Socialist ViewPoint and analysis for working people

May/June 2005 • Vol 4, No. 5 •

At the Havana Book Fair

By Celia Hart

We have been together for more than two weeks, your comrades from El Militante, Jordi Martorell, Carlos Ramirez and Carlos Rosich and my controversial self.

Life is built from little strips, and we will see how we do it, but for now I wanted to comment:

Together we posted the golden image of Trotsky next to that of Lenin, and to that of Che. Together we assisted thousands of comrades who welcomed our friend Trotsky to Cuba. Together we showed how the ideas of Marxism, fresh and clear, dominate the world, like the red colors of the binding of that blessed Communist Manifesto, that once again together we declared just baked from the furnace of history.

Together we attended the launch of several important books: the marvelous essays of Adolfo Sanchez Vazquez, where he declared that the other, better world is socialism and that it depends on us, unless we wish to have barbarism...which seems like a dreadful option, doesn't it?

We were also together at the presentation of Alan Woods' book, Reason in Revolt, to a full house, where we nearly, nearly, ended up singing the International, with the last sentences of the Manifesto in the youthful and fiery voice of our Jordi. Jordi with messy hair who at least got us on our feet.

Also, let this be known, we were together at the presentation of Carlos Tablada's book Economic Thought of Ernesto Che Guevara. There were few of us in the room, but the excellent lesson that Nestor Kohan gives every time he picks up the microphone, with "a long breath reflection," is enough.

Nestor is that indispensable teacher for when we lose the links between Marx and America, or between rigor and passion.

If we are to study Marxism in America, let Nestor accompany us, he is our best ally. Three books: Marx in his (Third) World, Towards a Non Colonized Socialism...Ernesto Che Guevara... Another World is Possible, and above all, the book launched at this edition of the Fair, Capital...History and Method. He shows us how an illiterate with love and patience can understand Marx.

Yes, in Argentina and America we are lucky to have that small person with brown hair and massive glasses who teaches us the path towards this greater will for something-something that is not clearly defined but so solid, something I am definitely fighting for. Nestor Kohan and Marcelo, the editor of Nuestra America were drinking mates next to me, sitting on the floor of the Fundacion Frederico Engels stand. There we decided together which Che it is that we so badly need.

Che was one of those most hurt by the bureaucracy in the USSR, as much so as Trotsky. Why do they set them apart so much?

I know that my Argentina will search for the springs that will make this union possible.

And the Cuban people? Our stand was overflowing with them: On one side Permanent Revolution, which sold out, and of which the daughter of the current president, Hugo Chavez, the beautiful Gabriela, bought half a dozen. It was the same dark edition which trembled in her father's hands in Madrid.

And Reason in Revolt? It continued to sell after that presentation by our Jordi. And many more books, above all the documents and books that we were able to sell in our marvelous national currency.

My fellow countrymen were running to get hold of that literature which had seemed to be dead. And in this way we have celebrated Valentines Day, filled with revolution, which is the most precise way to be happy.

My most beautiful comrades have stayed at home filling with their voices and their breath my round table. And here Cuba has gone through their lives.

This is how I want them to know Cuba! With our daily vicissitudes, but also with the smile of my youngest son, who does not think the sun can rise when "the comrades from El Militante" leave the house.

Nights spent trying to understand this or that thing, in front of a table and with our souls full of expectation, but above all a willingness to do so.

This is more or less how it all ended. It ended only to begin...isn't revolution permanent? It was revolution that we made permanent in this Fair, by the actions of those who believe that Trotsky is inevitable in order to make it possible, and others who think that in this enterprise Che is indispensable.

Revolution or Death!

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