[Marxism] Re: ISO and Cuba

Tom O'Lincoln suarsos at alphalink.com.au
Wed Jun 16 18:37:14 MDT 2004

I'm yet another person who doesn't want to have a big argument about Cuba
and state capitalism right now, but just in the interest of clarifying what
is, and is not, the issue...

Stan quotes Bill as saying: "we do think that Cuba is not a socialist
state, but a state and an economy that is subject to the market forces of
international capitalism (state capitalism)" and then replies:

"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 was writing shorthand and part of the confusion is differing uses of
the term socialism; perhaps I can explain our starting point a bit more.

An individual workers' state is, indeed, going to be subject to
international market pressures. This is one of a number of reasons why (in
our view) you can't have socialism in one country. A workers' state is not
yet socialist  - in fact, in Lenin's own words, it's a "bourgeois state
without the bourgoisie." It hasn't yet really left the terrain of
capitalism. If industry has been nationalised, you might call it "state
capitalism under the dictatorship of the proletariat". There are some
passages where Lenin uses similar language.

The real debate is whether Cuba qualifies as a workers' state. The orthodox
Trotskyist line of argument is that nationalisation of industry makes it
so. The state capitalist theory says that given the theoretical framework
I've sketched above, nationalisation of industry isn't sufficient -- you
need workers' democracy. Unless you have that, all you have is state
capitalism without the dictatorship of the proletariat.

I suggest none of this should pose major problems to those on this list who
believe Cuba is a highly democratic society. But of course, some of us
don't think that. But I believe everyone here agrees that a debate about
right now would be a sectarian dead end, and that the priority is to fight
Bush, so I will stop here.


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