‘Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today’ – Malcolm X

‘Without Revolutionary theory, there can be no revolutionary movement’ – Vladimir Lenin

Education is crucial to building up Socialism in Wales. Education should also be free.

As Marxists, education is a key component of our organizing. When our media, news sources, and means of communication are owned by the Capitalist Class, Revolutionary education becomes the means from which to liberate ourselves.

We all know that Socialism, and Marxism is a concept that frightens the ruling classes. As a result, they engage in every effort to discredit us, pour scorn on us, and write us off as cranks, idealists, and murderous authoritarians.

The following article aims to deal with some of the most pervasive arguments against Socialism, Socialists, and causes we hold dear. We hope this helps to answer some questions, and help you should these attack lines ever come up in conversation.

The article is compiled of some extremely useful resources online (many of which have been forcibly taken down), as well as our own additions. We sincerely thank comrades from across the World in their incredible research.

We note as well that as an Organization, we don’t necessarily endorse everything within this list, or their authors.

We hope that you can come to your own judgements on the more “controversial” elements within this article. As Marxists, education means challenging your own beliefs, and engaging with material you may not agree with.

For everything we’ve included though, we’ve attempted to provide “academic sources” for each of the points made. Too often, those attacking us will claim we rely on fringe-theories, not peer-reviewed articles and books. For the majority of what is mentioned below, we’ve referenced Academics, Researchers, and Professors at notable, prestigious Universities.

We’ve included segments on Socialist projects outside of Wales, to show that even with their issues, the media narrative is still hell-bent on demonizing every aspect – even projects that no longer exist. Their very spectre still haunts the ruling class!

Even from the most challenging times for Socialists, from experiments that failed, we can take lessons, and use them to help us grow our own movement.

Firstly, does Capitalism work?

Lets unpack the idea that “Capitalism works”. In the US, the most developed Capitalist country, the richest country in the history of the world:

  • UNICEFRESULTS, and Bread for the World estimate that 15 million people worldwide die each year from preventable poverty, of whom 11 million are children under the age of five

  • In the US alone, 20-40k deaths every year because of lack of health insurance / care. On average, that’s 300k over the last decade.

“Capitalism Improves Quality of Life!”

  • The Guardian | Bill Gates Says Poverty Is Decreasing. He Couldn’t Be More Wrong.
    • Professor Jason Hickel, from the London School of Economics, discusses what he calls the “coerced global proletarianisation” of people across the world, and debunks the common right-wing claim that global poverty is decreasing under capitalism. He cites Harvard economist Lant Pritchitt, who points out that the World Bank statistics on poverty reduction are torn to shreds when one adjusts the poverty line to a realistic standard for human life, and if one does this, then we see that global poverty is increasing, not decreasing, with well over half the global population living in poverty.
  • World Social and Economic Review | Incrementum ad Absurdum: Global Growth, Inequality, and Poverty Eradication in a Carbon-Constrained World
    • Study which found that it would take over 200 years at current rates to eradicate global poverty, assuming an unchanging rate of growth. Most importantly, states that “poverty eradication, even at $1.25-a-day, and especially at a poverty line which better reflects the satisfaction of basic needs, can be reconciled with global carbon constraints only by a major increase in the share of the poorest in global economic growth, far beyond what can realistically be achieved by existing instruments of development policy – that is, by effective measures to reduce global inequality.” I.e. Capitalism cannot successfully solve the problem of global poverty.
  • BBC Health | Privatization in Post-Soviet States “Raised Death Rate”, Says Lancet Medical Journal
    • A study from the Lancet (perhaps the most prestigious medical journal on Earth) found that “as many as one million working-age men died due to the economic shock of mass privatization policies.” Some states got the worst of it, as the study notes “Russia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia were worst affected, with a tripling of unemployment and a 42% increase in male death rates between 1991 and 1994.”
  • New Economic School | Mortality and Life Expectancy in Post-Communist Countries
    • Study exploring the huge increase in mortality rates following the restoration of capitalism in Eastern Europe. This is contrasted with Cuba, which had an increase in life expectancy during this time, despite suffering an economic crisis due to the fall of the USSR. This indicates that the health crises were not simply linked to economic turmoil, but rather the restoration of capitalism.
  • University of Cambridge | The Wounds of Post-Socialism: The Political Economy of Mortality and Survival in Deindustrializing Towns in Hungary
    • Another study which found that “Severe deindustrialisation is associated with a significantly larger odds of mortality for men between 1989 and 1995. On the other hand, prolonged state ownership is related to a significantly lower odds of dying among women, compared to towns dominated by domestic private ownership or towns dominated by foreign investment between 1995 and 2004. The multi-sited semi-structured qualitative interviews revealed that companies are central institutions in the cognitive maps of workers and that the fates of these companies affected the health of workers in multiple ways, whereas state involvement was perceived as a cushioning mechanism.” In other words, the transition to capitalism had ruinous effects on health and welfare.
  • Wikisource | Memo PPS23 by George Kennan
    • An internal memo to the U.S. Secretary of State, discussing the post-WWII Marshall Plan, as well as general anti-communist strategy. The memo states that capitalist intervention in the third-world is necessary because communism “has a greater lure for such peoples, and probably greater reality, than anything we could oppose to it.” Also contains one of the most blatant imperialist statements ever written: “In the face of this situation we would be better off to dispense now with a number of the concepts which have underlined our thinking with regard to the Far East. [..] We should cease to talk about vague and—for the Far East—unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts.”

“Capitalism is Democratic!”

Atrocities of Capitalism

  • International Business Times | Bengal Famine of 1943: A Man-Made Holocaust
    • Discusses how approx. 3 million people died in the Bengal famine, which was deliberately worsened by the British government (particularly Winston Churchill). This famine, despite killing approximately as many people as the Holodomor, and in less time, is rarely discussed. This is despite the fact that, unlike the Holodomor, there is real evidence that this famine was deliberately inflicted.

Okay, but what about Socialism?

Capitalist hegemony has short-circuited people into buying wildly illogical and ridiculous propaganda like: “Lift yourselves up by the bootstraps” (which shows the almost religious power of capitalist propaganda, that the impossible can become possible), or “Socialism doesn’t work“, when in fact Socialism did work extremely well.

When it is claimed that a system works, we should ask, who it works for. Capitalism benefits a tiny number of rapacious capitalists, to the detriment of the rest of us, while Socialism works for the masses.

Quality of Life Under Socialism / Economic Performance of Socialism

  • International Journal of Health Services | Has Socialism Failed? An Analysis of Health Indicators Under Socialism
    • Study by Vicente Navarro (Professor of Health and Public Policy at Johns Hopkins University), which found that “contrary to dominant ideology, socialism and socialist forces have been, for the most part, better able to improve health conditions than have capitalism and capitalist forces.” It also states that “the evidence presented in this article shows that the historical experience of socialism has not been one of failure. To the contrary: it has been, for the most part, more successful than capitalism in improving the health conditions of the world’s populations.”
  • Williams College | Reassessing the Standard of Living in the Soviet Union: An Analysis Using Archival and Anthropometric Data
    • Detailed analysis of living standards in the USSR, which found that the Soviet Union achieved “Remarkably large and rapid improvements in child height, adult stature and infant mortality,” using this data to state that “significant improvements likely occurred in the nutrition, sanitary practices, and public health infrastructure.” Also states that “the physical growth record of the Soviet population compares favorably with that of other European countries at a similar level of development in this period.” She states that “The conventional measures of GNP growth and household consumption indicate a long, uninterrupted upward climb in the Soviet standard of living from 1928 to 1985; even Western estimates of these measures support this view, albeit at a slower rate of growth than the Soviet measures.”In addition, “Both Western and Soviet estimates of GNP growth in the Soviet Union indicate that GNP per capita grew in every decade in the postwar era, at times far surpassing the growth rates of the developed western economies.”
  • Harvard University | Perspectives on the Economic and Human Development of India and China
    • In-depth comparison of the world’s two largest countries by population, one of which is socialist, and the other capitalist. Includes a detailed analysis of China under Mao Zedong, concluding that “the accomplishments relating to education, healthcare, land reforms, and social change in the pre-reform [Maoist] period made significantly positive contributions to the achievements of the post-reform period.” It describes Maoist China’s “remarkable reduction in chronic undernourishment,” stating that “casual processes through which the reduction of undernourishment was achieved involved extensive state action including redistributive policies, nutritional support, and of course health care.”
      • Also includes some important remarks related to starvation in each country, saying “it is important to note that despite the gigantic size of excess mortality in the Chinese famine, the extra mortality in India from regular deprivation in normal times vastly overshadows the former… India seems to manage to fill its cupboard with more skeletons every eight years than China put there in its years of shame.”
  • Journal of Global Health | Communicable Disease Control in China: From Mao to Now
    • Study which found that Chinese health conditions improved massively as a result of the communist revolution, and began to suffer as a result of the market reforms. As they put it, “China’s progress on communicable disease control (CDC) in the 30 years after establishment of the People’s Republic in 1949 is widely regarded as remarkable. Life expectancy soared by around 30 years, infant mortality plummeted and smallpox, sexually transmitted diseases and many other infections were either eliminated or decreased massively in incidence, largely as a result of CDC. By the mid-1970’s, China was already undergoing the epidemiological transition, years ahead of other nations of similar economic status… These people-focused approaches broke down with China’s market reforms from 1980.” This has important implications for the debate over economic and medical policy in China.
  • Journal of Health Inequalities | Health in the Polish People’s Republic
    • Study on healthcare conditions in the PPR, which found that “Before World War II (WWII) Poland was one of the countries with the poorest health in Europe… The health transformation that took place in Poland after WWII proceeded very rapidly. Control of infectious diseases and infant mortality became a state priority in the post-war Polish People’s Republic. The epidemiological transition that in the United Kingdom or Germany took almost a century, in Poland, and many other Central and East European (CEE) countries, occurred in the two decades following WWII. This process led the CEE region to almost closing the health gap dividing it from Western Europe in the 1960’s. Life expectancy in Poland increased to 70 years and infant mortality decreased to 30 deaths per 1000 live births.” However, these positive achievements were later offset by excessive smoking and drinking, as well as other man-made health risks which significantly harmed the health of the Polish people. This provides an important case study for socialists to study.
  • UNICEF | Cuba Has Better Literacy Rate, Life Expectancy, and Prenatal Care than the United States
    • Statistics compiled on the official UNICEF website, showing that Cuba’s life expectancy and literacy rate are higher than those of the USA, and Cuba has a lower percentage of babies born with low birthweight (5.2%) than the USA (8.28% according to the CDC). Low birthweight can be an indicator of many problems, from poor nutrition to fetal disorders and stress during pregnancy; Cuba’s better statistic here is a major quality of life indicator.
  • Europe-Asia Studies | The 1950’s: The Triumph of the Soviet Economy
    • Study by G.I. Khanin (an esteemed Russian economist), which found that the Soviet economy outperformed the capitalist nations in numerous ways, and that the revisionist reforms put into place after Stalin’s death played a large role in the system’s slowdown. As he puts it, “Compared with the later period it is justifiable to talk of the indisputable advantages of the command over the market economy in Russian conditions… these advantages are evident even in comparison with the degenerate mid-1980’s version of the command economy, which was very different from the classical model.” He also contradicts the common claim that the Soviet economy under Stalin was inefficient, noting “The USSR economy also exceeded the main capitalist countries in this period in terms of a number of indicators of economic efficiency.”
  • European Review of Economic History | The Roots of Economic Failure: What Explains East Germany’s Falling Behind Between 1945 and 1950?
    • Study which found that the disparity between East and West Germany was primarily the result of factors which predated the establishment of socialism in the GDR. As they put it, “the “Great Divergence” between East and West in industrial efficiency did not begin in 1948, when the institutional development of the two parts of the country took fundamentally different paths. The main factors contributing to this divergence were already present earlier.” In addition, they argue that ” communism could actually accelerate industrial restructuring… This is reflected in the fact that, as shown in table 6, labor-productivity growth in East German industry accelerated after 1948, at least temporarily.” In other words the gap between East and West Germany formed before socialism took effect, and if anything, socialism helped to narrow the gap.

“Communism is All About Dictatorship!”

  • International Council for Central and East European Studies | Reassessing the History of Soviet Workers: Opportunities to Criticize and Participate in Decision-Making, 1935-1941
    • Study by Robert Thurston (Professor of History at Miami University at Ohio), which found that Soviet workers had strong and well-protected rights to criticize officials and participate in decision-making, particularly at the factory level. As he says, “at the lower levels of society, in day-to-day affairs and the implementation of policy, [the Soviet system] was participatory.” While there were limits to criticism, Thurston notes that “such bounds allowed a great deal that was deeply significant to workers, including some aspects of production norms, pay rates and classifications, safety on the job, housing, and treatment by managers. This occurred at a time when American workers in particular were struggling for basic union recognition, which even when won did not provide much formal influence at the work place.”
  • CIA (Freedom of Information Act) | Report on Soviet Gulags
    • Report from the CIA which found some interesting things about the gulags, including that between 65% and 95% of prisoners (depending on the camp) were imprisoned for genuine crimes (such as theft, murder, rape, etc.) rather than political offenses.
  • Slavic Review (Cambridge University Press) | On Desk-Bound Parochialism, Commonsense Perspectives, and Lousy Evidence: A Response to Robert Conquest on the USSR
    • Robert W. Thurston, professor emeritus at Miami University (Ohio), thoroughly debunks the claims of Robert Conquest (and other reactionary historians) on the Stalin-period of the USSR, stating “Stalin, the press, and the Stakhanovite movement all regularly encouraged ordinary people to criticize those in authority.” He points out that many arrests in the 1930’s were actually late punishments for genuine offenses, such as serving in the White Army during the Civil War. Thuston also puts forth the question “If the citizenry was supposed to be terrorized and stop thinking, why encourage criticism and input from below on a large scale?” He also states that “my evidence suggests that widespread fear did not exist in the case at hand [the Soviet “Great Terror” period]”.
  • Yale University Press | Life and Terror in Stalin’s Russia, 1934-1941
    • Investigates the extent of coercion and force in Stalin’s USSR, concluding that “Stalin did not intend to terrorize the country and did not need to rule by fear. Memoirs and interviews with Soviet people indicate that many more believed in Stalin’s quest to eliminate internal enemies than were frightened by it.” The book also shows that “between 1934 and 1936 police and court practice relaxed significantly. Then a series of events, together with the tense international situation and memories of real enemy activity during the savage Russian Civil War, combined to push leaders and people into a hysterical hunt for perceived ‘wreckers.’ After late 1938, however, the police and courts became dramatically milder.”
      • One of the books more interesting comments, specifically relating to Stalin: “There was never a long period of Stalinism without a serious foreign threat, major internal dislocation, or both, which makes identifying its true nature impossible.” One of the more interesting statements from a bourgeois historian on Stalin, acknowledging that the repression of the Stalin period, far from being the casual whim of the man himself, emerged as a mass response to genuine threats.

“Communism Killed _____ Million People!”

  • Cambridge University Press | Origins of the Great Purges
    • Debunks several classic myths surrounding the purges under Stalin, demonstrating how the death toll was far lower than previously estimated. Also states that the purges were not the deliberate result of nefarious plotting by Stalin, but rather the ad hoc results of inner-party conflict and attempts to consolidate power.
  • History News Network | Historian James Harris Says Russian Archives Show We’ve Misunderstood Stalin
    • Professor James Harris (Senior Lecturer in Modern European History at the University of Leeds) discusses the Great Purge. Provides more evidence to support the account (given by scholars such as Robert Tucker) that the purges were an ad hoc reaction to internal threats (both real and perceived), rather than a power-grab by Stalin. Also gives accurate statistics on arrests and executions, to help refute the common narrative.

“Ask Somebody Who Lived Under Communism!”

Studies consistently find that people in most ex-socialist countries feel that life was better under socialism than it is under capitalism:

Many people still remember life before socialism, and remain appreciative for its achievements:

Now let’s take a look at what happens after the USSR collapsed, and what came with capitalist privatization:

What about the Communist States? Surely they were all dictatorships!

When you think of states such as Cuba, China, the Soviet Union etc…, especially growing up in the West, you think of ‘police-states’, and ‘dictatorships’.

And while there were many faults and failures within the various Socialist states of the 20th Century, that is not the whole picture, and the realities were a lot more complex.

When debating, it’s important we separate actual leftist criticisms from the Cold-War propaganda that these countries were ‘evil’ and ‘murderous’.

As Socialists these countries also provide an opportunity to learn and adapt, with their practical successes rarely discussed in contemporary debate. 

From East Germany’s radical employee and feminist policy, to Cuba’s trans-formative healthcare programme, to the mass vaccination of hundreds of thousands a few weeks in Burkina Faso, to the revolutionary education programme in Grenada,  there are also significant successes that can’t be ignored.


Whilst not a ‘small’ Socialist state,  the lessons from the Soviet Union’s collapse are extremely important.   Whether you support or detest the Soviet Union, we encourage you to read the book below – which details the variety of factors that caused the Soviet Union to fall (primarily, the acceptance of a black-market ‘secondary economy’, increasing corruption as a result of this economy, a failure of leadership and consistent undermining from the ‘West’).    The book deconstructs the arguments methodically that ‘Socialism was doomed to fail’, and ‘Liberal Capitalist Democracy’ is the highest-stage of political development.

In terms of how the two Global Superpowers compared during the Cold War, here are some more interesting facts:

  • Productive forces were not organized for capital gain and private enrichment; public ownership of the means of production supplanted private ownership. It was illegal to hire others and accumulate personal wealth from their labor.

  • Worked to end sex inequality. Equal wages for men and women mandated by law, but sex inequality, although not as pronounced as under capitalism, was perpetuated in social roles – a very important lesson to learn.

  • Feudalism to space travel in 40 years. First satellite, rocket, space walk, woman, man, animal, space station, moon and mars probes.

When it is claimed that a system works, we should ask, who it works for. Capitalism benefits a tiny number of rapacious capitalists, to the detriment of the rest of us, while Socialism works for the masses.

Now let’s take a look at what happens after the USSR collapsed, and what came with capitalist privatization:






1993: Russians defending the Soviet Union







The Republic of Cuba has had an extraordinary political influence for a nation its size. Its revolution served as an inspiration to victims of imperialism everywhere, and its socialist model has provided an example for the oppressed people of the world to follow. As such, it is the duty of all socialists to be well-informed about this nation.

As always, all sources will be listed at the end.

Pre-Revolutionary Cuba

Before learning about the achievements of Cuban socialism, we should take a moment to examine what life was like before the revolution. Fulgencio Batista’s defenders will typically claim that living standards were better before the revolution. However, a quick examination of the facts will show this to be nonsense. It is true that Batista’s reign saw relatively high GDP growth; however, human development indicators paint a far bleaker picture. According to a paper from Cornell University:

Opinions aside, although Cuba ranked as one of the most prosperous developing countries in the 1950s based on gross domestic product (GDP), social indicators for this period portray dismal social conditions, particularly among the rural peasants.

Batista’s regime left the Cuban people (especially the large rural population) mired in poverty and illness. According to the aforementioned paper, contemporary studies reported a 91% malnutrition rate among agricultural workers. Though some commentators consider this figure to be too high, “it nonetheless conveys the magnitude of rural impoverishment.” Health conditions are summarized by a study in the West Indian Medical Journal:

Poor hygiene, inefficient sanitation and malnutrition [contributed] to the infant mortality rate of 60 per 1000 lives, maternal mortality rate of 125.3 per 1000, [and] a general mortality rate of 6.4 per 1000.

The rural population in particular suffered from dismal health conditions; according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health:

Cuba had only 1 rural hospital, only 11% of farm worker families drank milk, and rural infant mortality stood at 100 per 1000 live births.

Infrastructure was also pitifully underdeveloped under Batista. According to the aforementioned Cornell paper:

According to the 1953 census, 54.1 percent of rural homes had no toilets of any kind. Only 2.3 percent of rural homes had indoor plumbing, compared with 54.6 of urban homes. In rural areas, 9.1 percent of houses had electricity, compared with 87 percent of houses in urban areas.

Illiteracy and unemployment were widespread under Batista:

Nearly one-quarter of people 10 years of age and older could not read or write, and the unemployment rate was 25 percent.

The high illiteracy rate is hardly surprising when one remembers the shoddy state of education in pre-revolutionary Cuba. According to an article in the Guardian:

In 1958, under the Batista dictatorship, half of Cuba’s children did not attend school.

All of this is not even mentioning the imperialist domination, organized crime, and rampant exploitation that the Cuban people endured throughout Batista’s reign. With all of this in mind, let us move on to examining the Cuban revolution and its achievements.

Economic and Nutritional Indicators After the Revolution

Since the very beginning, the Cuban revolution has been committed to the improvement of life for the people in both the economic and social spheres. According to a report from Oxfam America:

When Cuba’s revolution came to power in 1959, its model of development aimed to link economic growth with advances in social justice.

According to United Nations data, the unemployment rate in Cuba remains below 3%, as it has for decades. Unofficial rates may be slightly higher, but even twice this rate would still place Cuba far below the regional average (and far lower than under Batista).

According to the 2019 Global Hunger Index, Cuba is one of only seventeen nations on Earth (and only four in Latin America) to have a score lower than 5, signifying impressively low levels of hunger. Cuba’s rate of undernourishment is below 2.5%.

According to a report from Our World in Data (based at the University of Oxford), Americans are more than twice as likely as Cubans to die from malnutrition.

According to a report from the FAO, “remarkably low percentages of child malnutrition put Cuba at the forefront of developing countries.”

According to a report from the United States Department of Agriculture, the average Cuban consumes approx. 3300 calories per day, far above the Latin American and Caribbean average, and only slightly lower than in the United States. Approx. 2/3 of nutritional needs are met by monthly food rations, while the rest is bought independently. The report also states:

The Cuban economy has made remarkable progress toward recovery from the economic disaster generated by the collapse of the Soviet Bloc.

In its report on Cuba, the World Food Program (the food-assistance branch of the United Nations) states that that:

Over the last 50 years, comprehensive social protection programs have largely eradicated poverty and hunger. Food-based social safety nets include a monthly food basket for the entire population, school feeding programs, and mother-and-child health care programs.

This is especially impressive when Cuba is compared to other developing countries, and considering the decades of economic blockade that the nation has endured. The report also states:

The largest island in the Caribbean, Cuba ranks 72th out of 189 countries in the 2019 Human Development Index and is one of the most successful in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

An article in the Guardian addresses this topic:

…the evidence suggests that Cuba has made excellent progress towards the MDGs in the last decade, building on what are already universally acknowledged to be outstanding achievements in equitable health and education standards.

According to a new MDG Report Card by the Overseas Development Institute, Cuba is among the 20 best performing countries in the world.

The article also includes a statement from a Cuban economist on how this progress is made:

The Cuban economy is planned and we redistribute income from the most dynamic sectors, which generate most foreign exchange, towards those that are less dynamic but necessary for the country. That’s how we maintain a budget to keep health and education high quality and free of charge to the user.

The revolution greatly improved the housing situation in Cuba, and also brought significant urban development. According to Oxfam America:

Initiatives in the cities were no less ambitious. Urban reform brought a halving of rents for Cuban tenants, opportunities for tenants to own their housing, and an ambitious program of housing construction for those living in marginal shantytowns. New housing, along with the implementation of measures to create jobs and reduce unemployment, especially among women, rapidly transformed the former shantytowns.

Finally, the social security and pensions system in Cuba has drastically improved since the revolution, as evidenced by this statement from the aforementioned Oxfam America report:

Both coverage and distribution have improved significantly since the revolution. With a pension system since the 1930’s, Cuba was one of the first Latin American countries to establish one. It consisted of independent pension funds and by 1959 covered about 63% of workers, but the system varied greatly in terms of benefits and relied almost exclusively on workers’ contributions. Since 1959, the program has been funded completely by the government. In 1958, about 63% of the labor force was covered for old age, disability, and survivors insurance; today, the coverage is universal.

Sustainable Development and Environmental Preservation

According to a study in the journal Ecological Economics, Cuba is the most sustainably developed country in the world. This is based on the Sustainable Development Index, which measures a nation’s human development outcomes (health and education, per-capita income, etc.) and factors in the country’s environmental impact. This result was confirmed in a separate report from the World Wildlife Fund.

Cuba is also one of the only nations to meet conditions for sustainable development, and has been praised by the WWF for its “enlightened environmental policies.” Considering the increasingly urgent threat posed by climate change and environmental catastrophe, Cuba provides a model for the rest of the world to aspire to.

Healthcare Indicators

Cuba’s healthcare system is one of its most impressive and well-known achievements. According to the aforementioned paper from Cornell University:

Cuba’s superior health indicators—highly ranked both regionally and globally—are attributed to the country’s universal primary healthcare services.

The Cuban health system is based on public investment and universal provision. According to a report from the National Association of Social Workers:

Cuba has the largest number of doctors per capita of any country in the world… the country devotes almost a quarter of its gross domestic product (GDP) to education and health care—nearly twice the percentage of U.S. GDP allotted to the same expenses. As a result, the country guarantees free education and health care for all citizens, and women receive six weeks of paid prenatal maternity leave and up to one year of paid leave after giving birth.

According to data from the World Bank, Cuba’s life expectancy is slightly longer than that of the United States. Compare this to the pre-revolutionary era, when the Cuban life expectancy was approximately six years shorter than the American life expectancy.

Also, according to data from the World Bank, Cuba’s infant mortality rate is approximately one-third lower than that of the United States. Compare this to the pre-revolutionary era, when the Cuban infant mortality rate was nearly double that of the USA.

According to a 2019 study published in the Journal of Developing Societies, Cuba’s health indicators surpass those of developed nations, despite far lower expenditures:

While Cuba spends about one-twentieth per capita on healthcare compared to the USA… people in Cuba nevertheless enjoy longer life expectancy (79 years) than do people in the USA (78 years)… Cuba also has a superior childhood mortality rate (the number of deaths to age 5 per 1,000 live births per year) of six, compared to eight in the USA.

Cuba has also made some amazing healthcare developments. According to the WHO, Cuba is the first nation in the world to eliminate mother-to-child HIV and syphilis transmission.

According to the Washington PostCuba has developed a potential vaccine against lung cancer, which has shown very promising results, and is being tested in the USA.

The Cuban experience provides an important model for other nations to follow. According to a study in the International Journal of Epidemiology (published by the Oxford University Press):

Cuba represents an important alternative example where modest infrastructure investments combined with a well-developed public health strategy have generated health status measures comparable with those of industrialized countries… If the Cuban experience were generalized to other poor and middle-income countries human health would be transformed.

An article in the Guardian summarizes this topic quite well:

Whether it is a consultation, dentures or open heart surgery, citizens are entitled to free treatment. As a result the impoverished island boasts better health indicators than its exponentially richer neighbour 90 miles across the Florida straits.

This is an enormously impressive achievement.

Educational Developments

Since the revolution, enormous strides have been made in education. One of the most significant developments was the National Literacy Campaign, spearheaded by Che Guevara. According to Oxfam America:

The National Literacy Campaign of 1961, recognized as one of the most successful initiatives of its kind, mobilized teachers, workers, and secondary school students to teach more than 700,000 persons how to read. This campaign reduced the illiteracy rate from 23% to 4% in the space of one year.

Before the revolution, literacy in Cuba was between 60% and 76%, depending on the estimates used. Today, the CIA World Factbook gives Cuba’s literacy rate as 99.8%.

In addition, Cuba spends a higher percentage of GDP on education than any other nation in the world. This has resulted in impressive results; according to a 2014 study from the World Bank, Cuba has the only “high quality” educational system in Latin America.

Infrastructural Developments

In 1959, approx. 50% of Cuban households had access to electricity. According to a report from the Environmental Defense Fund, by 1989, more than 95% of households had access to electricity, including in rural areas, which had previously been almost entirely deprived. Cuba also surpassed many of its neighbors in terms of electricity generation:

By 1990 Cuba had roughly 1.8 times more generating capacity per person than the Dominican Republic and 1.3 times more than Jamaica.

In Cuba, access to clean water and sanitation has greatly improved since the revolution. According to United Nations data, as of 2018, 96.4% of the urban population and 89.8% of the rural population had access to clean drinking water, while 94.4% of the urban population and 89.1% of the rural population had access to improved sanitation services:

An excellent article in the Independent discussed this issue quite well:

This is Fidel’s legacy. Clean water and electricity for all. And universal free education and healthcare. Cubans often joke that they’re healthier and better educated than Americans despite the 50-year-plus US blockade.

So for me, rural Cuba is Fidel’s Cuba. His ideals live on here – and the rural poor of Cuba have benefited the most from his cradle-to-grave policies. Here, the grandchildren of peasants really do go on to become consultant surgeons and commercial airline pilots.

This is an enormous credit to the revolution.

Social Policy

The Cuban revolution has also made great strides in eliminating discrimination and inequality. As the report from Oxfam America states:

Social policy has also favored the development of equity across society, including the equitable distribution of benefits across all sectors of the population, sometimes favoring the most vulnerable. In the last 40 years Cubans have greatly reduced differences in income between the lowest and the highest paid persons. Women have benefited significantly from the revolution as they have educated themselves and entered the labor force in large numbers. The differences among Cubans of different races have also been reduced.

Considering the widespread racial and gender discrimination that existed before the revolution, these achievements must be admired.

Popular Opinion in Cuba

According to an article published in the New Republic, Cubans are significantly more satisfied with their political system than Americans are with theirs. The same holds true for the healthcare and education systems:

More than two-thirds of Cubans—68 percent—are satisfied with their health care system. About 66 percent of Americans said the same in a November 2014 Gallup poll. Seventy-two percent of Cubans are satisfied with their education system, while an August 2014 Gallup poll found that less than half of Americans—48 percent—are “completely” or “somewhat” satisfied with the quality of K-12 education.

The Cuban people also recently ratified a new constitution, which reasserts the role of the Communist Party, and affirms that Cuba is a socialist state advancing towards communism. The constitution also includes some political and economic reforms, such as the recognition of small businesses, and the presumption of innocence in the court system. According to an article from Reuters, independent evidence supports the official vote tally (approx. 90% support):

The independent online newspaper El Toque asked readers to send in local tallies, a dozen of which showed overwhelming support for ratification.

Yoani Sanchez, “Cuba’s best-known dissident,” witnessed the count at her local polling station, reporting the results as “400 yes votes, 25 no votes and 4 blank ballots.” This suggests that the official results were correct, and the Cuban people did overwhelmingly support the new constitution.

An article in the Independent, written by an author whose family lives in Cuba, sums this issue up well:

Most Cubans I speak to support the reshaping of the economy and the greater ties with the US. Just like us, they want to better their lives, they want a better mobile phone, a bigger house, they want to travel. But none of them would want to live in a Cuba, no matter how rich, without universal free education, free healthcare, cheap public transport and the lowest rates of violent crime in the Americas. None of them. This is Fidel’s legacy.

While the Cuban people largely support economic reform and normalization of relations with the USA, their overall support for the achievements of their socialist system remains high. As the New Republic puts it:

Objective indicators, like the country’s low infant mortality and illiteracy rates, have long shown that Cuba has relatively strong social services. This new polling data suggests that Cubans are well aware of it.

This is an important credit to the revolution.

“But What About the Cuban Exiles?”

The most common argument against Cuban socialism is that the Cuban exile population (and their strong distaste for socialism) somehow “proves” that socialist Cuba is terrible. However, this omits a key fact: the exiles come primarily from the wealthy class of Cuba. According to a study in the journal Social Problems (published by the Oxford University Press):

Comparison of the occupational, age, and educational composition of the community with the Cuban population indicates that the refugees are better educated and come from higher status occupations than the population from which they have exiled themselves… more recent exiles are more representative of the Cuban population, but the rural worker is still vastly underrepresented.

Another thing to consider is that the exile took place during a time of conflict and difficulty for Cuba; the revolution was still very new, and the government had not entirely established itself yet. This likely explains why there were some outliers (i.e. exiles from the working-class population), although the majority were still from the wealthy sectors of Cuban society.


Cuba is a nation with many problems; the economy has slowed since the fall of the Soviet Union (losing your only major trading partner tends to hurt a nation’s economy), and international pressure from the USA continues to place Cuba under strain. However, the enormous achievements of the revolution cannot be overlooked; Cuba has provided first-world health and educational standards on a third-world budget, as well as above-average nutrition and infrastructure, all while standing up to the world’s most powerful imperialist force, only ninety miles off its shores.

One struggles to find a proper statement with which to sum up the achievements of the Cuban revolution. Perhaps this one, from former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan (from April 11, 2000):

Cuba’s achievements in social development are impressive given the size of its gross domestic product per capita. As the human development index of the United Nations makes clear year after year, Cuba should be the envy of many other nations, ostensibly far richer. [Cuba] demonstrates how much nations can do with the resources they have if they focus on the right priorities – health, education, and literacy.

Perhaps the best statement is given by Aviva Chomsky in her book A History of the Cuban Revolution:

The Revolution has been wildly audacious, experimental, and diverse. It has evolved under often adverse circumstances. It created unprecedented socioeconomic equality, and showed the world that it is indeed possible for a poor, Third World country to feed, educate, and provide health care for its population… If we want to imagine a better world for all of us, I can think of no better place to start than by studying the Cuban Revolution.

That’s something which we can all appreciate.





The majority of what us in the West “learn” about North Korea is based off of sensationalist South Korean news reports (think Daily Star level of reporting), that’s then reported on by Western sources as evidence.

There are issues with the DPRK, as with most countries, but the hysterical level of lies that are spread about the country distort these issues to another degree.

Through Orientalism, infantizing the populace of North Korea, and the usual red-scare propaganda, many fictions about the country are viewed in the West as “common knowledge”.

Human rights, and defectors

In terms of defectors to South Korea who don’t take part in media opportunities, here are some of their experiences:

Contemporary Economic and Food conditions of DPRK

What about the malnutrition, mortality rate, and food scarcity in the DPRK ?

Is the North Korean economy collapsing? Quite the contrary, it’s actually growing.




Are you sent to jail just for taking photos in North Korea? Can foreign citizens travel around Pyongyang?


Did you know the Stasi arrested less people in it’s entire existence than the USA arrests in a single week?

There’s a lot of misinformation about the relatively small German Democratic Republic in the West. This book offers a comprehensive account of East Germany’s many practical Socialist successes in terms of worker’s rights, healthcare, education, living-standards, and feminism – something we can learn from, and build on, in Wales’ struggle for Socialism. 


The Socialist Revolution in smaller-than-Wales Grenada ended way before its time.  Still, the lessons of Maurice Bishop remain powerful – especially for small nations like Wales.

We highly recommend this list of speeches by Bishop, on topics ranging from Education, to Sexism, to the Imperialism.


Dubbed ‘Africa’s Che Guevara’ – though we’re not subscribing to great man theory, Thomas Sankara was certainly a driving force behind Burkina Faso’s Socialist Revolution.

From an impoverished, former French colony with crippling poverty, to a country with one of the highest literacy rates in Africa, an exemplary Feminist record, an unparalleled programme of vaccination, and the fight against government corruption – the Socialist Government in the small nation of Burkina Faso is certainly one to draw inspiration from.

Read more about Thomas Sankara here

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