(UK)SWP, CANF - spot the difference
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 Workers Party
opened his mid-July talk on Cuba at the SWPs
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
Partys programme to combat the underlying
reasons for the growth of prostitution. As Gonzalez
warmed to his theme, he seemed to revel in Cubas
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
Gonzales dismissed Cubas 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: Thats exactly what CANF say!
It is now evident that the SWP is little more than
CANFs mouthpiece on the British left.
If you want to defend the Cuban Revolution, get
active with Rock around the Blockade!
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