Archive for February 2008

Harvey Goldberg: Teacher – Historian – Political Activist

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

Harvey Goldberg brought to life the history of social movements in Europe and much of the world to thousands of students during his teaching career at Oberlin College, Ohio State University and at the University of Wisconsin. His passionate and electrifying lectures regularly filled halls to maximum capacity. Many of his lectures were recorded. Below please find one of my favorites:

Ideology of Private Property 2/25/1977

Where did the idea of Private Property come from and how did the world work before then? What has become of mankind since the concept took hold. What beliefs do you hold regarding the sanctity and persistence of private property and what would happen if you gave up those beliefs? These are some of the questions that are addressed in this spellbinding lecture

You can find more his recorded lectures at the Harvey Goldberg section of the The Brecht Forum website. – put together by Richard Bonomo.

Review: The Dissidents: Cuban State Security Agents Reveal the True Story

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

The Dissidents: Cuban State Security Agents Reveal the True Story
by Rosa Miriam Elizalde and Luis Baez
published by Editora Politica/ LaHabana, 2003

This is an important and persuasive book. It should be brought to the attention of all those who are inclined to support Cuba but who are not fully informed about the “dissidents”, tried and imprisoned by the Cuban government last year. “Progressive Cuba bashers,” to use Richard Levins’ apt term, mistakenly believe, like David Frankel, writing in the September/October 2004 issue of Against the Current, that those imprisoned were victimized “for non-violent expression of views the regime can’t tolerate.” This is not the case as this book proves.

In his speech given at the launching of this book, which is printed as the introduction to the English edition, Felipe Peres Roque, Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, observed that “the so-called ‘dissidents’ in Cuba are a creation of the aggressive policy of the U.S. government…and form part of the strategy to obtain, through pressure and blackmail, the condemnation of Cuba in the (U.N.) Commission on Human Rights, which can then be used as justification for the blockade.” While tolerated for years, it was only after Bush made “pre-emptive war” against Iraq and, without a sense of irony, labeled Cuba “terrorist,” and put it high on its list for “regime change” that the “dissidents” were arrested for provocation and subversion – not for “non-violent expression of views the regime can’t tolerate” – and brought to justice. Their efforts to build a network to overthrow Cuban socialism, to “aid in the transition,” as American legislation authorizing money (some 20 million so far under the l966 Helms-Burton Act) delicately puts it, was thwarted by these agents of Cuban State Security.

The eight Cuban State Security Agents interviewed in “The Dissidents” had all surfaced as prosecution witnesses at the 2003 trials in Havana, thus blowing their covers and infiltration of the “dissident” groups in Cuba and making this book possible. These eight are the cream of the Cuban revolution and the counterparts to The Cuban Five, their comrades, also members of Cuban State Security, long imprisoned in America, for joining and reporting on the activities of counter-revolutionary groups in Miami.

The interviews were done in a week’s time by two Cuban journalists. Luis Baez Hernandez, age 78, of Havana, was a war correspondent during the Bay of Pigs invasion.  He is a recipient of the Jose Marti National Journalism Prize and the Jose Marti International Journalism Prize awarded by Prensa Latina international press agency among other awards.  Rosa Miriam Elizalde of Sancti Spiritus, age 38, is also an award winning journalist. She was a columnist and then assistant director of Juventud Rebelde, the Cuban youth newspaper. She has written two books on prostitution, Jineteros en La Habana and Flores Desechables. Currently she directs two major Cuban online publications ( and

Agent Miguel, one of the people interviewed, joined the Cuban Democratic Socialist Current (CSCD) in l992 and then on instructions from Cuban State Security, the Cuban Association of Independent Journalists (APIC). There he found a “crazy world of gossip and intrigue.” He was given a computer and paid $l00 a month from sources in Miami and given instructions by the Cuban American National Foundation, the counter-revolutionary U.S. supported group in Miami, and from Charles Shapiro, the head of the Cuba desk at the U.S. State Department. He was also lead by Judith Bryan of the U.S. Interest Section in Havana.

The U.S. broke ties with Cuba in l960 following Cuba’s nationalization of U.S. property, an act the U.S. provoked by refusing to refine oil in its Cuban refineries. Cuba offered to pay for the nationalized property, which is proper under international law, but the U.S. refused, initiating (more…)

Michael Steven Smith on “Conversations with Harold Hudson Channer”

Saturday, February 9th, 2008