Taaffe on Cuba

Xxxx Xxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx at xxxxxxxxx.xx
Wed Sep 5 09:54:24 MDT 2001


I agree with you that the defence of Cuba should be a priority for leftists.
I've been assailed elsewhere by social democrats, liberals and right-wingers
for defending Cuba and it's economic system. My point is not that socialists
should withhold support from Cuba and I agree with you that socialists who
offer only criticism and no support of either Cuba or Sandinista Nicaragua
are making a tragic mistake. I am simply saying that critical support should
be just that, that as much as it's a mistake not to defend Cuba it is a
mistake to sew illusions among leftists about Cuba by either stating that it
is socialist without qualification or by implying the same by not being
clear about the revolution's shortcomings and errors. To not do so results
in the severe disorientation we've seen in the SWP, DSP, factions of the
USFI and a generation of revolutionaries in the Third World.

As for my use of the term "democracy" in terms of August, I was paralleling
his use of the term in this title "Democracy in Cuba," don't read into that
stylistic turn a lack of distinction on my part between workers' democracy
and bourgeois democracy. My interest is in the former and in whether Cuba
meets the standards of workers democracy.

 "Jose G. Perez" <jgperez at netzero.net> wrote
> I think, by and large, the Trotskyist movement, and its various
> currents, were often off-axis in the way they conducted their criticism of
> the Stalinists and their fight against them, at least in the 1970's and
> 1980's. There was a tendency, especially marked in the USFI, perhaps, but I
> believe others also had very similar problems, to view the revolutions in
> the imperialist countries, in the colonial and semicolonial world, and in
> the deformed and degenerated workers states as three largely separate things
> with different agendas and dynamics. Sure, they were all interrelated and
> affected each other, but we tended to view the struggle in the USSR, etc.,
> as centrally a struggle for workers democracy against the bureaucratic
> caste.

> I believe your democratic "criteria"-based approach is a cristalization
> of the mistakes made by most Trotskyist currents in this regard. And I
> believe the approach of the Cubans, who centered their denunciations of the
> Soviet and Chinese bureaucracy on their failure to give more aid to Vietnam
> (for example, in Che's famous message to the Tricontinental, although that
> is not, by far, the only such statement, perhaps the most systematic and
> far-reaching critique of the Stalinists was Fidel's speech on the invasion
> of Czechoslovakia), was closer to the mark.
> And even later, when for diplomatic reasons the Cubans thought it wiser
> to present their own points of view in a positive fashion, avoiding
> polemics, you will see this is a constant theme of Cuban statements, and
> actions. That theme is the famous dictum of the Second Declaration of
> Havana, the duty of a revolutionary is to make the revolution, translated
> for application by a revolutionary workers state that must live as part of a
> bourgeois world system of states and a bougeois world economy. Cuba calls it
> "internationalism," and that's right on the money, speaking from a Marxist
> point of view. It's the slogan the Communist League adopted when it became a
> Marxist organization, replacing the "all men are brothers" of the League of
> the Just, with "Workers of the world unite!"
> I would counterpose to your slogan of, for a democratic workers state,
> the slogan, for an internationalist workers state. And that is the strategic
> axis of the fight against Stalinism, and of the fight to prevent the
> bureaucratic degeneration of a workers state, not a fight for an abstract
> "workers democracy" devoid of proletarian internationalist content, divorced
> from the world struggle against imperialism.
> José

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