Present collection of articles by Armando Hart should be seen in a particular historical context. With collapse of erstwhile USSR and lessening of charm in Chinese Socialist experiments and also with the advancement of newer Latin American socialist experiments an interest in lesser known theorists and political personalities of Third world countries has gained momentum. A question should be raised and critically examined whether these people has anything substantial to contribute in the universal treasure of Marxist Theory and it’s creative application or they should be treated as just an attempt to glorify their limited and narrow experiences.
In this context these articles must be read with some care. Armando draws heavily from Cuban tradition so sometimes he becomes difficult to follow. This can at best be taken as a lesson that Marxists should try to assimilate their respective cultural tradition in a positive manner. Indian and particularly Hindi heartland practitioners on intellectual front should learn it seriously since Marxist cultural intervention in Hindi heartland started with rejection of tradition and in spite of long ideological struggle this line of thinking is still very much dominant in some circles.
To some extent India and Cuba can be compared since colonization is the fact of life in both cases. Our colonizers have asserted that we are the people of spiritual interest and so should not try to gain material benefits or should not demand for economic prosperity. In these articles Armando accepts the opposition of material/spiritual and civilization/culture though for a Marxist these are not so opposed. Third world countries have not only a claim over culture but civilization also belongs to them. Right from the Chinese to Maya all ancient civilizations have flourished in these countries only.
Actually bourgeoisie has created this opposition to have a claim over civilization and material and to prove capitalism as The ‘civilised’ system which has responsibility to civilize other ‘barbarians’. But while accepting this opposition Armando transforms it into weaker countries’ strength by exposing the unethical socio-political milieu and utter materialistic consumerism of USA versus ethical positions of Cuba.
In the neoliberal offensive of our times the things like culture seem no more useful so rulers have no time for it. In this atmosphere these articles are not only relevant for discussing the place of culture in total social behavior but are also tools in the battle against Imperialist cultural offensive.