I released The Empire is in Decline and Growing Weaker by the Day in February of this year. Although that album was only released digitally, four of the nine songs were released on a split 12″ with Epic on Saskatoon Folk Rap Records in Canada and El Gran E Records in the United States only a few weeks ago. “Let’s Talk Expropriation, Redistribution” is one of the songs that appear on the vinyl.
I put together this video montage from footage surrounding Cuba’s First Agrarian Reform Law of May 1959. As Fidel begins to read out to a crowd of thousands the list of US corporations to be expropriated, he is overcome with emotion, his voice breaks and he needs to step away from the mic. This was the culmination of the fight that had been going on since the raid on the Moncada Barracks in 1953. The revolutionaries were taking back the land and resources from US capitalists and giving it back to the people of Cuba. Despite all the obfuscations of capitalist propaganda, this is ultimately what socialism aims for: putting the economy in the hands of the people, producing goods and services for the needs of the people and not for the profit of a small minority. Fidel eventually came back to the mic to read out the list of names, including a US corporation that had caused some of the deepest damage in Latin America and the Caribbean: the United Fruit Company.
The song “Let’s Talk Expropriation, Redistribution” was influenced by the murder of Colten Boushie. A white settler who sustained himself and his family by farming stolen land murdered a young Indigenous man and was acquitted. It was a cold and brutal reminder that the basis of colonialism is not law but violence. The second verse targets academics who think that the way forward is through words, rather than land reform.