Cuba today (was Soviet statistics)

Tue Aug 24 07:10:27 MDT 1999

>>> "Macdonald Stainsby" <mstainsby at> 08/23 11:17
PM >>>

This may be a purely semantic statement, but this was not
"pulling back from
socialism". In fact, it was defending it. I see you can tell
it was
neccessary. Let us try to avoid a purist declaration, for
such an
interpretation would have destroyed the revolution. The
"ordinary Cubans"
you speak of (almost a contradiction in terms!) tend to
realise this.

There is so much that can be said in response to this sort
of argument, but I have been focussing on one (important)
semantic question, namely around the usage of the word
'socialism', and especially some of the ambiguities that
arise in connection with the debate about stages. I am
genuinely trying to understand the 'anti-stagist' arguments
that have been put forward on this list and have tried to
show that there may be compelling reasons for breaking the
development of socialism up into stages, but precisely NOT
simply bourgeois democracy followed by proletarian
socialism. Your post above demonstrates very interestingly
an aspect of this. You rightly say that the current
capitalist measures in Cuba are necessary. Or do you not
think that entrepreneurship and the market are capitalist?
Because there is entrepreneurship and a market in in Cuba
today (even many foreign entrepreneurs) as well as plenty of
street hustling. I hope that you are right about these
trends not being irreversible, believe me. But you have
shown quite clearly that capitalist measures can be a way of
saving a socialist revolution, and that this is paralleled
by the NEP in the USSR. Is the more general debate about a
capitalist stage under the hegemony of a communist party
really different to this? Now imagine that the Soviet Union,
whose existence as an ally enabled the rapid socialist
transformation that took place in Cuba, had not existed at
the time of the Cuban revolution. Are you following me (and
are you listening Louis)?. What does this say about what
would have been possible then? Wouldn't we have seen what we
are only seeing now, some 40 years later, namely a degree of
capitalism in the service of the socialist revolutionary
project? I think it must be only a Trotskyist education that
creates the kind of blind spot that leads to a refusal to
concede this point. But there you go, the capitalist
measures were necessary, as you say to DEFEND the
(socialist) revolution. Isn't there a more general point
lurking in all this that the 'anti-stagists' won't see? Cuba
is having to go through a kind of capitalist STAGE in its
history precisely to save the revolution, i.e. to make
further stages of that same revolution possible, rather than
an imperialist coup. In a way, I can't think of a better
illustration of the whole principle than this.

But they really should have sussed out the nature of the
Soviet Union and the way it was going a little bit earlier
than 1991, don't you think?


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