[Marxism] Did the Cuban Revolution enforce socialist realism?

Angelus Novus fuerdenkommunismus at yahoo.com
Mon Dec 31 08:34:28 MST 2012

Louis wrote:

> I think it is not just the ISO and Solidarity that are drinking Farber's 
> Kool Aid.

I think there are two distinct aspects to Farber that have to be separated:

The first one is the whole question of how the formal institutions of democracy should operate in a post-revolutionary society, whether a multi-party system is a necessity (as a follower of Rosa Luxemburg, I would agree with Farber on this point), etc. Then one can have an honest debate with Farber about the extent to which such democratic norms can be realized in a society which has been subject to a relentless siege for a half-century.  This is a legitimate topic for discussion, and I don't see why one should refuse to have such a discussion with Farber.

But there is another aspect to Farber that I find highly irritating, which is not unique to him alone, but is symptomatic of the entire "Third Camp" (i.e. ISO, Shachtmanite, British state-caps, etc.) Trotskyist tradition: namely, the totally schematic evaluation of revolutions according to formal criteria of how much they resemble the Russian Revolution of 1917.

I get the impression that a lot of these folks aren't really interested in reading Marx or Marx's Capital, so they're not interested in conceiving of socialism as the suppression of the law-of-value and the commodity-form, and the reorientation of production for meeting human need.  They also seem unfamiliar with Marx's later writings, collected in the volume "Late Marx and the Russian Road" edited by Theodor Shanin, where Marx starts to seem anticipatory forms of communist organization in Russian peasant societies, and ponders a transition to communism that surpasses a capitalist stage of development entirely.

Instead, Third Campists seem to have a schematic, stagegist conception of history inherited from the Second International, in which a sociologically defined wage-worker class has to be the direct agent of a revolutionary transformation, through organs similar to those created in the Russian and German revolutions of 1917 and 1918.

Hence, according to the Third-Camp tradition, basically no post-war social revolution could possible be socialist or communist, regardless of its explicitly stated intent, because of its failure to conform to a schematic, sociological conception of what the agent of a revolution is (narrowly defined industrial wage-workers) and what forms it takes (the council).  They are quite simply not really Marxists, because they do not conceive of things in concepts such as social-form, modes of production, the suppression of the commodity and value, etc.

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