[Marxism] Another dimension to Cuba

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Aug 21 10:01:41 MDT 2005

Although it is important to stress Cuba's geopolitical role, it is worth 
mentioning that the island is host to leftwing and Marxist conferences and 
individuals on a nearly nonstop basis.

For example, Richard Levins, the co-author of "Dialectical Biologist, works 
closely with Cuban scientists. Here's some background:

By 1980, we had held the first national ecological conference in Cuba and 
passed a resolution urging the environment-monitoring agency, the National 
Commission for the Protection of the Environment and the Preservation of 
Natural Resources, also have regulatory powers. I recall heated arguments 
about pesticide use at that meeting. Shortly thereafter, the Commission was 
raised to cabinet rank and is now part of the Ministry of Science, 
Technology, and the Environment. In 1988, a conference entitled "Integrated 
Technology in the Defense of Nature" placed the issues on a national 
agenda. In the conference's keynote presentation, I stressed the notion of 
"modern ecology" to emphasize that modern biology is not only the biology 
of the very small.

During this initial period, ecology began to gain ground in agriculture, 
especially in the area of pest control and polyculture. A regular nature 
program on Cuban television (Entorno, moderated by more former student 
Jorge Ramón Cuevas) presented information about the natural world to a 
population of rural origin trying to escape from rural poverty, as well as 
advocating biodiversity and conservation. Camping became popular in the 
1980s, and schools began to teach about nature. The field station in the 
Sierra del Rosario that had originally been our base for studying the 
montane forest as Cuba's contribution to the UNESCO program "Man and the 
Biosphere" became an environmental education center working with the 
people, particularly the children, of the Sierra.



The Radical Philosophy Association, made up primarily of Marxist 
professors, holds conferences in Cuba which are hosted by three Cuban 
institutions: the Faculty of Philosophy and History at the 
<http://www.uh.cu>University of Havana, the 
<http://www.filosofia.cu/ifc/>Institute of Philosophy, and the Cuban 
Society for Philosophical Research.

full: http://cs.wellesley.edu/~ndurand/enter.html

Then, there's the 2000 conference on globalization:

On the substance of the Conference itself, a multiplicity of views were 
expressed on Globalization, some presenting it as a dangerous movement that 
would erode the sovereignty of nations and others offering a pragmatic 
counsel that it be taken as something “inevitable” that presented 
opportunities as well as risks.   A general consensus that seemed to emerge 
at the end of the gruelling five days of discussion was that globalization, 
seen in technological terms, was something that was indeed inevitable. 
However, whether it was on balance a positive or a negative force depended 
on who controlled the processes of globalization.  An overwhelming view 
held that it was a process controlled by the Western-based transnational 
corporations who are using the free market ideology and their ownership of 
capital and technology to pry open the rest of the world for access to 
their markets and resources.  This “neo-liberal globalization” or 
“corporate led globalization”, is thus not a neutral, or purely technical, 
phenomenon. It is part of the process of concentration and centralisation 
of capital.  It is an attempt to restructure the world, politically and 
economically, in the aftermath of the end of the cold war in order to 
redesign a new division of labour.  Several papers provided empirical 
evidence to show how this new division of labour is pushing developing 
countries back to the production of raw materials and are thus getting 
de-industrialised.  Where industries still exists these are largely in the 
nature of assembly plants, and are increasingly coming under the control of 
the multinationals.  In Argentina, for example, in 1993 foreign capital 
accounted for 67 per cent of added value; in 1998, it accounted for 80 per 

full: http://www.transcend.org/t_database/printarticle.php?ida=207

Needless to say, official sponsorship of conferences such as these indicate 
that the government has little to do with state capitalist stereotyping, 
which are nothing but stale mixtures of Jeanne Kirkpatrick's notions of a 
totalitarian dungeon and Arthur Koestler's "Darkness at Noon". 

More information about the Marxism mailing list