Cuba Since 1959, a Critical Assessment

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wojtek
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Dec 7 2011 20:19
Cuba Since 1959, a Critical Assessment
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HAVANA TIMES, Dec 3 — A new Cuba book by professor/author Samuel Farber provides both valuable history and analysis of the island’s now 52-year-old revolution.

With a very accessible style, Farber manages to communicate to a broad audience from scholars to those just getting to know the Caribbean island nation.

Samuel Farber was born and raised in Marianao, Havana, and came to the United States in February 1958. His books on Cuba include Revolution and Reaction in Cuba, 1933-1960 and The Origins of the Cuban Revolution Reconsidered.

Farber was active in the Cuban high school student movement against Batista, and has been involved in socialist politics for more than fifty years.

HT received permission from the author and the publisher Haymarket Books to let us publish some excerpts from his book and we will run Part One of six installments starting on Monday Dec. 5

...

Source: Havana Times - Cuba Since 1959, a Critical Assessment

Excerpt 1: Cuba: The Unity of the People

Excerpt 2: Cuba’s Workers After the Revolution

Does anyone have any info on Farber, what sort of Marxist is he? When I read the first excerpt a few days ago, he seemed to be making the same criticisms of Cuba as Luxemburg did of Russia; there must be less repression, freedom of the press, free elections, etc.

revolut
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Dec 7 2011 23:35

I assume he's near the Trotskyist I.S.O.-variant.

wojtek
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Dec 23 2011 19:32

The other excerpts are here if anyone is interested:

Excerpt 3 Understanding Racism in Post-Revolution Cuba

Excerpt 4: Women in Cuba: Education & Employment Before the Revolution

Excerpt 5: Gays in Cuba after the Revolution

Excerpt 6: Roots of Homophobia in Cuba during the Revolution

x

Alexander Roxwell
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Jan 13 2012 01:18

I believe that Samuel Farber is a member of the U.S. Group Solidarity.

He previously wrote a book, which I have read, entitled Before Stalinism or something like that. This was a frank analysis of the errors of the Bolshevik Party in setting up a regime run by the Bolshevik Party rather than by the workers or the workers and peasants. I have not read this new(er) book on Cuba.

He does appear to be stuck in the lockbox of the Schactmanite version of Trotskyism and completely misses what i believe is the real underlying issue of the Russian Revolution but he does appear to be an honest revolutionist that looks out the window and calls it as he sees it. His vision is like Chomsky, locked in a bad theorectical framework but honest none-the-less.

wojtek
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Dec 14 2012 11:21

Lillian Guerra - Gender policing, homosexuality and the new patriarchy of the Cuban Revolution, 1965-70

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Agent of the In...
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Dec 14 2012 18:57

He considers himself a "classical Marxist". He advocates workers' councils as the basis of establishing a socialist society. In this article (http://socialistworker.org/blog/critical-reading/2012/07/12/sam-farber-w...) written by himself and posted by socialistworker.org, you'll get a lot of talk about "workers' self-management". But if you look at the little description of the article at the top of the page, it basically explains what he is for. According to him, such a socialist society is only possible "in combination with democratic central planning and democratic control of the state". Which means workers' councils will be subordinated to the state; authority will flow from the top-down. He is also one of those Marxists who don't clarify what the Soviet Union was. He doesn't ever mention "state capitalism" and prefers to call the USSR "failed communism".

Angelus Novus
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Dec 15 2012 03:23
Alexander Roxwell wrote:
I believe that Samuel Farber is a member of the U.S. Group Solidarity.

No, he's not a member. He was a member of one of its predecessor organizations (Workers Power, not to be confused with the British Trot Group). He has published a lot in Against The Current over the years.

Agent of the Fifth International wrote:
. According to him, such a socialist society is only possible "in combination with democratic central planning and democratic control of the state". Which means workers' councils will be subordinated to the state; authority will flow from the top-down.

Honestly, I'm not a big fan of Farber, but this is a tremendously bad-faith reading of what he's trying to say. Dispensing with the confusing word "state", Farber's point is that you need some society-wide coordination of planning decisions. Individual workers councils in a single workplace can't make decisions alone that affect the rest of society as consumers; otherwise you basically have a small-proprietor version of "workers management", with a thousand individual enterprises basically treating productive facilities as "their" businesses.

Quote:
He is also one of those Marxists who don't clarify what the Soviet Union was. He doesn't ever mention "state capitalism" and prefers to call the USSR "failed communism".

Farber isn't a state-cap. He comes out of the Shachtman tradition, so he regards post-revolutionary societies as basically bureaucratic class societies, but not capitalist, since the law of value is not operative in them.

I'm a fan of C.L.R. James and Marty Glaberman, but I don't think much of the category of "state capitalism", precisely for that reason. It seems to me that too many revolutionaries who are incensed by the brutality and injustices of bureaucratic "real socialist" societies want to express their outrage by using the most cutting word they can think of, which is "capitalist", but as a scientific analysis of those societies, it's not an accurate term.