Michael Smith

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Michael Smith

CoC National Conference endorser

In 1992 Michael Smith, National Lawyer's Guild, editorial board, Lawyer's Guild Notes, New York, endorsed the Committees of Correspondence national conference Conference on Perspectives for Democracy and Socialism in the 90s held at Berkeley California July 17-19.[1]

Socialist Scholars Conference

Robert Mast, Democratic Socialists of America, Herb Boyd, The Guardian, Dan Georgakas and Michael Smith were speakers on the What's Left in Detroit panel sponsored by CUNY and Democratic Socialists of America at the Tenth Annual Socialist Scholars Conference. The conference was held April 24-26, 1992 at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, New York City.[2]

Center for Constitutional Rights

Smith serves as the President of the Board of Directors of the Center for Constitutional Rights.[3]

Amy Goodman interview

In July 2015, Amy Goodman interviewed several commentators on the resumption of US-Cuba diplomatic relations.

Hundreds of dignitaries from Cuba and the United States gathered in Washington on Monday to mark the reopening of the Cuban Embassy after being closed for more than five decades. We speak to Congressmembers Raúl Grijalva and Barbara Lee; actor Danny Glover; former U.S. diplomat Wayne Smith; attorneys Michael Smith and Michael Ratner, who co-authored "Who Killed Che?: How the CIA Got Away with Murder"; Phyllis Bennis and James Early of the Institute for Policy Studies; and others.

AMY GOODMAN: Michael Smith and Michael Ratner, they, in addition to being illustrious attorneys, are the co-authors of the book, Who Killed Che? And what’s the subtitle?

MICHAEL SMITH: How the CIA Got Away with Murder.

AMY GOODMAN: So, talk about your feelings on this day.

MICHAEL SMITH: I can’t tell you how happy I am. I’ve been dreaming of this ever since I became a socialist in college 50 years ago. The United States was defeated here. They thought they could isolate Cuba for 50 years. They tried. They not only assassinated Che, but they tried to assassinate Fidel. They isolated Cuba from the rest of the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The tables were turned on them. Last year, the Panamanians, which is not a left-wing government, told the United States, "Unless you allow Cuba to come to the Summit of Americas, you don’t have to come. We want Cuba." And the United States started thinking, "We’ve got to switch tactics." It’s not like they’re still not trying to restore Cuba to the capitalist empire, but they’re not doing it in the old ways.

AMY GOODMAN: Michael Ratner, your thoughts today?

MICHAEL RATNER: Well, Amy, let’s just say, other than the birth of my children, this is perhaps one of the most exciting days of my life. I mean, I’ve been working on Cuba since the early ’70s, if not before. I worked on the Venceremos Brigade. I went on brigades. I did construction. And to see that this can actually happen in a country that decided early on that, unlike most countries in the world, it was going to level the playing field for everyone—no more rich, no more poor, everyone the same, education for everyone, schooling for everyone, housing if they could—and to see the relentless United States go against it, from the Bay of Pigs to utter subversion on and on, and to see Cuba emerge victorious—and when I say that, this is not a defeated country. This is a country—if you heard the foreign minister today, what he spoke of was the history of U.S. imperialism against Cuba, from the intervention in the Spanish-American War to the Platt Amendment, which made U.S. a permanent part of the Cuban government, to the taking of Guantánamo, to the failure to recognize it in 1959, to the cutting off of relations in 1961. This is a major, major victory for the Cuban people, and that should be understood. We are standing at a moment that I never expected to see in our history.

AMY GOODMAN: Bruno Rodríguez, the foreign minister of Cuba, gave a rousing speech inside the embassy. Talk about what he said still needs to be accomplished. He wasn’t exactly celebrating a total victory today.

MICHAEL SMITH: No, because things still aren’t normal.

AMY GOODMAN: Michael Smith.

MICHAEL SMITH: The United States is still spending $30 million a year trying to subvert the Cuban government. They still illegally are holding Guantánamo. And they still have—and this is the most important thing, because it’s costing Cuban people $1.1 trillion in funds to develop their country—they still have the blockade. So, unless those three things are changed, you’re not going to have a normal situation.

MICHAEL RATNER: Let me tell you, as someone said to me here, if Obama wants to solve Guantánamo and the prisoners at Guantánamo, give it back to Cuba. There will be no prisoners left in Guantánamo. Easy way to do it, satisfy the Cubans, satisfy Guantánamo. Let it happen now.

Think about Cuba’s place in history, when we think about it for young people, not just for the fact that it leveled a society economically, gave people all the social network that we don’t have in the United States, but think about its international role. You think about apartheid in South Africa, and the key single event took place in Angola when 25,000 Cuban troops repulsed the South African military and gave it its first defeat, which was the beginning of the end of apartheid. It had an internationalism that’s just unbelievable. And I remember standing in front of—in the 100,000 people in front of a square in Havana in 1976. I was on a Venceremos Brigade. And Fidel gave a speech, and he said, "There is black blood in every Cuban vein, and we are going into Angola." I’m telling you, I still cry over it.[4]

National Leading From the Inside Out Alum

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Michael Smith, Special Assistant To The President, My Brother’s Keeper, The White House: Office Of Cabinet Affairs And My Brother’s Keeper, was a 2015 Rockwood Leadership Institute National Leading From the Inside Out Alum.[5]

References