[Marxism] Information Re: Cuba to abandon wage caps

Steve Palmer spalmer999 at yahoo.com
Sat Jun 14 09:46:49 MDT 2008


Recent comments on the recent announcement has included some very wild
assertions. For those who think this is inconsistent with Che's economic ideas,
I urge you to read for yourselves what he actually said about incentives -
beyond summaries, headlines and interpretations. Ditto, in some cases, Marx and
Lenin. This announcement should be no surprise and in no ways represents a
retreat from socialism, rather an adaptation to deal with specific problems
which have arisen recently. Note in particular that the productivity criteria
are linked to (a) use-value aspects of production, not profits/surplus etc
which are the criteria used in 'market-socialism' type 'reforms'; (b) that this
has been linked to the question of quality, again unlike 'market-socialism'.

For concerned comrades who ...
(a) support and defend the Cuban revolution
(b) understand that the process of building socialism there in current
circumstances is an extraordinary difficult undertaking
(c) want more information and insight into the current process underway to
combat misinformation, distortion and misunderstandings ...

I offer the following recent material, by comrades who are Cuban citizens,
and/or who have lived, worked or studied there for extended periods of time,
based on direct experience and involvement, not second or third hand
interpretation. It includes an interview with Orlando Borrego, who was Che's
deputy in economic matters, conducted during the recent 'The Cubans are Coming'
speaking tour in Britain. All material, except the letter, from recent issues
of Fight Racism Fight Imperialism
(http://www.revolutionarycommunist.org/frfi.html).


In reverse chronological order:

Letter June 14th to Guardian re Rory Carroll article:

Rory Carroll’s article ‘Cuban workers to get bonuses for extra
effort’ (13 June 2008) was yet another misrepresentation of recent
developments in Cuba . There has never been an ‘egalitarian wage
system’ – nor has ‘every worker’s wages been the same
from a doctor to a street cleaner’ – as stated in the website
interview with Carroll.

Carroll declares the ‘death-knell of the “new socialist man”,
promoted by Che and Fidel, but Che himself devised a new salary scale,
introduced in 1964, with 24 different basic wage levels, plus a 15% bonus for
over-completion. This scale linked wages to qualifications, creating an
incentive to training, which was vital given the exodus of professionals and
low educational level of the Cuban workers. Like Marx himself, Che recognised
the socialist principle of ‘from each according to his ability to each
according to his work’ – which Carroll associates exclusively with
Raul.

Without mentioning the devastating effects of the US blockade, Carroll declares
‘moribund’ the Cuban economy, which has grown between 7 and 12%
since 2005.

The new salary incentives reflect Cuba ’s push to reduce vulnerability to
the global crisis resulting from a raise in food prices, rathar than a return
to capitalism. Recent policies aim to dramatically increase internal production
and productivity, particularly in agriculture and exports. Carroll equates
productivity with capitalism – but how efficient is this economic system
which leaves millions unemployed because their work is not 'profitable', while
millions of under-fives die every year of malnutrition and diarrhoea.

For 50 years, Cuba commentators have predicted the collapse of the socialist
Revolution. Carroll is repeating the same mistake.

Helen Yaffe 

-----------

Article about 2 weeks old by Louis Brehoney, Sam Vincent, Helen Yaffe:

FRFI 203 June / July 2008

    Cuba: strengthening socialism not consumerism

    Recent measures introduced in Cuba have led to wishful thinking among
Cuba’s enemies in the corporate media, who have seized on them as
evidence of a return to capitalism. In reality they are the result of a
profound process of self-criticism and debate within socialism.

    On 24 February, following his election as President of the Council of State
in the National Assembly of People’s Power, Raul Castro said that
‘the people’s mandate to this legislature is very clear: to
continue strengthening the Revolution at a historical juncture which demands
from us to be dialectic and creative’. He called for less centralisation
and bureaucracy, giving the example of better milk production and distribution
as testimony to local decision-making and arguing that this approach could work
in other areas of the economy: ‘a more compact and operational structure
is required, with a lower number of institutions under the central
administration of the State and a better distribution of their
functions’. There is, of course, no suggestion of a
‘Chinese-style’ market economy, so destructive to socialism:
‘Good planning is most important for we cannot spend more than we
have.’

    Increasing food production
    Increasing food production in Cuba has been identified as a primary task
and, given rising global prices, the adverse effect of climate change and US
aggression, an issue of maximum national security. As an example of the
difficulties faced, the Cuban media recently reported that in one municipality,
San Jose, only a little over half the arable land is farmed effectively, with
3,000 out of 52,200 hectares completely idle.

    On 12 May the National Assembly appointed 30 of its members to a working
commission on food and agriculture. It will address structural problems in
Cuba’s agricultural system that prevent full use of the land and
efficient distribution of produce. It will oversee local offices of the
Ministry of Agriculture, which are being opened in each of Cuba’s 169
municipalities. These Municipal Agricultural Delegations will have authority to
make decisions addressing concrete problems in their local area. Part of their
task will be to eliminate corruption and train more agricultural workers. At
the same time the government has raised the price it pays farmers for meat and
milk as a way of increasing production.

    Mobile phones, computers and DVD players
    In December Raul spoke about an excess of ‘prohibitions’ in
Cuba, arguing that it was no longer necessary to keep some of the restrictions
on consumer goods that were brought in during the harshest years of the Special
Period. In the 24 February session of the National Assembly he reiterated that
some of the limits ‘had the purpose of preventing the emergence of new
inequalities at a time of general shortages, even when that meant relinquishing
certain incomes.’

    In April, following analysis of more than 1.3 million specific proposals
made during the national consultation, new services were announced making
mobile phones, computers and DVD players more readily available, and making it
easier for Cubans to rent cars and use tourist hotels. All of these
restrictions were introduced during the special period as circulars to prevent
a growth in inequality. They were not laws, so it was straightforward to
reverse them. The developments in telecommunications are particularly important
and priority is being given to the areas where there are the fewest phones.
Ramón Linares Torres, First Deputy Minister of Informatics and
Communications (MIC) noted that: ‘for the Revolution, it was always a
priority to advance communications in the rural areas. At the beginning of 1959
there were only 170,000 telephone lines and 73% of them were located in the
capital and other major cities. Telephone density was 2.6 per 100 inhabitants,
a rate that has been quintupled, but is still low.’

    The reaction
    The response of the Bush administration in the US has been to allow US
citizens to send mobile phones to Cuba, in the vain hope that this will weaken
the Revolution. Journalists in Europe and the US are jumping over themselves to
portray the recent developments as a sign of weakness and stagnation of Cuban
socialism. The Guardian’s Rory Carroll, in an article on 7 April entitled
‘To save communism, Raul experiments with consumerism’, says that
the ‘reforms’ would not have been ‘imaginable’ under
Fidel, signalling ‘tolerance for displays of wealth and, by extension,
displays of inequality.’ His article opened with a banal description of
one Cuban family, dripping with gold jewellery and ‘counting out the
money with a certain panache’, which rushed to consumer heaven to buy a
pressure cooker and a washing machine - as if such luxuries had been prohibited
from Cubans before Raul was elected President of the Council of State.

    On the contrary, in 2005 the Cuban government distributed free pressure
cookers and rice cookers to every family home in Cuba. Cubans were able to
replace their old refrigerators and televisions with new energy efficient
substitutes provided at a subsidised cost, to be paid back in small instalments
over many years.

    Pablo Valiente, writing for the Cuban Union of Young Communists’
Juventud Rebelde (Rebel Youth) newspaper about the new mobile phone services on
21 April, commented on the storm being whipped up by capitalist media about the
so-called ‘reforms’:

    ‘The old, small and smug Europe appears as the leader, with its
exultant levels of life unapproachable for the rest of the planet, unaware of
the reality that surrounds it. Not even the Americans, as free as they say they
are, can exhibit such an encouraging performance... Almost none of those
mathematicians, so skilful at comparing Cubans’ wages but never their
real income, mention the fact that the prices charged by ETECSA [the Cuban
phone company] are among the lowest in the world... Nor does anyone say a word
about how, for connection reasons, the Caribbean – where Cuba is located
– is, along with the Pacific islands, the area with the world’s
most expensive rates for phone services.’

    The real background to these reforms is far more interesting than the
mainstream media would have us know. Firstly, since Cuba’s Energy
Revolution in 2006, which involved the successful upgrade of Cuba’s
electricity grid, Cuba now has the capacity to provide the power needed to run
high-end electrical equipment on a mass scale. Secondly, selling computers and
DVDs at high prices to domestic consumers with significant financial resources
will mop up excess liquidity, which will in turn stem inflationary pressures,
particularly on food prices. It will also provide the socialist state, which
has a monopoly on imports, with additional revenue for its investment and
welfare programmes.

    Bourgeois journalists and middle class ‘socialists’ will
continue to write about ‘stagnation’ or predict the downfall of
Cuba’s revolutionary system in the faint hope that it might one day
happen. Meanwhile the Cuban people are building socialism.

    Louis Brehony, Sam Vincent, Helen Yaffe

---------------------
>From Rock Around the Blockade speaking tour:

INTERVIEW WITH ORLANDO BORREGO

FRFI: What were the changes that took place when Fidel Castro de­clined to
stand for election to the post of President of the Council of State?

OB: The first point is that Fidel has not resigned. Due to health problems he
considered that it was essential to pass on his responsibilities. This was done
in a fundamentally democratic way with an election in the new assembly for the
President of the Council of State and of the Council of Ministers.

I think this was an intelligent decision, so that he could use his time in a
calmer manner to develop his ideas and make reflections that are of fundamental
importance for the young, for the country and indeed for Latin America. He can
now work with more efficiency than ever in this line, and honour his life-long
working commitment to the Cuban people.

FRFI: Tell us about Raul Castro

OB: He is a very modest man and never allowed himself to be an object of
publicity. However, we know of his long history as a communist militant since
before Moncada [the attack on Moncada barracks in 1953] and he identified with
Che Guevara for this reason. At Moncada he showed an outstanding attitude and
distinguished himself even as a prisoner by striking down the rifle of one of
the Batista guards, so saving a comrade.

Later in the Sierra Maestra he was an exceptional fighter and revealed his
capacity after the landing of the Granma and the atrocious conditions that were
faced by the revolutionaries. When they re-grouped at Five Palms (Cinco
Palmeras) he was the only one who appeared with five rifles, whereas the
majority of the others had lost their own. From this we have the famous saying
‘now we can win the war!’ Afterwards he was military chief of a
column, on the eastern second front of the country. It is known that as a
military chief he practically created a structure of preparatory government
there, with schools and so on. He paid great attention to this task. In the
armed forces he was very successful. Imperialism couldn’t beat us, and
this, combined with his human qualities, guaranteed the future of the state.
One cannot speak of Raul simply in terms of his brother. He has his own
definite merits, which the country recognises, and as a result he has now taken
up the leadership. It’s clear that everyone thinks he will be successful
in the future.

FRFI: Commentators outside Cuba have said that Raul shows a tendency to return
to the use of capitalist elements in the economy.

OB: Well such commentators are misrepresenting matters throughout the world.
Raul
Castro has demonstrated great initiative and a creative capacity which is very
important at this stage. He has initiated very important organisational changes
which do not challenge the principles of revolution, but strengthen its supreme
object: to construct a socialist state which will enhance the welfare of the
people. The organisational and economic changes that he brought about in the
armed forces were very successful. Those who say he could return to the market
economy don’t know Raul. For Raul, it is absolutely clear that to reach
socialism we can’t use capitalist methods.

FRFI: Tell us about the deepening relations between Cuba and Vene­zuela.

OB: Chavez revealed that he has enthusiastically informed himself of
Fidel’s and Che’s thoughts and has become the greatest of friends
with Fidel. The Bolivarian revolution has called upon Cuba for support to
consolidate the process. This project provides the possibility for wealthier
Latin American states, for example Venezuela with its oil and other resources,
to help the poorer ones. Cuba has given intense support to this project, in
public health, education and its experience in almost all other areas. The
collaboration between Cuba and Venezuela is centred on the ALBA project. Cuba
has a ministry for Venezuelan relations to deal with the frequent meetings in
many areas. Many important projects have been agreed for example in transport,
railways, ports and harbours and so on, in the basic industries, in
agriculture, all pursuing the dreams of Bolivar and Jose Marti.

US imperialism is trying to destroy this. As the project of reunion of
countries, of Bolivar’s dreams, makes pro­gress, imperialism won’t
be able to dominate us in the same way as it used to. Now in Venezuela the
Congress of the PSUV (United Socialist Party of Venezuela) is determining its
fundamental political programme for the Bolivarian revolution and consolidating
its political base. For Cuba the Bolivarian project is a definitive project for
the future which, as I have said, was dreamed of by Jose Marti, Che and Fid­el
and this is what the people deserve.

FRFI: Is it possible to foresee which states will be the next to join ALBA?
What are the next important steps for ALBA to take?

OB: It’s clear that some countries are definitely identified with ALBA:
Ven­e­zuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and Bolivia. Ecuador is to a certain extent
incorporated and President Correa wants to reinforce this collaboration.
Argentina which is clearly not socialist, yet involved in progressive
mea­sures, has strong relations with Vene­zuela. Latin Americans are an
opti­mistic people who have realised that the neo-liberal line and US policies
are not correct and never will be. It is an economic system and form of
government that leads to suffering and problems in Latin America. To the extent
to which the people become more aware of this and they construct social
organisations, they will be able to accelerate their entry into ALBA.

In my opinion the future offers great promise with the incorporation of more
states, such as in the Carib­bean, into ALBA which will receive great benefits
of membership, especially through the creation of Petro­caribe [Venezuela sells
cheap oil to Caribbean signatories]. Now as never before Latin America has a
promising future, and we see more opportunities to solve its social and
political problems.

FRFI: Can we turn to the question of the Battle of Ideas and its relation to
the concept of the ‘new man’?

OB: The Battle of Ideas is a concrete expression of comrade Fidel. We’ve
worked with it for many years, and it has great significance in that for a
revolution to be socialist it needs a motor for permanent renewal of ideas, not
to let them age with dogmas or allow them to become stale or out of date.

>From the point of view of the economy it has a very important role. We
can’t speak of political or cultural projects if there are no material
resources to make them happen. The Battle of Ideas has extensively treated the
question of linking revolution and resources, providing social solutions to the
problems of the country. Its significance is that it’s impossible to
think of socialism if we can’t also think of the new person in that
society, as was observed by Che.

Perhaps the most important contribution in this respect is Che’s thought.
In every moment of every important battle his understanding of economics
involved a battle of ideas. It signifies a new awakening, a new motor, pushing
forward the Cuban revolution. Discus­sion of the ‘new man’ is a
serious matter in revolutionary Cuba, introducing novelty into the Cuban
revolution that prevents paralysis or stagnation. In this respect we can talk
of the introduction of computers and a beautiful result of the Battle of Ideas:
taking computers to the mountains so that primary school children there can
become informed of these developments.

The Battle of Ideas has been ex­tended through international collaboration, I
have often heard Chavez speaking of it, and Venezuela and other countries are
developing ideas jointly to develop the revolution.

FRFI: One of the proposals in the draft programme of the PSUV concerns the
planned economy. It says that the object is to neutralise the operation of the
law of value within the economy. Can you tell us more about this and link it to
Che’s influence on the Bolivarian revolution?

OB: I can speak about this since I have been involved in the discussion about
the model or models that might be adopted by the Bolivarian economy. Socialism
as a system is very young, 90 or perhaps 100 years, counting the experience of
the Soviet Union of course. In attempts to perfect such a system there have
been many arguments about the experiments to date, in Russia and up until
today, including us in Cuba.

I was asked to support ‘Mission Che’ in Venezuela, because of my
experience, and was asked last year to discuss this question in the Bolivarian
Assembly. The Bolivarian revolution and Chavez are very concerned with the
mechanism of the market, the laws of capital, which were misinterpreted and
misused in the socialist states of Europe, and which can damage the economy of
the Bolivarian republic.
Of course we rejected market criteria when asked. When consulted I always
agreed with Che’s ideas, not because it was him but because they were
always grounded in a scientific approach, an historical approach, and are
decisive today in the world in helping to find the most efficient path towards
socialism. Che was furious at the way the Soviet Union was moving towards a
corruption of its socialist economic system and predicted in 1966 that the USSR
and eastern Europe were returning to capitalism. This totally negative
experience is fully understood by Chavez, he knows he cannot copy such models,
use auto financing methods [as in the USSR], or simply copy other
countries’ experiences, including those of Cuba.

In my book The way to Socialism [Rumbo al Socialismo Caracas 2006] –
which I dedicated to Chavez on his presidential election victory of 2006
– I examine how Venezuela can deal with these problems and what Che
thought about these things. The Boli­varian revolution has every possibility of
taking advantage of the experience of all those countries that have fought for
socialism. Nevertheless the case of Cuba is one where the state has remained
firmly committed to defending socialism throughout its existence and Venezuela
can use this experience in its own development.

FRFI: What is your evaluation of the speaking tour, and do you have a message
for members of Rock around the Blockade?

OB: Well this was the most exhausting tour! We visited more than eight
important cities and towns, London, Glasgow, Nottingham etc in each of which we
held two or three meetings, some 15 to 20 altogether, and if we add the TV,
radio and newspaper interviews that we gave, it was very intensive. I have
never undertaken such an intense tour in any country!
This tour has given me great satisfaction, and the effort made has been very
productive. The tour was built by a majority of young people, who were working
with few resources, full of arguments and knowledge.

I always say that in such a tour as this where we are able to exchange ideas,
to assess changes and developments in the world, aiming for a happier and more
equal world, if we can clarify the ideas of only 10% of those we met, it will
be a big achievement, and in this case I think we have achieved 100%.

I must congratulate the organisers of this tour for their hard work, the
extraordinary programme they  arran­ged. Almost all the meetings we had were
full, some to overflowing with people unable to get in. I should also like to
thank the Venezuelan and Cuban embassies for their support.

The tour had important results. As Cubans we thank you very much for the
support received for Cuba, for supporting the Cuban 5, heroes unjustly
imprisoned in the United States. I urge our comrades here in Britain –
those of Rock around the Blockade – to continue their fight for unity, to
become more effective. I hope that you can continue your activities with other
comrades and from other countries.

The young people I toured with were very educated, very conscious, very
revolutionary. If we can multiply these forces we will have completed the tasks
we set ourselves.

---------------------

ORLANDO BORREGO
Orlando Borrego was born in 1936 to a peasant family who identified with the
Orthodox Party, a progressive, anti-cor­ruption party led by Eduardo Chibas. In
March 1952, weeks before the general election which the Orthodox Party was
expected to win, General Fulgencio Batista carried out his coup d’etat
with support from the US administration.

Secondary school students rebelled. Among them was Borrego, who joined the 26
July Movement led by Fidel Castro, which went on to attack the Moncada Barracks
in Santiago on 26 July 1953. When Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara’s
Rebel Army column arrived in the Escambray Mountains in central Cuba in October
1958, Borrego joined them, becoming a first lieutenant by the time of the
triumph of the Revolution on 1 January 1959.

In late 1959, Che was named head of the Department of Industrialisation with in
the National Institute of Agrarian Reform (INRA) – formed by the first
Agrarian Reform Law of May 1959 as the principal vehicle for pushing through
revolutionary change as old state institutions were dismantled. While members
of the liberal bourgeoisie offi­cially ran the government, INRA was under
control of the revolutionaries, backed by the armed force of the Rebel Army of
workers and peasants.

As director of the Department of Industrialisation, Che took with him only
three individuals from his guerilla column, one of whom was Borrego. A month
after the Department officially began work Che was named President of the
National Bank. Borrego was left to run the Department of Industrialisation,
which grew in importance as busi­nesses, factories and plants were appropriated
and nationalised by the revolu­tionary government. Borrego had regu­lar
midnight meetings with Che in the bank offices to discuss progress.

In February 1961 the new Ministry of Industries (MININD) was inaugurated with
Che as Minister and Borrego as Vice Minister of Basic Industries. As
Che’s responsibilities expanded, along with the ministry, Borrego was
named First Vice Minister, dealing with most of the daily management of the
ministry.

Borrego was part of Che’s inner circle of vice-ministers and advisors in
MININD. He was one of a small team involved in weekly Capital reading seminars
with Che, taught by a professsor sent from Moscow, who was pushed to the limits
by analytical debates with Che. Borrego was central to the development of the
Budgetary Finance System (BFS), an alternative economic management system for
transition to socialism in the concrete conditions of 1960s Cuba. This system
set out to prove that it was possible to build socialist consciousness
simultaneously with the productive forces in the initial stages of transition
to socialism.

In June 1964 Borrego became Cuba’s first Minister of Sugar, in a country
dominated by the sugar industry. He took the BFS to the new Ministry of Sugar
(MINAZ), working closely with Che to improve the system. MINAZ carried out
innovative projects at a national level to assess the correlation between
consciousness and production. In April 1965, Che left Cuba to fight in the
Congo, leaving behind three volumes of Marx’s Capital for Borrego with a
note that read:’Borrego, this is the source, here we learnt everything
together, in fits and starts, searching what is still barely
intuition…Thank you for your firmness and your loyalty. Let nothing
separate you from the course. A hug, Che.’

The campaign in the Congo failed and Che went underground in Tanzania and
Czechoslovakia. During this time he wrote his critical notes on the Soviet
Manual of Political Economy. His intention was to write an alternative manual
for the transition to socialism, appropriate to Cuban and, perhaps, Latin
American conditions. Che sent his notes back to Borrego to guard in Cuba. In
1966, Borrego caught up with Che, who had entered Cuba in secret and was
preparing his group of guerrillas for the campaign in Bolivia. During this
period of preparation, Borrego visited Che to discuss socialist political
economy, the critique of the USSR manual and the BFS.

Today Borrego is adviser for the Minister of Transport. Since 2004, he has been
invited to Venezuela on several occasions to lecture economists,
revolutionaries and policy makers about Che’s economic management system.
Borrego’s book Che: El Camino del Fuego, 2001 (Che: The Path of Fire),
about Che’s work as a member of the Cuban government and his ideas on
socialist transition, has since been published and widely circulated in
Venezuela, leading President Chavez to declare in 2005:

‘Che was more than just a martyr, more than just a heroic guerrilla
fighter, he was also a minister in the Cuban government and developed many
ideas on how to build the new socialist society...we must study and learn from
his thoughts.’

Since then, Borrego has written a book of anecdotes which captures the rich
human experience of working with Che and another book analysing the seven
different economic management systems adopted in Cuba since 1959, Rumbo al
Socialismo, 2006 (Heading to Socialism). Borrego’s importance and
contribution lie not just in being a comrade and companion working under the
leadership of two great revolutionary communists: Che Guevara and Fidel Castro.
His intimacy with, and insight into, the problems, contradictions and possible
solutions in socialist construction, means he has a great deal to offer and
debate. He remains sternly principled yet anti-dogmatic in upholding
Guevara’s approach to revolutionary socialism.

------------

FRFI 200 December 2007/January 2008

    Cuba: genius is in the people

    All of us, from the leaders to the rank-and-file workers, are duty-bound to
accurately identify and analyse every problem in depth… in order to
combat the problem with the most convenient methods…’
    Raul Castro, 26 July 2007

    A profound process of popular consultation is underway in Cuba.
Demonstrating the real meaning of democracy, the Cuban government has created
forums for everyone in the country to contribute to a great debate about
Cuba’s socio-economic problems and to suggest concrete solutions. This
process was initiated in a speech by acting President Raul Castro on 26 July
2007, the 54th anniversary of the attack on Moncada Barracks. It marked exactly
one year since Fidel Castro last appeared in public. Helen Yaffe reports.

    Since Fidel’s illness, commentators outside Cuba have been searching
for signs of change in Cuba’s revolutionary government. Cuba’s
enemies eagerly anticipated an Eastern European style ‘transition’
with Fidel’s exit; the end of socialism and opening up to neo-liberalism.
But there has been no power vacuum and no counter-revolutionary movement rising
up to reject everything he stood for. Fidel has stood back and recuperated as
the Cuban government has consolidated the socialist revolution in the process
of transition to a generation of younger leaders. Cuba’s enemies feel
frustrated – transition has taken place, but not in the direction they
wanted. Such frustration obstructs their ability to analyse or understand new
developments.

    Bourgeois journalists celebrated Raul’s speech as representing a new
turning towards the US administration, implying susceptibility to capitalist
openings. This was disingenuous. Raul, as head of the Revolutionary Armed
Forces (FAR), first reported on the military exercise Operation Caguairán:
‘attaining levels of combat readiness superior to those of any other
period’, involving special defence training for a million Cubans. He then
reasserted that Cuba would only enter talks with a post-Bush US administration:
‘on equal footing’; if not, Cuba would: ‘continue confronting
their policy of hostility…’ Too excited about Raul’s supposed
nod towards US imperialism, commentators missed the important part: the
promotion of a deeply democratic and socialist concept of people’s power.

    Raul expanded on themes raised by Fidel in 2005 – securing the future
of the Revolution, the problem of productivity, corruption, parasites and new
rich (see FRFI 189). However, in deepening the analysis in a concrete way, he
initiated a new stage in the ideological battle to improve Cuban socialism. The
important points he raised include:

    1) Low salaries and high food prices: ‘wages today are clearly
insufficient to satisfy all needs and have thus ceased to play a role in
ensuring the socialist principle that each should contribute according to their
capacity and receive according to their work.’
    2) Prices cannot go down until production and productivity go up:
‘any increase in wages or decrease in prices, to be real, can only stem
from greater and more efficient production and services offered, which will
increase the country’s incomes… To have more, we have to begin by
producing more, with a sense of rationality and efficiency.’
    3) The need to reduce imports. The import prices of oil, milk and frozen
chicken have increased between 200 and 300% in four years, sapping Cuban hard
currency reserves. Meanwhile, the cost to Cuban consumers, highly subsidised by
the state, has barely changed: ‘I am talking of products that I think can
be grown here’, he said, complaining about the abundance of marabú,
a thorny bush invading productive land left fallow throughout the island.
    4) The drive to rationalise production. Instead of transporting milk miles
to a pasteurisation plant, it will be distributed direct to communities around
the agricultural producer. ‘this valuable food product [milk] travelled
hundreds of miles before reaching a consumer who, quite often, lived a few
hundred metres away from the livestock farm.’ This also reduces product
losses and fuel expenses.
    5) The problem of the US blockade. ‘Some…do not perceive the
real danger or the undeniable fact that the blockade has a direct influence
both on the major economic decisions and on each Cuban’s most basic
needs.’
    6) The need for foreign investment: ‘that can provide us with
capital, technology or markets…upon well-defined legal bases which
preserve the role of the state and the predominance of socialist
property.’

    In 1996, one of the worst years of the Special Period, Raul made an
influential speech calling for a political battle to secure the Revolution
against the individualistic tendencies encouraged by economic reforms
introducing some elements of the free market. He set out the need to
‘examine the political and social situation in the country in order to
derive from this analysis the ideological work our [Communist] Party has to
carry out during these times of the special period.’ (12 March 1996) The
speech sparked discussions among all Cubans. The impact of his speech on 26
July 2007 was the same. Underlying Raul’s speech is the concept of Cubans
as citizens, not consumers, with responsibility to society: ‘We need to
bring everyone into the daily battle against the very errors which aggravate
objective difficulties from external causes…’ Once again he
outlined the leading role of the Communist Party (CCP) in addressing and
solving the national problems.

    In August, after discussions with the CCP provincial leaders, a process of
popular consultation was initiated to give Cubans a forum to thrash out
socio-economic problems. Meetings were organised in every CCP branch, work
place, trade union, street committee, women’s federation and in the Union
of Young Communists. Raul called on the population to speak with frankness and
realism. People have committed whole-heartedly to the debate, not just
complaining, but suggesting improvements. Every intervention has been
anonymously recorded and collected in central offices to be analysed, to
provide a comprehensive assessment of the state of the country and the
consciousness of its people.

    This process demonstrates the Cuban government and CCP’s trust in the
population – Fidel’s concept that the genius is in the people. The
results will provide a unique insight into the state of production, trade
unions and grassroots organisations. The risk lies in raising expectations
which cannot be met. But the consultation is genuinely expected to generate
many concrete solutions, although Raul warned that some problems reflect
realities of the international economy and no government policies or
resolutions can solve them. Some of the complaints reflect a search for
individualistic solutions to material scarcity – proposals which would
improve conditions for individuals but risk increasing private property
relations and capitalist mechanisms. For example, opposition to rules that
individuals can only sell their cars or houses to the state at low prices and
obstacles to individuals or families starting their own farms on fallow land,
or limiting the productive capacity of family or cooperative farms. The desire
to remove state control is the outcome of the state’s inefficiency in
resolving production and distribution problems. Clearly, however, to concede
these demands is to open the gate to capitalist property relations.

    Structural and conceptual changes for improving socialism
    Raul was clear that ‘structural and conceptual changes will have to
be introduced’ and apart from rationalising milk production, he gave two
examples. One was in the relationship of the state to farmers and the other
related to foreign investment. Commentators outside Cuba have jumped on these
as evidence of economic ‘liberalisation’ – the adoption of
capitalist mechanisms to determine production and distribution. In reality,
Raul talked of the need to improve the efficiency of the state’s payment
to farmers for agricultural produce, not a transference of state land to
private production. When he talked of securing more foreign investment it
reflected a trend which has seen the Cubans cut the number of smaller foreign
investors in Cuba, so mixed-enterprises have decreased by 41% from 2002 to
2006, whilst consolidating large investments in major infrastructural and
development projects in strategic sectors like mining and energy. Much of this
involves setting up joint ventures with state companies from fraternal
countries, Venezuela and China. The result is to limit the sphere of operation
of capitalist mechanisms, introduced via foreign capital, diminishing their
impact on the Cuban consumer, whilst simultaneously strengthening the
state’s economic resources based on high value-generating activities, for
example nickel and oil production. This closing of opportunities for private
foreign capital, as well as the blockade, explains why the Economist
Intelligence Unit placed Cuba 81 out of 82 worst countries for business!

    Those jumping to promote ‘liberalisation’ include
‘intellectuals’ and ‘economists’ in Cuba, such as Pedro
Monreal and Aurelio Alonso. In an interview given during the consultation
process, Aurelio Alonso, deputy director of the magazine Casa de las Americas
promoted private agricultural production: ‘The family should not invest
all its productive effort for the benefit of the state. In the end, we should
be less fearful of letting people make money.’ In an interview on 25
September, Pedro Monreal from Cuba’s Centre for Research into the
International Economy went further, arguing that credit institutions should be
created to provide $20,000 capital to individual Cuban entrepreneurs to
establish private businesses. He asks: ‘Does the state necessarily have
to occupy itself with panel beating cars, or shoe repairs, or make electronic
utensils or repairs of – I don’t know – blenders, or
producing food. Not necessarily, this could be organised by cooperative or
private national enterprises.’ Monreal proposes: ‘to organise
structural reform of agriculture in terms of transferring state land to private
or cooperative land … [and to] leave the market to reign…’
His models are China and Vietnam.

    Clearly, the question of land ownership lies at the heart of the
ideological debate about the future of the Cuban economy. But Alonso, Monreal
and their trend are disingenuous to suggest that increased privatisation of
land will automatically increase productivity and efficiency without
undermining socialism. Since the measures introduced in 1993, in the first
years of the Special Period, the state has directly controlled little
agricultural production, yet the private or cooperative farms have not solved
the problem of low productivity.

    What is the influence of such pro-capitalist ‘intellectuals’ in
policy-formulation in revolutionary Cuba? Asked by his interviewer whether
economists would determine the new structures, Monreal admits: ‘I
don’t think so…’ He distinguishes between the academic
economists, like himself, and those working on the state plan and within the
ministries, lamenting that in Cuba: ‘economic measures are never a
question for technical professionals… they are decisions which basically
correspond with political questions.’

    Once again, Cuba’s leaders have taken the political questions to the
entire Cuban population. The national debate coincided with the commemoration
for the 40th anniversary of Ernesto Che Guevara’s execution in Bolivia.
Ministries, institutions, workplaces, trade unions, study centres, grass roots
and cultural organisations throughout Cuba organised events to pay tribute to
Guevara. Many of these events emphasised Guevara’s opposition to adopting
capitalist mechanisms to resolve problems within the socialist economy. They
recalled his prediction that ‘liberalisation’, or market socialism,
which Monreal and Alonso promote, would lead to the restoration of capitalism
in the Soviet bloc.

    Other processes underway also reinforce the Cuban left. On 13 October,
Chavez was in Cuba to sign 14 new collaborative projects between Cuba and
Venezuela in the areas of construction, energy, tourism, petrochemicals,
fishing, telecommunications and nickel. This raises the number of joint
projects between the countries to 352, across 28 sectors of economic and social
development. Raul said: ‘the search for a just and sustainable
development and true integration – which cannot be the blind child of the
market – marks the principles of collaboration between both countries and
their economic links.’ This significantly expands the Bolivarian
Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), a project of humanitarian, economic and
social cooperation between Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua, in exchanges
which are not determined by market forces and the operation of the law of
value.

    Cuba is at an important juncture, preparing for structural and economic
changes. The Cuban masses are pivotal to these developments. In the words of
Raul on 26 July: ‘We must also work with a critical and creative spirit,
avoiding stagnation and schematics. We must never fall prey to the idea that
what we do is perfect but rather examine it again. The one thing a Cuban
revolutionary will never question is our unwavering decision to build
socialism.’

--------

FRFI 199 October/November 2007

    40 years on: Viva Che

    40 years after directing the hunt, execution and burial of Ernesto Che
Guevara Lynch in Bolivia, CIA operative Gustavo Villoldo is hoping to make a
killing once again when a lock of Che’s hair, his fingerprints and photos
of his corpse are put on auction in Texas on 25 October this year. Villoldo is
a Cuban exile who became a CIA agent after his participation in the failed Bay
of Pigs invasion of Cuba in April 1961. Che was injured and captured on 8
October 1967, when the group of guerrilla fighters he was preparing was
encircled by the CIA-trained Bolivian army. He was executed on 9 October on the
order of another Cuban exile, Felix Rogriguez. Having cut the lock of hair from
Che’s corpse, Villoldo buried him alongside three Bolivian
revolutionaries in an unmarked grave.

    This auction, in US President Bush’s home state, is the most recent
and crude attempt by the rich and powerful to commodify the memory of Che. His
image has been violated and exploited by big business to sell watches, vodka,
underwear, pop albums – the list is endless. Most of these have involved
the famous headshot of Che, taken by Cuban photographer Alberto Korda at a
funeral for Cuban civilians killed by CIA-sponsored terrorists. It is perhaps
the most reproduced image in the world. And yet, despite its commercial mass
production, the rich and powerful have never succeeded in depoliticising or
co-opting the symbol of Che. From the mountains of Colombia to the Palestinian
refugee camps, from the factories of the Philippines to anti-capitalist
demonstrations in the cities of Europe and the US, Che’s image adorns the
banners of those who oppose imperialism and millions who struggle for social,
economic and racial justice.

    Twenty years ago, Cuban president Fidel Castro predicted that ‘Che is
a figure with enormous prestige. Che is a figure whose influence will
grow.’ This has proved to be true, not just in Cuba where school children
daily pledge to be like Che, but also throughout Latin America. On May Day in
2005, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said: ‘Che was more than just a
martyr, more than just a heroic guerrilla fighter, he was also a Minister in
the Cuban government and developed many ideas on how to build the new socialist
society...we must study and learn from his thoughts.’ In December 2005,
newly elected President of Bolivia Evo Morales also paid tribute to Che’s
legacy.

    Whilst CIA terrorist Villoldo seeks to profit from his role in Che’s
execution, in Bolivia the anniversary of his death will be commemorated by a
new generation of revolutionaries from throughout Latin America. Most
importantly, this event will reinforce a process already underway, a
re-evaluation and return to Che’s ideas of building socialism. This is
the most fitting tribute for an Argentinian revolutionary who became an
anti-imperialist after travelling through Latin America, embraced communism in
Guatemala, helped make the Revolution in Cuba, fought alongside African
guerrillas in the Congo and died with Bolivians, Peruvians and Cubans in
Bolivia.

    Che was central in driving through structural changes which transformed
Cuba from semi-colonial underdevelopment to independence and integration into
the socialist bloc within two years. He was a key protagonist in the military
and political consolidation of the Cuban Revolution, which was a necessary
pre-condition for economic transformation. From January 1959 to January 1961 he
was involved in purging the old army, formulating the Agrarian Reform Law,
forging unity among internal revolutionary forces and leading the first
overseas trade mission of the revolutionary government. He worked as head of
the National Bank, where he secretly prepared to change the banknotes to
prevent the financing of the counter-revolution and control inflation, and as
head of the Department of Industrialisation during the nationalisations.

    In February 1961, Che became Minister of Industries. The first half of the
1960s was a tumultuous period: nationalisations, the shift in trade relations,
the introduction of state planning, the exodus of managers and professionals,
the imposition of the US trade blockade, invasion and the threat of nuclear
conflagration. Despite this, under Guevara’s directorship, Cuban industry
stabilised, diversified and grew – testimony to his capacity for economic
analysis, structural reorganisation and the mobilisation of resources.

    Before Che left Cuba in 1965, the Ministry of Industries became a giant
institution. In four years as Minister he: promoted education and training and
devised a new national salary scale; established accounting, investment and
supervision systems; set up a system of resource sharing and temporary demotion
for directors; founded nine research and development institutes to apply
science and technology to production; formulated policies to raise
consciousness and commitment to the Revolution, whilst institutionalising
psychology as an economic management tool. Among the research and development
institutes which Che set up and directed were those for ‘green
medicine’, nickel production, oil exploration, sugar by-products and the
chemical industry, all of which continue as strong components of the Cuban
economy today. In addition Che introduced computerised accounts to Cuba,
promoted workers’ inventions and innovations, drove the mechanisation of
agriculture, introduced the psychology of social work and created an apparatus
for workers’ management of industry. Many of these projects have evolved
into major areas of economic activity and social organisation in Cuba today.

    Twenty years ago, Cuban President Fidel Castro said: ‘what I ask,
modestly, in this 20th anniversary [of Che’s death], is that the economic
ideas of Che be known; be known here, be known in Latin America, be known in
the world: in the developed capitalist world, in the Third World and in the
socialist world.’

    On the 40th anniversary of Che’s death, we reprint an edited version
of an article by David Yaffe summarising Che’s economic ideas first
published in FRFI 139.


    Economics & Socialism

    Che’s writings on the economics and politics of the transition to
socialism showed that he had a deep understanding of Marx’s Capital and,
in particular, the most difficult chapters on value, money and capital.
Moreover, his published works show that he was familiar with Marx’s
philosophical and political writings – for example, The German Ideology
and The Critique of the Gotha Programme as well as Lenin’s writings on
the transition to socialism, the new economic policy, the role of the party and
so on. He was also knowledgeable about the debates on the transition to
socialism in the former socialist countries, as well as having practical
experience of the problems confronting Cuba in its efforts to consolidate
socialist development in an economy blockaded by the strongest imperialist
power some 90 miles from its shores. In addition, Che was both President of the
National Bank and Minister for Industry in Cuba when the socialist revolution
was being consolidated. Such a record speaks for itself.

    Che was a remarkable revolutionary – he was prepared to put his hand
to anything if the revolution needed it. Fidel reports that when he was
appointed president of the National Bank, people would say that we had asked
for an economist and Che had volunteered. When asked if he was an economist,
Che replied ‘Oh, I thought you said a communist’.

    Plan and market
    Che was a communist who rejected the current fashion of ‘market
socialism’ – that planning has been proved a failure and socialist
countries have to use the market. He argued quite differently. Capitalism could
only be defeated by a non-market rationality. Che wrote that ‘the law of
value and the plan are two terms linked by a contradiction and its
resolution’. (‘Socialist Planning’ p563)1

    The law of value governs the development of the economy and the social
relationships under commodity production and has its fullest expression under
capitalism with its anarchic ‘free’ market, with the unfettered
exploitation of the working class, plunder of oppressed nations through free
trade and export of capital. The building of socialism through the planned
economy will gradually destroy the space for its operation and with it the
market which gives it expression. As Che put it:

    ‘We can therefore state that centralised planning is the way of life
in a socialist society. It is what defines it and is the point at which
man’s consciousness succeeds in finally synthesising and directing the
economy towards its goal, which is the complete liberation of the human being
within the framework of communist society’. (‘Socialist
Planning’ pp563-4)

    Socialist revolutions have occurred in the less developed countries and
not, as Marxists had expected, in the most advanced capitalist countries. Some
question whether it is possible to build socialism in countries colonised by
imperialism and without any development of their basic industries. Che was very
clear on this issue and followed Lenin:

    ‘Within the great framework of the worldwide capitalist system,
struggling against socialism, one of its weak links can be broken. In this
particular case we mean Cuba. Taking advantage of unusual historical
circumstances and following the skilful leadership of their vanguard, the
revolutionary forces take over at a particular moment. Then, assuming the
necessary objective conditions already exist for the socialisation of labour,
they skip stages, declare the socialist nature of the revolution, and begin to
build socialism.’ (‘Socialist Planning’ p557)

    The relative backwardness of these countries had created even greater
difficulties for overcoming the impact of the law of value and the market. Cuba
could combat this to some degree with the economic assistance of the Soviet
Union before its collapse in 1991, and through more equal and just economic and
trade relations with the socialist bloc. Che, however, realised that the law of
value would exert its influence particularly through the international
capitalist market dominated by the main imperialist powers with their much
superior productivity of labour – but also in the relationship between
the state sector and consumers. But he did not see this as something to be
welcomed in the interests of some technical efficiency but something that had
to be combated by the systematic development of the plan – of the
conscious power of a centralised and planned economy. To give greater freedom
to the law of value and the market was to facilitate the development of
capitalist tendencies within the socialist countries.

    That is why Che argued for a different system of managing the state sector
of the economy to that which applied in most of the European socialist
countries and most Cuban enterprises except those dependent on Che’s
Ministry of Industry – the budgetary system of financing as against the
self-financing enterprise system. There are a number of differences in the two
systems but fundamentally in the first the funds for the industry and the
‘profits or losses’ made went into the same overall state fund,
while in the latter each enterprise had its own fund and they competed with
each other. Both systems complied with an overall plan but one more directly
than the other. Money plays a different role in each system. In the budgetary
system it operates as ‘arithmetical money’, a measure of value, as
a price reflection of the operation of the enterprise. It is analysed by the
central bodies to exercise control over its operation, in a similar way to that
of multinational companies and their subsidiaries. In the self-financing
enterprise system, money acts, in addition, as a means of payment – it
functions as an indirect instrument of control. Its relations with the banks
are similar to those of a private producer in contact with capitalist banks to
which they must exhaustively explain their plans and prove their solvency. When
Che looked at the latter system in Yugoslavia he said it seemed dangerous
‘because competition between enterprises dedicated to producing the same
article may introduce factors that distort what the socialist spirit should
presumably be’. (Tablada p111)2 A different concept of competition in
relation to the social interest is indicated here, potentially, that is, in
terms of who benefits?
    Capitalist mechanisms versus communist consciousness
    The social relations of capitalist production, the production for private
profit, the exploitation of man by man, produce a definite individualistic
consciousness – a motivation based on competition as opposed to
co-operation; individual interest and greed at the expense of others. A system
based on the collective organisation of social production has to produce people
with a quite different consciousness – a consciousness adequate to the
new mode of production. However it does not come ready made and has to be
created as part of the process of building socialism. Just as capitalist
production through the market reproduces capitalist social relations and
consciousness, so socialist economic production has to produce and develop
socialist social relations and consciousness. However while under capitalism
such relations and consciousness are the spontaneous, anarchic product of the
market, adequate forms of social consciousness have to be worked for and
developed under socialism. Socialism has to produce a different type of human
being to capitalism.

    Summarising Che’s position, Tablada says: ‘The point therefore
is to discover and sweep away the structures that generate selfishness and
personal ambition, replacing them with new social institutions and mechanisms
capable of moulding future generations in a different way.’ (p86)

    Typical was Che’s position on the question of material and moral
incentives. While not denying the objective need for material incentives as a
factor in achieving improvements in productivity and production, he was
unwilling to use them as a fundamental driving force.

    ‘Material incentives are something left over from the past. They are
something we must accept but whose hold on the minds of the people we must
gradually break as the revolutionary process goes forward…We must
establish the conditions under which this type of motivation that is operative
today will increasingly lose its importance and be replaced by non-material
incentives such as the sense of duty and the new revolutionary way of
thinking.’ (‘On Party Militancy’ pp343-4)

    As opposed to competition generated by the law of value, Che put forward
the concept of emulation, fraternal competition based on socialist comradeship
as a weapon to increase production. ‘Emulation had to fulfil the great
task of mobilising the masses.’ It is ‘competition directed toward
the most noble of aims, which is to improve the functioning of each work
centre, each enterprise, each unit, and place it in the front ranks of building
socialism.’ Emulation would have its own incentives, ‘moral
incentives, such as those that individually or collectively recognise workers
in a workplace as the best amongst the best.’ It was an incentive
mechanism that linked the production of goods with the creation of communist
consciousness. (Quotes from Tablada pp200-1)

    In this context, Che stressed the importance of voluntary work and the use
of mini-brigades in helping to resolve, in a collective way, crucial problems
facing the economy – a method of work, however, that went into decline
after his death, becoming almost a formality as Cuban economic development
became increasingly reliant on precisely those capitalist economic mechanisms
that Che had warned against. Material incentives began to be abused, higher
wages were paid which bore no relation to what was being produced,
contradictions arose between certain economic enterprises and society overall
– a trend was developing which would undermine the spirit and
consciousness of the working class. The Cuban Communist Party recognised these
problems and a rectification programme was begun in 1986 to correct these
developments. The working class, the trade unions and other mass organisations
were actively drawn into the decision-making processes. Inevitably, it led to a
revival of Che’s ideas…

    These developments, however, came to an abrupt end with the Special Period
following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the intensification of the US
economic blockade.

    Today, after years of surviving the Special Period without abandoning its
socialist principles, Cuba has been forced to put more reliance on capitalist
methods and capitalist market mechanisms. The introduction of the private
farmers’ markets, the free circulation of the dollar, the greater weight
of foreign capital in the Cuban economy, and the wider use of material
incentives, all necessary for the recovery of the Cuban economy, however, make
the contribution of Che Guevara ever more relevant to the future of Cuban
socialist development.

    Not only was Che inspired by Marxism but he developed it and turned it into
an ever more vital tool for building socialism today – a remarkable
intellectual and practical achievement for a person who died aged 39,
sacrificing his life to build a society fit for the vast majority of humanity.

    1 All references to Che Guevara’s writings are taken from Venceremos!
The Speeches and writings of Che Guevara. Edited by John Gerassi, Panther,
1972.
    2 See Che Guevara Economics and Politics in the Transition to Socialism,
Carlos Tablada, Pathfinder, 1989, pp109-119. For Che’s article ‘On
the Budgetary System of Financing’ see Venceremos pp409-p441.


    Postscript
    In Cuba, Che’s ideas about socialist construction have always been
associated with the vitality of the Revolution. The article on Economics and
Socialism printed here mentions how, in the mid-1980s, Fidel drew on
Che’s incisive warnings that market socialism would lead to capitalist
restoration. Cuba pulled back from the Soviet model with a return to
Che’s concepts of the importance of consciousness in the process of
socialist construction. Before this process could be consolidated, the Soviet
bloc collapsed leaving the Cuban economy to plunge into crisis, with the loss
of 85% of its trade. Cubans dug deep to find what they needed to survive, as
individuals and as a socialist society. With the introduction of reforms to
permit the market to operate in some economic sectors and improved trade
relations, the economic situation gradually began to improve. This has allowed
Cuba to rescind some of the concessions made to the markets – for
example, the US dollar no longer circulates. Since 2005, Cuba has boasted
annual growth rates of 8-12%.

    Material recovery has been accompanied by political regeneration in a
campaign known as the Battle of Ideas. Having survived the hardships of the
Special Period, the Revolution was in a position to begin re-evaluating its
achievements and errors, as Fidel said: ‘to develop a critical rather
than self-indulgent vision of our undertaking and our historical
objectives.’ This again involved a return to Che’s emphasis on
socialist consciousness and education, voluntary labour, the exploitation of
indigenous resources, diversification of agriculture, centralisation of budgets
and finances and investment in science and technology for industrial and
medical production. The Battle of Ideas reflects the essence of Che’s
concept that education and culture are key tools to create commitment to
political ideas, but that these remain abstract if the standard of living
doesn’t alleviate daily concerns for survival. For this it is necessary
to raise Cuba’s productive capacity. As Che said, the two pillars on
which to construct socialist society are productivity and consciousness.

    The success has been tangible. The concepts underlying the Battle of Ideas
are now being emulated elsewhere in Latin America. The Bolivarian Revolution
led by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez began at the same time as the Battle of
Ideas and it is likewise a project of national regeneration based on popular
mobilisation. The material and political relationships between Cuba and
Venezuela, formalised in the Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America, a treaty
signed in December 2004, have become a mechanism for ideological exchange.
‘New’ forms of political and economic organisation are emerging
under the banner of the Bolivarian Revolution; some are essential components of
a socialist society – nationalisation, welfare provision, social
production and workers’ management. Others draw on Guevara’s model:
consolidated enterprises, participatory budgets, the co-option of capitalist
techniques and technicians for social production and emphasising consciousness
while limiting the reproduction of capitalist productive relations.

    Sections within the Bolivarian Revolution aim to bolster the domestic
capitalist class. Chavez, who leads the pro-socialist tendency, adopts
Che’s ideas on socialist transition to counter that current. The Cuban
left also bases itself on Guevara in opposing those who advocate economic and
political liberalisation. Armed with Che’s Marxist analysis, Cuba
continues to contribute to humanity’s historical and cumulative knowledge
of how to build a better society, a socialist society which puts consciousness
and culture at its centre. The ability to implement those ideas will be
decisive in the success of the project to build socialism for the 21st century.

    Helen Yaffe

"I study a lot. That is one of the responsibilities of every revolutionary." Hugo Chavez.


      




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