ democracy in the running of the economy and the state and is strengthened by the isolation of the revolution. Having said that, it was clear that the strategists of capitalism believed that so long as Fidel was alive, little progress would be made on the road to capitalism in Cuba.

With his passing away, they hope that the process will now accelerate. Already there are major contradictions and a growing process of social differentiation has begun within the country. The main factors in this process are: the stagnation of the bureaucratically planned economy and the extremely unequal status of Cuba within the world economy, which in turn results from the isolation of the revolution. “Socialism in one country” once again is being proven to be impossible.

From this it follows that the only way forward for the Cuban revolution passes through the struggle for democratic workers’ control in Cuba and for socialist revolution across the world. That is the only way to defend the gains of the Cuban revolution.

Today, the imperialists everywhere go on about the lack of “human rights” in Cuba. These are the same people who turn a blind eye to the Saudi regime and fly its flag at half-mast when its reactionary semi-feudal rotten dictator dies. These are the same people who had no problem in installing and supporting the most brutal regimes in Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia, Venezuela, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras… The list is endless.

We are not talking here about the long and distant past either. Not so long ago, US sponsored coups were attempted in Venezuela, Honduras, Ecuador and Bolivia. No, when Obama and Clinton talk of “human rights” what they mean is the right of the capitalists to exploit labour, the right of landlords to evict tenants, the right of wealthy tourists to purchase women and children.

Today more than ever we say: defend the Cuban revolution, no to capitalist restoration, fight capitalism worldwide.

Devdutt Patnaik distorts Hindu Dharma and blocks critical comment


By: Ram Jagessar (Ran Nam)

Devdutt Patnaik wrote “Forest and Field in Dharma Discussion” on his website http://devdutt.com/

(writing reproduced below in this write-up). He often distorts and frequently puts wrong interpretations of Hinduism and Hindu samskriti. On his write-ups, many comments are posted. But just after a handful of critical comments on randomly  selected blogs on his  site he has started  moderating  the  comments and blocking ones he doesn’t like. There’s no need to  guess the reason why.  He’s terrified of analytical and critical comments from, Hindus who know he is writing and talking utter nonsense.  It’s the first time he is  getting such comments on his blog site and it’s causing  him  a lot of grief to him.

I have put my following comment there, which has not appeared there. My comment:

This is such embarrassing drivel that I am more than ever convinced Devdutt knows little or nothing about Hindu dharma and does absolutely NO RESEARCH before dashing off blogs like this stinker.

Here I will deal only with his strange and wrong sided explanation of what he believes is a key divide in Hindu dharma- between forest and field. He says of the forest “Forest is the default state of nature. In the forest, there are no rules. The fit survive and the unfit die. The stronger, or the smarter, have access to food. The rest starve. There is no law, no authority, and no regulation. This is called ‘matsya nyaya’ or law of the fishes, the Vedic equivalent of the law of the jungle. This is prakriti, visualised as Kali, the wild goddess who runs naked with unbound hair, of the puranas.”

Some things come to mind immediately.

1.This is the western Social Darwinian view of the forest, red in tooth and claw , survival of the fittest and so on, not the Hindu view at all.

2. The law of the jungle is NOT the Hindu outlook on the forest.

3. Prakriti is NOT visualized as Kali the wild goddess who runs naked with unbound hair. If you look at this website The True Meaning of Prakriti in Hinduism. you will get a better idea of what prakriti is. It is certainly NOT the Vedic equivalent of the law of the jungle, but more like an original and natural state of creation.

  1. Kali has nothing to do with Devdutt’s jungle state or forest without rules. Look at this web site and you will see what Devdutt did not research, who is Kali in Hinduism http://www.goddess.ws/kali.html

All of this drove me to do some basic, very basic internet research on the forest in Hinduism, which I know Devdutt did NOT do before writing his juvenile blog. The results came as a shock.

Hinduism does not regard the forest as a place without rules, governed by the law of the jungle where the fittest survive and the rest starve.

Rajiv Malhotra has done an excellent analysis of the forest as the key symbol for Hinduism, a place of inclusivity and diversity, a place of wealth and riches, of shelter for all, a revered symbol that many worship and seek to preserve. Look at his article on civilizations of the forest and the desert, which does a lot better than I can explain http://rajivmalhotra.com/library/articles/civilizations-forest-desert/

We all remember the stories of swamis and yogis going into the forest to do their tapasya and find their inner peace. The famous forest ashramas of old were where- in the forest, dummy Devdutt!

When the little brahmin boy gets the sacred thread and his brahmachari bundle to go to the gurukul in ancient times, where was this gurukul?

Who are the people who traditionally revered the trees in the forest and elsewhere, the tree huggers who see the forest as an intrinsic part of nature that protects and serves us? It’s we Hindus of course. Where is Devdutt pulling this nonsense about the forest as law of the jungle eat or be eaten state in Hinduism?

My little researh shows that Hindus actually have a deity for the forest Aranyani, not Kali. Who is Aranyani and what is our true attitude to the forest. Check this out  ARANYANI: Indian/Hindu Goddess of the Forest…

ARANYANI: Indian/Hindu Goddess of the Forest…

“…Forests have always been central to Indian civilization. It represented the feminine principle in prakrti. In the Hindu pantheon, forests have been worshiped as Goddess Aranyani, the Goddess of the Forests and Animals that dwell within them. Forests are the primary source of life and fertility. The forest as a community has been viewed as a model for societal and civilizational evolution.

The Indian civilization was guided by the diversity, harmony and self-sustaining nature of the forest. Aranya means forest. The Aranyakas form the third part of the Vedas. They were developed by the hermits, living in the forests. They reflect an explicit transition in the philosophy of life of man. So ‘Aranya Samskriti’ the culture of the forest was not a condition of primitiveness but one of conscious choice. Indian culture considers the forest as the highest form of cultural evolution.

As a source of life nature was venerated as sacred and human evolution was measured in terms of man’s capacity to merge with her rhythms and patterns intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. The forest thus nurtured an ecological civilization in the most fundamental sense of harmony with nature. Such knowledge that came from participation in the life of the forest was the substance not just of Aranyakas or forest texts, but also the everyday beliefs of tribal and peasant society.

The forest as the highest expression of the earth’s fertility and productivity is symbolised in yet another form as the Earth Mother, as Vana Durga or Tree Goddess. In Bengal she is associated with Avasthhaor or Banbibi, the lady of the forest. In Comilla, Bangla Desh, she is Bamani, in Assam she is Rupeswari. In folk and tribal cultures especially, trees and forests are also worshiped as Vana Devatas or forest deities. In the Southern Indian states, the concept of Vana Devatas means forest spirits.” (1)

What a difference is this from the absolute rubbish of DP’s pre kindergarten mumblings of the forest as a place without rules where Kali is running around naked.

As I have said, absolutely no research and precious little thought seems to have gone into this preposterous piece of flotsam on the forest in Hinduism. I don’t wish to comment on the rest of this blog. This forest explanation is blunder enough for anyone. I just wonder: Davdutt Pattnaik has over 1,000 blogs on his page. Can any or all of them contain such dumbells as this one?

Forest and Field in Dharma Discussion

JUNE 9, 2016 MAHABHARATA, RAMAYANA 1 COMMENT

treefallPublished on 8th June, 2016, on speakingtree.in

Forest and Field in Dharma Discussion

In the Sama Veda, the hymns of the Rig Veda are turned into melodies. These melodies are classified into two groups: aranya-gaye-gana or Forest Songs, and grama-gaye-gana or Settlement Songs. This divide plays a key role in the understanding of dharma. Forest is the default state of nature. In the forest, there are no rules.

The fit survive and the unfit die. The stronger, or the smarter, have access to food. The rest starve. There is no law, no authority, and no regulation. This is called ‘matsya nyaya’ or law of the fishes, the Vedic equivalent of the law of the jungle. This is prakriti, visualised as Kali, the wild goddess who runs naked with unbound hair, of the puranas.

Humans domesticate the forest to turn the forest into fields and villages for human settlement. Here, everything is tamed: plants, animals, even humans, bound by niti, rules; riti, tradition; codes of conduct, duties and rights. Here, there is an attempt to take care of the weak and unfit. This is the hallmark of sanskriti or civilization, visualised as Gauri, the docile goddess who is draped in a green sari, and whose hair is tied with flowers, who takes care of the household.

The Ramayana tells the story of Rama who moves from Ayodhya, the settlement of humans, the realm of Gauri, into the forest, the realm of Kali. The Mahabharata tells the story of the Pandavas who are born in the forest, then come to Hastinapur, and then return to the forest as refugees, and then once again return to build Indraprastha, then yet again return to the forest as exiles, and finally, after the victory at war, and a successful reign, they return to the forest following retirement.

As children, we are trained to live in society – that is brahmacharya. Then we contribute to society as householders — grihastha. Later we are expected to leave for the forest — vanaprastha, and then comes the hermit life or sanyasa, when we seek the world beyond the forest.

According to the Buddhist Sarvastivàdin commentary, Abhidharma-mahavibhàsa-sàstra, forest or vana, is one of the many etymologies of the word ‘nirvana’, the end of identity, prescribed by Buddhist scriptures, which is the goal of dhamma, the Buddhist way.

Rama lives in a city, and so does Ravana. But Rama follows rules. Ravana does not care for rules. In other words, Ravana follows matsya nyaya though he is a city-dweller, a nagara-vasi. That is adharma. If Ravana uses force to get his way, Duryodhana uses his cunning, also focusing on the self rather than the other. This is adharma. Dharma is when we function for the benefit of others. It has nothing to do with rules. Which is why Krishna, the rule-breaker, is also upholding dharma, for he cares for the other.

In the forest, everyone is driven by self-preservation. Only humans have the wherewithal to enable and empower others to survive, and thrive. To do so is dharma. It has nothing to do with rules or tradition. It is about being sensitive to, and caring for, the other. We can do this whether we are in the forest, or in the city. And so it is in the vana or forest, that Krishna dances with the gopikas, making them feel safe even though they are out of their comfort zone.

Without appreciating the forest and the field, Kali and Gauri — the animal instinct and human capability — any discussion of dharma will be incomplete.

An ignorant Devdutt Patnaik attempts to define “Vedic Values”


Fate of “PAKISTAN STATE SPONSOR OF TERRORISM DESIGNATION ACT” under the new administration of United States


Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02), the Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, along with Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (CA-48), introduced H.R.6069, the Pakistan State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act.

A petition was presented at “We the People” platform of the White House website with a required number of signatures within a required period of time. The required number of signatures was 100, 000. The number of signatures put on this petition was:665,769.

This petition was important to the people of United State of America, India and many other countries which are continuously affected by Pakistan sponsored terrorism. Then, the following news was released by the White House.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today (Sep 20, 2016), Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02), the Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, along with Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (CA-48), introduced H.R.6069, the Pakistan State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act.

Chairman Poe: “Not only is Pakistan an untrustworthy ally, Islamabad has also aided and abetted enemies of the United States for years.  From harboring Osama bin Laden to its cozy relationship with the Haqqani network, there is more than enough evidence to determine whose side Pakistan is on in the War on Terror. And it’s not America’s. This bill will require the Administration to formally answer this question.  The President must issue a report within 90 days of passage detailing whether or not Pakistan has provided support for international terrorism.  Thirty days after that, the Secretary of State must issue a follow-up report containing either a determination that Pakistan is State Sponsor of Terrorism or a detailed justification as to why Pakistan does not meet the legal criteria for designation. It is time we stop paying Pakistan for its betrayal and designate it for what it is: a State Sponsor of Terrorism.”

“While recognizing the sacrifices of the people and the security forces of Pakistan in fighting some militant and terrorist networks — a fight which we support — President Obama has emphasized that Pakistan “can and must” also take more effective action against terrorist groups operating from its soil. The President has made it very clear that no state should allow its territory to be used by terrorists to launch attacks into another state, and we will continue to engage on this issue.

Since the bill cited by the petition remains in draft, we will not comment on it here, per our Terms of Participation.”

Now, a change of guard is going to take place at the White House on Jan 20, 2017 and it would be interesting to watch what stand the new administration would take on this issue affecting a large part of our world.

How Indian economy is going to change forever!


By: Shreepal Singh

A new economic revolution is underway in India. Demonetization of 500 and 1000 rupees currency notes implemented in India by the Modi Government is the first step in the long series of acts that are in the queue waiting their turn. Millions of ordinary people in this country should be happy; those who love India should be happy; for those who wish India should rise as a world economic power, these steps – including demonetization of 500 and 1000 currency notes – should be a matter of rejoice.

These steps would change India forever for the better; it is a big work. But it is the most dangerous work for those who have dared to make India a great power in the world. What is this danger? Where this danger would come from?

Wise but wicked persons are not fools. They know everything what is in store for them in coming days and they would not sit idle. They would try to do whatever they can do to avert this danger to them by these new economic steps. Who are these persons?

The new economic measures are going to have three consequences. These can be classed into three: First: Big political powers, who have been waiting for their turn to come to power once again, but would be decimated now in their chance forever by the these new measures; Second: Big-Capital houses, who have amassed unaccountable wealth and have been using unfairly this wealth to stop other persons struggling to compete with them, but (who) would now be deprived of their unfair advantage by the new measures; Third: Ordinary millions of people who are going to benefit by these new measures in the long run, but who are now encountering temporary problems and inconvenience by these measures and may feel agitated.

Beware Indians of the two classes – the First and the Second – and their machinations; they would not leave any chance to egg on the ordinary millions – the Third class – to rise in opposition to these beneficial measures.

Let us educate ourselves. These revolutionary measures are the result of original research and study by the talented team lead by one Shri Anil Bokil.  See this video to understand what he says and where India would be heading to:

Conduct of Justice Katju (Retd.) in Supreme Court and Contempt notice


By: Parmanand Pandey, Advocate Supreme Court

Anybody, who has seen Justice Katju on the Supreme Court bench and has been following his writings in newspapers and blogs after his retirement would hardly have any doubt that he often goes berserk, unreasonable and facetious. The recent example is his offer to Pakistan of giving Kashmir along with Bihar. Very recently he made the most scandalous statement about the IQ and scholarship of all Supreme Court Judges except the two. Therefore, the contempt notice issued against him is well deserved and Justice Gogoi needs to be complemented for this bold decision. It is true that one can severely criticise the judgments and there will be no contempt of the court but once motives are attributed to the judges, it becomes the contempt of the court. And who should know better than Justice Katju? But regrettably, more often than not, he ends up criticising the judges rather than their judgements.

I was also present in the Courtroom no.6 yesterday from 2 P.M to 4.15 P.M till the Court rose after dictating the order of issuing the contempt notice to Justice Katju. The arrogance and sarcasm of Justice Katju was resonating from every sentence of his address to the Court, when he tried to give more importance to the ‘common sense’ over the ‘codified Criminal law’ and well defined sections 6 and 113 of the Evidence act. He over emphasised on the ‘believability’ arising out of the ‘common sense’ than the ‘admissibility of evidence’. Justice Katju was adamant on the application of common sense even when Justice U.U.Lalit tried to drive his point home that in the absence of admissibility the Supreme Court cannot conjure up the reliability. Belying all my hopes, there was no novelty in the arguments of justice Katju. In fact, it was an uninspiring piece of banality devoid of any spark of brilliance.  

The conduct of Justice Katju even when he was on the Bench of the Supreme Court was unbecoming to the exalted post that he held. He used to make fun of even the respected Senior Lawyers of the bar.  The bench is supposed to be respectful to any lawyer, even if he or she is new to the profession, but Justice Katju used to get sadistic pleasure in misbehaving with the Lawyers. That apart, Justice Katju had been most erratic, arbitrary, unreasonable and the worst violator of Judicial discipline as a judge. He has himself admitted in a blog post that as the Judge of Allahabad High Court he used to grant bail invariably to all Pakistani Nationals, who were to be deported by the government for overstaying in India. He has self-confessed that he used to grant interim relief with view to helping Pakistani citizens so that they could stay in India either till their death or become so old that Government would not repatriate them on the humane ground. Can there be anything more ridiculous and inexcusable act on the part of a judge who has taken the oath of the Constitution of India? Obviously, Justice Katju considers himself to be a law onto himself and conveniently forgets even the Constitution of India if it comes into his whimsical path.

 Not long ago, Justice Katju unilaterally branded Mahatma Gandhi and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose as the agents of British Government. His baseless assertions about of two iconic figures of India’s freedom movement left millions of countrymen into daze and utter shock. He did not give any proof in support of his wild opinion against these legendary persons. When the Indian Parliament unanimously passed a resolution condemning Justice Katju, he filed a Writ Petition in the Supreme Court of India alleging that his Fundamental Rights of ‘free speech and expression’ have been trampled upon because the Indian Parliament never gave him any opportunity of hearing before passing resolution against him. Incidentally, when this Writ Petition was being argued by the senior lawyer Gopal Subramanian in the Court of Justice T.S Thakur (as he was not a CJI then), I was also present in the Court to conduct my own case, I found that Justice Thakur was at his courteous best but he was very firm in sending a message to Justice Katju that he (Justice) cannot have unbridled freedom of speech and expression. Look at temerity and absurdity of Justice Katju that he wants to demean Gandhi and Bose in the name of his right of freedom of speech and expression but has no compunction in denying the same rights to others even to the Members of Parliament. Even yesterday, during the review- hearing of the Saumaya’ case Justice Gogoi always addressed with honorific Justice Katju but it was not returned to him with same respect from Katju Saheb. So much so, that he wanted to impress upon with the ludicrous logic of being once senior to Justice Gogoi in the Supreme Court.

As far his judgements are concerned, particularly on the labour laws, are like nightmares. His understanding of labour laws was/is shallow and highly retrogressive. The sooner they are set aside the better for the working class of the country.

Anyway, let us see how he replies to the Contempt notice.

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