The Third International after Lenin

Friday, January 13, 2012

Communist Party of Cuba and Leninist continuity

Cuba's Place In Rebuilding World Communist Movement  


The selection below is from "U.S. Imperialism has Lost the Cold War," a resolution adopted by the Socialist Workers Party at its national convention in 1990. This excerpt is the opening portion of Part 4 of the resolution, titled "Rebuilding a World Communist Movement." The entire document is published in issue no. 11 of the Marxist magazine New International. Copyright (c) 1998 by 408 Printing and Publishing Corp. Reprinted by permission.

1. The leadership of the Communist Party of Cuba is the first since the Bolsheviks to give communist guidance to the development of a workers state. In the face of unrelenting U.S. imperialist economic, political, and military pressures, that leadership has maintained a revolutionary course at the helm of the Cuban government for more than thirty-one years. In the process it has

a) reknit one of the strands of communist continuity that had been broken since the Stalinist counterrevolution that destroyed the Bolshevik Party and the Communist International by the end of the 1920s; and

b) established a current truly worthy of the name communist - the first outside of the direct continuity of the small nucleus of Bolshevik-Leninists, including the Socialist Workers Party, that had stood alone from the late 1920s through the 1950s.

2. The leadership team headed by Fidel Castro successfully bypassed the obstacle presented by a large Stalinist party and led the toilers in making a revolution and establishing a workers and farmers government.

a) Building on that revolutionary victory, this leadership deepened popular mobilizations culminating in the expropriation of the foreign and domestic capitalists and landlords. On that foundation, a workers state was established.

b) Unlike the workers states in Eastern and Central Europe and Asia established following World War II, the new Cuban workers state was not bureaucratically deformed from birth in a qualitative way by the domination of an increasingly crystallized petty-bourgeois caste.

c) The leadership team headed by Castro led the revolution forward in such a way that it began the construction of socialism instead of veering onto a trajectory that led toward a system worse than capitalism.

d) In the process of advancing these tasks, this leadership forged a mass proletarian communist party that follows a revolutionary internationalist course.

3. This "subjective factor" - the genuinely internationalist character of the proletarian vanguard guiding the workers state in Cuba - is the most important objective outcome and contribution of the Cuban revolution. The consequences for the revolution's domestic and international trajectories are inextricably intertwined.

a) Cuban communists are revolutionists of action, as modern communists have been since the revolutions of 1847-48 in Europe.1

b) The communist course charted by such a leadership of the working class is the fundamental precondition to advancing toward the construction of socialism on the economic foundations of a workers state; it is a precondition to catching and rectifying major errors in this process.

c) Cuba has become a powerful objective force in world politics, beyond all bourgeois or petty-bourgeois measures of its "geopolitical" or economic weight.

4. Revolutionary Cuba's policy is to conduct relations with other political forces in the world according to proletarian internationalist principle.

a) The 1975 Programmatic Platform of the Communist Party of Cuba states that the party's policy is "subordination . . . of the interests of Cuba to the general interests of the struggle for socialism and communism, of national liberation, of the defeat of imperialism and the elimination of colonialism, neocolonialism and all forms of exploitation and discrimination. . . ."2

b) The test of the internationalist course of the Communist Party leadership in Cuba has been met above all in their deeds.

(1) They have provided unstinting political solidarity, economic and social assistance, expertise, and military volunteers to revolutionary struggles and governments under fire by imperialism - from Vietnam to the Middle East, from Africa to the Americas.

(2) The defeat of the South African army at the battle of Cuito Cuanavale is the latest example, with the most far- reaching consequences, of Cuban communists marshaling the resources of the dictatorship of the proletariat to advance revolutionary struggles worldwide.

c) In pursuing its internationalist course, the Communist Party of Cuba

(1) seeks to advance an uncompromising struggle against imperialist domination anywhere in the world;

(2) refuses to subordinate the interests of workers and peasants to the preservation of capitalist property and prerogatives;

(3) seeks collaboration with other revolutionists of action, whether communists or not; and

(4) approaches the ranks of fighters not as objects to be deployed, but as revolutionary leaders in becoming, with no a priori limits on what they can accomplish.

d) The internationalist course of the Communist Party of Cuba has strengthened the defense of the revolution against imperialist aggression.

(1) Growing awareness of the international weight and historic responsibilities of the dictatorship of the proletariat in Cuba has been key to the communist vanguard's capacity to successfully organize and mobilize the workers and farmers to stand up to imperialism's pressures and attacks for more than three decades.

(a) Willingness to make sacrifices to help others who are fighting imperialism has increased consciousness of the stakes involved in advancing the Cuban revolution.

(b) Voluntary participation in internationalist missions reinforced awareness that only through rising communist consciousness and increasing voluntary work could the revolution advance at home.

(2) Cuba's anti-imperialism has been bold but not reckless. Its policies have demonstrated that

(a) by subordinating the pace and character of transforming domestic social relations to the needs of the world struggle against imperialism (e.g., the material aid and human resources devoted to helping Angola defend itself), the progress and defense of the revolution is enhanced;

(b) the extension of the world revolution is of decisive importance to the pace and even the possibility of constructing socialism; and

(c) the only effective way of standing up to imperialism's relentless offensive is through continuously deepening the conscious leadership and voluntary participation of working people in the economy, in politics, in the worldwide anti- imperialist struggle, and in the revolution's defense.

1. For a summary of the strategic conclusions the founders of the modern communist workers movement drew from those revolutionary struggles and their own active participation in them, see "Communism and the Fight for a Popular Revolutionary Government: 1848 to Today" by Mary-Alice Waters in New International no. 3.

2. Programmatic Platform of the Communist Party of Cuba (Havana: Department of Revolutionary Orientation of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, 1976), p. 120-21.

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