Report from Cuba

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x359594's picture
Joined: 16-08-08
Apr 22 2017 19:29
Report from Cuba

From FW Ali who visited Cuba earlier this month:

I was deputized by the branch to become a delegate for a period of one month in order to provide organizational support in Cuba for workers who are interested in creating an IWW presence on the island.

We met with our contact and had a series of informal get togethers where we (myself, FW [name withheld] and other IWW's on the trip) tried to get a better understanding of class struggle in an economy which is cut off from the United States and describes itself as classless. We held a series of more formal discussions with him and seven other people that work on a mutual anarchist project called Taller Libertario Alfredo Lopez (TLAL) in which they are currently raising money to establish a worker center with the same name sake. TLAL is part of larger project that fall under a small organizational structure described as a civil society group called Observtario Critico. These group structures generally function as an outwardly appearing cultural center so that people can formally meet -- since holding meetings at your residence is illegal. Members of TLAL work in various industries and to supplement their incomes, like all Cuban, have a second and or third precarious job.

During our final meeting with members of TLAL we explored IWW style organizing opportunities. We presented them with the $100 donation and the saludos from the LA GMB. More importantly we wanted to be as fair and as honest to let them know that organizationally the IWW will not be able to provide much support because of the embargo and the difficulties of communication when only 10% of the island has internet infrastructure. We shared organizing stories, assessed the risk that they may face, and provided some insight on how to approach a growing problem in one of the "popular neighborhoods" (working class suburbs) regarding privatization in the food industry.

At the end of the formal discussions I met with our contact and asked if it made sense for him to join the IWW. After signing him up we provided him with IWW materials; literature, hats, stamps, and an extra red card.

For him it makes organizational sense to establish an IWW presence in Cuba because:

(1) He states that he is committed to the preamble and the politics of the IWW
(2) The economic future of Cuba is uncertain therefore a patient and more long term vision for class struggle is required and for him the IWW structure allows that sort of flexibility
(3) Ideas are more important than an actual campaign at the moment because the island currently has almost no historical memory of social or struggles and very, very few example of that on the ground prior to 1959
(4) As more capital is invested in the small but growing private sectors more class antagonism will grow with it over time

Upon returning from Cuba we learned that there are some procedural things that we need to follow up with in order to integrate fellow worker DS into the North American IWW administrative structure. We are committed to working with our branch secretary in conjunction with GHQ to make that happen.

Reddebrek's picture
Joined: 4-01-12
Aug 31 2017 01:28

An interesting write up thank you for posting. I'm very curious about the labour situation in Cuba and hopefully these connections will lead to more information filtering through.

Joined: 20-04-08
Aug 31 2017 05:10
organizationally the IWW will not be able to provide much support because of the embargo

I am guessing that using Canadian and UK- based GMBs as proxies to maintain liaison is not a practical possibility for various reasons.