Soviet statistics

Macdonald Stainsby mstainsby at
Mon Aug 23 15:17:46 MDT 1999

>Tahir wrote:

>But this is precisely what worries me. What if there is no
>core? Then countries either have to adopt a very different
>path of development from the dependent one or give up
>socialism or else somehow create their own core. This is the
>dilemma that Cuba faced in 1991. The answer was to pull back
>from the socialist direction, to expand the sphere of the
>market and to promote exocentric activities like tourism.

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.

>This entailed the introduction of the dollar, which seems to
>be an irreversible step and has led to very noticeable class
>differences between Cubans who have dollars and those who
>don't. My point is this: can relatively small and poor
>countries be socialist at all without a big brother to lean
>on? For more than thrity years Cuba did not have to face
>this question, and then it hit them with a vengeance.
>Ordinary Cubans can tell you what it was like before and
>after 'the fall'.

The dollarisation of the economy is no more irreversible than NEP was. I
would agree with the postulation that Cuba will not be the "perfect" society
without what you call the Big Brother. Although I'm not a Trotskyist, it is
ultimately impossible for ANY country to survive alone indefinitely. The
Soviets had more resources, and therefore more time (this could lead me into
a rant about the destruction of the SU being inevitable after Kruschev's
"peaceful co-existence, but I'll leave it be for now...). Cuba is an example
of the route that must be taken in the interim. However, the fault I have
with such arguments is that they are neccessarily shortsighted. All such
revolutions will need another, or need to "pull back". It is not a question
of building socialism, but rather extending it. Cuba can resocialise when
the time is right, so can China (incidentally, it appears the Asian Ec.
crisis will make that form of re-transition forced on Zhu and Jiang, whether
they want to now or not, to save the regime). The banners and billboards
around the island that say: "We are defending socialism!" are honest
discussions with the people, a sure sign that the steps neccessary to keep
the people on side for the "wait" has the greater chance to be successful.



To criticize the people's shortcomings is neccessary, as we have already
said, but in so doing we must truly take the stand of the people and speak
out of whole hearted eagerness to protect and educate them. To treat
comrades like enemies is to go over to the stand of the enemy.

Mao Tse-tung, "Talks at the Yenan forum on literature and art".

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