[Marxism] Cuba to abandon wage caps

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Thu Jun 12 16:05:21 MDT 2008

First of all, there IS discussion on the CubaNews list. Anyone who
wishes to participate can do so. It's open and many more than one
point of view is presented and discussion and debate are greatly
appreciated. Louis was a member briefly, but he chose to withdraw,
but that's a choice he made. Different viewpoints on Cuba are most
welcome on the CubaNews list, though provision of information is,
as stated on the home page, its main priority.


It's neither my desire, nor to I have the interest in trying to
defend or endorse every or any specific action of the revolutionary
government of Cuba. My general solidarity and support is palpable.

When the Cubans do something which I don't understand, or which 
I don't think is right, my FIRST response is NOT to rush out and
declare they're doing something wrong, or throwing out all of the
accomplishments of the past. My FIRST response is to ask if indeed
I understand what they're doing, and then why they are doing such
things. Furthermore, I don't think it's my responsibility to take
formal public positions on everything which they do.

My FIRST responsibility is to try to understand what the Cubans
are saying and trying to do. Another responsibility is to put out
facts, figures and discussion materials, including ones with which
I have the sharpest disagreement, for the information of readers
who want to know, not necessarily what Walter Lippmann thinks,
but what's being said about Cuba. 

I agree completely with Louis's statement that if I agree with 
what Simon says, I should defend it. If that's what I think and
feel, I'll do that. When he said he "didn't know", I take it that
he didn't know. When I was younger, I thought I had all of the
answers. Now, with what I hope is some experience and perhaps a
bit of wisdom, I know that I don't even have all the questions.

Is Cuba giving up its earlier conceptions, or is it adapting to
the changing conditions to the best of its ability? Saturday is
Che's 80th birthday. Massive publicity if being put out on the
island to promote "trabajo voluntario", a day of voluntary work,
which is being organized by the Cuban UJC, the Union of Young
Communists. Trabajo voluntario was Che's idea, orginated by him
in the earliest days. Here's the call for Sunday's activity:

In Simon McGuinness's 375 words, I don't have any difficulty 
with the four words quoted by Louis, "is difficult to tell".
The rest of what Simon wrote seems pretty much on target to 
me, though I can't say I've studied with in the closest detail.

SIMON'S COMMENTS, all 375 words of them:

Many people like to tear down whatever is being done in Cuba.
They like to play up any income differences which occur since
their idea is TINA, as Margaret Thatcher put it, which means
There Is No Alternative (i.e., to capitalism). The bourgeois
press emphasizes this very heavily. I think that the MIAMI
HERALD and the rest of the bourgeois media don't provide us
with examples of how we should approach a complex reality
such as that unfolding in Cuba today

Of course, restricting people from the United States from
seeing and learning of Cuba's reality is a key reason why
there is a travel ban. They want us to rely on the hostile,
distorted and tendentious impressions of Cuban reality in
which the capitalist media specializes. Let's avoid that.

As far as kidding oneself, that's a human trait which we
on the political left, like others who are human beings.
often suffer from. It's a tendency to which we should be
attentive, and try not to fall victim to, as much as we
are able to avoid doing so. I've more than once fallen
victim to the tendency to see things as I wish they had
been, rather than as they really are. Fortunately, I'm
the only one on Marxmail with this particular failing.

And I have other failings as well, by the way, but it's
not necessary to outline all of them here today. As a
general rule, when seeking fault, it's better to use a
mirror, not a telescope, as Lonnie Barbach explains it.

Walter Lippmann
Vancouver, B.C.
First of all, there is no "discussion" on your mailing list. It is a 
news list.

Second of all, you have an obligation to defend McGuinness's ideas if 
you agree with them. He tells your mailing list that "From each, etc."
is not being challenged in Cuba as part of a commentary on a BBC article 
that explicitly mentions managers getting a 30 percent performance 
bonuses. Maybe Cuba has no other options except to introduce such a 
system, but let's not kid ourselves. It is a fundamental challenge to 
the earlier conceptions of the Cuban revolution, particularly what Che 
Guevara stood for.

     Los Angeles, California
     Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
     "Cuba - Un Paraíso bajo el bloqueo"

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