[Marxism] Deutscher Prize: Who Moderates the Moderator?

Amaral1871 at aol.com Amaral1871 at aol.com
Mon Nov 28 20:09:44 MST 2005

In a message dated 11/28/05 8:13:49 PM, jbustelo at bellsouth.net writes:

> I've yet to see the state capitalist comrades really engage to where we
> got to the political level. Snide remarks about the "veneration" of Cuba
> aside, do the comrades actually *have* an analysis, a *political*
> analysis, or do they think it is enough to derive the politics from a
> label?
> Joaquín

I am very interested in engaging in this discussion in a comradely way though 
I am only just getting up to speed on some of the literature. I am hesitant 
both because of my trepidation in serving as a polemical straw-man but also   
because I am not presently situated - given time constraints on my life - to do 
true justice to this debate in this context. But I am willing to open up the 
discussion so long as people don't mistake my failure to respond in length and 
in kind as some submission or sulky defeatism. I am hopefuI that the 
discussion might take us beyond the slinging of labels and engage in a real 
historical/ theoretical analysis.

Though this is not the entirerty of my knoweldge base, I have recently read 
Hansen's Dynamics of the Cuban Revolution, some of the Wohlforth/Robertson 
responses to the early 60s internal SWP debates and the Binns/ Gonzales (state 
cap) article from 1980 "Cuba. Castro and Socialism". (I am interested in 
suggestions for future readings.)

I would say a few things on a preliminary basis. 

First I think some of the supporters of the state cap. position (of which I 
consider myself a supporter) have done a poor job of stating first, foremost 
and loudest that Cuba deserves defence against US imperialism. 

Second, I have not yet seen a coherent argument   - certainly not from Hansen 
- that there are actual organs of the working class in power in Cuba. 

Third, to frame the debate as one   about which state form best meets the 
material interest of the working class - absent a debate about which class has 
state power -   is not a debate about socialism. I strongly believe, on any 
number of levels that the liberation of the working class must be an act of the 
class itself. This is not a function of some idealist deviation, of holding up 
some abstract principle that needs to be met in order to satisfy the smugly 
situated intellectual living fatly in the belly of the beast. This is, rather, a 
defence of the most fundamental philosophical bases of Marxism.

Fourth, I think with the fall Stalinism the role of Cuba viz. the world 
socialist movement fundamentally changes. It seems clear that from the late 60s 
until the early 90s Cuba's economic and foreign policies were very much dictated 
by the demands of the Soviet Union. If one's assessment of Stalinist state 
capitalism is as a competing imperialism then the Cuban regime's internationalism 
takes on a different flavour in that context than in the present one. 

Finally, I am not engaging in a debate about whether Castro and the 
progressive nationalist regime had the real interest of the people at heart or not. I 
believe in the sincerity of the revolutionaries. There were certain in-built 
contradictions for an entirely dependent (neo?/post? - )colonial country. To 
think that they would be able to build socialism in Cuba , and thus pursue the 
revolutionary internationalism that that required, while fighting the most 
powerful imperialist power on earth and (perhaps necessarily) simultaneously 
aligning themselves with - and serving -   the Stalinist underminers of 
revolutionary internationalism is too much to be believed. Was there another path that 
would have better served the future building of workers power; better served the 
future defence of the gains of the revolution?I don't know enough of the 
history though I suspect, with hindsight, the answer has to be yes. But this debate 
should not just be an academic one about the past but rather one about how to 
assess the future paths for Cuba and others like Venezuela.


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