Soviet statistics

Jose G. Perez jgperez at
Wed Aug 25 21:47:14 MDT 1999

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<DIV><FONT color=#000000 face=Arial size=2>Tahir,</FONT></DIV>
<DIV> </DIV>
<DIV>The questions you raise about Cuba are very good ones. But I think you're
wrong to question whether Cuba has abandoned socialism.</DIV>
<DIV> </DIV>
<DIV>The distortions you cite, for example, the relative privilege of some who
have dollars and others who do not, are not, at least not yet, class
differentiations. Moreover, you'd be surprised how many Cubans have access to
dollars. There's a whole industry dedicated to sending dollars from Miami Cubans
to those on the island. It might seem that this favors families of ex bourgeois
and so on, but most of all those people left. There's a broad cross section of
the Cuban working class that has family abroad. This doesn't mean there isn't a
clear stratification. For example, a much smaller percentage of Blacks get
dollars from relatives abroad because a much smaller percentage of Blacks chose
to emigrate to the United States. (Cuba is, I think, roughly half black [using
the term here as Americans use it to include <EM>mulatos</EM>], but the
emigration is 95% or more white [just my guess, I do not know the actual
figure]). </DIV>
<DIV> </DIV>
<DIV>How long the revolution can survive with this increased level of
contradictions --and many, many other problems-- is something that will be
decided in struggle. Obviously Cuban socialism suffered a tremendous setback
when the Soviet block fell apart.</DIV>
<DIV> </DIV>
<DIV>We should resist the temptation to idealize Cuban socialism before
"the fall," however. There's always been a relatively privileged
layer, people who abuse positions of trust, all sorts of negative phenomena.
Often it is not the magnitude of the privileges that matter, either. Worse,
economic inefficiency and dislocation often led to a mentality where a certain
degree of petty theft and black marketeering was considered acceptable. There
was at one point, although now long ago, a fair amount of persecution of gays
and intolerance towards practitioners of <EM>Santería, </EM>both of which
had a certain racist dimension. There was a great deal of sectarianism towards
revolutionaries who were believers. Young people who came of age in the 60s and
identified with the worldwide rebellion of youth, wore blue jeans, had long hair
(or worse: afros); styled themselves folk singers and so on had, as the Cubans
say, "problems." </DIV>
<DIV> </DIV>
<DIV>It's no coincidence that the new song movement was not nurtured  by
the Cuban musical establishment or recording industry at first. Their
"angels" were Casa de las Americas and especially the ICAIC (run by a
college classmate of Fidel's, Alfredo Guevara, who is widely believed to be
<DIV> </DIV>
<DIV>I mention these things very one-sidedly not to try to run down yesterday's
Cuba [it just struck me, now we revolutionaries are stating to use the same
phrase of the Miami crowd, "la Cuba de ayer"], but to note that the
sorts of contradictions one might notice in Cuba today have been there all
along, albeit in much more attenuated form. Also, my friends in Havana tell me
that things have largely stabilized and are even beginning to improve. </DIV>
<DIV> </DIV>
<DIV>I think Fidel is right in saying that of all the things the revolution has
accomplished throughout its history, what it is doing today is the most
important, keeping alive the revolutionary flame and the socialist example in
the midst of a wave of unbridled reaction on a world scale.</DIV>
<DIV> </DIV>
style="BORDER-LEFT: #000000 solid 2px; MARGIN-LEFT: 5px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px">
    <DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2><B>-----Original Message-----</B><BR><B>From:
    </B>TAHIR WOOD <<A
    href="mailto:TWOOD at">TWOOD at</A>><BR><B>To:
    </B><A href="mailto:marxism at">marxism at</A>
    href="mailto:marxism at">marxism at</A>>; <A
    href="mailto:aaustin at">aaustin at</A>

href="mailto:aaustin at">aaustin at</A>><BR><B>Date:

    </B>Monday, August 23, 1999 5:52 AM<BR><B>Subject: </B>Re: Soviet
    statistics<BR><BR></DIV></FONT><BR><BR>>>> Andrew Wayne Austin
    href="mailto:aaustin at">aaustin at</A>>
    08/20<BR>5:30 PM >>><BR>Peripheralization is not a characteristic
    of the state<BR>socialist model,<BR>which in a diametrically opposed fashion
    to capitalism<BR>actually develops<BR>its dependencies, and this meant that
    when the Soviet core<BR>was dismantled<BR>other socialist countries were
    weakened, as well (which<BR>would be the<BR>opposite effect if the
    capitalist core were dismantled).<BR><BR>But this is precisely what worries
    me. What if there is no<BR>core? Then countries either have to adopt a very
    different<BR>path of development from the dependent one or give
    up<BR>socialism or else somehow create their own core. This is
    the<BR>dilemma that Cuba faced in 1991. The answer was to pull back<BR>from
    the socialist direction, to expand the sphere of the<BR>market and to
    promote exocentric activities like tourism.<BR>This entailed the
    introduction of the dollar, which seems to<BR>be an irreversible step and
    has led to very noticeable class<BR>differences between Cubans who have
    dollars and those who<BR>don't. My point is this: can relatively small and
    poor<BR>countries be socialist at all without a big brother to lean<BR>on?
    For more than thrity years Cuba did not have to face<BR>this question, and
    then it hit them with a vengeance.<BR>Ordinary Cubans can tell you what it
    was like before and<BR>after 'the fall'.<BR><BR>Tahir</BLOCKQUOTE></BODY></HTML>

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