Of particular importance are the views of Heinz Dieterich
, an influential Marxist and defender of the Cuban revolution based in Mexico, who argues that Cuba
's "historic project," based on state ownership of the economy, is exhausted, and that Cuba must strike out in a new direction. (Dieterich's article is included in his
forthcoming book, El futuro de la revolucion cubana.)
Fidel's November address, Dieterich
writes, is nothing less than a "preamble to a second 'History Will Absolve Me,' " referring to Castro's historic address in 1953 that provided the initial program for the Cuban revolution. (Dieterich's views appear in three Rebelion articles, dated December 12, 2005, and January 3 and March 19, 2006.) The central idea of Fidel's November talk, Dieterich
says, is his
call: "Let there never be a USSR situation here"-a collapse of the revolution that would usher in imperialist rule.
But in Dieterich's view, the Cuban leaders fail to recognize that the "historic project" based on state property and represented by the USSR is exhausted.
must move forward to "21st century socialism," which will assure the population "a more democratic society and a higher standard of living.
identifies three forms of property: private, state/public, and social.
In the "socialist countries" like the USSR, he
says, "state and social property have been wrongly identified.
The term "social property" is not defined, but appears to mean a much wider delegation of economic power throughout the society, without necessarily eliminating public ownership.
The heart of 21st century socialism, in Dieterich's view, must be a shift from state to "social property."
sees Cuban society as basically similar to the social order that collapsed in the Soviet Union in 1991.
True, Cuba stands on "extraordinary achievements": its resistance to imperialism, its dignity, its excellence in health, education, and science.
But these strengths "also existed in the Soviet Union and the GDR [East Germany], in a socio-economico-political framework essentially the same as in Cuba
(The Soviet Union changed profoundly after Lenin's death.
and others do not mention this, but they are clearly referring to the Soviet Union in its final decades.)
does not see the longstanding Cuban emphasis on the ethical character of socialism as offering an effective alternative to the Soviet model.
faults the Cuban leaders for excessive confidence in the power of socialist ideas.
The world's "dominant pattern of consumption, that of the First World's middle class, exerts an irresistible attraction," and this level of consumption is far beyond the resources of the Cuban economy, Dieterich
This contradiction can be met, he
says, "by an intense public debate, especially with the youth, to build a consensus around a model of consumption that is viable.
Cubans should discuss, for example, whether they prefer "more hospitals, or better transport, or more housing, or more private consumption."
agrees with Perez Roque that control of the social surplus is crucial to the revolution's survival.
comparison of the Cuban
with the Soviet order, Dieterich
asserts that a "public arena of strategic discussion is lacking" in Cuba
, and "the citizen is converted into a spectator of the economic-political process.
himself notes that the "Stalinist party-state" responded to "every attempt to discover the historical reality" of these societies with "sanctions including death.
As we have seen, Dieterich
recognizes a contradiction between the "irresistible" attraction of the consumption level of the privileged in imperialist ("First World") countries" and the limited productive forces of a country like Cuba.
Arboleya agrees with Dieterich
that "the better organized the people's participation is, the better the socialist state will function.
But the legitimacy of a state, throughout history, depends "not on its democratic functioning but on the interests it serves.
Socialist democracy, he
states, "does not depend on the fact that each individual can decide whether the country purchases a bus, builds a hospital, or repairs a baseball field, but rather on the collective capability … to preserve its class nature and its proper functioning.
warns that Dieterich's
view could lead the masses outside Cuba
to "reject the idea of building their own state," leaving them "unarmed in the face of the bourgeoisie and imperialism."
It would be helpful if Dieterich
, Cobas, and other anti-capitalist critics of the Cuban
leaders' present policies would specify whether these institutions should be maintained, and if not, what protective walls can be erected that will provide equivalent defense and autonomous scope of action for Cuban
himself gives a good example of such measures: Cuba's
"workers parliaments" of the 1990s, when workplace assemblies played the key role in shaping Cuba's response to the Special Period.
" Heinz Dieterich and the "Salvation" of the Cuban Revolution" (English translation):
Rebelion, Discussion on Cuba (in Spanish):