On Sunday 1 April, Rock Around the Blockade activists from Scotland held a fundraising comedy night to raise material aid for a ‘Workshop of Transformation’ street art project in Havana, Cuba.
‘Stand up for Cuba!’ saw several top local comedians perform to the 50 or so people who had forgone Scotland’s World Cup qualifier to come to Maggie May’s and help support the Cuban Revolution.
Compere Sian Bevan got the gig underway, followed by Niall Browne, Hamilton funny-man John Gavin and Elaine Malcolmson. Against a backdrop of a giant Che banner, Cuba and Venezuela flags, headliner Billy Kirkwood tore up the stage with a great set to end the evening.
The London meeting of the Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! Speaking Tour event organised by the Revolutionary Communist Group took place on Saturday 18 October 2009 at Bolivar Hall, London. The day school consisted of two discussions: one on Socialist Cuba and ALBA; the other on the capitalist crisis and imperialism.
The speaker on Cuba provided an in-depth analysis of how Cuba survived periods of economic crisis, without betraying its socialist principles and welfare-based development model. Measures taken during Cuba's Special Period and in the current crisis demonstrate how in practice the socialist alternative to the destruction and brutality unleashed during crises under capitalism. The discussion also assessed the building of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) as a barrier to imperialist domination and capital penetration from the US and Europe and highlighted the importance of the Bank of ALBA, and the new virtual currency, the SUCRE, which will be launched early next year for ALBA trade.
On Sunday July 26, celebrating the 56th year since the attack on Moncada Barracks that sparked Cuba ’s revolutionary movement and the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution, Rebel Music (Rock Around the Blockade) in collaboration with the Ecuadorian Movement in the UK (MERU) and the Tawantinsuyu Movement hosted a party in the best Latin American tradition. 'Cuba Fiesta' was attended by over 60 guests with music from DJ Dave, the Cultural Movement Amigo Artista and from Bolivia the artist Paxtzy Coca and adorned with an art display, called ‘public opinion’, by Bolivian artist Marcelo Duchen Rodriguez.
Altogether, it was a fantastic celebration where people danced to Cuban rhythms, like Guantanamera, danced the conga and sang the most emotive song that reminds us of the power of the revolution: Che Guevara - Hasta Siempre Comandante. We look forward to many celebrations together in the future.
On Wednesday 20th May 2009, 60 people crowded into a room at LSE to hear six Londoners talk about their participation in the recent Rock around the Blockade solidarity brigade to Cuba. It was named La Brigada del Cinquenta Anniversario, in recognition of the fact that it was lucky enough to be visit Cuba during the 50th anniversary of the revolution. For all but one of the brigadistas, it had been their first trip to Cuba and at Wednesday’s meeting they formed a young, dynamic panel of speakers who each had something different to report on. Areas discussed included democracy in Cuba, education, agriculture, and a report of the international conference for the Cuban 5, which welcomed delegates from around the globe, and at which RATB gave a short speech. There were also video clips - an interesting testimony to the experiences described -including a moving clip of the Mayday parade in Havana, an important and massive day of celebration in Cuba.
On 26 July 2008 RATB held a successful live music event in Brixton, south London, to celebrate the 55th anniversary of the Moncada attack, the spark of the Cuban Revolution.
Cuban Jamm at Brixton a great success
The skies were clear and the Sun shone like the great star that it is. The venue was the Jamm, 261 Brixton Road, London. The event was a Cuban fiesta organized by Rock Around the Blockade in solidarity with Cuba and celebrating 55 years since Fidel Castro and his revolutionary rebels attacked the Moncada Barracks, sparking the Cuban Revolution. Supporters of the event were the Revolutionary Communist Group, the RMT trade union, Movement of Ecuadorians in the UK and the Marti-Maceo Cultural Organisation of Cubans in Great Britain.
On the 17 January 2009, almost 250 people gathered at Bolivar Hall, the Venezuelan embassy, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution. The meeting, organised by Rock around the Blockade, can only be described as a resounding success.
The panel of speakers was vibrant and the audience more so, both providing discussion points that could have continued for hours. We were honoured to have representatives from the Cuban, Venezuelan and Bolivian embassies. Rafael Sardinas from the Cuban Embassy spoke of the triumph of the revolution and its gains in the face of US terrorism. Williams Suarez from the Venezuelan Embassy and Ruben Vidaurre from the Bolivian Embassy both spoke of developments of Latin America and the inspiration that Cuba provides. It was very significant to be in Bolivar Hall, with Venezuelan and Bolivian comrades, both of whose countries have taken the principled lead and cut all ties with the Zionist State of Israel. In fact, the topic of Palestine was brought up by almost all speakers, Neeva Shanti speaking on behalf of the Revolutionary Communist Group. Diego Almeida, from the Movement of Ecuadorians in the UK, and Jeremy Dear, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists and speaking on behalf of Justice for Colombia. It was clear that many people arrived after having gone to the rally for Palestine in Trafalgar Square that afternoon, and when the floor was opened to the audience for discussion, the brutal, racist, occupation of Palestine was raised with speakers expressing their condemnation of Britain and US’ political and military support of the Israeli State.