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Tuesday, October 19, 2004


Josh LEgere

Marc - You know why the broke up the rock concert? Because rock is another form of US Imperialism.

If the US wasn't constantly medling in Cuban affairs they would have the best Rock N Roll scene in the world.

Fidel had to break up the concert... It is all the US's fault


Marc, a great post. I admire this young man for speaking out as he has done.

Sad to say that most "revolutions" end up eating their young.


Get him out of there.

I want cigars.



What a courageous guy. He's right,,,today they would all be shot.


PS Hey Marc are you sure Bush doesn't bite? I mean nobody thought Mike Tyson was a biter before it happened, right?


I myself remain appalled at our national media and politicians for not making a bigger issue of Cuba. These days all you ever hear about is the coup in Haiti and the human rights violations running rampant in Haiti. It's time for some balance for god sake...

Marc Cooper

Thanks steve.. for ur usual crapola. I will make sure that from now on whenever I want to write about an injustice, even ones involvinf individuals I know, I will first check to make sure that there is a proper balance in the media. What a ridiuclous response. But predicatble because you are incapable of articulating any critique of Cuba within its own terms. Sad, pardner.


Wrong, I'm merely making a valid point that the obsession with Cuba in this country is really kind of wierd when compared to the simultaneous ignoring [i.e. societally wide] of the worse human rights situations in nearby countries.
I'm not surprised that there are distortions of socialist ideals in Cuba, how, after all, could there not be under the conditions in which it has developed? I don't take for granted as you do that leftists are unaware that the problems you cite exist, but I do believe that you ignore other important questions that are equally important. For example, how much freedom can be possible in a society that is 90 miles from the US and openly challenges US foreign policy in the region? It seems that it's not unfair to say that to you that is an unimportant question. To others, even those you are friends with, it remains an issue worth putting out there, as sticky as it is.
I recognise however that that matter is something that you find offensive, therefore the result to namecalling instead of taking the argument seriously.

Marc Cooper

How much freedom is possible in a scoiety 90 miles from the US that challenges US policy? Well.. I would say complete freedom. What you don't get, what you will never get, is that the Left has GREATER responsibiities in keeping the Left honest. One reason we DONT have a left in the country by the way, is that as Stalinism seized the socialist movement in the 30's, the left for the most part ceded to the former and justified, and justified, and justified every outrage the Soviets and its satellites could cook up. It's not a difficult reflex to understand, steve. Indeed, you put it on display every day. After all, just how much freedom could Cubans really have anyway, as you put it! Why dont u ask them instead of me? Or I suppose you know the answer. Fidel isnt the devil.. It's rather the Devil who forces sweet old Uncle Fidel to be the tyrant is, holding on to a one-man dictatorship for 45 years -- so far.

And do you really believe that someone who has had the experiences I have, that someone who worked for Salvador Allende and survived the 1973 coup "ignores" all these "other important questions"? That's ridiculous and, yes, slightly offensive, pal. So you got that MUCH right.

You know, steve, I'll let you and the few readers of this blog in on something I dont talk much about. But when I was in Chile, every Wednesday night for about six months in a row, I would spend the night on the roof of the two story Chilean Central Workers Federation building in Santiago, sleeping in a sleeping bag, literally behind sand bags. Along with the 3 other volunteer guards I had a well-oiled and fully loaded AK-47 at my side-- the Czech model to be exact. Now... do you think that on those evenings I spent like that I "ignored" those "other important questions" that you raised? That my little mind couldnt conceive of the dangers that faced a government like Allende's???? (Sorry GMRoper I know u just passed out hearing this).

I'll tell you something else, steve. I was trained to use that rifle -- it was part of what I did as a member of Allende's Socialist Party. And I was ready to use it against any force that would have tried to attack the constitutional and elected government... at least that's what I told myself( The coup came on a Monday night/Tuesday morning so I was spared a test under fire, fortunately). The main threat we faced up on that roof came from literal Fascists organized into a paramilitary group known as Patria y Libertad. But my Socialist friends and I would have gladly turned those guns on the Communists or any other faction that would have threateed the democracy we all enjoyed.

So save your ridiuclous lectures on why Cubans cant have democracy for some other venue. When Castro falls, Cuba is going to fall very far to the right, unfortunately. One reason, an important reason, is that as Fidel has usurped all power over the years and democratic dissidents have struggled for a voice, most of the international left, including elements like you, have scorned them or ignored them. (I believe I remember you saying you had decided not to even sign the symbolic letter of protest against last years roundup and jailing of dissidents so apparently they're not worth a penny of ink to you). Right now, today, tonight, the best hope for preserving the best of Cuban society (health care, education, etc) in a post-Castro Cuba would be to strengthen and bolster the internal democratic forces. You, on the other hand, would rather just change the subject to Haiti. Fine. Remember that a few years from now when the ultra-right is governing Cuba. (Though I suppose that will give you ONE more reason to wax nostalgic for the good old days of Castroism and then you might even sign a petition for the same dissidents many of whom will be jailed again).


I'm not at all convinced of that, I've heard good friends of yours ask the same exact questions that I just asked, yet I've never heard you refer to them as "Stalinists" or worse. It's just hard for you to believe that such questions have a place in serious discussion of socialism. It's all let the CIA do as it please in a socialist country or nothing.
The Stalinism issue? You know full well that the decline of the left had far more to do with the attack on labor unions in the 1940's and 50's due to the hyperexaggarated sense of a Soviet "threat" to American capitalism. Yet, you write as though it had nothing to do with the fall of the left in American politics.
Surely the factors you bring in are part of the picture. The dominant one? I doubt it and plenty of serious thinking doubt it. Easier to label them as Stalinists (me, a big fan of Simon Clarke, Robert Brenner, Adolph Reed, a "Stalinist", ha ha ha...).
I wasn't arguing with the Marc Cooper of 1973, I thought I was arguing with the Marc Cooper of 2004. I don't doubt that you took those issues very seriously in 1973 and there are many of us who also still ask if the Chile model failed, what models are available for socialist development under constant attack from the most powerful capitalist country in the world? I don't claim there are simple answers, I'm just saying that those on the left like yourself who harp on about the lack of freedom in Cuba rarely address yourself to such real and relevant questions.
I remember saying that I wouldn't sign that petition for the same reasons given by a person you claim you are close friends with. Then you proceed to attack me for not signing that petition as not signing indicates the worst possible things about a person...What can I say, the inconsistency is remarkable.
It is possible that Cuba will veer far to the right, it is possible that it won't. I'm not as sure as you that Cuba's future is so black and white.


BRAVO MARC !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Marc Cooper

No problem Steve.. cutting through all the BS, we're gonna mark u down right where u belong in the "abstain" column when it comes to supporting Cuban democrats.

And for the record, steve. American socialism didnt fail because of McCarthyite attacks. McCarthy merely mopped up the remnants of a mass suicide. About 95% of the international left meekly succumbed to Stalinism in its different forms. By associating the ideas of marxism and socialism with some of the more monstruous regimes around totally discredited the very notion of alternatives to capitalism. The same way you hem and haw over Cuban injustice is but a pale echo of the roaring complicity that most of the organized left had with the Gulag. I suppose you would conclude that my saying that Stalin did 20 million times more damage to the left than Joe McCarthy would make me a McCarthyite. OK, if it works for you. I don't care. Im immune to that sort of cheap ideological blackmail. Stone cold immune.
So while we're on these issues, let me pop ur other little cherry: Do you think Im so stupid to NOT know that one can be on the left and be someone full of compassion and honesty? Do you really think I dont know Adolph Reed, for example? You really, really dont get it. My entire adult life (actually going back to my teenage life) is immersed with an independent and critical left. So please cease and desisit your little lectures on this.
But because I do believe in freedom, in a freedom that cannot be fully realized when people and their labor are bought and sold in the market, I consider enemies of freedom to be my enemy -- regardless of the color of the their rhetoric. I am ESPECIALLY opposed to those who soil the principles that are dearest to me.
So, yes, steve.. you are right for once. I am indeed MORE outraged by an injustice committed by an oppressive Cuabn state that operates in the name of a humanitarian revolution than I am by injustice committed by those who are brazenly contemptuous of human dignity.
That, in short, is the inseparable gulf between you and me and I much prefer my side of the canyon, thank you very much.


No, Marc, I know full well you know Adolph Reed. Thus my amazement that you should automatically assume that anyone on the left who disagrees with you on a particular issue is the enemy.
I doubt you seriously mean what you say about the implications of my 'abstaining'. Or if what you say is true, fine, it's true of your friends whom I agree with in their challenges to your perspective on Cuba.
I don't hem and haw, in fact as I said, I can understand why a Noam Chomsky would sign that petition and why a Doug Henwood wouldn't sign the petition...Both positions have their strong points, I find myself in this instance agreeing more with Henwood, whom I know you know, as I know you know Reed too.
The reality is that you react to my politics as though they are so thoroughly vile...yet they really are not that different from friends of yours. Much easier to just cast me as the enemy.

Marc Cooper

Im bored with this and so must be other readers. For this thread I will be deleting any new comments that arent pertinent to the subject of the post.


And no, thanks for putting words in my mouth, but no I wouldn't say what you say makes you a McCarthyite. That doesn't change that I disagree with your argument that Stalin was far more responsible for the fall of the left than other factors that were as powerful or more in the fall of the US left.

Josh Legere

My comment at the top was satire of course... How rock bands became dangerous is insane. But it is important to note that Castro has done a lot of permanent damage to Cuban music and culture. Many Cuban artists were stifled and for that, the world missed out on a lot of great music.

Mr. Cooper is on point on this thread. He is one of the few on the "left" today who actually lived through a CIA engineered coup. Wouldn't that give him the least bit of credibility with you Steve? Maybe more than someone like Naomi Klein?

The history of left politics has proven that most of the time the individuals, who strived for moral and intellectual consistency, even when it is at odds with the pack, do the most service for the left.


Great post, Marc.

"Let’s be honest, a young rebel like Fidel Castro in today’s Cuba wouldn’t be sent into exile. He’s be shot.”

We could spend a week of nights just discussing these lines---and how this phenom replicates itself in a zillion other places, from philosophical movements, to religions, to national governments....and on and on…

PS: By the way, I also suspect Bush is a biter.

William Meisheid

>One reason we DONT have a left in the country by the way

Is that political messianism just doesn't work. Heck, it doesn't even work in the church where all this started due to the inherent corruption in the hearts of the people who have to manage the thing. Fidel now is the natural evolution of Fidel then. Socialism just doesn't work and lacks the freedoms that enable real correction as is always necessary. It becomes nothing more than entrenched destructive bureaucracy.


Marc, you HAD TO KNOW that I couldn't let the remark about being on the rooftops go without making SOME comment.

So, as not to disappoint you (and to hope you don't delete this comment as being OT...) here goes.

I am totally unsurprised that you carried a rifle, on the roof, to repulse the comming hoardes...communist...reactionary...capitalist running dogs...whatever!

From a psychological point of view, almost all revolutionaries "arm themselves" against the counter-revolutionists. This is part of the revolutionary mindset and goes way back to Marx and Engles. In part, it stems from an inwardly looking (though it will be denied by all and sundry) belief that a revolution, in spite of it's rhetoric, is a theft of a government in the belief that the revolutions goals are more important and more laudable than the goals of those revolted against - and we are all taught that theft is wrong.

This does NOT apply to just leftist revolutions, but indeed to all revolutions. The human tendency is to "let things be" and ONLY those who are true-believers are going to be the ones to take up arms to get the revolution started.

But, all revolutions eventually succumb to the status quo and then become the entrenched foe as it were. As I said earlier, the Revolution always eats it's young because the young then become the ones that believe that their objections to the "betrayed" goals (of the original revolutionists) are more important and more laudable than the goals of those (now the status quo) revolted against.

Marc, you are an idealist (and that is a complement my friend, not a put-down) as are the vast majority of the left. We on the right, on the other hand, are also idealists. We just believe that human freedom and the freedom of choice (Read William Glasser's "Choice Theory: A New Psychology of Personal Freedom"). When a revolution has outlived it's usefulness (and become part of the status quo) a new group rises to rebel. Thus, you get young Mr. Gueverra, Ms. Stalin, Ron Reagan, etc. rising up to declaim that the "goals of the revolution" are either being betrayed or were not truly implemented in the first place.

However, it is axiomatic that we have choices and those choices are based on the following "10 Axioms of Choice Theory:"
1. The only person whose behavior we can control is our own. 2. All we can give another person is information. 3. All long-lasting psychological problems are relationship problems. 4. The problem relationship is always part of our present life. 5. What happened in the past has everything to do with what we are today, but we can only satisfy our basic needs right now and plan to continue satisfying them in the future.
6. We can only satisfy our needs by satisfying the pictures in our Quality World. 7. All we do is behave. 8. All behavior is Total Behavior and is made up of four components: acting, thinking, feeling and physiology. 9. All Total Behavior is chosen, but we only have direct control over the acting and thinking components. We can only control our feeling and physiology indirectly through how we choose to act and think. And
10. All Total Behavior is designated by verbs and named by the part that is the most recognizable.

I suspect that I will get some strong disagreement about all of the above but that's OK, it's part of what makes political argument so exciting (Almost exciting as say being in a sleeping bag on a rooftop with a loaded AK-47 and hearing a strange noise - the heart pounds - the palms get cold and clammy - the heart races - breathing deepens - muscles tense - the urge to urinate or deficate gets momintarily intense - fight or flight takes ahold of your entire being and then you usually realize that it is a false alarm.)

So, no Marc, I'm not surprised, it just adds to my admiration of you as a thoughtful human being. I can't help it that you are wrong about Bush though, that's your only flaw as far as I can see. :-) (huge grin inserted here).

George Mann Roper, III
(in case any one was wondering what the GM was for)


**Im bored with this and so must be other readers. For this thread I will be deleting any new comments that arent pertinent to the subject of the post.**

What a pity - maybe I'm an idiot, but I found that exchange pretty interesting. There's not much doubt which of you I sympathize with, but I thought that (by Steve's standards, at least) it was a pretty honest and revealing exchange.



"Wouldn't that give him the least bit of credibility with you Steve?"

Actually Josh, I wrote, in response to Bonnie a very nice reply full of compliments and acknowledgements of Marc's past involvement in Chile, etc. Marc decided to delete it, apparently it didnt conform with the image he wants you , ROsedog, or Bonnie to have, namely that I don't acknowledge that.

Rosedog, your impression is indeed limited due to the fact that a very kind response that I made to Bonnie was immediately deleted, thus the mistaken impression you have of me.

Marc Davidson

Very revealing dialog between Marc and Steve. The recourse of the talk show host is to resort to insults or finally hang up (censor the postings) when the caller becomes too threatening. Boring, it wasn't, and in fact right on target with regard to principled versus practical response from the Left to the shortcomings of the Cuban revolution.


Maria Gattorno, the 'Holy Mary of Heavy Metal'
By Dalia Acosta

HAVANA, Apr 28 (IPS) - A visitor to Cuba would be hard-pressed to find anyone in the capital who hasn't heard of ''Maria's Patio'', where for 12 years lovers of rock 'n roll have found a cultural home and, above all, compassion and understanding.

Maria Gattorno, 50, still has a hard time explaining just how she won the trust of a group of young Cubans who, until then, had only been misunderstood, rejected and marginalised for being different.

It is even harder to explain how she managed to break through the longstanding prejudices and persuade a government cultural institution to open its doors, no holds barred, to rock 'n roll.

When Gattorno, then-assistant director of the 'Casa Communal de la Cultura Roberto Branly' (Roberto Branly Community House of Culture) in downtown Havana, took up the cause of a group of musicians and music lovers, rock music and its trappings Cuba's socialist regime appeared irreconcilable.

''God must protect the innocent,'' Gattorno told IPS. ''I was like a little red ridinghood, lost in the forest and surrounded by 14 hungry wolves. I attacked one wolf first, then another, and defeated them one by one.'' Juan Miguel Sanchez, a 30-year-old writer who describes himself as a ''rockero'' or rock fan, wrote in an unpublished manuscript that for years, ''narrow-minded government officials saw rock as a blemish of capitalist corruption trying to lead Cuban youth astray from the sacred task of building socialism.'' When the thin, quiet-spoken Gattorno urged rock lovers to follow her in 1988, social rejection of rock fans and their noisy music, and especially young men with long hair, tight jeans and earrings, was widespread in Cuba.

''My dream has been to demonstrate that any stereotype is false, and to get people to stop being scared of them, to accept them as they are...People must be judged for who they are, and not by how they look,'' says Gattorno.

''I never tire of saying it. Among the rock fans there are all kinds of people - good, bad, university students, unemployed, workers, fanatics of rock as a culture, and people who simply enjoy listening to the music,'' she adds.

Gattorno says she was the first to be surprised at the discovery of such a ''strong, but at the same time heterogeneous, community.'' Over the past 12 years, ''so many youngsters have come through the 'Patio' (as the Casa Comunal has come to be known). I've seen them grow up, fall in love and have kids,'' she says.

Gattorno, who only half-jokes that life begins in the forties, stresses that the important thing is to ''break down the norms'' or rules, no matter how hard you have to try.

The activist did not have any real problems winning over the rock fans. After the initial ''cynical guffaws'' when they first heard her proposal, they jumped on the bandwagon and became true believers.

But it was a different story with high-level culture authorities.

''In the end, I don't know if it wasn't sexism that kept them from telling me to get lost,'' says Gattorno. ''It was like the indulgent macho letting you do things, but not because they believe in, or even understand, your idea.'' Whatever the case, the rock fans finally found a space of their own in Cuba's cultural scene, and in the past decade, ''Maria's Patio'', or courtyard, has become famous in Havana.

Promoted to director of the institution last year, Gattorno obtained funding from the state and from a solidarity movement in Spain's Basque Country to keep the Casa Comunal from ''falling down'' around her.

Sanchez and other rock fans see the Patio as ''the place where history was changed,'' and Gattorno as a sort of ''Holy Mary of Heavy Metal.'' Located near the poor neighbourhood of La Timba and some 200 metres from the Plaza de la Revolucion, where the socialist government of Fidel Castro has its seat, the state-run cultural institution seemed to be the least likely cultural home for rock lovers.

Nevertheless, after initial incredulity, concerts began to take place one after another, the ''peludos'', or long-haired ones, took over the Casa Comunal, and Gattorno converted it into her Patio, a place open to any idea that was ''at least a little crazy,'' according to Sanchez.

Besides the concerts held on a shoestring budget on an improvised stage, the Casa Comunal has hosted debates on vampirism, cyberpunk and sex, a tattoo festival, and art exhibitions based on the ''criteria of no criteria.'' ''You paint, bring it to me, and we'll exhibit it,'' says Gattorno. ''Based on that concept, the most spectacular collective expositions seen in Cuba have been held here.'' ''You mustn't be afraid of dealing with any issue,'' she says, recalling that when the first HIV-positive (human immunodeficiency) rock fans turned up in 1991, the Patio immediately got involved in preventive actions unprecedented in Cuba.

'Rock vs AIDS' is the name of the project which has also incorporated the distribution of condoms into all of the Patio's activities, held meetings with people living with AIDS, and handed out informational pamphlets drawn up by the rock fans themselves.

Gattorno also began to work in prevention of drug abuse and alcoholism when ''no one wanted to talk about those things.'' Although she hasn't had big problems with substance abuse in the Patio, she has always held that ''even if just one youngster takes a psychotropic substance and mixes it with alcohol, he or she merits attention. You can't ignore it, because it's like a growing snowball.'' Gattorno points out that alcohol has never been sold in the Patio, nor are people allowed to bring in bottles. She says the question of drugs and alcohol has been discussed but from the view point of informing people of the pitfalls and allowing them to make their own decisions.

Those who choose to indulge are not turned away. They are supported and cared for despite but the education process continues.

Gattorno says she tells them; ''I am informing you of the consequences, and if you choose the worst way out, it will hurt me very much, but I will still be the same person, I will love you just the same, and I will even hold your head while you throw up."


"Very revealing dialog between Marc and Steve. The recourse of the talk show host is to resort to insults or finally hang up (censor the postings) when the caller becomes too threatening."

yes, and what was perceived as a threat was that I complimented him very graciously! No end to the irony, no wonder Bonnie or Rosedog are so confused...


Steve..... Nothing in my above post pertained to you, kiddo---either negative or positive.

I enjoy your posts. (When you seem over the top to me, I skim, as I'm sure people do with mine, when I get overly wordy or whatever.)

So I haven't a clue what you're talking about.

Unless you're referring to my "Bush is a biter," line, which was simply a silly nonsequeter written as a sort of nonsensical response to what Ken wrote. ("Hey Marc are you sure Bush doesn't bite? I mean nobody thought Mike Tyson was a biter before it happened, right?")

When my son was little, a pre-school teacher once mentioned that it was a rule of thumb that, in every class of kids that age, there was inevitably one "biter.” (Thankfully my kid was a maniacal climber of every available pole, ladder, or play structure, but not a biter.)

I was simply amused at the notion of Bush as a pre-school biter.

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