State Capitalism and Cuba

Tony Tracy ttracy at
Fri Jun 21 10:46:06 MDT 1996

At 08:03 AM 21/06/96 -0400, Louis Proyect wrote:

>On Thu, 20 Jun 1996, Tony Tracy wrote:
>> I do not argue that Canada and Cuba are the same in nature. On the other
>> hand, in a previous post you pointed to social programs and reforms as
>> evidence of Cuba moving towards socialism. I am suggesting that these same
>> social programs and reforms are existent in many undisputably imperialist
>> and capitalist countries. Therefore social programs do not equal socialism.
>Louis: Cuba's "social programs" can not be compared to any other
>capitalist Third World nation. If you think they can be, please supply an

Social programs in general (healthcare, education, etc.) are something that
serious revolutionaries defend. These types of reforms, such as those that
exist in Cuba, are good: their existence can aid the working class
materially. The absence of such social programs and reforms tend to lead to
demoralization and lack of confidence in the working class as a whole.

In Cuba, as you pointed out, social programs were fought for. This is not
unlike any capitalist country -- in Canada, for example, what social
programs (healthcare, education, welfare and unemployment benefits) and
reforms that the working class has have also been fought for: through large
strikes and mobilizations. For example, the program of unemployment benefits
and welfare in Canada come directly from a Communist Party led movement (the
"On To Ottawa Trek") that organized men in work camps in the 1930's to build
a mass mobilization to fight for unemployment benefits.

As revolutionaries, we defend these reforms which were won through struggle.
We don't minimize their importance or write them off as strictly
"economistic" concerns.

However, the existence of reforms and social programs does not indicate
socialism. As Marxists, we define socialism differently: as workers' power
over the means of production.

>Louis: Cuba is moving toward capitalism, not socialism. The "NEP"-like
>reforms are undermining socialist property relations and Cuba's future is
>very much in doubt.

I sense, Louis, that this is a dodge of the question. Please explain what
socialist property relations existed in Cuba... that is: did workers have
*control* of the means of production? I argue that there is a fundamental
difference between *nationalized* property relations and *socialist*
property relations.

Tony Tracy
International Socialists

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