[Marxism] Re: Accounts of Cuban "Socialism"

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Mon Aug 22 20:53:45 MDT 2005


Anyone can go to a nominating meeting
and nominate someone else, but they may
not get through an evaluation process
made up of local folks. The CP as an
institution doesn't play a role, not
as far as I can see. There really is 
no campaigning and no literature as
we in the capitalist world would think
of such. All you get is a single piece
of paper with your name, photo, and a 
list of the responsibilities you've 
held and groups to which you belong.

That said, there is first of all no
party literature for elections at all.

Second, you cannot and do not run on a
declared political platform. If you are
running (standing may be more appropriate),
you run on who you are, not what you are
advocating.

Political debates in Cuba aren't remotely
like those of the Marxmail list. This is
what Trotskyists generally find so very
frustrating about Cuba. They are used to
the idea that "democracy" is synonymous
with a multi-party system. They generally
think that the extent of democracy can be
determined by the extent to which they can
publicly, openly and legally attack the
leadership for whatever reason.

Naturally there are consequences of Cuba's
political culture, not all of which would
satisfy those whose criterion is what was
written in the Transitional Program in 1938.

Fact: There were no soviets in Cuba.
Fact: You cannot create soviets by decree.

Thus: You cannot say "back to the soviets"
	or call for the restoration of a multi-
	party system if one never existed. The
`	pre-revolutionary parties either went
	over to armed counter-revolution or 
	else merged into the one single party.

Truth is, I'm a foreigner in Cuba and the
basic decisions on major public matters
are decided internally, within the various
government bodies.

One more thing, which hasn't been mentioned
by other writers in this thread, or by me
until now. Everything in Cuba is affected
by the fact that there is a blockade going
on. Tens of MILLIONS of dollars are being
spent by Washington to fabricate an internal
opposition inside of Cuba. This make for 
what we might call a paranoid political style,
but just as paranoids have enemies, Cuba does
have enemies, real enemies, ones who are in
every way on every occasion trying to strangle
the country.

The blockade is simply one of those factors
which well-meaning people, including various
Trotskyists of one or another persuasion, tend
simply to leave out. I used to argue, just as
I was trained in the SWP that Cuba should allow
all parties which declare themselves in favor 
of nationalized property. But words are cheap
and Cuba needs the maximum national unity in a
military environment. There naturally are as 
I said, consequences which flow from this, but
the decisions about these are made by Cubans
for Cuba in Cuba and I stand completely behind
the right of Cubans to be the final arbiters
of these matters.

Louis has made thoughtful comments on these
matters. It's nice for a change to be on the
same side of the argument as he is. Cuba's an
inspiring example of what can be done under
conditions of great adversity. It's a model
of many things, but of how socialism as a
society in general and on a world scale, no.

What we in the United States, and those who
would like a socialist society elsewhere now
need to do, is to create our own movements
and struggles, rooted first of all in our
own national realities. We naturally will be
learning from the experiences of other times,
countries and movements, but our movements
must be rooted first of all in our own local
and national reality. That is what the Cuban
revolutionaries did, and, in my opinion, it's
one of the key reasons their struggle was
successful. Some luck and a leadership with
great political skill have also been essential.


Walter










More information about the Marxism mailing list