The Americanization of Elian

Carlos Eduardo Rebello crebello at
Sun Jan 30 08:49:27 MST 2000

> Date: Sat, 29 Jan 2000 17:14:25 -0500
> From: Macdonald Stainsby <mstainsby at>
> Subject: Re: The Americanization of Elian
> Carlos Eduardo Rebello <crebello at> said:
> (snipp...)
> I do not believe in the suitability of the Cuban model as a
> > guide for future developments of the Left,
> I will start by saying that nothing, not even the mighty Russian
> revolution, can be considered a "model", that is anti-marxist in my
> view. However, you seem to be taking pains to make a distance between
> yourself and the Cuban revolution, and I am curious Carlos, why do you
> do that?

I do not make nothing of this sort, and I believe that the Cuban
Revolution today has to be defended at all costs, *even forgetting about
this debate altogether* for the moment.Perhaps we aren't mature for this
debate yet, and it can only give a profit to our enemies. So I shall
make some tentative statements, and get ready to forget about them if
the situation demands.

The problem is that we have, for most of this closing century, based our
strategy on the fact that the social interests of the working-class -
that we expected would form an overwhelming, monstruous majority of the
population by now- would be enough to get us into Socialism, and that
therefore the politico-institutional forms attached to socialism were a
matter of indiference to us. Today, however, the continuous development
of ever more differentiating patty-bourgeois strata - from the lumpens
to white-collar workers - between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie
that Trotsky, commenting on the *Manifesto*, saw already in 1936 as the
bane of decaying capitalism, puts the important problem that such strata
will only favour socialism if it is attached to the question of
*political empowerment* of the population as a whole, and of enabling
the population at large to participate in politics beyond the local
level (which would be the only way that could allow us, BTW, to break
the wall of depoliticised micropolitics that is the hallmark of
postmodernity); these petty-bourgeois strata - that make, unfortunately,
the monstruous majority of the population in all countries today - will
perhaps support socialism only if it proposes itself to attach itself
the lagacy of political democracy of old bourgeois revolutions, and not
to smash it (also a formulation of Trotsky's, in his early 1930s
writings about Germany). The Cuban Revolution has, unfortunately, made
no new developments in thsi issue, and has the same fragile
institucional armour of all preceding "really existing" socialist
regimes, therefore being not a "model" for future developments.But the
fact is that that would be to expect too much of the Cuban Revolution.
That's all I wanted to say, but I'm prepared, as regards Cuba, to forget
about this altogether, and concern myself only about defending the
legacy of the 1959 Revolution, OK? The issue is one to be debated in a
more general level, I think.

Carlos Rebello

> Macdonald

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