POST # 1:  CUBA [HUNTERBEAR  4/11/03]

I've personally been quite supportive of the Cuban Revolution since its
onset -- and I certainly continue to be.

 As I've noted earlier, I used Wright Mills' excellent Listen Yankee as a
text of mine in a number of sociology courses in the early '60s and I was an
early member of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee.  Although I've never been
to Cuba -- and do hope to go at some point --  I have kept up with things
fairly well.  And I also know the history of an important part of the
Mexican Revolution  -- in whose tradition I have consistently seen the Cuban
Revolution.  Granted, the high water point of the Mexican Revolution was not
my particular war -- my hatch came much later -- but it was my father's in
1913-14.  A 15 year old Indian kid who went down to Boston and shipped out
as cabin boy on a boat which was ostensibly carrying "agricultural
implements" to Mexico, he was on the high seas when he realized they were
actually carrying Winchester 44/40s and ammo to the Zapata side of the
Mexican struggle.  That realization struck a ready note of empathy and
resonance within him and, when they landed at Vera Cruz [where the bodies
were stacked six feet deep in the streets], he joined the Indian side of the
Revolution as a gun carrying trooper and remained with it for over a year --
eventually returning to the 'States via Puerto Rico where he picked up some
cash dealing cards in gambling houses.  Much later, as an artist, he
established close and enduring relations with a number of the Mexican Indian
artists who, like himself, had been active in the Mexican struggle.  From
young childhood on, I was privileged to know some of those great people.

Since the days of Aaron Burr, the United States has tried consistently to
make everything South of the Border its plantation.  It's used open military
might, overt subversion through surrogates, and clandestine subversion.
Virtually no student I've ever taught has realized, until I told them, that
the United States maintains a formal military base on Cuban territory --
where now, of course, the U.S. is compounding Sin by violating International
law, United States law and Cuban law through its illegal incarceration of
prisoners from the so-called Afghanistan War.

At the very point, the United States -- using the Afghanistan "War" as its
precedent [that, in turn, building  on Clinton's 90 day bombing of
Yugoslavia] -- launched its blatantly illegal and bloody assault on Iraq,
Cuba moved against its Dissidents.  Given the history of the United States
in Latin America -- and certainly in and around Cuba -- and the Bush ties
with Cuban fascists in Florida [to say nothing of Bush relationships with
the government of Florida] -- Cuba's actions are certainly understandable.
I'm not surprised at the right wing social democrat and SDUSA types -- and
fence straddlers -- who find Cuba an easier personal target than, say, Bush
and Ashcroft and Ridge.

My wife, Eldri, is Saami [Lapp] and Finnish.  Frankly, the position of Cuba
vis-a-vis the United States of America, reminds us of what we've heard about
the position of Finland just before Stalin's unprovoked and opportunistic
invasion of that country.  The difference is that the Cubans are well armed
and ready -- as they have been for a long, long time indeed.

Hunter Gray  [Hunterbear]
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
and Ohkwari'

In our Gray Hole, the ghosts often dance in the junipers and sage, on the
game trails, in the tributary canyons with the thick red maples, and on the
high windy ridges -- and they dance from within the very essence of our own
inner being. They do this especially when the bright night moon shines down
on the clean white snow that covers the valley and its surroundings.  Then
it is as bright as day -- but in an always soft and mysterious and
remembering way. [Hunterbear]



This is indeed, Sam, one area at least where we have a vastly different
view. [The difference with Reber is considerably less -- but there's still a
gap of sorts.]  On the other hand, hastily I say:  "We're all good friends
and much on the same side. Always will be."

 I certainly see Cuba as a  developing bona fide socialist arrangement: a
variety of  increasingly democratic socialist society -- and one that
they've been building for 45 years or so. It's an on-going Socialist
Revolution and I vigorously support that. They're doing it their way -- in
the context of their own culture. And that's something I certainly support!
And they've been building that in the face of relentless  opposition from
one of the strongest nations in the world -- the viciousness of whose
leadership is increasing with each generation. As I say, I do know something
about the Mexican Revolution  and I certainly see the Cuban endeavour as
very much in that tradition. [Mexico may well be getting ripe for another
Revolution!]  Nothing is built in an erector set fashion -- especially under
these incredibly threatening circumstances.  I think the Cubans have done
pretty damn well. It seems clear that their system enjoys support broad and
deep -- and I understand that personal firearms ownership in Cuba is
relatively high. I see no dichotomy between the mass of Cuban people and
their leaders.

On the dissidents:  I doubt that anyone as cosmopolitan and canny as the
Cuban leaders -- well aware and always sensitive to international public
opinion -- would have moved precipitously in this case.  It may sound  blunt
and crude -- but, when the finks are coming at you from every rathole, you
don't always have time to take a referendum vote.  The now confirmed [by
NPR] and extremely hostile anti-Cuba comments by the US ambassador to the
Dominican Republic -- in the context of the hideous and rapidly expanding
bloodbath whose destabilizing fissures are spreading across much of our
earth --  speak ominously for themselves.

And, again, so does 45 years of utterly vicious opposition from the
leadership of this country [now a clique of very strange persons indeed who make
Bill Buckley and Barry G. look almost Rational and Nice] -- an entourage
itself increasingly engulfed in a kind of fundamentalist fanaticism which
blends capitalistic hunger with mystical imperialism.

All best -- as always

Hunter Gray  [Hunterbear]
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
and Ohkwari'



Interesting pattern:  you really can't argue -- at least with me -- without
tossing ridicule.

As I indicated, I've never been to Cuba -- but I do know something of it.
And I know a great deal first-hand about Mexico and some closely related
[socially and geographically] situations.  I think the Cubans have been
doing a damn fine job of building an increasingly democratic socialism --
for the last 45 years -- and doing so, of course, in the context of their
own culture.  And I certainly do support that.  They've been doing this in
the face of relentless and ruthless opposition from one of the strongest
nations in the history of the world and one whose leadership, increasingly
vicious over the generations, is now very much engulfed in a kind of
fundamentalist fanaticism which blends capitalistic hunger with mystical
imperialism.  The threatening and very hostile anti-Cuban comments made
yesterday or so by the US ambassador to the Dominican Republic [confirmed
today by NPR] speak volumes in themselves.

My wife's Lapp and Finnish ethnicity -- any mention of which so troubles
you -- is relevant because she and many members of her well educated family
[one of her brothers, Arne Johanson, is a Yale PhD  and recently retired
philosophy chair with a specialization in William James], have always been
much interested in the completely unjustified -- but elaborately
rationalized -- Soviet attack on Finland and the permanent theft of Karelia.
As an "Associate Finn," I vigorously share that interest and that
perspective.  My point, of course, is that the position of Cuba today
vis-a-vis the USA is quite analogous.

Hunter Gray  [Hunterbear]
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
and Ohkwari'

----- Original Message -----
From: Bogdan Denitch
Sent: Friday, April 11, 2003 6:45 PM
Subject: Re: [ASDnet] Cuba

Why doesn't this surprise me?
Here is a guy who admittedly knows almost nothing about Cuba but he knows
what he likes. Jailing eighty Cubans without a fair trial under appaling
conditions and for violating laws he would scream his head off about in the
good old imperialist US is ok. What he is doing on the "Democratic" Left
list is not so clear, maybe to hear the other views, exactly what the Cuban
government tried to prevent in Cuba. There are, of course, no other
legitimate views. And all this from an IWW groupie who seems to forget all
the free speech fights the old wobblies enagaged in. Instead we learn about
his wife's ethnic identity!  For the twentieth time.




Just to endorse Hunter's position. I was in Cuba on the second
anniversary of the Revolution, traveled the island from end to end
(Santiago de Cuba and the Sierra Maestre) on a public bus in the company
of those volunteering to go to the boonies to teach people to read and
write, witnessed a massive demonstration in Contramaestra of peasants
just given land and of intellectuals who had collected enough money to
buy one plane for the Cuban air force. When an idiot American
ultra-Leftie said the American workingclass would defend Cuba arms in
hand, I spoke and said that as one whose weapons were my voice and my
pen, I would do my best to get my observations into the press and on the
air. I did get a published interview in the San Francisco Chronicle,
and  appearances on seven or eight radio and TV stations, mostly
commercial and major.
    Years later, in Paris, I saw the French Communists who had come to
stuff their faces at the annual Fete Humanite stand with gaping mouths
in front of the Cuban kiosk whose personnel danced absolutely
uninterruptedly all day with the spirit that saved their country at the
Bay of Pigs and against every American indirect assault since then.
    A real revolution does not follow anyone's playbook whatever. It is
made by real people in a real country developing real solutions to real
situations as seen through the prism of a real culture.
    Incidentally, if anyone can identify a statesman anywhere in the
world who can compare even remotely to Fidel Castro in his ability to
develop policy for the real world of today, please name him and document
    The walkover (thus far) in Iraq suddenly makes the possibility of
another attack on Cuba by Washington very, very real. Cuba's right to be
Cuban must be put front and center.

William Mandel
[Bill Mandel]



Kevin Mattson [whose stuff I have not read] obviously agrees with Mills on much --
but doesn't happen to on Listen Yankee.

Listen Yankee is a fine little book -- after all, I used it as a text for
several years and student feedback [at Wisconsin State, Superior and then at
Tougaloo] was always positive.  C. Wright  Mills, to whom a whole generation
of us -- young scholar/activists -- is much indebted  [as is relevant
sociology generally along with the American Left of the '60s and much more
as well], fortunately never ever tried to be "objective."  He, too, was an
activist, out to make a positive difference and he certainly did just that.
I never met him but we corresponded and somewhere I have a note from his
wife indicating the extreme pressures to which he was subjected by the same
stuffy and pompous establishment-serving "colleagues" at which William James
had often taken very articulate cutting shots  in the Harvard Groves two and
three generations before.  Much of Listen Yankee, of course, is in the words
of the Cuban revolutionaries themselves -- and it's a powerful work, and a
most courageous one given the still prevailing McCarthyist atmosphere.  It's
extremely timely today.

Hunter Gray  [Hunterbear]
Protected by Na?shdo?i?ba?i?
and Ohkwari'

In our Gray Hole, the ghosts often dance in the junipers and sage, on the
game trails, in the tributary canyons with the thick red maples, and on the
high windy ridges -- and they dance from within the very essence of our own
inner being. They do this especially when the bright night moon shines down
on the clean white snow that covers the valley and its surroundings.  Then
it is as bright as day -- but in an always soft and mysterious and
remembering way. [Hunterbear]