[Marxism] Empty Cuba blather

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Feb 11 06:34:51 MST 2013

On 2/11/13 12:45 AM, John Wesley wrote:
> Ah...but when Castro sent troops to Ethiopia, or when he endorsed the
> invasion of Czechoslovakia....wasn't Cuba towing [on] the Moscow
> line?

I think that Fidel's refusal to say anything about the repression of the 
student movement in Mexico around this time was far worse. But people 
have to remember that when a revolutionary government is facing a series 
of choices imposed on it by global imperialist hegemons, it will 
frequently act in a "realpolitik" fashion.

I just got a new copy of E.H. Carr's 3 volumes on the Russian Revolution 
to replace the one I sold to a comrade about 7 years ago. It is a very 
useful resource. From volume 3:

The indigenous Turkish movement of sympathy for communism which grew up 
in 1919 was mainly of peasant origin and was rooted in agrarian 
discontents. Its overt expression was the creation of a multitude of 
local Soviets which became for a time the effective organs of local 
government. The movement was fostered by Kemal, partly because its 
loyalty to the nationalist cause was fervent and unquestioned, and 
partly because an outlet was required for the real social and agrarian 
discontent represented by it. In the spring of 1920 it took organized 
shape in the creation of a Green Army which, recruited from the small 
and landless peasants, formed a major part of the national forces. The 
principal sponsors of the movement at this time, Hakki Behic and Hikmet, 
were ” easterners ” in respect of Turkish foreign policy and are both 
said to have been convinced Marxists. A somewhat farcical sequel of 
these proceedings was an officially sponsored Turkish communist party 
bearing the name of the ” Green Apple “. Hakki Behic was its leader; and 
according to a subsequent statement of a Turkish delegate to Comintern 
it was composed mainly of ”high officials and intellectuals “. Meanwhile 
the most successful leader of the Green Army was Edhem, a soldier of 
fortune who, while professing allegiance to Kemal, threatened to become 
a Turkish Makhno. The Green Army reached the summit of its success in 
the summer of 1920. But in September 1920 — the same month in which 
action against Armenia was decided on — Kemal felt strong enough to put 
his house in order by removing a potential source of rivalry or 
insubordination, and issued a decree dissolving it. The order was not 
obeyed, and Kemal temporized. In November he appointed as Turkish 
representative in Moscow Ali Fuad, an army commander whom he wanted to 
get out of the way, and made an offer to Edhem to accompany the mission. 
Edhem refused; and in December, when the campaign against Armenia had 
been success­fully concluded, Kemal finally decided to take action 
against the Green Army. On January 6, 1921, Edhem was routed and fled to 
the Greeks, and what was left of his movement was then quickly mopped up.

The suppression of Edhem was immediately followed by drastic steps 
against the Turkish communists. Suphi was seized by unknown agents at 
Erzerum, and on January 28, 1921, together with sixteen other leading 
Turkish communists, thrown into the sea off Trebizond — the traditional 
Turkish method of discreet execution. It was some time before their fate 
was discovered. Chicherin is said to have addressed enquiries about them 
to the Kemalist government and to have received the reply that they 
might have succumbed to an accident at sea. But this unfortunate affair 
was not allowed to affect the broader considerations on which the 
growing amity between Kemal and Moscow was founded. For the first, 
though not for the last, time it was demonstrated that governments could 
deal drastically with their national communist parties without 
forfeiting the goodwill of the Soviet Government, if that were earned on 
other grounds.


Of course, all of this was taking place during the time before the 
Comintern was "tainted" by Stalinism. Not only were the Turkish 
Communists sacrificed, so were the Armenians.

Now, for all I know, Wesley has about as much use for the early Soviet 
Union's foreign policy as he does for Cuba's. As I have so often noticed 
in my arguments with idealists in the Marxist left, they compare actual 
state powers against the Platonic ideal they have in their mind. Reality 
is bound to lose under such conditions.

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