Taaffe on Cuba

Adam Levenstein cleon42 at yahoo.com
Wed Sep 5 06:52:43 MDT 2001


--- Xxxx Xxxxxx <xxxxxxxxxx at xxxxxxxxx.xx> wrote:

> Of course not. I'm not saying that there is one
> "model" or "blueprint" that
> must be slavishly followed (although, as I pointed
> out earlier, many in the
> 70s, including a good many within the USFI, did view
> the Cuban Revolution as
> such a model and did attempt to follow it with
> disastrous results.)

Then why on Earth do you keep asking everyone if they
think Cuba is a model/blueprint? You asked, we
answered.

> I'm simply saying that to be a democratic workers
> state, to be a socialist
> society, certain criteria must be met and Cuba falls
> short of those
> criteria.

We disagree, and when we pointed to a source outlining
*why* we disagree, you decided to simply not believe
it because the source of much of that information,
Arnold August, used to be a "quebecois Maoist." Which,
of course, doesn't invalidate what he said or what he
discovered in Cuba. What it does show is that you seem
to be on the track of believing what you want to
believe, evidence or facts be damned.

There's another book, which is much older and out of
print, called "Cuba: Dictatorship or Democracy?" by
Marta Harnecker about Cuba's democratic system before
the 1978 Constitution. A lot of the processes she
witnessed are still in use, so the book's still
relevant. If she's more "believable" to you, you can
get it used over amazon.com.

> That doesn't mean we shouldn't defend Cuba
> against capitalism and
> imperialism but it does mean we shouldn't be
> uncritical of it or harbour any
> illusions about Cuba or its revolution or cling to
> it as a shibboleth as the
> DSP, SWP and many of their ex-members and offshoots
> do.

If you keep beating up this strawman, you're going to
be dissappointed. In case you haven't noticed, not
many are springing to the bait.

> No, but the fact that Cuba is *not* a democratic
> workers state with a
> democratically planned economy open to criticism and
> correction by the
> masses and does not have a free press, the right to
> form independent
> political parties or the right to form tendencies
> within the CCP *does* mean
> it's not socialist. If you're view is that Cuba is
> socialist that calls into
> question exactly what your view of socialism is.

Ah, assume your conclusion is valid and bait the
opponent. Not bad, but I've dealt with people calling
me a racist on this list - "calling into question"
what my view of socialism is won't get a rise out of
me*.

As to "democracy" - I'm not going to go the way Jose
went, saying that this is "formalistic thinking" or
saying that such questions are unimportant. I feel
that democracy is inherently the backbone of
socialism, and I do feel that Cuba *is* socialist and
*is* democratic. And I think the facts, succinctly
pointed out in the website you refuse to believe, back
me up in that opinion.

The question is, "what defines democracy?"

In my mind, a society is democratic if the people are
able, unimpeded, to make important political and
economic decisions that affect themselves, their
families, their communities, and their society as a
whole. Cuba *does* fit that bill.

Regarding a "free press," think about this for a
minute. In a socialist society, who owns the press?
Ted Turner? Rupert (godhelpus) Murdoch? No, of course
not - the people do, plain and simple. So the absence
of an "independent" (i.e., bourgeois) media is not in
itself a bad thing.

I just want to make on last comment regarding your
decision to dismiss August's conclusions. Philip,
Jose, Louis (I believe), and myself share one thing in
common - we've all been to Cuba. Now, I'm not going to
arrogantly proclaim that "you weren't there, so you
don't know." But when you have four people that have
witnessed these processes point to another observer
who wrote them down and say "that's more or less on
the money," that's usually a good indication that the
web site in question isn't a complete fabrication.

Adam

[* I remember getting into this discussion off-list,
which, like this seems to be heading, resulted in my
being baited to the point of not continuing the
"discussion" any more. Please don't follow that route.]

=====
Adam Levenstein                          cleon42 at yahoo.com
ICQ: 17125158

Svoboda Misli - Svoboda Coda

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