Will Cuba Surrender to International Capital?

Pedro Campos

HAVANA TIMES, Sept. 17 — Fidel now says that he was misinterpreted, yet that doesn’t eliminate what is known by almost all Cubans and most earthlings: “State socialism in all its national varieties —sustained by State ownership, wage labor and the centralization of economic and political power (truly state monopoly capitalism that is disguised and administered by a party)— has failed in Cuba, as it has everywhere it’s been attempted.

The reason is simply that it is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms, a negation in itself.  Socialism implies the conscious action of revolutionaries, workers and the people in favor of the withering away of the State, and not of its magnification, along with the abolition of wage labor.

When the objective is to advance toward a new society that is different from capitalism, workers in a socialist society will organize themselves as the effective and real power to produce and administer society.  Simultaneously, the State, as a superstructural institution with its bureaucratic apparatuses, would begin to naturally lose its functions of economic, political and social control that for centuries were incrementally granted it by the hegemonic classes to ensure their interests. Such functions would be gradually assumed by labor and social communities to cease being actions characteristic of centralized specialized apparatuses “hanging from the sky,” as our friend Malime writes.

Photo by Ihosvanny

Socialism is the road to the disappearance of class differences and hegemonic classes; it is the road to the full freedom of the individual, to true equality (not egalitarianism), to the full exercise of the harmonic integration of human beings with nature and not the prevalence of the interests of classist institutions over the two.  It is the step from pre-history to history.  If one does something different, they must give it another name.

For socialism to eventually triumph on the earth, there seems to be a precondition that revolutionaries, workers, the left in general and people have just come to understand: What was called socialism in the 20th century, or “real socialism, which —with its specific variations— we still have in Cuba, never went beyond its good intentions and a few social achievements; it never became socialism.

Likewise, to continue insisting that this cannot be done because “imperialism hasn’t allowed us” is to accept the strategic victory of capitalism in advance.  It is to recognize imperialism’s superiority and to whisk away the historical truth concerning the neo-capitalist character of régimes that, in the name of socialism, have attempted to set up autocratic, statists and bureau-bourgeois societies. Behind that defeatism hides ignorance, opportunism and betrayal.

A new Cuban model

Socialism will have to be a process, one which will not be achieved once and for all and one that will have its own dynamics.  It will result from the growing influence of new freely-associated production relations, self-managed cooperatives characterized by collective or usufruct property, democratic management and the equal distribution of the common fruits of labor, which statists everywhere have always resisted.

Those who speak of the failure of “state socialism (ignoring that socialism has never existed) as the failure of collectivism, also premeditatedly obscure the fact that no such collectivism has ever been prevalent in such a system; instead, there has been greater economic and political centralization, even more so than in classical capitalism, only with an attempt to implement social distributive policies, thus creating a flagrant contradiction between the means and the ends.

On the other hand, true collectivism —and I’m still not referring to socialism— is triumphing even at the very core of modern capitalism.  This is evidenced through the widespread development of cooperatives, mutual aid societies, credit unions, many small family businesses and other forms of self-management that, despite their being immersed in the current crisis of the capitalist system, successfully resist its impact in a way that large traditional companies are unable, since these bigger firms operate on the basis of wage labor.

Capitalists, interested in remaining as the hegemonic class, have had to slowly modify the terms of exploitation, allowing some participation by their employees in operations for example.  This, according to Marx, is the first form of the decomposition of capital.  The workers, tired of being exploited, increasingly seek individual, family or cooperative solutions: forms of freely associated labor.

As long as the wage-labor forms of exploitation prevail, be they under private capitalists or the State mechanism, the hegemonic classes (capitalists and the bureaucracy, respectively) will specify specialized superstructural apparatuses (governments, laws, police, army, fiscal controllers, etc.) to preserve their interests from the protests and actions of the workers that they exploit.

It is logical that while socialism has not become the predominant system on the planetary scale, revolutions —both violent and peaceful— will have to develop their proper defense mechanisms in the face of international imperialistic interests.  However, those structures will be particular to these new forms of production, such as militias for collective and on-site defense (something similar to the attempt in Cuba with the Territorial Troops Militia and self-defense zones), direct democracy, participative budgeting, the self-supply of food, autonomous and democratic municipal powers, democratic planning and others.

Back to basics: The withering away of the State

Obrerismo” (workerism”), as my friend Ramon Garcia correctly calls it, is typical of traditional communist parties, which when coming to power never intended to change the wage-labor conditions of work for freely associated relations praised by Marxists and anarchists as being necessary for the development of socialism.  Moreover, by continuing to subject workers to that system of production, they reproduced —in different variations— models of the bourgeois State, obviating all the experiences of the Paris Commune.

As production and its organization would be the center of life of communities so that the workers could constitute themselves as effectively in power, the first thing would be for them to become those who concretely make the decisions at each production or service center; they would decide on what, how, how much and why they were producing.  This would give a new social sense to ownership and to production itself.  Accordingly, it would imply the socialization of appropriation, the path to overcoming the fundamental contradiction of capitalism: the increasingly private character of appropriation and the increasingly social nature of production.

In other articles I have explained that, based on the laws of economies governed by wage labor, the law of the falling tendency of the rate of profit —which leads to overproduction crises in capitalist societies due to the gradual concentration of investment in the means of production to the relative detriment of investment in the labor force— is made much more apparent under state monopoly capitalism (which underlies “state socialism”).

This is owing to its need to invest in extended bureaucratic apparatuses for control over the means of production and its wage-labor workers.  In addition, the State’s paternalistic equalitarian policies require huge subsidies.  These subsidies constitute an enormous expense that can only come out of depressing the wages of productive workers and de-capitalizing less “productive” State enterprises that do not receive resources to cover their maintenance costs, and even less to expand their reproduction (which is what happened, for example, with Cuba’s sugar industry).  The only difference is that here the crises engendered are those of underproduction.

It doesn’t work

As the State becomes increasingly unable to pay wages, workers lose interest in working under state capitalism, which discourages production, leads to the pilfering and embezzlement of resources, the destruction of the productive forces, work force instability, their moving to better-paid sectors, de-professionalization, emigration of the youth and professionals, and other forms of degeneration known by everyone.  The responsibility for all of this lies with the bureaucrats, who insist on blaming the workers for their unwillingness to work and their lack of “socialist consciousness.” (I don’t know how one can acquire a “socialist consciousness” while being exploited under a wage-labor system, and poorly paid on top of that.)

It doesn’t work.  A system cannot work that is incapable of neither paying its workers the cost of their labor power.  I’m not saying anything that was not said by President Raul Castro when he recognized that wages do not satisfy the needs of the workers, only that here we are trying to find a scientific explanation, beyond stating the problem.

This is not, as some defenders of the statist system try to claim, denigrating the Cuban Revolution, socialism or anything of that type.  As long as one is not fully aware of the error, it will not be corrected.  This is an attempt to explain the inadmissibility of continuing to cling to an unproductive system, a predator of human beings and the environment and a generator of all types of deviations that are destroying the country’s productive forces, compelling our young talent and professionals to emigrate, pre-maturely aging our population, generating abysmal social differences and degrading the historical values of socialism thought out by the great humanists of all times.

Poorly viewed, Cuban statism is rejected by the majority of the left in Latin Americana.  For a long time we have been an example to everyone of educational and health systems in the style of the typical welfare states of developed capitalism, though with innumerable deficiencies and an economy unable to sustain those systems.  Nonetheless, we have been very far from meeting all of the other aspirations of a people that has lived for 50 years under a regime described as socialist.

The Cuban people, in their majority, are now tired of promises; they want to live today – now. The future is today, it is reached day by day; otherwise it’s a hoax.  The “sparkling” capitalism that appears to us from the North has already dumbfounded the minds of many Cubans, and more than a few bureaucrats, thanks to the counterproductive, negligent and failed statist system – that of a “socialism” that has never existed and has increasingly fewer followers.  Our economy couldn’t be more deteriorated.  Our international lenders either have no more to give us or do not wish to.  The imperialistic blockade has loosened, but its worst consequences persist.

Preparando para turistas de EE.UU.

Some understood the statements on Iran and the holocaust by Fidel to The Atlantic magazine as a shift in search of support from the powerful Jewish lobby to create better relations with the US.  The bureaucracy that controls tourism with exploited wage labor fabricates and creates illusions, thinking that it will receive the blessings of the empire, though what Uncle Sam will do is gobble us up.

Photo by Caridad

Hoping that Americans will be allowed to travel and invest freely in Cuba, the Havana airport is being reconditioned to receive hundreds of thousands of US tourists, while construction of tourist paradises along our coasts have been accelerated.  The State is developing golf courses and bordering residences for millionaires, readapting port facilities to receive vacation cruise lines, importing tourist cars and yachts – with everything that this implies, especially for the environment and the de-prioritization of autonomous agricultural, artisanal and citizenry-focused development; these latter are areas where the laws and abusive regulations of the State, even with minor, continue to hinder communitarian, self-managed, cooperative and individual development: the truly socialist sector of the economy.

Do those who are promoting this invasion of tourists and money from the North have an idea of all of the economic, political, social and ecological consequences?

If the means and ends have any relationship, the prioritized means into which the State is concentrating investment for “development” have nothing to do with socialism.  It should be the truly socialist area of the economy, now de-prioritized, where investment is concentrated.  Could anyone say with accuracy how much the State has invested in the development of cooperative and self-management systems and how much in preparing themselves to accommodate US tourism?  That difference indicates the sense of their politics.

These are times of definition. Either the Cuban bureaucracy must clearly decide to change the obsolete model of the unsuccessful, wage-labor-based statist form of production and advance toward a more participative and democratic socialism that guarantees the self-development of communities and the rational production of food and goods necessary for the population, or it will end up like all the other “socialist” bureaucracies: seeking the aid of international capital, allying with it and surrendered its workers arms in order to survive.

The bureaucracy has two paths: merge with the people by sharing power with the workers, or try to swim with the sharks of foreign capital, which in our case —since we’re not big fish like in China or Russia— would mean our being devoured.

I refuse to believe that this latter is what Fidel and Raul want.

In Cuba, with our current situation, without having consolidated new production relations, without having achieved a generalized socialists consciousness, and given our history, our traditions, our uniqueness and our proximity to the US, to seek the “socialist” way out through that type of mercantile relationship, and not in via an autonomous and communitarian processes, would be like extending a bridge across the Strait for imperialism’s economic, political, social and intellectual penetration, one plagued with annexationist dangers.

Note: It is recommended that the reader review the author’s article written [in Spanish] in August 2007: Alerta Cuba: EE.UU. puede cambiar su táctica política, no sus fines (Cuba Alert: The US Can Change Its Political Tactics, but Not Its Ends)

(*) To contact Pedro Campos write:  [email protected]

25 thoughts on “Will Cuba Surrender to International Capital?

  • “The imperialistic blockade has loosened…”??? What a highly convenient closing for an analysis that blames everything on the internal processes of Cuba and includes not a single word about a truly genocidal blockade that can be blamed by objective and honest analysis for its role in distorting the Cuban economy. It is no international secret, as revealed by documents from various US administrations, that the aim of the blockade was to create extreme economic suffering that would push the Cuban people to a counter-revolution. Despite the impressive use of M-L terminology, analysis of this sort are only opportunistic at best and frankly dishonest at its worst. For all its genuine mistakes, the Cuban Revolution deserves a gold medal, as Fidel once said, for being able to survive the blockade and all the other undeclared acts of attritional warfare against Cuba. Anyone who has lived in the Third World can appreciate the devastation of imperialist subversion especially in the economic sphere across the board of political systems practiced there.

    This does not leave the Cuban Revolution and its historical leadership free of criticism. But external factors can never be dismissed as a major factor in honest analysis of the Cuban situation. A factor that is never applied to China and Vietnam. The question needs to be asked: what would have happened had there not been a blockade, And what would happen, if there was an unconditional lifting of the blockade? The blockade has not loosened – in fact, it has become more vigorous in some areas. Do your homework, Pedro Campos!

  • Grok and Sam are right. No political/economical system is ‘natural’, as it is socially constructed by us over the ages. Back in the middle-ages feudalism was also ‘natural’ as preached by the Church… now we can laugh at them, as we will do with the ones preaching the ‘end of History’ now.

  • Grok
    “Fact is, Julio: socialism CAN be built; and it WILL be built — whatever your type throws at us, to sabotage the effort.”
    I have ignored many of the things you said that attack me as person.
    I am not a type, I am as human as you are. We just have difference in opinion on some matters. We are both passioned.
    I am mainly for freedom to individuals. My belief is that freedom is incompatible with socialism. Because socialism restricts the economy of the country and therefore implies the eventual restriction in freedom to individuals.
    Eliminate freedom and you will get many countries to look just like Cuba. That will be horrible.
    I have not attacked you personally in any way and will continue not to do so. Hope you will refrain from doing so.

  • Sam
    with regards to this

    Of course greed is natural, but it’s not the only compulsion which drives humanity. If that were not the case, then Bill Gates and Warren Buffet wouldn’t be donating their billions.

    Yes I agree that greed is not the only compulsion that drives humans in fact I have placed Bill Gates in some post here as an example of how capitalism that from some point of view seem to be the domain of greedy individuals in truth ends up not been that way in the long run. Either by individuals donating their fortunes or by the great innovations and contributions this or other individuals are making to humanity as a whole.

    As I pointed out before. In a socialist system Greed does get punished and is not use while in capitalism it actually works in the benefit of society. When a butcher or shoe salesman try to get us their services or a farmer they do not do it because they want us to have shoes or meat or whatever they sell but because they have themselves needs and those needs are satisfied with a tangible convertible currency (Money).
    So all of this individuals working on their own self interest are able to provide for themselves and for others the products each needs. Society becomes a big network of relations between producers and consumers each demanding a particular product that makes prices go up and down depending on the value that the whole group of individuals assign to a particular product.
    There is other compulsions like compassion and love for other humans and that also exist in capitalism. I can show many Ted talks for example of people trying to solve issues faced by people in third world countries like Africa and latin America.
    Curiously I should point it is many of the best minds in the first world trying to solve their problems!
    Many of this efforts have nothing to do with making money.
    From eye glasses for poor people that can not afford to go to an ophthalmologist


    to laser weapons to kill female mosquito that propagate malaria over in many countries


    Now, think. This are not really problems we face in the developed world but they are big problems for very poor nations. The people solving this problems are in what we have called selfish or greedy societies. Then how can we explained it?
    It is explained because we all are humans. And for the great majority of humans it is normal to help other humans specially those that are weak, those that are poor, those that can not help themselves.
    This has nothing to do with capitalism or socialism but with the essence of being human.

    So the cruel and criminal capitalism that some of you try to portrait is not so.

  • Grok, do you mind writing proper English instead of the short hand writing you are using that makes it hard to read what you write?

  • Ok Grok
    If you have read what I have said on prior posts you probably know we are on agreement on some of the things you said here.
    Here is were we agree

    * Cuban current system is State Monopolistic Capitalism.
    * Cuban system is Stalinism.
    * Just because someone (Fidel Castro) said that Cuba was Socialist does not make it so.

    We keep going back to the definition.
    Can someone define clearly what socialism is?

    It seems to me that nobody here has a clue as to what it is since it has never existed.
    Will it work? So far in our collective experience the efforts to make it work have been unsuccessful independent of culture and level of resources in the country and quantity of people in the nation pursuing it.

    >Socialism is not natural.
    Sure it is. Just like sharing and common, meaningful and goal-driven work, and playfulness and a mother’s love are natural… (Apparently you didn’t understand me the first time.) And the only reason people like you can get away with constantly spouting crap like this is simply because *socialism does not already exist’ (and therefore it _cannot_ exist — a logical non sequitur).

    Ok, we know that there are resources that are not available for all. The solution capitalism gives is that those with more money will be able to get it, clearly explained by demand and offer. Now in your socialism what will be the solution? The solution I witness is that those at the top get that for themselves. But of course we have agreed that what I witness in Cuba is not socialism. So the question is. How would you distribute something that is not available for everyone?
    In capitalism since there is an economic incentive people will try to produce more of that object that is valuable to all. In socialism there is no such incentive, so not production and not efficiencies are researched to produce what is scarce.

    Socialism was define as a transitional society in theory but in practice is not possible to build. Further more what you call communism is nothing else than slavery. It is impossible to build and will make human society collapse.
    Will come back later with more

  • >As for my statement of some people are better than others
    >I was not even referring to capitalism but to socialism as I witness in Cuba.

    People R essentially the same everywhere. What’s your point? Socialism, by its very nature, is a _work-in-progress_: especially on a poor, isolated island with really only subjective *pretensions* to socialism — & little objective basis 4 such (yet). Instead (as amply demonstrated on this website), your type always kvetches @ the least thing U can find wrong @ other people’s difficulties in order 2 serve the ends of your specious & threadbare arguments. IOW: U have no point here.

    >How would you then explain that some of the leadership in Cuba
    >enjoy privileges they deny to everyone else?

    This is not socialism — it is stalinism (or its full ‘3rd World’ capitalist variation/analog). & it is indeed a threat 2 the very existence of the Revolution — as all stalinism eventually is. In fact, this fact is the very basis of the present crisis — & of the Party & bureaucracy’s now obvious attempt to solve it on the backs of the workers. But whatever it is: *it ain’t socialism*, Julio! They just SAY it is. Get that thru your head. Socialism OTOH is direct, democratic workers control of the state & economy. & the World has never had that yet, except for brief, inspiring moments — which have invariably been drowned in blood &|| tears. By capitalists & their stooges & goons.

    >When I was talking about Some people are better than others
    >I was referring to how people even in socialism try to distinguish
    >themselves from the working class.

    Obviously, class relations will B even *more* stark in a society which may claim 2B socialist — but in fact is objectively not so very much so. But in a truly socialist, worker-controlled state, class relations — & conflict — will become progressively attenuated over time, as the objective basis of class differences are systematically removed from the economy.

  • >Why do you think they finally decide to turn towards capitalism in Cuba?
    >It is small scale capitalism but capitalism nevertheless.

    You’ve never bothered 2 learn anything @ socialism Julio so there’s not much point in arguing details on it. & the Devil is very much indeed in the details of anything important: which R not 2B sloughed off or dismissed as irrelevancies (as your sort always does) 4 illegitimate short-term political gain.

    But in short: socialism (properly meant) is a transition stage of human society between capitalism & communism. & it is not 4 us wage-slaves of capital 2 define that future communist society either: it will operate under its own laws of social & economic development, & B in advance of us almost as we R 2 ancient slave society (& certainly in people’s future consciousness & intellectual life: when we can merely look about us today 2C the debased human type [ahem] produced by the present wretched system of systematic thievery & exploitation).

    So being a system in transition, socialism in any country must carry with itself many of the old forms of social & economic relations: such as wage-labor, class relations, & even market activity of some sort, etc. The thing is: when U attempt socialism in a POOR country — as all serious attempts so far have been situated — U have the serious & well-nigh intractable problem of trying 2 rationalize & distribute resources which do not — yet — exist. & such has been the problem with Cuba & all other “Third World” ‘peoples socialist democracies’.

    The CCCP itself was a very special case: because it indeed started out as a desperately poor, effectively 3rd World country: which was only a superpower under tsardom due to its ENORMOUS size — & consequent ability 2 concentrate vast resources 4 itself, however inefficiently. But it took the (invariably) deformed socialist state of the subsequent CCCP to rationalize those resources: & produce what became effectively a 1st World power.

  • >Capitalism is natural.
    Well, of course. Just like slavery and murder are natural.

    >Socialism is not natural.
    Sure it is. Just like sharing and common, meaningful and goal-driven work, and playfulness and a mother’s love are natural… (Apparently you didn’t understand me the first time.) And the only reason people like you can get away with constantly spouting crap like this is simply because *socialism does not already exist’ (and therefore it _cannot_ exist — a logical non sequitur).

    Of course, your type of ideolog means this in the sense that ‘unicorns do not exist’ — while the simpler, more obviously correct sense in which socialists mean it is that ‘a house does not exist before it is built’.

    And so yet again we have the willful — and calculating, AFAIC — confusion of logical categories, for political ends.

    Fact is, Julio: socialism CAN be built; and it WILL be built — whatever your type throws at us, to sabotage the effort.

  • I want to say that ‘Sam from california’ is AFAIC totally correct in his assessment of the arguments coming from the apparently a-historically-materialist (and obviously un-dialectically-materialist) mind of ‘Grady Ross Daugherty’.

    Not only does GRD not get what Sam the Man sez about the real nature of the state — and how Marx & Engels, et al., understood the process of its transformation and eventual dissolution into communism under socialist rule by the workers — but he even totally fails to grasp the intimate little historical-materialist process involved in the writing of “The Communist Manifesto” itself. And it should be obvious that his preconceived bias against the state — any state — because of our common experience of a World in which the stalinist deviation from socialism ruled and affected all our lives far too deeply, has colored all his perceptions on the subject — much for the worse — so that he has become oblivious to more subtle (but very real) processes of the working-up of rough conceptions into polished intellectual products (so to speak). Not to mention, again, his simply erroneous take on the very nature of the state — which is always and ever the expression of class relations in class society.

  • Not sure how many of you can read Spanish
    In any case do automatic translation on Google translate

    In this article one of the hierarchy is asking workers to be productive


    In capitalism is totally unnecessary.
    If the socialist consciousness was a real tangible thing
    there was no need to ask for it
    I can give you many many more examples that show that this socialist consciousness is pure fiction.

  • julio-I think your view of nature is myopic and simplistic. Of course greed is natural, but it’s not the only compulsion which drives humanity. If that were not the case, then Bill Gates and Warren Buffet wouldn’t be donating their billions.

    That the Cuban system has failures nobody can deny. But that doesn’t mean that Socialism is somehow “unnatural”. All systems are “unnatural” insofar as they impose limits and social norms regarding notions of land, property, economic privileges and rights, etc. Capitalism is “unnatural” insofar as it denies me the right to steal, a perfect “natural”, self-interested act. But Capitalism sees stealing as antithetical to its own purposes, so seeks to expunge it from the system. On the contrary, systems of organized theft and violence are prevalent in many places where the state is non-existent and the people lack significant solidarity (Afghanistan, Somalia, rural Colombia, rural Yemen). Both socialism and capitalism rely on structures and institutions to maintain and protect them. And both systems have the capacity for failure. That the Cuban model is failing seems more attributable to the fact that they are trying “small state Stalinism-lite” than to any failures of “socialism” as such. But Gorbachov, Trotsky, Allende, even Lenin and Deng Xiaoping believed that Socialism could be ideologically flexible and practical; that they all failed in their attempts have as much to do with the failures inherent in the systems they inherited, or political violence.

    Anyways, Capitalism as it exists today relies on the poverty of the third world to maintain itself. What keeps inflation low? Cheap Chinese imports. What keeps power cheap and automobiles running? Coal and gas which dumps CO2 into the air. What keeps food cheap? Agricultural subsidies, fertilizer, and genetic engineering. What is the main interest group for politicians to listen to? The richest people. All of these things and more create long-term contradictions that help in the short term but undermine the long-term survival of the system. More debt to china, more environmental degradation, more social conflicts between the majority and immigrant groups?

  • Grok, As for my statement of
    some people are better than others
    I was not even referring to capitalism but to socialism as I witness in Cuba.

    How would you then explain that some of the leadership in Cuba enjoy privileges they deny to everyone else?
    From having a home to a car from not having problems to get the food they need for their families to having the best medical service available in Cuba?

    When I was talking about Some people are better than others I was referring to how people even in socialism try to distinguish themselves from the working class. Go and compare the homes where the simple working class lives to were each of the leaders and see.
    Can you tell they are equal?
    I have pointed that before and the person I was talking said I was confuse. That what I was talking about was called equalitarianism! Not equality.
    It reminds me immediately of Animal Farm.

    All animals are equal but some are more equal than others!

  • Ok Grok
    Let me ask you this
    Where do you think the new capitalist in Cuba will be coming from?
    They will be Cuban and probably born after the revolution.
    Capitalism is natural. Socialism is not natural. No amount of brain washing will get cubans or any other people to work as slaves. You see the reason why capitalism is better than slavery is because people have a vested interest in working. In slavery people do not really care to produce. Only the slave owner cares for the slaves to produce. Socialism as in Cuba since they are paid so little. Is almost like slavery so people are in the same situation. If socialist consciousness was something real and tangible then they would have work harder. Even harder than in capitalist countries. But you know the answer. They do like they work but they do not.
    Your Marx and your Engel did not see the end result they theorize it was going to be good for the working people but it end up been worst. In paper communism looks like paradise but in practice is hell.

    People that work in Cuba for private capital like paladares and the new places will be doing much better economically than the ones paid by the socialist state.
    The thing is that states in general are very inefficient hierarchical structures of power with deep level hierarchies they are inefficient to act to issues and to detect problems so it will never ever work. And if people do not have personal vested interest in the outcome.

    Why do you think they finally decide to turn towards capitalism in Cuba? It is small scale capitalism but capitalism nevertheless.

  • On the main article (damn I feel like a spammer! I wish there was an edit function):

    I largely agree with the tone of the article. It reminds me of a Langston Hughes poem:

    What happens to a dream deferred?

    Does it dry up
    like a raisin in the sun?
    Or fester like a sore–
    And then run?
    Does it stink like rotten meat?
    Or crust and sugar over–
    like a syrupy sweet?

    Maybe it just sags
    like a heavy load.

    Or does it explode?

    Perhaps Castro knows that it is time for increased democracy and transparency in the system?

  • A note- i didnt explain the dialectical part well enough; Marx argued that the progress and development of a system depended on the unique principles on which it is based, and how the internal contradictions of a system lead to its replacement with a new structure of principles. How the system develops is dependent on how these principles both stem from and create new material conditions. This is why Marx argued that the market moves in cycles; the conditions of capitalism in a nation with a lot of economic potential leads to a huge boom. But this boom creates a bubble. The bubble then becomes the condition for the collapse of a Capitalist market. Likewise, Marx believed that State Socialism would be an interim system which would negate itself (ie, the state “withers away” and leads to Communism)

  • Grady-I think the problem is that you misinterpret the “dialectical” nature of Marxism. Marx believed that State Monopoly Capitalism was a tool, in the 1840s, which would be necessary to build these sorts of “free associations of workers”. You can’t build Socialism without seizing the State, even if you are a “participatory socialist”, because the State still needs to expropriate the wealth and the means of production from the wealthy. The “workers” need to be “educated” enough to build these links, and there needs to be a central structure which ensures that these economic communities don’t do things which are good for themselves but bad for everyone else (ie, pollution, overexploitation of resources, etc).

    The main problem is that autocrats use this argument as a pretext to misuse and expand their authority; this is where Stalinism comes in. Stalin didn’t invent Statism, he just made the concept long-term policy, as justified in terms of Russia’s backwards development.

  • >There is no such thing as socialist consciousness. Just like the new man.
    >They are myths. They do not exist.
    >I tell you what is real.
    >Greed is real.
    >The normal human desired to do better is real.
    >That some people are better than others is real.

    Pfft. Pathetic.

    Capitalist supporters love 2 LOUDLY spout this sort of idiocy: but they never stick around long enuff in any “dialog” 2 have such dreck decisively refuted… or they turn immediately to violence; 1 or the other. But in fact, humans very much *do* have an evolved _social_ consciousness which changes how people think & act in general, as individuals & among themselves, *as society itself changes over time*. & since capitalism has always been very unstable by its very nature — as demonstrated conclusively by Marx >140 years ago & proven every day of our lives, more & more tragically & brutally (& insanely, frankly) — educated & determined people the World over have been able 2 come 2 a common & (frankly) enlightened understanding that such a dangerously out-of-control system must NECESSARILY pass away — as have all social systems which have long outlived their usefulness; & the *only* possible _logical_ successor society 2 this semi-barbaric capitalist 1 can only B socialism. & in that, a *socialist* consciousness very much indeed *will* develop. & quite naturally & easily (& beautifully), for that matter.

    Greed is indeed part of being human — or being an animal, 4 that matter. But so is generosity. So is love, Julio. & as 4 the ugly capitalist (& feudal & slave society) shibboleth that “some people R better than others is real”: such a statement coming from U only serves 2 demonstrate 2 the World that U do not understand in the LEAST the nature of what the human struggle 4 democracy has been all about these past centuries: because while we R indeed all born with different capabilities, we in fact ALL have the right 2 EQUAL treatment in society. THAT is true democracy, Julio. 4 shame.

  • My “short-answer” post to this long article: the Partido Comunista de Cuba, thru its bureaucracy, has made it VERY clear by this official move that at least *some* large and powerful faction inside it and the bureaucracy absolutely intends to surrender wholly to capitalism (by whatever sly, oblique process) — and cut themselves all sorts of filthy, rotten, personally-enriching deals in the process: exactly as the russian and east-european stalinists did, 20 years ago.

    Whether the rest of the Party and bureaucracy and still-pro-socialist portion of the population understand that this is indeed truly the case, and are not completely snowed and deluded by the superficial and misleading words of the PCC government’s announcements and backgrounders — as *so* many in the Western Left have already once more demonstrated themselves pathetically gullible to be, in swallowing wholesale and defending this outrage, even vehemently and beyond reason — remains to be seen. Frankly, I am not sanguine on the possibility. The Western Left remains largely cretinous itself, after decades of demoralizing disorientation and subterfuge: in no small part because of exactly similar stalinist betrayals in the past.

    And so we have yet one more egregious example of that here.

    As things stand, I myself can only see the PCC as being no longer capable of the least possibility of leading anyone to socialism, ever, now — whatever “Comrade Fidel” says. As in 1968 in Czechoslovakia and France, 1956 in Magyarorszag (Hungary), Polska, etc., ad nauseam, on top of the utter betrayals of the 1980s and 1990s: vested personal, class and organizational interests — just as in any class society of the past or present — will once more take precedence over the common good of society and humanity. And therefore the only possibility of real change is — as always — to be accomplished by _other_ means…

    ¡Viva la Revolución Cubana!
    All Power to the Workers’ and Farmers’ Councils and Communes.

  • Pedro, I love your articles. I only wish you could follow the development of the Communist Manifesto through its three drafts in 1847. If you could, you would see how the “statist” economic formula came into being.

    The League of the Just, in ’47, commissioned Engels and Marx to write up a document of basic principles. Engels took this commission seriously and set to work. He came up with “A Communist Confession of Faith,” and it was accepted by the League.

    A few months later Engels quadrupled the size of this document and renamed it “Principles of Communism.” The Communist League–the new name of the League of the Just–accepted this second document. At this point Marx had not added anything.

    Engels wrote to Marx and said that the “catechism” form of the first two drafts was inadequate, because more material needed to be added. He also renamed the third draft the “Communist Manifesto.”

    No where in Engels’ early drafts did the socialist state get the stipulation of owning all the instruments of production. He called for “free association.” It was Marx, who now came into the drafting process, who added the statist concept of socialist economy. (Marx apparently agreed with Hegel’s adulation of the German state.)

    On the next to the last page of the new Communist Manifesto’s second chapter, Karl Marx clearly inserted “concentration of all the instruments of production in the hands of the state.” This did not come from Stalin or anybody else.

    You continue to misunderstand the origin of “state monopoly socialism,” and mis-characterize it as “state monopoly capitalism.” Of course it doesn’t work, and you and all Cubans and most earthlings understand this. But it is not a form of capitalism. It is a form of socialism because a socialist political party still has state power in its hands. “True,” workable socialism therefore could be implemented fairly easily, given a theoretic correction by the party.

    You are a theoretician, Pedro. It’s your responsibility to bring theoretical clarity to the situation in Cuba–and to the world movement. As long as you do not accept the true origin of the statist, or state monopoly system of your country however, I believe you will be unable to advance a usable reform program for the party.

    We’ve got our hands full in the U.S. trying to build a movement from scratch and rejuvenate the defunct socialist movement here. As in Cuba, the state monopoly hypothesis for socialist economy has all but destroyed the transformational left. But tomorrow is a new day and history is not yet through.

    Good luck to you and all the sincere comrades.

  • ” I refuse to believe that this latter is what Fidel and Raul want ”

    With this statement, the esteemed Pedro Campos says it all.
    We are still believing that the solution for the survival of socialism, or any form of goverment responsive to its constituency will emerge from a given leader.

    Successful societies can not be created or evolve without the miriad of forms and names of “free associations”
    And I mean free in the sense that the group acts in response to the ideas and leadership of its members and not out of an egotistic ruler or caudillo.

    History is fascinating. Cubans suffered the indignities of American intervention who imposed leasing terms in our land. Almost a hundred years later, we are now beginning to allow them and other foreigners to come and lease our land for 99 years or whatever. No wonder the farmers and growers reject as an insult the idea of a 20 years lease.

  • Pedro, I am convinced that Fidel meant that the Cuban model was too capitalist when he said that “The Cuban model doesn’t even work for us anymore”. Thus he did not backtrack and he is essentially in agreement with your point of view, at least with regards to the problems.

    The issue of selling out to tourism is a very important one. Cuba needs foreign capital, but in my opinion tourism, which essentially caters for the wealthy, is incompatible with socialism. This is a great contradiction that needs to be addressed.

  • Interesting article.
    I thought that during the rectification process with more emphasis on voluntary work the government was attempting to develop in people a socialist consciousness. And I do think generally there is more of a collective,community outlook amongst the people of Cuba. But ofcourse material conditions have a major impact on the way people think. If there are only short term individual solutions (buy bread on the black market) rather than collective ones, then consciousness is going to be shaped by that.
    I still think Cuba has gone the furthest along the road of a society wihich has at its core the interests of its people rather than the interests of the few at the top and how they can profit.

  • With regards to your question

    Will Cuba Surrender to International Capital?

    The answer will be Yes.
    The Castro brothers will take any money that will keep them in power.

  • Pedro the explanation is simple
    There is no such thing as socialist consciousness. Just like the new man. They are myths. They do not exist.
    I tell you what is real.

    Greed is real.
    The normal human desired to do better is real.
    That some people are better than others is real.
    That if people are not economically stimulated or perceive appreciable stimulus they do not perform best is real.
    That freedom is needed for people to fix problems and advance society is real.

    So you see, the Cuban model has been the antithesis of all these things that is why is as bad as it is. I just can not get my head around why it took them so long to realize that it was not working.
    20 years ago when things were better in Cuba I knew things were not working. Even before that people in Cuba knew that things were not working.

    As for the exploitation you talk about. I am sure that the new capitalist will actually increase the standard of living for themselves and for the lucky ones that will work for them. 10 to 20 dollars a month is one of the lowers salaries in the whole world. It competes with the poorest nations on earth!

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