Helms-Burton, Spanish Civil War, Palestine, etc.

Jos. Green 73532.1325 at compuserve.com
Mon Oct 7 12:18:20 MDT 1996

To:   All
From: Joseph Green
Detroit #123
Oct. 7, 1996

              Announcing the October issue of "Communist Voice":
   Helms-Burton, the Spanish Civil War, Palestine, "defend Iraq", and more

     The October 1, 1996 issue of "Communist Voice" (vol. 2, #5--issue #10)
appeared a few days ago and has been sent out to subscribers. It is a
blockbluster, containing not one but several important articles challenging
deeply entrenched but fallacious views among substantial parts of the left.
For those who want to follow a really revolutionary policy, and not just a
policy that is revolutionary in appearance, this issue is crucial reading.
     The lead article by Mark is "The imperialist Helms-Burton law and the
myth of Cuban socialism". It describes Clinton's groveling before the
rightists, which of course can be found in other journals as well. But it goes
on to describe the motivations of those American businessman who want an end
to the embargo as well. And then it deals with the structure of the Cuban
economy, beginning a study that the "Communist Voice" will develop further in
the coming year. It evaluates the Castro regime not according to whether one
agrees or disagrees with this or that individual policy of Castro, but by
looking at the Cuban economy as a whole and seeing how it runs. It shows the
anarchy in the economy brought by the powerful "sociedades anonimas" run by
rich managers and party officials. It points to the extensive role of the
black market. It shows how integrated Cuba has become into world capitalist
economy, noting the massive incentives to foreign investors and the
spectacular amounts of this investment (compared to the size of the Cuban
economy). It is time to recognize that this once-revolutionary regime
developed not socialism, but a state-capitalist system modeled after Soviet
revisionism. Indeed, it is now moving from state-capitalism towards private
capitalism. It is time to stand with the Cuban masses against both U.S.
imperialism and the new Castroist bourgeoisie. It's long past time to stop
apologizing for Castroism, and to join the anti-revisionists in combating its
influence instead. It's time to seriously look at how and why a once-
revolutionary regime fell into the swamp of state-capitalism, a study of much
interest which will bring to the fore the importance of revolutionary and
anti-revisionist theory.
     Another major article, a reply to the open letter to the left of Greg
Jackson of the Black Autonomy Collective of Seattle, refutes the anarchists
>from the economic standpoint. Jackson was trying to disprove the economic law
by which autonomous anarchist collectives would inevitably end up linked to
each other by marketplace forces. He pointed to the system of collectives in
the Spanish Civil War. This is a key example referred to proudly by most
anarchists. In replying to this, I pointed to the experience of these
collectives as recognized even by the Spanish anarchists of the time. Find out
why one of the chief leaders of the anarcho-syndicalist CNT union during the
Spanish Civil War cried out in pain, on seeing how the anarchist collectives
were working out in practice,
    "The collectivism we are living in Spain is not anarchist
    collectivism, it is the creation of a new capitalism, more inorganic
    than the old capitalist system we have destroyed...Rich collectives
    refuse to recognize any responsibilities, duties or solidarity towards
    poor collectives....No one understands the complexities of the economy,
    the dependence of one industry on another." (--Horacio Prieto, Jan. 6,
    1938. Don't confuse the anarchist leader Horacio Prieto with the
    reformist government minister Indalecio Prieto.)
Find out why the anarchist feminists of "Liberated Women" ("Muheres Libres")
complained of relationships remaining "feudal" in the anarchist regions. The
problem facing the anarchists wasn't just their brutal treatment by the
Stalinists (false communists) and the reformists. That is not what Horacio
Prieto and "Muheres Libres" were referring to. There were other deeper
problems arising from the internal functioning of the system of anarchist
collectives itself. And a careful analysis shows that behind these problems
was the fact that this system gave rise to marketplace forces which the
anarchists didn't know how to deal with. The wave of collectivism in Spain was
a powerful revolutionary wave among the workers and peasants, which the
anarchists had a huge influence in. (There were also some collectives
organized by other forces, and the cooperatives were organized by other
forces, the anarchists preferring collectives.) The masses showed that they
could run production without being subject to the savage whip of the old
capitalists and landlords. But the anarchists could not give revolutionary
guidance to this revolutionary wave, and their anarchist dogmas led to
tremendous problems among this movement. The CNT, unwilling to recognize that
its own anarchist system was a major cause of the problems, ended up blaming
the revolutionary workers in the collectives for showing a "utilitarian and
petty-bourgeois spirit". There are many accounts of the Spanish Civil War
experience which center on various political events--this is one of the few
that focuses on the economic experience of the collectives and on the
consequences of anarchist autonomist ideology.
     Another section of the Communist Voice concerns the debates over the
"defend Iraq" slogan. With the recent crisis in the Gulf War, the Trotskyists
are once again dragging out their reactionary theory that, in order to oppose
U.S. imperialism, one has to give military support to Saddam Hussein. This was
the same theory that they put forward in the Persian Gulf War, and the
Trotskyists learned nothing from this war and still have the same theory
during the drawn-out continuation of the Persian Gulf conflict. (Both "left"
and reformist Trotskyists have this same theory of military support to the
Hussein regime, but the "left" Trotskyists put it forward in slogans, while
the reformist Trotskyists prefer to cloak it a bit, while nevertheless doing
their best to prevent the anti-imperialist movement from condemning both sides
in the conflict.) This theory brings discredit on the anti-imperialist and
anti-war movements, and shows that the Trotskyists--for all their
revolutionary talk--are depending more on the bayonets of reactionaries than
on revolutionary organization of the oppressed. It is the Trotskyist form of
the old "three worldism" of the past, which in its worst form saw the Maoists
promoting some reactionary butchers in Asia, Africa and Latin America as anti-
imperialist heroes. By groveling before Hussein, the Trotskyists are showing
that Trotskyism is no alternative to Maoism, but another bankrupt theory.
Trotskyists pretend that they are not giving "political support" to Hussein
but only "military support", as if war and politics were completely separate,
as if war was not "the continuation of politics by other (i.e., violent)
means". But in fact, with their military support of Hussein, the Trotskyists
are proving that Trotskyism is a theory more helpful for sycophants of
reactionaries than for progressive activists.
     And this issue of "Communist Voice" has still more. It reprints a polemic
>from last year debating the Palestinian mini-state with the reformists of the
late so-called "Revolutionary Socialist Study Group" (RSSG) of Seattle, and
comments briefly on it in light of the renewed Palestinian struggle since the
election of Netanyahu. Jason of the RSSG, who at one time wrote poems to the
"intifadeh", had gone gaga in 1994 and 95 over the mini-state deal between the
PLO and the Israelis. He believed that the mini-state would be developed with
foreign aid and Israeli capital. Mark refuted Jason's views last year, showed
that Israeli capitalism and imperialism still had the same reactionary nature
and the same claws, but that the mini-state deal had indeed changed something.
It brought even more to the fore the class divisions in the Palestinian
movement, and it underlined the need for revolutionary organization
independent of the PLO and Hamas. The Marxist critique of the mini-state deal
was not a matter of denying recent developments or of being nostalgic for the
past, but of pointing to the class developments among the Palestinians and the
new tasks of the struggle. Looking back at this debate in the light of
Netanyahu's offensive against the Palestinians verifies the points made by
     As if all this weren't enough, there's yet more in this issue of
"Communist Voice". The contents of this jam-packed issue are as follows:

The imperialist Helms-Burton law and the myth of Cuban socialism
  by Mark, Detroit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . .1

The Communist Voice Organization discusses its future
   --on the national meeting of the CVO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8

Labor Day leaflet:  We need a real struggle against the bosses
  by "Detroit Workers' Workers". . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

No spark in "The Spark": Against prettification of sell-out labor
  bureaucrats, by Tim, Detroit. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11

The mini-state debate in light of the renewed struggle:
Introduction by Mark, Detroit. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Reformist panaceas crash on the rocks of reality
  by Mark, Detroit (1995) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14

Marxism vs. anarchism on overcoming the marketplace:
Introduction, on the Black Autonomy Collective and the Spanish Civil War
   by Joseph Green, Detroit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
>From the Open Letter to the left
   of the Black Autonomy Collective of Seattle
   by Greg Jackson, Seattle. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20
Anarchism and the marketplace (excerpts) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
Reply to the Open Letter:
  The experience of the anarchists in the Spanish Civil War shows that
  autonomous collectives can't overcome the marketplace
  by Joseph Green, Detroit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23

 The recent bombing in Iraq and the controversies
   over anti-war work in the Persian Gulf War:

Introduction   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . 32
On the Spartacist League and the "defend Iraq" slogan:
Building an anti-imperialist movement or putting hopes
  in Hussein's military by Joseph Green, Detroit (1992). . . . . . . . .34
Reply to criticisms of the "Workers's Advocate" on the war
  (part four) by Slim, Detroit  (1992) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41
Letters from Julie, Anita and Jake of the
   "Chicago Workers' Voice" group  (1992) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
Reply to Anita by Mark, Detroit (1992) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59

  On the Nader candidacy by Frank, Seattle  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  .61

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