The magnetism of the Permanent Revolution

The following is a paper given at the workshop The utopia that we need sponsored by the Bolivar Martí Faculty, September 10, 2004, Central Havana. See the original in Spanish: El magnetismo de la Revolución Permanente

The following is a paper given at the workshop "The utopia that we need" sponsored by the Bolivar Marti Faculty, September 10, 2004, Central Havana. Translation to English for CubaNews by Ana Portela.

The island of the Renaissance man, Thomas Moore, is unattainable. Luckily we live in a world that will always be perfectible and that humans are the most nonconformist under the rays of the sun. But a utopia will continue to be indispensable to modify reality and will continue to be the driving force of justice. According to José Ingenieros it is a mysterious expediency. It is also a sacred ember and if you lose this expediency you become a pure human trash. Above all, humanity needs to create systems of expediency that approximately point to the same direction to reach a good port.

The best and simplest simile I can find is magnetism: In ferromagnetic materials, a special for of interaction occurs between the adjacent atoms called: attraction by exchange. Applying an external magnetic field, the atoms are magnetized in the direction of that field. Removing this external charge, the system remains magnetized with a permanent ferromagnetism (the permanent magnets, for example). Now, if the temperature rises above a certain value, called Curie temperature, the interaction disappears. Ferromagnetism is an "ordered" state. Entropy reduces. The main parameters are: applied magnetic field, the magnetization that the system attains and the temperature that induces disorder in the system.

In society we must find a sufficiently large field to couple our "atoms" and have a permanent magnetism achieving a collective and international event, just like the atoms of the reduced world of the magnet, struggling always against the temperature that disrupts the order. It's simple: But, also, not all the elements of the periodic chart are orderly, regardless of the field you apply or by lowering the temperature. There are paramagnetism and diamagnetism, etc. Atoms that are not found ferromagnetism but line up with the field and when removed from the field they become disorderly or there are those that never orient themselves. Don't lose time with them, because you will never obtain ferromagnetism. Our task is to count on those that can attain orientation, only with them. Orient ourselves and construct a permanent magnet.

This simile allows me to place the proletariat in the transition group of Iron (elements capable of lining up), assuming temperature to present natural differences, the many currents that separate us, our infinite nonsense, for example; magnetism is the revolution that will decidedly be permanent; and the external field that form, undoubtedly, the political parties that spark the class struggle.

And when we reach port? The port is in the stars. Someone said once that triumphs are only an excuse to oil the rifles and continue forward. Che did not say it. But he did it …

To what extent is the revolution permanent? Is it perhaps an attack of that fighter that killed Stalinism in Coyoacan, as so many others)? Perhaps rhetorically to handicap the proletariat from taking power, as many believe? We have lived this farce for decades. The permanent revolution does not refer to a simultaneous revolution. In fact, he who headed the Red Army in 1917 was Leon Trotsky. The one who first predicted the October proletarian revolution was Leon Trotsky. The permanent revolution is the only viable form of making a socialist revolution on an international scale. And this is the only scale that promotes the development of the Socialism we need, much more than the lost island of Saint Tomas Moro.

There are three reasons that explain that the socialist revolution is permanent:

First: In underdeveloped countries the road to democracy necessarily goes first through a dictatorship of the proletariat and not the other way around as had been thought. Second: Once in the power of society, it begins to transform for an indefinite period. The many revolutions such as the economic, scientific, educational, develop in such a manner that the socialist revolution NEVER achieves equilibrium. And … third is the international character. That is to say that a socialist revolution does not end with the dictatorship of the proletariat and does not end at national borders. The concept of permanent revolution by which Leon Trotsky was so criticized was also a scientific discovery, like ferromagnetism and, above all, a manual for action. It seems that these words do not roll easily in the language or are too big for the heart. The theory of permanent revolution contains the Lenin school and most consequent Marxism. My revolution, the Cuban revolution is an unprecedented beacon, perhaps even without knowing that Leon Trotsky has been rigorous with these precepts. From Martí, passing by Julio Antonio [Mella], El Che and Fidel Castro, Lenin is still alive in America! Our homeland today holds forth the banners of the permanent revolution in three points. The battle of ideas, where there is no end to our educational and cultural plans; the Baraguá oath where, in the midst of countless hardships, we decided to fight imperialism to the end and in the Bolivarian revolution where thousands of Cuban physicians, teachers, technicians are participating as a small part of that people. We are a classic example of the permanent revolution that is permanent in time and space. It is brilliantly led by Fidel Castro. Whether Leon Trotsky was read or not. It's unimportant.

And capitalism… what port did all those clowns offer of the end of history to make us stay in front of the TV like donkeys? The proposed the crudest materialism to build who know what. I don't believe that this sorry state, in which we are incapable of sustaining the air we breathe, is truly a serious proposition. I still don't understand how many more opportunities they are going to have to offer us to understand that the result of these conservatives is only absurd wars, terrorism and misery.

It will take a long time, assuredly, the necessary time to activate the external magnetic field and begin to wake from the dream that the crisis of the left condemned us (that bet downward or upward, but never leftward).

There is no middle road or conciliation. No, socialism is not inevitable. Our alternative is … barbarity; in the words of Friedrich Engels and Rosa Luxemburg. And socialism, not that bumbling caricature that Stalinism designed. That it only lasted 70 years and capitalism is lasting hundreds? No, not at all. There are still no explanations on why it lasted so long. The comparison is not valid; imperialism and its economic actions did not make capitalism in only one country. From Columbus to Coca Cola they have known how life is won. Capitalism, until recently, was consistent with its depraved mission.

Socialism has been one of the broadest ideals in the world. In spite of its failures and its converts who go to talk in congresses about any convoluted term and not of revolution, of taking power, of proletariat. Those who have already become pure human trash, using an engineering term, use terms that are silently disappearing from our political dictionary. And all this is to prevent being "committed". To avoid being committed … with whom?

I recently read a vital article by James Petras on Venezuela and the referendum. The revolutionary government of President Chavez only has to be faithful to the one social class who went to the ballots until dawn on that August 15.

Petras said:

"In truth, the referendum was mainly based on a clear class and race division. Union leaders who were not tied to the opposition noted that more than 85% of the working class and poor workers voted for the president while early reports of voting in the wealthy neighborhoods gave a lower percentage of 80%. A similar process of polarization by class and race was obvious in the extraordinary participation in the polls and in the percentage of poor Afro-Venezuelans who increasingly voted for Chavez (71% of the electorate voted, an unprecedented number). Undoubtedly the president's success, closely linked to the programs of social assistance and class identity, were the basis of the electoral behavior".

Then it is clear with whom we must be committed in Venezuela. I say "we" fully aware that it is absurd that the Chavez government is the only one responsible for what occurs in that country. We are all connected. What happens in Panama, Colombia, London, Australia is the responsibility of all revolutionaries of the world.

Internationalism is not a sentiment of goodness or merciful complacency. International is the only route of the parties to make the revolution last. And without the lasting revolution, let's make paper flags for Christmas but we will be unable to build socialism. In trying, we have tried too much.

I say more: The desires of the French revolution, the social justice of the left wing social-democracies and even the gospel will now only be defendable from positions of class struggle. The mysterious expediency the engineers talk about tightening when the mobilizing struggle is for a necessary objective. The utopia we need is that will let us stand up in history with a Project. And the only viable Project is the socialist revolution.

Our continent opens up a promising space. The words of the real possibility is a socialist confederation in this part of the world, as brilliantly explained by Comrade Zbigniew Marcin Kowalewski, in this event, explained that it is a reality and is the most beautiful reality we could wish. Far are the furies that scourged the Southern Cone with the dictatorships. Of course, tomorrow (sic - the date written is not the one printed - the anniversary is September 11) is another anniversary of the massacre in Santiago de Chile. President Allende fell like a hero under the claws of the most sanguinary terrorist that today is trying to defend himself and his millions. My Chilean brothers did not have the chance to make war on the White House for having planned the terrorist attack in their country. They had to swallow their dead, their disappeared, and the songs of hope. A few days ago, another accomplice of international terrorism was set free in the most shameful and cynical manner, an assassin of dozens of compatriots. The indecency of the bourgeoisie is ripping off any permissible costume. They suffer the lies, the egotism and irrational desire for money that walks the Earth in its blue image. They are all the same, Pinochet, Moscoso, the White House, the IMF, and the OAS. They do not even differ in the color of their hair. The enemy is uniting. Let us do so also! They have nothing to offer our peoples. If WE manage to free ourselves from the collapse of European socialism that was merely a perversion, we have the island of the utopia as an achievable dream. The struggle under Jacobin banners now sounds sweeter, more coherent and more possible.

We have enough experience, comrades, we are lacking unity. Stalin, during the Second World War comforted the Soviet comrades with the pathetic phrase of "little mother Russia" to unite them. We don't need that. Thanks to INTERNET our struggle can be worldwide and united.

I would found the International Solidarity Brigade. Because we all need each other like the atoms in my material. I still don't know today who suffers most, if my children due to the economic blockade of the United States or the children of a worker of the Unites States with the pestilence of their aberrant video games and pseudo scientists.

Fidel said in 1961: "We will first see a victorious revolution in the United States than a counterrevolutionary victory in Cuba". That Fidel is the same one who, in the midst of hunger fully designed by imperialism and the Stalin heirs: Socialism or Death, a slogan that all communists in the world should take up.

Undoubtedly, but that revolution in the United States should be socialist. Michael Moore has just renounced his Oscar nomination for exhibiting his documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11 on US television. Who are the victims of terrorism, the Iraqis or the US citizens that now have 1000 dead?

"The sudden blows reveal the core of things", José Martí said. And that happened that September 11 of 2001. The events of New York are the same that occurred in Palestine or in Buenos Aires one December or Madrid, or Moscow or Chechnya. On any front the world overflows and they still sit us down to wait for translators of the truth.

José Martí was a class fighter. It is tiring to give order to the world with phrases that have been said and that ignore, with utter lack of consideration, the truth of events. To say that José Martí was a petty bourgeois democrat is the same as saying the sea exists to contain the salt of our Sunday pasta. Martí founded the party fundamentally for the workers, the most radical revolutionary party of the time and place. The teachings of the previous were not in vain. Revolution was his constant word, the independence of Cuba was a mere event to oppose the class enemy that he was the first to describe. To be a Cuban was a mere detail of birth. He ended his days fighting for equilibrium of the world. His error was to die too soon (It is an epidemic of the revolutionaries).

Mentioning Karl Marx in 1883, on the eve of his death he noted:

"Karl Marx is dead, because he took sides with the weak he deserves honor. But he, who points to the damage and yearns with a generous desire to remedy the situation but points to a soft remedy for the harm, does no good. It is horrific to throw men against others."

A simple cup of coffee would have been enough for these two geniuses to come to an agreement. Marx proposed exactly this: "the only remedy to harm" and José Martí did this: "Throw some men over others".

We communists really need to unite and not in halls or congresses only, but in mass marches, in the banging of pots and pans, in Iraq, in Palestine. The communists must carry the impulse of the people in each battle against the injustices of the enemy. One by one and all at the same time.

The political parties should act as an external magnetic field that orients the spins of the atom. Trotsky said "Only studying the political processes on the masses can you understand the role of the parties and the leaders that we, in no way, want to negate. They are an element, if not independent, very important in this process. Without a leading organization, the energy of the masses withers, like the vapor of a pot. But however it is, what drives the movement is not the pot, nor the piston, but the vapor."

And I say more: We need only one Communist Party in the World "With all and for the good of all" according to Martí. I hope I live to see it.

In spite of it all, our differences are minimal in relation to the truth that makes us different from the enemy. If we talked with our dead they would all point to the same road.

Let us plan the work with strength and optimism. We have the best weapons: They only have human waste: the stupid war, the lack of culture, the corruption and terrorism. We have the dream of the revolution.

Forward comrades!

Socialism or Death!