Friday, July 26, 2013

Anti-Americana: Anti-Imperialist BFFs?

Back in the early 1960s the People's Republic of China seemed firmly committed to the anti-imperialist camp. In 1963 it issued a series of stamps "in solidarity with revolutionary socialist Cuba." This value of the series is entitled, "Support Cuban People's Patriotic and Just Struggle Against U.S Imperialism." It shows a solidarity with Cuba rally being held in Beijing. Other values in the series showed a rally in Habana, Cuban leader Fidel Castro and some stellar cartoonish images of Cuban revolutionaries.

As the Sino-Soviet split worsened, Cuba and China grew apart. By the late 1970s, Cuba and China wound up on different sides of a number of proxy conflicts. In Angola, for instance, Cuban troops backing the MPLA government fought an extended civil war with the forces of the rival UNITA faction, armed by China, Apartheid South Africa and the American CIA. The moral of that story? Realpolitik is never good for revolutions.

Anyway, remembering this stamp is a good way to mark today's date, July 26, the date of the failed 1953 revolutionary attack on the Moncada Barracks in Cuba, and the namesake of the revolutionary movement that would go on to kick out the Batista dictatorship and its U.S. sponsors in 1959. The Movimiento 26 de Julio had a beautiful black and red banner that served as an inspiration for later revolutionaries in Chile (the MIR) and Nicaragua (the FSLN).

While we're at it, here's an LP from China in the 1960s having something to do with a celebration of the Cuban July 26th Movement. I don't read enough Chinese to get more than that, but that's pretty clearly an illustration meant to evoke Fidel. They don't make record covers like that anymore!

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