[Marxism] State Capitalism and Defend Cuba

mike pearn neprimerimye at yahoo.co.uk
Fri Jun 18 08:12:07 MDT 2004

First off I should say that I'm not a member of the
ISO being based in Britlandia. Nor am I a member of
the SWP. However I do identify politically with the
politics of the ISO and the IS Tradition.

This entire debate about Cuba seems more than a little
bizarre from this die of the pond as the fact is that
while Cuba is beseiged by imperialism it is not under
immediate threat of invasion and imperialist forces
are not murdering Cuban civilians on a daily basis as
is happening in Iraq. Therefore I find it more than a
bit odd to argue that the ISO should treat the defence
of Cuba as being as important as campoaigning against
the occupation of Iraq.

It should also be noted that the ISO was founded in
1977 and the direct defence of Cuba has not in the
years since then been central to the requirements of
the class struggle in the USA or anywhere else. The
requirements of the class struggle in these last years
have been the struggle against the invasion of Iraq
and the involvement in the anti-globalisation
movement. And I understand that the ISO has played a
positive role in both these struggles.

It has also been argued that the State Capitalist
theory which the ISO, and I, adhere to can only be
justified by a few quote from Lenin. Not so in fact it
is very different from Lenin's theory which it draws
upon. Moreover many quotes from Bukharina and Fred
Engels can be marshalled in support of our position.
And I belive that the idea of State capitalism has
it's origin in Marx's discusision of the concentration
of Capital. But these are theoretical matters which I
shall not pursue on this list as they have been
debated many times but I would urge some contributors
to this debate to seek out these ealier discussions
which they seem unaware of.

It is also interesting that when reading the comments
of American comrades from an 'Orthodox Trotskyist'
background they often seek to create an amalgam of the
IS position on State Capitalism with the views of the
Shachtmanite current as Cde Smith does when he wrotes
of state capitalism arising in the late 1930's. But
this is factually inaccurate with regard to State
Capitalism which was first developed, within the
British Trotskyist movement at least, in an Internal
Bulletin of the Revolutionary Copmmunist Party
published in 1947.

The purpose of that publication being to analyse the
social structure of the Russian state which was acting
in a wholly counter-revolutionary fashion. It was
because comrades within the Trotskyist movement were
deeply worried by the tail ending of Titoism in the
RCP that they were compelled to revise their hitherto
'orthodox' understanding of the Russian state.

Now it does not follow that the IS position would
therefore be one of hostility to the Russian Workers
State created in 1917 as a result of our understanding
of that state as State capitalist. it does not follow
because we also recognisde that in the years
immediately following 1917 Workers Democracy was a
characterisitic of that State and even after that
Democracy was roitted through as a result of the
degeneration of the revolution due to its isolation
the Bolshevik party remained at the helm of what was a
Degenerated Workers State, to use the familiar

But we also argue that after the beginning of the
First Five year Plan, plan in name only, the
Bonapartist bureaucracy played a role in the economy
analagous to that of the bourgeoisie in more typical
capitalist states. Therefore the IS tradition, along
with other revolutioanries such as Natalya Sedova
Trotsky, repudiated the defence of what had ceased in
any meaningfull fashion to be a Workers State of any
variety. It therefore follows that in a country such
as Cuba where Workers Democracy does not and has not
existed we do not defend its social structure. While
making clear our commitment to defend Cuba should it
come under direct attack by imperialism.

> Date: Thu, 17 Jun 2004 23:09:35 -0500
> From: "stansmith44" <stansmith44 at ameritech.net>
> Subject: [Marxism] ISO and Cuba 
> In answer to Walter, as I have said, the ISO does
> nothing in defense of Cuba. I am here in Chicago,
> where the ISO headquarters is, and they ignore all
> actions in defense of Cuba as much as possible.
> Their approach is nearly identical to the US SWP's
> approach to the anti-war movement.
>    Those on this list who defend the ISO position
> say they don't want to get into some long debate on
> the subject. In other words, they admit their views
> are intellectually and politically indefensible, and
> so want to hush up the subject. 
>    The most they have been able to muster is a few
> quotes from Lenin referring to revolutionary Russia
> as state capitalist. It would follow then, that they
> would support revolutionary Russia about as much as
> they would support revolutionary Cuba. And it would
> follow, then, that the ISO would consider the Soviet
> Union as always being state capitalist since
> November 7, 1917.
>     What Phil says below is partly accurate. It
> wouldn't "necessarily" follow that their state
> capitalist views leads to accommodation to
> imperialism. Nevertheless, with the ISO and Cuba it
> does follow. And why does it follow? Because the ISO
> is not hostile to Cuba because of their false state
> capitalist views; they are hostile to socialism,
> except in their own theoretical schemas, and so
> invent a "state capitalist"  "theory" to justify
> their hostility. Their state capitalism may have
> arisen in the late 1930s in relation to the
> Stalinist bureaucracy, but they have subsequently
> applied it to attack every popular revolution since
> then. Attacking revolutionary movements under attack
> by imperialism is nothing else but accommodating
> imperialism.
>  Phil says,"of course, the more enthusiastic a group
> is about Cuba (like Workers World or the FSP) the
> more likely they are to prioritise Cuba solidarity."
> This is not true. Prioritizing solidarity, for
> political people, is based on the requirements of
> the class struggle. Anti-imperialist activists would
> give priority in their political work to those under
> attack by imperialism. For instance,we did not
> prioritize defending Iraq because we were
> enthusiastic about Saddam Hussein. 
>     Stan Smith 

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