Forwarded from Michael Lebowitz (Dilla)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Wed Nov 19 08:24:36 MST 2003

Dear Louis,

Sid Shniad forwarded to me your recent piece on Dilla. I think there is
a lot to add. One point is that the Centre for the Study of the Americas
was not a normal institute in Cuba. It was an arm of the CC, set up by
the Department of the Americas to provide a window on the Americas for
Cuba. However, the institute members (Dilla key among them) decided
instead to write about Cuba for the Americas, and the $ poured in from
the US. The Party got quite concerned about this and called the director
in to get the institute to return to their mandate. He agreed and there
were extended meetings in the institute. The reaction was that this was
an infringement on their academic freedom. So, there were meetings and
meetings about this. (I heard all this in 1996 from someone who was
generally sympathetic but pissed off that they reacted as traditional
rather than organic intellectuals.) The ultimate decision was to disband
the institute and to distribute its members among different institutes
(but keeping them working). Dilla ended up at the Institute of
Philosophy.... Anyway, his articles in LA Perspectives and the Socialist
Register were the last straw at the Institute, which felt embarrassed
and compromised because they came as a great surprise. They called on
him to explain himself and were actively considering the idea of
removing him. In no time at all, there was an international campaign
orchestrated by him to protect him, saying that he had been removed (by
"the Taliban"). Leo Panitch (who had published Dilla in the Register)
was very active in support. When he asked me to sign/send a letter, I
said that I would because I didn't agree with bureaucratic solutions as
opposed to political ones but I certainly didn't think there was
anything socialist about his argument. When Leo hit the roof, I wrote
the attached to try to convince him-- unsuccessfully. It wasn't
something I wanted to publish, though, while Dilla was under attack. I
still think he should have been exposed.

in solidarity, michael
Michael A. Lebowitz
Professor Emeritus
Economics Department
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6
Office Fax: (604) 291-5944
Home: Phone (604) 689-9510

P.S. Most CEA people---including those who basically want a mixed
economy and are social democrats continue to function much as ever. Only
Dilla seems to have all this persecution. And why? It's interesting--- I
was talking several months ago with a leading Marxist theorist in Cuba
and I mentioned that Dilla had signed the CPB statement, and her
response was--- 'well, he is where he always wanted to be.'


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