The New American: It’s official: Black Lives Matter (BLM) should really be renamed Communism Matters. On Sunday, BLM posted a tribute to the late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro (shown), lionizing his “revolution” and thanking him for harboring wanted criminals.
“We are feeling many things as we awaken to a world without Fidel Castro,” begins the BLM paean to the mass-murdering communist. “There is an overwhelming sense of loss, complicated by fear and anxiety.”
Some — but not all — members of Castro’s family may be grieving and anxious; hardly anyone else should be. After seizing power in 1959, Castro visited untold misery upon his island nation, not least of which was the execution of tens of thousands of Cubans, which surely included a large number of blacks given that at least a third of Cuba’s population is of African descent. Castro’s regime persecuted homosexuals and did nothing to address racism. In fact, the regime actually stepped up its attacks on black dissidents in the 21st century, according to a 2010 statement from 60 African-American intellectuals and artists.
BLM, however, is not outraged by these things but by “the rhetoric of the right,” which is to say accurate reporting of Castro’s record. BLM writes that “no leader is without their flaws,” but Castro apparently had none worth mentioning in its 582-word encomium. Instead, readers are treated to high-flown rhetoric about freedom and justice, matters which clearly were of no concern to Castro. In addition, BLM makes it clear that it seeks not merely equal treatment for African-Americans but revolution.
“From Fidel, we know that revolution is sparked by an idea, by radical imaginings, which sometimes take root first among just a few dozen people coming together in the mountains,” pens BLM. “It can be a tattered group of meager resources, like in Sierra Maestro [sic] in 1956 or St. Elmo Village in 2013.” Sierra Maestra is the Cuban mountain range where Castro and his associates launched their revolution. BLM traces its origins to a 2013 meeting in St. Elmo Village, an artists’ community in Los Angeles.
Why is BLM so interested in revolution? It is not simply a matter of righting perceived wrongs but of creating a fully socialist, if not communist, society:
Revolution is rooted in the recognition that there are certain fundamentals to which every being has a right, just by virtue of one’s birth: healthy food, clean water, decent housing, safe communities, quality healthcare, mental health services, free and quality education, community spaces, art, democratic engagement, regular vacations, sports, and places for spiritual expression are not questions of resources, but questions of political will and they are requirements of any humane society.
The fact of the matter is that no one has a right to most of the things on BLM’s wish list. Food, water, housing, healthcare, and education aren’t free; someone has to pay for them. For an individual to demand a right to these things is for him to lay claim to the property of another, i.e., to steal. Leisure time for such things as vacations and sports was largely unknown throughout most of human history. Only capitalism, the very system Castro destroyed and BLM would like to extinguish, has made necessities and even luxuries affordable for the masses and enabled people to enjoy free time. The notion that these things are “not questions of resources, but questions of political will” is balderdash. The only way political will can make them happen is by getting the government out of the way of the market. The political will that Castro employed — which, by the way, failed to deliver a single thing on BLM’s list of “rights” — means the dispossession of some, the persecution of those who refuse to comply, and the eventual impoverishment of all.
That BLM is far from a harmless movement is also evident in its heaping praise on Castro for harboring certain fugitives from American justice:
As a Black network committed to transformation, we are particularly grateful to Fidel for holding Mama Assata Shakur, who continues to inspire us. We are thankful that he provided a home for Brother Michael Finney[,] Ralph Goodwin, and Charles Hill, asylum to Brother Huey P. Newton, and sanctuary for so many other Black revolutionaries who were being persecuted by the American government during the Black Power era.
Shakur, whose real name is JoAnne Chesimard, and two accomplices shot two New Jersey state troopers, killing one, during a 1973 traffic stop. Chesimard, a member of the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army, was already wanted for involvement in several felonies, including bank robbery. She was convicted of first degree murder, among other things, in 1977 and sentenced to life in prison. She escaped in 1979 and eventually fled to Cuba, where she is thought to reside still. She is on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s most wanted terrorists list; the agency is offering $1 million for information leading to her apprehension.
Finney, Goodwin, and Hill were also involved in the killing of a cop during a traffic stop. In 1971, the three, who were members of a militant black power group that sought to take several southern states as a new nation for blacks, were transporting weapons from California to their planned revolution when they were stopped by a New Mexico state trooper on suspicion of driving a stolen vehicle. After killing the trooper, they disappeared into the desert for 19 days and then hijacked an airplane to Cuba, where they were given asylum. Goodwin and Finney have since died; Hill remains in Cuba. According to HeatStreet, “Hill told a Washington Post reporter in the 1990s that he had no regrets about killing the state trooper, a father of two young daughters.”
Huey Newton, of course, is one of the cofounders of the Black Panther Party. He fled to Cuba in the mid-1970s after allegedly shooting an 18-year-old woman (who later died from her wounds) and pistol-whipping his tailor. Newton returned to the United States in 1977, where he was acquitted of the assault on his tailor and could not be convicted of the murder because three Blank Panthers intimidated a key witness into silence by attempting to assassinate her. Both before and after his time in Cuba, Newton was involved in other crimes, including yet another traffic stop that resulted in the shooting death of a policeman.
For harboring these and other wanted criminals, Castro was a hero to BLM.
BLM concludes its eulogy thus: “As Fidel ascends to the realm of the ancestors, we summon his guidance, strength, and power as we recommit ourselves to the struggle for universal freedom. Fidel Vive!”
The last thing Castro ever wanted was universal freedom. In dying, however, he has at last done humanity a good turn by giving everyone a clear picture of exactly what BLM and the rest of the Left really want: “a boot stamping on a human face — forever.”