The PCC’s last congress was in 1997. The sixth congress, originally scheduled for 2008, has been postponed indefinitely. This is a sure sign of cracks within the bureaucracy which the top leadership is working to mend before they can show themselves at a congress.
There are three fundamental possibilities for Cuba’s development in the coming years:
- 1. A total collapse, as favored by US imperialism. Even though Obama campaigned with the promise of opening up a dialogue with the Cuban government, he has since returned to the old US position of unconditional support for the Cuban exile bourgeoisie. However, it must be noted that Washington’s traditional strategy is no longer unquestioned within the US ruling class: a number of US legislators are in favor of agreements with the Castro government. Behind them are capitalists who want access to Cuba’s markets immediately, without dogmatically waiting for a political upheaval on the island. (The US Chamber of Commerce estimates that the US economy is losing US$1.2 billion a year because of the blockade1.) The bourgeois classes of Latin America are generally opposed to a US takeover of the island because this would greatly increase US influence in the entire continent. For this reason, most Latin American governments are lending both political support (via including Cuba in international agreements) and economic assistance (via trade deals, such as recently between Cuba and Brazil) to the Cuban government. However, it is possible that the growing petty bourgeoisie in Cuba could be won for the perspective of sweeping away the current regime – this is precisely where propaganda campaigns by the US secret services are directed.
2. A controlled reintroduction of capitalism, as happened in China or Vietnam. In these countries, the red flags and the one-party system remained intact, but a section of the ruling bureaucracy transformed itself into capitalists and another section into corrupt functionaries of a bourgeois state. A large part of the Cuban bureaucracy supports this perspective – the officers of the Revolutionary Armed forces should be considered the main social basis of this form of capitalist restoration. The new Cuban petty bourgeoisie could also be a basis for this variant. However, the proximity of US imperialism would make such a process extremely difficult to control. This is why there have only been timid steps in this direction by the Cuban leadership so far. Paradoxically, the diplomatic intransigence of the USA has probably hindered pro-capitalist reforms by the Cuban bureaucracy. Nonetheless, the examples of China and Vietnam show this form of restoration is entirely possible. The continued hostility of US imperialism has led the bureaucracy to seek agreements with the capitalist classes of Latin America (whose resources are extremely limited, despite years of economic growth) or preferably with European imperialist powers. But even without such an agreement, concrete steps towards restoration are underway and since capitalist relations of production reproduce almost “automatically”, these reforms will sooner or later reach a tipping point.
3. A workers’ political revolution, as was advocated by Trotsky for the Soviet Union and could be seen in incipient form in Hungary in 1956. The Cuban working class has not played an independent political role since the revolution because they lack a framework to express themselves. That makes this third possibility the most difficult to implement. However, if the workers’ standard of living comes under attack and the threat of US colonization makes them recognize the danger of turning into another Haiti (or at least another Dominican Republic), it cannot be excluded that they will fight to defend the gains of the revolution by taking over the enterprises, forming workers’ councils and establishing control over the economic institutions, subordinating the plan to the mass democracy of the working class. While a part of the bureaucracy could certainly be won for this struggle, all the experiences of revolutionary crises in Stalinist states show that it is hopeless to expect the bureaucracy to transform itself into a revolutionary government. A revolution in Cuba would mean, for the second time since 1959, expropriating foreign capital on the island – however, since there is no endogenous capitalist class in Cuba, it would primarily be a political and not a social revolution, since the task of expropriating the local bourgeoisie was completed by 1961. For this possibility to be realized, a revolutionary party of the workers based on a Marxist program is an absolute necessity – and at the moment, must be built up illegally. Such a Marxist party would need to try to intervene in the Communist Party of Cuba, since this is currently the most important place on the island where any kind of political discussions take place. However, as the recent expulsion of Esteban Morales from the PCC makes clear, an intervention for a revolutionary program would also need to be carried out in a conspiratorial way.
A program for carrying out a workers’ revolution would need to be elaborated by Marxists on the island on the basis of a concrete analysis of the changing circumstances. But it would certainly need to include the following points:
- For the defense of the conquests of the revolution, against both imperialism and the bureaucracy!
- Down with the bureaucracy! For workers’ democracy based on workers’ and peasants’ councils to run the country!
- For freedom of organization, including freedom for all political parties that support the conquests of the revolution!
- Down with privileges and social inequality! No privileges for functionaries! For the expropriation of the “nouvelle riche”!
- For a revolutionary workers’ party based on the tradition of the Bolshevik Party which led the October Revolution and the Fourth International which carried on its struggle!
On the basis of a political revolution, Cuba would become not just a moral example but a political force in the struggle against capitalism in Latin America. In the face of every popular uprising – and in the last decade there have been more than a few! – a revolutionary workers’ government in Cuba could show the way to socialism and give support to parties based on a Marxist program. Instead of supporting isolated guerrillas and “progressive” bourgeois governments, a revolutionary foreign policy would ensure that the workers’ state in Cuba would not remain isolated for long. A socialist revolution throughout of Latin America is the only real possibility to solve Cuba’s economic problems: while a revolutionary workers’ government could manage the economy much more efficiently than the bureaucracy, there is no way out of poverty and backwardness in the confines of one small island – there is no “socialism in one country”, let alone on one island!
In analyzing Cuba today, two basic errors are possible. One is considering Cuba an essentially socialist country with some minor deficiencies in questions of democracy. This totally ignores the restorationist tendencies within the regime and the permanent bureaucratic mismanagement. Such “solidarity with Cuba” means no more and no less than support for the Castro government including its projects of privatization. The other mistake is considering that Cuba always was or has recently become a capitalist country. This ignores the fact that there is no Cuban bourgeoisie, i.e. no class that owns the means of production, and cannot explain the astounding social statistics mentioned at the beginning. A correct analysis needs to be based on examining the contradictory development of a society stuck in the middle of the road from capitalism to socialism, with tendencies to fall back to the former.
50. Margot Pepper: “The Costs of the Embargo”.
51. Besides Stalinist parties who see Cuba as a model, there are also many Trotskyist tendencies which have an uncritical position towards Castroism, including the United Secretariat of the Fourth International (USec), the International Marxist Tendency (IMT) and the Socialist Workers’ Movement (MST) from Argentina.
52. The International Workers’ League (LIT-CI) of Nahuel Moreno claims that capitalism has been restored in Cuba and a “democratic revolution” against the “capitalist dictatorship” is necessary. The International Socialist Tendency (IST) of Tony Cliff always argued that Cuba was “state capitalism”. The International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) of Gerry Healy had a confused analysis that Cuba was a capitalist state ruling for a weak bourgeoisie. (At the moment, they are notably silent in regards to any kind of analysis of Cuba today.)
53. We would like to express our fundamental agreement with the Trotskyist Faction – Fourth International (FT-CI) and their recent programmatic document: “Cuba en la encrucijada” (“Cuba at the crossroads”). We began work on this document before their document was completed.