“If humanity is to be saved from self destruction, we need to better distribute the wealth and technologies available in the planet. Less luxury and less overspending in [the First World] in order to have less poverty and less hunger in [the Third World].” -Fidel Castro, Rio de Janeiro, 1992
We stand on the shoulders of giants. All Marxist theory and practice is handed down to us by those who have put it into practice and made the theoretical a reality. Our job is made simpler by the hundreds of millions who have come before us to initiate the complex task of building socialism and liberation for the people of the world. They are not our gods, nor are they our icons worthy of worship or our unquestioning support. However, if it were not for those who came before us, we could never have seen the great successes and shortcomings of our movement, and never witnessed our once only theoretical ideas put into practice. We continue this struggle so that one day we may have our own victories, and that we may become the giants to the next generation of revolutionaries who are carving a path to worldwide revolution and communist liberation. However, today we remember the life of one such giant: Fidel Castro.
As anyone who may be reading this will know, Fidel Castro was one of the premier figures powering the Cuban Revolution which succeeded in ousting Fulgencio Batista in January of 1959. Cuba underwent a radical socialist transformation from one of the poorest countries in Latin America to one of the most progressive and independent Third World nations in the world. Not only was this a victory for the impoverished peasants of the Cuban countryside and the urban working class in Havana, but the whole world was now greeted by an independent country willing to champion their dignity, and put forward the maximum effort to help them achieve it. The Cuban revolution, as with all the world’s Communist revolutions, has been a beacon of international hope for the colonized peoples struggling under the yoke of imperialism.
With the passing of Fidel, it is good that we look positively upon the history of revolutionary struggle in Cuba and its effects on the world, and derive from it some of the greatest lessons that Fidel and the Cuban people have to teach us going forward; what can be seen from Fidel’s shoulders? Where we stand to benefit the greatest is in the examination of their relationship to world anti-imperialist struggle, in the sense that the united front between the progressive peoples of the Third World against imperialist domination was vital to the leveraging of worldwide power through solidarity against the parasitic First World. The colonized people of the world learned to count upon one another for solidarity and power in the continued struggle against the colonizers, and the world imperialist system.
Here, in the united $tates, the movement for Black Liberation and Socialism had never been more powerful until the whole anti-imperialist struggle waging worldwide had declared solidarity with it. This period revealed that the Black people of this country did not have to rely on solidarity from their oppressors, but could count upon the support of the progressive peoples fighting colonialism in the Third World to back them. It was during the height of Black power in amerika when Fidel Castro became an honored guest in Harlem, and became the first head of state to meet with Malcolm X and voice, personally, his support for the struggle of Black people in the united $tates. This status as a champion of the anti-colonial struggle was only magnified by the Cuban involvement in the defense of Angola and support for the Southwest African People’s Organization (SWAPO) during their war with South Afrika, whose defeat dealt a major blow to apartheid and colonial rule in Afrika.
Even in the 21st century, this legacy was continued with Cuban solidarity and friendship with the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela, which brought amerikkkan interests in the country to its knees and has lead to the explosion of revolutionary consciousness and struggle we now see in Venezuela. The continued partnership of the Cuban people and Fidel to the people of Latin America has remained a constant headache for the imperialist global north, and strengthened the resolve of anti-imperialists all throughout the continent. Though we cannot say that the 67 years of the Cuban revolution have been without mistake or failure, what we can say is that it has been 67 years of evidence to the necessity of internationalism and world revolution, and taught us to look beyond our own immediate area for the possibilities and responsibilities of true anti-imperialist struggle.
Unfortunately, we must say “goodbye” to Fidel at this time, every righteous nation mourns the passing of another revolutionary giant. Fidel has meant a tremendous amount to the progress of humanity for his efforts, and although he may be dead, we continue to learn from the mistakes, the failures and the great successes he endured. We may be sad for now, but our continued reflection will ensure that the success of the masses of the world against the imperial exploiters. While the imperialists may momentarily celebrate in the streets at the news of his death, they cannot hold back the revolutionary tide of the anti-imperialist struggle. In reality, it is as he said during his trial for the attack on the Moncada Barracks: “Condemn me, it does not matter. History will absolve me.”