The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 75/No. 8      February 28, 2011

Inside Cuba’s revolutionary
underground in 1950s
(Books of the Month column)

Below is an excerpt from Aldabonazo: Inside the Cuban Revolutionary Underground, 1952-58 by Armando Hart, one of Pathfinder’s Books of the Month for February. Aldabonazo—a warning knock on the door—was a rallying cry of students and young workers who went into the streets of Cuba in 1952 to resist the military coup led by Fulgencio Batista. On July 26 the following year, some 160 revolutionaries under the command of Fidel Castro launched an insurrectionary attack on the Moncada army garrison in Santiago de Cuba together with a simultaneous attack on the garrison in Bayamo, opening the revolutionary armed struggle against the Batista dictatorship. The July 26 Revolutionary Movement was founded in June 1955 by Castro and others to lead the fight. The excerpt below is from the first issue of the movement’s clandestine journal. Copyright © 2004 by Pathfinder Press. Reprinted by permission.

By an imperative, collective necessity, a new generation has arisen to confront the revolutionary frustration that led us to the disaster of March 10, 1952. On that date a gang of common criminals seized power and destroyed the public order of the republic. The July 26 Movement, which spoke the language of facts, is a categorical response to the March coup. The Movement’s origin and aims, which we will present in these pages, reveal to us how Cuban youth have become unwilling to put up with the status quo that made possible the resounding collapse of our hollow political democracy. For this reason our aim is to become the revolutionary instrument of this new generation.

For the July 26 Movement, only those who aim at something more than simply toppling the dictatorship are capable of really eliminating it. That is the only way to draw together the moral forces of the nation. Those who simply strive to “topple the dictator” will not even achieve that, since they lack both serious motives and support from the social forces necessary to stand up to a regime embodying the most negative aspects of Cuban society. The July 26 Movement asserts that the current government is not the cause but the result of the republic’s fundamental crisis. And it is working directly to resolve that crisis. It would hardly be worthwhile to confront the dictatorial, corrupt, and mediocre regime we suffer without aiming for a revolutionary transformation of the moral, political, economic, and social causes that made possible the criminal act committed by the seditious group. That is the reason for our revolutionary independence, and the reason for being of our growing force… .

[T]he deepest cause of our crisis lies in the absence of a clearly defined revolutionary philosophy, and the lack of an organized will that drives us toward realizable goals of improvement, transformation, and progress. It has not been possible to have ideas completely govern individual conduct. The ideas of the Cuban nation, in modern times, are still maintained as a great collective hunger. They are a desire that is scattered. That is, while they exist in the realm of sentiment, emotion, and will, they have nevertheless not been definitively accepted intellectually. When the democratic and socialist idea is spelled out to its final consequence, all action will be directed along this road… .

The heroic deed of the Moncada garrison and Bayamo is the unifying factor of our scattered national will. Eighty revolutionary martyrs offer us, through their example and sacrifice, a point of convergence that illuminates the country’s future. The most beautiful lesson of that gesture was not only the courage and selflessness displayed by those brave men. It was also their conviction of the importance, transcendence, and power of their example—not to mention their discretion and organizational capacity enabling them to reach the stage of combat. Only a total identification with revolution could write into history the rebel date of July 26, 1953. Cuba must find itself both by looking to the history of the mambises and patriots; and by looking to our generation, with the living example of a legion of contemporary martyrs.

A country with human resources and qualities such as ours cannot continue living in the hands of irresponsible and improvising opportunists of the lowest moral character. The world is advancing in the field of science, and technology makes bigger strides every day. Yet we ourselves are not walking to the tune of the times, since we have not succeeded in bringing together all honest, capable, bold, and talented men and putting them at the service of the country. Such men exist, but they’re separated, far apart from one another, as if some centrifugal and malignant force were preventing their total unification. It is in the unity of these men—genuine representatives of the people of Cuba—that national unity and true democracy lie.

On the basis of its ideological position, the July 26 Revolutionary Movement for ten months has dedicated itself to publicly proclaiming the need for revolutionary action, and to constructing a powerful underground organization that gathers together and interprets the ideas of the Cuban nation, and the immediate needs of the people.

This strategy has delivered the revolution from small circles of combatants and placed it in the hands of the people. All Cubans have the possibility of participating: not only those who take up arms, but also those prepared to leave work, to contribute financially to buy the rifles, or to extend help to the revolution in a thousand different ways. Large sectors of the population have, for a number of years, felt cut off from the struggle for freedom. The July 26 Movement, with a popular strategy and with insurrectional tactics, is incorporating these sectors into the revolution.  
Front page (for this issue) | Home | Text-version home