[Marxism] When did the Cliffites stop beating their wives? (was Re: Are the Cliffites a cult?)
deeseekyou at comcast.net
Tue Nov 29 20:26:53 MST 2005
A few things.
A) This is overly-simplistic and a tad confused, and as such shouldn't
be confused for "the" (whatever that means) IS position on Cuba. I'm
all for adding the term "petty bourgeois" to the list of terms that
should never be spoken by any clear thinking person. (They're the
socialist version of meaningless corporate-speak stupidities like
"orientate," "conversate," and "synergy.") To say that "the regime
retains its middle-class character to this day" is simply foolish.
Castro's movement may have started out as "middle class," (and even
that sounds pretentious) but as soon as they took state power, they
became the *ruling* class. (Whether one believes they do so in the name
of the oppressed masses, in their own names, or something in-between is
a different question.)
A clearer formulation is that the Cuban Revolution was a brilliant kick
in the teeth for American imperialism, a genuine national liberation
struggle, that quite rightly inspired millions around the globe, and
particularly in what the American ruling class considers "its"
backyard. The independence of Cuba must be defended. This, of course,
does not mean that Cuba is necessarily socialist. If one takes that
view, then Cuba occupies a "middle" ground, which I'm assuming is
partly to explain your comment about its "middle-class nature." A
forgiving/understanding person would have understood what you meant.
But don't look for such niceties among "hard" revolutionaries.
B) Socialists don't write blank checks for theoretical future
movements. True, one could imagine future scenarios in which we would
support a mass movement against the bureaucracy. But one can also
imagine staged events that seem like mass movements going at break-neck
speed (c.f., the anti-Chavez coup) which we would not support. Saying
"any" is not only too general, it's not what we would do.
C) This whole blow-up is a pretty effing disgusting display of raw
sectarianism. Whatever Louis's pretensions, and even genuine efforts,
to oppose sectarian stupidities on the left, his whole anti-Murphy rant
and its concomitant accusations, mischaracterizations,
overgeneralizations, and slanders of an independent Marxist current is
a huge step backwards. (And for a few weeks there, I thought I was
beginning to like Louis.) The thread title "Are the Cliffites a cult?"
is one of the stupidest and most sectarian things I've read since I
abandoned apst a few years ago.
D) The reality of the now-infamous apst-sandbag post is not quite what
Louis is making it out to be. Alt.politics.socialism.trotsky was hardly
a bastion of level-headed rational debate. If it was at one point, it
had stopped being such long before I began posting there. Dominated by
trolls, racists, homophobes, and anti-communist lunatics (who seemed to
be sitting in front of computers 24-7 ready to disrupt even the most
innocent thread), apst was more an entertainment than anything else.
Half my posts there were made while drunk. Threads were largely
irrelevant to the goings-on in the real world. And rhetorical heat
tended to rise inversely to actual relevance. Louis in particular
tended to use an overabundance of fecal imagery in his plentiful
insults, which contrasts greatly to his generally reserved tone here on
Marxmail. Kevin made one throw-away comment about sandbags in a
"debate" on state capitalism. Louis went to work and dug up the
reference, which was in fact from the Black Book of Communism. From
what I remember, Kevin initially thought it still might be valid, but
upon checking, found that it was simply an assertion with no citation.
Kevin then retracted the comment. Silly and stupid, yes. But the point
is that Kevin did not make the sandbag comment as some kind of
foundational sine-qua-non to a full-blown analysis of the Cuban state.
He made it in the heat of a shit-flinging session.
On Nov 29, 2005, at 2:46 PM, Callum McCormick wrote:
> The position of the SWP is quite clear, and all it does is point out
> two clear facts:
> 1) Cuba is not socialist and is not heading towards socialism. The
> Cuban revolution was brought about by a petty-bourgeois guerilla
> movement seperate from the struggles of Cuban workers. The regime
> retains its middle class character to this day. It is state
> capitalist, and on this basis, any mass movement to remove Castro
> would have to be supported.
> 2) Total opposition to Imperialist intervention and for an end to the
> Those two position are clear, socialist positions - they are not
> 'embarrassing' in the least, which is we the SWP publishes them every
> week in their paper.
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