Communiqué from Comunistas on the trials of the protesters of July 11, 2021
Every State is repressive, Lenin affirmed in his book “The State and the Revolution.” To this we must add something fundamental: the political character of the State also determines which class the State represses. During the transition to communism, the socialist state represses the bourgeoisie and the counterrevolution; therefore, the State that represses the working class because it protests demanding economic claims, is a State far from being socialist.
The days of July 2021 precipitated a political crisis in Cuba that marked a turning point in its history. The starving crowds that came out from the periphery to demand medicine, food, social and economic improvements in general, crashed against a political system which increasingly reserves revolutionary and socialist ideas only for speeches. You can't think like the people if you don't live like the people. The bureaucracy that exacerbated the economic crisis by imposing the Ordering Task is the sector of society that has suffered the least from the effects of its measures.
Unheard by the bureaucracy, thousands of workers expressed their legitimate discontent in the streets in the July days. The explosion of July 11 was not only the product of the deepest Cuban economic crisis in 30 years added to the tightening of the imperialist blockade. The July days were also the product of accumulated discontent due to a long social neglect in most popular neighborhoods: severely damaged roads, precarious public lighting and sewerage; scarce cultural policies directed to the spiritual needs of the economically vulnerable sectors and a deep socioeconomic inequality.
What can the Cuban working class do when the bureaucracy does not listen to it? When its young intellectuals are politically questioned every time they criticize, even branded as counterrevolutionaries; when the unions are far from fulfilling the mandate of the working class and the working class is far from having power? July 11 was nothing more than a desperate act by the Cuban working class.
According to a report published on the website of the Attorney General of the Republic of Cuba on January 25 this year, at least 790 people were detained either during the July 11 demonstrations or for being linked in one way or another to the protests. These figures show just how large the July 11 demonstrations were, as it is a fact that most of those who demonstrated were not arrested.
Since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, thousands of citizens -- and in almost all the main cities of the country -- had never protested in the streets demanding social and economic improvements. Therefore, what might seem like a customary figure in the rest of the world, turns out to be a unique political event in Cuba. The left that downplays the events of July 11 and turns a deaf ear to what happened during and after the protests, is oblivious to the reality of the Cuban working class. The left that has stood in solidarity with the protesters -- or at least taken a detailed interest in the July 11 protests -- fulfills its socialist commitment to stand with the working class. Let us remember Leon Trotsky when he said that to identify the Revolution with the leading bureaucracy, not with the working class is to betray the revolution.
At the same time, Comunistas makes explicit that our solidarity does not extend to those who work for the United States and seek to impose a pro-imperialist and anti-communist capitalist dictatorship in Cuba. We do not appeal for Daniel Ferrer and company. Nor do we join in the media campaigns launched by the right-wing media and representatives of imperialism. Our solidarity appeal is for the working class, not with those who conspire to impose a system that subjects the working class to imperialist exploitation. Our criticism of the bureaucracy is not in alliance with the right and the counterrevolution.
On the other hand, the “lumpen” argument that the government has thrown at the protesters is dismantled piece by piece when, according to the same figures shown in the aforementioned report by the Attorney General's Office, only 21% of those arrested had a criminal record.
Of those arrested, 115 are in the age range of 16 to 20 years; 55 of them are under 18 years of age. The Prosecutor's Office has not specified the penalties imposed on the 55 citizens aged 16 to 18 years. From Communistas, we demand that these young people who are not even 20 years old be pardoned -- as long as they have not committed violence against people without it having been in the exercise of their legitimate defense. That 115 of those arrested on July 11 are under 20 years old shows the high presence of young people in the July 11 protests. That the youth had a leading role in the July 11 demonstrations speaks of a political crisis in Cuba.
From Comunistas, we consider as unacceptable the repression unleashed from power towards the protesters, repression that continues today through dissimilar trials in progress with clear political motivation. Long sentences are being imposed as an exemplary measure in order to avoid another possible July 11 through coercion. Arguments are no longer resorted to nor are revolutionary ideas used to convince. Fear is employed as a logic of submission to win. The strategy of the Communist Party of Cuba when dealing with the protests of July 11 is that of Machiavelli not Marx.
The criminalisation of the exercise of rights is one more example of how far the Cuban government is from the working class. Given the events of July 11, the communist Rosa Luxemburg’s statement when she warned the Bolsheviks has great validity: that “freedom only for those who support the government, only for the members of a party (no matter how numerous) is not freedom at all. Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for those who think differently.”
On the other hand, there are citizens who, even without being members of the police force are protected by the Government as they beat demonstrators, enjoy total impunity or at least no public reference has been made regarding them. The weight of the law must also fall on these citizens. It is unknown if police who unfairly used violence on protesters have been sanctioned.
From Comunistas, we condemn the repression unleashed against the demonstrators who demanded economic and social improvements by participating in the July 11 protests. We reject the disproportionate sentences handed out to not a few of those detained as a result of the July days. We also demand a pardon for those under 20 years of age who have not attempted to take anyone’s life ---as long as the right to self-defense has not been exercised. We also demand the release of those who have been subjected to unfair trials. We request public clarification of the events committed on July 11. We demand the immediate approval of the law regarding demonstrations so that the right to express oneself in the streets is neither illegal, nor that it continues to criminalize and politically attack those who exercise the right to protest.
Down with anti-working class repression!
Socialism without freedom is oppression and censorship!
Down with the imperialist blockade!
Neither bourgeois, nor counterrevolution, nor restorationist-capitalist bureaucrats!
Workers to power!
Socialism and freedom!
Forward to Communism!
January 25, 2022