I am not the bad guy here. I am just the news reader and if the news does not accord, there is not a thing that you or I can do about it. History will unfold as it will and we can understand it or just let it happen to us. I would prefer the advantage of foresight over astonishment anytime and to date I have not been far wrong in most of my predictions. I don't use a crystal ball, I just try to understand society and the class forces involved.
Firstly, "totalitarianism" is a form of government which will not permit of dissent or alternative opinion and which will not allow free expression. A healthy worker's state thrives on freedom of expression. Both Lenin and Trotsky supported freedom of the press, even a press which published ideas in opposition to them and to the revolution. When the anarchists demanded the right to detach from the revolution and go off and form a commune, Lenin's answer was; "let them go. They can have their experiment and when they have grown up they can rejoin us."
The totalitarians were Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Mussolini, Caetano, Franco, Pinochet, Batista and Castro.
RF has cited Castro as being a marxist. You don't become a marxist just by making a declaration, you have to go through some sort of revolutionary school, and study the great works, then learn to apply the lessons to the modern situation and in regular revolutionary activity. More to the point you have to understand the marxist method and I do not see any of that in Castro's works. He is good at the revolutionary phrase, but he has clearly understood little of what Marx and Lenin wrote. In this he stands on the same untutored ground as Stalin and Mao and all the other totalitarian dictators who have espoused Marx, yet trodden his name into the mud by their actions. Castro was driven into the hills as a petty bourgeois intellectual and came down a few months later a marxist. Bravo! How did he manage that?
It would be wrong to say that Castro acheived nothing on coming to power, he and the other stalinist leaders stand at the heads of nations which have brought their people from utter ruin and starvation at the hands of imperialism and autocracy, to a position where their people are fed and housed and enjoy a lifestyle which would still be denied them had they not shaken off the oppressors. The sad fact is they did not go far enough and that is the problem when power rests in too few hands, it requires the imagination of the masses to really carry society forward. The masses have nothing to lose by taking matters into their own hands, whereas dictators - even well meaning ones - will use armed force to guard their power and can only act as a parasite on society, they ultimately contribute nothing, but squander great wealth justifying their positions.
There is no false dichotomy in exposing the malicious lie that class and social strata are one and the same. That particular act was deliberately perpetrated to cloud the issue and make it difficult for workers to clearly identify themselves. It didn't work. Social strata describe the earning power of workers, from those in poorly paid work through to the highly paid managers of industry, passing across Doctors and airline pilots as examples of well paid workers. These strata then go on to include the captains of industry and the idle rich who holiday constantly, whilst their managers keep the show running. The social strata tell us nothing about class and the class struggle, which though some may care to ignore it is constantly at work despite them.
In the present crisis, social strata will hold less and less importance, because those near the top may well not be there for much longer and as general earning power declines the bench marks will have to be redrawn. What will stand out most starkly is the difference between the working class and the ruling class.
Frankly I resent being called an intellectual. I am a worker and my description is "Nurse" I am not and never will be an intellectual. If Bgile says he is an intellectual; does this mean that he spends the bulk of his time as a word-monger, or does he do something useful to earn his crust? Lenin and Trotsky were active revolutionaries long before they put pen to paper in the literary sense and earned their place at the head of the worker's movement by hard and dangerous work among workers, under a brutal and autocratic czar. They learned to write as workers representatives under the most exacting of conditions, conducting correspondence by secret writing using the most rudimentary methods and materials - milk or urine. To call them intellectuals is to miss the point by a mile and openely demonstrate how little is understood of the men themsleves and the work they engaged in.
Writing and discussion is an intellectual process true, but because a man engages where necessary, the intellect can in no way be the meter by which to describe him. I like a glass of wine on occassion but that does not make me an alchoholic or even anything of a "Drinker" for that matter. Writing and discussion for the revolutionary are tools and from my own experience as an active revolutionary, the vast bulk of one's time is given over to organisation, obtaining paper, printers and secret premises, raising cash and selling papers, tending to those who have lost heart, or those who have given too much and had nervous breakdowns and helping those who are new to find their feet. The class struggle is the hardest battle of all, because there are no short cuts to victory. It is all up hill and with no guarrantees, no career path and with few tangible results - and yes, that is where I learned to write.
I would like to see the intellectual who would choose such an exacting path, when they can find glory and adulation with a few well chosen words. The intellectual seeks ultimately to immortalise himself through recognition as the authority in his field. His life's work is directed at promoting himself. The revolutionary writes with a purpose - that of overturning the old order and unseating the rulers by unleashing the will of the people. There is a distinction.