Comments by Herb and Michael reflect two different approach to the Cuban revolution. Herb, like I, sees a revolution still unfolding in Cuba despite its many problems; and again, like I, he begins with an "imperialism hands off" approach ("solidarity framework" or "internationalism").  In this view, Cuban working people are active agents for radical social change and they can seize opportunity to overcome Cuba's ills if the rest of the world working class can stay the hands of international counter-revolution spearheaded by Washington (remember the embargo or as the Cubans call it Blockade). 

While Michael "absolutely agrees" that the "all repressive measures against Cuba" should end--which is an essential agreement for a meaningful discussion among socialists--still is hesitant if and how the government (or PCC) can foster progress in Cuba. 

But, it is NOT whether the Cuban government allows or disallows certain rights-it is rather whether the Cuban working people are capable to organize on many levels in economic, political, social and cultural dimensions to advance their own interests. 

Put another way: bourgeois critiques of the Cuban revolution basically hold a bourgeois liberal socio-economic and political paradigm in viewing the Cuban society--they are the entire "dissident movement" (about 400 individuals who hold no base among the Cuban population according to U.S. Interest Sections cables disclosed by WikiLeaks), Cuban rightist exile groups, Washington political establishment, and the mass media and their counterparts around the world. It is this MASSIVE constant pressure that bears on the socialists in the U.S. and worldwide. From time to time we hear protests: why there is no "freedom to travel", why there is no "multi-party system", etc. without viewing the PROCESS of social change in Cuba. 

Viewed as a process, the Cuban revolution is still alive and making significant advances sometimes outside the formal channels of the PCC and the government.  For example, Fidel Castro spoke of homosexuality as a bourgeois disorder in the 1960s but recently told a Mexican journalist that he had made a grave mistake and took the blame for anti-gay policies. Daughter of Raul Castro, Mariela Castro, has formed an official center to educated the public about sexuality in general and homosexuality in particular and Cuban gay community is increasingly openly active (homophobia did not start in Cuba in 1959, of course; it has historical roots like everywhere else).  Here at UC Berkeley, we had the pleasure of hosting a forum for Roberto Perez River-who is by his own admission an ecological socialist. Folks like him are fully active and engage in the organic agriculture and argoecology movement that is probably the largest NATIONAL effort of its kind in the wrold.  There are many others examples to point out and explore. 

My hope is that Michael and others critical of the Cuban revolution come to see the part of the glass that is full and the various movements within and outside of the party and the government that are progressive. We should support these as opposed to dissidents that hope to return Cuba to the world capitalist market as those who did the same in the Soviet bloc in the 1980s and earlier. (I am of the opinion that there WAS NO REVOLUTION to speak of in the former Soviet Bloc, although there were still social gains that were destroyed by restoration of capitalism there). 

Finally, socialism was anticipated first and foremost in the most developed capitalist countries--and here is the hard question: how can we expect Cubans to be better socialists (or have a better record as socialists) than we do ourselves in the belly of the beast?  Looking at our own relatively dismal record--would it bot be prudent not to be to rash with our comrades who dare to initiated a socialist revolution where it was really not ripe for it?

Sorry if it became a long message--I am back to lurking. Let the science roll.


On Sat, Jul 9, 2011 at 11:39 AM, Michael Balter <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
See my response to Kamran relevant to the first part of Herb's post. I am not sure it is such a positive sign. Will the reasons behind all this corruption be revealed?

I absolutely agree that all repressive measures against Cuba, embargoes, etc. should be ended. And I hope that the Cuban government will then allow its citizens to travel out of the country whenever they want to, without having to get permission which is often not granted--especially to anyone who makes criticisms of the government, as Morales did.


On Sat, Jul 9, 2011 at 8:16 PM, herb fox <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Thanks for the post.  The task of reforming socialist cadre organizations must come mainly from within.  Responding to criticism by becoming more repressive is self defeating as has been well-demonstrated.  This is a positive sign that the PCC is still capable of transforming itself into a more democratic instrument for the continuation of the Cuban Revolution as is the removal of corrupt persons in the gov't and party leadership.  There is much more to be done, i'm sure.  I just hope that Cuba's enemies back off from their overt threatening postures and trade repression so that Cuba can focus on strengthening its economy within a democratic and socialist framework. Those in the US who would like to see such development can best serve the Cuban people by working to get our Gov't to remove all discriminatory constraints on communication and trade w/ Cuba.

On 7/9/2011 11:47 AM, Kamran Nayeri wrote:
Some on this list who follow Cuba may have read about the expulsion of Esteban Morales a year ago. Morales is a well-know Cuban intellectual and Director of the Center for the Study of the United States. He writes frequently on race relations in Cuba.  Morales had posted an article in April 2010 on the website of the National Union of Writers and Artists that was highly critical of corruption in high places.  He was expelled from the Communist Party (PCC) by the regional leadership. This body claimed that Morales needed to secure permission to publish such a critical article.  His article was subsequently removed from the website. 

Morales appealed his expulsion.  Meanwhile Morales continued his academic and administrative work and even participated in a major meeting on race relations in Cuba in Washington D.C. in June. 

Here is today's story about his reinstatement in the PCC.


Michael Balter
Contributing Correspondent, Science
Adjunct Professor of Journalism,
New York University

Email:  [log in to unmask]

“Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof."
                                                  --John Kenneth Galbraith