Issue 29

Since 1959, the Cuban Revolution has provided inspiration and an example for countless socialists and anti-imperialists around the world. The revolution’s ability to continue constructing a humane, progressive and egalitarian society—despite imperialist encirclement and the economic blows accompanying the demise of the Soviet Union—is living proof of the viability of the socialist project.

By John Riddell and Phil Courneyeur

By Heinz Dieterich

1. Fidel sets the task: November 17, 2005

On November 17, 2005, at the University of Havana, Fidel warns about the danger of the Cuban Revolution ending up like the Soviet Revolution. To avoid this, he sets a task: “What are the ideas or levels of awareness that would make it impossible for a revolutionary process to be reversed?”

This is an invitation to world debate, a call for the solidarity of reasoning. But world solidarity does not understand it so. It is shocked when the commandant who for almost fifty years has affirmed that the revolution is invincible, that “Socialism is immortal and the party eternal”, suddenly publicly declares the opposite. It is an epistemological earthquake: the commandant of certainty, of conviction in the final victory, reintroduces dialectics into the Cuban official discourse without warning, preambles or roundabouts. He is applying dialectics to stagnation, as Bertolt Brecht would say.

By Jesús Arboleya Cervera

The debate on the future of the Cuban Revolution when Fidel Castro is no longer there is very popular today. The topic is of legitimate concern for the left, both because of the historical importance of the revolution and its Third World influence, and also because it is part of the confrontation with the right, since the strategy of the United States has been to use the topic to provide hope to a counter-revolution that has been declared defeated for as long as the Cuban leader remains alive.

I believe it is in this context that we would have to place the recent statements of Foreign Affairs Minister Felipe Pérez Roque during the latest sessions of the National Assembly of People’s Power [Cuba’s parliament]. In indicating what he considers are the strengths and weaknesses of the revolution to face the event, Pérez Roque is acting on the Cuban reality and joining a valid political effort to reinforce the political and ideological consensus which supports the revolution.

The president of the Cuban Parliament, Ricardo Alarcón, has urged that a period starting September 12 and ending October 6, 2006 be used to break down the silence surrounding the case of the Cuban Five as well as to condemn all terrorism and demand justice for its victims.

By Rohan Pearce
"I can’t tell you if the use of force in Iraq today will last five days, five weeks or five months, but it won’t last any longer than that”—US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, cnn, November 15, 2002.

“Now, I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators”—US Vice President Dick Cheney, NBC’s Meet the Press, March 16, 2003.

By Max Lane
Pramoedya Ananta Toer was born in Blora, Java, Indonesia, on February 6, 1925, and died in Jakarta on April 30, 2006. Blora was a small but busy town. His father was a teacher in a local nationalist school and prominent in nationalist activity. Pramoedya finished primary school, graduating in 1939, and later went on to study at a vocational school in radio in the city of Surabaya. He worked in a Japanese news agency during the Japanese occupation of the East Indies, where he also learned stenography. He left the agency and moved back to Java during this period.
After the proclamation of independence, he joined a youth militia and then the republican army fighting the Dutch colonial army, during which time he was captured and imprisoned. He resigned from the army after the war against the Dutch and from then on became immersed in the world of literature, although he had already begun writing before this.1

By Eva Cheng
Beginning in late 1978, the Communist Party of China's ``reform and door opening'' program has purportedly sought to strengthen China's socialist course by introducing market mechanisms to speed the development of the productive forces. However, by the 1990s, especially in the second half, when state-owned enterprises were privatised en masse, displacing numerous workers and increasingly depriving retired workers of their hard-earned entitlements, the CPC's claims of staying on the socialist path had become a subject of hot debate.

The corruption and degeneration of a section of the CPC were issues even before the so-called reform, and were certainly made worse by the influx of foreign capital in the 1980s. This added to growing frustration with workers' worsening plight, forming the backdrop to the student protests beginning in 1986-87 and escalating into a series of bold mobilisations in early 1989, which Beijing answered by massacring the protesters on June 4, 1989.

By Gong Xiantian
[Subtitled “An open letter prompted by the annulment of section 12 of the constitution and section 73 of the General Rules of the Civil Law of 1986”, this paper by Beijing University Professor Gong Xiantian was dated August 12, 2005. The translation for Links is by Eva Cheng.]

As a member of the Communist Party of China (CPC), a citizen of the People’s Republic of China, a professor who has engaged in years of research on the teaching on law, someone with party spirit, conscience, knowledge and experience, I am of the view that the Property Law (Draft) of the People’s Republic of China (abbreviated as Draft from here on) violates the fundamental principles of socialism and will roll the “wheel of history” backwards. In the absence of amendments of a principled nature, the National People’s Congress has no right to legislate the Draft because it violates the Constitution (see appendix)!

By Helmut Ettinger