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state capitalism

Cuba Under Castro

It is just over a quarter of a century since the July 26 Movement, led by Fidel Castro, toppled the Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista and took over the government of the country. From a policy of mild agricultural reformism, the new regime gradually shifted to one of full-scale state capitalism and close trading and other ties with Russia. In view of Cuba's geographical position—less than a hundred miles off the American coast— this has resulted in major reverberations in the international power struggle.

What is the Function of the Capitalist?

THE amazing assertion is sometimes heard that under Socialism the community will assume the function of the capitalist! This, too, from the lips of men popularly supposed to be Socialists. It would at first glance appear that the worst accusations of the enemy are supported by this, and that the robbery of the workers which is now done by the capitalist will become the function of the “nation," and that Socialism is but state capitalism.

Castro's Brand of Capitalism

It is now twenty years since the hated Cuban dictator Batista went into exile. As he did so the small army led by Fidel Castro finally took control of Havana, the capital city, after years of rural guerrilla warfare. This event, coupled with a series of economic and social reforms, is widely regarded as a revolution; it was no such thing. The new rulers nationalised much of the economy, set-up a one-party system, established diplomatic, economic and military ties with the Soviet bloc and to an increasing extent adapted their radical nationalism to a tropical version of Bolshevism. Not only was it described as a 'communist state' by the horrified defenders of United States' imperial interests, but also by young leftists elated by an initially unbureaucratic, indeed light-hearted and popular, new system that contrasted favourably with the familiar Soviet pattern. What really happened and why the misrepresentation?

Rewriting Marx

We are used to various Leninist regimes distorting the views of Karl Marx to try to bring some kind of spurious legitimacy to their vile social systems. A recent, almost breathtaking, example occurred in the Beijing Review (no. 34, 23-29 August). An article by one Ed Rothberg, who is apparently a professor from New York, defends the changes in the Chinese economy over the last twelve years or so as being in line with Marx's views. From a centrally-planned economy, China has changed to one where prices and wages are controlled by the market; this is allegedly all within a Socialist system, whereas in fact it is a change from state capitalism to a mix of state and private capitalism.

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