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Wrong Heinz Dieterich?

Heinz Dieterich

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Background Information

Employment History



Leading Leftist Political Analyst





Forum for the Emancipation and Identity of Latin America

Web References (11 Total References)

Socialist Voice » Which Road Forward for the Cuban Revolution? [cached]

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. Cuba must move forward to "21st century socialism," which will assure the population "a more democratic society and a higher standard of living. Dieterich 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."
Dieterich 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. Dieterich and others do not mention this, but they are clearly referring to the Soviet Union in its final decades.)
Dieterich does not see the longstanding Cuban emphasis on the ethical character of socialism as offering an effective alternative to the Soviet model. Indeed, he 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 says. 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."
Dieterich agrees with Perez Roque that control of the social surplus is crucial to the revolution's survival.
Developing his 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.
Dieterich 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. He 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 working people.
Dieterich 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.
References:Heinz Dieterich
" Heinz Dieterich and the "Salvation" of the Cuban Revolution" (English translation):
Rebelion, Discussion on Cuba (in Spanish):

WORLD SOCIAL FORUM: Towards a Latin American Power Bloc [cached]

MEXICO CITY - The influence of President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela -- one of the three host countries for this year's polycentric World Social Forum -- has helped this global civil society meet to shake off its formerly "bucolic" attitude and assume a more clearly defined political line, according to leading leftist political analyst Heinz Dieterich.

MEXICO CITY, Jan 20 (IPS) - The influence of President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela -- one of the three host countries for this year's polycentric World Social Forum -- has helped this global civil society meet to shake off its formerly "bucolic" attitude and assume a more clearly defined political line, according to leading leftist political analyst Heinz Dieterich.
Dieterich, a German-born, Mexico-based sociology professor, is also the author of numerous books, and has shared writing credits with the likes of Cuban President Fidel Castro and U.S. political activist and scholar Noam Chomsky.
In more recent years, he has travelled regularly to Venezuela to follow firsthand the political process underway there, and on occasions to meet personally with Chávez.
He has written extensively on the Venezuelan president's "Bolivarian revolution" of peaceful social and political changes, and his project to forge a "21st century model" of socialism.
Ahead of the Venezuela World Social Forum, Jan. 24-29, Dieterich met with IPS in his modest Mexico City apartment to share his views on the current situation in Latin America, where several countries have shifted politically to the left -- albeit to varying degrees -- and are working towards regional integration outside the sphere of influence of the United States.

Latin America: From Colonization to Globalization - Word Power [cached]

As Latin America hovers on the brink of a major social and economic crisis, Mexican-based professor of sociology, Heinz Dieterich, discusses some of the main political events in recent years with the internationally acclaimed philosopher, scholar and political activist, Noam Chomsky.

HEINZ DIETERICH is a professor of sociology in Mexico and is president of the Forum for the Emancipation and Identity of Latin America.

By Heinz ... [cached]

By Heinz Dieterich

Heinz Dieterich and the ‘salvation’ of the Cuban Revolution

Workers Daily Internet Edition Year 2001 No. 146 [cached]

A resolution convoking the gathering was put forward by the following signatories: José Saramago - Nobel Prize for Literature, Portugal; Adolfo Pérez Esquivel - Nobel Peace Prize, Argentina; Bishop Pagura - President of the World Council of Churches, Argentina; Professor Heinz Dieterich - President of the Forum for the Emancipation and Identity of Latin America, Mexico; Professor James Petras - New York State University; Professor Noam Chomsky - MIT; Doctor Ramsey Clark, former US Attorney General; Mumia Abu-Jamal - Political Prisoner, USA; R. James Sacouman - Professor of Acadia University Wolfville, Nova Scotia; Henry Veltmeyer - Professor of Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Canada; Ahmed Benbela - Ex President of Algeria and President of the Arab Parliament of Algeria.

The Plan Colombia and the Latin American economy - Heinz Dieterich;

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