Taaffe on Cuba

Jose G. Perez jgperez at netzero.net
Wed Sep 5 22:33:00 MDT 2001

>>Well, I've seen criticisms of Taaffe's sources here on the basis that they
are biased or are otherwise unworthy. I'm simply applying the same standard
to August.<<

My criticism of Taaffe's sources is precisely that for such an ambtious
undertaking, his olverwhelming reliance on a half dozen books by bourgeois
authors is, well, an embarrassment. It is Taaffe's failure to acquaint
himself with things like Taaffe's book that is being criticized.

Insofar as your statement is taken at face value, it is preposterous.
Taaffe's book is entirely derivative, second-hand. August's, on the other
hand, is based on his own first-hand personal observation and reporting.

Your insistence on being "critical" of Cuba so as to not sew illusions shows
how much your adherence to the Taaffe credo has blinded you to reality. Is
there really a big problem of people having unwarranted "illusions" in Cuba?
Not in any of the major imperialist countries. The problem is mostly people
think Cuba is a totalitarian dictatorship, which is what the imperialists
and --gee, what a coincidence!-- comrade Taaffe tell them.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Xxxx Xxxxxx" <xxxxxxxxxx at xxxxxxxxx.xx>
To: <marxism at lists.panix.com>
Sent: Wednesday, September 05, 2001 12:08 PM
Subject: Re: Taaffe on Cuba

Adam wrote:

> 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.

Well, I've seen criticisms of Taaffe's sources here on the basis that they
are biased or are otherwise unworthy. I'm simply applying the same standard
to August.

>> 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.

It's not bait. It's simply my main point which is that one should be
critically, not unconditionally, supportive of Cuba because to be the latter
is to sew illusions and disorient others as to what socialism is and what
Cuba is.

> 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 don't think "free press" has to mean "bourgeois press" or that
"independent media" means "bourgeois media." I don't happen to believe that
a socialist state means there is a uniformity of opinion among the people.
There can be different tendencies, different ideas and different parties
within the workers movement and there is no reason why, such currents should
not be legal within Cuba and should not be free to have their own press.
There is also no reason why criticism should not be permitted in the Cuban
press. Without democratic criticism a workers state atrophies and a planned
economy becomes inefficient, bureaucratic and unresponsive.

> [* 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.]

Just to be clear, I don't think you're referring to any off-list discussion
with *me* as I don't think we've had this discussion off-list before.


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