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Vol. 73/No. 10      March 16, 2009

United defense of Cuban Revolution
A picket by some 70 people in New York City March 1 to counter an action by opponents of the Cuban Revolution was an important example of united action to defend the first free territory—the first socialist revolution—in the Americas.

The draconian U.S. government embargo against Cuba aims to punish the Cuban workers and farmers for their 1959 revolution, which ended U.S. domination of the island forever. Washington aims to stiffened the penalty the Cuban people must pay for embarking on the road to socialism, and for Cuba’s internationalist solidarity with working people fighting for liberation the world over.

The embargo increases the difficulties faced in Cuba after hurricanes Gustav and Ike, which ravaged the island in late August and early September, damaging one-third of planted farmland, 500,000 homes, and thousands of schools and health-care facilities.

The embargo has caused some $225 billion in economic losses. It is also an assault on the democratic rights of working people in the United States to travel, meet, and talk with workers, farmers, and youth in another country.

The flyer publicizing the March 1 picket, however, included two other demands that cut across building the most united, and thus effective, demonstration in defense of Cuba. The demands called for passage of two bills in the U.S. Congress—HR 874 and S 428—that would restore the ability of U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba unless the U.S. president decides the United States “is at war with Cuba, armed hostilities between the two countries are in progress, or there is imminent danger to the public health or physical safety of U.S. travelers.” In other words, the White House can revoke the constitutional right to travel at will.

Including support to such legislation among demands of the New York picket narrowed rather than broadened united action. Because at least the Socialist Workers Party, and perhaps other individuals and organizations that actively built and joined in the March 1 protest, oppose those demands. The Militant, which has a 50-year record of unconditional defense of the Cuban Revolution, would never lend support to legislation abridging the rights of working people—in the United State, Cuba, or elsewhere.

Of course individuals and groups participating in the action against the embargo—or any united social protest event—express their own views through carrying placards, handing out flyers, and distributing newspapers, books, and other literature. That strengthens united action, and at the same time encourages civil discussion on the array of views held by participants. In order to ensure such unity, however, leaflets and other publicity need to focus on demands backed by all those who support the action—such as: “End the travel ban against Cuba! Now!”

As today’s capitalist economic crisis deepens and spreads worldwide, the rulers in Washington and elsewhere are stepping up assaults on working people—including the people of Cuba, where workers and farmers wrested political power from the exploiters and have begun building a society based on new social relations, on human solidarity. That calls for the broadest united action to end the U.S. government travel ban and economic embargo once and for all, and to normalize relations with Cuba.

Emulate the initiative of those who organized and turned out for the protest in New York City March 1!
Related articles:
United pro-Cuba rally answers counterrevolutionary picket
New law would cede travel rights to president  
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