Cuba & democracy (for some: Democracy, in caps and letters of gold)

Hugh Rodwell m-14970 at
Thu Aug 22 16:26:57 MDT 1996

Why in all the postings on Cuba so far has everyone abstracted from the
fact that the leadership of the revolution was a military leadership?

As in the other Stalinist-led revolutions of the postwar period (Cuba's
leadership was, as it were, Stalinist by default -- as soon as its
political position clarified in relation to the world balance of power, it
went Stalinist) -- anyway, as in those other revolutions that succeeded in
overthrowing the direct rule of capital in Yugoslavia, China and Vietnam,
Cuba's revolution was carried out by a politicized army. As one of these
leaders wrote: 'Power grows out of the barrel of a gun'. And one of the
first things the Bolsheviks had to do, after winning power, not as a
military leadership but as a political leadership that had won the trust
and backing of the peasant army, was to organize a politicized army to
defend the conquests of the revolution. A job carried out more than
adequately by Trotsky.

However, the whole question of the electoral forms of bourgeois democracy
is ridiculous in a polarized revolutionary situation in which military
force (or social force that preempts military force) will decide who is to
hold the reins of power.

It wasn't elections or democratic processes that dumped the feudal states
and replaced them with bourgeois ones.

The question of real representative workers' democracy within the military,
or within the actually ruling organs of social power all boils down to the
strength and the degree of universality of revolutionary consciousness
among the masses. The stronger and more widespread this consciousness is,
the more insistent the masses will be about shared conditions of living and
tenure subject to the right of immediate recall, in other words, the
requirements needed to keep a revolutionary regime healthy. The weaker and
more localized this consciousness, the greater the leeway the military
leadership will have to impose its own agenda and enforce adherence to it,
regardless of any commentators' quibbling about 'democratic methods' or

But might is not right, and the further the military leadership is from
democratic control by the workers, the worse will be the regime it
establishes. And the greater the contradictions that will accumulate until
the next explosion resolves the tensest of them.



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