Roots of Revolution: Radical Thought in Cuba

Roots of Revolution: Radical Thought in Cuba

Roots of Revolution: Radical Thought in Cuba

Roots of Revolution: Radical Thought in Cuba


Concerned with what Cuban radicals have thought about their na-tion's protracted struggle for independence, Sheldon B. Liss looks at each one's mode of analysis, position on the class struggle, ideas on reform or revolution, and search for community. Each writer's beliefs about ethics, morality, religion, social mobility, political control, aesthetics, and quality of life are subjected to scrutiny by Liss. He also considers their views on Cuban-United States relations, their perceptions of the state and power, and their relationships to the means of production and workers' movements.


A radical is no more than this: he who goes to the roots. Let him who fails to arrive at the bottom of things call himself not a radical; nor let him who fails to help other men obtain security and happiness call himself a man.

José Martí

Spanish colonial rule existed in Cuba for over four centuries. Immediately after independence from Spain in 1898, the 750‐ mile-long Caribbean island came under the political hegemony of the United States, and its middle and upper classes became economically, and to a lesser extent culturally, dependent on its more powerful neighbor 90 miles to the north. Cuba remained in that neocolonial situation until 1959, when it began the process of building a revolution—a phenomenon often spoken about but rarely carried out in Latin America.

Throughout their history Cubans have used the printed word as a weapon in the struggle for liberty, protesting the oppressive acts inflicted, and the myths perpetuated, by Spanish overlords, Yankee entrepreneurs, and native gentry. in the colonial and neocolonial eras, Cuban politics were marked by administrative corruption, lack of civic accountability, and little sensitivity to the plight of the masses. At the same time, Cuba's literature frequently assumed a polemic quality as writers placed it at the service of society. Cuban intellectuals, especially essayists, imparted progressive, often radical and revolutionary ideas to their disenchanted countrymen. By the nineteenth century, Cuba's . . .

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