One of the last Cold Warriors left standing finally bit the dust last night. If we’re lucky, Henry Kissinger will also be dead by year’s end. Good fucking riddance. Comrade Emanuel Santos put it splendidly: “Fidel Castro, Stalinist butcher and enemy of the workers, is dead. The working class won’t be happy until the last bureaucrat is hung with the intestines of the last capitalist.” [Fidel Castro, verdugo Estalinista y enemigo de los obreros, ha fallecido. La clase trabajadora no estará contenta hasta que el último burócrata cuelgue de las entrañas del último capitalista].
Another comrade, Ashmeet Teemsa, exclaimed that “the enemy of Cuban proletariat is dead, a man no more a friend of the working class than Thatcher,” adding: “Shame on the ‘anarchists’/’communists’ who eulogize or mourn!” He then quoted from the International Communist Current’s Basic Positions: “The stratified regimes which arose in the USSR, eastern Europe, China, Cuba etc and were called “socialist” or “communist” were just a particularly brutal form of the universal tendency towards state capitalism.”
There is no such thing as socialism in one country, and nationalism (whether American or Cuban, “right-wing” or “left-wing”) is nothing more than the consort of war, designed to facilitate the division of the world proletariat, to lead the working-class onto the battlefield, marching under “its own” national flag, and prepare the separated sections of the working class for reciprocal slaughter, all this in the name of “their” national interest, the interest of “their” nation’s bourgeoisie. The self-proclaimed Castroite “anti-imperialists” (i.e. anti-western imperialism) fail to understand that imperialism is simply the logic of world capitalism’s atomic components, nation-states — imperialism is capitalism’s metabolism in a world divided into nation-states. As competing zones of accumulation within this world-system, nation-states are led to clash with one another. Only the dissolution of nation-states, as politico-economic units, can put an end to this system, and hence bring about world proletarian revolution.
What we see in Cuba, Venezuela, etc., contrary to tankie/Chomskyite nonsense, is nothing progressive, no step forward for the working class. The displacement of the old bourgeoisie and their replacement by a new, “red” bourgeoisie and the replacement of privatized industries and free-market capitalism with nationalized industries and state-capitalism (and a flourishing black market) are irrelevant. The obvious features of capitalism, as described by Marx in Capital — the accumulation of value, commodities, the exploitation of workers, etc. — remain the same. Internationalists reject the choice between “capitalist” bosses, police and prisons and “socialist” bosses, police and prisons. Between “right-wing”/pro-American and “left-wing”/anti-American regimes or countries. This is all superficial, leftist (left of capital) nonsense. International relations are inherently fluid. Those who eulogize or propagandize on behalf of the “red” bourgeoisie help to foster and reinforce illusions about the “revolutionary” or “progressive” nature of various anti-proletarian, nationalist regimes and state-capitalism. We have reason neither to mourn nor celebrate.
My own thoughts add little to this, though one might also consult the excellent 1966 bulletin on “Cuba and Marxist Theory.” Leaving aside the egregious treatment of LGBT individuals in Cuba under Fidel, forced into labor camps from 1959 to 1979, a few words might be said.