Marginal Notes on the Crime

Celia Hart commemorating the death of Leon Trotsky.

August 20 marked another year of the atrocious assassination of Leon Trotsky. I still don’t know if anyone bothered to place a flower to the flag of the Hammer and Sickle that stands guard over his remains. It doesn’t matter; perhaps we aren’t prepared to bury him yet. Perhaps we revolutionaries don’t understand who Raul Mercader murdered in Coyoacan.

To those who repeat to me: “you want to revive Trotsky”, I answer over and over again, and each time stronger: They will have to assassinate him again, and this time look for better and more sophisticated instruments.

And it’s like this. This August 20, 64 years after his death, old Leon is more alive than ever. And, not because more people remember him but because more people need to remember him. Life is a whim of necessity and the wind is blowing to the left.

A few days ago America began to awaken. We were the Sleeping Beauty and we’ve have enough kisses to lift up our eyes. Let not this mestizo maiden sleep more!

Caracas rises up as the capital of the world left movement and surely every banner, every color, every image that recalls past times are now the same flag. There is the French July, the Russian November, the Cuban January. The internationalist Spain and the 30s, the carnations of Portugal, Allende … still in La Moneda and much more are present. Together those who can be together. The time of reform and coexistence with the bourgeoisie has reached its end.

Sometimes in the midst of so much battling there has been an undercurrent of the struggle for economic independence, the fight against corruptions and the struggle for social justice…

And this is not a coincidence. After confusing us so much with false glimmers of globalization, neo-liberalism and extinct socialist fossils, the truth rises up like a rainbow after a heavy rain.

I am sure that the fall of the Berlin wall was fortunate. It is a shame it didn’t happen sooner. The marvelous Eduardo Galeano once said, something like this: “He is not our dead…why cry over him?” He has left open the road for revolutionary action, without interference from Moscow as the master of world left movement. The commitment is now only with our peoples and our ethics.

A German scholar said on March 17, 1883, while paying his last respects to his best friend: “The simple fact, but hidden until now in the ideological underbrush, is that man first needs to eat, drink, have a roof over his head, clothe himself before being caring about politics, art, religion, etc. Therefore, the production of the immediate, material means of life and, as a result, the corresponding economic phase of development of a people or an epoch is the foundation upon which rests the development of political institutions, legal concepts, art concepts (…) and which should accordingly be explained, not the opposite that has been the case up to now.”

We have forgotten and tried to do it backwards. That is so essential like the law of the impossibility of perpetual movement. Marx made a discovery … he did not invent anything. It is only possible to fight in depth for any political, territorial, racial and even moral demands and as a last resort, through class struggle. And I stress as a last resort.

There are times when there is no middle of the road. Everything has been tried. And, we have lost too much time and money waiting for the Earth to decide to turn in the other direction. Can you see what we have reached! The legendary Athens has many lights and soldiers. Who will tell our Greek ancestors that not even every four years do we stop taking up arms! With what increasing puerile excuses and with such fierce destruction are they wiping out the Middle East, as legendary as the Hellenic city? More soldiers than athletes compete in the Olympics. Doping, mercantilism, changed flags and many planes and weapons to guard someone who prepares to make a clean goal or a real record. Ah …. These conservatives, in the words of the prophet Carl Sagan , “they know not what they are conserving!”.

But if we follow the road of Karl Marx … Merely to vary … Is an implacable road. The bourgeois society is corrupt per se. Regardless how honest we are or want to be, we will become thieves if we cannot look back beyond ourselves. We steal something that is called capital gain. And this theft and another and another squashes this monster we call imperialism. There is no escape. The heritage we leave our children is pregnant with lies, sweat and blood silently supplied by the greater part of humanity, that humanity that is on the other side and is called proletariat. It has nothing to lose and does have a world to conquer, as exclaimed by the Communist Manifesto. It is the social class that has the only force to build a new society in its hands and heart. That, his only the Kingdom of this Earth. And they are always the same. Regardless of any definition, the proletariat continues to be, in principle, that social class that increases the profits of the exploiters of all time. This discovery changed the route of this world. This discovery, for once, supplied us with the true weapon and has made it our only battle cry.

The worker in London is equally exploited as the worker in Northern Ireland. It’s true that the Catholic workers in Northern Ireland are more exploited but always the London workers may work for those in Northern Ireland regardless of how difficult it is for us to understand. Israeli workers must be made to commit themselves with the suffering of the Palestinian people; they would be their best allies. In the same manner workers in Pakistan are exploited where the human being has learned to be as fragile as a rose and as sharp as their thorns. In the Basque country, for example, and in Catalonia they rob the proletariats with the same guile. The workers of Madrid could be the standard-bearers of this battle. It is not so complicated.

And China? A comrade explained that Karl Marx has also been forgotten in China. Is China socialist because the party says so? What party? In whose name does this party speak? Is there a socialist revolution in China? That comrade has made me stop to think. I don’t know the answers. But there are workers in China. And these workers are tied to all the workers.

I count on the workers of the beautiful US people to save my revolution; to put an end to the blockade, to eliminate the lies about us. This people that organized a weekend with Fahrenheit 9/11 would be one of the protagonists in the preservation of the Cuban revolution.

And the United States must count on the Cuban revolution to take this joyful and internationalist country they are trying to liquidate.

And so on everywhere. These are merely some examples.

If this weren’t so there would be no way to unite the proletariat and the concluding phrase of the manifesto would be erased.

I’m not unaware of the characteristics of each locality that focuses on the struggle in different forms, that the enemy vents its anger more on the poorer regions of the planet; that in our concrete actions we must consider these differences. But that is it: Take them into consideration and not make them barriers.

I am very aware that there are specific injustices against which we must be the first to offer our lives. El Che told his children, before embarking on the dream of a Latin American revolution: “Above all be capable of feeling deep down any injustice committed against anyone and any part of the world. This is the most beautiful quality of a revolutionary.” Yes. To believe in the struggle for world revolution does not exclude the support of the struggle against all local and particular injustices, quite the contrary. We communists must learn to rise from the academic trenches and read more in the book of history and events. And throw ourselves into the fray as the fundamental part of the people. Our programs and books would become puffs of smoke if we don’t understand this. Let’s see a case that is an example:

Julio Antonio Mella was, undoubtedly, the most important revolutionary and political agitator in the Caribbean during the 20s. He founded the University Student’s Federation, the Anticlerical League, the Anti-imperialist League, and the Jose Marti Popular University. But he was also, and precisely for that reason, the founder of the first Cuban Communist Party; to do so he did not have to ignore a single idea of Jose Marti, only take it to its ultimate consequences. In that first Communist Party, Marti was, undoubtedly, a member of honor.

According to Fidel, Mella “was the Cuban who did more in less time”.

Mella was the most genuine revolutionary because he mentally and emotionally understood the ideas of socialism. He became the most convincing communist in the Caribbean by being the most consistent revolutionary and most committed social fighter.

The dictator Machado knew no more dangerous enemy. The Stalinist CP either.

In effect, Machado ordered his death in Mexico. Mello did not have to relinquish being the best Cuban to be the best communist. Quite the contrary! He was the best communist by being the best Cuban patriot.

There is an important difference between being patriotic and chauvinistic. The patriot places his country within the context of international conflicts; the chauvinist is a “vain country bumpkin” who believes that the world ends within his country’s borders.

Julio Antonio Mella, symbol of Cuban communist youth, was the first student of Jose Marti. More must be said about Mella.

He made the following statement precisely defending the thoughts of Jose Marti:

“The American revolutionaries who wish to overthrow the tyrannies of their respective countries cannot ignore this truth; those who claim to be unaware of its existence it is because their ignorance or bad faith prevents them from seeing the clear reality. One cannot live with the principles of 1789; in spite of the retarded minds of some, humanity has progressed and making the revolutions in this century must count on a new factor; socialist ideas in general that with one or other nuance have taken root in all the corners of the globe.”

This globe is on the verge of suicide in the midst of such confusion. Chock full of cars, plastic bags, wars, terrorism and, above all, so much stupidity.

What is worse: war or terrorists? The axis of evil or the axis of good? At least do we have an axis?

This old German explained it simply but we have lost the habit of reasoning, cloaked by such cheap ideas broadcast on cable television; so much toilet paper, hunger, corruption and despair.

Without knowing about Karl Marx it is possible to reach the same conclusions. “A piece of bread and glass of water never deceives”, Jose Marti said before knowing about Marx. And what about us, who is deceiving us? Imperialism in the first place. Stalinism in the second place, that which resorted to assassination on August 20 that is even reflected in the communist organizations and subtly, without realizing it, sprays us.

The right has been speechless in this battle. In its hands humanity is on the verge of disappearing. And the left? Who is the left? What is its choice? Who killed Trotsky? Did the enemy kill him? Where do we place Stalin: to the right or to the left?

August 20 gives us some clues. Let us go to the crime scene and observe the deceit in which we have lived for more than seven decades. Why didn’t the so-called socialist countries ever refer to August 20? Why did Stalinism and its way of acting take over everything? It is a status quo, it has not disappeared. It is a virus that follows us with subtlety.

Engels said in a speech in front of the tomb of Karl Marx that Marx: “was the most hated and vilified man of his time”. True. Leon Trotsky has been even more. He was vilified by imperialism and by millions and millions of communists that were lured, unknowingly, by the sweet songs of Stalinism. That is why the victim of Stalinism was not only the inhabitant of the house in Mexico. There was another attempted assassination in Coyoacan. With Trotsky they tried to assassinate the idea of the Revolution. They managed to confuse us to some degree.

But, luckily, ideas cannot be killed. The assassination of Leon Trotsky was an attempt to kill the word within the socialist revolution. And the word is the most powerful weapon we have.

I continue to say that the truth in history is as elementary as in nature.

Although you may not know Newton’s “principia” don’t throw the wine glass because the force of gravity will take care of it; in the same manner if you do not know about Stalin’s political crimes don’t try to establish socialism in only one country because, like the wine glass, it will shatter the hope of whole generations. Che did not believe in Stalin although he may have said so once. He embarked on the conquest of the happiness of my continent for reasons that has as much to do with this August 20 as with any other thing, whether Che knew it or not.

Stalinism, more than Stalin himself, a mouthful in itself, has confused us. They killed Trotsky and history practically ignored him. The USSR and European socialism had to collapse to make us raise our eyes and realize that the wine glass had fallen and stained the rug and now it is difficult to remove the stain … One of these stains fell in Mexico 64 years ago, on the head of the best Leninist. Stalinism made us believe that it was in the name of the revolution. But the only revolution that is possible was precisely the one he tried to assassinate. As bizarre as it may seem it confiscated the ideas of Marx and fell in its own trap. It was not necessary to kill so many people, so many words, such good intentions. He lies there without a USSR and without socialism. At least in Mexico the red flag protects our efforts.

Like the many headed dragon, the Revolution. It reappears every time we try to kill one of the heads.

“Alone at last”, after being lost for seven decades without thinking of the importance of that August 20. No! And not another word about how good Stalinism was in the Second World War. Stalin handed fascism to us on a silver platter. That the USSR helped the young Cuban revolution? No! My revolution has lasted despite the Soviet Union.

Fidel told us once when we were hungry and uncertain, when the USSR fell (using the words of the Comandante):

“They want to give us Lenin? Fine, then he is ours.” There was a nameless Noah’s arc with the purest ideas of socialism. And Trotsky is in those ideas. Who saved my revolution (I say my revolution), who made the Bolivarian revolution triumph in Venezuela but the ideas of a permanent revolution. In no way am I criticizing the revolution that Chavez is promoting. He continues in the victory with those purposes that let us win on August 15. It is not necessary that Chavez or his people define their revolution as socialist. That is not important. Nor that he take this or another measure to comply with the requests of a few sectarians. What I do know is that he intends to lift up, absolutely and courageously, his constitution and even the Gospel of the poor. He will have to face, even if he does not know it, a class struggle. And if that revolution is real, as I think it is, he will continue with his conviction of the importance of the revolution in Latin America and from there in the world.

Without a class commitment Bolivar will again have to “plow in the sea.” Chavez must hold up Bolivar’s wine glass. If this does not occur we will all have to plow in the sea. And there will be no wine, no revolution. Chavez, if his God helps him, must continue to look beyond his borders. The borders of Venezuela are the borders of my slender island and do not stop until the Far East. For the revolutionaries there are no borders. They are merely necessary for the Olympics.

Today, after so much manipulation there is only one way of being a true Christian, of being a true patriot, only one way of fighting for equality: Being a revolutionary. That is why they killed Trotsky: for being a revolutionary.

Let the young people be aware! We must take up a virile position before history. Let us not submit our children to have to study in Harvard or La Sorbonne to ask them later not to think. To think, doubt, question are the main banners of the really committed youth with the future.

It was believed that Stalin had decided the history of the USSR. Who was left in that country but the Mafia, corruption and disillusionment? It was believed that the USSR helped Cuba in its struggle against imperialism? No way! The Cuban revolution was saved by the Cuban people and the internationalist principles of Marti, Che and Fidel. Then, what did the USSR save? It tried to save socialism within our own border. It could not. It was unable to save socialism within its own borders, simply because it is impossible. Socialism in only one country is impossible as it is impossible to halt the whim of expansion of the universe.

A better world is not only possible, but an urgency if we do not intend to return to barbarism … Whether you want it or not, the socialist revolution with all the ribbons and bows is the only alternative at the moment. And also it is the most beautiful and captivating of all the alternatives.

And enough of telling me that socialism is in shatters. Socialism has not triumphed yet. Socialist revolutions have triumphed. Not that many. I’m proud of having grown up in one of them. Socialism is the future, good news; it has still not come to pass.

Then let us give a vote of confidence to the Head of the Red Army. Let us give him the right to speak.

Of what he said, I only propose two principles: internationalism and permanent revolution.

These two concepts are so indispensable for socialism as hydrogen is for the water molecule. The universe had its big bang 15 billion years ago. The Moon goes around the planet, a prisoner of gravity; if we stop being childish, perhaps our grandchildren will be able to see an elephant or a whale, a product of natural selection. Genetics and clonation are a truth beyond our weeping wills: In the same manner internationalism and a permanent revolution are the necessary conditions for socialism. The struggle for socialism is the only alternative of humanity if it really plans to survive.

Comrades all: Hanging over our peoples is fascism, poverty and injustice and what we are given in change is drowsiness and the patching up of our wounds. Let us not allow it.

By nature youth loves the revolution. All young people have the seed of change and altruism in their soul. But no young person can be called upon with half truths, with lies, with useless sectarianism and chauvinism. That is the way to build any society except the socialist one.

What was unleashed in the USSR after Lenin was anything but socialism. Socialism is synonymous with intelligence, will, action, answer and never servile discipline. Rosa Luxemburg said: “Socialism is not, precisely, a problem of knife and fork but a movement of culture, a great and powerful concept of the world.”

The young are socialists by birth! We become reactionaries through our own doubts.

There, in front of our very noses is the South American revolution … One thing is clear it’s not going to wait for us. Jose Marti said: “We have to get the putrefaction out of our veins. Bad blood has to be let and the veins should be opened, swollen veins must be cut open or they drown. Or the current of the Revolution is opened or the undirected revolution flounders.”

Let us toast to the current of the revolution.

It is not enough to know the truth. In the same speech by Engels that I mentioned above, he points out that: “Marx was, above all, a revolutionary.” Che said the same thing: “First you must no longer exist to no longer be a revolutionary.” To commit the young people to the world revolution is the first task of all communists. Without that youth there is nothing left to do. With them we will definitely take the heavens by assault.

August 20 is the day to take up the sword. Stalin is good and dead in a part of the world he intended to dominate. Lets throw Stalinism to the same place.

Trotsky, however, is fighting together with Marx, Lenin, Che…All we have to do is unite and integrate our differences into one common projects.

Mella said it calling out two slogans: “…reaffirming ourselves in two principles: “Proletarians of the world unite” and “Together is the word of the world”. Reaffirming ourselves, not theoretically, but in practice, applying the idea to the situation.”

The second phrase is by José Martí.

“The communists have but one homeland and that is the world.” Mella also said and we also have the strength of the truth behind us and the most beautiful weapons to teach it.

August 20 should be a day of combat. Using the words of the vital Silvio Rodríguez I could say that the thoughts they tried to erase in Mexico a day such as this “is a book saved from the sea” and Trotsky “is a dead person who has learned to kiss.”

Trotsky is reborn. We only have to sharpen the pencil point, dust off the rifle and embrace a true commitment of love.

Proletarians of the world, unite!

Translated by Ana Portela for CubaNews

See also the Spanish version of this article