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The Terrible Cost of ‘Hipster’ Socialism

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Desmond Boylan

“'Socialism as Popular as Capitalism Among Young Adults in U.S.'-- Since 2010, young adults' positive ratings of socialism have hovered near 50%, while the rate has been consistently near 34% for Gen Xers.”  (Gallup, Nov. 2019).


“Private corporate property is not only wrong, but also nonsensical…we cannot accept capitalism’s conception of economic relations as “free and private.” (Democratic Socialists of America, of which AOC and Rashida Tlaib are proud members.)

“Only through the total eradication of private property will we create the new man.” (Che Guevara)

“Youth must refrain from ungrateful questioning of governmental mandates. The very spirit of rebellion is reprehensible!" (Che Guevara)

“They saw in Castro and Che Guevara the hipster who in the era of the Organization Man had joyfully defied the system,” wrote President Kennedy’s adviser Arthur Schlesinger Jr back in 1961.

Despite a half century of Stalinist crimes, this “hipster” cachet hovers around the leaders of the Cuban Revolution and persists to this day, and contributes much to socialism’s popularity among the “young and hip” worldwide. Then thanks largely to President Obama’s “rapprochement” with those Cuban “hipsters,” Stalinist Cuba became the absolute “coolest” place on earth for hip show-off vacationers. 

Fortunately the Trump Team recently curtailed the Cuba-travel-palooza from the U.S., that was obscenely enriching Stalinist Cuba’s military and secret police, who own most of the prison-island’s tourism infrastructure.

Shortly after Obama’s initial diplomatic surrender to Castro in 2014, Katy Perry, the Rolling Stones and the Obama family itself graced Cuba with their presence. Then Karl Lagerfeld showcased his Chanel “cruise line” with a fashion-show extravaganza where Havana’s Prado Street served as the catwalk/runway for the world’s lithest models, while Gisele Bundchen, Tilda Swinton and Vin Diesel posed for paparazzi on the sidelines. 


Shortly thereafter the Kardashians arrived in Havana to shoot an episode of their reality show.

The notion of Castro’s Cuba as a stiflingly Stalinist nation never quite caught on among the “enlightened.”  The regime was founded by “beatniks,” after all. In 1960 Jean Paul Sartre hailed Cuba’s Stalinist rulers as “les Enfants au Pouvoir” (the children in power). A few months earlier Fidel Castro spoke at Harvard the same bill as beat poet Allen Ginsberg. And ever since then, long-haired Che Guevara has reigned worldwide as top icon of youthful rebellion. The reality, as documented in my book, differs grotesquely:

In fact, Cuban socialism has always been a mortal enemy of almost everything “hipsters” and Millennials claim to hold dear–a more implacable enemy, in fact, than were most Iron Curtain regimes. First off, notice the age of the typical half-dead Cuban rafter who washes up on south Florida’s beaches almost daily, often using his last reserves of energy to kiss the sand in gratitude. It’s rare to see one over 30.

The Castro brothers and Che Guevara often outdid their Soviet patrons in outlawing and punishing typical Millennial behavior. While the Rolling Stones were performing for a huge crowd of Polish kids in Warsaw in 1967, for instance, Cuban kids were being herded into forced labor camps for the crime of (clandestinely) listening to rock music, or growing long hair, or wearing blue jeans.


“Youth must refrain from ungrateful questioning of governmental mandates,” commanded Che Guevara. “Instead, they must dedicate themselves to study, work and military service.” “Youth,” wrote Guevara, “should learn to think and act as a mass!”

“Those who choose their own path” (as in growing long hair and listening to “Yankee-Imperialist” rock & roll) were denounced by the Castro Brothers and Che Guevara as worthless “roqueros,” “lumpen” and “delinquents.” In his famous speech, Che Guevara even vowed “to make individualism disappear from Cuba! It is criminal to think of individuals!”

The Cuban regime hailed by current American champions of “hipster” socialism jailed and tortured political prisoners at a higher rate than Stalin did during the Great Terror and murdered more Cubans in its first three years in power than Hitler murdered Germans during its first six. 

Here’s a list of socialism’s accomplishments in Cuba:

*Converted a nation with a higher standard of living than much of Europe and swamped with immigrants from Europe into a vast slum and sewer that repels even Haitians.

*Converted a nation that formerly attracted more immigrants per-capita than the U.S. (and even from the U.S.)  into a hellhole that drove 20 times as many desperate Cubans to die horribly attempting to escape it as East Germans died trying to flee East Germany.


*Converted a nation with the 13th lowest infant-mortality on earth -ahead of France, Belgium, West Germany, Israel, Japan, Austria, Italy, Spain, and Portugal– into an island slum, sewer and prison ravaged by diseases long-eradicated in Cuba, boasting the highest suicide rate in the hemisphere, and whose practicing “doctors” overwhelmingly flunk the exam given in the U.S. for licensing as doctor’s assistants.”

Every single item mentioned above thoroughly documented here.

Many of Cuba’s mid-century “Millennials” paid a terrible price for “hipster socialism.”  

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