[Marxism] Che Guevara: material incentives do not work

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Jun 13 08:37:14 MDT 2008

Walter Lippmann wrote:
> Che Guevara's comments were written over four DECADES ago, in a very
> different world-historical context, one prior to Vietnam's victory
> over Washington's occupation, prior to the fall of the Soviet Union,
> prior to China, Brazil and India rising to become world economic
> powerhouses. 


> Living in the real world as it actually is functioning today, one 
> in which the former Soviet Union's many problems do not currently
> confront the Marxists of today as practical matters, seems a bit out
> of historical context, to my way of reading it. The USSR is not a
> factor in today's world. What does what Che wrote in 1965 have to
> tell us about what Cuba should do in 2008?

There has been no denunciation of Cuba throughout this entire thread. 
Mostly the focus has been on calling things by their rightful name: a 
retreat forced by difficult economic circumstances. In that light, I 
found that Simon McGuiness's comments to be little more than denial:

Quite where this is in conflict with the socialist motto of "From each 
according to his ability, to each according to his work" is difficult to 
tell, but it is likely to be the media spin that the story attracts in 
the west.

> From John Lee Anderson to the various and all-too-numerous perfection-
> minded on the political left, a confusing, and historically invalid,
> counterposition of Fidel to Che has long been made, so today one must
> wonder just why there's been another wave of interest in Che - a good
> thing in and of itself - at this particular moment when the bourgeois
> media also is trying to say that Cuba is throwing out Communism? 

Because Che's ideas represent the ideals that we must never lose sight 
of? We must build a socialist movement on the basis of the ideals found 
in the Communist Manifesto. We are trying to reconstruct a worldwide 
revolutionary movement, not govern a state. Unfortunately, Walter seems 
stuck in the mode of pretending that he is governing a state, a 
condition described in James Thurber's short story "The Secret Life of 
Walter Mitty".

> Then we have the Spartacists, who openly call for the overthrow of
> the government which organized, led and continues to lead the
> Cuban Revolution. Here's a short comment and a link to their full
> discussion:

I am surprised that you did not discuss the latest statement on Cuba 
from the Revolutionary Communist Workers Party (Marxist-Leninist). It 
can be found at www.rcwpml.org. The world has been waiting with bated 
breath for what such groups have to say.

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