Fidel Castro, leader of the Stalinist regime in Cuba for many years, died on the 25th November 2016. As per usual, this has triggered a paroxym of praise and condemnation from the bourgeois media. In particular, those on the left-wing of capitalism's political machine, have taken the opportunity to reignite the myths about Castro and Cuban "socialism". For us, there is nothing to be praised in the brutal regime which, under the leadership of its Russian master, was an eager contributor to the butchery of workers around the world during the Cold War.
Accordingly, we are republishing an article written back in 2008 by a comrade from the Dominican Republic, when Castro retired as leader of the Cuban state. At a moment when the bourgeois world order seems to be lurching into a new phase of disorder and misery, it is more tempting than ever to seek solace in the false illusions of leftism. For this reason, it is vital that the working class understand the true nature of Castro and his ilk: counter-revolutionary imperialists that repressed and slaughtered workers around the globe in service to the brutal dictatorship of capitalism.
In the week of February 18th 2008, the Cuban "president", Fidel Castro, announced that he no longer aspired to lead the Cuban capitalist state. This has motivated the right wing bourgeoisie, through their speakers, to announce a complete end to communism and the end of the Cuban revolution. In the same way as they did with the fall of the Eastern Bloc, they try to confuse the workers, without realizing that they - the bourgeoisie - are celebrating their own burial. With their speculation on possible disappearance of the Cuban model, it is not the proletariat who loses - it is capitalism. On the other side of the fence, the left wing of capital, with sergeant Hugo Chavez at the front, assures us that the revolution continues. To counter this nonsense that aims to confuse the working class, we have to clarify a few things.
In January 1959 there wasn't a real social revolution in Cuba, but an exchange of ruling factions, with the ascent of leaders from the rural Castro-Guevarist and cienfuegist revolt to power, overthrowing sergeant Batista. Things turned around from the right wing of capital, manifested in the military dictatorship, to the left of capital; the latter spearheading a cluster of reforms and nationalizations, that far from elevating the level of consciousness and proletarian struggle, accommodated them to capitalism. By the same token, the promises of a change of situation for the majority felt short. There was a relative betterment in education and hygiene - which was made in the interest of Cuban capital since it exports to many countries educators and medics - but the rationing that has persisted through half a century demonstrates a dramatic lack of basic necessities. Anyone who wishes to acquire something minimally decent has to pay for it through the ridiculously high prices in special shops which cater for tourists or the black market. The privileges of an exploitative minority persist at a level even more ostentatious than in the times of Batista: the members of the so called "Communist" Party, the high-ranking military functionaries, etc. have access to all types of luxuries that deeply contrast with the deprivation and suffering of the majority.
In Cuba there wasn't a revolution. The regime changed hands, and the taking of power, instead of being made through parliament, was made through insurrection. Capitalism is still capitalism. They only changed their dress-code: the liberal clothes of suit and tie were replaced by the green uniform of men with beards.
Another aspect is the pretended "anti-imperialist" character of Mr. Castro. In the first place, any capitalist state in order to survive is necessarily imperialist, since it has to make others submit and has to supply itself with the military, economic, political, ideological and cultural means that would permit it to defend its interests in the midst of the world imperialist jungle. This is why in Cuba the majority of the country's resources are concentrated in the maintenance of a fairly powerful army, which has waged wars in Africa (for example Angola) under the pretext of "anti-imperialism." In the same manner, Cuba has promoted itself as a "socialist country" through a powerful propaganda apparatus. With these means - obviously limited because of the small size of the country- the Cuban regime has tried to carve its own niche in the struggle nations wage against each other.
Fidel is certainly taking advantage of the discontent with the USA, presenting this country as the great empire, due to the contradictions he had with this nation, but at the same time he denounced American imperialism, he praised soviet social-imperialism; now he supports the Bolivarian imperialism of sergeant Chavez. Please, tell me then if there is a bad imperialism and a good one; would it be something like a terrorist being dedicated to the suppression of terrorism?
At the beginning of the "Cuban Revolution" - 1959 and 1970 - it was Fidel Castro who, in that famous speech to the UN, confessed to not being a communist, but that his attempts of trying to get a reasonable deal with the powerful northern neighbor failed. Then, he changed his coat and allied to Russian imperialism. Consequently, the old Cuban "Communist" party was forced to merge with the "July 26 movement" and constituted itself as a new "Communist" Party that, since then, has ruled as the only party.
The Cuban regime has loudly proclaimed itself as "anti-imperialist" reducing the label of "imperialism" to exclusively the United States. Humanity is fed up with the savagery and destruction of Yankee imperialism; however imperialism is not combated by states that are supposedly "anti-imperialist," but through the independent and internationalist struggle of the proletariat. There is no such thing as "good" or "bad" imperialism. There aren't "good" states that pay allegiance to the law and "humanism" on the one hand, and states that have the monopoly on tyranny, militarism, and barbarism on the other. To combat imperialism through a state, in the way that Castro and the Bolivarian Chavez proposes to us, would be like trusting the fight against terrorism to a terrorist.
Another great lie that has been perpetuated is the one of "communist" Fidel or "socialist" Cuba. The first thing to evaluate in this case, is if in Cuba there exists surplus value, wage-labor, private property, and if there can exist in a capitalist world an island of socialism.
In Cuba there exists wage-labor and the exploitation of man by man. Instead of there being a classical capitalist class there is a bureaucracy that administers the state against the majority. What has happened was just a juridical change in property, changing it from particular to bureaucratic; the title of the property has passed from the particulars to the State, but it still is private property since the great majority is deprived of every medium of existence, and to survive has to accept working everyday in the conditions imparted by the Boss. The only difference is that, while in other countries the boss is Mr. Someone from Company Something, in Cuba the boss is Mr. State.
Fidel Castro - and now Chavez, Morales etc. - reproduce the great Stalinist lie: making people believe that nationalizations were a step to socialism - trying to persuade that socialism in one country is a step towards socialism or a variant of socialism, while in reality, it is nothing more than a facet of capitalism: state-capitalism.
Vladimir, February 2008.