Saturday, June 04, 2011

Cuba for Sale

Cuba is going through a process of capitalist restoration. The 6th Cuban Communist Party Congress held in April 2011 resolved to make major changes for the Cuban economy to overcome its stagnation. They represent a wholesale embrace of the capitalist market. No longer limited to the ‘external sector’ where foreign corporates have made joint ventures with state corporates for years, but for the whole economy. Cubans are now being encouraged to adopt market practices such as buying state property as private property and employing wage workers. Thus the capitalist market will replace state allocation of resources as the main mechanism of the economy. Marxists analyse this as a shift from state planning to the law of value, and hence a shift from a Workers State, albeit deformed from its birth in 1959, to a Capitalist State.

The Cuban bureaucracy has ruled in place of workers, and thus deformed the character of the workers state since the revolution. It has played a counter-revolutionary role in the class struggle since it became dependent on the Soviet Union in the early 1960s. Cuba modelled itself on that Stalinist Degenerated Workers State and its theory of ‘socialism in one country’ cutting itself off from the workers in the rest of Latin America and Africa where it consistently backed the national bourgeois leaderships against popular anti-imperialist struggles. To cite one glaring example, Castro visited Chile to back Allende’s parliamentary road to socialism against the independent armed struggle of the organized workers. The 1973 Pinochet coup was the result.
Despite its loyalty to the Soviet Union the parasite bureaucrats of the Cuban CP learned the lesson from its collapse that workers’ property could no longer allow it to extract its privileges from workers labor. But to avoid the fate of the USSR which opened itself up to capitalism by means of rapid ‘shock treatment’, Cuba looked towards China’s gradual restoration of capitalism. It began to open a sector of the economy to foreign private investment and found that the new market relations with imperialism were much more lucrative for the bureaucracy than trying to defend the planned economy. So it now seeks to complete the process and turn itself into a new bourgeois class. The 6th Cuban CP Congress in April marks a decisive break from the revolution and the sealing of the capitalist counter-revolution as a world historic defeat of the international working class.

Following China’s ‘capitalist road’

The Cuban bureaucracy, desperate to become a new bourgeoisie has ‘sold’ capitalist restoration using the same language as that used by the Chinese CP to cover its restoration of capitalism - 'market socialism'. China underwent a deformed workers revolution in 1949 where the bourgeoisie were overthrown and expropriated, but where the bureaucracy usurped the working class to rule ‘Communist China’ as a privileged caste living off workers labor. But the planned economy underwent long term stagnation due to its isolation from the world economy and its failure to develop the forces of production.

A faction of the bureaucracy ‘the capitalist roaders’ took power and opened up the economy to the capitalist market. Resistance to restoration was decisively suppressed at Tiananmen in 1989. In 1992 at the 14th Chinese CP Congress and at the political committee meeting that immediately followed the Chinese bureaucracy formally took the decision to restore capitalism and the law of value to organize the economy in place of the state plan. The CCP ‘sold’ this fateful decision as ‘market socialism’ to disguise the end of the Deformed Workers State and the emergence of a new capitalist state.

Since that time China has reintroduced capitalism in the whole of the economy. It encouraged imperialist powers to play a central role in revolutionizing production in the export sectors, rapidly accumulated capital in the state sector and adopted new technology. Today China is an emerging imperialist economy now recognized not only as an economic rival to the US and EU imperialist powers, but also a political rival that has become a model for many semi-colonial countries to break away from the domination of US and EU powers. This is clearly the case in Cuba where the Castoite CP since the demise of the Soviet Union has looked to China as the ‘socialist’ alternative to US imperialism, and thus a successful model for Cuba to follow along its own ‘capitalist road’.

Chavista Popular Front

Cuba’s ‘capitalist road’ converges with the much vaunted Chavista '21st century socialism'. This is the key to the defeat of Latin American workers which is necessary to allow Cuba to complete its historic counter-revolution. Chavez’ Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela (and which leads the ALBA countries including Bolivia and Ecuador) has trapped Latin American workers behind a popular front with China. Chavez famously talks of walking hand in hand with China towards ‘21st century socialism’. It is the counter-revolutionary role of the Chavista popular front in Latin America that allows Cuba to complete a historic counter-revolution by the Chinese method of many defeats and repressions of workers over the decades and then to complete that historic defeat. It follows that if the Cuban counter-revolution is to be defeated before it is altogether victorious, it is necessary to smash the Bolivarian popular front. We cannot stress this enough. Chavez and Castro are part of an 'anti-imperialist' bloc with China and semi-colonial semi-fascists like Gaddafi and Assad to stop the new wave of workers’ uprisings against the global crisis-uprising which can play the critical role of breaking up the popular fronts and the fake 'market socialism' that ultimately serves imperialism.

So will the Cuban bureaucracy succeed in completing the restoration process before the world revolution destroys the Stalinist/fake Trotskyist barrier to socialist revolution in Latin America and brings a political revolution to Cuba? It depends on whether the Arab revolution deepens and spreads into the rest of Africa, into Europe, Asia and Latin America, where the strangle hold of the Stalinist/Menshevik popular front which ties the workers to imperialism is destroyed, and the international revolution advances to victory. Of course this means first and foremost a program for Political Revolution even at this late stage in Cuba.

Political Revolution, Social Revolution, Permanent Revolution

Reality is complex and Marxists know that simplifying it unnecessarily results in tragic outcomes for the toiling masses. We are not 'objectivists.' We do not believe the 1938 Transitional Program of Political Revolution against the usurpers of the workers' political power, the Stalinist parasite bureaucracy, will suffice in the Cuban case to produce a healthy workers state on the developmental path to socialism and communism. Methodologically speaking the 'Transitional Program' prepared us to analyse whatever situation would come the workers' way. But this is not at all to say that it gave us an exhaustive catalogue of historical possibilities, as some sectarians would have us believe.

As the capitalist restoration has been underway for some time and has now, with the firing of a half million workers, it has gathered speed and force, increasingly the transitional demands of the program for socialist revolution are objectively called for. As the Castroite bureaucracy goes about transforming itself into a Chinese-model 'red' bourgeoisie, the Cuban working class must see in itself its own best hope for reversing this historic defeat by overthrowing the usurpers of the workers' political power and 'expropriating the expropriators' of the social wealth, of the labor of the revolutionary generations. Today combined tasks of the political revolution (against the bureaucracy) and social revolution (to defend social property, seize capitalist property, and put it under workers’ control) are on the agenda. To accomplish these tasks moreover, they need more than hope; they need a vanguard internationalist workers party of their own making, a new International, a World Party of Socialism, based on the 1938 Transitional Program, one which never subordinates their well being or future to alien class interests.

The Cuban working class remains the best hope in reversing this historic defeat by overthrowing the Castroist bureaucracy which is on the point of transforming itself into a copy of the Chinese ‘red’ bourgeoisie. Armed with a revolutionary workers' internationalist program, the Cuban workers need to mobilize and rally behind them the Latin American masses currently fenced in behind the Chavista Popular Front. Here we have a program for socialist revolution that must break from the popular front, exposing its leaders as bourgeois Bonapartists who, while posing left in the anti-imperialist fight, are actually the agents of imperialism. No better weapon to explode the Chavista popular front is the exposure of its complicity in defending the dictatorships in North Africa and the Middle East. Why does Chavez defend Gaddafi and Assad the two most murderous dictatorships posing as ‘socialist’? Because Chavez recognises in their bloody suppression of the masses, precisely what steps he will have to take to repress the masses when it becomes clear to them that he too is the agent of the imperialist bourgeoisie!

The role of revolutionaries today then is to awaken the youth vanguard who are leading the revolution in North Africa and the Middle East, with our program for Permanent Revolution, and to fight for the unity of this vanguard with the workers organized in the base of the unions, to fight for socialist revolution, defeating by armed struggle not only the dictatorships imposed by imperialism, and the facade of ‘democratic’ imperialism represented by social democracy in the imperialist countries, but also and most critically, the death trap of the Chavista popular front that ties the hands of the vanguard of the revolution behind Bonapartists whose role is to prepare for the full on fascist reaction when it becomes clear to imperialism that it faces a revolutionary challenge to its class rule. 

  • Defend the right to a job! No Layoffs! 
  • Defend Socialized Medicine! 
  • Defend and expand socialized agriculture! 
  • For workers control of the economic plan! 
  • Stop the capitalist restorationists! 
  • Drive out the Castroite fake communists! 
  • No to 21st c. 'market socialism'! 
  • Down with Canadian, Chinese and Spanish imperialist exploitation! 
  • Defeat the stranglehold of US imperialism.   
Humanist Workers for Revolutionary Socialism and Communist Workers Group
June 1, 2011.

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