by Kirwin Shaffer
In this volume, Kirwin Shaffer shows that anarchists played a significant--until now little-known--role among Cuban leftists in shaping issues of health, education, immigration, the environment, and working-class internationalism. They also criticized the state of racial politics, cultural practices, and the conditions of children and women on the island. In the chaotic new country, members of the anarchist movement interpreted the War for Independence and the revolutionary ideas of patriot José Martí from a Far-Left perspective, embarking on a nationwide debate with the larger Cuban establishment about what it meant to be Cuban. To counter the dominant culture, anarchists created their own initiatives to help people, challenging both the existing elite and the occcupying U.S. military forces. While many of their ideals flowed from Europe, their programs, criticisms, and literature reflected the specifics of Cuban reality and appealed to Cuba's popular classes. Using theories of working-class internationalism, countercultures, popular culture, and social movements, Shaffer analyzes archival records, pamphlets, newspapers, and novels, showing how the anarchist movement in republican Cuba helped shape the country's early leftist revolutionary agenda until the rise of the Gerardo Machado dictatorship in the 1920s.
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