A Revolution in Motion by Isaac
by Tom Whitney
This is a wonderful book. The cause of solidarity with
Cuba has suffered for the lack until now of a tool like this. Activists needing
facts, or statements, or bits of history for their talks or writings about
Cuba may now rest easy. Thanks to Isaac Saney’s gracefully written summation
of the struggles, problems, shortcomings, and vision of the Cuban revolution,
one-stop shopping is now available. And who has not yearned for a concise,
comprehensive compendium of accurate, understandable information to pass
on to novices on Cuba who are short on basic knowledge?
The book focuses on the uniqueness of Cuba. Only Cuba emerged from the fall
of the Socialist bloc with central planning, state control of production,
and public ownership of property still intact, while accommodating elements
of capitalism. Somehow, 14 years of economic disaster known as the special
period have not diminished the luster of its principles, in sharp distinction
to the Eastern European experience. In a world where human development is
left to the mercies of markets and entrepreneurs, Cuba, seemingly alone, still
sees the poor world through the lens of social justice. And a bullying neighbor,
the seat of empire, may over 45 years have dealt Cuba one dirty deed after
another, yet the Revolution survives. The principle contribution of Cuba
– A Revolution in Motion is to attest to the difference that is Cuba.
For Cuba, national independence and socialism are the twin pillars of Cuban
ideology. Saney tells how their close association has contributed mightily
to the survival of the Cuban revolution. He also highlights the pragmatism
that is a central characteristic of Cuban socialism. The Cubans are given
to improvisation and readjustment.
The book begins with an overview of history and proceeds on to a description
of government in Cuba. A chapter on racism and the lives of Afro-Cubans is
immensely valuable, as is another on Cuban laws, courts, and the criminal
justice system. From now on, means are available to counter criticism of Cuba
for a supposed lack of democracy, or persisting racism, or legal anarchy.
A chapter on U.S.-Cuba relations provides a clear, comprehensive,
overview of a subject generally understood only in generalities. The book
concludes with a review of economic realities, Cuba’s approach to the environment,
and Cuban internationalism. A wide-ranging bibliography will itself serve
as a useful resource. The narrative is embellished by many, relevant quotations
from Cuban leaders of the past and present, from writers and commentators
who were part of the drama that is Cuba.
A tiny quibble: Saney might have given a nod to students and labor unionists
behind the revolutionary ferment of the early and mid 1930’s that bridged
the era of Cespedes and Marti to that of the 1959 generation.
Fernwood Publishing, Black Point, Nova Scotia, 2004
(Site 2A, Box 5, 8422 St. Margaret’s Bay Road, BOJ 1BO)
Also, Zed Books Ltd, Room 400, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY, 10010
This book is available through the IFCO (Pastors for Peace) web site: www.ifconews.org