[Marxism] Moderator's note/China

Marvin Gandall marvgandall at videotron.ca
Thu Nov 23 19:52:42 MST 2006

Louis wrote:

> Marvin:
>>Given that they were financing these activities, it was understandable the
>>Soviets would be paying keen attention and trying to shape the program and
>>tactics of the Comintern and its sections. The Soviets had been through
>>experience and successfully taken power so so their authority was largely
>>accepted rather than imposed.
> Of course it was accepted, but it was wrong. Parties have to make their
> own mistake. One of the good things about Cuba, among many good things, is
> that it never used its authority to direct Latin American revolutionary
> parties. OLAS was about as close Cuba came to having this kind of
> relationship, but the formation was more an attempt to coordinate armed
> struggles rather than to set the line of march for particular parties.
Actually, my impression is that the Cubans did use their prestige and power
to guide their revolutionary supporters in pretty much the same way the
Bosheviks did. Their "line of march" was the foco strategy of guerrilla
warfare, derived from their own experience in the mountains. They supported
those Latin American groups which subscribed to it and criticized the the
CP's and the orthodox Trotskyist currents which saw these armed struggles as
isolated and premature and looked instead to build urban-based parties on
the Bolshevik model. Many on the list, including yourself, will remember the
fierce debates on this issue which split the FI in the early 70's.

The Cubans not only trained and equipped Latin America guerrillas but Che
directly intervened in Bolivia.  It would have been akin to Trotsky, the
second most impotant Soviet leader, taking command of the German workers'
councils. This isn't said in criticism. Guevara and Trotsky were the
embodiment of the early heroic phase of both revolutions, which coincided
with the high point of both the Comintern and OLAS. They and many others
like them, mostly anonymous, saw themselves as "internationalists" where
their enemies only saw "foreign agents". They failed attempting to do what
seemd possible at the time, and if they couldn't predict how things would
turn out, neither can we - except in retrospect.

Your view seems to have been mostly coloured by the vicious slander and
murderous repression which the CPSU under Stalin practiced not only against
rival left tendencies but also loyal supporters within its own parties.  As
you also point out, however, the Cubans show there are other ways to
exercise international leadership.

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