Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Is Castro Still Relevant?

I'm reminded of the classic Monty Python lines: "Look, I'm being repressed! See the violence inherent in the system." But seriously, is this Cold War-era holdout still a relevant force in today's world? Yes, and here's why:

Cuba offered 1,100 doctors to help out with the relief effort after Hurricane Katrina, that could have been in place last Wednesday. The US State Department said "no thanks." Sure, we could construe this as political manuevering on Castro's part, but he has accepted US post-hurricane aid in the past few years, so that argument doesn't hold much water. This is the same Castro who is dealing remarkably well with the huge loss of subsidy from the former USSR, and is on the cutting edge of adapting to a post-peak oil world. Is he a repressive and autocratic figure? Sure. Is he turning away a thousand desparately needed doctors because he thinks that politics take priority over the welfare of poor, black people? No, but the US government is.

What Castro, and his friend and ally Hugo Chavez in Venezuela are doing is exposing the violence inherent in our system. They are exposing the real priorities of our hierarchal, capitalist system, as Steve Thomas pointed out in a recent article at Anthropik.net. Chavez has also showed us a bit of his future plans, with an initial offer to sell cut-rate gasoline to poor Americans, just like he is currently doing around the Carribean.

Are Castro and Chavez's motives any more pure than Bush & Co.? I don't have any reason to think so. What is still relevant is that the aftermath of Katrina will highlight the difference between the Castro/Chavez and Bush camps, regardless of their motives. Perhaps even more interesting will be to watch how the mainstream media covers this, and how that impacts the publics perception of these events--will it be yet another whitewash?

Castro and Chavez are relevant, and a significant threat to Bush, Kerry & Bros. because they represent an alternative. An alternative solution to government, to economics, to peak oil, etc. Do I think that they are necessarily an example that we should adopt? No, but the very existence and visibility of a real alternative is potentially devastating to our system that pretends that our only "choice" is between Republicans and Democrats...


Central Asian revolutionist said...

A remarkably sensible article from Jeff Vail! I am engaged in marshalling diverse communist elements in our area, and "revamping" doctrinaire marxism here into a better revolutionary doctrine, for the same purpose - to be ready for Peak Oil. Our philosophy did have its errors, and the 1991 debacle scattered us totally. No communist revolution anywhere could have so effortlessly, totally and smoothly felled the West and its US "crown" as Peak Oil hopefully will. We eagerly await its onset! Since 1991, we suffered the spectre of militant Islam that the US and its Pakistani proxies used against our Afghan comrades. Now the realisation is growing that neither backward Islam has anything to offer people, and neither the much vaunted US and its 1991 cold war (pyrrhic) victory...

Central Asian revolutionist said...

P.S: Although Jeff doesn't specifically mention Peak Oil, I do as it is the centre of our new strategy. Moreover, US/Western invincibility has been total for 15 years, like a dark night over us all. When it came, I was just 23, with hopes for a new, civilised Afghanistan that were shattered and crushed before my very eyes.

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