Richard Fidler letter to Revolutionary History

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Mon Mar 26 07:38:51 MST 2001

Dear Editor

For the record, I am the author of the letter concerning the Cuban Trotskyists
of the POR(T) published under the title "The International Secretariat and the
Cuban Trotskyists" in Vol. 7 No. 3 of your publication. The letter, written in
February 1963, was originally addressed to Joseph Hansen of the U.S. Socialist
Workers Party and apparently, as your introductory note indicates, was
for informational purposes to the International Secretariat of the Fourth
International by the SWP as a fraternal gesture in the months leading up to
reunification of the main forces of the international Trotskyist movement.

The letter speaks for itself and I have nothing to add to it, save to mention
that the "Comrade Molina" whom I cited at length was evidently Adolfo Gilly.
This became clear to me in 1964 when Monthly Review published a special issue
entitled "Inside the Cuban Revolution" by Gilly; his lengthy article read to a
large degree as a virtual transcript of what "Molina" had told me.

When I visited Cuba in early 1963, on the first of many visits since then,
I was
barely 20 years old. Like many young North Americans at that time, I was
thrilled and inspired by the first socialist revolution in the Western
Hemisphere. To this day I continue to be most favourably impressed by the
revolutionary commitment, integrity, intelligence and intransigence of the
leadership. Revolutionists around the world have much to learn from the Cuban

For that reason, I was extremely disappointed with Gary Tennant's presentation
in your special issue on "Trotskyism in Cuba". While the articles do contain
some interesting information, they are tainted throughout with Tennant's
hopelessly sectarian interpretation of Trotsky's theory of permanent
as it applied to Cuba. Forty years after the victory of socialist
revolution in
Cuba, Tennant is unable even to accept that Cuba is a workers state, referring
to it as a (Stalinist) "People's Democracy". Your short editorial indicates
your review stands on the same sectarian ground.

It is revealing that, on p. 33, Tennant cites Samuel Farber, a
Shachtmanite, and
Tim Wohlforth, who for many years was Gerry Healy's leading U.S. disciple, as
his inspiration for what he terms the "convincing" argument that Fidel Castro
opted for a "broadly Stalinist solution to the social questions which were
beginning to arise" in the early months and years of the revolution.
Neither of
these authorities was able to recognize an authentic socialist revolution
his nose.

For another perspective, by someone with a much greater knowledge of the Cuban
revolution, I strongly urge your readers to consult a critique of Tennant's
defence of the POR(T) by José Pérez, a Cuban-American who was a central leader
of the U.S. SWP for some years. Pérez's critique was published on the Marxism
mailing list ( in October 2000 and can be accessed through
list's archives.

Richard Fidler
rfidler at

Louis Proyect
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