[Marxism] ISO and Cuba

stansmith44 stansmith44 at ameritech.net
Wed Jun 16 18:18:05 MDT 2004

Bill Linville of the ISO writes: 
And yes, we do think that Cuba is not a socialist state, but a state and an ecomomy that is subject to the market forces of international capitalism (state capitalism).  (see another ISR article for a more detailed explanation of our position: http://www.isreview.org/issues/11/cuba_crisis.shtml)  These market forces dictate priorities that are not in the interest of workers, women, Blacks, gays and lesbians, etc. 

in response:
  Naturally any socialist state or workers state is subject to the market forces of international capitalism. The same was true of Russia in the time of Lenin. It is quite silly to believe that a revolution against capitalism in the capitalist planet earth would not be subject to the market forces of international capitalism. But that view is not too silly for the ISO.
  To then conclude that the revolution is not socialist and should be overthrown by the workers there is even more silly. 

Bill of the ISO writes:
 My view is that a socialist state and a socialist revolution are initiated by and consist of workers' councils and active participation through democratic bodies by the vast majority of the working class in its own interests.  Meaning mechanisms of working class power, rooted in the workplace make political and economic decisions, not enlightened bureaucrats, no matter how well-meaning.  That is what I spend my life fighting for, and I believe this is possible.  That is what I understand socialism to be.  I don't think this describes either the Cuban revolution or the Cuban
 state at any point and I think saying socialism can be built from above does the socialist movement a huge disservice.     

in response:
     it is completely unscientific to characterize a state or country as capitalist or socialist based on the forms of workers democracy in that country. Whether a country is capitalist or a workers state, or socialist, is based on economics, not on forms of democracy;  to the ISO in the case of Cuba, the particular form of workers democracy must be "workers councils."

 To the ISO " a socialist revolution [is] initiated by and consist[s] of workers' councils."  This formula, form workers councils then initiate a revolution, as the only possible path, it is simply a rehashing of the old IWW schema of a general strike to seize power, mixed with the old Socialist Labor Party schema.

    In addition, a person who could say Cuba does not have "mechanisms of working class power, rooted in the workplace" making "political and economic decisions"  only shows his ignorance of Cuba. And in the face of all the evidence, this is ostrich-like ignorance. 

Bill of the ISO writes:

  We defend Cuba unconditionally against the blockade and the U.S. military.  To say we are "disinterested" in defending Cuba against the U.S. is again a horrible mischaracterization and willfully ignores the nuances and complexities of our argument.  And then to imply that we side with right-wingers who get U.S. support and that we would support a right-wing coup of Castro is also a major distortion.  Please avoid this in the future.  My comments are meant only to correct these mischaracterizations and further clarify the ISO's position on Cuba, not to open up a polemic :).  
Bill Linville (Madison, WI ISO)

in response,

    I have worked for years in Chicago against the US blockade of Cuba, for freedom for the Cuban 5, for the return of Elian Gonzalez, for the right to travel to Cuba. The ISO has never supported or participated in any of our activities, ever. And Chicago is their headquarters.
   Walter is correct to say the ISO does not defend Cuba against the US. In fact, its approach to the movement to defend Cuba is quite similar to the US SWP's approach to the anti-war movement. Complete abstention justified by pseudo-Marxist, objectively pro-imperialist rhetoric.

    Bill states the ISO would not support a right-wing coup against Cuba. But in your email you praised Polish Solidarity, blaming its later right-wing evolution on the evil heritage of Stalinism. Of course, revolutionary Cuba is not Stalinist-run Poland in 1980 (except to the ISO, I imagine). But Bill's argument certainly implies the ISO would support "dissidents" and  and a "anti-Castro workers movement" in Cuba. And if they seized power in Cuba, then became a right-wing pro-imperialist regime, the ISO could just wash its hands, and lament once again the evil influence of Stalinism. 

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