Accidental communist?


Richard Gott “Fidel Castro obituary: revolutionary icon finally defeated by infirmity of old age”

“Known as Fidel to friends and enemies alike, his life story is inevitably that of his people and their revolution”ということで、フィデル・カストロの伝記というよりはキューバ現代史の概説になっている。さて、カストロはそもそも「共産主義者」ではなく、その革命も腐敗した独裁政権の打倒を目指したものにすぎなかった。米国の誤った対応(過剰な敵対)と米蘇冷戦という環境の中で、カストロキューバは「共産主義」に化けてしまった。また、米国はアルヘンティナチリでもニカラグアでも〈キューバの教訓〉を活かすことはできなかった。

Zoe Williams*2 “Forget Fidel Castro’s policies. What matters is that he was a dictator“

香奠のように発せられるカストロ礼賛を、カストロなんてただの独裁者じゃん! と一蹴する。

Pluralism, democracy and universal rights are the foundations of progressive politics. One man, even if he’s a woman, does not get to govern by force and decree. One oppressed group, even if it’s dentists, is an oppression of everybody. One nation, even if it’s tiny and exports a lot of doctors, is as great an insult to the principles of the left as one dictatorial superpower.

The problem with dictators lies not in what they do: some make trains run on time, and some start wars, and some do neither and some do both, but it would be fruitless to rank them on this basis. The problem is not which groups they victimise – though it is a problem that it will always be somebody, the cornerstone of control being to divide and scapegoat. The problem is not even that strongmen can’t get on with each other, for all the anxiety it brings, waiting for the inevitable confrontation as one immovable, volatile autocrat comes head to head with another.

No, the problem is that the power annexed by one big daddy hasn’t come from nowhere: it is power surrendered by everyone else, whose human destiny is then smothered by their political impotence. Whether you are explicitly denied the vote or simply rendered irrelevant by a winner-takes-all authoritarianism, you are left infantilised and directionless.

The powerlessness of a populace is hard to articulate, and we often describe it by synecdoche: people travelling in the USSR in the 80s would talk about the scarcity of Levi’s, or the fact that East Berliners couldn’t visit the west; we use “women can’t drive” as a shorthand for life in Saudi Arabia. These were or are demonstrable facts, and yet, it’s not the end of the world, is it, denim? What we were really trying to convey was the drabness, the rigidity, the sense of enclosure.

There is no such thing as a modern autocracy, since there can be no positive vision of a future if you have no hand in building it. That’s why life under authoritarian communism always looked so tired; not because the clothes were secondhand but because civic identity was trapped in an inescapable present.