By Kirwin R. Shaffer
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Extra resources for Anarchism and Countercultural Politics in Early Twentieth-Century Cuba
Anarchists were one segment in this multigroup-contested terrain in which people from across the political spectrum and from all classes took to the streets, workplaces, newspapers, halls of government, the stage, and the page to debate what it meant to be Cuban and what path a free Cuba should take. In this context, both Cuban- and foreign-born anarchists acted as one component in the cultural and political struggles to define and create cubanidad, that is, what it means to be Cuban. In recent decades, historians have become interested in the cultural and political struggles to define cubanidad in the early republic.
Cultural work was central to their preparation. It is one thing to discuss culture and the cultural impulses of various social groups like Kapcia does. But what do you do when the social group under examination rejects both the class origins and the cultural assumptions that are central to the hegemonic culture’s ideology and power? In a time when the country debated and experimented with what it meant to be Cuban, the hegemonic culture consented that Cuba should be a Christian, capitalist republic.
9 Despite taking lead positions in the island’s labor movement, anarchists were never in a position to “orchestrate the settings” of structural power. Anarchism, Cubanía, Culture, and Power | 25 Yet, as Wolf points out, power and ideas in a society connect through culture. Consequently, in times of crisis, ideological responses to the crises tend to draw upon and are exhibited through certain historically rooted cultural understandings. This concept of structural power and its relationship to ideas and culture is complicated by the Cuban case after independence.