Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

CASTROISM - A left-Trotskyist analysis of stalinism on Cuba 1962

Expand Messages
  • Nemo Etomer
    CASTROISM - DEADLY DANGER TO THE CUBAN REVOLUTION By Albert Weisbord (From the magazine La Parola del Popolo December 1962) IN TWO relatively recent articles
    Message 1 of 4 , Oct 30, 2005
      CASTROISM - DEADLY DANGER TO THE CUBAN REVOLUTION
      By Albert Weisbord

      (From the magazine "La Parola del Popolo" December 1962)



      IN TWO relatively recent articles La Parola del Popolo has pointed
      out certain dangerous tendencies existing in the adoption of
      Castroism by the Cuban Revolution.

      In the June-July 1961 issue in dealing with Castro's ransom proposals
      we wrote: "Castro may be denounced as a communist stooge, but he can
      never be acclaimed as a Marxist. He is a mere Jacobin, a man who has
      attached himself to the people from the top and who essentially looks
      at them from the mountain peak of his intellectual contempt and
      Spanish pride as a rabble without great brains or historic
      initiative." The article concluded: "Let the Cuban revolutionary
      workers and peasants learn the bitter lessons from this episode. Let
      them put a bridle on Castro and force him to act not like a catholic
      savior but like a modest leader of the working class training and
      developing them for leadership and decision making in a Marxist
      manner."

      We followed this up with a longer article entitled "Perspective of
      the Cuban Revolution" appearing in the December-January 1962
      issue: ". . . . it is absolutely essential to raise the question of
      general elections in which the workers and toilers will be entirely
      free to vote to make their choices and to participate actively in all
      government and political activities.

      "There is now only one party in Cuba, why should not there be
      elections? There is now a new proletarian state (supposedly, A.W.) in
      Cuba, why should not there be a new constitution? Why should not
      SOVIETS be formed in Cuba as proletarian organs of power? . . . But
      the proletariat must now be allowed to vote and express its will.
      What is Cuba waiting for? To wait further is a major crime against
      the people of Cuba? Working class elections can no longer be delayed!
      An advancing proletarian revolution can no longer tolerate this
      dictatorship OVER the working class."

      Another year has gone by and still there are no worker's elections.
      Why? Because both the Soviet leaders and Castro are opposed to them.
      The Soviets know that working class elections to the organs of state
      power will also mean working class elections within the governing
      party and once such a collective party is formed and developed it
      will not allow Cuba to be dictated to by an outside force not
      motivated by international proletarian considerations. Such a
      situation would spoil the game by which the Soviet leaders want to
      use Cuba as a tool for their own international maneuvers rather than
      for the interest of the world working class. Castro is opposed to
      elections because he knows such elections both in Cuba and within the
      ruling party then formed would be the best guarantee that the Cuban
      Revolution would go forward in its mission to carry out the interests
      of the working class to the end. Castro wants to use the working
      class for his own purposes not necessarily identical with working
      class rule and development.

      It is now time to make a thorough analysis of this Castroism because
      the Cuban Revolution is in deadly peril not only from the United
      States and Latin American reactionaries but also from within. Either
      Castroism as described herein is ended and replaced by a working-
      class rule or the Revolution stands in danger of death.


      THE HISTORY of Latin America is filled with Castro
      type "revolutionists" whose policies and histories, springing from
      the conditions peculiarly prevailing in this part of the world are
      very clearly distinguishable. We can enumerate these features as
      follows:

      1. Upper class leadership, often on the "colonel" level;
      2. Reliance on tiny conspiratorial military (the "Junta") initiative,
      often launched from exile bases;
      3. Caudillism in military affairs;
      4. Personalism in political matters;
      5. General program very vague, concentration on "Patria" as
      against "foreign interests," vague statements of being for
      the "people," the "shirtless," the "humble";
      6. No attack against the native bourgeoisie or top wealthy groups
      unless absolutely necessary;
      7. Vague stand for economic improvements, for greater wealth for the
      nation, for forced industrialization, resulting in more efficiency by
      the masses who in turn are to have greater security and stake in the
      social order.

      The early Latin American "revolutionary" leaders were of the George
      Washington type who in their fight for independence against Spain
      used the vague phrases of the French enlightenment popularized by the
      French Revolution so that they could get the people to fight for them
      and their top group. To this category belonged such "liberators" as
      Bolivar, Belgrano, San Martin and others. They represented wealthy
      families which wanted to rule the Western Hemisphere countries for
      themselves rather than the Spanish aristocracy who looked down on
      them. Their victories cemented the rule of the landed oligarchical
      group amassing the huge vacant lands for themselves. Establishing
      vast latifundias with large numbers of peons and slaves working for
      them, the strong ones among the oligarchy formed their own private
      armies (caudillism) and ruled their regions with an iron hand no
      longer held responsible by others for their actions. Some of these
      regions actually became artificially created independent States as
      for example in Central America. The fact that the countries were so
      new with all social controls absent led to fights among the ruling
      families themselves as to who should control. In each family were
      sons with self-given title of "colonel" or "general" who staged one
      governmental revolt after another. So far as the masses of toilers
      were concerned their lot was improved not at all.

      About the middle of the last century new trends of capitalism
      entering Latin America changed some of the formulas of
      the "revolutionists." The entrance of commercial and financial
      capital and the rise of a bourgeois world made increasingly felt the
      need for definite rules. This called for constitutional government
      that would allow for the interplay of bourgeois forces and would
      permit the newer wealthier elements to become fused with the old
      oligarchy. The formation of constitutions entailed a division of
      labor between the executive and the legislative branches of
      government. While the army tended to become professionalized within
      it there was still room for the tiny military conspiracy. The
      military coup d'etat with personal parties gathered around some
      military conspirator remained to dominate the workings of the
      constitution.

      Between the middle and the end of the 19th century. Latin America saw
      not only a vast increase in the influence of foreign capital but also
      a vast influx of foreign labor and immigration. Millions of people
      came from Spain and from Italy to seek home and fortune in the
      countries of this Hemisphere. Some became farmers and agricultural
      laborers, others small business men, professional men, workers in the
      cities, and such. Some of them even went into the army to play a role
      there as "majors" and as "colonels." Now the nation was faced not
      only with the matter of establishing basic rules in a constitution
      but of allowing these middle class elements and immigrants the right
      to vote. Hence new military conspiracies, new vague general
      programmatic phrases and new promises with a multitude of personal
      parties arising controlled by this or that strong individual and his
      clique combined with the military to take over power. It become
      appropriate to take on a radical coloration, radicalism in the name
      of the "people."

      Jose Marti of Cuba does not go much beyond this, or Carranza in
      Mexico, or Batista in Cuba.

      Finally, with the advent of the Russian and Fascist Revolutions, the
      great depression of the 1930's, and the great world wars, the Latin
      American military revolutionary cliques had to take on new guises of
      a social kind. They had to speak against foreign imperialism and
      foreign interests (partly to force the foreigners to take the native
      wealthy into partnership with them into the new corporations and to
      induce bigger bribes from these foreign corporations). They had to
      speak in the name of the "humble" (los humildes) and to promise them
      job security and Christmas gifts (Peron in Argentina and Vargas in
      Brazil aping Mussolini and Hitler). They expanded totalitarian
      principles in the name of social justice and threatened even the
      bourgeoisie with unleashing the masses against them if they did not
      fall in line. Using the demagogic forms of "plebiscite" and open
      meetings rather than political party discussions of policy and
      program they manipulated the masses at will.

      None of them permitted honest regular elections, especially in so far
      as the workers and toilers are concerned. None of them failed to make
      every effort to control the workers organization, whether it be the
      trade union, the cultural association, the mutual aid group, the
      cooperative, or the political party. They withheld elections for
      years at a time until such elections could be safely manipulated and
      controlled. They formed a permanent State within the State for their
      own benefit.



      AND NOW we can turn to Castro and see how he fits into these
      classical types of Junta revolutionists. If it is true, as claimed,
      that he was a "Marxist-Leninist" from the beginning, then he
      certainly concealed his character pretending to be just another
      ordinary Latin American hidalgo, military "revolutionist," and hiding
      his social program so cleverly that many of his friends did not know
      it even existed. He posed as a pure and simple constitutional
      legalist of the Jose Marti variety. He simply wanted the termination
      of corruption in government, the end of the Batista dictatorship and
      the realization of a Cuban Constitution that already had been legally
      adopted years ago. He "revealed" his "social program" only in
      proportion as his military needs required him to do so.

      Fidel Castro came from a wealthy landholding family, of the kind that
      would be part of the landed oligarchy in other countries. His contact
      with students in the University of Havana was contact with sons and
      daughters of the privileged in the main like himself. He was really
      not interested in forming a party of any kind. He worked through the
      tiny conspiratorial clique. He found it a necessity continually to
      demonstrate his military prowess, like many of the Latin
      American "revolutionists" before him, and when he was defeated in his
      first attempt to storm the barracks and was exiled, he again formed
      the military conspiracy to take Cuba by force but this time using
      agricultural toilers for his purposes.

      In his military actions he shows himself a
      true "caudillist." "Caudillo" is the Castillian word for leader,
      similar to Fuehrer in German and Duce in Italian. Caudillism may be
      defined as that policy that makes a military force belong to and
      practically depend on one leader, the Caudillo. That's what happens
      in Cuba. Fidel's military force at first is not an army of the
      people. It is a military adventure of a clique, headed by a Caudillo,
      belonging to and responsible to the Caudillo and no one else. The
      Caudillo appoints his assistants and discharges them. There is only
      one man and one only that counts, the Caudillo. Those who are true
      and faithful adherents of the Caudillo are allowed to wear special
      marks of distinction, in this case they are permitted to wear their
      hair long with beard and braids!

      They can thus be recognized everywhere and woe to him who does not
      yield to their special standing and status. They are the true
      Fidelistas pledged to Fidel Castro and to him only. They are his SS
      troops, his Pretorian Guard, separate and apart from the people.

      In all these antics Castro is so much like the comic-opera old style
      Latin American military conspirator and politico that even officials
      of the United States are taken in and believe that what is
      contemplated by Castro is simply another political upheaval of the
      well-known trite variety. His camouflage is so great that he refuses
      to allow any Cuban to have the title "General" but only "Colonel" (no
      doubt recognizing the under-spread Latin American belief
      that "Generals" would more likely initiate reactionary coup d'etats
      and the lower officers, like colonels, more radical sounding ones.)
      Thus U.S. officials at first do not specially hinder his group
      getting funds and support in the United States but allow him the same
      free hand that they have given other Latin American conspirators of
      the hidalgo variety.

      Perhaps one might say: Good for Castro. By means of these clever
      tactics and maneuvers he was able to get necessary aid, to disarm his
      future opponents until it was too late for them to interfere and thus
      to accomplish his real purpose which was to further a social
      revolution rather than a mere constitutional one. A man should not
      show his hand until the time is ripe. It all shows he is a very
      clever man, an actor of exceptional sinuous ability.

      Well and good! But how does it come about that none of the real
      workers' or peoples' revolutionist in the past was so "clever" and
      sinuous? Lenin, for example, believed in great flexibility in tactics
      and strategy, but precisely for that reason he was clear and
      unambiguous in his program. He too struck when the time was ripe but
      he always took pains to work out collectively, with the aid of a
      devoted vanguard party of tested scientific socialists each tactical
      and strategic operation on each phase of the program. He was no
      Caudillist, he did not believe in a "personal" political party. He
      was not a clever sinuous actor fooling everybody including his own
      comrades.

      Just as Castro tricked his original friends when he posed as a mere
      constitutionalist so he may well be tricking his new friends when he
      poses as a Marxist-Leninist, and states that Cuba has socialism as
      its goal. In reality he is fooling no one who has studied the
      question. He is certainly not fooling Khrushchev who has openly
      declared that Castro is not a communist. And he is not fooling the
      reactionaries in the United States who are howling that he is a
      Leninist not because they believe it but because of his opening the
      doors of the Western Hemisphere to Khrushchev and the Russian
      politicians giving them extra weapons in the world struggle for power.

      How far has Castro gone towards socialism? We have first the positive
      statements in his "Second Declaration of Havana," issued February
      1962, three full years after his coming to power. (We expect to make
      a critique of this document in the near future.) Here he states the
      achievements of Cuba as follows: "Cuba . . . has converted into
      landowners one hundred thousand small agriculturist, has assured all
      year-round employment on the farms and cooperatives to all the
      agricultural workers, has transformed barracks into schools, has
      given 60,000 fellowships to university, secondary and technical
      students, has created class rooms for all the children, has
      liquidated analphabetism completely, has quadrupled medical services,
      has nationalized the monopolist enterprises, has suppressed the
      abusive system that converted the home into a medium of exploitation
      for the people, has eliminated virtually all unemployment, has
      suppressed discrimination based on race or sex, has barred gambling,
      vice and administrative corruption, has armed the public, has. made
      into a living reality the enjoyment of human rights in freeing man
      and woman from exploitation, ignorance, and social inequality, has
      freed itself from all foreign vassalage, has acquired full
      sovereignty and established the bases for the development of its
      economy so that it will be no longer a country producing but one
      principal commodity and exporting only raw materials...."

      In this review of the achievements of the Cuban Revolution we see
      that they are all bourgeois achievements. There is not one that
      capitalism as a whole has not attained elsewhere, although it took a
      revolution to achieve them in Cuba. They are achievements which
      theoretically have been announced as the goal of all the Latin
      American States organized in the Punte del Este Conference. In
      themselves they have nothing to do with socialism although they may
      be a first step in that direction.

      But socialism can not be achieved without the rule of the working
      class as the head of all the toiling masses, a working class
      organized in its own political party tested in struggles and choosing
      freely its own leaders. Here is where Castro stands exposed as not
      being even a democrat, not to speak of being a socialist, or Marxist-
      Leninist. After three full years of victory he refuses to allow the
      formation of a workers party; he refuses to hold working-class
      elections; he refuses to build Soviets or organs of workers state
      power. In short be still wants the revolution to revolve around
      himself and his little clique as though it was his own personal
      property. This is the mark of the Latin American Caudillo, the
      Jacobin type of "revolutionist" not of the Marxist-Leninist.

      Where did Castro get his clever bag of tricks? Who were his
      forerunners and teachers? From appearances the man from whom he
      copied more than any one else is the fugitive-exile Juan Peron,
      former dictator-President of Argentina now hiding in the Spain of
      Caudillo Franco, who in turn followed the grand master of all,
      Mussolini. There is practically nothing that Castro is trying
      that ............ reactionary regime; Peron also came out for
      the "humble" and organized demonstrations of the "shirtless" ones;
      Peron also made strenuous efforts to end unemployment and made it
      most difficult for the employer to discharge any workman. He also
      started large public works. He also stood out for higher wages for
      the workers and established funds for social security, old age
      pensions, etc. Aided by the tears and passion of his wife, Eva Peron,
      he also gave workers Christmas presents and indeed fixed it into the
      very law of the land so that workers were to receive at the end of
      the year a special present of a salary equal to one whole month's
      pay! He also took control of the workers trade unions and other
      organizations and had the government appoint the leaders. He also saw
      there were no real discussions but only "plebiscites" from time to
      time, maintaining regularly that all this meant a higher form of
      democracy than the decadent bourgeois ones in foreign countries. He
      also nationalized certain foreign properties and developed others. He
      also stood for rapid industrialization and for more and harder work
      by the toilers. He also advocated agrarian reform and the breaking up
      of the large landed estates on the countryside. He also made bitter
      attacks against "foreign interests" and "imperialism" and urged the
      complete unity and strong independence of the "patria." If Fidel has
      his admirers in other Latin American countries, Peronism had its
      counterparts in Apraism in Peru and Vargasism in Brazil.



      YES, THERE were some differences between Peronism and Fidelism. Peron
      in 1943-45 could not call on the Soviet Union for help especially as
      the ruling classes and military men were heavily oriented on the side
      of the Axis powers, Hitler and Mussolini. Peron thus did not have to
      call himself a "Marxist-Leninist". He also was not so heavily bogged
      down by the weight of American imperialism and there was no
      Guantanamo Base in Argentina. Nor was he so close to the shores of
      the U.S. as to become a physical threat to that imperialism. Thus he
      did not have to be armed by opponents of the United States nor stand
      in such deadly peril of retaliation by the United States.



      REVOLUTIONS can come in an infinite number and combination of forms
      and contents. There may be palace revolutions, military revolutions,
      people's revolutions, peasants' revolutions, workers' revolutions,
      democratic revolutions, social revolutions, social-democratic
      revolutions, socialist revolutions, etc. What sort of Revolution is
      that now going on in Cuba? It starts out as a military adventure of a
      few intellectuals supported by democratic and social revolutionists
      abroad, it quickly develops into a social revolution backed up first
      of all by the desperate agricultural toilers and supported by wide
      strata of the working class and general population.

      It also starts out as a democratic revolution, the aim being to
      overthrow the Batista dictatorship, put life into the old
      constitution and call for elections by all the people on a universal
      free and secret suffrage basis. The democratic features of the
      revolution are soon suppressed. Very early after taking power Castro
      announces that there will be no elections for a number of years but
      all power will rest in the hands of himself and the small coterie
      around him, selected and appointed by him.

      To the people who are thus deprived of the vote Castro gives the
      following arguments:

      1.The Revolution has just begun and there are many counter-
      revolutionary elements who will seize the occasion of the elections
      to sow confusion and discontent. What is needed now is unity of the
      country until matters can become stabilized and unemployment ended.

      2. The social aspects of the revolution are much more important than
      the democratic. Everyone is too busy constructing the economy from
      the ruins of the old to pay attention to elections which are not
      necessary anyway since the ruling group represents their interests
      thoroughly. To the toilers he says after the trade unions have been
      purged of their counter-revolutionary Batista former leaders and the
      agricultural workers have been formed into cooperatives then there
      will be voting, first within these organizations and then generally.

      3. Elections means the formation of political parties which will have
      to present programs and make efforts to take power. This cannot be
      done in such precarious moments.

      4. So, with all the tricks of demagogy Castro and his clique prevents
      any voting whatever and completely sidetracks the development of the
      Revolution on democratic lines.

      But the Revolution does continue as a Social Revolution, although
      without a democratic base either for the toilers generally or for the
      industrial workers in particular. Without democracy they cannot
      discuss their problems and elect their representatives. They cannot
      pool their knowledge and make collective responsible decisions. They
      cannot have self development, they cannot take initiative in
      important political and social matters. They remain constantly
      chained as coolies for the few intellectuals who have the decision-
      making powers monopolized to themselves and the policies and programs
      locked up in their own bosoms until they condescend to reveal them to
      the workers and toilers. The social revolution loses its head and
      must become extremely limited in scope.

      It is not at all an exceptional historic circumstance that the
      bourgeoisie cannot by itself modernize its country peaceably and
      without the assistance of the working classes who are promised all
      sorts of pie-in-the-sky benefits. Nor is it unheard of that workers
      will think their leaders are establishing socialism when all they are
      doing is modernizing capitalism by forced industrialization, forced
      capital investment and forced labor. Perhaps this last is what Castro
      really has in mind for Cuba?

      Ordinarily, under the relation of forces actually existing in Cuba
      the control by Castro would eventually pass into the hands of the
      workers and toilers. Cuba is an island and thus not easily interfered
      with except by direct invasion. With the expulsion of the American
      imperialists there remains no bourgeois class strong enough to take
      or hold the power. The petty bourgeois classes are also too small and
      weak to do so. The workers and toilers now thoroughly aroused face no
      class capable of rejecting their will should it become definitely and
      clearly expressed. These toiling masses can not be withheld from the
      full fruits of their labor forever, whatever the clever phrases used.
      The Social Revolution must move further and further to the left, the
      workers must begin to strive for leadership to move the revolution
      into the direct paths of socialism. To do this they will have to
      demand the formation of a workers party, of Soviet or workers
      parliament, of free elections by workers for their own
      representatives to decide their own lot. This should be the trend of
      affairs to be anticipated.

      How can Castro prevent this move of the workers to form their own
      party and to take over power for themselves? In his desperation, not
      being able to call on anyone else he calls on the Cuban Stalinists
      and the Russian Khrushchevists to come to his aid. The Cuban
      Stalinists, like the Russians, do not care about workers' elections
      and workers' party discussions. Long ago they abandoned such free
      discussions in proportion as the Russian Revolution steadily
      degenerated towards managerialism and away from workers' democracy.
      Thus, if Castro will share power with them the Stalinists are very
      willing to help him prevent the formation of a real workers' Marxist
      party capable of taking leadership of the Revolution and moving the
      Revolution from its limited social aims to Socialism.

      Thus the poor Cuban people are faced not only with the open and
      deadly enmity of American imperialism, including the leaders of the
      U.S. trade unions, but are faced with the heavy burdens of removing
      the degenerated weight of Khrushchevism-Stalinism brought in by
      Castro to prevent them from taking over in their own right.

      Under such dire conditions what should be the tasks of Cuba win?
      Their hope would seem to be the development of the socialist
      revolution elsewhere particularly in Latin America but here, too,
      Castro, and the Stalinists seem to control all the avenues of
      approach.

      Under such dire conditions what should be the tasks of the workers
      throughout the world?

      First of all they must continue to support the social revolution that
      has burst forth in Cuba.

      Second, they should demand Hands Off Cuba and prevent imperialist
      intervention.

      Third, they must demand in stentorian terms that Cuba allow free
      elections among the workers so that a real workers leadership can be
      developed and take power through Soviets or similar organs of
      struggles.

      Fourth, they must expose the cynical maneuvers of the Stalinists,
      conduct their own revolutionary movements and forming their own
      internationalist socialist movement. For the sake of the Socialist
      Revolution in Cuba both Khrushchev and American imperialism must be
      thwarted, both foreign intervention and domestic Castroism must be
      defeated.

      Fifth, finally, they must bend all efforts to the end that the social
      revolution be extended and made permanent through all Latin America.

      September 1962.
    • Walter Lippmann
      If this 43-year-old prediction of the death of the Cuban Revolution, in the even it adopted Castroism weren t so stupid, not to speak of out of date, it
      Message 2 of 4 , Oct 30, 2005
        If this 43-year-old prediction of the death of the Cuban
        Revolution, in the even it adopted "Castroism" weren't so
        stupid, not to speak of out of date, it would be laughable.

        Hasn't anything at all happened in the intervening 43 years
        which you might like to suggest could have had any influence
        on whatever might have been valid or not in this ancient item?

        Thanks,


        Walter Lippmann

        -----Original Message-----
        From: GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com
        [mailto:GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Nemo Etomer
        Sent: Sunday, October 30, 2005 12:13 PM
        To: GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [GreenLeft_discussion] CASTROISM - A left-Trotskyist analysis of
        stalinism on Cuba 1962

        CASTROISM - DEADLY DANGER TO THE CUBAN REVOLUTION By Albert Weisbord

        (From the magazine "La Parola del Popolo" December 1962)



        IN TWO relatively recent articles La Parola del Popolo has pointed out
        certain dangerous tendencies existing in the adoption of Castroism by the
        Cuban Revolution.

        In the June-July 1961 issue in dealing with Castro's ransom proposals we
        wrote: "Castro may be denounced as a communist stooge, but he can never be
        acclaimed as a Marxist. He is a mere Jacobin, a man who has attached himself
        to the people from the top and who essentially looks at them from the
        mountain peak of his intellectual contempt and Spanish pride as a rabble
        without great brains or historic initiative." The article concluded: "Let
        the Cuban revolutionary workers and peasants learn the bitter lessons from
        this episode. Let them put a bridle on Castro and force him to act not like
        a catholic savior but like a modest leader of the working class training and
        developing them for leadership and decision making in a Marxist manner."

        We followed this up with a longer article entitled "Perspective of the Cuban
        Revolution" appearing in the December-January 1962
        issue: ". . . . it is absolutely essential to raise the question of general
        elections in which the workers and toilers will be entirely free to vote to
        make their choices and to participate actively in all government and
        political activities.

        "There is now only one party in Cuba, why should not there be elections?
        There is now a new proletarian state (supposedly, A.W.) in Cuba, why should
        not there be a new constitution? Why should not SOVIETS be formed in Cuba as
        proletarian organs of power? . . . But the proletariat must now be allowed
        to vote and express its will.
        What is Cuba waiting for? To wait further is a major crime against the
        people of Cuba? Working class elections can no longer be delayed!
        An advancing proletarian revolution can no longer tolerate this dictatorship
        OVER the working class."

        Another year has gone by and still there are no worker's elections.
        Why? Because both the Soviet leaders and Castro are opposed to them.
        The Soviets know that working class elections to the organs of state power
        will also mean working class elections within the governing party and once
        such a collective party is formed and developed it will not allow Cuba to be
        dictated to by an outside force not motivated by international proletarian
        considerations. Such a situation would spoil the game by which the Soviet
        leaders want to use Cuba as a tool for their own international maneuvers
        rather than for the interest of the world working class. Castro is opposed
        to elections because he knows such elections both in Cuba and within the
        ruling party then formed would be the best guarantee that the Cuban
        Revolution would go forward in its mission to carry out the interests of the
        working class to the end. Castro wants to use the working class for his own
        purposes not necessarily identical with working class rule and development.

        It is now time to make a thorough analysis of this Castroism because the
        Cuban Revolution is in deadly peril not only from the United States and
        Latin American reactionaries but also from within. Either Castroism as
        described herein is ended and replaced by a working- class rule or the
        Revolution stands in danger of death.


        THE HISTORY of Latin America is filled with Castro type "revolutionists"
        whose policies and histories, springing from the conditions peculiarly
        prevailing in this part of the world are very clearly distinguishable. We
        can enumerate these features as
        follows:

        1. Upper class leadership, often on the "colonel" level; 2. Reliance on tiny
        conspiratorial military (the "Junta") initiative, often launched from exile
        bases; 3. Caudillism in military affairs; 4. Personalism in political
        matters; 5. General program very vague, concentration on "Patria" as against
        "foreign interests," vague statements of being for the "people," the
        "shirtless," the "humble"; 6. No attack against the native bourgeoisie or
        top wealthy groups unless absolutely necessary; 7. Vague stand for economic
        improvements, for greater wealth for the nation, for forced
        industrialization, resulting in more efficiency by the masses who in turn
        are to have greater security and stake in the social order.

        The early Latin American "revolutionary" leaders were of the George
        Washington type who in their fight for independence against Spain used the
        vague phrases of the French enlightenment popularized by the French
        Revolution so that they could get the people to fight for them and their top
        group. To this category belonged such "liberators" as Bolivar, Belgrano, San
        Martin and others. They represented wealthy families which wanted to rule
        the Western Hemisphere countries for themselves rather than the Spanish
        aristocracy who looked down on them. Their victories cemented the rule of
        the landed oligarchical group amassing the huge vacant lands for themselves.
        Establishing vast latifundias with large numbers of peons and slaves working
        for them, the strong ones among the oligarchy formed their own private
        armies (caudillism) and ruled their regions with an iron hand no longer held
        responsible by others for their actions. Some of these regions actually
        became artificially created independent States as for example in Central
        America. The fact that the countries were so new with all social controls
        absent led to fights among the ruling families themselves as to who should
        control. In each family were sons with self-given title of "colonel" or
        "general" who staged one governmental revolt after another. So far as the
        masses of toilers were concerned their lot was improved not at all.

        About the middle of the last century new trends of capitalism entering Latin
        America changed some of the formulas of the "revolutionists." The entrance
        of commercial and financial capital and the rise of a bourgeois world made
        increasingly felt the need for definite rules. This called for
        constitutional government that would allow for the interplay of bourgeois
        forces and would permit the newer wealthier elements to become fused with
        the old oligarchy. The formation of constitutions entailed a division of
        labor between the executive and the legislative branches of government.
        While the army tended to become professionalized within it there was still
        room for the tiny military conspiracy. The military coup d'etat with
        personal parties gathered around some military conspirator remained to
        dominate the workings of the constitution.

        Between the middle and the end of the 19th century. Latin America saw not
        only a vast increase in the influence of foreign capital but also a vast
        influx of foreign labor and immigration. Millions of people came from Spain
        and from Italy to seek home and fortune in the countries of this Hemisphere.
        Some became farmers and agricultural laborers, others small business men,
        professional men, workers in the cities, and such. Some of them even went
        into the army to play a role there as "majors" and as "colonels." Now the
        nation was faced not only with the matter of establishing basic rules in a
        constitution but of allowing these middle class elements and immigrants the
        right to vote. Hence new military conspiracies, new vague general
        programmatic phrases and new promises with a multitude of personal parties
        arising controlled by this or that strong individual and his clique combined
        with the military to take over power. It become appropriate to take on a
        radical coloration, radicalism in the name of the "people."

        Jose Marti of Cuba does not go much beyond this, or Carranza in Mexico, or
        Batista in Cuba.

        Finally, with the advent of the Russian and Fascist Revolutions, the great
        depression of the 1930's, and the great world wars, the Latin American
        military revolutionary cliques had to take on new guises of a social kind.
        They had to speak against foreign imperialism and foreign interests (partly
        to force the foreigners to take the native wealthy into partnership with
        them into the new corporations and to induce bigger bribes from these
        foreign corporations). They had to speak in the name of the "humble" (los
        humildes) and to promise them job security and Christmas gifts (Peron in
        Argentina and Vargas in Brazil aping Mussolini and Hitler). They expanded
        totalitarian principles in the name of social justice and threatened even
        the bourgeoisie with unleashing the masses against them if they did not fall
        in line. Using the demagogic forms of "plebiscite" and open meetings rather
        than political party discussions of policy and program they manipulated the
        masses at will.

        None of them permitted honest regular elections, especially in so far as the
        workers and toilers are concerned. None of them failed to make every effort
        to control the workers organization, whether it be the trade union, the
        cultural association, the mutual aid group, the cooperative, or the
        political party. They withheld elections for years at a time until such
        elections could be safely manipulated and controlled. They formed a
        permanent State within the State for their own benefit.



        AND NOW we can turn to Castro and see how he fits into these classical types
        of Junta revolutionists. If it is true, as claimed, that he was a
        "Marxist-Leninist" from the beginning, then he certainly concealed his
        character pretending to be just another ordinary Latin American hidalgo,
        military "revolutionist," and hiding his social program so cleverly that
        many of his friends did not know it even existed. He posed as a pure and
        simple constitutional legalist of the Jose Marti variety. He simply wanted
        the termination of corruption in government, the end of the Batista
        dictatorship and the realization of a Cuban Constitution that already had
        been legally adopted years ago. He "revealed" his "social program" only in
        proportion as his military needs required him to do so.

        Fidel Castro came from a wealthy landholding family, of the kind that would
        be part of the landed oligarchy in other countries. His contact with
        students in the University of Havana was contact with sons and daughters of
        the privileged in the main like himself. He was really not interested in
        forming a party of any kind. He worked through the tiny conspiratorial
        clique. He found it a necessity continually to demonstrate his military
        prowess, like many of the Latin American "revolutionists" before him, and
        when he was defeated in his first attempt to storm the barracks and was
        exiled, he again formed the military conspiracy to take Cuba by force but
        this time using agricultural toilers for his purposes.

        In his military actions he shows himself a true "caudillist." "Caudillo" is
        the Castillian word for leader, similar to Fuehrer in German and Duce in
        Italian. Caudillism may be defined as that policy that makes a military
        force belong to and practically depend on one leader, the Caudillo. That's
        what happens in Cuba. Fidel's military force at first is not an army of the
        people. It is a military adventure of a clique, headed by a Caudillo,
        belonging to and responsible to the Caudillo and no one else. The Caudillo
        appoints his assistants and discharges them. There is only one man and one
        only that counts, the Caudillo. Those who are true and faithful adherents of
        the Caudillo are allowed to wear special marks of distinction, in this case
        they are permitted to wear their hair long with beard and braids!

        They can thus be recognized everywhere and woe to him who does not yield to
        their special standing and status. They are the true Fidelistas pledged to
        Fidel Castro and to him only. They are his SS troops, his Pretorian Guard,
        separate and apart from the people.

        In all these antics Castro is so much like the comic-opera old style Latin
        American military conspirator and politico that even officials of the United
        States are taken in and believe that what is contemplated by Castro is
        simply another political upheaval of the well-known trite variety. His
        camouflage is so great that he refuses to allow any Cuban to have the title
        "General" but only "Colonel" (no doubt recognizing the under-spread Latin
        American belief that "Generals" would more likely initiate reactionary coup
        d'etats and the lower officers, like colonels, more radical sounding ones.)
        Thus U.S. officials at first do not specially hinder his group getting funds
        and support in the United States but allow him the same free hand that they
        have given other Latin American conspirators of the hidalgo variety.

        Perhaps one might say: Good for Castro. By means of these clever tactics and
        maneuvers he was able to get necessary aid, to disarm his future opponents
        until it was too late for them to interfere and thus to accomplish his real
        purpose which was to further a social revolution rather than a mere
        constitutional one. A man should not show his hand until the time is ripe.
        It all shows he is a very clever man, an actor of exceptional sinuous
        ability.

        Well and good! But how does it come about that none of the real workers' or
        peoples' revolutionist in the past was so "clever" and sinuous? Lenin, for
        example, believed in great flexibility in tactics and strategy, but
        precisely for that reason he was clear and unambiguous in his program. He
        too struck when the time was ripe but he always took pains to work out
        collectively, with the aid of a devoted vanguard party of tested scientific
        socialists each tactical and strategic operation on each phase of the
        program. He was no Caudillist, he did not believe in a "personal" political
        party. He was not a clever sinuous actor fooling everybody including his own
        comrades.

        Just as Castro tricked his original friends when he posed as a mere
        constitutionalist so he may well be tricking his new friends when he poses
        as a Marxist-Leninist, and states that Cuba has socialism as its goal. In
        reality he is fooling no one who has studied the question. He is certainly
        not fooling Khrushchev who has openly declared that Castro is not a
        communist. And he is not fooling the reactionaries in the United States who
        are howling that he is a Leninist not because they believe it but because of
        his opening the doors of the Western Hemisphere to Khrushchev and the
        Russian politicians giving them extra weapons in the world struggle for
        power.

        How far has Castro gone towards socialism? We have first the positive
        statements in his "Second Declaration of Havana," issued February 1962,
        three full years after his coming to power. (We expect to make a critique of
        this document in the near future.) Here he states the achievements of Cuba
        as follows: "Cuba . . . has converted into landowners one hundred thousand
        small agriculturist, has assured all year-round employment on the farms and
        cooperatives to all the agricultural workers, has transformed barracks into
        schools, has given 60,000 fellowships to university, secondary and technical
        students, has created class rooms for all the children, has liquidated
        analphabetism completely, has quadrupled medical services, has nationalized
        the monopolist enterprises, has suppressed the abusive system that converted
        the home into a medium of exploitation for the people, has eliminated
        virtually all unemployment, has suppressed discrimination based on race or
        sex, has barred gambling, vice and administrative corruption, has armed the
        public, has. made into a living reality the enjoyment of human rights in
        freeing man and woman from exploitation, ignorance, and social inequality,
        has freed itself from all foreign vassalage, has acquired full sovereignty
        and established the bases for the development of its economy so that it will
        be no longer a country producing but one principal commodity and exporting
        only raw materials...."

        In this review of the achievements of the Cuban Revolution we see that they
        are all bourgeois achievements. There is not one that capitalism as a whole
        has not attained elsewhere, although it took a revolution to achieve them in
        Cuba. They are achievements which theoretically have been announced as the
        goal of all the Latin American States organized in the Punte del Este
        Conference. In themselves they have nothing to do with socialism although
        they may be a first step in that direction.

        But socialism can not be achieved without the rule of the working class as
        the head of all the toiling masses, a working class organized in its own
        political party tested in struggles and choosing freely its own leaders.
        Here is where Castro stands exposed as not being even a democrat, not to
        speak of being a socialist, or Marxist- Leninist. After three full years of
        victory he refuses to allow the formation of a workers party; he refuses to
        hold working-class elections; he refuses to build Soviets or organs of
        workers state power. In short be still wants the revolution to revolve
        around himself and his little clique as though it was his own personal
        property. This is the mark of the Latin American Caudillo, the Jacobin type
        of "revolutionist" not of the Marxist-Leninist.

        Where did Castro get his clever bag of tricks? Who were his forerunners and
        teachers? From appearances the man from whom he copied more than any one
        else is the fugitive-exile Juan Peron, former dictator-President of
        Argentina now hiding in the Spain of Caudillo Franco, who in turn followed
        the grand master of all, Mussolini. There is practically nothing that Castro
        is trying that ............ reactionary regime; Peron also came out for the
        "humble" and organized demonstrations of the "shirtless" ones; Peron also
        made strenuous efforts to end unemployment and made it most difficult for
        the employer to discharge any workman. He also started large public works.
        He also stood out for higher wages for the workers and established funds for
        social security, old age pensions, etc. Aided by the tears and passion of
        his wife, Eva Peron, he also gave workers Christmas presents and indeed
        fixed it into the very law of the land so that workers were to receive at
        the end of the year a special present of a salary equal to one whole month's
        pay! He also took control of the workers trade unions and other
        organizations and had the government appoint the leaders. He also saw there
        were no real discussions but only "plebiscites" from time to time,
        maintaining regularly that all this meant a higher form of democracy than
        the decadent bourgeois ones in foreign countries. He also nationalized
        certain foreign properties and developed others. He also stood for rapid
        industrialization and for more and harder work by the toilers. He also
        advocated agrarian reform and the breaking up of the large landed estates on
        the countryside. He also made bitter attacks against "foreign interests" and
        "imperialism" and urged the complete unity and strong independence of the
        "patria." If Fidel has his admirers in other Latin American countries,
        Peronism had its counterparts in Apraism in Peru and Vargasism in Brazil.



        YES, THERE were some differences between Peronism and Fidelism. Peron in
        1943-45 could not call on the Soviet Union for help especially as the ruling
        classes and military men were heavily oriented on the side of the Axis
        powers, Hitler and Mussolini. Peron thus did not have to call himself a
        "Marxist-Leninist". He also was not so heavily bogged down by the weight of
        American imperialism and there was no Guantanamo Base in Argentina. Nor was
        he so close to the shores of the U.S. as to become a physical threat to that
        imperialism. Thus he did not have to be armed by opponents of the United
        States nor stand in such deadly peril of retaliation by the United States.



        REVOLUTIONS can come in an infinite number and combination of forms and
        contents. There may be palace revolutions, military revolutions, people's
        revolutions, peasants' revolutions, workers' revolutions, democratic
        revolutions, social revolutions, social-democratic revolutions, socialist
        revolutions, etc. What sort of Revolution is that now going on in Cuba? It
        starts out as a military adventure of a few intellectuals supported by
        democratic and social revolutionists abroad, it quickly develops into a
        social revolution backed up first of all by the desperate agricultural
        toilers and supported by wide strata of the working class and general
        population.

        It also starts out as a democratic revolution, the aim being to overthrow
        the Batista dictatorship, put life into the old constitution and call for
        elections by all the people on a universal free and secret suffrage basis.
        The democratic features of the revolution are soon suppressed. Very early
        after taking power Castro announces that there will be no elections for a
        number of years but all power will rest in the hands of himself and the
        small coterie around him, selected and appointed by him.

        To the people who are thus deprived of the vote Castro gives the following
        arguments:

        1.The Revolution has just begun and there are many counter- revolutionary
        elements who will seize the occasion of the elections to sow confusion and
        discontent. What is needed now is unity of the country until matters can
        become stabilized and unemployment ended.

        2. The social aspects of the revolution are much more important than the
        democratic. Everyone is too busy constructing the economy from the ruins of
        the old to pay attention to elections which are not necessary anyway since
        the ruling group represents their interests thoroughly. To the toilers he
        says after the trade unions have been purged of their counter-revolutionary
        Batista former leaders and the agricultural workers have been formed into
        cooperatives then there will be voting, first within these organizations and
        then generally.

        3. Elections means the formation of political parties which will have to
        present programs and make efforts to take power. This cannot be done in such
        precarious moments.

        4. So, with all the tricks of demagogy Castro and his clique prevents any
        voting whatever and completely sidetracks the development of the Revolution
        on democratic lines.

        But the Revolution does continue as a Social Revolution, although without a
        democratic base either for the toilers generally or for the industrial
        workers in particular. Without democracy they cannot discuss their problems
        and elect their representatives. They cannot pool their knowledge and make
        collective responsible decisions. They cannot have self development, they
        cannot take initiative in important political and social matters. They
        remain constantly chained as coolies for the few intellectuals who have the
        decision- making powers monopolized to themselves and the policies and
        programs locked up in their own bosoms until they condescend to reveal them
        to the workers and toilers. The social revolution loses its head and must
        become extremely limited in scope.

        It is not at all an exceptional historic circumstance that the bourgeoisie
        cannot by itself modernize its country peaceably and without the assistance
        of the working classes who are promised all sorts of pie-in-the-sky
        benefits. Nor is it unheard of that workers will think their leaders are
        establishing socialism when all they are doing is modernizing capitalism by
        forced industrialization, forced capital investment and forced labor.
        Perhaps this last is what Castro really has in mind for Cuba?

        Ordinarily, under the relation of forces actually existing in Cuba the
        control by Castro would eventually pass into the hands of the workers and
        toilers. Cuba is an island and thus not easily interfered with except by
        direct invasion. With the expulsion of the American imperialists there
        remains no bourgeois class strong enough to take or hold the power. The
        petty bourgeois classes are also too small and weak to do so. The workers
        and toilers now thoroughly aroused face no class capable of rejecting their
        will should it become definitely and clearly expressed. These toiling masses
        can not be withheld from the full fruits of their labor forever, whatever
        the clever phrases used.
        The Social Revolution must move further and further to the left, the workers
        must begin to strive for leadership to move the revolution into the direct
        paths of socialism. To do this they will have to demand the formation of a
        workers party, of Soviet or workers parliament, of free elections by workers
        for their own representatives to decide their own lot. This should be the
        trend of affairs to be anticipated.

        How can Castro prevent this move of the workers to form their own party and
        to take over power for themselves? In his desperation, not being able to
        call on anyone else he calls on the Cuban Stalinists and the Russian
        Khrushchevists to come to his aid. The Cuban Stalinists, like the Russians,
        do not care about workers' elections and workers' party discussions. Long
        ago they abandoned such free discussions in proportion as the Russian
        Revolution steadily degenerated towards managerialism and away from workers'
        democracy.
        Thus, if Castro will share power with them the Stalinists are very willing
        to help him prevent the formation of a real workers' Marxist party capable
        of taking leadership of the Revolution and moving the Revolution from its
        limited social aims to Socialism.

        Thus the poor Cuban people are faced not only with the open and deadly
        enmity of American imperialism, including the leaders of the U.S. trade
        unions, but are faced with the heavy burdens of removing the degenerated
        weight of Khrushchevism-Stalinism brought in by Castro to prevent them from
        taking over in their own right.

        Under such dire conditions what should be the tasks of Cuba win?
        Their hope would seem to be the development of the socialist revolution
        elsewhere particularly in Latin America but here, too, Castro, and the
        Stalinists seem to control all the avenues of approach.

        Under such dire conditions what should be the tasks of the workers
        throughout the world?

        First of all they must continue to support the social revolution that has
        burst forth in Cuba.

        Second, they should demand Hands Off Cuba and prevent imperialist
        intervention.

        Third, they must demand in stentorian terms that Cuba allow free elections
        among the workers so that a real workers leadership can be developed and
        take power through Soviets or similar organs of struggles.

        Fourth, they must expose the cynical maneuvers of the Stalinists, conduct
        their own revolutionary movements and forming their own internationalist
        socialist movement. For the sake of the Socialist Revolution in Cuba both
        Khrushchev and American imperialism must be thwarted, both foreign
        intervention and domestic Castroism must be defeated.

        Fifth, finally, they must bend all efforts to the end that the social
        revolution be extended and made permanent through all Latin America.

        September 1962.







        ------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor --------------------~--> Get
        fast access to your favorite Yahoo! Groups. Make Yahoo! your home page
        http://us.click.yahoo.com/dpRU5A/wUILAA/yQLSAA/KlSolB/TM
        --------------------------------------------------------------------~->

        Green Left Weekly depends on your support!

        Subscribe to Green Left Weekly!
        http://www.greenleft.org.au/subscribe.htm

        Make a donation to help Green Left Weekly continue!
        http://www.greenleft.org.au/fogl.htm


        Yahoo! Groups Links
      • Fred Feldman
        Albert Weisbord was a trade-union activist in the Communist Party in the mid-1920s who led a quite prominent textile strike in the south. He was thrown out
        Message 3 of 4 , Oct 30, 2005
          Message
          Albert Weisbord was a trade-union activist in the Communist Party in the mid-1920s who led a quite prominent textile strike in the south.  He was thrown out and formed his own Weisbordite -- not Trotskyist -- sect, although he briefly joined the SWP.  I thought he had eventually disappeared into the AFL or CIO bureaucracies, but apparently here he is in 1962, still trying to sell his own screwball sect.
           
          That this is not Trotskyist is indicated by the odd phrase referring to the "Russian and Fascist revolutions," and the crackpot reactionary character by his description of Cuba in 1962 -- was this a response to the missile crisis -- as "physical threat" to the United States.
           
          Not only were his predictions, wrong, but all his facts as well, such as his bizarre equation of Marti and Batista, his confusion of "caudillos," constitutionalists, fascists, and revolutionaries in Latin America into the same thing, and his general airy contempt for the actual history of the region.
           
          I've fallen behind on the Green Left list, but this thread has to have originated with the fabulous Nemo Etomer who, like Weisbord, never gets any fact right, but is always correct as a matter of principle.
          Fred Feldman
          -----Original Message-----
          From: GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com [mailto:GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Walter Lippmann
          Sent: Sunday, October 30, 2005 9:18 PM
          To: GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: RE: [GreenLeft_discussion] CASTROISM - A left-Trotskyist analysis of stalinism on Cuba 1962

          If this 43-year-old prediction of the death of the Cuban
          Revolution, in the even it adopted "Castroism" weren't so
          stupid, not to speak of out of date, it would be laughable.

          Hasn't anything at all happened in the intervening 43 years
          which you might like to suggest could have had any influence
          on whatever might have been valid or not in this ancient item?

          Thanks,


          Walter Lippmann

          -----Original Message-----
          From: GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com
          [mailto:GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Nemo Etomer
          Sent: Sunday, October 30, 2005 12:13 PM
          To: GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [GreenLeft_discussion] CASTROISM - A left-Trotskyist analysis of
          stalinism on Cuba 1962

          CASTROISM - DEADLY DANGER TO THE CUBAN REVOLUTION By Albert Weisbord

          (From the magazine "La Parola del Popolo" December 1962)



          IN TWO relatively recent articles La Parola del Popolo has pointed out
          certain dangerous tendencies existing in the adoption of Castroism by the
          Cuban Revolution.

          In the June-July 1961 issue in dealing with Castro's ransom proposals we
          wrote: "Castro may be denounced as a communist stooge, but he can never be
          acclaimed as a Marxist. He is a mere Jacobin, a man who has attached himself
          to the people from the top and who essentially looks at them from the
          mountain peak of his intellectual contempt and Spanish pride as a rabble
          without great brains or historic initiative." The article concluded: "Let
          the Cuban revolutionary workers and peasants learn the bitter lessons from
          this episode. Let them put a bridle on Castro and force him to act not like
          a catholic savior but like a modest leader of the working class training and
          developing them for leadership and decision making in a Marxist manner."

          We followed this up with a longer article entitled "Perspective of the Cuban
          Revolution" appearing in the December-January 1962
          issue: ". . . . it is absolutely essential to raise the question of general
          elections in which the workers and toilers will be entirely free to vote to
          make their choices and to participate actively in all government and
          political activities.

          "There is now only one party in Cuba, why should not there be elections?
          There is now a new proletarian state (supposedly, A.W.) in Cuba, why should
          not there be a new constitution? Why should not SOVIETS be formed in Cuba as
          proletarian organs of power? . . . But the proletariat must now be allowed
          to vote and express its will.
          What is Cuba waiting for? To wait further is a major crime against the
          people of Cuba? Working class elections can no longer be delayed!
          An advancing proletarian revolution can no longer tolerate this dictatorship
          OVER the working class."

          Another year has gone by and still there are no worker's elections.
          Why? Because both the Soviet leaders and Castro are opposed to them.
          The Soviets know that working class elections to the organs of state power
          will also mean working class elections within the governing party and once
          such a collective party is formed and developed it will not allow Cuba to be
          dictated to by an outside force not motivated by international proletarian
          considerations. Such a situation would spoil the game by which the Soviet
          leaders want to use Cuba as a tool for their own international maneuvers
          rather than for the interest of the world working class. Castro is opposed
          to elections because he knows such elections both in Cuba and within the
          ruling party then formed would be the best guarantee that the Cuban
          Revolution would go forward in its mission to carry out the interests of the
          working class to the end. Castro wants to use the working class for his own
          purposes not necessarily identical with working class rule and development.

          It is now time to make a thorough analysis of this Castroism because the
          Cuban Revolution is in deadly peril not only from the United States and
          Latin American reactionaries but also from within. Either Castroism as
          described herein is ended and replaced by a working- class rule or the
          Revolution stands in danger of death.


          THE HISTORY of Latin America is filled with Castro type "revolutionists"
          whose policies and histories, springing from the conditions peculiarly
          prevailing in this part of the world are very clearly distinguishable. We
          can enumerate these features as
          follows:

          1. Upper class leadership, often on the "colonel" level; 2. Reliance on tiny
          conspiratorial military (the "Junta") initiative, often launched from exile
          bases; 3. Caudillism in military affairs; 4. Personalism in political
          matters; 5. General program very vague, concentration on "Patria" as against
          "foreign interests," vague statements of being for the "people," the
          "shirtless," the "humble"; 6. No attack against the native bourgeoisie or
          top wealthy groups unless absolutely necessary; 7. Vague stand for economic
          improvements, for greater wealth for the nation, for forced
          industrialization, resulting in more efficiency by the masses who in turn
          are to have greater security and stake in the social order.

          The early Latin American "revolutionary" leaders were of the George
          Washington type who in their fight for independence against Spain used the
          vague phrases of the French enlightenment popularized by the French
          Revolution so that they could get the people to fight for them and their top
          group. To this category belonged such "liberators" as Bolivar, Belgrano, San
          Martin and others. They represented wealthy families which wanted to rule
          the Western Hemisphere countries for themselves rather than the Spanish
          aristocracy who looked down on them. Their victories cemented the rule of
          the landed oligarchical group amassing the huge vacant lands for themselves.
          Establishing vast latifundias with large numbers of peons and slaves working
          for them, the strong ones among the oligarchy formed their own private
          armies (caudillism) and ruled their regions with an iron hand no longer held
          responsible by others for their actions. Some of these regions actually
          became artificially created independent States as for example in Central
          America. The fact that the countries were so new with all social controls
          absent led to fights among the ruling families themselves as to who should
          control. In each family were sons with self-given title of "colonel" or
          "general" who staged one governmental revolt after another. So far as the
          masses of toilers were concerned their lot was improved not at all.

          About the middle of the last century new trends of capitalism entering Latin
          America changed some of the formulas of the "revolutionists." The entrance
          of commercial and financial capital and the rise of a bourgeois world made
          increasingly felt the need for definite rules. This called for
          constitutional government that would allow for the interplay of bourgeois
          forces and would permit the newer wealthier elements to become fused with
          the old oligarchy. The formation of constitutions entailed a division of
          labor between the executive and the legislative branches of government.
          While the army tended to become professionalized within it there was still
          room for the tiny military conspiracy. The military coup d'etat with
          personal parties gathered around some military conspirator remained to
          dominate the workings of the constitution.

          Between the middle and the end of the 19th century. Latin America saw not
          only a vast increase in the influence of foreign capital but also a vast
          influx of foreign labor and immigration. Millions of people came from Spain
          and from Italy to seek home and fortune in the countries of this Hemisphere.
          Some became farmers and agricultural laborers, others small business men,
          professional men, workers in the cities, and such. Some of them even went
          into the army to play a role there as "majors" and as "colonels." Now the
          nation was faced not only with the matter of establishing basic rules in a
          constitution but of allowing these middle class elements and immigrants the
          right to vote. Hence new military conspiracies, new vague general
          programmatic phrases and new promises with a multitude of personal parties
          arising controlled by this or that strong individual and his clique combined
          with the military to take over power. It become appropriate to take on a
          radical coloration, radicalism in the name of the "people."

          Jose Marti of Cuba does not go much beyond this, or Carranza in Mexico, or
          Batista in Cuba.

          Finally, with the advent of the Russian and Fascist Revolutions, the great
          depression of the 1930's, and the great world wars, the Latin American
          military revolutionary cliques had to take on new guises of a social kind.
          They had to speak against foreign imperialism and foreign interests (partly
          to force the foreigners to take the native wealthy into partnership with
          them into the new corporations and to induce bigger bribes from these
          foreign corporations). They had to speak in the name of the "humble" (los
          humildes) and to promise them job security and Christmas gifts (Peron in
          Argentina and Vargas in Brazil aping Mussolini and Hitler). They expanded
          totalitarian principles in the name of social justice and threatened even
          the bourgeoisie with unleashing the masses against them if they did not fall
          in line. Using the demagogic forms of "plebiscite" and open meetings rather
          than political party discussions of policy and program they manipulated the
          masses at will.

          None of them permitted honest regular elections, especially in so far as the
          workers and toilers are concerned. None of them failed to make every effort
          to control the workers organization, whether it be the trade union, the
          cultural association, the mutual aid group, the cooperative, or the
          political party. They withheld elections for years at a time until such
          elections could be safely manipulated and controlled. They formed a
          permanent State within the State for their own benefit.



          AND NOW we can turn to Castro and see how he fits into these classical types
          of Junta revolutionists. If it is true, as claimed, that he was a
          "Marxist-Leninist" from the beginning, then he certainly concealed his
          character pretending to be just another ordinary Latin American hidalgo,
          military "revolutionist," and hiding his social program so cleverly that
          many of his friends did not know it even existed. He posed as a pure and
          simple constitutional legalist of the Jose Marti variety. He simply wanted
          the termination of corruption in government, the end of the Batista
          dictatorship and the realization of a Cuban Constitution that already had
          been legally adopted years ago. He "revealed" his "social program" only in
          proportion as his military needs required him to do so.

          Fidel Castro came from a wealthy landholding family, of the kind that would
          be part of the landed oligarchy in other countries. His contact with
          students in the University of Havana was contact with sons and daughters of
          the privileged in the main like himself. He was really not interested in
          forming a party of any kind. He worked through the tiny conspiratorial
          clique. He found it a necessity continually to demonstrate his military
          prowess, like many of the Latin American "revolutionists" before him, and
          when he was defeated in his first attempt to storm the barracks and was
          exiled, he again formed the military conspiracy to take Cuba by force but
          this time using agricultural toilers for his purposes.

          In his military actions he shows himself a true "caudillist." "Caudillo" is
          the Castillian word for leader, similar to Fuehrer in German and Duce in
          Italian. Caudillism may be defined as that policy that makes a military
          force belong to and practically depend on one leader, the Caudillo. That's
          what happens in Cuba. Fidel's military force at first is not an army of the
          people. It is a military adventure of a clique, headed by a Caudillo,
          belonging to and responsible to the Caudillo and no one else. The Caudillo
          appoints his assistants and discharges them. There is only one man and one
          only that counts, the Caudillo. Those who are true and faithful adherents of
          the Caudillo are allowed to wear special marks of distinction, in this case
          they are permitted to wear their hair long with beard and braids!

          They can thus be recognized everywhere and woe to him who does not yield to
          their special standing and status. They are the true Fidelistas pledged to
          Fidel Castro and to him only. They are his SS troops, his Pretorian Guard,
          separate and apart from the people.

          In all these antics Castro is so much like the comic-opera old style Latin
          American military conspirator and politico that even officials of the United
          States are taken in and believe that what is contemplated by Castro is
          simply another political upheaval of the well-known trite variety. His
          camouflage is so great that he refuses to allow any Cuban to have the title
          "General" but only "Colonel" (no doubt recognizing the under-spread Latin
          American belief that "Generals" would more likely initiate reactionary coup
          d'etats and the lower officers, like colonels, more radical sounding ones.)
          Thus U.S. officials at first do not specially hinder his group getting funds
          and support in the United States but allow him the same free hand that they
          have given other Latin American conspirators of the hidalgo variety.

          Perhaps one might say: Good for Castro. By means of these clever tactics and
          maneuvers he was able to get necessary aid, to disarm his future opponents
          until it was too late for them to interfere and thus to accomplish his real
          purpose which was to further a social revolution rather than a mere
          constitutional one. A man should not show his hand until the time is ripe.
          It all shows he is a very clever man, an actor of exceptional sinuous
          ability.

          Well and good! But how does it come about that none of the real workers' or
          peoples' revolutionist in the past was so "clever" and sinuous? Lenin, for
          example, believed in great flexibility in tactics and strategy, but
          precisely for that reason he was clear and unambiguous in his program. He
          too struck when the time was ripe but he always took pains to work out
          collectively, with the aid of a devoted vanguard party of tested scientific
          socialists each tactical and strategic operation on each phase of the
          program. He was no Caudillist, he did not believe in a "personal" political
          party. He was not a clever sinuous actor fooling everybody including his own
          comrades.

          Just as Castro tricked his original friends when he posed as a mere
          constitutionalist so he may well be tricking his new friends when he poses
          as a Marxist-Leninist, and states that Cuba has socialism as its goal. In
          reality he is fooling no one who has studied the question. He is certainly
          not fooling Khrushchev who has openly declared that Castro is not a
          communist. And he is not fooling the reactionaries in the United States who
          are howling that he is a Leninist not because they believe it but because of
          his opening the doors of the Western Hemisphere to Khrushchev and the
          Russian politicians giving them extra weapons in the world struggle for
          power.

          How far has Castro gone towards socialism? We have first the positive
          statements in his "Second Declaration of Havana," issued February 1962,
          three full years after his coming to power. (We expect to make a critique of
          this document in the near future.) Here he states the achievements of Cuba
          as follows: "Cuba . . . has converted into landowners one hundred thousand
          small agriculturist, has assured all year-round employment on the farms and
          cooperatives to all the agricultural workers, has transformed barracks into
          schools, has given 60,000 fellowships to university, secondary and technical
          students, has created class rooms for all the children, has liquidated
          analphabetism completely, has quadrupled medical services, has nationalized
          the monopolist enterprises, has suppressed the abusive system that converted
          the home into a medium of exploitation for the people, has eliminated
          virtually all unemployment, has suppressed discrimination based on race or
          sex, has barred gambling, vice and administrative corruption, has armed the
          public, has. made into a living reality the enjoyment of human rights in
          freeing man and woman from exploitation, ignorance, and social inequality,
          has freed itself from all foreign vassalage, has acquired full sovereignty
          and established the bases for the development of its economy so that it will
          be no longer a country producing but one principal commodity and exporting
          only raw materials...."

          In this review of the achievements of the Cuban Revolution we see that they
          are all bourgeois achievements. There is not one that capitalism as a whole
          has not attained elsewhere, although it took a revolution to achieve them in
          Cuba. They are achievements which theoretically have been announced as the
          goal of all the Latin American States organized in the Punte del Este
          Conference. In themselves they have nothing to do with socialism although
          they may be a first step in that direction.

          But socialism can not be achieved without the rule of the working class as
          the head of all the toiling masses, a working class organized in its own
          political party tested in struggles and choosing freely its own leaders.
          Here is where Castro stands exposed as not being even a democrat, not to
          speak of being a socialist, or Marxist- Leninist. After three full years of
          victory he refuses to allow the formation of a workers party; he refuses to
          hold working-class elections; he refuses to build Soviets or organs of
          workers state power. In short be still wants the revolution to revolve
          around himself and his little clique as though it was his own personal
          property. This is the mark of the Latin American Caudillo, the Jacobin type
          of "revolutionist" not of the Marxist-Leninist.

          Where did Castro get his clever bag of tricks? Who were his forerunners and
          teachers? From appearances the man from whom he copied more than any one
          else is the fugitive-exile Juan Peron, former dictator-President of
          Argentina now hiding in the Spain of Caudillo Franco, who in turn followed
          the grand master of all, Mussolini. There is practically nothing that Castro
          is trying that ............ reactionary regime; Peron also came out for the
          "humble" and organized demonstrations of the "shirtless" ones; Peron also
          made strenuous efforts to end unemployment and made it most difficult for
          the employer to discharge any workman. He also started large public works.
          He also stood out for higher wages for the workers and established funds for
          social security, old age pensions, etc. Aided by the tears and passion of
          his wife, Eva Peron, he also gave workers Christmas presents and indeed
          fixed it into the very law of the land so that workers were to receive at
          the end of the year a special present of a salary equal to one whole month's
          pay! He also took control of the workers trade unions and other
          organizations and had the government appoint the leaders. He also saw there
          were no real discussions but only "plebiscites" from time to time,
          maintaining regularly that all this meant a higher form of democracy than
          the decadent bourgeois ones in foreign countries. He also nationalized
          certain foreign properties and developed others. He also stood for rapid
          industrialization and for more and harder work by the toilers. He also
          advocated agrarian reform and the breaking up of the large landed estates on
          the countryside. He also made bitter attacks against "foreign interests" and
          "imperialism" and urged the complete unity and strong independence of the
          "patria." If Fidel has his admirers in other Latin American countries,
          Peronism had its counterparts in Apraism in Peru and Vargasism in Brazil.



          YES, THERE were some differences between Peronism and Fidelism. Peron in
          1943-45 could not call on the Soviet Union for help especially as the ruling
          classes and military men were heavily oriented on the side of the Axis
          powers, Hitler and Mussolini. Peron thus did not have to call himself a
          "Marxist-Leninist". He also was not so heavily bogged down by the weight of
          American imperialism and there was no Guantanamo Base in Argentina. Nor was
          he so close to the shores of the U.S. as to become a physical threat to that
          imperialism. Thus he did not have to be armed by opponents of the United
          States nor stand in such deadly peril of retaliation by the United States.



          REVOLUTIONS can come in an infinite number and combination of forms and
          contents. There may be palace revolutions, military revolutions, people's
          revolutions, peasants' revolutions, workers' revolutions, democratic
          revolutions, social revolutions, social-democratic revolutions, socialist
          revolutions, etc. What sort of Revolution is that now going on in Cuba? It
          starts out as a military adventure of a few intellectuals supported by
          democratic and social revolutionists abroad, it quickly develops into a
          social revolution backed up first of all by the desperate agricultural
          toilers and supported by wide strata of the working class and general
          population.

          It also starts out as a democratic revolution, the aim being to overthrow
          the Batista dictatorship, put life into the old constitution and call for
          elections by all the people on a universal free and secret suffrage basis.
          The democratic features of the revolution are soon suppressed. Very early
          after taking power Castro announces that there will be no elections for a
          number of years but all power will rest in the hands of himself and the
          small coterie around him, selected and appointed by him.

          To the people who are thus deprived of the vote Castro gives the following
          arguments:

          1.The Revolution has just begun and there are many counter- revolutionary
          elements who will seize the occasion of the elections to sow confusion and
          discontent. What is needed now is unity of the country until matters can
          become stabilized and unemployment ended.

          2. The social aspects of the revolution are much more important than the
          democratic. Everyone is too busy constructing the economy from the ruins of
          the old to pay attention to elections which are not necessary anyway since
          the ruling group represents their interests thoroughly. To the toilers he
          says after the trade unions have been purged of their counter-revolutionary
          Batista former leaders and the agricultural workers have been formed into
          cooperatives then there will be voting, first within these organizations and
          then generally.

          3. Elections means the formation of political parties which will have to
          present programs and make efforts to take power. This cannot be done in such
          precarious moments.

          4. So, with all the tricks of demagogy Castro and his clique prevents any
          voting whatever and completely sidetracks the development of the Revolution
          on democratic lines.

          But the Revolution does continue as a Social Revolution, although without a
          democratic base either for the toilers generally or for the industrial
          workers in particular. Without democracy they cannot discuss their problems
          and elect their representatives. They cannot pool their knowledge and make
          collective responsible decisions. They cannot have self development, they
          cannot take initiative in important political and social matters. They
          remain constantly chained as coolies for the few intellectuals who have the
          decision- making powers monopolized to themselves and the policies and
          programs locked up in their own bosoms until they condescend to reveal them
          to the workers and toilers. The social revolution loses its head and must
          become extremely limited in scope.

          It is not at all an exceptional historic circumstance that the bourgeoisie
          cannot by itself modernize its country peaceably and without the assistance
          of the working classes who are promised all sorts of pie-in-the-sky
          benefits. Nor is it unheard of that workers will think their leaders are
          establishing socialism when all they are doing is modernizing capitalism by
          forced industrialization, forced capital investment and forced labor.
          Perhaps this last is what Castro really has in mind for Cuba?

          Ordinarily, under the relation of forces actually existing in Cuba the
          control by Castro would eventually pass into the hands of the workers and
          toilers. Cuba is an island and thus not easily interfered with except by
          direct invasion. With the expulsion of the American imperialists there
          remains no bourgeois class strong enough to take or hold the power. The
          petty bourgeois classes are also too small and weak to do so. The workers
          and toilers now thoroughly aroused face no class capable of rejecting their
          will should it become definitely and clearly expressed. These toiling masses
          can not be withheld from the full fruits of their labor forever, whatever
          the clever phrases used.
          The Social Revolution must move further and further to the left, the workers
          must begin to strive for leadership to move the revolution into the direct
          paths of socialism. To do this they will have to demand the formation of a
          workers party, of Soviet or workers parliament, of free elections by workers
          for their own representatives to decide their own lot. This should be the
          trend of affairs to be anticipated.

          How can Castro prevent this move of the workers to form their own party and
          to take over power for themselves? In his desperation, not being able to
          call on anyone else he calls on the Cuban Stalinists and the Russian
          Khrushchevists to come to his aid. The Cuban Stalinists, like the Russians,
          do not care about workers' elections and workers' party discussions. Long
          ago they abandoned such free discussions in proportion as the Russian
          Revolution steadily degenerated towards managerialism and away from workers'
          democracy.
          Thus, if Castro will share power with them the Stalinists are very willing
          to help him prevent the formation of a real workers' Marxist party capable
          of taking leadership of the Revolution and moving the Revolution from its
          limited social aims to Socialism.

          Thus the poor Cuban people are faced not only with the open and deadly
          enmity of American imperialism, including the leaders of the U.S. trade
          unions, but are faced with the heavy burdens of removing the degenerated
          weight of Khrushchevism-Stalinism brought in by Castro to prevent them from
          taking over in their own right.

          Under such dire conditions what should be the tasks of Cuba win?
          Their hope would seem to be the development of the socialist revolution
          elsewhere particularly in Latin America but here, too, Castro, and the
          Stalinists seem to control all the avenues of approach.

          Under such dire conditions what should be the tasks of the workers
          throughout the world?

          First of all they must continue to support the social revolution that has
          burst forth in Cuba.

          Second, they should demand Hands Off Cuba and prevent imperialist
          intervention.

          Third, they must demand in stentorian terms that Cuba allow free elections
          among the workers so that a real workers leadership can be developed and
          take power through Soviets or similar organs of struggles.

          Fourth, they must expose the cynical maneuvers of the Stalinists, conduct
          their own revolutionary movements and forming their own internationalist
          socialist movement. For the sake of the Socialist Revolution in Cuba both
          Khrushchev and American imperialism must be thwarted, both foreign
          intervention and domestic Castroism must be defeated.

          Fifth, finally, they must bend all efforts to the end that the social
          revolution be extended and made permanent through all Latin America.

          September 1962.







          ------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor --------------------~--> Get
          fast access to your favorite Yahoo! Groups. Make Yahoo! your home page
          http://us.click.yahoo.com/dpRU5A/wUILAA/yQLSAA/KlSolB/TM
          --------------------------------------------------------------------~->

          Green Left Weekly depends on your support!

          Subscribe to Green Left Weekly!
          http://www.greenleft.org.au/subscribe.htm

          Make a donation to help Green Left Weekly continue!
          http://www.greenleft.org.au/fogl.htm


          Yahoo! Groups Links









        • Fred Feldman
          Albert Weisbord was a trade-union activist in the Communist Party in the mid-1920s who led a quite prominent textile strike in the south. He was thrown out
          Message 4 of 4 , Oct 30, 2005
            Message
            Albert Weisbord was a trade-union activist in the Communist Party in the mid-1920s who led a quite prominent textile strike in the south.  He was thrown out and formed his own Weisbordite -- not Trotskyist -- sect, although he briefly joined the SWP.  I thought he had eventually disappeared into the AFL or CIO bureaucracies, but apparently here he is in 1962, still trying to sell his own screwball sect.
             
            That this is not Trotskyist is indicated by the odd phrase referring to the "Russian and Fascist revolutions," and the crackpot reactionary character by his description of Cuba in 1962 -- was this a response to the missile crisis -- as "physical threat" to the United States.
             
            Not only were his predictions, wrong, but all his facts as well, such as his bizarre equation of Marti and Batista, his confusion of "caudillos," constitutionalists, fascists, and revolutionaries in Latin America into the same thing, and his general airy contempt for the actual history of the region.
             
            I've fallen behind on the Green Left list, but this thread has to have originated with the fabulous Nemo Etomer who, like Weisbord, never gets any fact right, but is always correct as a matter of principle.
            Fred Feldman
            -----Original Message-----
            From: GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com [mailto:GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Walter Lippmann
            Sent: Sunday, October 30, 2005 9:18 PM
            To: GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: RE: [GreenLeft_discussion] CASTROISM - A left-Trotskyist analysis of stalinism on Cuba 1962

            If this 43-year-old prediction of the death of the Cuban
            Revolution, in the even it adopted "Castroism" weren't so
            stupid, not to speak of out of date, it would be laughable.

            Hasn't anything at all happened in the intervening 43 years
            which you might like to suggest could have had any influence
            on whatever might have been valid or not in this ancient item?

            Thanks,


            Walter Lippmann

            -----Original Message-----
            From: GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com
            [mailto:GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Nemo Etomer
            Sent: Sunday, October 30, 2005 12:13 PM
            To: GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [GreenLeft_discussion] CASTROISM - A left-Trotskyist analysis of
            stalinism on Cuba 1962

            CASTROISM - DEADLY DANGER TO THE CUBAN REVOLUTION By Albert Weisbord

            (From the magazine "La Parola del Popolo" December 1962)



            IN TWO relatively recent articles La Parola del Popolo has pointed out
            certain dangerous tendencies existing in the adoption of Castroism by the
            Cuban Revolution.

            In the June-July 1961 issue in dealing with Castro's ransom proposals we
            wrote: "Castro may be denounced as a communist stooge, but he can never be
            acclaimed as a Marxist. He is a mere Jacobin, a man who has attached himself
            to the people from the top and who essentially looks at them from the
            mountain peak of his intellectual contempt and Spanish pride as a rabble
            without great brains or historic initiative." The article concluded: "Let
            the Cuban revolutionary workers and peasants learn the bitter lessons from
            this episode. Let them put a bridle on Castro and force him to act not like
            a catholic savior but like a modest leader of the working class training and
            developing them for leadership and decision making in a Marxist manner."

            We followed this up with a longer article entitled "Perspective of the Cuban
            Revolution" appearing in the December-January 1962
            issue: ". . . . it is absolutely essential to raise the question of general
            elections in which the workers and toilers will be entirely free to vote to
            make their choices and to participate actively in all government and
            political activities.

            "There is now only one party in Cuba, why should not there be elections?
            There is now a new proletarian state (supposedly, A.W.) in Cuba, why should
            not there be a new constitution? Why should not SOVIETS be formed in Cuba as
            proletarian organs of power? . . . But the proletariat must now be allowed
            to vote and express its will.
            What is Cuba waiting for? To wait further is a major crime against the
            people of Cuba? Working class elections can no longer be delayed!
            An advancing proletarian revolution can no longer tolerate this dictatorship
            OVER the working class."

            Another year has gone by and still there are no worker's elections.
            Why? Because both the Soviet leaders and Castro are opposed to them.
            The Soviets know that working class elections to the organs of state power
            will also mean working class elections within the governing party and once
            such a collective party is formed and developed it will not allow Cuba to be
            dictated to by an outside force not motivated by international proletarian
            considerations. Such a situation would spoil the game by which the Soviet
            leaders want to use Cuba as a tool for their own international maneuvers
            rather than for the interest of the world working class. Castro is opposed
            to elections because he knows such elections both in Cuba and within the
            ruling party then formed would be the best guarantee that the Cuban
            Revolution would go forward in its mission to carry out the interests of the
            working class to the end. Castro wants to use the working class for his own
            purposes not necessarily identical with working class rule and development.

            It is now time to make a thorough analysis of this Castroism because the
            Cuban Revolution is in deadly peril not only from the United States and
            Latin American reactionaries but also from within. Either Castroism as
            described herein is ended and replaced by a working- class rule or the
            Revolution stands in danger of death.


            THE HISTORY of Latin America is filled with Castro type "revolutionists"
            whose policies and histories, springing from the conditions peculiarly
            prevailing in this part of the world are very clearly distinguishable. We
            can enumerate these features as
            follows:

            1. Upper class leadership, often on the "colonel" level; 2. Reliance on tiny
            conspiratorial military (the "Junta") initiative, often launched from exile
            bases; 3. Caudillism in military affairs; 4. Personalism in political
            matters; 5. General program very vague, concentration on "Patria" as against
            "foreign interests," vague statements of being for the "people," the
            "shirtless," the "humble"; 6. No attack against the native bourgeoisie or
            top wealthy groups unless absolutely necessary; 7. Vague stand for economic
            improvements, for greater wealth for the nation, for forced
            industrialization, resulting in more efficiency by the masses who in turn
            are to have greater security and stake in the social order.

            The early Latin American "revolutionary" leaders were of the George
            Washington type who in their fight for independence against Spain used the
            vague phrases of the French enlightenment popularized by the French
            Revolution so that they could get the people to fight for them and their top
            group. To this category belonged such "liberators" as Bolivar, Belgrano, San
            Martin and others. They represented wealthy families which wanted to rule
            the Western Hemisphere countries for themselves rather than the Spanish
            aristocracy who looked down on them. Their victories cemented the rule of
            the landed oligarchical group amassing the huge vacant lands for themselves.
            Establishing vast latifundias with large numbers of peons and slaves working
            for them, the strong ones among the oligarchy formed their own private
            armies (caudillism) and ruled their regions with an iron hand no longer held
            responsible by others for their actions. Some of these regions actually
            became artificially created independent States as for example in Central
            America. The fact that the countries were so new with all social controls
            absent led to fights among the ruling families themselves as to who should
            control. In each family were sons with self-given title of "colonel" or
            "general" who staged one governmental revolt after another. So far as the
            masses of toilers were concerned their lot was improved not at all.

            About the middle of the last century new trends of capitalism entering Latin
            America changed some of the formulas of the "revolutionists." The entrance
            of commercial and financial capital and the rise of a bourgeois world made
            increasingly felt the need for definite rules. This called for
            constitutional government that would allow for the interplay of bourgeois
            forces and would permit the newer wealthier elements to become fused with
            the old oligarchy. The formation of constitutions entailed a division of
            labor between the executive and the legislative branches of government.
            While the army tended to become professionalized within it there was still
            room for the tiny military conspiracy. The military coup d'etat with
            personal parties gathered around some military conspirator remained to
            dominate the workings of the constitution.

            Between the middle and the end of the 19th century. Latin America saw not
            only a vast increase in the influence of foreign capital but also a vast
            influx of foreign labor and immigration. Millions of people came from Spain
            and from Italy to seek home and fortune in the countries of this Hemisphere.
            Some became farmers and agricultural laborers, others small business men,
            professional men, workers in the cities, and such. Some of them even went
            into the army to play a role there as "majors" and as "colonels." Now the
            nation was faced not only with the matter of establishing basic rules in a
            constitution but of allowing these middle class elements and immigrants the
            right to vote. Hence new military conspiracies, new vague general
            programmatic phrases and new promises with a multitude of personal parties
            arising controlled by this or that strong individual and his clique combined
            with the military to take over power. It become appropriate to take on a
            radical coloration, radicalism in the name of the "people."

            Jose Marti of Cuba does not go much beyond this, or Carranza in Mexico, or
            Batista in Cuba.

            Finally, with the advent of the Russian and Fascist Revolutions, the great
            depression of the 1930's, and the great world wars, the Latin American
            military revolutionary cliques had to take on new guises of a social kind.
            They had to speak against foreign imperialism and foreign interests (partly
            to force the foreigners to take the native wealthy into partnership with
            them into the new corporations and to induce bigger bribes from these
            foreign corporations). They had to speak in the name of the "humble" (los
            humildes) and to promise them job security and Christmas gifts (Peron in
            Argentina and Vargas in Brazil aping Mussolini and Hitler). They expanded
            totalitarian principles in the name of social justice and threatened even
            the bourgeoisie with unleashing the masses against them if they did not fall
            in line. Using the demagogic forms of "plebiscite" and open meetings rather
            than political party discussions of policy and program they manipulated the
            masses at will.

            None of them permitted honest regular elections, especially in so far as the
            workers and toilers are concerned. None of them failed to make every effort
            to control the workers organization, whether it be the trade union, the
            cultural association, the mutual aid group, the cooperative, or the
            political party. They withheld elections for years at a time until such
            elections could be safely manipulated and controlled. They formed a
            permanent State within the State for their own benefit.



            AND NOW we can turn to Castro and see how he fits into these classical types
            of Junta revolutionists. If it is true, as claimed, that he was a
            "Marxist-Leninist" from the beginning, then he certainly concealed his
            character pretending to be just another ordinary Latin American hidalgo,
            military "revolutionist," and hiding his social program so cleverly that
            many of his friends did not know it even existed. He posed as a pure and
            simple constitutional legalist of the Jose Marti variety. He simply wanted
            the termination of corruption in government, the end of the Batista
            dictatorship and the realization of a Cuban Constitution that already had
            been legally adopted years ago. He "revealed" his "social program" only in
            proportion as his military needs required him to do so.

            Fidel Castro came from a wealthy landholding family, of the kind that would
            be part of the landed oligarchy in other countries. His contact with
            students in the University of Havana was contact with sons and daughters of
            the privileged in the main like himself. He was really not interested in
            forming a party of any kind. He worked through the tiny conspiratorial
            clique. He found it a necessity continually to demonstrate his military
            prowess, like many of the Latin American "revolutionists" before him, and
            when he was defeated in his first attempt to storm the barracks and was
            exiled, he again formed the military conspiracy to take Cuba by force but
            this time using agricultural toilers for his purposes.

            In his military actions he shows himself a true "caudillist." "Caudillo" is
            the Castillian word for leader, similar to Fuehrer in German and Duce in
            Italian. Caudillism may be defined as that policy that makes a military
            force belong to and practically depend on one leader, the Caudillo. That's
            what happens in Cuba. Fidel's military force at first is not an army of the
            people. It is a military adventure of a clique, headed by a Caudillo,
            belonging to and responsible to the Caudillo and no one else. The Caudillo
            appoints his assistants and discharges them. There is only one man and one
            only that counts, the Caudillo. Those who are true and faithful adherents of
            the Caudillo are allowed to wear special marks of distinction, in this case
            they are permitted to wear their hair long with beard and braids!

            They can thus be recognized everywhere and woe to him who does not yield to
            their special standing and status. They are the true Fidelistas pledged to
            Fidel Castro and to him only. They are his SS troops, his Pretorian Guard,
            separate and apart from the people.

            In all these antics Castro is so much like the comic-opera old style Latin
            American military conspirator and politico that even officials of the United
            States are taken in and believe that what is contemplated by Castro is
            simply another political upheaval of the well-known trite variety. His
            camouflage is so great that he refuses to allow any Cuban to have the title
            "General" but only "Colonel" (no doubt recognizing the under-spread Latin
            American belief that "Generals" would more likely initiate reactionary coup
            d'etats and the lower officers, like colonels, more radical sounding ones.)
            Thus U.S. officials at first do not specially hinder his group getting funds
            and support in the United States but allow him the same free hand that they
            have given other Latin American conspirators of the hidalgo variety.

            Perhaps one might say: Good for Castro. By means of these clever tactics and
            maneuvers he was able to get necessary aid, to disarm his future opponents
            until it was too late for them to interfere and thus to accomplish his real
            purpose which was to further a social revolution rather than a mere
            constitutional one. A man should not show his hand until the time is ripe.
            It all shows he is a very clever man, an actor of exceptional sinuous
            ability.

            Well and good! But how does it come about that none of the real workers' or
            peoples' revolutionist in the past was so "clever" and sinuous? Lenin, for
            example, believed in great flexibility in tactics and strategy, but
            precisely for that reason he was clear and unambiguous in his program. He
            too struck when the time was ripe but he always took pains to work out
            collectively, with the aid of a devoted vanguard party of tested scientific
            socialists each tactical and strategic operation on each phase of the
            program. He was no Caudillist, he did not believe in a "personal" political
            party. He was not a clever sinuous actor fooling everybody including his own
            comrades.

            Just as Castro tricked his original friends when he posed as a mere
            constitutionalist so he may well be tricking his new friends when he poses
            as a Marxist-Leninist, and states that Cuba has socialism as its goal. In
            reality he is fooling no one who has studied the question. He is certainly
            not fooling Khrushchev who has openly declared that Castro is not a
            communist. And he is not fooling the reactionaries in the United States who
            are howling that he is a Leninist not because they believe it but because of
            his opening the doors of the Western Hemisphere to Khrushchev and the
            Russian politicians giving them extra weapons in the world struggle for
            power.

            How far has Castro gone towards socialism? We have first the positive
            statements in his "Second Declaration of Havana," issued February 1962,
            three full years after his coming to power. (We expect to make a critique of
            this document in the near future.) Here he states the achievements of Cuba
            as follows: "Cuba . . . has converted into landowners one hundred thousand
            small agriculturist, has assured all year-round employment on the farms and
            cooperatives to all the agricultural workers, has transformed barracks into
            schools, has given 60,000 fellowships to university, secondary and technical
            students, has created class rooms for all the children, has liquidated
            analphabetism completely, has quadrupled medical services, has nationalized
            the monopolist enterprises, has suppressed the abusive system that converted
            the home into a medium of exploitation for the people, has eliminated
            virtually all unemployment, has suppressed discrimination based on race or
            sex, has barred gambling, vice and administrative corruption, has armed the
            public, has. made into a living reality the enjoyment of human rights in
            freeing man and woman from exploitation, ignorance, and social inequality,
            has freed itself from all foreign vassalage, has acquired full sovereignty
            and established the bases for the development of its economy so that it will
            be no longer a country producing but one principal commodity and exporting
            only raw materials...."

            In this review of the achievements of the Cuban Revolution we see that they
            are all bourgeois achievements. There is not one that capitalism as a whole
            has not attained elsewhere, although it took a revolution to achieve them in
            Cuba. They are achievements which theoretically have been announced as the
            goal of all the Latin American States organized in the Punte del Este
            Conference. In themselves they have nothing to do with socialism although
            they may be a first step in that direction.

            But socialism can not be achieved without the rule of the working class as
            the head of all the toiling masses, a working class organized in its own
            political party tested in struggles and choosing freely its own leaders.
            Here is where Castro stands exposed as not being even a democrat, not to
            speak of being a socialist, or Marxist- Leninist. After three full years of
            victory he refuses to allow the formation of a workers party; he refuses to
            hold working-class elections; he refuses to build Soviets or organs of
            workers state power. In short be still wants the revolution to revolve
            around himself and his little clique as though it was his own personal
            property. This is the mark of the Latin American Caudillo, the Jacobin type
            of "revolutionist" not of the Marxist-Leninist.

            Where did Castro get his clever bag of tricks? Who were his forerunners and
            teachers? From appearances the man from whom he copied more than any one
            else is the fugitive-exile Juan Peron, former dictator-President of
            Argentina now hiding in the Spain of Caudillo Franco, who in turn followed
            the grand master of all, Mussolini. There is practically nothing that Castro
            is trying that ............ reactionary regime; Peron also came out for the
            "humble" and organized demonstrations of the "shirtless" ones; Peron also
            made strenuous efforts to end unemployment and made it most difficult for
            the employer to discharge any workman. He also started large public works.
            He also stood out for higher wages for the workers and established funds for
            social security, old age pensions, etc. Aided by the tears and passion of
            his wife, Eva Peron, he also gave workers Christmas presents and indeed
            fixed it into the very law of the land so that workers were to receive at
            the end of the year a special present of a salary equal to one whole month's
            pay! He also took control of the workers trade unions and other
            organizations and had the government appoint the leaders. He also saw there
            were no real discussions but only "plebiscites" from time to time,
            maintaining regularly that all this meant a higher form of democracy than
            the decadent bourgeois ones in foreign countries. He also nationalized
            certain foreign properties and developed others. He also stood for rapid
            industrialization and for more and harder work by the toilers. He also
            advocated agrarian reform and the breaking up of the large landed estates on
            the countryside. He also made bitter attacks against "foreign interests" and
            "imperialism" and urged the complete unity and strong independence of the
            "patria." If Fidel has his admirers in other Latin American countries,
            Peronism had its counterparts in Apraism in Peru and Vargasism in Brazil.



            YES, THERE were some differences between Peronism and Fidelism. Peron in
            1943-45 could not call on the Soviet Union for help especially as the ruling
            classes and military men were heavily oriented on the side of the Axis
            powers, Hitler and Mussolini. Peron thus did not have to call himself a
            "Marxist-Leninist". He also was not so heavily bogged down by the weight of
            American imperialism and there was no Guantanamo Base in Argentina. Nor was
            he so close to the shores of the U.S. as to become a physical threat to that
            imperialism. Thus he did not have to be armed by opponents of the United
            States nor stand in such deadly peril of retaliation by the United States.



            REVOLUTIONS can come in an infinite number and combination of forms and
            contents. There may be palace revolutions, military revolutions, people's
            revolutions, peasants' revolutions, workers' revolutions, democratic
            revolutions, social revolutions, social-democratic revolutions, socialist
            revolutions, etc. What sort of Revolution is that now going on in Cuba? It
            starts out as a military adventure of a few intellectuals supported by
            democratic and social revolutionists abroad, it quickly develops into a
            social revolution backed up first of all by the desperate agricultural
            toilers and supported by wide strata of the working class and general
            population.

            It also starts out as a democratic revolution, the aim being to overthrow
            the Batista dictatorship, put life into the old constitution and call for
            elections by all the people on a universal free and secret suffrage basis.
            The democratic features of the revolution are soon suppressed. Very early
            after taking power Castro announces that there will be no elections for a
            number of years but all power will rest in the hands of himself and the
            small coterie around him, selected and appointed by him.

            To the people who are thus deprived of the vote Castro gives the following
            arguments:

            1.The Revolution has just begun and there are many counter- revolutionary
            elements who will seize the occasion of the elections to sow confusion and
            discontent. What is needed now is unity of the country until matters can
            become stabilized and unemployment ended.

            2. The social aspects of the revolution are much more important than the
            democratic. Everyone is too busy constructing the economy from the ruins of
            the old to pay attention to elections which are not necessary anyway since
            the ruling group represents their interests thoroughly. To the toilers he
            says after the trade unions have been purged of their counter-revolutionary
            Batista former leaders and the agricultural workers have been formed into
            cooperatives then there will be voting, first within these organizations and
            then generally.

            3. Elections means the formation of political parties which will have to
            present programs and make efforts to take power. This cannot be done in such
            precarious moments.

            4. So, with all the tricks of demagogy Castro and his clique prevents any
            voting whatever and completely sidetracks the development of the Revolution
            on democratic lines.

            But the Revolution does continue as a Social Revolution, although without a
            democratic base either for the toilers generally or for the industrial
            workers in particular. Without democracy they cannot discuss their problems
            and elect their representatives. They cannot pool their knowledge and make
            collective responsible decisions. They cannot have self development, they
            cannot take initiative in important political and social matters. They
            remain constantly chained as coolies for the few intellectuals who have the
            decision- making powers monopolized to themselves and the policies and
            programs locked up in their own bosoms until they condescend to reveal them
            to the workers and toilers. The social revolution loses its head and must
            become extremely limited in scope.

            It is not at all an exceptional historic circumstance that the bourgeoisie
            cannot by itself modernize its country peaceably and without the assistance
            of the working classes who are promised all sorts of pie-in-the-sky
            benefits. Nor is it unheard of that workers will think their leaders are
            establishing socialism when all they are doing is modernizing capitalism by
            forced industrialization, forced capital investment and forced labor.
            Perhaps this last is what Castro really has in mind for Cuba?

            Ordinarily, under the relation of forces actually existing in Cuba the
            control by Castro would eventually pass into the hands of the workers and
            toilers. Cuba is an island and thus not easily interfered with except by
            direct invasion. With the expulsion of the American imperialists there
            remains no bourgeois class strong enough to take or hold the power. The
            petty bourgeois classes are also too small and weak to do so. The workers
            and toilers now thoroughly aroused face no class capable of rejecting their
            will should it become definitely and clearly expressed. These toiling masses
            can not be withheld from the full fruits of their labor forever, whatever
            the clever phrases used.
            The Social Revolution must move further and further to the left, the workers
            must begin to strive for leadership to move the revolution into the direct
            paths of socialism. To do this they will have to demand the formation of a
            workers party, of Soviet or workers parliament, of free elections by workers
            for their own representatives to decide their own lot. This should be the
            trend of affairs to be anticipated.

            How can Castro prevent this move of the workers to form their own party and
            to take over power for themselves? In his desperation, not being able to
            call on anyone else he calls on the Cuban Stalinists and the Russian
            Khrushchevists to come to his aid. The Cuban Stalinists, like the Russians,
            do not care about workers' elections and workers' party discussions. Long
            ago they abandoned such free discussions in proportion as the Russian
            Revolution steadily degenerated towards managerialism and away from workers'
            democracy.
            Thus, if Castro will share power with them the Stalinists are very willing
            to help him prevent the formation of a real workers' Marxist party capable
            of taking leadership of the Revolution and moving the Revolution from its
            limited social aims to Socialism.

            Thus the poor Cuban people are faced not only with the open and deadly
            enmity of American imperialism, including the leaders of the U.S. trade
            unions, but are faced with the heavy burdens of removing the degenerated
            weight of Khrushchevism-Stalinism brought in by Castro to prevent them from
            taking over in their own right.

            Under such dire conditions what should be the tasks of Cuba win?
            Their hope would seem to be the development of the socialist revolution
            elsewhere particularly in Latin America but here, too, Castro, and the
            Stalinists seem to control all the avenues of approach.

            Under such dire conditions what should be the tasks of the workers
            throughout the world?

            First of all they must continue to support the social revolution that has
            burst forth in Cuba.

            Second, they should demand Hands Off Cuba and prevent imperialist
            intervention.

            Third, they must demand in stentorian terms that Cuba allow free elections
            among the workers so that a real workers leadership can be developed and
            take power through Soviets or similar organs of struggles.

            Fourth, they must expose the cynical maneuvers of the Stalinists, conduct
            their own revolutionary movements and forming their own internationalist
            socialist movement. For the sake of the Socialist Revolution in Cuba both
            Khrushchev and American imperialism must be thwarted, both foreign
            intervention and domestic Castroism must be defeated.

            Fifth, finally, they must bend all efforts to the end that the social
            revolution be extended and made permanent through all Latin America.

            September 1962.







            ------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor --------------------~--> Get
            fast access to your favorite Yahoo! Groups. Make Yahoo! your home page
            http://us.click.yahoo.com/dpRU5A/wUILAA/yQLSAA/KlSolB/TM
            --------------------------------------------------------------------~->

            Green Left Weekly depends on your support!

            Subscribe to Green Left Weekly!
            http://www.greenleft.org.au/subscribe.htm

            Make a donation to help Green Left Weekly continue!
            http://www.greenleft.org.au/fogl.htm


            Yahoo! Groups Links









          Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.