[Marxism] RE: Berkeley, Bogdan Denitch, YPSL, ISC

Tom O'Lincoln suarsos at alphalink.com.au
Thu Nov 3 15:27:08 MST 2005


>>The greatest ideological and organization problem that they may have to
face is the Cuban Question. A military confrontation there, combined with a
Defense of Cuba movement here, would tear them apart. But for now it is
hidden. And, in the absence of any ideological confrontation with Marxist
defenders of the Cuban Revolution, the ISC position that calls Cuba a
capitalist state and favors the overthrow of the Castro leadership remains
buried. From time to time, it is even openly presented, but since it
doesn’t have to face a “material” conflict, it is swallowed like a bug in a
salad, bothering its members and supporters only temporarily.<<

But the ISC did not call Cuba a capitalist state, and neither do its direct
heirs. It seems I have to explain this on Marxmail about once a month.
Shachtman, Draper and the ISC called the USSR, China and then Cuba 
“bureaucratic collectivist”. This concept does contain serious ambiguities,
for if Cuba is neither socialist nor capitalist but something else
altogether, how do you decide whether it’s more or less progressive than
capitalism? Shactman argued at various times that “bureaucratic
collectivism” was more progressive than capitalism, that it was on a par,
and ultimately that it was “barbarism” (which helps explain his appalling
lurch to the right in response to the Bay of Pigs and the associated

A military confrontation in Cuba today might well cause a similar
differentiation between (say) Joanne Landy -- also a former leader of the
ISC by the way -- and some members of Solidarity. But they’re already in
different political spaces anyway.

On the other hand the ISO does call Cuba state capitalist. This is neither
“buried” nor has it posed any dilemmas so far. If the ISO can defend a
capitalist Iraq against US occupation, why can’t it do the same for a
capitalist Cuba? I’ve been in state cap groups for decades, and seen us
tear ourselves apart over every conceivable issue, but never over Cuba.

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