28/11/2016 by socialistfight
LCFI declaration, 27 November 2016
Another plot by the CIA to assassinate Castro has failed, he proudly boasts.
Fidel Castro was the last of the great revolutionary leaders of the twentieth century to die. He died at 90 years of natural causes. It is true that Raul also participated in the command of the 1959 revolution and of his birth, but the younger brother only gained some political prominence worldwide after Fidel’s resignation in 2006 due to his retirement from power because of a disease in the Intestine. However, Fidel was the main strategist and organizer of the movement that seized the power of dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959 and led Cuba for the following decades.
Fidel was the man most persecuted by imperialism in the last 50 years. He survived more than 600 attempts by the United States to assassinate him. That alone would be enough reason to immortalize. But the fact that he led a victorious revolution in the beard of the empire, 150 kilometres from Florida in the heat of the Cold War; To have expropriated the whole of the local bourgeoisie and all the means of production that belonged to the USA and to have kept Cuba standing 25 years after the end of the Soviet Union are prowess that place it in the pantheon of the most important revolutionary leaders of the 20th and 21st centuries. It is true that he did nothing of this alone and that all this is due to the heroic Cuban people, but the head of this people was Fidel and no matter how much he has made mistakes, they cannot even minimize the role of this individual in history.
The integrated and state planned Cuban health service is by far the best in the world for the resources available to it. Puts the legendary British NHS to shame, not to mention the US health service.
Thanks to the revolution and the existence of the workers’ state, Cuba “is the only country in the world without child malnutrition” (Unicef); “The only one in Latin America without drug problems” (UN); Which “has the highest life expectancy in Latin America” (ONEC); Which has a “primary schooling of 100% and secondary schooling of 99%” (Unesco); “Has twice as many physicians from England for a nearly five times smaller population” (The Guardian); Despite the imperialist pressure and the demonization of Cuba practiced by the world’s great bourgeois media “it is the Latin American country that least violates human rights”; And “is the only one in the world that fulfils ecological sustainability” (WWF).
When Hurricane Willian struck on 3 October 2015 the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, suffered 4 deaths. Cuba, just 25 miles across the sea, also suffered 4 deaths because of a bridge collapse but Haiti lost 1,600 citizens and huge casualties besides. And therein lies the motivation for the Cuban working class and poor to retain the deformed workers’ state.
Before 1959 Haiti and Cuba were sister states, almost equally exploited and raped by the USA. Havana was a Mafia casino and brothel city for US tourists. Now Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere, super exploited by the likes of Disney Corporation with workers on a dollar a day type wages, its puppet leaders from Papa Doc Duvalier and Baby Doc imposed massive oppression by the murderous Tonton Macoutes on behalf of their Wall Street masters. The latter was ousted by a popular uprising in 1986, but the subsequent military dictatorship and the career of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, ousted and re-ousted by the CIA and their local NGOs and corrupt political agents, made sure no leader of Haiti was tolerated by the USA if they displayed a modicum of independence and sympathy for the poor and oppressed. In contrast Castro openly defied the USA, defeated their attempted coups including the Bay of Pigs in April 1961 and survived numerous exploding cigar attempts by the CIA to assassinate him.
We claim from Fidel the fact that he objectively directed a victorious revolution, directed the armed resistance of the population to the invasion of his country by the counterrevolutionary worms sponsored by the CIA and the Pentagon in Bahia dos Pigs in 1961, and directed the expropriation of the multinationals in Cuba. Under the guidance of Fidel and Che, Cuba participated militarily in the liberation struggles of the African continent even though this continent was separated by an immense ocean and thousands of miles from Cuba, while Moscow’s Stalinism only militarily and bureaucratically intervened in the class struggle of the neighbouring countries in Eastern Europe, North Korea or Afghanistan to create a cordon protecting their borders. The particularities of the Cuban revolution and, above all, the pressure of the United States, as Che Guevara himself explained, obliged the ruling nucleus of the revolution to go always beyond what they wanted, in a continuous and uninterrupted way, in its line of rupture with imperialism and Capitalism, as we will explain below in detail.
The Cuban revolution marked a turn in the history of the twentieth century in Latin America. In addition to defeating a pro-US dictatorship in Uncle Sam’s backyard, for the first time in the Western Hemisphere capitalism was expropriated. This allowed a small island with less than a dozen million people to escape the fate of an agricultural colony subservient to the US to proudly show to its population and the world its unprecedented achievements like the elimination of hunger and poverty, an educational system. Its excellent health and medical advances are exported to the rest of oppressed humanity.
Cuba did not become a workers’ state after the overthrow of the dictator Fulgencio Batista and the seizure of power by the movement’s guerrilla army on July 26 in 1959. The revolutionary process at first did not have a socialist strategy. Its aims was only the achievement of democratic capitalist tasks such as the end of the dictatorial regime and agrarian reform.
But amid the cold war against the USSR the revolutionary process threw a spotlight on the contradictions between the tiny island and imperialism. It was only when imperialism tried to invade the island in the Bay of Pigs in April 1961 to defeat the new regime that the direction of the revolutionary movement of Castro and Che was finally to complete the expropriation of the multinationals. Then the entire capitalist class departed in droves for Florida. From that time on the ‘worms’ (rats), as they came to be known, have integrated themselves organically with imperialism and had been determining US policy on Cuba up to mow.
This type of overthrow was a definite theoretical possibility recognized by Trotsky in the Transition Program of 1938:
“However, one cannot categorically deny in advance the theoretical possibility that, under the influence of completely exceptional circumstances (war, defeat, financial crash, mass revolutionary pressure, etc.), the petty-bourgeois parties, including the Stalinists, may go further than they themselves wish to a break with the bourgeoisie. In any case, one thing is not to be doubted: even if this highly improbable variant somewhere, at some time, becomes a reality and the workers’ and farmers’ government in the above-mentioned sense is established in fact, it would represent merely a short episode on the road to the actual dictatorship of the proletariat.”
In the Cuban case, the “short episode” lasted between January 1959 and April 1961. The direction of that Castro’s M-26-7 took involved empirically revolutionary measures, but almost always under imperialist pressure. Che himself, who historically represented the internationalist wing of the Cuban Government, recognizes that the radicalization of the revolution was more conditioned by the imperialist pressure than the socialist convictions of its leaders:
“What lies ahead depends greatly on the United States. With the exception of the agrarian reform, which the people of Cuba desired and initiated themselves, all of our radical measures have been a direct response to direct aggressions by powerful monopolists of which your country is the chief exponent. US pressure on Cuba has made necessary the ‘radicalisation’ of the revolution. To know how much further Cuba will go, it will be easier to ask the US government how far it plans to go.” La Nación, 6/9/1961).
The Cuban revolution, which was never directed by a revolutionary party, was bureaucratised by its own internal limitations. This process of bureaucratization worsened when the fragile island needed material assistance and appeal to the workers’ state of the Stalinist bureaucracy in the USSR. But soon the principle and the policy of “peaceful coexistence” of Stalinism showed young direction of Cuban State how their Russian allies were unreliable. Che was disillusioned with the USSR government during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, because he felt ‘ betrayed ‘ by Moscow who withdrew their armament from Cuba without warning to the Cuban Government, capitulating US pressure.
Time Magazine still hoped to keep him on side just three weeks after the fall of Havana: Fidel Castro Jan. 26, 1959
The blockade and the end of the USSR forced the bureaucracy to preserve the Cuban worker’s state for their own survival
The policy of isolation and blockade imposed by imperialism from 1962 exercised a powerful counter revolutionary pressure for decades under exceptional condition and that forced Castro to take an oppositional stance in order to defend the new forms of property relations established by the expropriation of the bourgeoisie and imperialism.
For us only the dialectic of these special circumstances explains how being a workers’ state that was weaker than the USSR and China, for example, and as for a long time depending on these “mega workers’ states”, Cuba managed to survive the demise of its sponsors.
These are the elements of these contradictions demonstrated by the following features:
1) Cuba is a workers’ state that didn’t arise from the actions of industrial workers;
2) It is the workers’ state which is geographically closest to the hard core of world imperialism;
3) It is economically the most fragile and when the USSR collapsed and abandoned it it was at its weakest;
4) In proportion to its fragility Cuba made the biggest effort in the international arena in Africa and in Latin America, without getting any immediate strategic profit for their efforts, but using it as element of resistance against the pressure of imperialism.
6) To influence mass movements in Latin America the Castro bureaucracy needed to abandon part of the Stalinist bureaucracy’s nationalism;
7) The role of the Cuban bourgeois ‘worms’, as an
organic component of imperialism, it is disproportionate to its economic weight fraction as a bourgeois class.
8) Thus, among all workers’ states the Castroite bureaucratic was forced to confront imperialism far more than any other and had to rely on the masses far more because of the threat of imperialism.
In a way, and to a certain extent, and these exceptional circumstances, above all by the blockade imposed for more than half a century, prevented the capitalist restoration processes developing gradually and peacefully in Cuba and North Korea (as in China and Viet Nam). This is due to the fragility of these workers’ states who have to fight against imperialism and their respective bourgeois “worms” in Miami or South Korea. In these circumstances the restoration of capitalism could only occur through a civil war.
The new US-Cuba agreement and the struggle in defence of the workers’ state: LCFI, Coletivo Lenin and Resistência Popular Revolucionária:
We define what we understand as “Cuban exceptions” in this CLQI declaration of December 2014. The present of Cuba and its relation to the world is traced on these exceptionalities, with which new variables are combined, namely: Trump’s victory with Support worm and the death of Fidel, whose importance is seen relativized for the workers’ state since, although it exerted influence on the state apparatus, had already abandoned the conduction of the same 10 years before.
Through the laws of Trotsky’s dialectic and legacy in the “Transitional Program” one must understand the contradictions of Cuba that exist only “thanks” to the blockade. The attack on the Bay of Pigs and the rupture of imperialism made the political revolution that overthrew Fugencio Batista into a social and economic revolution, anti-imperialist and anticapitalist. The blockade and imperialist pressure made Cuba survive the end of the USSR.
Obama wanted to end the Blockade. This would facilitate negotiated restoration. Trump wants to block more, breaking the agreements of Obama and under pressure of the worms that helped him get elected, that is, contradictorily Cuba tends to reinvigorate, now with more support of the Eurasian block that advances on the imperialist domains. The fear now is that the Eurasian capitalists will restore capitalism with the help of the second generation of leaders and Raul Castro.
Executed in Santiago de Cuba by Castro in 1959, without imprisonment and executions of counterrevolutionary opponents the revolution could not survive.
Tributes and Democratic Rights
World leaders have paid tribute to Castro and many of his enemies were forced to acknowledge his achievements. But even many leftist sympathisers mention his ‘faults’, including his great ‘fault’; his disregard for democratic rights. If only he had achieved these things without violence he would be just perfect, his liberal supporters say. His right-wing opponents say that all his achievements are of nothing because he did not allow ‘freedom, justice and democracy’. But there is violence and violence. The violence of the slave to break his or her chains can never be equated with the violence of the slave owner imposed to maintain those chains. One is progressive and liberating, the other is reactionary and illegitimate.
The revolution had every right to use violence to overthrow the US puppet dictator Batista, to imprison and when necessary execute its determined counter-revolutionary opponents. That is not a ‘fault’ of the revolution or of any revolution but its very essence; it simply could not succeed if it conceded the monopoly of violence to the incumbent corrupt dictatorship. We would quote no less an opponent than President John F Kennedy in support of that view:
“I believe that there is no country in the world, including the African regions, including any and all the countries under colonial domination, where economic colonization, humiliation and exploitation were worse than in Cuba, in part owing to my country’s policies during the Batista regime. I believe that we created, built and manufactured the Castro movement out of whole cloth and without realizing it. I believe that the accumulation of these mistakes has jeopardized all of Latin America. The great aim of the Alliance for Progress is to reverse this unfortunate policy. This is one of the most, if not the most, important problems in America foreign policy. I can assure you that I have understood the Cubans. I approved the proclamation which Fidel Castro made in the Sierra Maestra, when he justifiably called for justice and especially yearned to rid Cuba of corruption. I will go even further: to some extent it is as though Batista was the incarnation of a number of sins on the part of the United States. Now we shall have to pay for those sins. In the matter of the Batista regime, I am in agreement with the first Cuban revolutionaries. That is perfectly clear.” 
And here we see one of the contradictions of the Cuban Revolution. Because the Castro brothers and the 26 July Movement did not see the struggle to overthrow Batista as a socialist or communist revolution. As we see Fidel specifically denied being a communist and it is clear that Kennedy understood that in the beginning “the first Cuban revolutionaries” were not Marxist-Leninists and wished only to establish a democratic bourgeois republic. Of course, we realise Kennedy’s statement is hypocritical in the extreme, the CIA organised the invasion of the Bay of Pigs in 1961 under Eisenhower but Kennedy was kept fully informed and explicitly approved it as President. And he was responsible for the economic blockade after Eisenhower in January 1961. But he points to a change between the “first Cuban revolutionaries” and what happened after the failure of the Bay of Pigs.
Fidel Castro as Revolutionary
In 1959, following his ousting of Batista, Fidel denied being a communist or seeking to become a dictator:
“I am not a dictator, and I do not think I will become one. I will not maintain power with a machine gun … I am not a communist and neither is the revolutionary movement, but we do not have to say that we are anti-Communists just to fawn on foreign powers.” 
But on the day after the Bay of Pigs failed invasion, on 16 April 1961, in a funeral oration in Vedado for victims of the air raids the day before he had changed his outlook fundamentally:
Fellow workers and peasants, this is the socialist and democratic revolution of the working people, with the working people, and for the working people. And for this revolution of the working people, by the working people, and for the working people we are prepared to give our lives. 
And by 2 December 1961 he made a speech on the anniversary of the Granma landing and explained:
If we had paused to tell the people that we were Marxist-Leninists while we were on Pico Turquino and not yet strong, it is possible that we would never have been able to descend to the plains … I am a Marxist-Leninist, and I will be a Marxist-Leninist until the last days of my life. 
The blockade of Cuba began October 19, 1960. Cuba had done a barter deal of sugar for oil with the USSR because restrictions of Cuban sugar sales to the US were imposed. The US-owned refineries refused to process the Soviet crude and Castro nationalised them without compensation. The imposition of the blockade forced Castro into the arms of the USSR and as we see from the quotes above he now began to proclaim himself a Marxist-Leninist and the revolution as socialist. The blockade was extended in September 1961 after full nationalisation and state planning was introduced and the country was obviously now a workers’ state.
Part of the reason for the survival of Cuba also was that other countries were unhappy about the blockade and wanted to trade. The Helms–Burton Act 1996 was directed not just at US firms but contained an extraterritorial clause that attempted to forbid all countries from trading with Cuba. The European Union was opposed to the Helms Burton Act as were Canada and Mexico and the US made various attempt to sanction private corporations that it viewed as breaking its rules, viewed as illegitimate by these countries.
It is worth noting the Organisation of American States initially expelled Cuba in January 1962 on US urgings and agreed to readmit it in June 2009 but Cuba has not accepted the invitation and has refused to return. On 6 May 2005, President Fidel Castro said Cuba would not “be part of a disgraceful institution that has only humiliated the honour of Latin American nations”.
Stalinism’s reaction to the Cuban Revolution
John Lister, formerly of the Trotskyist Workers Socialist League and then of the Socialist Group wrote Cuba: Radical face of Stalinism in 1983. It provides an excellent account of the history of Stalinism in Cuba up to 1959. Despite Castro’s purging of the worst elements of its leadership, including those who had acted for long years as Batista’s agents and who had opposed Castro’s June 26 Movement to the extent of supplying names of his supporters to Batista for assassinations it remained abjectly Stalinist. The Cuban CP as it became again after 1965 was a radical Stalinist party and a strong supporter of socialism in a single country, albeit with the exceptions mentioned above.
Castro supported the Russian tanks crushing the Prague Spring in 1968, he supported Martial Law suppression of the Polish trade union Solidarity in 1981, and the massacre of the students and youth in Tiananmen Square, China in 1989.
It is true that in his visit to Chile in 1971 he warned Allende about the dangers of the Chilean “peaceful way” and warned him that the fascist resistance of the bourgeoisie, oligarchies and imperialism will not allow the continuity of the “peaceful road to socialism”
This is an extract for Lister’s account:
In November 1939 the CP ran in elections as part of a “social democratic” coalition of Batista supporters, and in 1940 the Party helped the Colonel draw up a new Constitution which placed wage bargaining in a structure of labour courts and the Labour ministry, with scope for direct Presidential intervention. The CP was the first to back Batista’s candidacy as President in the 1940 election, and in 1942 was further rewarded for this craven support when two Stalinist leaders, Carlos Rafael Rodriguez (today’s Vice President under Castro) and Juan Marinello were included in Batista’s cabinet as part of what they termed a “government of national unity”. An obedient CP-led CTC that same year voted at its Congress to renounce any strike action for the duration of the war.
In 1944 the Cuban CP changed its name to the Popular Socialist Party, and declared its long-term commitment to collaboration with Batista and the Cuban bourgeoisie:
“The Marxists stand for national unity and for its continuation, extension and consolidation under such conditions as may prevail in Cuba after the war. The policy of national unity, for the Marxists, is a long range policy.”
Batista was fulsomely praised as a “great democrat”, and “the great man of our national politics who embodies Cuba’s sacred ideals.” But when Batista was succeeded as President by a returned Grau San Martin, the PSP, eager to defend its bureaucratic positions in the union hierarchy, offered Grau a similar degree of support. CPer Marinello was appointed Vice President of the Senate.
… Doubtless these Stalinists saw Castro’s adventurist attack upon the Moncada barracks as a threat to this new period of “peaceful coexistence” with Batista. The PSP in August 1953 declared:
“We condemn the putchist methods – characteristic of bourgeois groups – which were evident in the adventurist attempt to capture the barracks at Santiago. The heroism displayed by the participants was misdirected and sterile.”
After Castro’s resumption of the guerrilla struggle in 1956, the PSP again opposed such tactics, and in February 1957 restated its now familiar popular front policy of 1936:
“ . . . the correct approach . . . lies in the unity and common action of all opposition forces . . . in a struggle to eliminate tyranny and achieve the victory of democratic forces.”
Nor were these differences with Castro merely the subject of academic discussion or abstract polemic. Stalinist parties have never scrupled at the outright sabotage of opposing political currents and struggles which they cannot control, and the PSP was no exception in the 1953-58 period.
The Stalinists assigned informers to disrupt and destroy the student Revolutionary Directorate (DR), which, fighting in solidarity with Castro, had proven stubbornly resistant to the wretched politics of the PSP. In the summer of 1957 one such informer, “Marquitos” Rodriguez, supplied the police with the details of the whereabouts of four leading DR members, who were then summarily machine-gunned to death. “Marquitos” was smuggled out of the country by PSPers, and was eventually received with honours as a member of the Mexican CP.
And as late as August 1960, on the very eve of the massive wave of nationalisations which were to destroy the basis of capitalism in Cuba, the Party’s veteran General Secretary Blas Roca (in office since 1934) warned the PSP Congress:
“The Cuban revolution is not a communist revolution; it is anti-imperialist and anti-feudal . . . patriotic and democratic . . . The social classes that are objectively interested in the fulfilment of these historic tasks are the workers, the peasants, the urban middle classes and the national bourgeoisie”. 
Unconditional defence of Cuba against imperialism and political revolution against capitalist restoration!
With Trump’s victory and the expansion of the influence of the anti-communist reaction and the White House bourgeoisie, it is necessary to reinsert on the agenda the unconditional defence of the Cuban Revolution against any blockade or measures of sabotage on the part of imperialism.
The struggle for political revolution on the island assumes a permanent character, fighting the measures of the Castro government that conspire against the property relations and forms created by expropriation of imperialism and the Cuban bourgeoisie. At the same time we advocate the construction of popular committees of workers, peasants and cooperative members. We must fight against the secret dialogue agreements with Democrats, Republicans or ‘worms’ as well as with the European imperialism and the Latin American bourgeoisie, everything must be submitted to the debate, rectification and ratification by the organized population.
No return of the property to the ‘worms’. What was expropriated must remain state-owned and under the control of the democratic workers ‘ councils, producers and consumers. The first priority of the state is to ensure health and food for the people. No privilege for bureaucracy and for tourists to the detriment to the working masses. Down with tourist separatism, for the free access of all Cubans to all hotels, beaches and spas used exclusively by tourists. Everything must paid for in Cuban pesos. We must defeat the bureaucracy in the struggle for proletarian democracy and in the struggle for equality against the privileges.
It is necessary to institute a workers’ court of inquiry to investigate and condemn corruption in the black market and amongst the new rich. We defend the right to strike and to organize as part of the struggle for political independence against the Castro bureaucracy, imperialism, its NGO counter revolutionaries and the Vatican. We are for proletarian control of industry and the economy as a whole as well as on trade agreements and foreign trade with Europe, with China and the entire Eurasian block and the Latin American capitalist countries. We demand accounting control by the working class delegates with executive powers to inspect the books of all enterprises. These delegates must hold mandates which are subject to recall and they must be elected in the workplace by the workforce.
Only workers must decide how much and what should be produced and distributed, as well as the wages and the pace of production. They must combat the mass layoffs, privatization of state enterprises and cuts in social services in the state. We oppose the creation of any party or organization that opposes the workers’ state and the dictatorship of the proletariat and defended the creation of a revolutionary Trotskyist party in Cuba and the establishment of proletarian democracy on the island. Capitalist restoration is not a fait accompli in Cuba; only the revolutionary struggle of the Latin American masses against any internal or external restorationist religious offensive can defeat this.
 Jean Daniel, 24 October 1963, The New Republic, Unofficial Envoy, An Historic Report from Two Capitals, 4 December 1963, pp. 15-20 U.S. President John F. Kennedy, interview with Jean Daniel, https://ratical.org/ratville/JFK/UnofficialEnvoy.html
 John Lister, Cuba: Radical face of Stalinism, Written: 1983 / 84. First Published: January 1985. Source: Published by Left View Books for the Socialist Group. Transcription / HTML Markup: Sean Robertson for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL). Copyleft: Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (marxists.org) 2013, https://www.marxists.org/history/etol/document/wsl/lister/cuba-lister85-ch3.htm