Re: (OPE-L) dreams and nightmares

From: Michael Eldred (artefact@T-ONLINE.DE)
Date: Fri May 16 2003 - 12:52:13 EDT

Cologne 16-May-2003

gerald_a_levy schrieb Fri, 16 May 2003 09:10:10 -0400:

> Hi Riccardo and Nicky. To begin with, I think your claim about the
> repression of  homosexualsin Cuba is out-of-date in that it fails to
> comprehend the reforms that havetaken place since the early 1980s.  It
> was valid as a criticism in the 1960'sand 1970's, but times have
> changed and so has the position of the Cubangovernment (both on paper
> and in actuality) on homosexuality. As for capital punishment,  I
> think we need to begin with a materialistanalysis rather than only an
> ethical objection.  That is, _why_ do weoppose capital punishment in
> capitalist societies and can that oppositionto capital punishment be
> generalized for all social formations and times?In the kitchen of my
> small apartment (on the opposite side of the wallwhere I am typing
> this message now) there is a poster by Peg Averyfrom the War
> Resister's League dated 1978 with the legend "Capitalpunishment means
> them without the capital get the punishment."Independently of whether
> you support or oppose capital punishmentunder all circumstances,
> surely you would recognize that there is adifferent reason in Cuba
> today for capital punishment.  That should beanalyzed. As for the
> "repression of dissenters", I believe that we have to ask *who*these
> "dissenters" are and *what* is the actual relation that they have toUS
> imperialism.  As it happens, this is a topic that has been
> discussedbriefly on the "Capital-and-Class" list in the past day.  Two
> poststhat I wrote on that subject, responding to Alan Johnson, are
> attached.In general, I agree that part of the responsibility of
> Marxists, that flowsfrom our internationalism, is to adopt a critical
> standpoint towards thepraxis of other socialists internationally.
> Yet, we also have aresponsibility to get our facts straight before
> explaining our criticism.And we must recognize that the US is a major
> player in this eventrather than it only being a matter of "internal"
> dissent and governmentpolicy
> .
> Jerry,
>   In solidarity, Jerry
>      To defend Cuba, we must today let Castro understand that the
>      behaviour of Cuba's government on capital punishment,
>      repression of dissenters and homosexuals, etc. cannot be
>      justified and supported.

I don't think that helps (excusing the regime because of threat from
US). It smacks of the hedging of an ideology. The question is rather why
these kinds of society have never been (and never will be) in a position
to allow dissenters, never strong enough to bear the freedom of
individual civil rights. It is not a question of historical
circumstances. It is a question of the essence of socialism, i.e. what
it _is_.

You say, "we have to ask *who* these "dissenters" are".

I find that this comment has the flavour of bitter irony. I've been
reading V.S. Naipaul's "Among the Believers -- An Islamic Journey"
(1981). He starts off in the Iran of the Islamic Revolution in 1979 and
is being guided around by a young communist who claims:

"True freedom had existed only once in the world, in Russia, between
1917 and 1953. I [Naipaul] said, 'But there was a lot of suffering. A
lot of people were jailed and killed.' He pounced on that. 'What _sort_
of people?' " (p.59)

There's something to be said for abstract-universal individual human
rights. Why is socialism always caught in apologetics, always in a
process of deferment?

_-_-_-_-_-_-_-  artefact text and translation _-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_
_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_- made by art  _-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_ _-_
_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_ Dr Michael Eldred -_-_-

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