War, racism and economic insustice by Fidel Castro, Ocean Press, 2002
Reviewed by John Pateman
These two books should be read together because they form two side of a seamless story. Che focuses on theory while Fidel talks about practice. Che is historical (1965 speech, 1965 letter, 1966 speech) while Fidel is contemporary (speeches made between September 2000 and November 2001). Yet, despite these differences, the political analysis and solutions offered to social and economic problems are the same. When Che and Fidel worked together in the early years of the Cuban Revolution they must have been a formidable team. For 6 years they established the roots of the Revolution and then, in 1965, Che decided to leave Cuba and export the Revolution to other countries, while Fidel stayed in Cuba to deepen and broaden the Revolution, a process which he continues to lead to this day.
Che’s speech to the Afro-Asian conference in Algeria in February 1965 focuses on the need to integrate the struggle for national liberation with socialist ideas. The importance of economic planning is emphasised. Che’s letter on “Socialism and Man in Cuba”, published in March 1965, stresses that “there is nothing that can educate a person…like living through a revolution”. For Che, socialism could not exist if economics was not combined with social and political consciousness. Without an awareness of rights and duties, it would be impossible to construct a new society. Back in 1965 Che was already warning of the dangers of neo-liberalism and globalisation.
Che’s message to The Tricontinetal Conference of Solidarity ewith the People of Asia, Africa and Latin America, which took place in Cuba in January 1966, was “Create Two, Three, Many Vietnams”. The content of Che’s speech, especially his remarks about the crisis in the Middle East and Israel, is surprisingly relevant today. The idea of internationalism on a global scale outlined by Che in his message represents a synthesis of this thought and political praxis. Che recognised that the national bourgeoisie was incapable of standing up to imperialism. Under these circumstances the only way to liberation would be through prolonged peoples war. This book is published in association with the Che Guevara Studies Centre in Havana, established to promote, both inside and outside of Cuba, the thought, life and works of Comandante Che Guevara, recognising the extraordinary significance of his theory, praxis, and ethical legacy – and their validity and timelessness in today’s globalised world..
“War, racism and economic injustice” is a sharp, brief selection of recent speeches and interviews with Fidel Castro dating from June 2000 to November 2001. Among them are speeches given in Venezuela, Panama, Cuba, the United States and South Africa. Also included are interventions in the Millenium Summit held at the United Nations in 2000 and a landmark speech to the Racism conference held in Durban, South Africa, in August 2001. Fidel presents a damning indictment of the present world economic and political order. The final two items are speeches given by Fidel on September 22 and November 2 2001 in which he calls on the world to unite against both terrorism and war. This book is published in association with Editora Politica of Havana. And is a continuation of a previous editorial project published in 2000 as “Capitalism in Crisis – globalisation and world politics today”, also by Fidel Castro and published by Ocean Press. This is an essential read as well. For more information about Ocean books visit their website at www.oceanbooks.com.au or contact Global Book Marketing at firstname.lastname@example.org