Revisiting old problems
Louis N Proyect
lnp3 at columbia.edu
Mon Jun 3 06:44:34 MDT 1996
On Mon, 3 Jun 1996, Adam Rose wrote:
> ii) The bourgeoisie develops in the pores of capitalism in a way that is not
> an option to propertyless proletarians under capitalism. Also, the bourgeoisie
> is a small class, the proletariat a large one, if not an absolute majority.
> Socialism is the self conscious movement of the immense majority in the
> interests of the immense majority. A bourgeois revolution is by neccessity
> different. It is at best the movement of the majority in the interests of
> a tiny minority, and therefore CANNOT be entirely self conscious. Comparisons
> between the two types of revolution often do not hold, because the two revolutionary
> classes have a different relationship to the other classes in their societies.
Louis: This is Adam's answer to my question about the difficulty in
pinpointing when the working-class emerged as a distinct class. I stated
that this class was not created the way god created man on the seventh
day. I referred to the long historic evolution of this class from its
artisan roots to the modern factory system. I thought this was important
because it helps us understand how superficial and undialectical it is to
regard Cuba as capitalist because it does not conform to Adam's 21 point
requirements for "socialism". Cuba is a state in transition just as the
working class was in transition from its very earliest roots. Marxism is
about transition. You are not very keen at identifying transitional
formations. You need to brush up on your Marxism.
> These are not the only curious feature of this "socialist" revolution.
> The other is that Castro only decided that the revolution he was making
> was a socialist one AFTER the revolution ( when he realised he needed
> the USSR's help ). Now, why do you think a Marxist party, commited to the
> goal of socialist revolution, is an indespensable requirement for revolution
> in the US, when by your own reasoning it was not in Cuba in 1960 ?
Louis: I love things that are curious. It is only people who are
susceptible to pettifoggery who don't. One of the interesting things about
proletarian revolutions in my hemisphere is that the biggest successes
seem to be produced by parties that don't emblazon their "Marxist"
credentials on paper. The type of Marxism I respect is the type that is
capable of changing social reality. That is why I reject Trotskyism in all
of its flavors.
> Let me sum up. Your "socialist" revolution is not led by the working class.
> Nor are the revolutionary forces led by an organisation which puts socialist
> revolution as its reason for existence. This revolution does not result in
> socialist democracy. It results in a society which "Castro has run . . . the way
> his father ran his plantation."
> Which of the basic marxist beliefs about state + revolution does the
> Cuban revolution conform to ?
Louis: I am for democracy. I also understand why Cuba does not have the
type of democracy which characterized the USSR in 1921 (and then rapidly
disappeared.) I also think that capitalism can exist in democratic forms
such as the United States and in undemocratic forms such as Nazi Germany.
What I am more interested in is property relations. The problem with your
ideology is that it can not describe the change in property relations Cuba
would require for it to become "socialist". If Castro was overthrown by
the armed working-class in your scenario, what would happen? Would they
start planning an already planned economy? Would they nationalize an
already nationalized economy?
> I can be bothered with such details, but I don't have the time, resources,
> or inclination to look them up. I post from work, and we don't have easily
> available information on income inequality in Cuba, for instance. I can't
> give time, place, numbers and analysis for the precise way the Cuban
> police breaks Cuban workers strikes - but I'm sure they do, though. Are you
> telling me they don't ?
Louis: You can't be bothered with such details because it doesn't pique
your interest. It is more easy to dismiss 36 years of struggle by the
Cuban people to build socialism with the back of your state-capitalist
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