We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore LappĂ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Fidel Castro: Historic Leader of the Cuban Revolution Dies

Click here to access article from The Dawn News. (Edited for clarity on 11/29/2016)
Cuban Revolution leader Fidel Castro died on Friday night at the age of 90. The unfortunate news was announced by President Raul Castro, via a special broadcast on the national television. The head of state informed that the body of the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution will be cremated, following his will.
Because all lives only occupy a micro-instant on the scale of geologic time, I often think that we shouldn't be too despondent over the loss of individual lives, even the end of our own lives when we approach reach the end. However there are some lives whose outstanding achievements are remarkable. I think that the loss of Fidel Castro's life should not be mourned, but celebrated as a very successful revolutionary who, following the Cuban Revolution in early 1959, created a society in which all people could enjoy the benefits of health care, education, housing, and productive work--instead of a wealthy few who served North American corporations. Unlike most revolutionaries who irritated the US ruling capitalist class (and others like the Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King), he defied all odds by living more than 90 years. His dedication to revolutionary struggle against the predations of capitalism should be an inspirational model for all of us to follow.

I remember well those days when I was enrolled in political sociology courses at a university. I witnessed first hand the virulent criticisms of Oregon's Sen. Morse and others as Castro and the new Cuban government threw out the mafia owned casinos and whore houses, nationalized lands owned by North Americans and gave them to the peasants, nationalized the phone company which was owned by US capitalists, and executed many of dictator Batista's government supporters who enjoyed friendly relations with the US. Of course, the criticisms were mostly focused on the executions, but the real source of their anger were his decisions to take over some of the property owned by US capitalists and mafia bosses. 

This resulted in a tit-for-tat round of conflicts that resulted in the Cuban government nationalizing all important industries owned by North American capitalists and turning to the Soviet Union for help to ward off the ongoing threats from the US monster. A serious threat soon appeared in the April 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion by an army organized and funded by the CIA. This event was followed in the Fall of 1962 with the Cuban Missile Crisis with the Soviet Union when the world narrowly escaped a nuclear war. And hundreds of attempts to assassinate Castro were made both directly by the CIA and contracted out to organized crime then ensured.

I can recommend two other posts that address the significance of Castro's life:

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