The REDSTAR2000 Papers

Listen to the worm of doubt, for it speaks truth. - Leftist Discussion

Castro Pays Homage to a Dead Pope April 25, 2005 by RedStar2000

Some argue that Cuba was never a genuinely socialist country -- the working class was simply too small and weak to ever attain power.

Others think it was socialist for its first few years...but was then converted into a neo-colony of the USSR.

And others think Cuba is still a socialist country...even as its economy is flooded with Canadian and European capital investments.

Whatever your own analysis might be, I think the following piece reveals how terribly weak Cuba has become with regard to reactionary superstition.

It's a damn shame!


I have been putting off this distasteful task for some time...but I think it is something that needs to be said in plain language.

So I've decided to quote from this article in Granma...

To make the Pope responsible for the fall of socialism is to make too simple an analysis of history


WE fervently want the Pope’s example to endure, confirmed President Fidel Castro during his special address in the International Conference Center to leaders of the Party, state, government and the UJC [Young Communists Union], representatives of the grassroots organizations and officers and combatants of the Revolutionary Armed Forces and the Ministry of the Interior.

Now, there are two possibilities here. One is that Castro is simply unaware of the "example" set by the late Pope.

The other is that he is aware...and chooses to disregard it in order to achieve a "reconciliation" of the Catholic hierarchy (in both Cuba and the Vatican) with the Cuban Revolution.

Given his voracious reading habits and his informed sources in Central and South America, it is flatly impossible to believe that Castro is unaware of the Church's ugly activities. Indeed, anyone who is paying attention knows that the Catholic hierarchy in Venezuela is and has been enthusiastically working with the old reactionary elite and the American CIA to overthrow Hugo Chávez and his Bolivarian social-democracy at the earliest opportunity.

It has always been so: the papacy has been in bed with reactionaries for all of modern history. The infamous photograph of John Paul II warmly shaking hands with the Chilean murderer and torturer Pinochet is the pope's real example.


"It honors us," he stated, "that he visited us; I was right," he added, "when I said then that the Pope did not entertain any notion of damaging our people. His sentiments towards the Cuban people were noble, and were clearly and paradigmatically summarized by him on leaving Cuba when he spoke out against the blockade, which he described as unjust and ethically unacceptable. This opinion of the Holy Father, "commented Fidel, "should not be forgotten by the president of the United States when he takes part in the funeral ceremony in Rome."

In other words, the pope told some lies in public (nothing new there!) and Castro professes to believe them.

In the hopes (???) that the reactionary cabal in Washington will "remember" the lies and take them seriously.

That's not even remotely possible.


The leader of the Revolution characterized the fundamental features of conflicts of the contemporary era as a basis for understanding the importance of the pontificate of John Paul II, whom he described as an exceptional man, a determined fighter, untiring, whose virtues should not be ignored. "These are our opinions from a human and social focus, in the light of fundamental questions for humanity, although we respect different opinions," he commented.

The dead pope's alleged "virtues" have been polluting the media for weeks.

Where is the communist criticism?

Not in Granma, that's for sure.

And, by the way, where is it written that revolutionaries are obligated to "respect" the opinions of reactionaries?


"It is true," he stated, "that the Supreme Pontiff had a critical attitude to issues which, from his religious standpoint, he believed were poorly accomplished in socialist countries. We should not forget that in Poland, his native country, the nation and the Catholic religion were born at the same time, indissolubly united, a fact that was underestimated by that socialist state, where many errors were committed including those related to respect for different beliefs.

If this is what passes for a "socialist analysis" in Cuba these days, they're in very bad shape indeed!

First of all, there was no such thing as Poland when Catholicism was born...and it was something of a historical accident that modern Poland wasn't Russian Orthodox rather than Catholic. The idea that a particular nation and a particular superstition are "indissolubly united" is just a-historical. Do the Athenians still worship Zeus or the Romans Jupiter?

Secondly, Catholicism in Poland in 1942 was both pro-fascist and overtly anti-semitic at the very time this bastard joined the priesthood! Evidently, fascism and anti-semitism didn't bother him a bit...then.

Thirdly, Polish socialism after 1945 "bent over backwards" to conciliate the Church...not only fully restoring the main cathedral in downtown Warsaw (reduced to rubble during the German occupation) but even building brand new cathedrals. (!!!)

And this in a period of terrible shortages in housing, schools, etc., due to the destruction inflicted by the Nazi occupation. (!!!)

When the Solidarity group emerged in Poland, its initial agenda was to reform Polish socialism and make it more responsive to the Polish working class.

The Vatican had a different agenda...and "you-know-who" directly funneled $50 million in CIA money through the churches in Poland to impose a reactionary agenda on Solidarity: the overthrow of socialism and the restoration of capitalism!

Of course, it is true that more fundamental factors were at work steadily undermining any chance that Polish socialism had to succeed.

But we're talking here about "the main guy" who actually did the deed!

And rejoiced in the doing of it!

Where was the pope's "respect for differing opinions" then?


The Pope was not born or educated to destroy socialism. "Making him responsible for the fall of this system in Europe is to make a simplistic analysis of history," he confirmed.

Quite so. He was a "tool" of counter-revolution and not the only one.

What is important here is that he was a willing tool -- he consciously dedicated his life to counter-revolution as well as the propagation of a particularly barbarous superstition.


[Castro] declared that if Cuban socialism were to collapse one day, the blame would lie with no else but ourselves. He also emphasized that once the Cold War was over, the Pope was very critical of the capitalist system.

Also quite so. The leading cadre of the Communist Party of Cuba should be held responsible for the triumph of counter-revolution -- if that takes place.

And one of the most serious counts in history's indictment will be permitting and even encouraging a reactionary superstition to spread its rot throughout the revolutionary society.

When the Archbishop of Santiago is on hand to sprinkle "holy water" on the arriving American tanks, will history "absolve you" then?

As to the pope's "criticisms of capitalism"...who cares? They were entirely pro forma -- like almost everything he ever publicly said. The only time he ever revealed his real views in public is when he was attacking adolescent sexuality, attacking women's reproductive freedom, etc. Privately, he was promoting the clerical fascist cult Opus Dei.

Some people make much of his "opposition" to the imperialist invasion of Iraq. But you ought to know what he could have done if he'd been serious about that.

The Catholic Church is an absolute monarchy. The pope could have declared that any Catholic who participates in the war against Iraq will be summarily ex-communicated.

(That means automatically "go to Hell".)

The chances of that were about the same as the chances that he would have converted to Judaism.


Fidel narrated his personal experience of religion, dating back to his childhood, and expressed his conviction that the religious sentiments and beliefs of each individual are strictly personal and deserve the utmost respect. "This attitude is the one that should accompany a revolutionary, a politician," he said, and affirmed that we have always fought for dignity, freedom and the rights of all human beings.

Those are the words of a politician...but are unfit for the mouth of a revolutionary.

Stupid ideas, reactionary ideas, etc. do not deserve respect! They need to be attacked until they are altogether driven out of public life.


The Pope was received in Cuba in 1998, said Fidel, and in his sermon that was transmitted across the world, our people recognized the battle that the Supreme Pontiff was waging against underdevelopment, poverty, the external debt and the pillaging of countries, and for the globalization of solidarity, ideas with which the Revolution fully agrees.

After Poland became a capitalist country with a quasi-official role for the Church, the pope's main "battle" was against uppity women, rebellious theologians, and horny teenagers.


...John Paul II was very amiable and respectful and one could almost say affectionate. "He was a man with a noble face, who genuinely inspired respect, and that impression was shared by all the comrades present at that dialogue.

Sorry for that one; the reader might want to take something for their stomach at this point.


"In that context, within the empire and in other places, the Pope’s visit came as something that would lead to the final collapse of socialism in Cuba. They believed that the Revolution would tumble down like the walls of Jericho before the sound of trumpets. But the Pope did not bring trumpets, nor did he come with the intention of destroying the Revolution."

Oh yes he did come with that purpose; the fact that he did not accomplish it at once was probably a life-long disappointment to him.

Why did he fail?


"We tried to give him the reception that he merited, for which it was necessary to explain to many of our compatriots (as he did on television) the significance of that visit and to clarify John Paul II’s position to many people, and the historical and personal conditions that shaped his vision against socialism and communism." tried to give him "a warm reception" and you failed. You actually had to order party cadres to turn out for him and not to heckle the turd.

And most Cubans just ignored him.

They showed more revolutionary sense than you did.


In another part of his address, the president spoke of Hugo Chávez as a revolutionary of the ideas of Bolívar and Martí, with correct interpretations of Christianity, as his thinking takes into account the Christ who was always on the side of the poor. Fidel observed that Chávez has known how to evaluate the history and traditions of his people.

"The Christ who was always on the side of the poor"?

Didn't do much for them, did he?

"Gods" never do much for the poor, do they?

Since Castro is a baseball fan, I'll offer this analogy. One of the saddest sights in baseball is when a once great ballplayer has gotten too old to play the game at the level he once played it...and yet refuses to hang up his spikes. He still wants to be out there on the field...even when his play is now just embarrassing.

In revolutionary politics, the sight is even sadder.
First posted at RevLeft on April 14, 2005


And their corollary is: The blame for the collapse of the pseudo-socialist regimes in Eastern Europe lies with those regimes themselves.

One part of their bureaucratic rottenness, their dictatorship over and against the proletariat, was their denial of freedom of religion. Redstar's position on this is wholly in the Stalinist tradition, and directly opposite to the position of Marx and Engels. Cuba has acted in the communist rather than Stalinist tradition, on freedom of religion as well as other respects...and that's why it's still standing while the apparatchik regimes have crumbled.

"Denial of freedom of religion"? What a load of crap!

Didn't you read my post or did you just skip over the parts you didn't like?

The Polish "Stalinists" rebuilt the massive cathedral in downtown was little more than a very large pile of rubble after the Nazis were finally driven out!

They even built the Church some new cathedrals!

Perhaps what you really mean by "freedom of religion" is that the government and the media must always speak "with respect" and even "deference" towards a barbarous superstition and its defenders.

You really want us to believe that's what Marx and Engels had in mind?

Pull the other leg; it's got bells on it. *laughs*
First posted at RevLeft on April 15, 2005


The Cuban state doesn't do either: suppress or support religion. This is called separation of church and state.

I recall a thread here from the not-too-distant past in which the Cuban government provided resources for the restoration of a nunnery.

You might ask yourself: where do the resources for the maintenance of Cuba's extensive network of cathedrals come from, anyway?

And isn't there a big statue of "Jesus" at the entrance to the harbor at Havana? (I didn't notice it when I was there...but I think I remember reading about it.)

Maybe the next pope will make Che a "saint", eh?


And Cuba's socialist revolution continues strong...

Optimist. It looks to me like it's steadily weakening.

More precisely, its resistance to U.S. imperialism remains strong...but it terms of any positive social goals, there seems to be no remaining interest.


"The blood of martyrs is the seed of the church" as the early Christians proved. You can't kill ideas.

Oh? Big turnout at your neighborhood Temple of Zeus this weekend? You don't have one? Golly, me neither. Christianity killed off its old rivals very effectively.

And what happened to Christianity in medieval Japan? As I recall, the Japanese shoguns crushed it like an insect.

The truth of the matter is that public approbation is the life-blood of superstition. Denied public expression, religion really does (mostly) "wither away".


The Cuban revolutionary leadership has confidence their ideas can prevail in debate. Confidence in Marxist ideas, in the capability of the party membership for political and ideological combat, in the support of working people for the revolution.

Maybe...though I would call it complacency rather than "confidence".

Another possibility is that some of the "Cuban revolutionary leadership" are closet Catholics themselves.

One thing is obvious -- if Castro's speech is a representative sampling -- and that is that there's no longer any semblance of struggle against religion from a Marxist standpoint in Cuba today. Indeed, Castro's attitude towards religion is "warm" and "friendly".

I hope that the younger generation of communists in Cuba feels differently -- and will put a stop to this crap as soon as Castro retires.

But I am not optimistic on that all.


Odd that a self-proclaimed anti-authoritarian would criticize them for...being insufficiently authoritarian.

I guess I will keep having to make this point over and over again for the brief remainder of my life.

I am not "anti-authoritarian" when it comes to reactionary and counter-revolutionary ideas and/or their proponents.

In this case, I would begin with the summary deportation of the entire Catholic clergy presently in Cuba...and I would not let any of them back in.

And I'd certainly blow up that stupid Jesus monument (if it does exist).

And rename "Santiago" ("Saint James")...maybe name it after Che.

Oh what a terrible "Stalinist" I am. *laughs*
First posted at RevLeft on April 17, 2005
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