Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fidel Castro: Community Organizer

Fidel Castro launched his first attempt to gain power at the University of Havana.  His goal was to become president of the studentbody and then agitate the students into a revolutionary force.  His idea was to then use this force to make him the leader of Cuba.  He never did become studentbody president.

Castro then agitated the Colombian people and led them in an insurrection.  This also failed.

During a very vulnerable time in the history of Cuba in the 1950's, then leader Batista was preparing the country for their first free elections.  He was going to step down as their dictator and help the citizens set up a free country with a leader of their choice.  Batista was just waiting to step down until the people of Cuba were first prepared for this transition.  It was at this point that Castro agitated the people into demanding freedom now!  He was even aided by fellow agitator Ernesto "Che" Guevara.  Castro and Che's efforts at agitating the Cubans into protesting for their free elections now instead of waiting were successful.  The chaos that followed resulted in Castro's violent takeover of power as the new communist leader of Cuba.

In the early 1900's in Russia, the Russian people were on the edge of revolution against Tsar Nicholas II.  The people did not like the policies of the tsar as their economy was not doing well.  The Russian people protested for the tsar to set up a limited monarchy.  They wanted to be more like England.  Tsar Nicholas II finally consented to the people's demands for this limited monarchy by accepting "The October Manifesto" which outlined freedoms for the Russian people.  Just right when the Russian people had freedom almost in their hands, Lenin and Trotsky agitated the people into further revolution instead of accepting their chance at freedom.  This of course would end up leading the violent start to Russian communism with Lenin as their new communist dictator.

Agitating people and angering them into rising up against their government, sometimes in violent ways, has long been a useful tool of communists.  The goal is to anger the people into taking action over an issue they wouldn't have taken action over on their own.  The people feel like they are empowered and are working toward their own goals, but of course they are being used to work toward the goal that was actually the goal of the agitator.

Saul Alinsky wrote a book "Rules For Radicals" that outlines some ways that radicals today can harness this power of agitating people that was used by Castro, Lenin, and Guevara.  There is a long list of revolutionaries from the past that have been agitators.  I call them disciples of communism.  Barack Obama followed this tradition during his days of agitating in Chicago.  Of course, now we call it community organizing.