[Marxism] ISO and Cuba

stansmith44 stansmith44 at ameritech.net
Fri Jun 18 16:42:11 MDT 2004

    It is interesting that ISO supporters, when asked about defending Cuba, say they don't want to get in some kind of discussion about the nature of the Cuban state (could you quote Lenin here also about how he also avoided discussions like that?), or start talking about anything but how they are defending Cuba. 
    Now Mike Pearn says we don't really need to defend Cuba because Cubans are simply being "besieged" but not under direct attack. Maybe we could next get in an arcane discussion about the nuances of that distinction! What exemplary proletarian internationalism and solidarity Mike Pearn shows. It strikes him as "bizarre" we would do something defend Cuba since it is only "besieged by imperialism."
    It seem the ISO papers must print nothing about US attacks and threats to Cuba, nor about Cubans to organize and prepare themselves for an invasion. I don't know how many times the Cubans have prepared themselves for a direct attack by the US since 1977. Certainly a number of times, one of which is right now.

    These ISO defenders remind me of how Kautsky "defended" the Russian revolution. It seemed this other great Marxist had serious problems defending Russia against imperialist attack because the forms of democracy in Russia at that time were not quite right to him, and the form of democracy they used to take power did not quite fit in Kautsky's prescriptions of how the working class should win elections and then form a government.
>From Mike Pearn: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.

More information about the Marxism mailing list