[Marxism] When did the Cliffites stop beating their wives? (was Re: Are the Cliffites a cult?)

DCQ 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 
> blockade.
> 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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