Re: (OPE-L) Reports on the Marx conference in Havana

From: Fred B. Moseley (fmoseley@MTHOLYOKE.EDU)
Date: Fri May 16 2003 - 19:06:16 EDT

On Fri, 16 May 2003, Michael Eldred wrote:

> Thanks for that, Fred.
> Hans Magnus Enzensberger writes in an essay on Cuba ('Bildnis einer Partei:
> Vorgeschichte, Struktur und Ideologie der PCC' in _Palaver: Politische
> Ueberlegungen 1967-1973_ Frankfurt 1974 S. 86), " 'Away with the theorists of
> the revolution! Away with these Marxist theorists! The Marxist-Leninist who's
> always developing theories is just sponging off society!' (Fidel Castro,
> Speech of 30 October 1963). Such outbursts abound in Fidel's speeches. They
> reappear, of course, often in a more attractive form, for instance, in an
> anecdote from the years 1954/55 which Raul Castro (Fidel's brother) told to an
> American guest. 'We read three chapters of _Capital_', reported Raul,
> laughing, 'and then we threw it away. I'm certain that since then Fidel hasn't
> once looked at it again.' That has a certain charm; there may be scarcely one
> communist politician who has gone further than the third chapter; there is
> however quite certainly no one besides Fidel who is proud of it."

I was not aware of these earlier comments.  Maybe when he said he learned
about society from Marx, he meant the Communist Manifesto and the 18th
Brumaire (which a mentioned a couple of time).  He certainly seemed to
have a higher opinion these days of Marx and Marxist theorists.

> And I commented back in 1981 ('Material Dialectics and Socialist Politics' in
> _Thesis Eleven_ No. 2 1981 p.61) on this, "The grounds which Enzensberger
> ascribes to this anti-intellectualism, however, do not amount simply to a
> defence mechanism against intellectuals' criticism of his leadership, for,
> such a layer of intellectuals, who could develop a well-founded critique of
> the Cuban revolution, is entirely lacking in that country. Cf. S.87ff on this
> point."

That seems to be true.  At the conference, no one was even willing to say,
"Fidel, your time is up" - even though he was at times rambling far from
the point of the discussion, and in spite of much fidgeting and some
departures from the audience.

Michael, thanks for your comments.


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