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The Anti-Imperial Frontier : Cuba and the Imagination of the 1960s Radical Left

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posted on 2023-08-03, 11:51 authored by Austen Walsh

On June 15, 1962 a small collection of radical students convened outside Port Huron, Michigan at a meeting center to plot the structure and future of their movement for radical activism. The resulting manifesto that the fledgling Students for a Democratic Society released would come to be known as the Port Huron Statement. This statement laid out a broad program for social change that included disarmament, an end to Cold War competition and support for “publicly disinherited groups.” One of the wider themes of this document, and one that would become a common strand in “New Left” thought throughout the 1960s, was a consciously anti-imperialist rhetoric that was interpreted through the prism of Cuba and the Cuban Revolution. At many different points, the document decries government-sponsored “Cuban invasions” and questions whether the United States, as evidenced by its policy on Cuba, had in fact turned from “its old imperialist ways.” From almost the beginning of the New Left, Cuba was enshrined as a convenient foil for perceived United States imperialist interests.



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