By Ariel Dacal Díaz
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
Friendship, family, love and politics cross in this film from side to side, which traps, sensitizes, moves thought, renews indignation, places the characters in their context and demands we take a stand on that very present past.
The film that motivates these lyrics, The Young Marx, is a daring and challenging work. It brings to our time an accessible and necessary Marx, both by his thought and his conduct.
This is material that takes up ideas with more than a century of statements, but which are not old at all: abolishing property as a natural right, unraveling the materialism of human conflicts, understanding work as the primary source of the creation of social wealth and assuming criticism as a revolutionary method of emancipation.
The film offers revolutionary and loving content at the same time. It tells us about the life of a young man who, without looking for future transcendence, lived his constant conflicts with passion. A man aware of the paradox of his existence: having written so much about money having so little money. The young man who confesses to his close friend: “I need to write, but I also need to feed my family. He who, along with the material deprivation, suffered persecution and confronted the authorities in every country he stepped on. As Eduardo Galeano recalls, “this prophet of the transformation of the world spent his life fleeing from the police and the creditors”.
The story of the young Marx is also one of paradigmatic friendship with the young Engels, who became an irreplaceable complement to his theoretical and political creation, in support of his existential contradictions and indispensable economic support of the family in the face of the difficulties the German philosopher had in finding stable paid work.
Jenny of Westphalia, his wife, was a vital force in the life of the Moor (as he was known); another fair and wise recreation by the film. She was a critical, enlightened, scathing woman, consistent with ideals that led her to renounce her aristocratic privileges; who was, at the same time, a loving spouse, a supporter in daily material life and a companion of great intellectual depth.
The young philosopher, recreated in almost two hours of fiction, took up the struggle against the horrors of nascent capitalism with vehemence and certainty. He understood, demonstrated and criticized the exploitative essence of this socio-economic system, and chose to be on the side of the workers in this struggle. He testified to the coherence between the ideas put forward and the practice of life: he interpreted the world and dedicated himself to transforming it. He went further and proposed an alternative: communist society.
This man committed too many transgressions throughout his life to be forgiven by the usurers of history and their emissaries. It is an impertinent ghost that awakens the wrath of the powerful of the earth; those who in the face of the fear of losing their privileges are capable, to avoid it, of the most atrocious episodes. Marx, the spoilsport of the conformists, the crowd agitator, the one who harasses the power of the powerless, is a danger with which they have not been able to deal.
The bundle of lies, half-truths and distortions poured out on his life; the refined, scientific and enlightened criticism that flatly denies him; the attempt to reduce his ideas to a condition of utopia without a future and the foisted faults that do not touch him, fade before his transparent, verifiable, radical, sharp and undeniable truth.
It is not by chance or whim that Marx returns again and again. A world of established injustices still persists and must be interpreted, criticized and transformed.
It is no accident that I come back young and ask you in a radical way, “What is your political position in life? If you haven’t asked yourself this question yet, then I recommend this film.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
“America is at war with itself. It is actually a function of the nation’s heritage, the past that challenges specific aspects of a modern present. This gives rise to a flow of traditions. Racism, a pseudo-border mentality and religious fundamentalism persist at the present time. These are the traditions that characterized the first half of the nation’s history, and while some of them may have retreated into latency in the last fifty years, they are now back with us. As a result, Americans are in the midst of an ongoing culture war that in many ways is as old as the nation itself.”
The paragraph above is the opening of an article published in the latest issue of the U.S. online weekly CounterPunch by Lawrence Davidson, a leading scholar who, born in a secular Jewish home in Philadelphia, was one of the founders of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) during the war against Vietnam.
In his essay, Davidson states that a racist culture took shape in American life before the founding of the United States. This culture was particularly rooted in the colonies/states of the South, where slavery became not only a fundamental economic institution, but also an institution that projected the image that the South had of itself. In the North, a racist culture was also widespread and society was segregated, but the difference was that the labour system in the North was not based on slavery.
In the South, this deep-rooted culture of racism was briefly interrupted when, after the Civil War, there was a brief period of Reconstruction (1865-1877) during which the northern military occupation suppressed most racist laws. The main reason for this was political and not social. Under the Northern occupation regime, black men were recognized as citizens and could vote. This led to support for Abraham Lincoln’s party and allowed abolitionist Republicans to retain control of Congress. Reconstruction only lasted as long as the abolitionist faction dominated. It ended in 1877.
The US military was withdrawn from the southern states. Almost immediately there was a region-wide reversion to a form of race relations in which the oppression of slavery was replaced by “Jim Crow” laws that legitimized segregation and discrimination against black people.
This situation lasted for nearly another hundred years, until in the 1960s, when a massive civil disobedience movement known as the Civil Rights Movement finally succeeded in outlawing racist practices within the public sphere in both the South and the North.
Davidson stresses that the changes were limited to the public sphere because the private sphere was left to each person’s individual will. Nothing was done to change racist perceptions and behavior within the private sphere. There was not even any effort to force the teaching of acceptance in public schools in order to better erode private racist perceptions.
Racism is an important issue in the nation’s current civil cultural war, but it is not the only one. Another is the fight for firearms laws, which are currently inadequate to ensure public safety.
The myth of the robust and armed individual is in fact a product of the television and film distortion of the history of the “old West”.
Davidson refers to the survival of nineteenth-century Christian fundamentalism, which, while not including all Christians in the country, encompasses millions of believers who still adhere to the “faith of their fathers” in a way that fosters social inequality and undermines the secular nature of the state. It is also a faith riddled with racial and gender intolerance, full of shameful hypocrisy and self-righteous self-centeredness.
The Christian right, along with gun rights enthusiasts and those who privately support a diffuse stream of racist traditionalism, believe that modern movements for equal rights, as well as the demand for security and protection communities through law and regulation, are threats to genuine American culture because they threaten the traditions of “freedom” that make their world ideologically enjoyable.
Against this backdrop, it is clear what the president means when he calls for “making America great again”.
June 7, 2018.
By Juventud Rebelde
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
History repeats itself. Arrogance, ignorance of Cuban reality and contempt for the peoples of Our America, lead once again to unacceptable, lying and manipulative statements in the mouth, this time by the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, during the OAS General Assembly, which was well defined by Cuban Foreign Minister Raul Roa Garcia as the United States Ministry of Colonies.
They are wrong again and this character makes a fool of himself when he talks about the lack of opportunities for Cuban youth and questions our rights and options for building the future. This is a gross provocation because, even for someone like him, it would be impossible to ignore the revolutionary conquests that have allowed our children, adolescents and young people to grow and develop showing impressive and irrefutable human development indices, within a society that listens, protects and empowers them.
He speaks of supporting young people and he does so on behalf of the government that is applying a criminal blockade that is widely rejected and condemned by the entire world. It’s the blockade which is responsible for limitations and shortcomings that have a direct impact on the very young people he is now hypocritically trying to defend. He offends with the double standards of those who have given support and refuge to those responsible for terrorist acts that have caused the death and physical incapacity of hundreds of young people throughout the revolutionary process.
We ask ourselves: Why does Mr Pompeo not ask for support for the millions of young people in this region – the most unequal on the planet – who are victims of unemployment, violence, disease, discrimination and extreme poverty?
The Secretary of State cynically advocates the realization of young Cuban talent by pretending that someone believes in his words, when a simple visit to Cuba or a consultation with the statistics of any international organization of education, science and culture would be enough to deny it: Thousands of doctors, hundreds of talented scientists, renowned artists in all their manifestations, champions in sport, teachers of international merit and dozens of other girls and boys of this land destroy the laughable fallacy of Pompeii.
Cuba hurts them. They know that they have not been and will not be able to reverse our history. They have witnessed the magnificent act of sovereignty that constituted the electoral process in our country, as a result of which the new generations have nurtured all levels of government, reaffirming continuity and destroying the dreams of political change that will allow them to once again be the masters of this island.
We are a generation full of motivation. They will never be able to manipulate us, nor put us at the service of imperialism and its lackeys. We are children of mambisa lineage and of a dignity learned from our historical leaders. We are the owners of our streets, those where today we walk in peace and security. We will not allow them to destroy our dreams; all our forces and energies are at the service of the Revolution.
Young Communist League
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
TRANSLATION: “But officer, I swear I didn’t know this was here!”
To date, 113 cases have been detected of goods traffic sent by 29 illegal parcel delivery agencies from abroad. There have been four reports of smuggling associated with this phenomenon, and more than three tons of products of various types have been confiscated which had tried to enter the country through these networks, the General Customs of the Republic (AGR) reported Wednesday.
Colonel Wiliam Pérez González, deputy chief of the AGR, explained that these are agencies that do not have official contracts with Cuban companies authorized to carry out these operations, and that for this purpose they use the route of encomiendas (internationally prohibited) to passengers, who accept to bring the goods in exchange for payment or compensation.
He added that this action poses a high risk, since sometimes passengers, and often even the same recipient in Cuba, are unaware of the contents of the packages, and when transporting them they may be involved in cases of trafficking in drugs and other illegal materials.
This phenomenon generates the greatest acts of corruption within the AGR, in addition to showing features of organization and impunity, from the networks developed in the country for the commercialization of goods. For all these reasons, he said, the various illegal trafficking networks related to goods are being tackled with rigor and intelligence.
Perez Gonzalez explained that, despite repeated warnings, cases continue to be detected of passengers who, without knowing, carry prohibited items as part of their luggage, thereby incurring violations or crimes punishable under current legislation.
On this subject, in April of this year, a note published on the Customs website (www.aduana.gob.cu) referred to the fact that in the cases discovered, travellers “did not know the contents of the packages”, brought “in exchange for payment made by parcel delivery agencies” dedicated to this activity “without complying with the provisions established in Cuba”, or those of the country of origin.
It also explained that since these are articles sent to third parties by agencies, “their importation acquires a commercial character”, which is prohibited by Cuban customs regulations, and “subject to the administrative sanction of confiscation, if there is no more serious crime”.
At the same time, Customs advised travellers to “refrain from being part of the chain of illegal importation of goods” which unauthorised offices “promote with commercial and enrichment interest” in order to speed up their stay at the border.
Since October 2017, the list of customers with whom the UEB Agencia Aduanal and Transitaria Palco have a parcel and service contract for the shipment of non-commercial cargo of legal trade and origin, as well as the shipping companies with which they have a contractual relationship, has been published on the aforementioned website.
What do you need to know about Customs when you arrive in Cuba?
Native-born persons, in their capacity as passengers, are not authorised to carry parcels for other natural or legal persons.
As parcels are understood those goods, packages and packages sent from abroad to third parties using the passenger to transport them.
What risks can be taken with the parcels?
They can be used for the movement and masking of substances and articles used in terrorism, drug trafficking operations and smuggling of goods, which can endanger security, human health and the environment.
The passenger who is the carrier of an order assumes the administrative or criminal responsibility derived from the breach of this regulation.
Some illegal agencies
According to Customs, among the 20 illegal agencies established in the United States are XAEL Habana, Ramiro Miltservice, Va Cuba, Cubamax Travel, Viajes Coppelia, Habana Air, Blue Cuba Travels, Xcellende Travel, Miramar Havana Corp, Rapid Multiservices, Managua Travel, Cubana Service, Caribe Express, Tocororo Travel, Mi Número Local (formerly Cuba Llama) and Central America Cargo.
Notes on shipments
For customs purposes, Shipments shall be understood to be all those received using the services provided by companies and entities expressly authorized for this purpose, either by post or courier, or by using air or sea freight, the latter by air waybill or bill of lading, as appropriate.
Shipments may not contain:
Hidden items to circumvent customs control.
Articles of the same type which, irrespective of their quantity and value, are presumed to be of a commercial nature.
Items whose value, individually or as a whole, exceeds the shipping limit of 200 pesos.
Cash and securities of any kind.
Pornography or other articles that violate morals, good manners or internal order.
Household appliances that are not allowed to be imported.
Equipment requiring prior approval from the Control and Supervision Agency of the Ministry of Informatics and Communications:
Articles of animal or plant origin prohibited by sanitary, phytosanitary and veterinary authorities.
Cuban Customs projections for 2018
Continue to strengthen the system of customs confrontation and improve actions to minimize acts of corruption and crime under a preventive, prophylactic and conscious refusal approach.
Continue to make progress on the technological modernization project to enable the timely detection of acts that threaten national security.
To promote the integral development of the training, qualification, certification and categorization of the forces (Intermediate Technician and Higher Intermediate Technician in Customs).
Continue work on computerization and improvement of customs processes (one-stop shop, authorised economic operators, etc.).
To promote institutional communication actions aimed at the internal and external public.