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RIP, Fidel; if you were a monster, the United States of America created you

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Fidel Castro, the “dictator” next door to the United States for decades, died yesterday. If Castro was a monster — and like almost all human beings are, he was, of course, neither a devil nor an angel but a mixed bag — then the United States of America created him.

As I’ve written before, love him or hate him, Cuban leader Fidel Castro was a survivor. He made it to 90 years before he died yesterday.

Within the United States, Castro very mostly was a bogeyman — but rarely have we Americans been given much, if any, detail as to why we’re supposed to hate him blindly obediently. (At most, we’re told simplistically that he’s a “bad” man, a “Commie,” a “dictator,” a “tyrant” who “hates the United States of America,” “hates freedom,” etc., etc.* Even to question this knee-jerk, right-wing narrative is to risk being called anti-American.)

All of that is because intellectually and ethically honest detail would reveal how the United States of America has meddled anti-democratically in Latin American affairs for decades, having imperialistically and anti-democratically considered the entire Western hemisphere subject to its own jurisdiction at least since the Monroe Doctrine was issued in 1823.

There were so many attempts by the United States to assassinate or otherwise topple Castro — we’re talking not just the Bay of Pigs (the miserably failed U.S.-backed attempt to overthrow Castro in April 1961), but also numerous unsuccessful assassination attempts that were perpetrated by the Central Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. State Department — as well as by the American Mafia — that it’s no fucking wonder that over the years Castro became more autocratic.

You’re not paranoid if they really are trying to kill you or oust you, and had Castro not ruled Cuba with an iron fist, no doubt his greedy, self-serving detractors would have done their damnedest to turn the sovereign nation of Cuba into an American colony for corporate profiteering once again.

We saw the dynamic with Fidel Castro repeated with the late socialist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez; a U.S.-backed anti-democratic coup attempt against Chavez in April 2002 failed (Chavez was only briefly deposed and replaced with an unelected right-wing oil magnate before the people of Venezuela took to the streets and demanded Chavez’s return), and that failed anti-democratic coup attempt (which was a bit like a Bay of Pigs 2.0) no doubt made Chavez more autocratic, and of course Chavez’s detractors conveniently acted thereafter as though the failed 2002 coup attempt by anti-democratic right-wingers had never happened at all.

The United States made Chavez, and before him it had made Castro.

If a Latin American nation wants a left-of-center, truly democratic government that, entirely unlike the U.S. government, actually does its job — which is to serve the needs and wishes of its people instead of the greed of American and transnational corporations and the treasonous plutocrats and kleptocrats who own them and profiteer from them — then it must protect itself from anti-democratic, toxic capitalist infiltration from abroad.

American wingnuts criticize Latin America for simply defending itself from foreign invasion and infiltration, although of course the United States always reserves the right to protect itself from such. Latin America is to disarm unilaterally, you see, and just allow American and other corporate robber barons to destroy it.

Fidel Castro stood up to the foreign anti-democratic and capitalist invasion and infiltration of his nation for decades. He was so hated because he was so successful; he was so hated because he refused to simply hand over his nation’s resources and well-being to the American and transnational corporations in exchange for for his own selfish, treasonous enrichment, like a “good” Latin American leader “should.”*

None of this is to simply and wholly overlook Castro’s wrongdoings.

Amnesty International’s nutshell on Cuba is this:

Government critics continue to be imprisoned; many report that they were beaten during arrest. Restrictions on freedom of expression is widespread. The government curtails freedom of association and assembly. The U.S. embargo against Cuba remains, despite increasing opposition to it within and outside the U.S.A.

Human Rights Watch’s nutshell on Cuba is similar:

The Cuban government continues to repress dissent and discourage public criticism. It now relies less on long-term prison sentences to punish its critics, but short-term arbitrary arrests of human rights defenders, independent journalists, and others have increased dramatically in recent years. Other repressive tactics employed by the government include beatings, public acts of shaming, and the termination of employment.

I don’t defend all of this, but at the same time it’s not ethically or intellectually honest to strip Cuba from its historical, sociopolitical context, including having the world’s most imperialist nation ever-lurking and ever-looming just to its north.

If Castro had governed Cuba with a laissez-faire philosophy, as the capitalists always have claimed that he should have, how long would Cuba have been free from foreign corporate domination?

Um, yeah.

We Americans can hate Fidel Castro all that we want, but we can’t deny that we created him.

Cuba’s first struggle was to free itself from imperialist Spain; then its struggle was to free itself from the imperialist United States of America.

And Cuba still struggles to be free, because the “freedom” that the United States would impose upon it — and yes, the United States ironically and hypocritically believes in imposing “freedom” — would only once again make it a slave to the United States.

P.S. I would be remiss of me not to note Cuba’s world-class education and health-care systems.

Cuba’s literacy rate of 99.8 percent and high-school graduation rate of 94 percent is higher than the United States’ official literacy rate of 99 percent (which some believe is quite inflated) and high-school graduation rate of 82 percent, and Cuba’s life expectancy of 79.1 years puts it just behind the United States’ life expectancy of 79.3 years.

Castro’s Cuba achieved this despite the United States’ having tried to destroy it (again, in the name of “freedom,” ironically and hypocritically) — and having desired to turn it back into a subservient slave state — for decades.

*And let’s fucking face it: Whether the American right wing calls you a “dictator” or a “tyrant” or the like depends not upon whether you were democratically elected, but depends entirely upon whether you have done the bidding of the American right wing.

Brutal Chilean dictator Augosto Pinochet, for instance, was a mass murderer and torturer who most definitely was not elected but who — with the help of the U.S. government (surprise, surprise!) — overthrew the actually democratically elected socialist Chilean President Salvador Allende in 1973 and ruled Chile until 1990.

However, the American right wing (as well as the fascist Margaret Thatcher) loved Pinochet because he did their bidding.

The right wing hated Castro because unlike Pinochet did, Castro refused to be their lapdog.

May the sovereign nation of Cuba continue to resist colonization by the rapacious, imperialist United States of America — and work on improving human rights while preserving the gains of the Cuban Revolution.

P.S. I didn’t even need to mention Pinochet, although he’s a textbook example of a U.S.-backed dictator in Latin America. I could have stayed within Cuba itself.

Most “news” write-ups of Fidel Castro’s death conveniently ignore the fact that Castro overthrew the U.S.-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista, who ruled Cuba in the 1950s while unelected.

Wikipedia notes of Batista’s reign (links are Wikipedia’s):

… Back in power, and receiving financial, military, and logistical support from the United States government, Batista suspended the 1940 Constitution and revoked most political liberties, including the right to strike. He then aligned with the wealthiest landowners who owned the largest sugar plantations, and presided over a stagnating economy that widened the gap between rich and poor Cubans.

Eventually it reached the point where most of the sugar industry was in U.S. hands, and foreigners owned 70 percent of the arable land. As such, Batista’s increasingly corrupt and repressive government then began to systematically profit from the exploitation of Cuba’s commercial interests, by negotiating lucrative relationships with both the American Mafia, who controlled the drug, gambling, and prostitution businesses in Havana, and with large U.S.-based multinational companies who were awarded lucrative contracts.

To quell the growing discontent among the populace — which was subsequently displayed through frequent student riots and demonstrations — Batista established tighter censorship of the media, while also utilizing his Bureau for the Repression of Communist Activities secret police to carry out wide-scale violence, torture and public executions; ultimately killing anywhere from hundreds to 20,000 people. …

Again: In the right-wing United States of America, drunk on toxic capitalism, a dictator is called a dictator only if he isn’t a right-wing dictator and doesn’t do what the American right wing wants him to do. Treasonously selling out his own nation to American profiteers makes him a “good” dictator (only, of course, in that event, we don’t even call him a dictator).

It doesn’t matter in and of itself if a dictator suspends his nation’s constitution, revokes his nation’s citizens’ rights, tortures and kills his political dissidents, refuses to stand for election, etc.; all that matters is whether or not he does the bidding of the hypocritical assholes of the United States of America.

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Keeping Sanders in the White House would be harder than getting him there

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Leftist Jeremy Corbyn yesterday won the leadership of the United Kingdom’s Labour Party by a larger margin than the center-right Tony Blair won in 1994 when he became the party’s leader. Corbyn won the election despite the predictions of doom by the center-right assholes who use the Labour Party label, much as how the center-right assholes here in the United States who use the Democratic Party label predict doom should democratic socialist Bernie Sanders win the party’s 2016 presidential nomination.

It’s interesting how the political climates of the United States and the United Kingdom so often mirror each other.

Right-wing, pro-plutocratic, anti-working-class U.S. President Ronald Reagan of the Repugnican Party was in office from early 1981 through early 1989, and right-wing, pro-plutocratic, anti-working-class UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of the Conservative Party was in office from mid-1979 through late 1990. They were two fascistic peas in a pod, and the socioeconomic (and other) damage that they wreaked upon us commoners in the U.S. and the UK remains today.

Probably at least in part due to how long wingnuts had reigned (recall that Reagan was followed by four years of King George Bush I), “Democrat” Bill Clinton, part of the small movement to move the Democratic Party to the right (namely, the now-thank-Goddess-defunct Democratic Leadership Council) — the “thinking” apparently was that if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em — turned the Democratic Party into the Repugnican Lite Party, or, as I like to think of the two duopolistic parties, the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party. (If you can’t tell the difference between the two, don’t worry; many if not most of the rest of us can’t, either.)

Tony Blair, UK prime minister from mid-1997 through mid-2007, apparently was quite inspired by Bill Clinton’s electoral success from having politically triangulated the United States and dragged the Democratic Party to the right. Given Blair’s blindly obedient support of King George Bush II’s illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust Vietraq War, you would think that Blair had been affiliated with the UK’s Conservative Party, but nope, he was affiliated with the Labour Party.

It’s no shock that Tony Blair, who had sold the Labour Party out just as the Clintons and Barack Obama have sold the Democratic Party out — I mean, it’s awfully interesting that Billary Clinton in October 2002 voted for the Vietraq War, so she was in lockstep with Tony Blair as well as with the unelected, fascistic Bush regime — had warned hyperbolically that the election of true progressive Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party would mean the party’s “annihilation.”

For all of Blair’s self-serving blather, Slate.com notes that yesterday Corbyn “won 59.5 percent of the more than 400,000 votes cast, meaning he won leadership of the UK’s main opposition party by an even larger margin than Tony Blair’s historic 1994 victory, when he got 57 percent of the vote.”

The Washington Post’s Dan Balz notes of Tony Blair that:

To American audiences, it is difficult to overstate the degree to which Blair is now an outcast in British politics. He may retain some affection here in the United States, but not in Britain. If there were any doubts about his current place in the politics of his country and particularly in the party he restored to prominence in the 1990s, it became clear with Corbyn’s landslide victory.

The Labour Party has been in turmoil since the general election in May, when Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party scored a surprising victory, securing an outright, if narrow, parliamentary majority when almost all polls predicted another hung Parliament and the possibility of a back-door path to power for Labour under its then-leader, Ed Miliband.

The election proved a wipeout for the Labour Party. Miliband resigned immediately, and as the party began the search for a new leader, it was plunged into a tumultuous debate about its future direction — a debate that hardly will be settled with the Corbyn election.

Blair weighed in days after the general election, warning that Labour had veered too far left under Miliband and that the road back to power required the party to recapture the center ground it had held from 1997 until 2010. As polls showed Corbyn rising, Blair warned of the potentially fateful consequences of an even sharper left turn. …

Again, Blair is like the Clintons, arguing that to succeed, the Labour Party/Democratic Party must mimic the Conservative Party/Repugnican Party. And like the self-serving Clintons, the self-serving Blair very apparently is wholly untroubled by how repulsive many if not most members of his party (the party that he claims but whose ideals he has sold out) find this ongoing “argument” to be.

And, of course, the comparison of the leftist Corbyn to the leftist U.S. presidential aspirant Bernie Sanders inevitably has been made, because Sanders now faces what Corbyn also has faced: being a member of a formerly progressive, formerly pro-working-class party that was taken over by self-serving, center-right assholes who over several years turned the party into a shadow, a husk of its former self — indeed, into a paler imitation of the opposition right-wing, anti-working-class, pro-plutocratic party to the point that the term “opposition party” no longer has meant much of anything.

For all of Blair’s self-serving blathering and for all of the self-serving, center-right conventional “wisdom” in the UK that making the Labour Party progressive again would mean its DOOM!, Corbyn has prevailed.

The self-serving, center-right conventional “wisdom” here in The Mirror Land of the United States of America also is that making the Democratic Party actually progressive again would mean its DOOM! Therefore, for Democrats to elect democratic socialist (gasp!) Bernie Sanders instead of Repugnican Lite Billary Clinton as their 2016 presidential nominee would Destroy the Democratic Party!

Except that the Democratic Party was destroyed long ago.

Ever since the 1990s, the Democratic Party, first under the Clintons and now under Caretaker in Chief Obama (who, even when he was running for his first term couldn’t say enough about how great Ronald Reagan was [again, there is no meaningful “opposition party” in the United States anymore]), has served the plutocrats and the corporate fat cats more than it has served the working class and what’s left of the decimated middle class.

The Democratic Party talks about caring about us commoners, but for years now that’s all that we commoners have received: talk. Talk, lots and lots of talk, such as of “hope” and of “change.”

So when Billary claims to wuv us so much, against the mountains of evidence to the contrary, it rings hollow.

But the game is up, which is why those who benefit from playing the center-right game for some months now have been ignoring and dismissing how well Bernie Sanders might do and indeed how well he is doing.

Nationally, Sanders remains in second place to Billary, but her national numbers have been falling for weeks now. Talk of Joe Biden perhaps jumping into the fray apparently has lost both Billary and Sanders some support in the nationwide polls (in which Biden now comes in at third place), but I don’t expect two-time presidential-contest loser Biden to jump in, not with Iowa and New Hampshire less than five months away.

(If Biden does jump in, one must ask which group he appeals to more: those of us who are beyond sick and tired of the Democratic-in-name-only establishment and thus who are going to stick with Bernie Sanders, come hell or high water, or those who still plan to hold their noses and stomach the DINO establishment, of which Biden and Billary are huge parts, believing that that is the best that they — and we — can do against the Repugnican Tea Party fascists.)

Sanders has been leading Billary beyond the margin of error in New Hampshire, and for weeks now Sanders’ polling numbers in Iowa have been going up while Billary’s have been going down. It seems to me that if Sanders wins both Iowa and New Hampshire in February, Billary’s campaign most likely will collapse like the house of cards that it is.

Team Billary has been jabbering about its supposed “firewall” in the South (the fourth state and the first Southern state to weigh in is South Carolina, in late February, and then in March, almost all of the rest of the South weighs in), which is awfully interesting, because is the Democratic Party really supposed to be about Southern values? What does it say about Billary Clinton that she would do better in the South than in the actually Democratic states?

And if Billary were so strong, why does she need a “firewall”?

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t predict a cakewalk for my chosen candidate, Bernie Sanders.

Now that Jeremy Corbyn has won the leadership of the Labour Party and is poised to return it to its roots, he will face certain opposition not only from the Conservative Party, but also from the center-right supporters of Tony Blair and his ilk who will do their very best to politically cripple Corbyn and who then will blame it on the supposed inherent unworkability of his political ideology and practices.

This is what the United States of America long has done to the sovereign socialist nation of Cuba, for example: Do everything possible to cripple it and prevent it from succeeding and then blame any and all of Cuba’s problems entirely on its leaders’ political ideology and practices, entirely ignoring the blatant sabotage of Cuba by the wingnutty, capitalist swine in the U.S.

This dynamic is most likely what a President Sanders also would face: opposition and sabotage not only from the Repugnican Tea Party traitors, which goes without saying, but also opposition and sabotage from the embittered center-right DINOs whose years of privilege (gained by blatantly having sold the rest of us out) had ended with Sanders’ election and who now wish to show that their center-right way of doing things is the best way of doing things, as evidenced by the failure of the Sanders administration, which they have done their best to bring about.

Seriously: It’s bad enough to face opposition from the fascists on the right, but to have to face opposition also from the Fascist Lites who also use your party’s name is a special insult to injury.

Again, this is what Sanders is up against.

Not only is it going to take an all-out political revolution to put Bernie Sanders into the Oval Office, but it’s going to take an ongoing revolution to keep him there.

A truly populist revolution — a revolution in which a government that truly reflects the best interests of the majority of the people (that is, an actually democratic government) is established — always is vulnerable from attacks by those who benefited, at the expense of the many, from the old way of doing things.

Again: Getting Sanders there would be, in the scope of things, the easy part. Keeping him there will/would be the real battle, as we Americans have a tendency to show up for presidential elections every four years and that’s it (if we even do that much).

I, for one, am ready for the long haul.

Years and years of damage by center-right party sellouts aren’t reversed in one election.

In the meantime, I am inspired by Jeremy Corbyn’s win, and I see it as indicative that the winds in the West are blowing leftward.

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