Elio Delgado Legon

Elio Delgado-Legon: I am a Cuban who has lived for 80 years, therefore I know full well how life was before the revolution, having experienced it directly and indirectly. As a result, it hurts me to read so many aspersions cast upon a government that fights tooth and nail to provide us a better life. If it hasn’t fully been able to do so, this is because of the many obstacles that have been put in its way.

A 100 years after the Russian Revolution

Elio Delgado Legon

Vladmiir Ilich Lenin

HAVANA TIMES — On October 25th 1917 (November 7th using the Gregorian calendar), events unfolded that “shook” the world, according to US author John Reed. On that day, a hundred years ago, workers, farmers and soldiers, tired of being exploited and of the Tsarist regime’s poor governance, which even though it had been overthrown by the February Revolution and had been replaced with Kerensky’s provisional government, the same Tsarist conditions remained.

Two blank shots were fired from the cruise ship Aurora at night-time on November 6th. It was a signal to storm the winter palace in Petrograd, Russia’s capital at this time. At the head of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party was Vladimir Ilich Ulianov (Lenin) who then went on to take the reins of that huge country, which was economically backward, had a system of feudal serfdom in the countryside, without any industrial progress, a high level of illiteracy and cruel exploitation of workers.

I won’t go into details so as not to bore you with facts that have been explained in history books, but the October Revolution, led by Lenin, put Karl Marx’s revolutionary theories into action and great feats were achieved by following the enduring example of people rising up and fighting for a more just and fair society.

With the foundation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the USSR Communist Party. the people in this huge conglomerate of countries fought huge wars and achieved incredible progress economically as well as in the social, political, cultural and military sectors. They managed to transform that impoverished and over-exploited society into a global power, in a relatively short space of time.

It’s worth pointing out that the USSR victoriously took on German Fascism in what they called their “Great Patriotic Homeland War”, at the expense of millions of lives, and made them withdraw back to Berlin, leaving its army absolutely demoralized and crushed.

It was only then, after four years of bloody war, that Western countries took to action, but not to fight Fascism, which had already been crushed, but to stop Soviet troops from invading all of Germany and to pocket the merits of winning out over fascism.

Since the end of the Second World War and the defeat of fascism, the USSR embarked on the task of making progress again. Under the leadership of the Communist Party, it managed to make great advances in all the fields already mentioned as well as in science, to such an extent that they were the first country to send a man into space.

The achievements and progress of a new fairer society in the USSR was the example that exploited workers and farmers needed all over the world to understand that Marx’s ideas weren’t an unattainable dream.

Global capitalism’s media barrage spread lies about communism and socialism across the globe, coining terms like “Red scare”, the “Iron curtain and others in the same vein, which kept a lot of the people in the world confused, afraid of Socialism’s ideas.

The mistakes made by the Soviet leadership, the loss of values, corruption and finally betrayal, combined with the lack of Party unity put an end to the socialist system in the USSR and in neighboring countries which made up the Soviet Bloc in Eastern Europe. Enemies of socialism immediately began to throw out ideas, such as the end of history, the failure of socialism etc.

However, Socialism has irrefutably proved on more than one occasion that it is viable and is the fairest socio-political system that exists and the only one that is able to make everyone happy, without any kind of discrimination and it continues on strong 100 years after the October Revolution.

  • Moses Patterson

    Elio writes, “Socialism has irrefutably proved on more than one occasion that it is viable…”. Really? Name at least one occasion where Marxist-style socialism was shown to be viable. The country and the year it began please. Of course Elio will likely not respond. He never does. His Communist handlers do not understand open debate and would never permit him to respond in a forum where there is the free exchange of ideas. But, hopefully, one of the Castro sycophants who frequent this space will fill in for Elio. It would be great if that person who responds had actually lived in that country when socialism was “viable”. Of course, I would also like to know if “everyone was [is] happy….” as Elio has written. I’m waiting…..

    • Ruben Alberto

      Elio writes and repeats history, even in Cuba, where the Country is totalitarian, it is a one political party system, since and after the Cuban Revolution, they executed mafia individuals, tried and some attempted to over two hundred mafia come to rescue them so the government gave them a month to live, and no one would dare come to get them, the Cuban government advised them that they ain’t running nothing around Cuba but there mouths snitching, the Cuban security the G2,and the DI, were highly trained, and the Cuban Spies knew everything. Soviet Cubans. Now they have the best Engineers, Doctors, and so forth, American cars are disappearing there thousand more Ladas, MOSCOVISH, VOLGA, Soviet Cuban Cars…

      • Joseph Marti

        Wait a second….who “has the best engineers, doctors, and so forth?”

    • dani

      It depends what you mean by viable. If you look purely at the economics the Soviet Union succeeded to raise their economy substantially and the wealth of their citizens over a number of decades. Even by the end when the economy was sluggish it was still increasing at levels above some other countries and governments that were still viable. If you look purely politically they also succeeded in building a huge empire and network of influence over a number of decades. Though by the end this became more and more unsustainable. China and seem to be viable in that their economies are hugely successful and politically seem to be able to be avoid the issues that beset the Soviet Union. Whether they will be viable in the future remains to be seen. Are they Marxist-style socialism? You would really have to define what that meant. eg Bolivia is led by a Marxist and is generally considered successful and viable.

      The more interesting question is whether a Marxist regime can be democratic. Well there have been examples like the Paris Commune (ok this was pre-Marx but he referenced it a lot), in Spain during the Spanish Civil war and Red Vienna. But standing out for its human rights was the Democratic Republic of Georgia. Led by orthodox Marxists, they had a scrupulously multi-party democracy, independent judiciary and trade unions. They also had votes for women and maternity leave, free education and healthcare, unemployment benefit and welfare. In every way it was a country way before its time. It is a great shame that it was destroyed by Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin and forcibly incorporated into the Bolshevik state.

      • Nick

        Hi Dani. You make excellent points.
        There are many contributors here who are from, or who reside in the USA.
        Now I am a massive fan of the USA and have been very fortunate to have spent a good deal of time there (many great thinkers, great literature, great music etc).
        What I find though, is that a huge amount of people from the USA never seem to get over the propaganda they are spoon-fed from an early age about this imaginary binary world (Good vs Evil, Freedom vs Commies etc).
        Many people from the USA simply cannot do anything else other than regard themselves (and their pretty strict capitalist ideology) as superior (or exceptional) because they have had it drilled into them from an early age.
        And many simply cannot accept that communism or socialism have any merits at all because that’s what they have been brought up to believe. It is almost like some kind of religious belief. In fact many in the USA do seriously believe that they actually have divine backing for these beliefs. They have had it instilled into them that communism and socialism are evil and somehow wrapped up in a diabolic opposition to the Supreme, Omnipotent, USA supporting, Mr Good Guy who resides up in the sky.
        The actual fact is there have been a great many socialists and people on the left in the USA’s history. In fact there were many who were persecuted and even wrongfully executed for their struggles.
        It would seem that they are now largely disregarded. Their stories are not widely taught.
        It was actually a breath of fresh air to see the levels of support that Mr Bernie Sanders got last year.
        Unfortunately it is dumb-boy-trump’s rancid, hot air that President Putin has ensured people currently have to breathe.

  • Nick

    I think Elio’s articles are wonderful.
    It always makes me chuckle the way he winds up the apologists for the failed ideology, cruelty and corruption of neo-liberalism who comment so frequently here…..
    However, I must say of Elio’s latest article that describing the past 100 years of Russian History without once mentioning Stalin is just a little bit weird for me.

    • Raphael Stephen-Pons

      Thats because Stalin was a heroic Marxist-Leninist

  • Steve

    In my opinion, socialism fails due to human nature. When power is concentrated in a few people or institutions, human nature leads to personal enrichment and the consolidation of power and unwillingness to let it go. How else does Daniel Ortega become one of the richest men in Nicaragua (and now with his wife as VP, power is further consolidated even beyond his possible demise)? Why else does Nicolas Maduro invalidate the duly elected National Assembly of Venezuela and stuff its replacement with only people who support him? And how different is Cuba – I admit to knowing less about it but is the regime there seriously open to new ideas? I think about George Washington, the first president of the US, who could have been a king if he’d wanted, but became president and chose to selflessly move on and make way for others after his time in office. As for capitalism, yes people have been exploited and there is a legitimate place for controls, rules (labor, antitrust, etc. – also to deal with too much concentration of power), but to me the results of competition (survival and thriving of the fittest) have been stellar and the economic results have helped many. Why else do people from all over the world risk their lives, break the law, and in many cases leave their families behind to come to the US? Is anyone scrambling to get into Venezuela, Cuba, or even Russia? Socialism may be wonderful in theory, but some theories just don’t and can’t work out in the real world.

    • emagicmtman

      Socialism may suffer some temporary setbacks, but eventually, due to the failure of the captitalists’ human nature, Phoenix-like, socialism will rise from the ashes. In most advanced capitalist–read imperialist–nations, wealth seems to be ever-more concentrated at the top, while those below suffer ever-greater emisseration.
      The only fault with revolutions is that, heretofore, they have been too lenient! Whether Robespierre or Stalin, they should have dealt with speculators or “hidden class enemies” with more vigor!

      • Moses Patterson

        Where has socialism “suceeded” to give you such optimism for its future post-capitalism?

      • Ken Hiebert

        Lenient? In the last century who killed and imprisoned more Communists than Stalin?
        Perhaps Suharto in Indonesia, but I’m not sure of that.

        • Carlyle MacDuff

          Mao Tze Dong Ken.

    • Nick

      I feel sure that Daniel Ortega and George Washington have/had their good points and bad points. You obviously regard Washington as the preferable of the two.
      Unlike Ortega, Washington was a noted buyer and seller of slaves.
      I wonder if the men, women and children who were inherited, bought, sold and worked until death thought of Washington as a man who behaved selflessly??
      His view of the people he owned was as follows:
      “There are few Negroes who will work unless there be a constant eye on them”.

      Now obviously one needs to put these facts and this quote within the context of the era and for sure, Washington had his good points too………..
      But, like most of these leaders, he was no saint.

      Likewise you seem to regard the results of Capitalism as ‘stellar’.
      And suggest that socialism doesn’t work in the real world.
      I would suggest that the influence of socialism has improved the lives of countless millions around the world.
      I would also suggest that a preferable way forward for all would be a blend of the ‘stellar’ aspects of capitalism and the ‘inclusive’ aspects of socialism………….

      By the way one parallel between Ortega and Washington would be that they were both pretty successful at standing up to often brutal imperialism.

      • Carlyle MacDuff

        Was Washington a sexual predator Nick? How about Ortega?

        • Carlyle MacDuff

          Nick, do please read the article about sexual molestation and in particular that which adumbrates the predatory behaviour of Ortega.

    • Raphael Stephen-Pons

      I can tell you how, because all those countries were capitalist, in true socialist countries like Albania, the wage ratio was 2 to 1. Venezuela has one of the largest private sectors and thats socialism? Are you memeing? Thats social-democracy

    • Raphael Stephen-Pons

      Also dude, the human nature arguement? Human nature changes according to one’s material conditions. If one lives in a society with more collectivism one will be more collective, this is why people born in societies without legal slavery are universally against slavery, but a few centuries ago when slavery was legal nobody saw a problem with it. Also you said “socialism may be wonderful in theory” no it was wonderful in practice. Again a reference to Albania and their economic success:

      Official statistics verified by British economists show that between 1951 and 1985 in Albania:
      Agricultural production increased by 4.5 times;
      Retail sales per head of population: 5.5 times;
      Industrial production increased by 16.2 times;
      Chrome production increased by 30.9 times;
      Electric power production increased by 217.1 times;
      Chemical production increased by 585.8 times;
      (‘Statistical Yearbook of the PSR of Albania 1988’; Tirana; 1988; p.: 81, 87, 122).
      In addition, from the book Stalinist Economic Strategy in Practice: the Case of Albania by Adi Schnytzer:
      Growth indices for the Albanian economy (1938=1)
      Gross domestic material product
      1950 – 1.7
      1960 – 4.0
      1970 – 8.3
      1973 – 10.7
      Global agricultural production
      1950 – 1.2
      1960 – 1.7
      1970 – 3.1
      1973 – 3.5
      Global industrial production
      1950 – 4
      1960 – 25
      1970 – 64
      1973 – 86
      Retail trade turnover
      1950 – 1.4
      1960 – 6
      1970 – 10
      1973 – 13

      • Carlyle MacDuff

        Next thing is you will be describing Hoxa as a saint.

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      Great contribution Steve. To answer your question about the Cuban regime being open to new ideas, the answer is that it is locked in to Stalinist type Marxism and that consequently nothing changes. As regards folks scrambling to get into Cuba, there is an annual substantial outflow fleeing and the last National Census of 2012 found less than 5,500 residents who were not born in Cuba (that as a percentage of the population of 11.1 million is miniscule). You can get my book ‘Cuba Lifting the Veil’ on the web and it has also been published in Spanish.

  • Ken Hiebert

    The author refers to the “mistakes made by the Soviet leadership…” Mistakes is a rather mild word to use for the crimes of Stalinism. I wonder if the author has seen the speech made by Krushchev in 1956.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2006/feb/26/russia.theobserver

    Another take on the Russian Revolution
    http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article5232

    • Ken Hiebert

      I see that I misspelled a name. I should be Khrushchev.

      • Carlyle MacDuff

        One of the problems with the names of people with different languages and alphabets is that it is difficult to say which spelling is correct.
        But the Stalinists deplore any endeavor to expose the truth about that monster, The Castros are Stalinist with 2nd Vice President Machado Ventura being a true Stalinist. Fidel never forgave Khrushchev for not launching an initial nuclear strike upon the US and Guevara shared that fury although a follower of Mao.

    • Raphael Stephen-Pons

      Khruschev was politically motivated in making that speech, no historian takes what he says seriously. It was literally a slander campaign, not to mention that Khruschev took part intemently in the great purge and you use him as a source? I have book responding to the entirety of the speech: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_1w5HB0F8oASTVvbzMxM1EtbWs/view

      • Ken Hiebert

        I will leave it to readers of Havana Times to research which historians take the speech seriously and which don’t.
        I will point out that Khrushchev’s speech was made to a group of people who would be in a position to judge its truthfulness. How did the delegates to the 20th party congress react to the speech?

  • Roman Serbyn

    Lived for 80 years, and still haven’t learned the truth about the genocidal Communist regime in the Soviet empire! Either you haven’t been trying to get the facts and put them together in a meaningful way or you are still too blinded by Soviet propaganda. Pity…

    • Raphael Stephen-Pons

      Genocidal what genocide? >Soviet Empire
      There was a soviet empire during the Brezhnev and Khrushev regime, but there was no such “empire” under Comrade Lenin and Stalin. The October revolution was the first time the workers took charge of a country, the first time capitalism and its colonialism, imperialism, racism, sexism, and fascism were challenged

      • Carlyle MacDuff

        Bunkum Stephen-Pons. It was under Stalin that the Soviet Empire was established. 13 countries were ‘colonized’. Stalin didn’t have the good grace to die until March 5, 1953. So get your facts straight. But, I am glad to note that you reluctantly admit that there was a Soviet Empire. I also note your use of ‘comrade’ when referring to Lenin.

  • Raphael Stephen-Pons

    Stalin did not have millions pay with their lives, sorry buddy capitalist propaganda misguided you. Communism has failed the world over? hahahahah, good joke:

    Official statistics verified by British economists show that between 1951 and 1985 in Albania:
    Agricultural production increased by 4.5 times;
    Retail sales per head of population: 5.5 times;
    Industrial production increased by 16.2 times;
    Chrome production increased by 30.9 times;
    Electric power production increased by 217.1 times;
    Chemical production increased by 585.8 times;
    (‘Statistical Yearbook of the PSR of Albania 1988’; Tirana; 1988; p.: 81, 87, 122).
    In addition, from the book Stalinist Economic Strategy in Practice: the Case of Albania by Adi Schnytzer:
    Growth indices for the Albanian economy (1938=1)
    Gross domestic material product
    1950 – 1.7
    1960 – 4.0
    1970 – 8.3
    1973 – 10.7
    Global agricultural production
    1950 – 1.2
    1960 – 1.7
    1970 – 3.1
    1973 – 3.5
    Global industrial production
    1950 – 4
    1960 – 25
    1970 – 64
    1973 – 86
    Retail trade turnover
    1950 – 1.4
    1960 – 6
    1970 – 10
    1973 – 13

    “Even China and Vietnam have dominant market based sectors” Thats because they are capitalist countries maybe than? “does not require communism” Communism has never existed, do you mean the lower stage of communism (in the marxist lexicon) socialism?

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      You have read the wrong books and used propaganda sources Stephen-Pons. If you actually want the truth about Stalin, read:
      The Great Terror
      Stalin Breaker of Nations
      Both are written by Robert Conquest and provide complete detailed indexes.
      In ‘Stalin Breaker of Nations’, you will find a very instructive biographical note referencing some dozens of books.
      The book records: “Of all the despots of our time, Joseph Stalin lasted the longest and wielded the greatest power, and his secrets have been most jealously guarded- even after his death.”

      • Raphael Stephen-Pons

        Lol, Conquest isn’t propaganda? Read Blood Lies, and Khrushev lied

        • Carlyle MacDuff

          By the timing of your response Stephen-Pons it is clear that you have read my extract from ‘The American Spectator’. So are there two of you or have you resigned from the CPUSA?

          • Raphael Stephen-Pons

            I was never a member of the CPUSA to begin with, I don’t know why I initially said that, probably to mess with the author

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            So if you don’t mean what you write Stephen-Pons, how do we know when you are being factual. As you know, denial is a part of the communist creed.

      • Kennedy Earle Clarke

        Brother Carlyle, have you ever read Eric Chase’s 1993 “The BRIEF ORIGINS OF MAY DAY? Labour Day was declared a Public Holiday in 1894–The first Monday in September. The first was held on Tuesday, 5th September 1882. John Rockefeller became rich in oil..Andrew Carnegie became rich in steel. Both were known as the robber barons (people who got rich through ruthless business deals)

        When you are criticizing Socialism or Communism, remember that it was the 1917 October Russian Revolution which freed little children from the coal mines, the gold mines, the diamond mine and sent them to school where they belong. The Russian Revolution of 1917, also introduced equal pay for men and women, something that is not practiced in the Capitalist world. The Russian Revolution also introduced free education and health–care. The Factory Act of 1833 limited the work day for children in factories in the capitalist United Kingdom.(England).

        Those 9-13 only 8 hours:14-18, 12 hours: Children under 9, were required to attend school. What about the many Black slaves who were worked to death on the cotton plantations in the Great anti- working Class USA? How many Chinese died between 1863-1869 building the rail road across the USA? How many people disappeared in Latin America under the Military dictatorships supported and trained in the USA? How many persons died in the overthrow of popular governments by the CIA of the USA? Stop condemning Socialist Leaders. The hands of the USA are too sullied for it to be pointing fingers at others?

        • Carlyle MacDuff

          The origins of May Day was in England in medieval times where celebrations included dancing around the Maypole. So obviously Kennedy Earle Clarke, Mr. Chase was very late in finding out about it in 1993 -talk about being behind the times!
          In Cuba, having practiced genocide and eradicated the Taino, Cuba imported huge numbers of black slaves many of whom were worked to death and then Weyler introduced concentration camps and many more were starved to death. The Castros along with Guevara, shot thousands with the use of firing squads. The purpose of education in Cuba is not to create individual character and thought, but to indoctrinate (as declared in the Constitution).
          Andrew Carnegie was the son of a mill worker, who not only produced the steel which was used to build the US railway system, but also funded over 400 libraries in the US and Canada to enable everybody to have access to learning. In Cuba, the Castro regime has allowed the rail system to degenerate and has restricted access to books. In our community which is in an agricultural area, there is one well-thumbed book published in Spain in 1963 about agriculture and 37 (yes, thirty seven) copies of LENIN, all in pristine condition.
          When I think about communism in Russia, I reflect upon Stalin’s purges, upon the eradication of the Kulaks, of the starvation of the Ukrainians, of Stalin’s deal with Hitler to carve up Poland with Ribbentrop flying to Moscow on September 27, just over three weeks after the invasion of Poland by Germany and at the very time of Russia’s invasion of Poland, to agree that Germany would get all of ethnic Poland and , of the USSR Empire which imprisoned thirteen countries.and Russia would get the Baltic States and the rape of Vienna. I think of the need to construct the iron curtain stretching from the Baltic to the Black Sea, not to stop people getting in to the USSR, but to prevent people getting out. I also think of those who died on that wire upon risking their lives to escape totalitarian repression.
          The difference between you and I Kennedy Earle Clarke is that I am concerned about humanity and the individual, and you are concerned about endeavoring to promote the 19th century thinking of Karl Marx.

  • Raphael Stephen-Pons

    Even though I think you are a revisionist for supporting the capitalist regime of Fidel and Raul Castro, I think this was a fantastic article. Know Cuban Communists still exist, ignore the imperialists

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      You forgot to add Stephen-Pons: Support freedom, the rights of the individual, freedom of expression, freedom of movement, freedom to vote for your political party of choice. Or are you opposed to all of them although using the freedoms that you yourself enjoy under the capitalist system. If you are opposed to those freedoms, do you agree that your view is hypocritical?