TimAlphanumeric on Cuba

Michael Hoover hoov at freenet.tlh.fl.us
Wed Aug 14 01:34:48 MDT 1996


> The main view of those who disagree with my critique of democracy in Cuba
> seems to be that if a real democratic process had been permitted, then the
> majority of people would have scuttled Castro's revolutionary program by
> voting the fellow out of office.  Therefore he was correct to suppress
> democracy, remain in office, and carry out revolutionary change
> undemocratically.  Do I have the argument right?

I don't recall anyone saying this...as I indicated in a previous post
on this topic, Cuba's dependent capitalism lacked legitimacy and
Western democracy was held in contempt by the historically marginalized
population...corruption and incompetence characterized the past...
there was, in the immediate post-revolutionary period, mass opposition
to elections (see Marurice Zeitlin "Revolutionary Politics & the
Cuban Working Class")...the implications of widespread oppostion to
liberal-democracy were enormous - of course, pre-revolutionary Cuba
was a caricature of liberal democracy - in that they offered an
opportunity to create state structures corresponding to anti/non-
capitalist production & social relations...could/should have been
a democratic workers state modeled along the Paris Commune (which
lasted 71 days if memory serves)...but it wasn't, rather, a one-party
state buttressed by Leninist elements resulted...yet, as my previous
post on this suggested, Cuba is not a typical authoritatian socialist
state...its system rests on organization & mobilization of mass
support...yes, the CDRs are directed/dominated by the party and
serve as the "eyes and ears" of the state, but they are composed of
80% of the adult population and they perform many tasks - civil
defense, education, community service...and yes, the OPPs are sham
elected assemblies, but they provide people with opportunities to
air their grievances with officials and in attempting to make the
party/national government more responsive to local needs, they
function to improve services...

> interest.  I also am realistic enough to understand that there may be steps
> backward as well as forward in convincing the majority of this.  Nicaragua is
> To proceed, as my critics do, leads not to socialism but to a form of
> statified authoritarian rule in the interests of the "revolutionary " elite.
>  The evidence of this proposition is overwhelming.
> Any argument with this?

no argument, Leninism has shown itself to be 20th Century Platonism...as
for steps forward/backward, however, consider Chile - and to lesser
extents Jamaica during the days of the Manley government...the lesson
of the social-democratic (and I do not use the term pejoratively) road is
that such regimes can achieve some management of the capitaist state,
provide a more egalitarian-democratic orientation, but must accomodate
themselves to the existing terrain...this suggests the possibility
of using democratic-capitalist structures (assuming they exist with
some degree of legitimacy) to initiate changes aimed at taking a
different direction...this process is limited, however, by the
necessity to collaborate with the private sector indicating a commitment
to "mixed" economic policies...Lacking control of capital and operating
within the confines of formal democratic procedures, the regime is
constrained from pursuing policies considered to be "authoritarian".
..Chile in the early '70s was a more serious challenge to capitalist
hegemony than was Jamaica..the inability of both national & international
capital to provoke institutionalized collapse of Allende's government
necessitated a fascist-like restructuring of the Chilean state to
presrve capitalist relations...military forces were the mechanism used
to restore the political/economic dominance of capital suited to the
needs of Chilean capitalists and the international economic order...
how many steps backward?

the point of all this - for me a too long post, my general rule of
thumb is two screens and I'm out....I never ceased to be amazed by
the undialectical thought of marxists (and maybe TimW does not
consider himself such anymore)...its not either/or - and people do not
make history in conditions of their own choosing (or some such
thing)...Michael


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