“I see this Movement as one of the many inspired by the bourgeoisie’s desire to free themselves from the economic chains of imperialism. I always thought of Fidel as an authentic leader of the leftist bourgeoisie, although his image is enhanced by personal qualities of extraordinary brilliance that set him above his class. It is in that spirit that I joined the struggle; honestly without any hope of going beyond the country’s liberation, ready to leave when the conditions of the struggle would shift toward the right…”
— Che Guevara.
Cuba is carrying on a tremendous struggle against US imperialism. At the same time it is clear that the party and state are corroded by revisionist trends. A brief analysis by myself is given below. The great Che Guevara was a defender of Stalin and was critical of the revisionist Soviet Union and the path of the Castro brothers: it is the tradition of Marxism-Leninism which is needed in Cuba today.
“Socialism means social justice and equality, but equality of rights, of opportunities, not of income”, Raul said in a speech to the National Assembly on July 11, 2008. “Equality is not the same as egalitarianism. Egalitarianism is in itself a form of exploitation: exploitation of the good workers by those who are less productive and lazy.”
“From now on, if the bureaucracy doesn’t hold us back … [n]obody will have to wait for the generous hand of the state for an increase in salary or pension, which may have to be postponed … If you need it, or if you want to live more comfortably, you can work more”, Luis Sexto commented on July 15.
This line coming out of Cuba should surprise no one. Marxist-Leninists paying attention have known for decades that Cuba was never a socialist society. This is not merely a single comment by one figure in the Cuban Communist Party—this is a reflection of the dominant mode of production in Cuba. The Cuban Revolution took the line of Khrushchev and Brezhnev in the revisionist Soviet Union and continue to apply it in building “socialism.” What this means is that Cuba has openly declared itself liberal capitalist for all to see. Cuba’s model is a more radical version of European social-democracies like Sweden. Its essential production relations have remained unchanged. As the quote from Marxist-Leninist Che Guevara shows, Cuba’s revolution was never mainly about attaining socialism but about national liberation from the dictator Batista.
From State-Capitalism to Market Capitalism
Cubans can now legally buy from capitalist cell phone companies, stay in luxury hotels, rent cars, cultivate unused state land with cash crops and buy supplies at privately-owned stores without state permission. The government will soon take away restrictions on small businesses as well, bolstering Cuba’s petty-bourgeois class, the backbone of capitalism.
On April 21, 2011, an article appeared in the L.A. Times announcing that Cubans would be able to buy and sell homes for the first time since revolution:
SAO PAULO: Cubans will be allowed to buy and sell homes for the first time since Fidel Castro seized power in 1959.
It flows from the unprecedented reforms introduced by the Communist Party at its first summit in 14 years. Since the revolution Cubans have been allowed to swap homes only through a complicated system or pass them on to their children.
But reforms agreed at the first congress since 1997 includes a plan to legalise property sales. Under the current system of home swaps, a culture of corruption involving ”under-the-table” payments has developed.
The Cuban President, Raul Castro, who is Fidel’s brother, said a concentration of property in fewer hands would not be allowed but no details were given on how sales would operate.
The plan to allow home sales was one of 300 approved by the party. They include more self-employment, cutting a million government jobs in coming years, encouraging foreign investment and reducing state spending.
Political reform was also on the agenda. President Castro used his speech at the weekend to propose that top political positions, including the presidency, should be limited to two five-year terms.
The changes were backed by Fidel Castro, who was president of the country for 49 years until 2008. An almost ghost-like Fidel attended the closing of a Communist Party conclave on Tuesday that marked the formal end of his era.
Fidel, 84, smiled, clapped and nodded but remained silent as his younger brother, Raul, 79, replaced him as the party’s first secretary and warned that the reforms, though badly needed, would bring hardships.
While the party’s first congress in 14 years renovated about half the membership of its ruling Politburo and the broader Central Committee, there was no sign of the generational change in leadership that many Cubans had hoped for.
Replacing the 79-year-old Raul as second secretary is Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, 80 and a long-time party functionary. In the third spot is Ramiro Valdes, a reputed hardliner who is 79.
The new Politburo, which has been cut from 24 to 15 members, has an average age of 68.
Half of the 12 incumbents who retained their places are generals from the armed forces and Interior Ministry who are known friends of Raul, who was defence minister for 48 years.
The Havana dissident and former MiG pilot Vladimiro Roca described it as ”the militarisation of the Politburo”.
President Obama has spoken of lifting the embargo and the Castro Brothers have spoken of allowing US capital in to have free reign with the island’s resources. Their program means an eventual complete liberalization of Cuba. Cuba’s state-capitalist system is being primed and fattened to be privatized any week now.
Raul has been busy purging the so-called Cuban Communist Party of any remaining hardliners from the party. In this he has the full support of Fidel Castro. This fully supports the Marxist-Leninist line of state-capitalism and revisionism in Cuba. The Castro Brothers are behaving as a new bourgeoisie opening the way for an imperialist takeover of Cuba.
Liberal Capitalist Reforms in 2008 Alone:
February 24 Raul Castro’s acceptance speech
February 28 Cuba signs two UN human rights treaties
February 29 Raul meets with top Vatican Cardinal – talks about a release of reactionary political prisoners with conditions.
March 21 Cuba launches emigration web site
March 21 Cuba releases rare economic report
April 29 Death sentences in Cuba commuted
Attitude Towards Cuba & Revisionism in General
Ernesto “Che” Guevara criticized such Dengist and neo-colonial policies toward Cuba in his writings before he left in the 60’s. In my mind, the best revolutionary in the Cuban movement was Che, since he both upheld Stalin and sided with the Sino-Albanian bloc during the Sino-Soviet Split. Neither Castro brother has ever done either of these things. Fidel promotes the bourgeois line of Gorbachev and Raul idolizes the state-capitalist development road of China.
Cuba’s system is much more progressive than the savage neo-liberal policies pursued by the rest of the US client states in Latin America. We must be against intervention or takeover in Cuba by any imperialist power, whether by military intervention or on the consent of the Castros themselves. We must oppose any imperialist aggression against the island nation and uphold its right to self-determination in the face of the half-century-long embargo against Cuba designed to hamper its success as a more leftist political system. This does not mean we must uphold Cuba as a Marxist or Leninist nation.