[Marxism] Che

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Jan 4 06:26:10 MST 2019

I used this for an article on the Cuban revolution:


 From my article:

Guevara laid out his main ideas on socialist construction in a so-called 
"budgetary finance system." According to Carlos Tablada, author of "Che 
Guevara: Economics and Politics in the Transition to Socialism", Cuba 
would draw upon the following measures to make a planned economy work:

--advanced accounting techniques that permitted a better system of 
controls and an efficient, centralized management; as well as studies 
and practical application of methods of centralization and 
decentralization by the monopoly corporations;

--computer technology applied to the economy and management, and the 
application of mathematical methods to the economy;

--techniques of programming production and production controls;

--use of budgetary techniques as an instrument of financial planning and 

--techniques of economic controls through administrative means;

--the experience of the socialist countries.

Che summed up the spirit of the system as follows:

"We propose a centralized system of economic management based on 
rigorous supervision within the enterprises, and, at the same time, 
conscious supervision by their directors. We view the entire economy as 
one big enterprise. In the framework of building socialism, our aim is 
to establish collaboration between all the participants as members of 
one big enterprise, instead of treating each other like little wolves."

If accounting and controls was all there was to Guevara's concept of 
socialism, we would be unimpressed. After all, isn't what the United 
States and other advanced capitalist countries going through today 
nothing but an exercise in bottom-line mentality. Wouldn't Guevara's 
seeming obsession with efficiency and control crush the human spirit? At 
the same time he was writing articles on the necessity to introduce 
technology into the Cuban economy, students at Berkeley University, many 
of whom were sympathetic to the Cuban revolution, were demanding not to 
be "mutilated, folded or spindled." The mid-1960s were a period when 
large-scale computing had begun to be felt everywhere, including the 
liberal arts universities.

Key to understanding the relationship between the overall goal of 
efficiency and the importance of putting people first can be found in 
Guevara's approach to the Marxist category of value. It would be value 
that would mediate between society and the economy.

Simply put, Guevara believed that the law of value operates as a "blind, 
spontaneous force" under capitalism. Socialism, on the other hand, would 
allow conscious action upon the law of value in accordance with an 
understanding of the greater needs of society. In his Manual of 
Political Economy, Guevara spells out the way the socialist state can 
make use of the law of value.

"We consider the law of value to be partially operative because remnants 
of the commodity society still exist. This is also reflected in the type 
of exchange that takes place between the state as supplier and as the 
consumer. We believe that particularly in a society such as ours, with a 
highly developed foreign trade, the law of value on an international 
scale must be recognized as a fact governing commercial transactions, 
even within the socialist camp. We recognize the need for this trade to 
assume a higher form in countries of the new society, to prevent a 
widening of the differences between the developed and the more backward 
countries as a result of the exchange. In other words, it is necessary 
to develop terms of trade that permit the financing of industrial 
developments even if it contravenes the price systems prevailing in the 
capitalist world market. This would allow the entire socialist camp to 
progress more evenly, which would naturally have the effect of smoothing 
off the rough edges and of unifying the spirit of proletarian 

"We reject the possibility of consciously using the law of value in the 
absence of a free market that automatically expresses the contradiction 
between producers and consumers. We reject the existence of the 
commodity category in relations among state enterprises. We consider all 
such establishments to be part of the single large enterprise that is 
the state (although in practice this has not yet happened in our 
country). The law of value and the plan are two terms linked by a 
contradiction and its resolution. We can therefore state that 
centralized planning is the mode of existence of socialist society, its 
defining characteristic, and the point at which man's consciousness is 
finally able to synthesize and direct the economy toward its goal--the 
full liberation of the human being in the framework of communist society."

full: http://www.columbia.edu/~lnp3/mydocs/state_and_revolution/cuba.htm

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