Category Archives: Japan

Changing Definitions of “Communism”

Repost from the old site.

As a member of the Left, I am used to purges and being told that, in general, I am not leftwing enough. I’ve been purged from quite a few leftwing groups for insufficient political correctness or not being leftwing enough.

I was made to feel quite unwelcome at a Green Party meeting for daring to suggest that being invaded by millions of immigrants might be bad for US workers and the environment. I was given the cold shoulder by Greens for daring to suggest that their gleeful plot to defeat every Democrat running for office in 2000 was both offensive and stupid.

I was thrown out of the local cell of the CPUSA for “not being a Communist” and “supporting capitalism”.

Never mind that the noun “Communist” doesn’t have a whole lot of meaning anymore. The Communists in China are supporting capitalism in spades, in the very worst varieties of it yet, and still call themselves Communists. The Communists in Vietnam have introduced a lot of capitalism to their system.

Salvador Allende was a Communist who ruled Chile under a completely democratic system.

The Sandinistas had one of the most democratic systems in Latin America in the midst of an armed rebellion against the state.

Imagine if armed terrorists were running around the US, killing 1.8 million Americans over a 10-yr period, and being supported by the US’ worst enemies, say North Korea and Iran.

They have invaded farms and lined up the farmers and their families and farmworkers and tortured all of them to death. They specialize in raiding schools and hospitals where they murder teachers in front of their students and murder doctors, nurses and patients after lining them up against the wall. This is what America was supporting in the Contras.

Imagine that in the face of this provocation, a large US newspaper, a wildly rabid and yellow journalist sheet of the type we do not see anymore, regularly cheered the terrorists on with screaming boldface headlines, and every day urged the killing of the President, all members of Congress and everyone working for the US government. Do you think the FBI would shut down that paper or what?

This is what the Sandinistas had to put up with, and they didn’t even put the traitors in jail. They merely censored some of the more outrageous articles. Far from being a dictatorship, the Sandinistas were one of the most democratic states that ever existed.

Euro-Communists have run very European state governments for decades and have been present in Parliament and Cabinet level positions. Euro-style Communists have been running Indian state governments for decades also and have been present in the Parliaments of Japan and Nepal in large numbers.

In Europe, India, Nepal and Japan, the Euro-Comm types have all supported as much democracy as anyone else in their states supported, and they have all supported high levels of capitalism.

In the most recent issue of the CPUSA’s theoretical journal, the CPUSA fully supported the economic project of the Chinese Communist Party, and stated, “the transition from capitalism to socialism may be more on the order of decades than years”. Regarding democracy, the CPUSA said, “It seems probable that there can be no true socialism without complete democracy”.

Since 1979 and surely since 1989, there has been a Hell of a lot of rethinking going on in the Communist movements of the world. The dictatorship of the proletariat, democratic centralism, bans on private party – all of that is up for grabs. Many Communists nowadays support full democracy and a mixed economy.

There are now many religious Communists, especially Liberation Theology Catholics in Latin America and the Philippines. There have always been Muslim and Christian Communists in the Arab World. Cuba now allows Christians into the party. There are organizations of Christian Marxists in Cuba holding meetings and publishing documents.

Camilo Torres, a Catholic priest, led an armed guerrilla movement in Colombia in 1965. Another Catholic priest, an American, led an armed guerrilla movement in Honduras in 1983. There are Catholic priests who are very active in the Maoist NPA guerrillas in the Philippines. There were even Catholic priests, nuns and lay workers who supported the Shining Path in Peru, to the point of helping them carry out military operations.

If all this news violates your cherished ideas about what it means to be a Communist, you need to quit reading this blog right now and go somewhere where your lower intelligence can be better accommodated – such as this website.

Marx and Lenin were not Gods. Communism is a scientific movement. Marx and Lenin, being materialist beings (humans), were surely capable of error about many things. The Communist Manifesto is not a religious text. If you run your life by a cookbook, dogmatically define words only with a Webster’s, think definitions are as hard as rocks and pigeonhole people in various pegs on a pegboard, you are just flat-out on the wrong blog.

There are plenty on the Right who think that anyone who does not fit the Websters definition of Communist must be a liar or an idiot. There are plenty on the Left who think that anyone who does not fit their definition of a Communist is a “revisionist” or a “fake Communist”.

In 2014, who is a Communist? To tell the truth, anyone who says he is! What is the definition of Communism? It’s in flux, and it means all sorts of things depending on all of the competing versions of the philosophy out there.

In the Linguistics branch called Semantics, we learned that the dictionary does not necessarily give you the correct or complete definition of a word. A word means whatever people who are using it say it means – it’s that simple. Communism means whatever Communists say it means, in all of their competing visions.

If you can’t your head around that, like I said, maybe you came to the wrong blog – go here instead. If this post stimulates your thinking, that’s the general idea. If you agree with most of the above, bookmark me.

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Socialism = Human Development, Capitalism = Human Retardation and Decline

The more socialism, the greater the human development.

The more socialism, the greater the human development.

The are 24 countries that are tops in the Human Development Index, and in my opinion, 20 of them are socialist and only ~four of them are not socialist or more capitalist than socialist.

The countries on the list that are not socialist or more capitalist than socialist are:

1. USA
2. Hong Kong
3. Singapore
4. South Korea

There is a lot of debate about Japan. Personally, I think that Japan is not a capitalism country at but instead is a socialist country because the very heights of the economy are 100% owned by the state. Furthermore, the direction of the economy and economic development and strategy is run by the state. The state and the corporations have a brotherly relationship, and they both work together to determine economic policy and economic strategy and development.

It is a very smart system instead of just letting the idiotic “free market” run wild, which is more or less akin to letting wild animals like lions and tigers loose in your streets. Sure top predators are very powerful, kick ass and take names and get a lot done like a free market, but they would also cause a lot of destruction of innocent lives and other collateral damage which is exactly what a bullshit “free market” does.

Remember that economic crash in 2008 and the ensuing recession/depression? Well that was 100% caused by an unregulated free market. If you deregulate the market, this is what happens. You get a manic-depressive economy with wild booms and busts and Dutch diseases, explosive run-ups and disastrous crashes and destructive downturns and recessions/depressions. Sort of like a desert climate. Really hot in the daytime and then really cold at night, a climate of extremes. The free market creates an economy of extremes.

Much better to have a regulated market. A regulated market is fine tuned to keep the run-ups from going too wild else they turn into the crashes that any manic episode must have. Economies are like laws of Physics – what goes up, must come down. In a regulated market, you don’t episodes of wild speculative growth, but on the other hand the market is so fine-tuned that you don’t get a lot of horrific depressions or crashes either. More like a Mediterranean climate, not too hot nor too cold, just sort of nice warm year-round. So you trade wild ups and downs for a stable, sane and steady relatively good economic growth rate and good prosperity because wealth is not constantly being wiped out by crashes.

I would also argue that Japan is socialist because it has a safety net. However, the safety net is run by the corporations and not by the state. A safety net is a safety net whoever runs it. There is little poverty in Japan and homelessness has only just now begun to appear. There is a lot of solidarity and a cooperative collectivist “we are all in this together” mindset. Japanese people are horribly pained to see poverty and especially homelessness because they think all the Japanese are their brethren and they do not want to see their brothers and sisters suffering like that. Which of course is nothing other than a socialist and anti-capitalist mindset.

Japan has always had a quite egalitarian society with little in the way of large-scale social stratification or income inequality. An egalitarian society with little social stratification or income inequality is the very definition of a socialist country.

Mikhail Gorbachev referred to Japan as “the most completely socialist country in the world.” I like that!

So 20 of those countries are socialist, and only four of them are capitalist. Guess which system is better for human development?

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India As an Imperialist Country

Creaders writes:

The man white ally with India. The white man is always covering India. White man media do not report the real truth about India and all India transgression was forgotten. India is a key player against China. But I will honestly say its not a NATO style alliance but a low level type.

India invade Diu, Daman, Goa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli from Portugal, no white man newspaper ever bark.

India invade Hyderabad, white man keep quiet. India invade Kashmir, white man keep quiet. India invade Sikkim, white man keep quiet.

When India invade Kashmir, India say Kashmir ruler like India but so I don care if they people hate India. When India invade Hyderabad, India say Hyderabad people like India, but I don care the ruler hate Indian.

When India annex Manipur and Sikkim, both people and ruler hate India. India say fuck it, I just want your land, never mind if you hate me. In fact, Indian just know how to talk and talk. They are liars and can come out any reason to harm you.

white man keep quiet. India invade China, white man keep quiet.

China arrest India’s aggression in 1962 Sino-Indian war, white man say China is aggressor and send arm to India.

India is really a crap nation.

I thought US imperialism was bad until I heard about Indian imperialism. India is obviously one of the imperialist countries. Even worse, like the early United Snakes, Zionist Israel, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, it has been conquering and annexing land since the day of its birth. I suppose one could argue that many new nations engage in a “nation-building project” that involves some sort of conquering of other people’s land to annex their lands into the new nation.

However, if we look around the world, we do not see a lot of examples of new imperialist countries engaging in nationalist conquests upon independence.

In the modern era, the examples are not many:

Nazi Germany: program of conquest, annexation and colonization in WW2.

Imperial Japan: program of conquest, annexation and colonization in WW2.

Fascist Italy: program of conquest, annexation and colonization in WW2.

Indonesia (independence in 1949): Program of conquest and annexation of Aceh, East Timor and part of New Guinea now called Irian Jaya. There was also a project of settling colonized lands with settlers in order to subdue the natives. A number of genocides ensued. This project was led by an openly fascist political party pushing a fascist project called Pangasinan.

Pakistan (independence in 1948): Attempted to annex Kashmir by force (uncertain if Kashmiris wanted to be annexed by Pakistan). Annexed Balochistan by violence soon afterwards after Balochis voted not to join Pakistan.

Israel (independence in 1949): Its very birth was created by invasion, conquest, ethnic cleansing and displacement of natives. Colonization of new land by settlers followed. The following years, more and more land was conquered, more natives were thrown off the land, and more settlers were moved onto new conquered land. The project continues to this day.

Russia (newly independent in 1991): Invaded and conquered Chechnya which declared independence from the new Russian nation. Later invaded other Caucasus republics attempting to break away from the new nation.

Armenia: Invaded and conquered part of Azerbaijan called Nagorno-Karabagh on an uncertain moral basis but strategically because it was full of Armenians. Later conquered “buffer zones” of Azeri territory similar to Israeli “security buffers.”

Georgia: Invaded South Ossetia when South Ossetia refused to join the new country called Georgia.

Morocco: Invaded and conquered Spanish Sahara after the region was decolonized. It then settled the area with 200,000 settlers.

Sudan: Upon independence in 1954, launched a war against South Sudan that continued for decades and killed 2 million people.

Eritrea: Soon after achieving independence in 1991, Eritrea attacked Ethiopia and tried to annex border land. It also attacked Djibouti and tried to annex part of that country.

Ethiopia: After independence, Ethiopia immediately annexed Eritrea. This led to a 30 year war which Eritrea finally won and achieved independence from Ethiopia.

Somalia: The new nation of Somalia attacked Ethiopia in 1977 and attempted to conquer the Ogaden region and annex it to Somalia.

Libya: In 1978, Libya attacked Chad and attempted to annex a strip of land called the Aouzou Strip.

However, India seemingly takes the cake. Soon after independence, India quickly invaded Hyderabad, Diu, Daman, Goa, Dadra, Nagar Haveli, Sikkim, Manipur and Kashmir. All of these places had decided that they did not want to be part of India, but India invaded them anyway. Sikkim was actually a separate country, but India invaded it anyway and annexed the place. Many people died because of India’s imperial conquests. The Manipur conflict lasted many years and the Kashmiri conflict continues to this day. Many other areas in the Northeast also refused to join India in the beginning and all were attacked sooner or later.

In the midst of this wild imperial conquest spree, apparently India received 100% support from US imperialism. When India attacked China in 1962 for no good reason, US imperialism supported them 100%, apparently as an anti-Communist move against China. India was even supplied with weapons with which to attack the Chinese people.

When you talk to Indians (generally high-caste Indians) one thing you will note is the fanatical nationalism many of them have. Many don’t know their country’s history, but if you recite it to those who know about it, almost 100% of them will support Indian imperialism to the hilt. The average Indian is an ultra-nationalist, a nationalist fanatic. In part this is because the media and the government has been pushing fascist like ultra-nationalism from the early days of the Republic. The number of Indians opposed to this fascist ultra-nationalist and imperialist project must be very small, because you never hear of them.

Of late, radical Indian ultra-nationalism has been married to Hindu fanaticism in the form of Hindutva ideology. This is a marriage of fascist ultra-nationalism and with radical religious fundamentalism. The result has been a potent movement that looks fascist in many respects. This nascent fascist movement has taken high caste and middle class Indians by storm. We should not sit idly by and watch this fascist movement form while we twiddle our toes. Instead we should watch this dangerous movement very closely. It threatens not only India itself but parts of the rest of the world too.

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North Korea Primer

Repost from the old site.

By now you surely have heard that North Korea has a nuclear bomb and has tested it, although the bomb appears very small, the test did not go well, and it has not yet been put on top of a missile. I am not at all worried about this bomb, though maybe I should be.

I have been studying North Korea for years, and this is the basis for my carefree attitude about their nuclear bomb. They simply are not going to use it in an aggressive manner as it is strictly for defensive purposes.

For those reasons, I actually support North Korea’s getting a bomb, as I figure they will never use it anyway (unless we are so stupid as to attack them) and it is only them having a bomb that keeps us from attacking them.

I think all sane, rational countries being threatened by nuclear powers should have the right to get WMD’s to defend themselves. Most countries in the world qualify as sane, and certainly North Korea does. All the nonsense about “crazy Kim Jong Il” is just US propaganda crap. For an example of an insane, irrational country that should never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon, consider the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

I actually dislike the regime intensely, but there are positive notes amidst all the terror of the gulags and the corruption of the elite.

For one, I really feel that Kim Jong Il has been trying his best to feed his people, which is more than I can say for the vast majority of capitalist regimes in the Third World, whose governments do not make the tiniest efforts to feed anyone, as this is seen as the responsibility of the individual.

The World Bank, the IMF and the US government routinely try to attack and even destroy such governments if they try to feed their people. Jean Bertrand Aristide, for example, was overthrown at gunpoint by the US, France and Canada, in part because he was spending large sums to give millions of poor Haitians one free meal (lunch) a day.

The World Bank and the IMF usually demand that these governments scale back or terminate any government feeding programs in order to continue to get loans from these institutions.

My understanding is that the northern part of Korea has never been able to feed its people, even before the Communist regime. I suppose it has always either relied on imports from Southern Korea or China, or else, if that was not forthcoming, it simply lacked enough food. The country is very cold and mountainous with rocky soil and it is hard to get crops to grow there.

Some background on the famine: North Korea had the worst floods in 100 years in 1995 and 1996, followed by the worst drought in 100 years in 1997, which also involved famine. All this happened after the economy collapsed in 1990 with the loss of Soviet economic cooperation.

To give you an example of what was involved in this 1990 collapse, note that the price of oil immediately climbed by 1000% (10 times) in the space of a year. They simply could not purchase enough oil to run their factories and farms so the whole country pretty much shut down.

For those enamored of the theory that Communist states like Cuba and North Korea can only be maintained by massive aid from outside to “keep them afloat”, we should note that from 1946-1960, South Korea received 4 times the aid to South Korea as the Soviet Union was giving to North Korea. For most of the 1950’s, the US provided 50% of the entire budget of South Korea. Which state is the welfare case, anyway?

The US has been deliberately trying to destroy their economy from Day One so we should talk about their economic problems. Right now, we are trying to cut off the regime from the entire world banking system. This means that factories that make consumer goods have been unable to import the materials necessary to make those products.

During the starvation crisis of the 90’s, my perception is that the world did not exactly step up to the plate for avert the crisis. The US continued embargoing North Korea, as they have since 1950, and as they did during the Great Leap Forward famine of 1959-1962 in which 15 million Chinese died while the US scurried to block all food aid.

The embargo has recently been strengthened in an effort to cut off the North from the world financial system. The US and other nations played politics with the food aid during the famine, a disgusting display of cynical Realpolitik in my opinion.

Regarding the number of deaths in the famine, anti-North Korean polemicists claim that 3-4 million people died. Fine, they can claim that all they want but they need to prove it. The Asian Development Bank says that 500,000 died*. Others put the figure at 600,000.

It was a terrifying, nightmarish time and the horror stories from the era seem for the most part to be true.

It is useful to note that even at the worst of the starvation in the 1990’s, the rate and degree of infant mortality, starvation and malnutrition per 1000 people only began to approach, but did not reach or surpass, the same rate as India experiences day in, day out, every single year, including this one.

So, what happened in North Korea from 1995-1997 has continued to occur on a greater scale and to the same degree every year since then in India. So how come we don’t hear how India starves its people? It should be noted that the regime has not been able to feed its people for the last 10 years and 40% of the youngest generation are stunted from malnutrition.

North Korea has liberated women to a radical degree – there are more college-educated women than men. The regime does an excellent job of taking care of orphans (especially) and children in general.

There are many orphans. – 30% of the population of North Korea was killed in the war, mostly by US carpet bombing, often with napalm, that was frankly terrorist warfare – a devastation comparable in degree to those experienced by Poles, Russians and World Jewry in World War 2.

The US, under Curtis LeMay, destroyed just about every city and town in North Korea, often with blatant napalming of entire cities. When napalm was invented in 1945, no one imagined that it would be used wholesale against entire cities.

As early as 1952, almost every civilian in North Korea was living in either a cave or a tunnel. There are still a huge number of orphans – if you meet North Koreans, you will find that almost everyone lost at least one relative in the war.

North Korea has excellent in the treatment of the handicapped – sending them to the many special schools and programs that are set up for them, finding employment for them and making special efforts to find them marriage partners.

As with the orphans, there are many handicapped, mostly due to the devastating war, and the North Korean people treat the handicapped with a kindness and deference that would surprise most residents of the capitalist dog-eat-dog West.

North Korea has truly free housing and practices preventive medicine on a comparatively high level. Prostitution is a memory and it is impossible to bribe a cop. North Koreans had a longer life expectancy and lower infant mortality than South Korea until 1980, and until the tragedies of the 1990’s, North Korea’s rates of these 2 indexes were on a par with advanced industrialized states.

North Korea had higher per capita growth rates than South Korea for decades until the 1980’s. By 1980, visitors riding trains from North Korea to China were shocked at how much better off North Korea seemed to be than China. North Korea’s rural areas were neat and well-built up, with well-maintained farm machinery in ample supply. In contrast, China, both cities and countryside, appeared squalid.

Since then, the system has foundered. It is not so much that the system itself is a completely failed model as capitalist propagandists assert but that it is a limited model. That is, you can get superb economic growth in both agriculture and industry for decades under Communism (the experience of the Soviet Union and Mao’s China are instructive).

But after decades of growth, the system seems to reach a law of diminishing returns and also bogs down into bureaucracy. North Korea has now significantly liberalized their economy to the point where it is not really a totally Communist economy (certainly not a “Stalinist” system – North Korea’s model never really resembled Stalin’s USSR anyway) at all anymore.

A lot of the enterprises are virtually being run by workers themselves and the cities are crowded with farmers markets and stands for small entrepreneurs.

Nevertheless, many of the horror stories you hear about North Korea’s gulags are probably true. Still, there is a problem with these stories. It is now acknowledged that most information from North Korean defectors is pretty much useless. Sometimes they have good information if you can get to them before South Korean intelligence does. After that, they are about useless.

Defectors’ stories are most valuable for telling us what life is like in their immediate surroundings. Few top-level defectors have left North Korea over the lifespan of the regime, so our understanding of the inner workings of the regime is limited.

The notion that North Korea would give their nuclear weapon to terrorists, or God forbid Al Qaeda, regularly heard in the US media, nearly qualifies as a paranoid delusion. The whole notion of “giving a nuke to terrorists” which Americans have been hammered with nonstop since 9-11 is sort of silly and fantastical anyway.

To look into this requires a brief primer on nuclear weapons. I am not an expert, but here goes.

For starters, let us look at the nonsense about the suitcase nukes. A modern nuclear weapon, as I understand it, is about as big as a very small car – say a Volkswagen beetle or an electric car. If you put it in your living room, it takes up a good part of the room. You can put it in a large truck, but a suitcase!? Come on.

Furthermore, most modern-day nuclear weapons are either launched from a missile of dropped from a bomber. A common misconception is that a nuke is detonated on impact. You could put a nuke in a truck and drive it into a building 100 mph, drop it from a plane, shoot it on a missile, set it on fire, or even attack it with another nuclear weapon, and none of that will detonate it.

The only way to detonate a nuclear weapon is to fire a detonator at the atomic core inside the nuke. In modern nuclear weapons, the detonator is a very large precision instrument located inside the nuke itself. It must be fired just right, with mathematical precision down to fractions of a second and many other variables lined up perfectly.

This a process that is enormously difficult, and large states with huge budgets and legions of physicists have had a very hard time doing it, with the project often taking years or decades, and many projects ending in failure. The notion that terrorists living in Afghan caves can make one of these weapons, smuggle it into the US and detonate it is hysterical.

It is testament to the ignorance or duplicity of the US media and politicians that such scenarios resonate across our land to terrify a public that is uneducated about these complex matters.

Another notion, constantly parried about on the “Terror Channels” of the US media, is that Kim Jong Il wants to attack South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, or especially the US, with his nasty nukes. I don’t believe this. The relationship between the South and the North is enormously complex, but the South (and especially its US patron) threatens the North as much as vice versa.

I do not think a North Korean goal is an unprovoked attack against South Korea, and certainly not Japan or, ludicrously, Taiwan. Any North Korean attack on an US target, forget the US mainland, would be met with such a devastating response that North Korea would be history. A Northern attack on the South would be similarly suicidal.

The North has not spent 40 years rebuilding its land from the total devastation of the war to blow it all on a suicidal war of aggression. On the contrary, I think that North Korea would eventually would like to reunify the South and the North. The South Korean population seems to agree, as 80% oppose the US’ belligerent stance towards the North.

I am not sure why the US media, which resembles a Halloween haunted house attraction meant to scare your pants off for sheer entertainment, is always trying to keep us terrified of dubious threats. Unless they just want to keep us chronically terrified for other ulterior motives.

If anyone should be afraid of anyone, the North should be afraid of the US. We are still officially at war with them, as we never signed an armistice. The US holds regular war games with the South aimed at North Korea. Plans to attack and wipe out the regime are being constantly updated, the most recent of which is frightening in its attention to trivial detail and baseless optimism about success.

37,000 US troops at 100 installations dot the South Korean landscape. The largest US bombing range in Asia is the scene of bombing practice 5 days a week, year-round. The US stationed nuclear weapons in South Korea for decades, menacing the North. Those are gone, but they have been replaced by nuclear-armed ships and planes that the US surrounds the North with.

On January 8, 2002, three weeks prior to the declaration of the Axis of Evil, George Bush presented a “Nuclear Posture Review” to Congress, ordering the Pentagon to prepare contingency plans for nuclear attack on Iran, Iraq and North Korea, in addition to the non-Axis states of Syria, Libya, Russia and China.

From their point of view, the North is mystified at why we vilify them. They see themselves as opposing the apparently illegal division of their country (engineered by the US) from the start.

They are angered at being blamed for starting a war that they see as a civil war between a minority of collaborators with the Japanese who occupied their land (those Koreans supporting South Korea) and the majority of Koreans (those Koreans supporting North Korea). They are proud that they held off the US and its UN allies during the war.

For these acts, which they see as heroic, they feel they have been unfairly tagged as “hostile nation”.

A couple of new books** have come out in the past couple of years advocating attack on North Korea. The nonsense about the North’s petty nuke that reverberates from the media machine is downright frightening. For those who wish to hear an antidote to the insane drumbeat of warmongering hostility against North Korea, consider this a beginning primer.

References

Meredith Woo-Cummings, The Political Ecology of Famine: The North Korean Catastrophe and Its Lessons, Asian Dev. Bank Inst., Tokyo, 2001

Jasper Becker, Rogue Regime: Kim Jong Il and the Looming Threat of North Korea. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. 300 pp., and Bradley K. Martin, Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty. New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2004. 868 pp.

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Golden Bomber – JPop

Whereas the previous KPop boy band that I posted, Shinee, was seriously fagged out, this Japanese Jpop band, Golden Bomber, is not nearly so much. Instead, these are androgynes along the Iggy Pop, Jim Morrison, David Bowie, New York Dolls, Steve Tyler, Mott the Hoople, Mick Jagger lines. Sort of 1970’s glam/rock and roll stuff.

For some reason, I also felt that these guys were heterosexual. They just come off as pretty masculine, much more masculine in fact that the Shinee characters. Incidentally, I looked up Shinee and there is not much evidence that they are gay. One dated a famous Korean movie actress. Others talk about women all the time. A lot of them are young and not dating much as they are too busy all the time. There is only one who may be gay, but no one is sure even about him.

I also looked up Golden Bomber, and all these guys are apparently vigorously heterosexual, as I suspected, but then I am pretty good at figuring this stuff out. The more masculine the man acts, the more likely he is to be more straight, and the Golden Bomber guys have a strong masculine core about their psyches. On the other hand, the more feminine a man is, the more likely he is to be gay. But there are all sorts of exceptions to this rule.

This is even true among gay and bisexual man. The more masculine the gay man acts, the more bisexual is, and the more likely he is to have sex with women or even to be married or have a marriage in his background. The more queeny he is, the more likely he is to be quite gay or purely gay.

This is also true to some extent with straight men. The most vigorously masculine straight men are the most homophobic and the least likely to have any homosexual experience or attraction. As straight males become increasing less macho, more androgynous, feminine or even effeminate, tolerance for homosexuality rises and so does homosexual experimentation or even frank bisexuality. Nevertheless, there are millions of guys on the faggoty spectrum who are 100% heterosexual in thinking and behavior. How do I know this? Because I have met them, and I can tell if a man is completely straight or not. It’s actually quite simple.

Male androgynes are notoriously hard to figure out and are very confusing. They can be anywhere from completely straight to somewhere on the bisexual spectrum to basically gay. In general, they are gigantic sexual question marks.

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Answering the Libertarians and Their Lies

Repost from the old site.

I decided to make a post about libertarians, radical free market fundamentalist religionists, and Far Right economics in general.

On Libertarianism, I think it is very important to answer some of the nonsense that is being parroted nowadays by the free market fundamentalists – libertarians – right wing extremists – amongst us. As the center of the US Right has gotten more and more extreme since the 1970’s, their arguments and policies have gotten more and more insane, irrational and ideological.

With the Right nowadays we are dealing with a nation of robotic ideologues – they no longer care anything for fact, theory, or science. Rightwing doctrine, more and more, resembles a kind of religion for its ideological adherents, and in that way it is similar to the leftwing orthodoxy that continued to enrapture some the Left in recent decades, even as it developed serious problems before their very eyes.

Into the 21st Century, the Right is bolder and wilder than ever. Formerly, the more honest ones at least used to acknowledge that socialism was better at providing for basic needs, health care, education and social support than capitalism. No more. Now total libertarian free market capitalism has become some sort of miracle nostrum that will cure all ills.

Poor health figures, health system doesn’t meet the needs of the people? No problem, just totally privatize the health system and all the problems go away. Problems with distribution of water, electricity, sewage, roads, parks, day care? Not a problem. Just get the state out of the way, deregulate, and let the corporations run it all.

The debacle of electricity deregulation in California is simply the typical result of privatization and deregulation of electricity the world over, for decades now, since the 1930’s.

We have case study after case study, with predictable results each time the “new experiment” is tried. The California experiment saw service plummet and investors get screwed, precisely the failures that led to the creation of public utilities in the 1930’s.

Utility companies maliciously rigged markets, cut off supplies to the starving state, formed monopolies and engaged in gleeful price-gouging of helpless consumers.

Deregulation of the financial industry and stock market is likely to cause financial panics, stock crashes and both economic recessions and depressions. It has in the past, it will in the future.

Deregulation of telecommunications in the US put the public system into the hands of a fewer and fewer people and sent cable prices through the roof.

It has facilitated a wild crime spree by major telecom firms, as these firms engaged in an orgy of out-and-out robbery of consumers, blatantly deceptive and unintelligible calling plans, deliberate over-billing, bumping consumers into other calling plans without telling them, and other outrages.

Privatization of water in Bolivia was a catastrophe – prices shot up, service was terrible, and many lost access to water.

Airline deregulation saw massive concentration in airlines, many cities lose air coverage and service go into the gutter. The price structure of airline flights became seriously disturbed to where a flight to a city 350 miles away might cost far more than a trip all the way across the country to a major hub.

Deregulation of trucking saw prices climb, service suffer, safety regs get tossed out the window, the accident rate go up, roads get destroyed by overloaded trucks and thousands of small firms get wiped out while a few super-firms took their place.

The last effect caused the peonization of the US independent trucker, a cultural icon. Self-regulation of any industry has meant no regulation, and consumers, workers and society are harmed every single time it’s done. Every time, every place, no exceptions. Got it?

The much-maligned OSHA regulations save 10,000’s of lives every year and we can prove it. Pollution regs do the same and clean up the planet besides, and we have the darn statistics to prove it.

Reducing environmental regulations dealing with water, air and toxics means lots of injuries and deaths, time after time, in place after place, in society after society. We are talking about effects so predictable here that if we were scientists, we could almost describe them as natural laws.

The latest insanity is the line that the way to solve health care problems is to totally privatize the health care system, because, as we all know, “socialism fails”.

This slander, this canard, against socialist health care, that it fails to meet the basic needs of human beings, needs to be answered forcefully, for the Libertarian Big Lie continues, ranting louder and louder, despite figures all over the world that conclusively show “socialized medicine” outperforming more private systems time after time and place after place.

In Nicaragua, after the Sandinistas took power in 1979, the health figures showed great improvement (along with education and literacy figures). When the Sandinistas were thrown out of power in an election cheered by liberals across America, the first thing the liberals’ hero, the ultrareactionary Chamorro, did, was wipe out government health care and free education.

At $30 a year, many parents could not afford to send their kids to school, so the kids dropped out. The health figures started going down right away. “Socialized medicine” fails again.

Cuba’s health figures have long been tops in Latin America and in 2002, for the first time, Cuban infant mortality figures actually beat US figures, where income is 20 times higher. The Latin state that often comes closest to Cuba is Costa Rica in health, education and housing figures, and as such, Costa Rica is bandied about by enemies of the Cuban Revolution.

But Costa Rica’s figures are due to the fact that Costa Rica has the most highly-developed social democracy in all Latin America, which it seems to have retained, despite frantic, bullying efforts, starting with Reagan’s orders to Arias in the 80’s, by the US to force Costa Rica to dismantle its social programs. “Socialized medicine” fails again.

In India, the state of Kerala, run by Communists off and on for the last 30 years, has developed a good state health system compared to the rest of India. When comparing Kerala to the rest of India as a whole, Kerala’s health figures are much superior. “Socialized medicine” fails again.

The social democracies in Europe have the best health figures on Earth, due to their evil, failed, inferior “socialized medicine”. “Socialized medicine” fails again.

Japan’s high health figures are accounted for by the fact that Japan has long had a virtual social democracy, with a lifetime employment system and generous benefits, including health care, taken for granted by Japanese corporations. “Socialized medicine” fails again.

And on and on and on and on.

The fact is, capitalism is bad for your health, period, exclamation point. It’s a rule of nature, like gravity or the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

What would a libertarian health care system look like? Simple. Like the health care system we had in most of the past few centuries on much of the planet, where only the well-off could afford to go to the doctor or buy medicine and the poor were left to beg for succor or sicken and die, which they did, by the hundreds of millions.

Want some examples, close to home? I know a number of folks who are disabled and therefore simply cannot work at any real job in the real world (they could maybe get by on a severely pampered part-time job with friends or family, but that’s not real life). Their disability check every month is the only thing that enables them to survive at all.

Without that check, they would need to depend on the kindness of friends or family, or, lacking that, they would go homeless, live on the streets, lack for food, shelter, medical care, etc.

I have known many poor workers who lacked for health insurance and had such a low income that they felt they could not afford to go to the doctor. So, they ignored health problems until they got worse and worse, and now they have chronic health problems.

One of them was thrown off Medicaid when he and his wife (both workers) earned just over the limits. Consequently, he stopped going to the doctor for months and felt he could not afford to buy his prescriptions. He lacked his meds, including a blood pressure drug and a blood thinner needed for a blood clot, for 5 months.

Another railed against “socialized medicine” but felt she could not afford insurance so she never went to the doctor or dentist. Now she has severe chronic knee problems and serious teeth problems.

She may need to have all her teeth pulled since she never went to the dentist because she felt she could not afford it. The knee problem may also have been exacerbated by lack of medical care. The reality is that this is what will happen to many people if we do away “state health care”.

This is what happens all over the world. I have friends in the Third World who tell me stories about their countries. It’s clear that people are dying in these places all the time because they cannot afford doctors or medicines. Their stories are true; I hear them with my very own ears.

What would a radical free market system do for education? Prices would go through the ceiling and quality would go down in many cases. Every teacher I know who taught at both private and public schools told me the quality of the program was much worse at private schools, where the owners scrimped on everything and shafted the teachers while flying around on their private jets.

I suppose the radical free-marketeers would like to get rid of public roads too. Let me tell you a story about roads. Up here in the mountains, we have private and public roads. Every single private road is utterly terrible and many are outright dangerous.

They are full of potholes, if they are paved at all. Why? Because in order to fix the road, each homeowner on the road would have to pitch in to fix it. No one wants to pay, so the road never gets fixed. Never, ever.

If you want to know what the libertarian vision looks like, just go to the Third World, where the state doesn’t pay for anything and the public sphere is decrepit, abused, nonfunctional, dangerous, inadequate, nonexistent or for the rich only.

Look at America pre-1900, where schools, doctors, hospitals, roads, electricity, sewage, and old-age supports did not exist or were luxuries for the moneyed only. The elderly, sick, poor and jobless simply sickened or died, in huge numbers. Tens of millions of Americans never went to school.

That’s the libertarian dream, or nightmare. We know what it looks like because it’s been tried in the past for centuries, the world over, in culture after culture. We can see its devastation in the 3rd World as we speak.

There need be no illusions at all about what radical free market fundamentalism will really bring, and we need to shout down the free-market ideologues and religionists with every lie they shower us with. Loud. Often. In their face. And never stop until we turn their dishonest roar into a whisper in the background.

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“Washington and the Cuban Revolution Today: Ballad of a Never-Ending Policy. Part III: The Legacy of the Missile Crisis, 50 Years After,” by Ike Nahem

In Part 3, Nahem deals with the Cuban Missile Crisis. Absolutely fascinating! The stuff you never heard before in the lying US media. 50 years on, and they still have not told us the truth. Amazing! Warning: Long, runs to 71 pages on the web.

Washington and the Cuban Revolution Today:
Ballad of a Never-Ending Policy

Part III: The Legacy of the Missile Crisis, 50 Years After

By Ike Nahem

October 1962 marks the 50th Anniversary of the so-called “Cuban Missile Crisis.” The last two weeks of that October was the closest the world has come so far to a widespread nuclear exchange.

In August 1945, the United States government, having a then-monopoly on the “atom bomb,” unilaterally dropped nuclear bombs, successively, on the civilian inhabitants of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

At the time of this clear war crime, Japanese imperialism’s conquests and vast expansion that began in the 1930s had shrunk sharply. The Japanese rulers were retreating under intense attack from rival imperialists and indigenous independence forces in their remaining occupied lands, including parts of Manchuria in China, as well as Korea, Vietnam, and the “Dutch East Indies,” now Indonesia.

The Japanese navy was incapable of operations, and the Japanese merchant fleet was destroyed. The Japanese government had begun to send out “peace feelers,” fully aware of its hopeless situation. Washington’s utterly ruthless action finalized the defeat of the Japanese Empire in the Asian-Pacific “theater” of World War II…and sent an unmistakable shock and signal to the world.

The young leaders of the Cuban Revolution, now holding governmental power, were in the very eye of the storm during those two October weeks.

The diffusing and resolution of the Missile Crisis – in the sense of reversing and ending the momentum toward imminent nuclear exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union – came when Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev gave way to US President John Kennedy demands and agreed to halt further naval shipments of nuclear missiles to Cuba and withdraw those already in Cuban territory.

Khrushchev further agreed to the removal of Soviet medium-range conventional bombers, very useful to the Cubans for defending their coastlines, and a near-complete withdrawal of Soviet combat brigades.

For his part, Kennedy made a semi-public conditional formulation that the US government would not invade Cuba (this was not legally binding or attached to any signed legal or written document) and also agreed, in a secret protocol to withdraw US nuclear missiles from Turkey that bordered the Soviet Union.

The Cuban government, which had, at great political risk, acceded to the Soviet proposal to deploy Soviet nuclear missiles on the island, was not consulted, or even informed, by the Soviet government, at any stage of the unfolding crisis, of the unfolding US-Soviet negotiations.

Furthermore, Cuban representatives were completely excluded, and the five points Cuba wanted to see addressed coming out of the crisis and included in any overall agreement, ignored altogether under US insistence and Soviet acquiescence. The entire experience was both politically shocking and eye opening for the Cuban revolutionaries.

They came out of it acutely conscious of their vulnerability and angered over their exclusion.

In a public statement on October 28, presenting the five points, Fidel Castro said:

With relation to the pronouncement made by the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, in a letter sent to the premier of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev, to the effect that the United States would agree, after the establishment of adequate arrangements through the United Nations, to eliminate the measures of blockade in existence and give guarantees against any invasion of Cuba, and in relation to the decision announced by Premier Khrushchev of withdrawing the installation of arms of strategic defense from Cuba territory, the revolutionary government of Cuba declares that the guarantees of which President Kennedy speaks–that there will be no aggression against Cuba–will not exist unless, in addition to the elimination of the naval blockade he promises, the following measures among others are to be adopted:

1) Cessation of the economic blockade and all the measures of commercial and economic pressure which the United States exercises in all parts of the world against our country;

2) Cessation of all subversive activities, launching and landing of arms and explosives by air and sea, the organization of mercenary invasions, infiltration of spies and saboteurs, all of which actions are carried out from the territory of the United States and some other accomplice countries;

3) Cessation of the pirate attacks which are being carried out from bases existing in the United States and Puerto Rico;

4) Cessation of all the violations of our air and naval space by North American war planes and ships; and

5) Withdrawal of naval base of Guantanamo and the return of the Cuban territory by the United States.”

Washington Plans Direct Invasion

By April 20, 1961, the revolutionary Cuban armed forces, led by Fidel Castro, was victoriously mopping up, on the coastal battlefields and detaining survivors from the routed counterrevolutionary Cuban exile “army” organized by the US government and its Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to invade Cuba at the Bay of Pigs (Playa Giron to the Cubans).

The scheme to destroy the Cuban Revolution had been devised by the Dwight Eisenhower White House and carried out by the new Kennedy Administration in its third month after taking office.

Playa Giron was as humiliating and unacceptable for Washington as it had built confidence and was invigorating for the Cuban revolutionaries. It was certainly no secret to anyone paying the slightest attention that not even a nanosecond passed between Washington’s debacle at the Bay of Pigs and the planning for a new invasion, this time directly by US forces without the proxy agency of the mercenary “troops” of the former ruling classes of Cuba, who were by then ensconced in southern Florida.

Since October 1961 the Pentagon officers assigned to prepare for the US invasion of Cuba had been revising, updating, and “polishing” the concrete details. These “operational plans” were continually reviewed with President Kennedy.

Cuba faced an imminent, violent one-two punch: intensive aerial bombardment followed by large-scale invasion on multiple fronts.

It was less than ten years from the last major US war in Korea. The impact of US bombing on the northern Korean capital of Pyongyang in that country, artificially divided in the aftermath of World War II, could not have been encouraging to the Cuban leadership. Virtually the entire city was flattened by carpet bombings: 697 tons of bombs were dropped on Pyongyang along with nearly 3000 gallons of napalm; 62,000 rounds were used for “strafing at low level.”

According to Australian journalist and eyewitness to the carnage Wilfred Burchett, “There were only two buildings left standing in Pyongyang.” While the numbers of civilian deaths from the US assaults are inexact, well over 1 million Koreans in the north died, some 12-15% of the total population.

The “operational plans” for the US invasion of Cuba were to involve the initial dispatching of 90,000 troops and was projected to reach up to 250,000. This for a country of six million people.

For comparison, the population of Vietnam was around 40 million during the years of the US war in the 1960s and early 1970s. US troop levels reached 500,000. Massive US military operations, in the air and on the ground, killed millions of Vietnamese, perhaps 10% of the Vietnamese population.

There is no question that once “the dogs of war” were unleashed, with the accompanying propaganda onslaught, Washington would wage a war of annihilation under the rote cover of “democratic” and even “humanitarian” verbiage. Cuban resistance would be fierce. Mounting US casualties would, in the initial period, feed war fever and US aggression. In short: Cuba faced unheard of death and destruction. ..and the clock was ticking.

By this time President Kennedy’s “Operation Mongoose” was in effect. “Mongoose” was essentially a large-scale terrorist campaign employing sabotage, bombings, murder, and so-called “psychological warfare” inside Cuba.

Kennedy’s cynical purpose was to undertake any means deemed necessary to disrupt and demoralize Cuban society through constant, incessant violent attacks and economic sabotage to the point where the social and political conditions would be created for a full-scale US invasion.

But Kennedy and his civilian and military “advisers” continued to underestimate both the caliber of the revolutionary leadership and the capacities of the Cuban working people and youth they were terrorizing, as well as the Revolution’s determination and competence to organize their defenses.

Above all, the US rulers were not used to facing such a politically savvy enemy. The young Cuban revolutionary government, with the indefatigable Fidel Castro as its main spokesperson, was adept and quick on its feet in effectively exposing to world public opinion Washington’s anti-Cuba campaign through a vigorous, factually accurate and public counter-offensive based on what the Revolution was actually doing.

The logic behind “Operation Mongoose” was bluntly laid out in an internal memorandum of April 6, 1960 by L.D. Mallory, a US State Department senior official:

The majority of Cubans support Castro … the only foreseeable means of alienating internal support is through disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship. … every possible means should be undertaken promptly to weaken the economic life of Cuba.

Mallory proposed “a line of action that makes the greatest inroads in denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and the overthrow of the government.”

On July 26, 1961 – the national holiday declared by the revolutionary government commemorating the July 26, 1953 attack led by Fidel Castro and Abel Santamaria on the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba – the CIA attempted to assassinate Fidel Castro, Raul Castro, and Che Guevara during the celebrations.

The CIA plan was, if the murders were “successful, ” to stage a provocation against the US base at Guantanamo and make it appear to be Cuban revenge for the murder of their top leaders. This would then be the pretext for a full-scale US invasion.

Here on full display is the cynical mendacity operating at the top of the US government in the drive to bring back the power of the landowners, rich playboys, segregationists, gangsters, and pimps – the full flower of “democracy” to the benighted Cuban masses suffering under literacy drives, free medical care, desegregated public facilities, and the crushing of the US Mafia.

During the next month of August 1961, the CIA organized one of its most pernicious campaigns against the revolutionary government. Its agents spread lies through a built-up rumor bill that there was a Cuban government policy to take all children away from their parents by force and raise them in “state institutions.”

Some 15,000 Cuban families, overwhelmingly from middle- and upper classes full of prejudice and hostility to the Revolution, panicked and sent their children mostly to the US in response to a Big Lie, under the CIA’s infamous “Operation Peter Pan.”

So, while all this criminal activity is going on, the Cuban Revolution advanced its program of social justice and human liberation for the oppressed and exploited majority as the most effective counterforce to the Yanqui aggression. On February 26, 1962 Cuba’s rejuvenated labor unions provided the people power for the campaign of Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Health to carry out a nationwide campaign of vaccination against polio.

By the end of the year the disease is completely wiped out on the island. It took the United Nation’s World Health Organization, then far more subject to pressure from Washington than now, 43 years to finally recognize that Cuba was the first nation in the Americas to accomplish this.

Things like this, and the full array of revolutionary advances taking place in the face of Washington’s mounting terrorist campaign, convinced General Maxwell Taylor, who oversaw Operation Mongoose with Attorney General Robert Kennedy at the White House, that the terrorist operation “mak[ing] maximum use of indigenous resources,” could not and would not do the job of overthrowing the revolutionary government.

“Final success,” Taylor explained in a March 1962 report to President Kennedy, “will require decisive US military intervention. ” US spies inside Cuba, at most, could help “prepare and justify this intervention and thereafter facilitate and support it.”

With the Bay of Pigs debacle still fresh in his mind, and without some of the blinkers of more gung-ho invasion advocates, Kennedy hesitated to give a green light to the invasion plans he has ordered up. It remained yellow-lighted however, and Kennedy directed that Mongoose terrorism continue and step up.

The terrorist anti-Cuba campaign was not limited to Cuban territory. On April 28, 1962 the New York offices of the Cuban Press Agency Prensa Latina was attacked in New York, injuring three staff members. More seriously, from May 8-18, a “practice run” for the US invasion of Cuba takes place. The full-scale “military exercise” is code named “Operation Whip Lash and sent an unmistakable signal of intimidation from the US military colossus to the six million people of Cuba.

All this mounting imperialist intervention had only one possible ending point – short of a Cuban surrender, which would never come. Events were coming to a head in Washington, Moscow, and Havana, events that ineluctably posed and placed the nuclear question in the equation.

In a major speech to a closed meeting of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) on January 25-26, 1968 reviewing the entire Missile Crisis, Fidel Castro’s stated that Cuba’s revolutionary leadership looked to the Soviet Union for, “…measures that would guarantee the country’s safety. In that period we had tremendous faith in the Soviet Union. I think perhaps too much.”

While the Cuban government and overwhelming popular majority were mobilized, armed to the teeth, and prepared to fight to the death, they wanted to live in peace and to enjoy the fruits of building a new society after a hard-fought revolutionary triumph. The Cuban leadership fully understood that a US invasion would kill many hundreds of thousands and destroy the Cuban infrastructure and economy. How to stop the coming US invasion was the burning question.

Khrushchev Rolls the Dice

Meanwhile in the Soviet Union, the Soviet leadership was facing a decidedly negative nuclear relationship of forces vis-à-vis Washington. This position of inequality (in the framework of the aptly acronymed Mutually Assured Destruction – aka MAD – nuclear doctrine) was perceived in Moscow as an impediment to carrying out political negotiations and maneuvering with Washington and the NATO powers, and defending Soviet interests in the “geopolitical” Cold War arena.

By April 1962 fifteen US Jupiter nuclear missiles had been installed and were “operational” in Turkey on the border of the Soviet Union. “Operational” meant ready to launch at any moment. Each missile was armed with a 1.45 megaton warhead, with ninety-seven times the firepower of the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The official estimate of the “fatality projection” for each missile was one million Soviet civilians.

The Jupiter deployment in Turkey added to the overwhelming US superiority in quantity and quality in the “nuclear arms race” between Washington and Moscow.

According to Anatoly Gribkov of the Red Army General Staff (cited in the television program DEFCON-2 shown on the US Military Channel), “The United States had about 5000 [nuclear] warheads, the Soviet Union 300. And of those [300] only two or three dozen that could hit the United States.”

Khrushchev decided to alleviate this “imbalance” by placing missiles on the Cuban island if he succeeded in selling the idea to the Cuban leadership.

In the 1960 Presidential election, the liberal Democrat Kennedy shamelessly promoted as an important campaign issue a supposed “missile gap” – in the Soviet Union’s favor – between Washington and Moscow, a conscious fabrication. Kennedy also postured to the right of his Republican opponent, Eisenhower’s Vice-President Richard Nixon, on “getting tough with Castro.”

On this, Nixon had the disadvantage, as Kennedy was no doubt aware, of being unable to publicly tout the Eisenhower White House’s already advanced plans for the mercenary invasion at the Bay of Pigs, which Kennedy carried out three months after his Inauguration. )

Sometime in the spring (April-May) of 1962 the Khrushchev government of the Soviet Union proposed to the Cuban government that Cuba receive nuclear-tipped missiles on Cuban territory. In no other country (including none of its “Warsaw Pact” allies, who were all politically subordinate to the Soviet government) had the Soviet government located nuclear missiles outside of Soviet territory.

Washington, by contrast, had openly placed nuclear missiles in numerous western European countries as well as Turkey and secretly in Okinawa, Japan, aimed at China. (Both the United Kingdom and France, both US allies, also had nuclear arsenals by that time. China detonated its first nuclear bomb in an October 1964 “test.”)

Additionally US “strategic” nuclear armed aircraft were in the air ready for attack orders 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. US nuclear submarines were in similar mode, and even more difficult to detect. While Soviet capabilities undoubtedly lagged behind the US, it was not so much as to preclude inevitable reciprocal attack in response to any US “first strike.”

Soviet missiles in Cuba would theoretically be a further deterrent to any US “first strike” threat. Placing the missiles in Cuba was clearly seen by the Soviet government as a bargaining piece to advance Soviet strategic interests in the nuclear chessboard that animated US-Soviet “diplomatic” maneuvers and intrigue.

Khrushchev evidently presumed that, faced with a fait accompli, Washington would redress the imbalance to the benefit of the Soviet Union. The Soviet missiles, upon being fully operational, would be able to strike major population centers and whole geographic regions of the US, roughly equivalent to the potential death-dealing capacity Washington had through its missiles in Europe surrounding and targeted on the Soviet Union.

Of course, the big “if” in all of this reasoning was getting to the accompli. Given US technical proficiency this was a fantasy.

At the end of May 1962 the first direct presentation of the Soviet proposal was delivered to Fidel Castro and Raul Castro in Cuba by a Soviet delegation led by an alternate member of the Soviet Presidium (an executive decision-making body). The Soviet officials revealed to the Cuban leaders that their “intelligence” told them conclusively that a US invasion was being seriously prepared, to be implemented at any time over the next months.

Of course the Soviets were not telling the Cubans anything they did not already know in general, but there were new specific facts and details. But the proposal that measures to fortify Cuban defenses could include the deployment of Soviet nuclear missiles on the island leads to intense consultations within the top Cuban leadership (the chief ministers involved are Fidel Castro, Raul Castro, Che Guevara, Osvaldo Dorticos, Carlos Rafael Rodriguez, and Blas Roca).

The day after the proposal is received the Cuban leadership tells the Soviet delegation that the nuclear deployment is acceptable in principle.

In an interview with European journalist Ignacio Ramonet (from the book Fidel Castro My Life: A Spoken Autobiography, published in 2006 by Scribner and based on extensive interviews with Castro by Ramonet) Castro referred to the discussions within the Cuban central leadership saying that besides Khrushchev and the Soviet leadership’s

sincere desire to prevent an attack against Cuba…they were hoping to improve the balance of strategic forces…I added that it would be inconsistent of us to expect the maximum support from the USSR and the rest of the Socialist camp should we be attacked by the United States and yet refuse to face the political risks and the possible damage to our reputation when they needed us. That ethical and revolutionary point of view was accepted unanimously.

In a speech many years later in 1992 Fidel Castro said,

We really didn’t like the missiles. If it had been a matter only of our own defense , we would not have accepted the deployment of the missiles. But not because we were afraid of the dangers that might follow the deployment of the missiles here; rather, it was because this would damage the image of the revolution, and we were very zealous in protecting the image of the revolution in the rest of Latin America.

The presence of the missiles would in fact turn us into a Soviet military base, and that entailed a high political cost for the image of our country, an image we so highly valued.” (cited in October 1962 The ‘Missile’ Crisis As Seen From Cuba by Tomas Diez Acosta, Pathfinder Press)

Legality, Secrecy, and Lies: Losing the High Moral Ground

Having agreed in principle, Fidel Castro, Raul Castro, and Che Guevara, repeatedly argued with the Soviet leadership that the deployment should be open and public. The fact was that there was nothing in the Soviet-Cuban agreement to deploy the missiles that contravened any existing international law.

In any case, the Cuban leaders were certain that it would be virtually impossible for the shipment, site construction, and land deployment to remain concealed from the highly sophisticated US surveillance technology. Furthermore, that, on the face of it, given the US missiles in Turkey and Italy surrounding the Soviet Union, and with practically open US plans to invade Cuba, open and transparent was the way to go politically and morally.

All of this was rejected out of hand by the Khrushchev leadership, and the Cuban leaders chose not to push the point and deferred. In his January 25-26 speech, Castro goes into scathing detail on how shocking, given the Soviet insistence on secrecy, the lack of discretion on the Soviet side was, crossing into outright recklessness, in the actual deployment of the missiles.

The Soviet operation was the largest sea-borne operation in Soviet history. By the time of the missile detection and Khrushchev’s decision to remove them under US pressure, there were already 134 nuclear warheads in place and on the ground in Cuba. All three of the SS-4missile regiments were operational even as Soviet ships stopped moving towards Cuba.

In the book with Ramonet, Castro speaks of the” strange, Byzantine discussion” over the whether Soviet arms shipments to Cuba were offensive or defensive.

Khrushchev, in fact, insisted they were defensive, not on any technical grounds, but rather because of the defensive purposes for which they’d been installed in Cuba…[We felt there was] no need to go into those explanations. What Cuba and the USSR were doing was perfectly legal and in strict conformity with international law. From the first moment, Cuba’s possession of armaments required for its defense should have been declared.

We didn’t like the course the public debate was taking. I sent Che…to explain my view of the situation to Khrushchev, including the need to immediately publish the military agreement [on deploying the nuclear missiles in Cuba] the USSR and Cuba had signed. But I couldn’t manage to persuade him…

For us, for the Cuban leaders, the USSR was a powerful, experienced government. We had no other arguments to use to persuade them that their strategy for managing the situation should be changed, so we had no alternative but to trust them.

In the January 25-26, 1968 speech Castro bluntly expressed his viewpoint:

[Around July] we saw that the United States was creating an atmosphere of hysteria and aggression, and it was a campaign that was being carried out with all impunity. In the light of this we thought the correct thing to do was to adopt a different position, not to get into that policy of lies: ‘we are sending Cuba defensive weapons.’

And in response to the imperialist’ s position, the second weakness (or the first weakness) was not to stand up and respond that Cuba had every right to own whatever weapons it saw fit…but rather to adopt a policy of concessions, claiming that the weapons were defensive. In other words, to lie, to resort to lies which in effect meant to wave a basic right and principle.

Some 35 years later, in the Ramonet book, Castro returned to this crucial political approach, which is much more powerful than the usual technical cast of events when things had reached the stage of an actual nuclear standoff:

There was nothing illegal about our agreement with the Soviets, given that the Americans had missiles in Turkey and in Italy, too, and no one ever threatened to bomb or invade those countries.

The problem wasn’t the legality of the agreement – everything was absolutely legal – but rather Khrushchev’s mistaken political handling of the situation, when even though both Cuba and the USSR had the legitimate right, he started spinning theories about offensive and non-offensive weapons. In a political battle, you can’t afford to lose the high moral ground by employing ruses and lies and half-truths.

The revolutionary consciousness and organization of the popular masses, and their will and determination to resist aggression, was, and continues to be, the decisive factor in the defense of the Cuban Revolution. This objective political fact kept intruding into the subjective actions of both the US and Soviet governments during the October Crisis.

For the Cuban revolutionaries, the economic, military, and political ties forged with the Soviet Union had been an irreplaceable factor in their survival from the period after the January 1959 triumph of the Revolution through the Playa Giron defeat of the US-organized mercenary invasion.

Nevertheless, the unfolding of the Missile Crisis, and its ultimate resolution, left the Cuban leadership feeling vulnerable, insulted, and bypassed by the perceived highhanded behavior of the Soviet government led by Nikita Khrushchev.

In his January 25-26, 1968 speech, focused almost exclusively on the Missile Crisis and its lessons, Fidel Castro said, “I am sincerely convinced that the Soviet Party bears great responsibility in what happened and acted in a totally disloyal manner in its relations with us.”

Referring to the continuing terrorist attacks against Cuba that never stopped after Soviet missiles, planes, and combat troops were removed from Cuba at the “end” of the October Crisis, Castro stated,

Together with the pirate attacks and the U-2 flights, incidents began to flare up at the Guantanamo base [The military base on Guantanamo was ceded to the US government in the notorious neocolonial Platt Amendment of 1901 passed by the US Congress and has been maintained to this day against the demands for its return to Cuban sovereignty.]

The same Guantanamo base which, we are certain, would have been dismantled had there been a modicum of serenity and firmness during the October crisis. Had they had the presence of mind to have posed and demand correctly from a principled standpoint, had they said that they would withdraw the missiles if satisfactory guarantees were given to Cuba, had they let Cuba negotiate, the crisis might even have turned into a political victory…

All the rest are euphemisms of different kinds: Cuba was saved, Cuba lives. But Cuba had been alive and Cuba had been living, and Cuba did not want to live at the expense of humiliation or surrender; for that you do not have to be a revolutionary. Revolutionaries are not just concerned with living, but how one lives, living most of all with dignity, living with a cause, living for a cause…

Cuba did not agree with the way the issue was handled; it stated the need to approach the problem from different, more drastic, more revolutionary and even more legal positions; and it totally disagreed with the way in which the situation was terminated.”

“Uncontrolled Forces”

At the height of the crisis, the central Cuban leadership was certain that a full-scale invasion of the island was imminent. As shown above, preparations – “contingency plans” – for such an invasion had, for many months prior to the secret installation of the Soviet missiles, been in place.

This was the only conceivable basis for Khrushchev to make the missile proposal to the Cuban leaders. In fact, a US invasion of Cuba was on the hair-trigger of being ordered on several concrete conjunctures in the course of the Crisis.

The issue of carrying out a direct US assault was being furiously debated within the Kennedy Administration and the narrow circle of bipartisan Congressional leadership that was privy to the deliberations at the top.

As President and Commander-in- Chief, Kennedy had to choose whether to give the order to invade – again, everything was already in place for the execution of an invasion – the island where many nuclear warheads were already in place, targeting US territory and where Cuban armed resistance was certain to be massive, highly motivated, well-led, and creative.

The Cuban masses, having just experienced a profound social revolution, drawing millions into revolutionary struggle and consciousness, the immense majority of the Cuban population, would be fighting from their own territory against a foreign invasion force and massive bombing assaults. Thousands of Cuban civilians would have been instantly killed in these air strikes.

The political consequences of this carnage – against a sovereign people with the gall to make a Revolution, throw out a venal dictator, institute land reform, literacy campaigns, rent reduction, abolishing Jim Crow-segregation, etc. etc. – would certainly have been devastating for Washington even if nuclear warheads were never launched on either side, a dubious prospect at best.

Washington would lose the “moral high ground,” so crucial to concrete questions of world politics. Cuba would regain what had been eroded by the secretive, clumsy adventurism of Khrushchev’s “initiative” and its incompetent implementation.

The question of the nuclear weapons that were already on the island and the more that were en route would likely have been rendered secondary and the question of Cuba’s right to self-determination would have again risen to the fore. Kennedy was politically savvy enough to realize all of this and finally rebuffed the advocates of launching an invasion.

Uppermost in Kennedy’s considerations were the physical presence of thousands of Soviet combat troops and military personnel (there were some 40,000 Soviet mechanized combat divisions in Cuba, although the Kennedy Administration seems to have counted less than half the actual number).

This fact posed the question that Soviet casualties would be inevitable, further sharply posing the question of questions… would the US invasion inexorably lead to nuclear exchanges? Who would fire first becomes almost a moot, secondary question in the framework of such a political confrontation.

US “intelligence” estimates were that 18,500 US casualties would take place in the first period after a US invasion, according to declassified material obtained by the National Security Archive.

The presence of Soviet nuclear warheads and large numbers of Soviet military personnel, fighter jets, anti-aircraft gun emplacements, and so on, was another major factor leading Kennedy to repeatedly postpone the invasion plans and opt for a naval blockade (labeled a “quarantine” for legalistic purposes) surrounding Cuba, and the drama of a relatively slow showdown unfolding over days in the Atlantic while negotiations between Washington and Moscow intensified, negotiations that excluded the Cuban government.. .as if Cuba had nothing to do with what was happening.

It is always the case when war and combat is actually joined, that the “law of unintended consequences” would come into dynamic play. Or, as the historic revolutionary leader of the working-class movement, Frederick Engels, put it, “Those who unleash controlled forces, also unleash uncontrolled forces.”

The Letters

On October 26, 1962 Fidel Castro – at the most intense, dangerous point of the entire crisis – wrote a letter to Nikita Khrushchev, which stated:

Given the analysis of the situation and the reports which have reached us, [I] consider an attack to be almost imminent–within the next 24 to 72 hours.

There are two possible variants: the first and most probable one is an air attack against certain objectives with the limited aim of destroying them; the second, and though less probable, still possible, is a full invasion. This would require a large force and is the most repugnant form of aggression, which might restrain them.

You can be sure that we will resist with determination, whatever the case. The Cuban people’s morale is extremely high and the people will confront aggression heroically.

I would like to briefly express my own personal opinion.

If the second variant takes place and the imperialists invade Cuba with the aim of occupying it, the dangers of their aggressive policy are so great that after such an invasion the Soviet Union must never allow circumstances in which the imperialists could carry out a nuclear first strike against it.

I tell you this because I believe that the imperialists’ aggressiveness makes them extremely dangerous, and that if they manage to carry out an invasion of Cuba–a brutal act in violation of universal and moral law–then that would be the moment to eliminate this danger forever, in an act of the most legitimate self-defense. However harsh and terrible the solution, there would be no other.

Khrushchev responded, in a second round of letters with Castro that:

In your cable of October 27 you proposed that we be the first to carry out a nuclear strike against the enemy’s territory. Naturally you understand where that would lead us. It would not be a simple strike, but the start of a thermonuclear world war.

Dear Comrade Fidel Castro, I find your proposal to be wrong, even though I understand your reasons.

… As far as Cuba is concerned, it would be difficult to say even in general terms what this would have meant for them. In the first place, Cuba would have been burned in the fire of war….

Now, as a result of the measures taken, we reached the goal sought when we agreed with you to send the missiles to Cuba. We have wrested from the United States the commitment not to invade Cuba and not to permit their Latin American allies to do so. We have we wrested all this from them without a nuclear strike.

We consider that we must take advantage of all the possibilities to defend Cuba, strengthen its independence and sovereignty, defeat military aggression and prevent a nuclear world war in our time.

And we have accomplished that.

Of course, we made concessions, accepted a commitment, action according to the principle that a concession on one side is answered by a concession on the other side. The United States also made a concession. It made the commitment before all the world not to attack Cuba.

That’s why when we compare aggression on the part of the United States and thermonuclear war with the commitment of a concession in exchange for concession, the upholding of the inviolability of the Republic of Cuba and the prevention of a world war, I think that the total outcome of this reckoning, of this comparison, is perfectly clear.

Castro then responded:

I realized when I wrote them that the words contained in my letter could be misinterpreted by you and that was what happened, perhaps because you didn’t read them carefully, perhaps because of the translation, perhaps because I meant to say so much in too few lines. However, I didn’t hesitate to do it…

We knew, and do not presume that we ignored it, that we would have been annihilated, as you insinuate in your letter, in the event of nuclear war. However, that didn’t prompt us to ask you to withdraw the missiles, that didn’t prompt us to ask you to yield.

Do you believe that we wanted that war? But how could we prevent it if the invasion finally took place? The fact is that this event was possible, that imperialism was obstructing every solution and that its demands were, from our point of view, impossible for the USSR and Cuba to accept.

And if war had broken out, what could we do with the insane people who unleashed the war? You yourself have said that under current conditions such a war would inevitably have escalated quickly into a nuclear war.

I understand that once aggression is unleashed, one shouldn’t concede to the aggressor the privilege of deciding, moreover, when to use nuclear weapons.

The destructive power of this weaponry is so great and the speed of its delivery so great that the aggressor would have a considerable initial advantage.

And I did not suggest to you, Comrade Khrushchev, that the USSR should be the aggressor, because that would be more than incorrect, it would be immoral and contemptible on my part.

But from the instant the imperialists attack Cuba and while there are Soviet armed forces stationed in Cuba to help in our defense in case of an attack from abroad, the imperialists would by this act become aggressors against Cuba and against the USSR, and we would respond with a strike that would annihilate them.

Everyone has his own opinions and I maintain mine about the dangerousness of the aggressive circles in the Pentagon and their preference for a preventive strike.

I did not suggest, Comrade Khrushchev, that in the midst of this crisis the Soviet Union should attack, which is what your letter seems to say; rather, that following an imperialist attack, the USSR should act without vacillation and should never make the mistake of allowing circumstances to develop in which the enemy makes the first nuclear strike against the USSR.

And in this sense, Comrade Khrushchev, I maintain my point of view, because I understand it to be a true and just evaluation of a specific situation. You may be able to convince me that I am wrong, but you can’t tell me that I am wrong without convincing me.”

In the January 25-26 speech Castro explains his thinking as he drafted his first letter to Khrushchev “with the utmost care and scruples because what I was about to say was so audacious and daring that I had to present it well.”

He continues:

And there I was thinking, well, what could be done? …Of course we could never present our country as the aggressor or anything like that, but my opinion was that if they invaded we would have to open fire on them with a complete and total round of nuclear rockets. With the total conviction that in a situation such as that, whoever struck first would have a 99 percent advantage.

It would not have been a surprise attack, but only in the case of a concrete invasion, which would have involved the Soviet troops stationed here, and, since they would not have just stood by and watched them die here, what would they have waited for to settle the problem.

In fact, any advantage from such a strike would be quickly overwhelmed by the devastation from the inexorable waves of second, third, many strikes that would be unleashed. Would Kennedy, unable to resist launching the invasion, have resisted a massive and devastating retaliation on Soviet targets, after nuclear weapons had been dropped on invading US troops? By then all Hell, literally, would have broken loose.

Castro’s exchange of letters with Khrushchev assumes that given the forces in play and in motion – 300,000 Cuban combatants, 40,000 Soviet military personnel, the bulk in mechanized combat brigades, on the ground, confronting a US invasion force projected to quickly reach hundreds of thousands, all coming head-to-head while massive US air strikes and countering Cuban-Soviet anti-aircraft fire unleashed, and with the enormous naval forces, many armed with nuclear weapons, including torpedoes – that the US invasion, which he considered inevitable and imminent, would inexorably go nuclear.

Following this undoubtedly correct assumption, Castro’s logic and formulations in his initial letters becomes necessarily more abstract and algebraic. He presents, in the rush and incredible heat and speed of events, a post-invasion scenario where Soviet forces could strike, in a limited “tactical” use (although those terms are not specifically used), the US forces before the US could strike the Soviet forces.

The same technical, military logic of “pre-emption” would, of course, dominate the US side which had a clear superiority in both quantity and quality of nuclear weapons deliverance at that point, the full extent of which the Cuban leadership was not likely aware of the extent of.

Castro continued, “Keep in mind that back then there was not the unlimited supply of rockets that there is today. The Americans did not have too many rockets then, and we knew the speed of their planes and those things.” (In reality, the US supply of rockets was quite sufficient to destroy not only Cuba, but virtually all human life on the earth.)

The MAD doctrine was based on each side’s nuclear arsenal countermanding the others.

The seemingly absurd stockpiling of nuclear warheads and delivery system locations had the “rational” kernel of logic that after a “first strike” or pre-emptive launch of warheads the “other side” would still have enough of an atomic arsenal left to deliver a crushing response.

The idea, developed by “Dr. Strangelove” US theorists like Herman Kahn, and accepted by their Soviet equivalents, was to build up and protect a “second strike” capacity in order to obviate a “first strike.” Of course, Washington continued – and continues to this day – to develop a “decisive” first-strike capability, largely through anti-ballistic and “Star Wars” systems to intercept and eliminate the other sides “second strike” (or first, or any strike) giving the US a credible “first strike.”

The fact of a US invasion – that is, its actual occurrence – of Cuba would have set in motion a dynamic that would have rendered moot, useless, and ridiculous the question of who would “fire” the “first” nuclear weapon, if that could even be determined after the event (if indeed the word after would have any content).

Dozens and dozens of ships, planes, and launch sites on the ground, under the control of dozens and dozens of military officers subject to “orders” in what would have been an unimaginable chaos and breakdown inevitable in what would have been the first nuclear exchange in world history. Would anyone have even known who struck first? The key point – the only determinant fact – in whether nuclear holocaust would be unleashed was whether the US would invade Cuba.

New Facts

What is now known about the Missile Crisis is that a situation existed where, at the height of the confrontation, from October 25-28, literally dozens and dozens of military officers well below the executive political “decision makers” in a theoretical chain of command, on both the Soviet and US side, had the capacity and even the authority to push the nuclear button and pull the nuclear trigger.

We certainly know this to be true in the first-hand accounts by Soviet and US military officers and personnel on the ground, on the oceans, and in the air that have become public and from “classified” government documents on both sides. (see (Noam Chomsky’s Cuban Missile Crisis: How the US Played Russian Roulette with Nuclear War in the October 15 Guardian newspaper, which cites several harrowing moments of near disaster.)

The author Michael Dobbs in an October 18, 2012 New York Times op-ed piece (The Price of a 50-Year Old Myth) wrote,

While the risk of war in October 1962 was very high (Kennedy estimated it variously at between 1 in 5 and 1 in 2), it was not caused by a clash of wills. The real dangers arose from “the fog of war.” As the two superpowers geared up for a nuclear war, the chances of something going terribly wrong increased exponentially…

By Saturday, Oct. 27, the two leaders were no longer in full control of their gigantic military machines, which were moving forward under their own momentum. Soviet troops on Cuba targeted Guantánamo with tactical nuclear weapons and shot down an American U-2 spy plane.

Another U-2, on a “routine” air sampling mission to the North Pole, got lost over the Soviet Union. The Soviets sent MiG fighters into the air to try to shoot down the American intruder, and in response, Alaska Air Defense Command scrambled F-102 interceptors armed with tactical nuclear missiles.

In the Caribbean, a frazzled Soviet submarine commander was dissuaded by his subordinates from using his nuclear torpedo against American destroyers that were trying to force him to the surface.”

In his Guardian piece cited above Chomsky, referring to the famous (to some detractors, infamous) October 26 letter of Fidel Castro, states:

As this was happening and Washington was debating and Kennedy poised to decide on a US invasion, Fidel Castro wrote a letter to Nikita Khrushchev which has been interpreted, over Castro’s sharp objection, as advocating a Soviet nuclear attack – a so-called “first strike” against US territory if the US invasion were to actually occur.

Khrushchev himself took the necessarily and purposely algebraic and highly cautious words of Castro as such a call, and used Castro’s wording as practically a cover to carry out the retreat and concessions to Kennedy that diffused the crisis and reverse the momentum towards purposeful or accidental nuclear exchanges.

Extraordinary Gathering

Details on the Cuban leadership’s viewpoint on the origins, development, and “end-game” of the October Crisis, and their attitude to the actions and behavior of the Soviet leadership, were presented on January 25-26, 1968 cited above, when Fidel Castro gave an exhaustive 12-hour speech to the gathered Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC).

In a remarkable oration spread over two days, Castro painstakingly – combining great emotion with razor-sharp, cool logic – detailed how the “Missile Crisis” unfolded and how Cuba’s relations with the Soviet Union emerged out of the crisis different from what they had been before. The January 24-26, 1968 Central Committee meeting was perhaps the nadir of the downward spiral of Cuban-Soviet relations set in motion by the October Crisis of 1962.

The entire speech, previously unpublished in any public medium, was printed in 2002, for the first time, in the official Cuban Council of State English translation, in the book Sad and Luminous Days: Cuba’s Struggle with the Superpowers after the Missile Crisis by James Blight and Philip Brenner published by Bowman and Littlefield Publishers.

The timing of the special, extraordinary meeting of the PCC Central Committee was not fortuitous. It was held just 107 days after the death of Che Guevara and the defeat of his guerrilla forces based in Bolivia, which was a real blow to the Cuban revolutionaries and would raise many challenges in the development of Cuba’s revolutionary foreign policy in a new objective reality. (This question will be returned to in detail in Part IV of this series.)

Fidel Castro and the Cuban leadership placed an important part of the responsibility for the defeat of Che’s guerrilla on the top leadership of the Bolivian Communist Party which supported the program and perspective of the Soviet Union in Latin America and opposed Che Guevara’s armed struggle and leadership in Bolivia (which was seen as the initial base for a continental revolutionary movement) reneging on previously given commitments.

Opposition to the Cuban revolutionary line in Latin America was opposed – with varying degrees of vehemence – by virtually all of the Latin American Communist Parties. This betrayal disrupted and undermined the formation and development of urban resistance forces crucial to supplement Che’s struggle, leaving the guerrillas exposed and vulnerable.

At the time of their April 1961 victory at the Bay of Pigs (Playa Giron to the Cubans) over US-organized Cuban counterrevolutionaries, Fidel Castro declared that the Cuban Revolution was a socialist revolution and that he was a “Marxist-Leninist.” Castro’s words wholly corresponded to the social and economic deeds of his revolutionary government and to the profound internationalism of the Cuban leadership team. (see Part II of this series)

The Cuban revolutionaries shared this terminology with the government of the Soviet Union (and the Chinese government as well, which was then engaged in a war of words with the Soviet leadership), but the Castro leadership team’s domestic policies and revolutionary internationalist foreign policy perspective stood in unspoken contrast to the outlook and program of the Soviet government and Communist Party, particularly in regard to the “road to socialism” in Latin America and other semi-colonial countries and the promotion of “détente” and “peaceful coexistence” with the advanced capitalist-imperialist powers.

Prior to the October Crisis these differences were subsumed in the alliance that was forged between the revolutionary government of Cuba and the Soviet Union and its allied Eastern European governments.

Prior to Fidel Castro’s speech, the Central Committee gathering had heard an extensive report by Raul Castro, the Chairman of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (Cuba’s President today in 2012). The report was a damning indictment of a secret faction of the PCC led by Anibal Escalante. Escalante’s faction, which was composed of former leaders, like himself, and cadres of the Popular Socialist Party (PSP).

Before the Revolution the PSP, which had a base in the industrial working class and trade unions, was connected to the dominant currents in the “world Communist movement” and Latin American Communist Parties that looked to the Soviet Union for political direction and program. The PSP initially opposed the July 26 Movement led by Fidel Castro, coming out in support and joint activity in the last period before the revolutionary triumph.

Over the next few years the majority of PSP cadres were successfully integrated into what became the PCC. In 1962 Escalante, who had been the top functionary of the Integrated Revolutionary Organization, an initial formation bringing together the currents supporting the Revolution, had come under fierce public criticism by Fidel Castro for “sectarianism” and “bureaucratism” in March 1962. See here.

Some thirty-five members of the so-called “microfaction” were expelled from the PCC and received prison sentences from two to fifteen years.

The most serious of the charges involved secret activity aimed at forging ties between the “microfaction” and officials and Communist Party leaders in the Soviet Union, the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), and Czechoslovakia in their common opposition to the revolutionary line of the PCC in Latin America and the position of the large majority of the PCC in domestic and foreign policies in general, going so far as to urge Soviet economic pressure on Cuba, for which they were charged with treason.

Escalante’s grouping never argued for their political positions openly within the structures and procedures of the PCC, which was their right.

In their secret functioning inside Cuba and intrigues with Soviet and Eastern European officials and diplomats, they portrayed Che Guevara as “Trotskyite adventurer” and the Castro leadership as “petty bourgeois” elements that seized control of the Revolution, holding the working class in contempt. Moreover, the Cuban revolutionary leadership was “anti-Soviet” and did not support Soviet “hegemony.”

The political lessons drawn by the revolutionary leadership in Cuba from the perceived Soviet “capitulation” to Washington were sharp and clear: they felt they were now and always would be in the final analysis “on their own.”

Or, more precisely, that the survival and security of the Cuban Revolution would ultimately be dependent not on powerful benefactors – who would no longer be prettied up in their minds to be more revolutionary than they actually were – but, rather, through the extension of the Revolution, especially across the Americas.

In fact, following the resolution of the Missile Crisis – which was hugely traumatic in world public opinion – led to increased propaganda for “peace” and “reconciliation” in both Moscow and Washington, with accompanying diplomatic maneuvering.

This culminated in the actual signing by the governments of the United States, United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (formally the Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and Under Water, which was strongly welcomed in world public opinion when it went into effect in October 1963, one year to the month from the political drama and trauma of the Missile Crisis.

The treaty did not ban “underground” nuclear tests which could also lead to radioactive releases into the atmosphere as well ground water. The treaty put no limits on the production of nuclear warheads and their fitting onto missiles.

The aftermath of the Missile Crisis was that Soviet-Cuban relations over the next six years, politically deteriorated to nearly a bitter, breaking point. Kennedy was assassinated in November 1963 and Khrushchev’s leadership in the Soviet Communist Party and Soviet state came to an ignominious end as he was pensioned off and replaced by Leonid Brezhnev and Alexi Kosygin In October 1964.

The new Lyndon Johnson White House abided by Kennedy’s verbal “pledge” and invasion plans were put in mothballs, although covert action, terrorism, and containment continued. Primary focus and attention shifted to Indochina where Johnson maintained continuity with Kennedy’s intervention and deepened it.

The immediate threat of US-Soviet nuclear exchange and war receded on October 28 with the announcement that Soviet ships had stopped advancing and that Soviet missiles would be withdrawn. But for Cuba the crisis and the pressure intensified.

Not even two weeks after the supposed resolution of the crisis the world’s “sigh of relief, 400 Cuban workers were killed when a Cuban counterrevolutionary sabotage team dispatched from the US blew up a Cuban industrial facility.

Right up until his assassination Kennedy was approving terrorist attacks against Cuba. US intervention by proxy never stopped and became systematic. US-backed counterrevolutionaries were defeated in the Escambray mountains in central Cuba in a campaign from 1963-65.

The six years that followed the end of the Missile Crisis saw Cuban-Soviet relations decline – in public as well as “private” state-to-state and party-to-party behind-the-scenes relations – almost to a breaking point, before formal and definite improvements after 1968 through the 1970s and 1980s until the Soviet government collapsed in 1991, setting off a huge economic depression and crisis in Cuba.

In this period of improved relations, fundamental contradictions remained and sharp policy differences emerged over questions like Soviet policies in Africa, military tactics in Angola, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, which Cuba opposed. These questions will be returned to in future Parts of this series.

As this article gets ready to be launched into cyberspace, I came across an October 22 article written for the Cuban press by Fidel Castro. The article is entitled Fidel Castro is Dying and is written tongue-in-cheek is response to the later ridiculous and repulsive rumor-mongering – yes, this time he really is dying even dead, we’ve got a Venezuelan doctor who knows for sure this time – periodically engaged in by professional Castro-haters. It is a veritable cottage industry.

Fidel, with pictures, once again, combats the liars and the fools:

While many persons in the world are deceived by information agencies which publish this nonsense – almost all in the hands of the privileged and rich – people believe less and less in them. Nobody likes to be deceived; even the most incorrigible liar expects to be told the truth.

In April of 1961, everyone believed the information published in the news agencies that the mercenary invaders of Girón or Bay of Pigs, whatever one wants to call it, were approaching Havana, when in fact some of them were fruitlessly trying by boat to reach the yanqui warships escorting them.

The peoples are learning and resistance is growing, faced with the crisis of capitalism which is recurring with greater frequency; no lies, repression or new weapons will be able to prevent the collapse of a production system which is increasingly unequal and unjust.

A few days ago, very close to the 50th anniversary of the October Crisis, news agencies pointed to three guilty parties: Kennedy, having recently become the leader of the empire, Khrushchev and Castro.

Cuba did not have anything to do with nuclear weapons, nor with the unnecessary slaughter of Hiroshima and Nagasaki perpetrated by the president of the United States, Harry S. Truman, thus establishing the tyranny of nuclear weapons. Cuba was defending its right to independence and social justice.

When we accepted Soviet aid in weapons, oil, foodstuffs and other resources, it was to defend ourselves from yanqui plans to invade our homeland, subjected to a dirty and bloody war which that capitalist country imposed on us from the very first months, which left thousands of Cubans dead and maimed.

When Khrushchev proposed the installation here of medium range missiles similar to those the United States had in Turkey – far closer to the USSR than Cuba to the United States – as a solidarity necessity, Cuba did not hesitate to agree to such a risk. Our conduct was ethically irreproachable.

We will never apologize to anyone for what we did. The fact is that half a century has gone by, and here we still are with our heads held high.

October 22, 2012

Ike Nahem is a longtime anti-war, labor, and socialist activist. He is the coordinator of Cuba Solidarity New York (cubasolidarityny@ mindspring.com) and a founder of the New York-New Jersey July 26 Coalition. Nahem is an Amtrak Locomotive Engineer and member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, a division of the Teamsters Union. These are his personal political opinions. Comments and criticisms can be sent to ikenahem@mindspring.com

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Japanese and Blacks

Tulio comments:

Virulent racism of Japanese towards blacks is something I always doubted. It seemed to contradict what black friends that have visited and worked there have told me. They said it’s absolutely fine and they have experienced little racism and what racism they do experience is stuff that tends to be directed toward foreigners in general such as being denied entry into Japanese only places.

Now one place I thought would be extremely racist to black people is Korea. But according to this black guy living there, he said he’s experienced nothing but hospitality and warmth. That even shocked me.

First of all, I am very happy that well behaved Black Americans can have a great experience in Korea and Japan. Black people really ought to be free to travel to and have fun in as many countries as I could. That a Black American is afraid to travel to some country because they will treat him badly simply because he is Black is very painful for me to contemplate. Maybe we Whites don’t realize how lucky we are.

However, a lot of Japanese Americans, both male and female, have very racist attitudes towards Blacks. I knew a Japanese American, and he was quite racist against Blacks.

You see where these Black guys run around and have like 8 different kids by 8 different women and don’t support any of them. That’s profoundly offensive to Japanese people, especially Japanese men. In East Asian society, a man may father children with more than one woman, but he absolutely must support all of his kids. If he does not, he is just a lowdown dirtball.

When these Black guys have 8 kids by 6 different women and don’t support any of them, to a Japanese man, you are little more than an animal. You’re basically a dog. Because that’s what a dog does. A dog just knocks up any bitch he can or as many bitches as possible, then runs away and leaves her and doesn’t help her raise any of the young.

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Filed under Asia, Asians, Blacks, Culture, Japan, Japanese, NE Asia, Northeast Asians, Race/Ethnicity, Racism, Regional, South Korea, Travel

Is It Fair to Compare the US Education System With Those of East Asian and European Countries?

Car Guy asks:

Would it be fair to compare the US education system with that of countries such as Japan, South Korea and Germany?

No!

People are always comparing US test scores with those of all Asian countries in East Asia and nearly all White countries in Europe. When the US falls behind say Finland, Taiwan or Singapore, rightwingers screech that the US public school system is failing and therefore we need to dismantle it in various ways such as charter schools, vouchers, defunding, etc.

These comparisons are all false due to differential IQ’s between ethnic groups in the US and those of other nations.

Japan and South Korea = pure East Asian. Higher IQ (105) than white majority US (98).

Germany = all White. German IQ is ~103; US IQ is 98. The US is only 66% White, and the rest is largely Black and Hispanic with much lower IQ’s than Whites. Totally unfair comparisons with all of them.

                 IQ
US Ethnic group

Whites           103
Hispanics         90
Blacks            87.2*

*Black estimate is my estimate. Others would put it lower at around 85. The White and Hispanic estimates seem to be pretty much valid. There may be some upward movement on the order of 1-2 points in both Black and Hispanic IQ’s in the last few decades for unknown reasons.

As you can see, Blacks and Browns score much lower on IQ’s than Whites, pulling the whole US average down, which will be reflected on test scores. Due to differential IQ’s US students will tend to score poorer than those of all White European nations and all-Asian Asian nations.

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Filed under Asia, Blacks, Education, Europe, Germany, Hispanics, Intelligence, Japan, NE Asia, North America, Psychology, Race/Ethnicity, Regional, South Korea, USA, Whites

Is the “Hong Kong” Libertarian Model a Solution for the 3rd World, or for the West?

Gene writes:

If the author bothered to do some research, they would find that Hong Kong’s well-developed economy is the product of the deregulation that libertarians strive for. Furthermore, Japan offers very little for welfare, with some citizens starving before they receive aid.

Yes but Hong Kong has a ton of social housing or government housing. It also has a monumental problem of very poor people who are more or less festering in some very rundown areas. The gap between the rich and the poor is simply off the charts insane.

The Hong Kong solution (basically no state, no regulation of business whatsoever and little to no social spending) is the model for the 3rd World forever now. The “Hong Kong model” has been more or less tried and failed in both the current 3rd World and in the West in the past. I don’t even think it works that well in Hong Kong, but that’s just the socialist in me.

The results have been disastrous. The West, including the US, had a more or less libertarian society along those lines in the 1800’s. The effects were similarly catastrophic, similar to 3rd world societies today.

Japan basically has a welfare state, but the welfare state is provided by the corporations instead of the government. But that’s equally opposed to Libertarian profit-maximization theories to have corporations wasting so much money on such profit-deflating “inefficiencies.”

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Filed under Asia, Government, Japan, Libertarianism, NE Asia, Political Science, Regional