My column, “Knowledge, ideology, and real socialism in our times,” is written for people who are interested in serious reflection on issues of social justice, involving reading and learning about historic and contemporary unjust global structures, and about the sustained struggles of the colonized peoples of the world for a more just world.  And for people who desire to engage in practical reflection on ways to contribute to the creation of a more just world.

      As I explain in the April 6, 2021 Preface to the column, my life journey has taken me from the mainstream of American political culture in the early 1960s, to participation in the student anti-war movement in the late 1960s, encounter with black nationalism in the early 1970s, study of the Catholic philosopher Bernard Lonergan in the late 1970s, study of the Marx in the 1980s, and sustained encounter with Latin America from the 1990s to the present, especially the socialist revolution of Cuba.  In my journey, I never lost sight of the question, what needs to be done to bring the United States to a more just foreign policy with respect to the neocolonized peoples? 

      So I have spent many years living among the colonized, formed and cared for by them.  But I did not lose sight of the fact that I belonged to the world of the colonizer, and it was somehow in that world of the colonizer that my life-work and mission had to be found.  The colonized themselves reinforced this orientation.  They were not making a constant effort to form and care for me in order that I would become lost among them.  I was expected to do something with respect to the world from which I came, which presumably, I know something about.

     My journey has given me a unique voice, which may benefit the reader on his or her own journey, because it is a voice that is not heard in the societies of the North, at least not in a consistent and coherent way.  It is the voice of the Third World, more particularly, the voice of the exceptional leaders and teachers of the Third World movements for national and social liberation from colonial domination and imperialism.  More precisely still, it is an appropriation of those insights from exceptional Third World leaders that are the most relevant to educating us in the North concerning what we can do with respect to our own dilemmas, adapting them, of course, to our concrete situations.

     The content of the commentaries also has its own special stamp.  There are certain matters that I explain, and to which I repeatedly refer, which are not frequently discussed in the North, even among intellectuals of the Left.  For example, the Cuban political process of people’s democracy; and the declarations, historical and contemporary, of the Non-Aligned Movement.  And there are certain terms and phraseology that are repeated in my commentaries that do not have wide currency: the core and periphery of the capitalist world-economy; the economic function of the periphery; the neocolonial world-system; the sustained structural crisis of the modern world-system; a new international economic order; and an alternative, more just, democratic, and sustainable world-system.  Moreover, the content includes a series of topics, much like a professor were to design an outline for a course: the history of the modern-world system; the colonial foundations of the modern world-system; the resistance of the colonized; the neocolonial structures of the current neocolonial world-system; the importance cases of China, Cuba, Vietnam, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, and the Non-Aligned Movement.  But in this course, the reader finds that these topics are interwoven in the bi-weekly commentaries, which discuss current events, critically respond to current analyses, or commemorate anniversaries of significant events and historic persons.

     The commentaries are anywhere from 1500 to 4000 words, usually around 3000, which is supposed to take the reader about 13 or 14 minutes, according to somebody’s calculation.  Since the commentaries arrive in the reader’s Email Inbox twice a week (Tuesday and Friday mornings at 10:00, New York time), you have two or three days to find fifteen minutes or so, and of course you could do it in two or three sessions.  I hope that this is not too much for the reader, and it is a good pace for me to write and for us to maintain an ongoing reflection.

     You can sign up for free subscriptions, which I encourage, because I am seeking as wide a readership as possible.  With a free subscription you can read all commentaries, and you also can share them.  Sharing posts with colleagues, friends, and family members whom you think may be interested is a good way to make a non-financial contribution.  And in fact, you could follow me on Twitter and retweet my links to the commentaries; and you could become a Facebook friend and resend my links to your friends and relevant groups.

     But I also encourage you to sign up for a paid subscription of $5 a month or $40 a year.  With a paid subscription, you would benefit more, because you would be able to make commentaries, and this would enable us to deepen our ongoing reflection and discussion.  In this regard, Andrej Krickovic of the National Research University Higher School of Economics in Moscow is a good example.  You can see his many replies to my commentaries, and my responses to his replies.  Andrej and I met at an academic conference in Cuba, and he regularly visited Cuba prior to the pandemic.

       I would like to offer an additional an example of another kind.  Alan Jenkins is a former student of mine at Presbyterian College; he was a participant in an experiential course in Honduras that the college chaplain and a Spanish professor and I taught.  Alan is now a Presbyterian minister in Atlanta, and he is active on Facebook, with groups and friends of the left.  Alan rarely replies to the commentaries, but he contributes in other forms.  In addition to being a $100 contributing member of my Substack column, he regularly reads the commentaries and resends them on Facebook, sometimes highlighting a part of the text that he finds valuable.

     I very much enjoy writing on current affairs, and my life would be much less fulfilling without it.  I have a need to express the things that I write in the commentaries.  Which means that I would do it without pay, on a purely voluntary basis.

      However, the creators of Substack believe that, even though writers enjoy writing, it is still work, and everyone should be paid for their work.  They point out that the advertising model, where writers are paid by newspapers and magazines that have income from advertisements, compels writers to adapt to the demands of editors, thus restraining, and in many cases seriously changing, what the writers have a desire to write.  In the subscription model, writers express themselves freely, and they are compensated by their subscribers, who find value in what the writer is offering.

     The worldview that you will find expressed in my commentaries is a consequence of my mission of seeking to understand Third World popular revolutions and to explain their fundamental anti-colonial and anti-imperialist logic to the English-speaking peoples of the North.  It is an understanding that is consistent with what progressive Third World nations plus China are declaring and are implementing in practice, although as noted, my approach gives special attention to the meaning of these developments for those of us who are citizens of the nations of the North.  At the same time, it is an understanding that shares certain principles and values of conservatism, as expressed by both Third World socialism and American conservatives.  These conservative values include the conviction that there is a reasonable process for discerning the true and the right; that citizens are called to personal responsibility toward society, work, and family; and that one should have patriotic sentiments toward the nation and should affirm the importance of its constitutional foundation.

     I provide below the commentaries to date, organized by theme, and in chronological order within each topic. 

“Preface: An intellectual autobiography,” April 6, 2021

Philosophical and epistemological issues

The quest for the true and the right,” April 13, 2021

Post-colonial truth is empirical, not personal or tribal: The guidelines of the Constitution of Knowledge,” August 31, 2021

Socialism

First, let’s define some basic terms,” April 9, 2021

Reflections on Cuban socialism:  A people’s anti-imperialist revolution with conservative values,” August 7, 2021

The possible transition to a socialist world-system: An option forged by humanity in defense of itself,” August 10, 2021

Through Pluripolarity to Socialism: A Manifesto: A critical review of a new socialist manifesto,” September 3, 2021

The International Manifesto Group: A report on the Sept. 5 zoom event,” September 7, 2021

The capitalist world-economy and the modern world-system

We must overcome the colonial denial: Wallerstein versus the woke,” May 14, 2021

The capitalist world-economy and its contradictions: Post-Marx, but not post-Marxist,” 5/18/21

The dialectic of domination and development: The role of conquest in human history,” 5/21/21

The Spanish and Portuguese conquest of the Americas, 16th century: The origins of the modernization of Northwestern Europe,” May 25, 2021

The European conquest of Africa and Asia, 1750-1914: History must be understood, not ignored,” May 28, 2021

The Open Veins of Latin America, Part One: The forced exportation of gold, silver, sugar, coffee, and rubber,” June 8, 2021

The Open Veins of Latin America, Part Two: The forced exportation of coffee, bananas, petroleum, and minerals,” June 11, 2021

From colonialism to neocolonialism: Beyond the false ‘human rights’ frame of the representative democracies,” June 15, 2021

U.S. Imperialism and resistance

The robber barons and monopoly capitalism: The origins of US imperialism in Latin America,” June 25, 2021

The façade of defending democracy: US Imperialism and the military-industrial complex, 1933 to 1964,” June 29, 2021

The struggle for the nationalization of natural resources: Latin American anti-imperialist movements,” July 6, 2021

Neoliberalism and the U.S. turn to naked imperialism: The sustained structural crisis of the capitalist world-economy,” July 9, 2021

The doctrine of preventive war plus unconventional war: The aggressive face of imperialism in decadence,” July 23, 2021

The return of the Taliban in Afghanistan: Another failure for U.S. imperialism,” 8/20/2021

Cuba

Neocolonialism and Cuba:  The structures of a neocolonial republic,” June 18, 2021

Cuba and the neocolonial world-system:  An unseen, noble quest for sovereignty,” 6/22/2021

Political and civil rights in Cuba: The politicization of the issue of human rights,” June 24, 2021

The US unconventional war against Cuba: The revolutionary people quickly retake the streets of Cuba,” July 16, 2021

Cuba defeats US interventionist plan: The people show that they are the revolutionary people of Fidel,” July 20, 2021

Biden sanctions on Cuba based on false narrative: The oppression of the people that wasn’t,” July 27, 2021

OAS maneuvers against Cuba: US-directed Pan-Americanism and Latin American resistance,” July 30, 2021

Public discussion of Cuba: The lies by omission of the Cuban-American right,” August 3, 2021

Reflections on Cuban socialism:  A people’s anti-imperialist revolution with conservative values,” August 7, 2021

The 95th anniversary of the birth of Fidel Castro: ‘No one has the right to lose faith in the future of humanity,’” August 13, 2021

Fidel speaks in the name of the colonized: In defense of all of humanity,” 8/17/2021

The Biden plan of ‘liberty’ for Cuba: The paltry results of the July 11 social media attack,” August 24, 2021

Cuba and the dismissal of the ‘official’ discourse: The anthropological research fallacy,” August 27, 2021

Participatory democracy in Cuba: The 2018 constitutional assembly formed by an entire people,” September 10, 2021

Race

The black awakening of 1964 to 1972,” April 16, 2021

The black middle class defends its interests,” April 20, 2021

What became of the vision of black power?”, April 23, 2021

The Rainbow Coalition challenges the establishment,” April 27, 2021

Identity politics crashes; the elite-supported woke comes to the rescue,” 4/30/2021

How to be an antiracist, by Ibram Kendi: A critique,” May 4, 2021

Racism, Ideology, Elite Interests, and the Nation,” May 7, 2021

Free Black Thought,” May 11, 2021

US Slavery in historical and global context: Replying to the mis-teachings of critical race theory,” June 1, 2021

Rescuing American History from Race Hustlers: An alternative theory and practice,” 6/4/2021

July 4th commemoration

The July 4, 1776 Founding of the American Republic: We hold these truths to be self-evident,” July 2, 2021

You can obtain access to my previous writing (prior to February 3, 2021) as well as biographical information on the Website of Global Learning (www.globallearning-cuba.com).

Charles McKelvey, Professor Emeritus, Presbyterian College, Clinton, South Carolina

Follow me on Twitter: Charles McKelvey@CharlesMcKelv10