[Marxism] RE: The two souls of Socialism

rrubinelli rrubinelli at earthlink.net
Sun Aug 21 15:57:53 MDT 2005

LP wrote: " Nobody can mount a response to this sort of thing because to
do so would necessarily engage on the same level, which is to spout

Aw, come on, let me try.

First to say that Cuba is a state capitalist society because of the
impact of US capitalism is slick maneuver, which I guess is similar to
damning with faint praise, or condemning with sympathy.  But it explains
nothing, for either all revolutions are going to produce, at best, state
capitalism, or somewhere along the line the Cuban Revolution "went
wrong" and Mike Pearn needs to explore either the inherent state
capitalism of revolutions or the specific distortion of the Cuban
Revolution by US pressure.

Calling a bureaucratic ruling strata a "class" or a "caste" is not a
matter of convenience, not six of one half dozen of the other.  Classes
have specific, historically unique relations to other classes through
the organization of labor, property, and the means of production.  Where
exactly is that class specific organization of production in Cuba unique
to state capitalism?

A bureaucratic caste is something else completely-- yet Michael does not
show the mechanisms for the creation of the bureaucratic caste, how it
perpetuates itself, how it accrues privileges and benefits at the
expense, literally, of the rest of Cuban society.

To argue that the Cuban state "plays a role in the process of production
and exchange analogous to that played by the traditional capitalist
class" is to miss the historical boat, completely, and that boat is not
the Titanic.

In every revolution, for better or worse, the workers state, deformed or
not, healthy or ill, will play exactly that "analogous" role, perform to
degrees analogous functions in the determination of policy, the
distribution of goods, resources, the direction and appropriation of
funds for investment in future production.   Mike Pearn would do well to
look at Lenin's State and Revolution for very good, blunt, exploration
of this.

But analogy is not destiny.  Note that in the USSR the bureaucracy did
not simply, easily, or cohesively morph into a capitalist class.
Individuals from the bureaucracy did become capitalists, but the
bureaucracy as a whole, as a distinct caste, disintegrated with the
actual imposition of capitalism.

The task is to explore the conflicting forces internal to Cuban, and
Chinese, economic programs that quicken/suppress the impulse to
capitalist restoration.

MP compounds his mistakes by giving them full voice :

"... That is it is a society  in which a bureaucratic ruling strata,
call it a class or a caste it changes nothing, plays a role in the
process of production and exchange analogous to that played by the
traditional capitalist class. A role that on the whole is no longer
played by the capitalist class, no not even in the USA and Britain,
but by their legatees who actually run the massive multi-nationals while
the capitalists proper sit at home and trim their nails."

This is just not true.  There is indeed a capitalist class, there is
indeed a capitalism, based on the accumulation of capital as private
property, as private wealth, and it, that class makes its wants and
needs quite clear to its representatives inside corporations, and inside
the government.  Follow the money labyrinth from Bush back to its
sources and you  will find those individuals acting in concert as a

MP goes on:

 "It matters not a jot that certain capitalists were expropriated when
capital was fused with the state as a result of that expropriation and
the social strata that controls both state and capital maintains an
exploitative relationship with the proletariat."

Yes it does matter a jot-- because not isolated, certain capitalists
were expropriated, but the class of capitalists were expropriated, their
property was confiscated and production was reorganized on the basis of
use and need.  That this process is flawed, deformed, imperfect,
irregular, and has deteriorated does not change the fundamental
historical fact.  Only a counterrevolution will be able to do that.

And then we get:  " In what sense is such a "flavor" of capitalism more
"progressive" than plain"vanilla" capitalism? What is there worth
defending from the point of view of the exploited?"

In Cuba?  Are you kidding me?  Have you ever been there?  How about
defending the educational system, free not only to residents, but made
free to people all over the world.  How about the medical system?  How
about the decline in infant mortality, the increase in longevity?  How
about the ongoing destruction of racial discrimination?  How about
access to safe water?  How about sanitation?  Those two things are
critical to every bit of progress, every increase in the survival and
well-being of children.  Does anyone think Cuba's management of public
utilities, of clean water, is identical to what Halliburton and Suez are
attempting to do in Bolivia?

Finally Michael is wrong, simply wrong in stating that gains in workers
living standards in the former Comecon countries have erased the
tremendous deprivation and immiseration following 1989.  Just not so.
Look at the USSR, even with the oil recovery per capita GDP is still
below pre-restoration peaks.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Louis Proyect" <lnp3 at panix.com>
To: "Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition"
<marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Sunday, August 21, 2005 5:04 PM
Subject: Re: [Marxism] RE: The two souls of Socialism

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