Umkhonto We Sizwe – How the armed struggle succeeded

The people’s patience is not endless. The time comes in the life of any nation when there remain only two choices: submit or fight. That time has now come to South Africa. We shall not submit and we have no choice but to hit back by all means within our power in defence of our people, our future and our freedom. Thus ran the clarion call of the Manifesto of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) clandestinely posted in public places in South Africa as the first bomb blasts heralding its existence exploded at apartheid offices and installations on December 16, 1961. … Continue reading

Did Castro hold back Cuba?

Cuban sign reading: 'To fight against the impossible and win.'

Alongside his depiction as a “brutal dictator”, negative reflections on Fidel Castro since his death on November 25 have focused on his “mismanagement” of the Cuban economy and the consequent “extremes of poverty” suffered by ordinary Cubans. This caricature is problematic – not only because it ignores the devastating economic impact of the United States embargo over 55 years, but also because it is premised on neoclassical economic assumptions. This means that by stressing economic policy over economic restraints, critics can shift responsibility for Cuba’s alleged poverty on to Castro without implicating successive US administrations that have imposed the suffocating … Continue reading

Was George Orwell a Marxist?

OrwellBurmaPassport

In short, George Orwell was a socialist but not a Marxist. One does not always follow the other. Here is an account from Isaac Deutscher on the specific gap between the Anglo-Saxon Left and Marxism: Like most British socialists, Orwell had never been a Marxist. The dialectical-materialist philosophy had always been too abstruse for him. From instinct rather than consciousness he had been a staunch rationalist. The distinction between the Marxist and the rationalist is of some importance. Contrary to an opinion widespread in Anglo-Saxon countries, Marxism is not at all rationalist in its philosophy: it does not assume that … Continue reading