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Vol. 72/No. 51      December 29, 2008

Cuba: 50 years of workers’ power
The 50th anniversary of the victory of the Cuban Revolution is cause for celebration by workers and farmers around the world. For five decades, Cuba’s working people have held state power, using it to advance the interests of the toiling classes at home and internationally. They offer a living example that a socialist revolution is possible—and necessary—throughout the world, including in the United States.

The proletarian road of the Cuban Revolution stands as an alternative—the only one for working people—to capitalism, a system that offers us increased exploitation, wars, and degradation. Today we have entered the deepest crisis of the capitalist economic system since the depression of the 1930s, and are only at the beginning of the mass layoffs, foreclosures, and drastic cuts in basic social services in store for workers and working farmers on a world scale. The need to replace capitalist rule with a government of workers and farmers has never been more urgent.

Cuban working people embarked on that road on Jan. 1, 1959, when they overthrew the U.S.-backed tyranny of Fulgencio Batista. Exploited by capitalists and landlords who stole their land, repressed their protests, and denied them basic democratic rights, Cuban workers and peasants revolted, led by the Rebel Army and July 26 Movement under the leadership of Fidel Castro. They ousted the wealthy property owners from government. The new state power took over the large estates to give land to the landless. Working people took control of the factories and big enterprises and began learning how to manage them in the interests of the majority. The government outlawed racist segregation and discrimination. Working people stood up to Washington’s assaults, from a punishing trade embargo that continues to this day, to a 1961 mercenary invasion that was roundly defeated at the Bay of Pigs.

Since then Cuba’s communist leadership has continued this course—from sending volunteer troops to help defeat the apartheid regime in southern Africa, to providing doctors who serve in countries around the world.

The capitalist rulers in the United States and elsewhere have predicted the impending death of the Cuban Revolution many times. They are incapable of understanding the proletarian solidarity and strength that prevails among Cuba’s working people, in contrast with the dog-eat-dog competition and values capitalism fosters. An example of the kind of people produced by the Cuban Revolution is the five working-class fighters, unjustly incarcerated in U.S. prisons for 10 years, who remain in the front ranks of the class struggle in the United States today.

These are all reasons to celebrate the Cuban Revolution’s 50th anniversary. And to redouble our efforts to win freedom for the Cuban Five.
Related articles:
Cuba marks centennial of Independent Party of Color
Two presentations on little-known history of party that championed black rights in Cuba in early 1900s
Defense of Cuban Five featured at int’l labor conference in Tijuana  
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