Cuba

Is Cuba Socialist?

Author: 

Paul Hampton

This book is a pseudo-debate between Peter Taaffe of the Socialist Party and CWI (formerly Militant) in Britain and Doug Lorimer of the Australian Democratic Socialist Party (DSP).

It is also, I guess, an attempt to check the recent rash of Castro-worship in the Scottish Socialist Party, with whom Taaffe maintains a strained relationship.

A review of Cuba: Socialism and Democracy by Peter Taaffe

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Che Guevara: the politics behind the icon

Who was Che Guevara?

Ernesto Guevara was born in 1928 to middle class parents in Argentina.

He studied medicine at the University of Buenos Aires and after qualifying as a doctor travelled through Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Columbia and Venezuela in 1953 – recorded in his Motorcycle Diaries.

In 1954 Guevara was in Guatemala when a CIA-backed coup overthrew the reforming Arbenz government, which turned him towards political activity.

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Cuba after Fidel Castro

Author: 

Sam Farber

In a recent interview with the US socialist magazine Against the Current, exiled Cuban Trotskyist Sam Farber details the indications that after Fidel Castro's death Cuba may follow the path towards the world capitalist market initiated by Deng Xiaoping in China.

Farber reports that Raul Castro (Fidel's presumed successor) has praised the "Chinese model", and notes "the role of the Cuban army, Raul's stronghold, as a big player in joint enterprises, including the tourist industry.

Exile Cuban Trotskyist Sam Farber details the indications that after Fidel Castro's departure Cuba may follow the path towards the world capitalist market initiated by Deng Xiaoping in China.

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The new mañana socialism from above

A new left-wing consensus is emerging, a “common sense” that takes Latin America as its point of departure and which combines many of the worst features of previous versions of “socialism from above”.

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Hagiography, not biography

Harry Glass reviews The Fidel Casto Handbook by George Galloway

This is pure hagiography of the last grand Stalinist autocrats by one of his most loquacious apologists.

It is the modern equivalent of a biography of Josef Stalin by Stalinist Albanian supremo Enver Hoxha.

It is a requiem for Stalinism by one its last loyal servants. The timing of its publication was perhaps originally intended to coincide with Castro’s death, following his illness last summer. But Casto lives on.

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George Galloway's new book on Fidel Castro - a eulogy not a biography

The Fidel Castro Handbook by George Galloway is a hagiography about one of the last grand Stalinist autocrats by one of its most loquacious apologists.

It is the modern equivalent of the biography of Josef Stalin by Albanian tankie Enver Hoxha.

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A “peaceful transition” in Cuba?

“The United States respects your aspirations as citizens and we will stand with you to secure your rights — to speak as you choose, to think as you please, to worship as you wish and to choose your leaders freely and fairly in democratic elections”.

Or so Condoleeza Rice said recently — attempting to exploit Fidel Castro’s illness in order to promote a “peaceful transition” to “democracy”. Meanwhile US officials announce plans for a major deployment of Navy and Coast Guard to prevent refugees from reaching the US in the event that these plans are successful.

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Are Latin American revolutions a "process"?

On Saturday I went to Socialist Resistance's Latin America dayschool, which had sessions focusing in particular on Bolivia, Venezuela and Cuba. While there was open discussion where members from other groups could say what they thought - all too rare for many left "schools" - I felt that key questions about the character of these governments were ignored, and it had little focus on independent, working class politics.

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Socialist Worker hails Guevara's "revolutionary" credentials

Writing about the V&A exhibition of the famous Che Guevara photo in this week’s Socialist Worker Tim Sanders writes:

“The power of this image ultimately comes from the fact that Che was a genuine revolutionary, a fighter against capitalism and injustice. It is this authenticity that gives the image its force and is the one thing the image makers cannot hope to manufacture.

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The Cuban revolution revisited: Part VI - the Cuban working class

The key test of Castro’s movement was and is its relationship to the working class in Cuba. Farber’s book does not contain much new information on workers struggles during the period, though it clearly identifies the control Castro attained over the labour movement as a crucial turning point on the road to a Stalinist regime.

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The Cuban revolution revisited: Part V – the role of the USSR

Farber tries to explain the evolution of the Cuban regime by grounding his interpretation in the context of the period. By the late 1950s, many people had the perception that the USSR was catching up and even surpassing the US – symbolised by the first Soviet intercontinental ballistic missile and the Sputnik launch in 1957.

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The Cuban revolution revisited: Part IV – the role of the US

If US-Cuban relations were neo-colonial in the 1950s, US policy was essentially one of “law and order and business as usual”. In the context of the Cold War, support for any Latin American government professing anti-Communism, whether they had been democratically elected or were military dictatorships. Hence US backing for Batista during the 1950s. (2006 p.73)

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The Cuban revolution revisited: Part III – Castro’s group

Fidel Castro was undoubtedly the central historical figure in the Cuban revolution. Farber locates Castro within the long Cuban and Latin American tradition of populist nationalism - as a caudillo with particular political ideas and organisational practices that “transcended” that tradition.

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The Cuban revolution revisited: Part II – Political economy

Any Marxist account of the Cuban revolution has to be rooted in an analysis of Cuba’s political economy, to explain the relative weight of the contending classes and of the existing state, and to understand what drove millions of Cubans to support Batista’s overthrow.

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The Cuban revolution revisited: Part I – Overview

Review of Samuel Farber, The Origins of the Cuban Revolution Reconsidered (University of North Carolina Press, 2006)

What was the class character of the Cuban revolution of 1959-61? More than any other Marxist over the last forty-five years, Sam Farber has tried to tackle this question from the standpoint of Third Camp working class socialism.

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Cuba today

In March 2003 75 Cuban dissidents were arrested, charged with treason, and given sentences of up to 26 years.

Around the same time, Cubans trying to escape the island by boat were arrested. Three of them were summarily executed by firing squad, marking the end of a one-year moratorium on the death penalty in Cuba.

Defenders of the Cuban government inside and outside the country claim that the dissidents are “counter revolutionaries”. In fact, they hold a variety of political positions.

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Road Rage

Bruce Robinson reviews The Motorcycle Diaries.

This film relates the story of an eight-month journey through South America taken by Ernesto “Che” Guevara and Alberto Granado in 1952.

It is difficult to disentangle the film from a foreknowledge of Guevara’s subsequent life and death, and the politics that went with them. But it would be a shame if anyone were put off the film because they expect an uncritical retelling of the Guevara myth. The film is well worth seeing in its own right.

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Oppose political repression in Cuba

By Joan Trevor

In March and April the Cuban government arrested dozens of oppositionists for allegedly working with the US to overthrow Fidel Castro's regime. Many of those arrested were quickly tried and have received long prison sentences. Human rights organisations have protested against the crackdown on these 'dissidents', who range from opposition leaders to grassroots human rights activists. The Campaign for Peace and Democracy, the US based organisation that originally developed the 'No to war, no to Saddam Hussein' statement circulated by the Alliance for Workers' Liberty, has protested as well.

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How should Che Guevara be commemorated?

In Workers’ Liberty 42 , Helen Rate rightly criticises the Socialist Workers’ Party’s opportunistic attitude towards Che Guevara. The thirtieth anniversary of his murder, this October, prompted much discussion of his legacy, both on the left and in the bourgeois press. Although I agree with Helen’s overall assessment of Guevara, I think that certain issues about his life and politics need to be drawn out more sharply than an article which focuses on the SWP is able to do. Recent biographies of “El Che,” particularly one by John Lee Anderson, have shed new light on his place in history and allow us to make a more balanced assessment.

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