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Umsebenzi Online

Volume 15, No. 45, 3 December 2016

In this Issue:


Red Alert

Fidel is not dead; Fidel is here, his revolutionary ideals will forever inspire humanity!

Tribute by Phatse Justice Piitso, former Ambassador of South Africa to Cuba

The news of the passing away of the Commander-in-Chief of the Cuban Revolution, Comrade Fidel Castro Ruz reached the capital cities of the world like a devastating hurricane storm. The news reverberated into the ears of the millions of the people of the world like the rough sounds of the waves of the Atlantic and the Indian oceans. The beautiful horizons of our mother earth became an emboldened bowl of darkness in the absence of his living image. Destiny imposed his grandeur stature into a shadow of our imaginations.

Even if death has robbed us of such a great revolutionary leader of the international working class movement, our faces shall never be a perennial river of tears - one of his greatest contributions was to teach humanity not to weep in the face of adversity. Our Commander-in-Chief taught us never to allow the enemy of our revolution to redirect the high moral standards which are the core characteristic values of our revolutionary movement. He taught us to fight adversity until it obeys us.

On Sunday 4 December 2016 the world will be following his funeral procession accompanying his mortal remains to a final resting place at the pantheon of great martyrs of Santa Ifigenia in Santiago de Cuba: the sacred place of the spirits of the Cuban revolutionaries.

At the pantheon of Santa Ifigenia rest amongst others the hero of the Cuban nation, Apostle Jose Marti, the father of the Cuban nation Carlos Cespedes, the mother of the Cuban nation Mariana Grajales, General Antonio Maceo, General Maximo Gomez and many others.

Fidel’s mortal remains shall be deposited into a grave whose topsoil shall be a seedbed of the garden of the flowers of our revolution. The breeze from the Sierra Maestra Mountains shall blow the seeds which will germinate, and add an impetus to the revolutionary struggles of the working class across the world to consolidate the hegemony of the world’s working class power for the achievement of our socialist revolution.

The symbolic life of our Commander-in-Chief has been a journey of profound humility. It has been a journey of a true revolutionary immersed in the worldwide struggles for the emancipation of humanity.

As the ancient Chinese writer, Szuma Chien says, "Though death befalls all men alike, it may be weightier than mount Tai or lighter than a feather".

Therefore to live and die in the trenches for the liberation of the working class against the subjugation of colonialism and imperialism is weightier than mount Tai. Conversely, to live and die vacillating and collaborating with the forces of counter-revolution is lighter than a feather. Our Commander-in-Chief lived and died undefeated by the forces of colonialism and imperialism. He never vacillated between the forces of our revolution and those of counter-revolution. From the battles of Moncada to Sierra Maestra; Playa Giron to Quito Quanavale; the many battles he fought in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Congo, Ethiopia, Guinea Bissau, Cape Verde, Algeria, Bolivia, and other parts of the world, Fidel demonstrated to the world that indeed he is weightier than mount Tai.

In Fidel, the world has lost one of its finest, genius revolutionary ever produced by the struggle for, and of humanity. Fidel was a towering giant of the working class struggle for socialism.

Fidel was one of the greatest Marxist-Leninist theoretician of our epoch. He was an ardent, true revolutionary of our struggles for the liberation of our people. Throughout his life, he demonstrated himself to be a true student of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin. He was indeed a true student of the world Communist movement. His world outlook was based on the profound analysis of the world’s material conditions, guided by the scientific revolutionary theory of Marxism-Leninism. His theoretical outlook was never an illusion of an abstract thinking about the concrete conditions of the material life of society.

Our Commander-in-Chief never exaggerated false views that in the kingdom of hope there is no winter. This was necessarily a result of his profound theoretical grasp that a revolution is slippery like mercury. In the corridors of his deep thoughts, a revolution was like an orchestra. In the deepest provocation of his thoughts, the essence of any revolution was to define the tempo of our struggles in any particular historical epoch.

The greatest revolutionary is the one who masters the principal instruments of a revolution. In an orchestra the greatest leader is the one who masters how to play the violin to a cello, and a French horn to a flute.

The theoretical exposition here is about our understanding that we cannot lead the momentum to the victory of our struggle for socialism without a profound analysis of the class balance of forces. Of significance is how to navigate the strategy and tactics of the time for the victory of the revolutionary struggles of the working class.

Fidel mastered the core, primary question, that in order to vanquish the world of capitalism and create a new classless society of communism the proletariat must have its own working class party. The Party that should constitute the nucleus of the vanguard struggles of the working class, and therefore a party which plays the vanguard role as the guiding force of the working class movement. The historical mission of this, the vanguard Party, is to destroy capitalism and give birth to a new socialist society at the world stage. The core character of such a distinguished revolutionary Party is selflessness, discipline, honesty, dedication and collective work.

The Communist Party is not just a vanguard of the class; it is its conscious detachment. The Communist Party is an organised detachment of the working class with its discipline, a party which is able to lead and direct the working class struggles based on the scientific revolutionary theory of Marxism-Leninism.

What distinguishes a Communist Party from the rest of other detachments of the working class is that our Party is armed with the knowledge of the life of society, its laws of development and class struggle. It is a vanguard party of dialectical and historical materialism.

The world Communist movement is a movement of Marxism-Leninism. Our approach to nature, our method of its study and understanding, is derived from the world theoretical outlook of the revolutionary science of dialectical and historical materialism.

This is the distinguishing catalogue of our vanguard Party from other amorphous “working class parties”. We are distinguished from the rest because we are a part and also a leading detachment of the working class struggles.

Our father Fidel was one of the most outstanding revolutionary thinkers of our era. During his life he achieved a bold vision of fusing a national liberation movement with, and into, a Communist Party which became a powerhouse of the working class struggle.

At the heart of the leadership of the Communist Party of Cuba that emerged from the fusion was the strategic perspective that the guarantee that a revolutionary organisation of the working class should not lose sight of its strategic objective of socialism, or its identity as an independent Party, its adherence to and reliance on Marxism-Leninism.

Under the leadership of Fidel it became well-understood that Marxism-Leninism is a scientific body of ideas and how these derive their existence or are derived from material conditions, yet in turn lead to a world changing social action. It became well-understood that, in this way, socialism had and still has to be studied and pursued as a science for the development of human society. This was primarily a result the understanding that a science cannot arise spontaneously in the consciousness of the people.

Therefore its was understood that the struggle for socialism is the supreme task of a vanguard party; a Communist Party which is the highest form of the organisation of the working class.

The leadership was convinced that the role of a vanguard can only be fulfilled by a party guided by the most advanced theory. They were taught that in its struggle for power, the proletariat has no other weapon than an organisation guided by a scientific revolutionary theory of Marxism-Leninism.

After the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, the Communist Party assumed its vanguard role as the leader of society in the construction and towards the realisation of socialism in its fullest development. Marxism-Leninism became a hegemonic ideological weapon for transformation of society.

The party became a guarantee for the victory of the struggles of the people against oppression and exploitation by the imperialist forces. The Cuban nation moved towards a new society which has liberated itself from the jaws of the instruments of capitalist oppression.

The revolutionary government of Cuba immediately embarked on qualitative advances to eradicate the legacy of poverty, disease and underdevelopment. The working class in Cuba, for the first time in the history of the development of the nation, enjoyed the revolutionary fruits of socialist construction, by getting access to free quality education, healthcare, housing, security and comfort.

The island of Cuba became the first ever socialist state to be declared in the American hemisphere. For the first time the working class became the masters of its own destiny at the backyard of the Yankee empire, the United States America.

The Communist Party transformed the Cuban revolution into a world political school and epicentre of the revolutionary principles of solidarity and internationalism. The important question of solidarity and internationalism was not just a moral issue but a political issue of paramount importance. Fidel understood the important question that in order for the working class to achieve the unity of its struggles for socialism it must first and foremost act in common purpose in the spirit of solidarity and internationalism.

Through the revolutionary scientific theory of Marxism-Leninism, Fidel was able to analyse the history of the development of capitalism in Cuba, anticipate the class struggles ahead as inseparable from this accumulation regime, and therefore identified the Party as the only leading detachment for the socialist transformation of the society.

Consistent with the teachings of our great teacher Vladimir Lenin, the historic leader of the Great October Socialist Revolution that occurred in Russia in 1917, our Commander-in-Chief understood that our theory is never about the collection of dogma, catechism, vulgar or political mantra. Our teachings are never about half-baked theoretical concepts without profound theoretical foundations.

Our theory is the materialist science of the development of society both in its historical and dialectical aspects. It is about finding solutions to the problems confronting humanity.

For we revolutionaries, democracy and socialism are not two separate phenomena, where the first is just a means of achieving the other. Our understanding is that these are two indispensable questions for the development of society. In the most literal form of the words, democracy is about securing the right to self-determination in all areas of social life, including the economic arena and socialism means the democratic organisation of society.

Our Commander-in-Chief departed from the land of the living just under a year before the world can celebrate the centenary of the Great October Socialist Revolution. The revolution was an event of great political significance. It heralded the birth of the first socialist state ever in the history of humanity.

The Great October Socialist Revolution was a momentous turning point in the history of the struggle of humanity against colonialism and imperialism. Over two-thirds of the world population was liberated from the shackles of colonialism. The celebration of the centenary will take place against the background of events of far reaching historical significance. Importantly at a time when imperialism has unleashed an unprecedented offensive against the revolutionary movement across the world!

The demise of socialism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe has ushered in the present hostile and the most aggressive uni-polar world dominated by the U.S-led imperialism and the monopoly capital. This has tremendously shifted the balance of forces against the revolutionary movement across the world.

Despite this setback, the working class shall forever be inspired by the scientific ideas of the Great October Socialist Revolution. The working shall forever be inspired by the ideas of Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro. The triumph of the revolution saw Lenin bringing to the fore the most important theoretical preposition on the national and colonial question. He creatively hatched an understanding that the fundamental aim of Marxism is to unite the working class of all countries to fight imperialism and at the same build socialism.

Lenin understood the importance of the struggle for the liberation of the oppressed nations. He understood that the struggle for the liberation of oppressed nations shall inevitably intensify the crisis within the capitalist world. His understanding of the national and colonial questions led to worldwide struggles for the emancipation of the oppressed people in the colonial and semi-colonial countries from the yoke of imperialism. In other words the struggle to fight imperialism as the highest stage of capitalism.

To achieve this magnanimous goal, the working class resolutely opposed national oppression, fight for equality and the right to self-determination of the oppressed nations of the colonial and semi-colonial countries and fully support the national liberation movements against imperialism.

In our own South African situation, the Communist movement instructed the South African Communist Party to pay a particular attention to the emergence of the embryonic national organisations amongst the natives, such as the ANC. It instructed that while retaining its independence, the Party had to participate in these organisations and seek to broaden and extend their activities.

The aim was to transform the ANC into a fighting revolutionary organisation against the white bourgeoisie of South Africa and British imperialism. The development of a national revolutionary movement of the toilers of South Africans against the white bourgeoisie of South Africa and British imperialism constituted one of the major tasks of the Communist Party.

These are the ideas which inspired Fidel throughout his life as a leader of the Cuban Revolution. Precisely because Fidel understood the fundamental question that the contractions of imperialism are the manifestation of the struggles between the oppressor and the oppressed nations. He saw it necessary for the Cuban Revolution to assist the African people in their struggle against colonial oppression and imperialism. Over the years he provided both the material and human resources to assist many of the African countries in their struggles for national independence.

Even today, thousands of Cuban volunteers are still helping many nations across the world to fight poverty, disease and under-development. In our own country, thousands of Cubans are helping us in our revolutionary project to reverse the legacy of colonialism and apartheid. This legacy is still the dominant feature of the South African society.

In his memory we shall forever appreciate, his idea that unity is materialist in theory and practice. That unity must reflect concrete realities and not wishful dreaming. That unity must be dialectical, be able to see things in their development, their motion, their coming into being and going out of being. That unity is never eternal.

In memory of Fidel, we shall hold the glistening banner of the world commune to be, when class war shall have been stamped out, when mankind shall no longer cower under the bludgeon of the oppressor, when the necessities and amenities of life, the comfort and the culture, the honour and the power, shall be in those who toil not those who exploit, when none shall be called master nor a servant, but fellow workers in common.

Rest in peace of our father!

Rest in peace of Commander-in-Chief!

We salute you!

  • Cde Phatse Justice Piitso is also former Provincial Secretary of the SACP in Limpopo Province and writes in personal capacity.

Umsebenzi Online is an online voice of the South African working class