Workers, farmers and young people from around the world have been invited by the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) to join the 14th May Day International Volunteer Work Brigade in Solidarity with Cuba, set for April 21-May 5.
“It feels like a real learning opportunity,” Adam Faust, a home improvement worker and artist in Atlanta, told Samir Hazboun, a member of the Socialist Workers Party in Louisville, Kentucky. Faust and Hazboun have both signed up to go on the brigade. “I want to share what reality is for people here in the U.S. to counter the stereotype of America being a place that’s paved in gold,” Faust said.
“I tell young people interested in the brigade to check out the new Pathfinder book In Defense of the US Working Class,” said Hazboun. “It features a talk given by Mary-Alice Waters, a leader of the SWP, last year and remarks by other workers at an International May Day conference in Havana.
“It also features an aerial photo of the May Day march that helps you grasp what it looks like when hundreds of thousands of Cuban workers and youth turn out to show support for their revolution.” Taking part in the annual May Day parade is one of the high points on the brigade.
Joining these brigades is a unique opportunity to meet Cuban working people and discuss the impact of their revolution. And to discuss the struggles and political developments that brigade participants have been part of in their own countries. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution.
On Jan. 10, John Staggs, the SWP candidate for Philadelphia City Council, went to the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg and spoke with some dairy farmers about the brigade. “They really understood why it would be interesting to be on the brigade,” said Staggs.
After hearing about how the revolution transformed life for farmers there, one dairy farmer said he “would love to see a different way of doing things.” Given farm responsibilities and a full-time job in the spring, he wasn’t sure he could make the trip, but said he would consider it.
Brigade volunteers will be based at the Julio Antonio Mella camp 25 miles outside Havana and do volunteer labor at nearby farms. They will travel to the provinces of Havana, Artemisa, Villa Clara and Sancti Spíritus, visit museums and other sites to learn about the revolution’s history, and join discussions with Cuban workers, farmers and members of mass organizations.
The U.S. contingent is being organized by the National Network on Cuba. Applications, which are open until March 15, are available at www.nnoc.info.
Brigadistas will also participate in an international conference in solidarity with Cuba in Havana the day after the May Day march.
A $650 fee covers all expenses in Cuba, including accommodation, meals and transportation. A $150 deposit is required with the application, with the balance due by March 22. The round-trip airfare to Cuba is extra.
For more information contact ICanGoToCuba@nnoc.info.