Cuba: For the political revolution that will drive the restorationist bureaucracy from power and extend the proletarian revolution to all of America.

      Comments Off on Cuba: For the political revolution that will drive the restorationist bureaucracy from power and extend the proletarian revolution to all of America.
The massive protests that began on July 10, 2021 and spread across Cuba marked a turning point in the relationship of the working masses with the bureaucracy that has ruled the country since the 1959-1960 social revolution, when a fraction of the petty-bourgeois nationalist M26J [July 26 Movement] of Castro and Guevara, in arming the people, confronted US imperialism, going beyond its democratic program.

This revolution blew up the M26J and the government of alliance with the “democratic” bourgeoisie which had opposed the dictator Batista overthrown by the rural guerrillas and the general strike in the towns in 1959. It ended up expropriating the properties of the middle and large landowners and of the local and international bourgeoisie. These conquests were stifled within the borders of Cuba by the Stalinist bureaucracy of the USSR (and by the local PSP), which helped Fidel Castro’s party to set up a state bureaucracy for managing and parasitizing the planned economy and to deliberately prevent the spread of the revolution outside the island.

For 60 years, this bureaucracy has been totally independent of the working and peasant masses, who have never controlled the state through a democratic Soviet system such as the one inaugurated by the 1917 Russian revolution and liquidated in the late 1920’s by Stalin’s regime.

At the beginning, during the time of the Tricontinental [organization regrouping the anti-imperialist forces of Africa, Asia and Latin America] and the OLAS [Organization of Latin American Solidarity], Castro put pressure on US imperialism in supporting guerrillas throughout Latin America. But he was reluctant to the 1968 general strike in France and hostile (like Mao) to the political revolution in Poland and in Czechoslovakia. Castro used the prestige of the Cuban revolution and the heroism of Guevara to help prevent the proletarian revolution in Chile in 1973 and in Nicaragua in 1979. Thus, the bureaucracy retained power (and its privileges) while the workers’ State remained isolated and weakened.

Belatedly following in the footsteps of its Soviet mentors, the Cuban State bureaucracy has been seeking for decades its own reconversion: from a parasitic caste, autocratic administrator of the great revolutionary gains, to a bourgeoisie owning the means of production, within the framework of a capitalist market economy.

This process has accelerated in recent years and it was definitively endorsed by the new constitution of 2019, which establishes private property, the market and foreign investment as the essential means for the growth of the country’s economy.

Under the suffocating American blockade, the small Cuban economy went from the monoculture of sugar cane and dependence on the USSR (a country which absorbed 72% of the exports in 1987) to the monoculture of tourism (with a regression to the prostitution of the Batista era) and to exports of services (doctors, nurses, teachers), which in 2017 respectively constituted 21.5% and 78.4% of the exports. It should be noted that the big customer of these services is Venezuela, which does not pay in foreign currency but in oil, on which, among other things, 95% of Cuba’s electricity production depends.

The 2008-2013 global crisis, the collapse of Venezuela’s dominated capitalist economy (also subject to a relentless US blockade) and now the COVID-19 pandemic, brought down Cuba’s only sources of foreign currency income, multiplying the external debt and the already serious difficulties of settlement, which have dragged on since 2009. Indeed, in July 2021, yet another agreement to postpone payment of the international debt was signed with the creditors of the Paris Club led by Spain. On the other hand, since 2016, China has become Cuba’s largest trading partner (equally with Venezuela) and has shown a clear interest in investing directly in capitalist companies (specifically in the “Special Development Zone-ZED Mariel”), as it does overwhelmingly throughout Latin America.

All elements of a social explosion come together in Cuba:

  • A general economic crisis that has lasted for more than a decade.
  • The worsening of social inequalities in favour of sectors of the population (including the Army) linked to private economic activities in relation to foreign capital (in 2019 about 12% of the population).
  • A generalized increase in the prices of products intended to cover basic needs (food, water, energy), due to the policy of reduction of public subsidies, as part of the capitalist restoration process promoted by the government.
  • Food and medicine shortages, restrictions and blackouts.
  • The housing crisis, after decades of abandonment of public housing and lack of assistance to the rehabilitation of private housing (which currently constitutes 88% of the stock).
  • All of this was made worse in July 2021 by the peak of a wave of COVID-19 infections, which put a strain on the health care system and resulted in a shortage of therapeutic oxygen, drugs and medical supplies to patients at the worst times.

Given the extent of the demonstrations, which were unexpected and unprecedented in Cuba, the reaction of President Miguel Días-Canel was to blame all the problems on the American blockade, to mobilize his own bureaucracy to counter the massive demonstrations, to suppress them with a disproportionate police violence, to block internet communications, to arbitrarily arrest hundreds of people (including CCP activists) and… to strengthen the legal process of dismantling the planned economy and opening up to privatization.

Immediately, the same bourgeois governments that maintain heavy police States and suppress their masses (or those in their satellite countries) when they protest their own misery, rushed to express their “solidarity” with the Cuban protesters and their “dismay” in the face of repression. The hypocritical benevolence with the mobilizations, expressed by Biden, Bolsonaro or the leaders of the countries of the European Union, is a tactic which has the same objective as the bureaucracy in power: to convince the Cuban working classes and those of all America that the only solution to their problems is the return to the reign of capital, the abandonment of the “old socialist dreams”, the definitive renunciation of a world without social classes, without exploitation and without oppression.

For their part, with the same objective of a capitalist restoration in Cuba, but with different methods, the bourgeois imperialist governments of China and of Russia condemned the mobilizations, accusing them of being the instruments of the American imperialism, and they supported the Cuban government. Both use Cuba as a means of inter-imperialist confrontation, which is not negligible, given its strategic position off the American coast.

Furthermore, the traditional leaderships of the working class rallied to one reaction camp or another. The Labour and Social Democratic parties have sided with their bourgeoisie. Because of their old ties to the defunct Kremlin bureaucracy or to the current Havana bureaucracy, all over the world, the surviving “Communist” parties and most of the revisionists of Trotskyism unconditionally aligned themselves with the Cuban government, which they fraudulently present as the honest repository of the achievements of the 1959 revolution, describing its bureaucratic regime as “socialist.”

The new period of class struggles opened by the demonstrations of July 20, 2021 have will therefore be complex, with the direct intervention of foreign political forces whose interests are totally contrary to those of the Cuban working class and toiling masses. These can only achieve their goals by defending the old revolutionary gains, by overthrowing the restorationist government and its bureaucratic caste, by organizing a revolutionary State based on workers’ and peasants’ councils, that are democratically elected and revocable at any time, by fighting to spread the revolution to all of America.

August 27, 2021

Permanent Revolution Collective (Austria, France, Spain, Turkey)