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Politics, The Final Frontier (Politics)
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Well, it's not obvious to me. China is not a revolutionary state, is it? It may have had revolutionary origins but then again so did, say, the USA and Israel, and you would not call them revolutionary states now even though they have retained all the trappings of their revolutionary origins. You mustn't allow your animus against leftism to colour your view - leftists are just as capable of pragmatism as anyone else.

The Castros have not been at all pragmatic, yet they are still there ... untroubled.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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The Cuba Story Part Five

The two things that make the (political) world go round are nationality and ideology. These are generally in conflict since most important ideologies eg .liberalism, Islam, Marxism are not only supranational in themselves but involve to some degree or other the dismantling of national demarcations. All the best ideologies aspire to world dominion.

Revolutions are both national and ideological and so long as the two can be dovetailed this is a source of strength for the new regime. But since the ideological component is supranational the revolution will always spill over, so all revolutions are a source of concern to other countries. Or, of course, a source of comfort to those countries that share the ideology. All revolutionary regimes will be opposed by some, supported by some.

However ‘picking favourites’ is generally a mistake on the part of states when framing attitudes and policies towards revolutionary governments. Revolutions are by definition unpredictable and early signs are not a good guide to the eventual outcome. For instance, the recent wave of Arab Springs was universally welcomed and supported by liberal countries on the grounds that democracy and secularism are central planks of their ideology but, as things turned out, democracy more often led to Islamism and the liberal countries were soon pining for the days when secularist but non-democratic regimes held sway. Similarly, the Soviet Union always had problems with‘national’ communist regimes like China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Yugoslavia and Romania. Cuba though was definitely an exception.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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Mick Harper wrote:
The Cuba Story Part Five

The two things that make the (political) world go round are nationality and ideology. These are generally in conflict




Who are the chosen people, who is the chosen king?
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Hatty
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In: Berkshire
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All the best ideologies aspire to world dominion.

Difficult to cross national borders when you're an island. The best way would be to send off your ideologues to help out fellow-travellers. Could Cuba get involved in others' revolutions and guerrilla wars?
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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Revolutions as the name implies are circular, linked to the age of heroes, in the case of Cuba this is Jose Marti.

All Cubans whether exiled libertarian Castro haters, Castro supporters or Castro himself worshipped Marti. It's only western Marxist students who have this Guevara thing going on. I doubt Fidel Castro was ever a convinced Marxist, let alone his bro.

I won't progress this idea. I wrote Hero, when I realised that revolutions were circular, and that is it for now

BTW Hero was not Guevara, although someone refused to believe me when I told them their guess was incorrect.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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I doubt Fidel Castro was ever a convinced Marxist, let alone his bro.

This has been much discussed. The CIA conclusion was that Fidel had been much more Marxist than he had let on, preferring as you say to pose as a Martist (?). It is now thought that Raoul was even more so and acted as the purist voice of the Marxian revolution behind the scenes. I'm a bit dubious of any of this myself but certainly he/they were quite different from, say, Ho Chi Minh, Mao and Tito -- that is convinced, long term, exclusive, died-in-the-wool Marxist professionals.

If America had played her cards more wisely post-1960 (and there were voices in the administration to that effect) there is a possibility that the Cuban revolution would have been more Martist, less Marxist. The problem with that is What is Martism? Every Americas government that has been vaguely leftist and vaguely anti-US has been given the Cuban treatment. Mexico, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Chile, Nicaragua, Grenada, Panama -- have I forgotten any?

Cuba's the only one that survived in tact, the only one that got Great Power backing, the only one that adopted the Great Power's ideology. But I agree the jury's still out. I don't think either Fidel or Raoul can answer the question.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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One of my beefs is 'public vs private?' and why you should eschew a priori assumptions, judging each case on its merits. Then you can apply a priori beliefs if you think you can manage this difficult feat. The latest example that crossed my desk was the DVLA when I had to renew my driving licence. The form contained this

You must answer both A and B or we will send your application back to you
A: Can you meet the legal eyesight standard for driving Yes/No
B: Do you need to wear glasses to meet this standard Yes/No

So I ticked No to A, I don't meet the legal standard but Yes to B, I wear glasses to meet the standard and sent the form off with all the other paraphernalia proving to the DVLA's satisfaction that I was indeed Michael Xerxes Harper. In addition to the old licence that said so. Coupla weeks later the whole thing comes back with a letter pointing out that I have to tick Yes to A because of Yes to B and would I kindly scrub out and initialise No and tick and initialise Yes.

Well, I thought, I can see the ambiguous truth of this but surely I wouldn't be applying for a driving licence in the first place if No actually meant No in the DVLA's understanding of Question A. Furthermore, I thought, unless I am the smartest person in Britain, the only one capable of misconstruing this, or the dumbest person in Britain, the only one capable of misunderstanding it, people must be making the same mistake in droves. The DVLA obviously agreed since the letter is pre-prepared and clearly assumed that I had made an error rather than proceeding on the basis of answers to their own form.

Would a privatised DVLA have noticed this long ago and made a simple alteration clearing up the ambiguity once and for all thus saving us and them a whole heap of time and postage money? Not sure.
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