Rum do's in the beast's back yard

Hugh Rodwell m-14970 at
Fri Aug 23 17:41:10 MDT 1996

Louis P picked up on my statement that:

>> 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

and in unusually civil terms (made up for immediately in the following
posting, of course, but let's be thankful for small mercies) wrote:

>Please explain the Escalante affair. Please give a nuanced
>assessment of Castro's position on the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.

(I like the *two* pleases!)

>Nuanced (noo-ahnced): subtle, shaded, complex.

(Christ, if I ever pronounced the word "noo-ahnced", I'd never be able to
hold my head up in public again!)

1) Escalante: 1962 -- Moscow machine man threatens relative autonomy of
concrete revolutionary army leadership by packing the administration with
old Cuban CP buddies who'd practised arse-crawling for government posts
under Batista. The real social power of the revolution vested in the
army/state leadership shows it still has bite, and chews Escalante's head
off (dumping him in Novotny's Czechoslovakia. Moscow Stalinist parasitism
draws in its horns and yields to home-grown version -- the following
characteristic policies, with Great Russian chauvinism replaced by Cuban
nationalism: Socialism in One Country, Two-Stage Revolution (for others),
bureaucratic/despotic regime, class collaboration (boy they've had a hard
time finding class enemies to collaborate with, but at last their patient
search is bearing fruit!!).

1a) Escalante: 1967 -- Moscow-linked, Escalante-inspired 'micro-faction'
threatens relative autonomy of 'old' revolutionary leadership, and also
makes pretty valid criticisms of lack of planning and other headless
economic policies (since at least mid-60s). Gets zapped. Bourgeois history
comments that they had the 'right insights at the wrong time', but it
wasn't the economic line that was at issue.

2) Cuba and the Soviet invasion of the CSSR. Date 1968. Economic situation
in Cuba: up shit creek without a paddle (cf 1a). Voluntaristically
(non)planned, non-centralized objectives rule, reinforced by
non-statistics. 'Micro-faction' expulsions of 1967 get up Moscow's nose,
leading it to respond in its usual charming Stalinist internationalist way
by strangling the supply of oil and taking home its technical advisers in
the spring of 1968.

By coincidence this spring has come to be known as the Prague spring, but
things were happening everywhere -- the Tet offensive, May 68 in Paris,
even the occupation of the student union building in Stockholm (with a
fascist mob outside yelling 'Hammaren i huvet, skaeran i halsen!' --
roughly 'Sink a hammer in their heads, slice a sickle through their
throats!). Poor Che was dead in Bolivia,  voluntaristically trying to
create a hundred new Vietnams (whyever not a hundred new Cubas?!), but his
image along with Mao's and Ho's was haunting the world.

So what better time for the Escalantes of the world and their minders to
exact revenge?

'Shaft the workers of the world, Fidel me old sugarlump, and we'll turn on
the oil again and send you some experts.'

And Fidel said: 'Fair do's, guv, where do I sign?' and went on telly to
tell the world about it.

This was *not* the occasion on which he said: 'History will absolve me.'


Thirsty work, all this noo-ahnce noo-sahnce. Think I'll put on me shades of
subtle complexity and mix me a Cuba Libre... While I'm about it, I'll relax
with a video. Coca-Cola Kid? Nah, bit too interleckchul, and the director's
a Serb. It'll have to be 'I Married an Alien' again -- with Louis P as the
voice in the bag...



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