Last week, Harold Meyerson, writer for the Washington Post and DSA member, posted a link to Freedom House in his editorial about the importance of the Labor movement. At the Freedom House site you will find a survey of worker freedoms throughout the world. And in that report you will find that Cuba is rated “very repressive”. This will come as no surprise to anyone here at Social Democrats USA. But some members of DSA find attacks on Cuba’s human rights record as “not helpful”.
If you are a member of DSA, you have been following a conversation on dsamember about Cuba. I continue to be amazed at the number of Communist sympathizers still existing in America’s Left. Report after report, including first hand accounts by American leftists, about the ravages of the Soviet Union, Cuba, and China have been provided over the past 50 years. And yet there are many on the left who choose to ignore them. They look through their rose colored glasses and say things like, “the revolution had its flaws, but its good points too”. Also there’s, “this anti-Castro stuff borders on the old Right-Shactmanite attitude”. Wake up people! Shachtman was right about Communism. It has no place in our efforts as democratic socialists. The Communist Revolution was a disaster that caused the torture and death of millions, with the remainder suffering an impoverished lifestyle that no American would tolerate. The notion of benevolent dictatorships is foreign to Americans— thank God.
Lingering “soft on Communism” attitudes have kept DSA from being a force for change in America for the past 40 years. Since the 70s onward, incomes of Americans have been going down, union membership has been going down, and DSA has not been of any help reversing these trends. Certainly, millions of Americans should be joining DSA. Why haven’t they? Maybe it’s because a couple hundred million Americans know that Communism is the disease, not the cure. Communist sympathizers would do well to visit Cuba or Venezuela (Venezuela was rated as merely “repressive” in the Freedom House report). They could come back and tell us about the workers paradise that they have found. One of our members did exactly that, many years ago. She was so excited about going to Cuba that she cried upon landing in Havana. But on leaving Cuba, she cried again. Her idealized dreams of a true socialist society where everyone shared and lived well, had been dashed on the rocks, replaced by an oppressive totalitarian state.
Last week Fidel declared that the Cuban economic style has not worked for Cubans. No shit. But, for some reason leftists are taking this as a sign that he is moving towards a democratic socialist form of government with some limited free enterprise. Unfortunately, this is not true. Fidel has simply seen how much money the Chinese Communists are making, and he wants a piece of the action. He’s making a deal with the capitalists; Cuba will become the new mini-China on our doorstep. The workers will continue to be repressed, working in sweatshops without any rights to unionize. Union organizers will be “disappeared” just as they are today. And DSA members will continue to look the other way.