Cuba today (was Soviet statistics)

Macdonald Stainsby mstainsby at
Tue Aug 24 16:06:07 MDT 1999


I can add almost nothing to your post, for I agree almost in its entirety.
There is simply no point in begrudging a small country for taking to task
the survival of the revolution on some puritanical notion. If the purists
had their way, Cuba would not only be pure, it would be starving and in deep
trouble. BTW, on your point of what would happen if the Cuban revolution
today, Fidel says (and I tend to agree) that a single country like theirs
could not survive on its own if it were to start today. Depressing but
likely true. We need a large industrial centre, or (please!) the destruction
of the United States itself. We live in a new ball game, and should read the


> >>> "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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