(UK)SWP, CANF - spot the difference

benj benj at connexus.net.au
Sun Sep 1 20:40:21 MDT 2002

Although on many issues I've warmed to the UK SWP/ISO Australia,
there are still some matters which rankle. Here's one of them.
This is from the latest _Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!_ of the
UK Revolutionary Communist Group, see

FRFI 168 August/September 2002

     SWP, CANF – spot the difference

     Mike Gonzalez of the Socialist Worker’s Party
     opened his mid-July talk on Cuba at the SWP’s
     annual Marxism by saying ‘It should go without
     saying that I am opposed to US imperialism’. It
     was just as well he mentioned it, however.
     Otherwise the relentless attack on Cuba that
     followed might have given his audience the
     impression that he was a fully paid-up member
     of the Cuban American National Foundation
     (CANF). Rock around the Blockade was there,
     as in previous years, to confront the reactionary
     propaganda of the SWP and defend Cuban
     socialism. DALTON HILLIARD reports.

     Once again, Gonzalez made use of the many
     fantasies of the ever-fertile anti-Cuban mind, trotting
     out the tired old lies about the oppression of
     homosexuals and penal colonies for HIV patients.
     Every challenge facing Cuban society as a direct
     result of the illegal US blockade was dredged up as
     evidence of just how un-socialist Cuba really is. 

     Gonzalez cited, for example, food shortages and

     ‘Is that our idea of socialism?’, asked this well-fed
     and self-styled ‘socialist worker’. He mentioned
     prostitution – but not the reliance on tourism forced
     on Cuba by its isolation, nor the Cuban Communist
     Party’s programme to combat the underlying
     reasons for the growth of prostitution. As Gonzalez
     warmed to his theme, he seemed to revel in Cuba’s
     material deprivation. For Gonzalez ‘just by walking
     down a boulevard in Havana, one can see that Cuba
     is not socialist.’ For the smug and privileged cadre
     of the SWP, Planet Socialism is clearly supposed to
     be a world free of challenges. In Cuba, there are
     challenges. Ergo, Cuba is not socialist. The travel
     brochure lied and Gonzales wants a refund.

     Gonzales concluded by denouncing the Cuban state
     for permitting foreign capital investment – again,
     without mentioning the severe political and economic
     challenges that make such investment necessary. He
     then stated that foreign investors in Cuba enjoy
     conditions ‘more favourable than those found by
     capital in virtually any other country’. We challenged
     him from the floor, pointing out that the Cuban
     government, as he well knows, maintains majority
     control over every foreign investment venture in the
     country, enabling it to determine the conditions of
     production and invest the surplus in human
     development. ‘Yes’, replied Gonzales, pausing
     momentarily to find a way to fit this inconvenient fact
     into his thesis, ‘It is true that the state maintains
     majority ownership control... but only to oppress
     workers directly in the interests of foreign capital’
     [our emphasis]!

     Gonzales dismissed Cuba’s outstanding
     achievements, particularly in the spheres of health
     and education as ‘un-socialist’ on the spurious
     grounds that Sweden – one of the richest and most
     developed nations in the world – also has good

     During the discussion, an SWP hack invited the
     audience to look at a website to discover the truth
     about Cuba. When Rock around the Blockade
     members checked out the address he gave, it was
     the CANF website! Challenged to distinguish himself
     from Mas Canosa and CANF, Gonzalez blustered
     and then said ‘But we support workers’ rights!’ Rock
     around the Blockade supporters’ response was
     immediate: ‘That’s exactly what CANF say!’

     It is now evident that the SWP is little more than
     CANF’s mouthpiece on the British left.

     If you want to defend the Cuban Revolution, get
     active with Rock around the Blockade!

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