Behind the New Economic Measures in Cuba

Advancing the Revolution in the Concrete World Situation of Today

Marxism is the concrete analysis of a concrete situation.

— Lenin

On September 13, 2010 the Confederation of Cuban Workers (CTC) – the mass trade-union organization that is a central component and pillar of the Cuban workers’ state and the revolutionary government headed by Raul Castro – issued an announcement which codified and specified new measures and significant changes in economic, financial, and commercial policies that will be implemented in Cuba over the coming months and years. These new economic policies have been long-debated and broadly discussed inside Cuba from local grass-roots mass organizations and work places to the highest levels of government and state. They come as a surprise to no one in Cuba.

We can expect these measures to be implemented prudently, deliberately, transparently and over time without the slightest sense of panic, extremism, or adventurism. Their purpose is to develop, modernize technologically, and industrialize Cuba’s economy and bolster its finances in order to preserve and strengthen Cuba’s workers’ state and socialist revolution in the concrete objective domestic and international situation it faces. They signal that correcting Cuba’s economic weaknesses, imbalances, inefficiencies, and low labor productivity can be put off no longer. At the center of the measures is a radical reduction in the number of Cubans employed in state and government bureaucracies, some 500,000 in the coming months and year.

Propaganda Campaign Against Socialism

The Cuban announcement sparked a one-note campaign in the US and internationally presenting these measures as “capitalist” and “free market” and more confirmation of the “failure” of “socialism” in general and “Cuban socialism” in particular. (It should be added that this bourgeois propaganda campaign has been pathetically complemented by a layer of ultra-left sectarians, most of whom were already hostile to the Cuban Revolution and its historic leadership, who assert these measures are a “sellout” or “capitulation” to “capitalism.”)

It would certainly be a boon for capitalist propaganda if the revolutionary government of Cuba were indeed throwing in the towel, particularly at a time when the world capitalist system is at the opening stages of its greatest structural crisis since the so-called “Great Depression” of the 1930s. But the opposite is the truth.

The measures announced in Cuba were presented in the international big-business press as analogous to the harsh austerity measures that are being carried out – at varying paces and degrees and with mounting working-class resistance – in the advanced capitalist countries by conservative, liberal, and social-democratic governments. Under the guise of resolving government “deficits” these include large-scale layoffs in the “public sector” complementing mass unemployment in the “private sector;” cuts in social services and benefits in health care, education, child and family support; and attacks on pensions and unemployment benefits.

None of this has anything in common with the new policies unfolding in Cuba. There will be in Cuba no growth of mass unemployment – or as Marx put it a “reserve army of labor” that suppresses the cost of labor power for capitalist employers – and the subsequent growth of poverty and destitution as is now becoming the norm in all of the advanced capitalist economies not to speak of dependent “Third World” capitalist economies. Individuals let go from redundant, unproductive state and government positions will be able to return to university or technical schools for specialized training, with wage support, for new jobs in addition to those choosing to be self-employed, or join newly established co-operatives. Savings from the reductions in state expenses and budgets will go to preserve social services, modernize and improve free medical care and education, and so on. Cuba’s advances in implementing these measures and confronting its serious economic weaknesses is deeply in the interests of the world working class and is in reality a great aid in the developing struggles against capitalist austerity worldwide.

Washington’s 50-year-old economic and political war to subvert and overturn the Cuban Revolution continues under the Barack Obama Administration. Cuba needs time and space to continue to hold out until new revolutionary triumphs of workers and peasants, new socialist revolutions occur out of the mounting long-term world capitalist depression that first burst into the open in 2008. To do so and not be swamped and drowned under the weight of economic stagnation and obstacles, Cuba must raise its level of labor productivity which also means it must increase the size of the agricultural and industrial proletariat. Cuba needs more industrial workers and farmers and less government officials and bureaucrats. The Cuban workers state needs to reduce the size of its government bureaucracy. Entrenched privileged state and government bureaucracy is also the main source and mass base of any potential capitalist restoration in a workers’ state, not particularly the small layers of “proprietors” that are likely to emerge in Cuba in the coming years.

What the revolutionary government in Cuba is attempting to consciously and deliberately implement is a process that will lead to the numerical growth, social expansion, growing political weight of industrial workers, agricultural workers, and working farmers – private-family and cooperative . This will be greater than the inevitable rise in petty-bourgeois layers involved in retail services, brokerage, and speculation. These class demographic changes will emerge out of the accompanying decline (a good thing!) in the numbers of bureaucrats in state institutions and enterprises whose official jobs breed demoralization insofar as they register nonproductive activity which, in the framework of scarcity and economic pressure,  can foster corruption and thievery.

The concomitant growth of petty bourgeois layers will undoubtedly foster relative social inequality, but, of course, this has been happening and reproducing anyway in the form of the so-called “black market” and illegal economic activity unregulated by the workers’ state. And if labor productivity and the social surplus product increases, within the framework of the workers state, the material basis (and also the political basis) for advancing social equality will also advance. Increases in labor productivity and a radical expansion in agricultural output will allow for large savings in foreign exchange currency that can then be used for industrialization and the “light industry” production of consumers products and quality services.

Cuba is a Workers’ State

Cuba’s political economy will continue to be guided by rational, economic planning to which commodity and exchange “markets” will be strictly subordinate and which will be mediated and creatively guided by increasingly democratic mass participation, most importantly by the expanding Cuban working class organized in the CTC, and less by rigid bureaucratic “models.” It is no accident that it was the CTC that made the initial announcement about the scale and scope of the slashing of government functionaries and the restructuring goals and policies.

Cuba’s banks will continue to be the property of the workers’ state. Cuba’s international trade will continue to be solely mediated by organs and institutions of the workers’ state. There will thus be a state monopoly of foreign trade, one of the fundamental characteristics and criteria in the origins and character of a workers’ state. (Others include the destruction of the previous capitalist state’s police, military, and juridical institutions; the nationalization of the major industrial means of production and finance; the establishment of new social and economic relations that obviates the existence and reproduction of a modern bourgeoisie or capitalist class; and the primacy of conscious planning and cooperation for human needs within the new state over the profit-seeking dynamics and mechanism of the capitalist market and competition.)

The foreign trade monopoly is of decisive importance, or as stated by V.I. Lenin, the central leader of the 1917 Russian Revolution, “in the present epoch of imperialism the only system of protection worthy of consideration is the monopoly of foreign trade.”1

While private foreign capitalists will be able to invest capital and make a profit in partnership with Cuban state firms, they will be subject to Cuban social relations that have been forged by fifty years of socialist revolution and which are dominated by the interests and political weight of workers and farmers. The problem at hand, however, is not the solidarity of Cuba’s marvelous social relations compared to the atomized, every-man-for-himself fostering of privilege and submission in capitalist societies but increasing labor productivity, industrialization, and modernization. Clearly bureaucratism, waste, corruption, and theft of social property are in Cuba today the greatest threat to the social relations forged out of the Cuban Revolution.

Lenin put it like this in the last year of his active political life as he struggled to reorient and rebuild the economy and finances of the young Soviet republic after the devastation and ruin of the 1918-1921 civil war and imperialist interventions. This included strong efforts to attract foreign capital and business deals with capitalist firms and states. “The capitalists are operating alongside us,” Lenin spoke. “They are operating like robbers; they make profit; but they know how to do things. But you – you are trying to do it in a new way; you make no profit, your principles are communist; your ideals are splendid; they are written out so beautifully that you seem to be saints, that you should go to heaven while you are still alive. But can you get things done?”2

The challenge for Cuban “business people” – the agents of the workers’ state – will be to negotiate the deals and contracts that are mutually beneficial to the Cuban economy and the representatives of foreign capital. This requires cadre with particular revolutionary qualities, including a steel disposition, political consciousness, and diplomatic personality skills to carry out such tasks and remain uncorrupted.

As Fidel Castro put it in the November 2005 speech:

Some of our businessmen make million dollar deals, and the fine art of corruption as it is practiced in capitalist circles is as subtle as a serpent and worse than a rat. They will anesthetize you while you are being ‘bitten’ and it can rip off a hunk of flesh in the middle of the night.  This was the way the Revolution was being put to sleep so that a piece of flesh could then be ripped away. In a few cases, corruption was out in the open.  Many knew about its existence, or they suspected it, when they observed the life-style changes the new car, the house being redecorated, adding little decorative touches here and there because of pure vanity.  We have heard such stories time and time again, and measures must be taken even though it will not be resolved easily.

In no way will the proposed restructuring foster the formation of a Cuban national capitalist bourgeoisie, although it is certain and inevitable that there will be an expansion of petty-bourgeois layers in Cuban society which may coagulate into a political opposition to the socialist Cuban government with a real social base inside the country, as opposed to the pathetic current gang of so-called “dissidents” that are appendages of the US government. But this is by no means certain or inevitable. It depends on many national, and especially international, political factors, first and foremost the coming big developments in world politics – depression, war, and revolution. In any case, this is a risk that must be accepted and struggled against consciously and intelligently.

The expansion of “self-employment”

Clearly the revolutionary government has concluded that traditional “services” such as shoe repairers, barbers and beauticians, plumbers and myriad other small scale operations are not now – if they ever were – most productive and efficient as a category of central economic planning. Such essentially retail functions which are voluminous but atomized in society become a burden and an obstacle to increasing labor productivity and may be more useful as a category of self-employment or co-operative arrangements autonomous or independent from central government planning and direction and subject to taxation. The logic of this measure is underlined when the existence of the extant and widespread “black market” in Cuba – by definition private, unregulated, untaxed, and having a parasitical relation to a “state property” – is recognized. It is better for this reality – which objective material conditions do not allow to be transcended – to be legal, transparent, above board, and revenue-producing, that is, taxable for the workers’ state and the social needs of Cuban society.

Expansion of retail operations, small merchants and peddlers, and self-employed services are not the same thing as capitalist commodity production. Any expansion of small-scale private retail consumer goods sales and services will not be supplied directly by capitalist manufacturing but by enterprises owned or controlled by the Cuban workers’ state. Any such private “businesses” will not be able to transition their monetary wealth into private ownership and financing of means of production. The Cuban State Bank is, as part of the new economic policies, studying and discussing, with the purpose of formulating rules, policies for loans to the small businesses that are going to be established.

The main question and problem for the still-underdeveloped, still far from adequately industrialized Cuban workers’ state – literally an island of the dictatorship of the proletariat in an ocean of the dictatorship of the imperialist bourgeoisie – is not the individual, family, or co-operative that repairs your shoe, cuts your hair, fixes your leaking roof, or paints your house. On the contrary, it is producing in factories with financing, raw materials, modern machinery, and a skilled, trained industrial working class that can actually make the shoes, utensils, roofing materials, and paint in the first place.

Attractive restaurants with good food are fine (and I’ve been to quite a few very nice ones, both family-run and “public” in Havana) and nothing in Marxist theory or revolutionary practice mandates the “nationalization” of small businesses, private professional services or retail operation in principle.

It should also be pointed out that, under conditions of monopoly capitalism in the United States and other advanced capitalist societies, more and more of these small “family service businesses” are subsumed by large-scale corporate chains. “Mom and Pop” retail operations may start to flourish in “communist” Cuba even as giant chains and national brands make them, under monopoly capitalism, a dying breed in the United States.

From the point of view of the political power of the working class, these petty bourgeois, normally capitalist-aspiring layers can be won as potential allies to a regime where industrial and agricultural producers dominate. Like the overwhelming majority of Cubans, many incorporating these layers that will expand are imbued with a patriotic and anti-imperialist consciousness and the understanding that it was Cuba’s socialist revolution that conquered and has defended genuine national independence and social dignity for the Cuban people. But this is a political question and – again – for a Marxist must be viewed concretely.

The real question here is whether the Cuban workers’ state is better off with bloated government payrolls stacked with people doing no productive labor and of very little use or value to anyone, or by releasing those layers into production and service where they can learn skills, even if working in a joint venture or private business that can raise the productivity of labor in Cuba. Is it better for the workers’ state to have workers engaged in productive labor — that is, engineering, constructing, manufacturing, and transporting means of production, infrastructure, items for consumption, or retail services to meet the pent-up needs and demands of the Cuban working people — or to retain government officials whose “jobs” are increasingly parasitic (and thereby demoralizing to the people involved) even if this means working in a joint venture with foreign capital or even a private enterprise?

Is it better to have more employed, productive workers and less government officials and bureaucrats even if it means having a larger layer of “proprietors” and other petty-bourgeois elements? Who is more useful, who contributes more to the Cuban workers’ state and Cuban society: a new family farmer, self-employed plumber, or member of a barber’s cooperative on the one hand, or the Assistant to the Assistant in Charge of Blah-Blah-Blah in the Ministry of God-Knows-What on the other? Cuban working-class public opinion is fed up with a reality where work needs to be done and, despite scarcity of resources, can be done, but is bottled up by bureaucracy, waste, and the theft of state resources.

In any case, and again contrary to the spin in capitalist media outlets, public or state property in industry will not be weakened but strengthened, and the controls of the Cuban workers’ state and Cuba’s highly progressive labor laws, will be fully applicable to any “joint” enterprises established in negotiations with private capital. What is most useful and progressive socially for Cuba is to create more machinists, millwrights, lathe operators, steelworkers, railroad workers, carpenters, and so on.

The absorption of the projected 500,000-person reduction in state bureaucracy will not be – as implied by all the nonsense being written – primarily via the category of self-employment; that is, in retail sales and exchange of goods and services. Certainly there will be space opened up –- and there is nothing “wrong” with this from the standpoint of state power firmly in the hands of the working class and peasantry –- of small business owners, primarily in retail sales and services. But it should be emphasized that many of these operations and services will have forms other than family businesses, mainly co-operatives.

The key mode here for the foreseeable future will be the management by the Cuban government, unions, and farmers’ organizations of a process that will necessarily involve both centralization on the so-called macro scale, and decentralization on a so-called micro scale.

The “revolutionary offensive” of 1968

Most private retail operations and private professional services were “nationalized” in Cuba in 1968 under the so-called “revolutionary offensive” The context for the “revolutionary offensive” was the defeat of Ernesto Che Guevara’s attempts, carrying out the strategic line of the Cuban Revolution and government, to organize a continental revolutionary battleground and army in Latin America, and the developing rout of the revolutionary guerrilla forces in other countries. Cuba was thoroughly isolated in Latin America and the Caribbean; only Mexico maintained diplomatic relations with it. Reactionary oligarchic regimes backed to the hilt by Washington dominated the continent and would for more than a generation.

Economic problems on the island were mounting. An effort to lessen dependence on the Soviet Union led to a huge effort to produce 10 million tons of sugar. The labor mobilizations involved cause severe disruptions in other economic sectors and the effort eventually fell short by nearly 2 million tons. In this context the revolutionary government was clearly worried about the existence of points of support for US-backed counter-revolutionary forces and aggression.

There is in 2010 a very different objective and subjective reality. US imperialism is much weaker politically and no longer able to dictate and control politics and economics in its Latin American “backyard.” Cuba has normal, good, or excellent relations, and growing economic ties, with virtually every Latin American and Caribbean country.

Genesis of the Cuban Economic Crisis

It is certainly no secret that revolutionary Cuba has been in a permanent structural economic and financial crisis within which concrete advances and setbacks have unfolded since the late 1980s and early 1990s. The onset of this crisis – known in Cuba as the “Special Period” – was catalyzed by the collapse of the ruling governments in the former Soviet Union and its allied Eastern European states from 1989 to 1991.

Insofar as Cuba had carried out some 85% of its economic exchange with these regimes, the so-called “socialist camp,” the impact of what was, in effect, an overnight amputation of the overwhelming majority of its previous economic relationships was drastic and devastating for the Cuban economy and population. Almost instantly a dynamic of severe economic retraction unfolded that reached around 35%, perhaps over double that of what is referred to as the Great Depression in the United States. At one point the Cuban currency was so debased that the US dollar was the functional currency for the country.

It was taken for granted by Cuba’s powerful enemies in Washington, its former ruling classes exiled in Miami and the US, the Latin American reactionary oligarchies, and even many sympathizers and friends of Cuba that the revolutionary government could not possibly survive such overwhelming material blows. Washington, of course, moved in for the kill. Under the first George Bush and then expanded under the Democratic William Clinton Administration, the US economic and political war against the island was intensified. The passage of the notorious Torricelli and Helms-Burton legislation attempted to implement a de facto international economic blockade against the Cuban workers’ state.

Under these concrete conditions Cuba and its revolutionary government had no choice but to develop and forge economic and commercial relations and exchange within world capital markets and legal mechanisms utterly dominated by the advanced capitalist countries, and with capitalist states, private firms and enterprises, pursuing whatever openings it could in the face of US hostility.

Fidel Castro described what Cuba faced with the Special Period in a landmark speech at the University of Havana in November 2005, a speech which was the template for the extensive debates and discussions in Cuban society that culminated in the new economic policies now being implemented:

[We] had been left without oil overnight, with no raw materials, no food, no cleaning products, nothing…the country suffered a shattering blow when overnight [the Soviet Union] fell and we were left alone, all on our own, and we lost all the markets on which to sell our sugar and we stopped getting supplies, fuel, even the wood with which to give a Christian burial to our dead. And everyone thought: ‘This will fall apart’, and the idiots still believe that it is all going to fall apart here and that if it doesn’t fall apart now it will fall apart later.

The Cuban working people, defending the revolution and social relations deeply rooted in their unity and consciousness, clawed their way to survival and a certain stability and progress through wrenching adaptations and flexibility. Most amazingly this was done without in the slightest compromising on fundamental revolutionary principles and in particular maintaining a revolutionary internationalist foreign policy based on solidarity.

Among the measures adopted by the Cuban government, then led by Fidel Castro, at the origins of the Special Period, were great efforts to find and secure capital to rebuild the tourism industry and other economic projects, which were done in partnership with various foreign capitalist firms. This large expansion of tourism – which involved huge investment in the construction and fitting of hotels and other accompanying tourism infrastructure – was successfully carried out and soon began to bring in significant amounts of so-called hard currencies; that is, the foreign exchange that was used to maintain, among other priorities, Cuba’s excellent – and free – health care and education systems. Some private commercial activity, particularly in the sales of agricultural output, including through brokeraging, became legal and contributed to relative agricultural advances from a deep depression marked by a great scarcity of farm implements, machinery, fertilizer, and chemicals.

All of these necessary measures increased social inequality, speculation, and street hustling and were never idealized by the Cuban government. Previously eradicated social problems, such as prostitution, reappeared, not in the traditional pre-revolution large-scale business of organized crime, with pimps, brothels, and a flourishing commercial sex industry, but individual Cuban women catering to tourists to get cash.

Nevertheless the measures prevented a total economic collapse and the social dislocation – the goal of Washington’s blockade policies – including famine, which would have created the conditions for direct US military aggression and the final, violent destruction of the Revolution.

By the mid-1990s the Cuban economy as a whole began to revive as new economic partnerships developed. Among the most important were with China. Further crucial advances occurred as a result of Cuba’s political and diplomatic campaigns in Latin America and the growing atmosphere of solidarity that made possible increased economic ties with Latin American and Caribbean countries. In particular, the election of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, registering a growing class-conscious militancy among Venezuelan working people, led to strong and growing economic ties between Cuba and Venezuela.

Following the mass mobilizations in Venezuela that defeated pro-imperialist coup attempts in 2002 and 2003, large numbers of Cuban doctors, other medical workers, and teachers volunteered for work in Venezuela leading to great advances in access to medical care and education for working people there. Venezuelan oil and energy exports and expertise were expanded to Cuba at favorable prices, a central factor in the stabilization of the Cuban economy and finances.

The University of Havana Speech

As mentioned above on November 5, 2005, eight months before his near-fatal medical emergency and surgery that led to removing himself from his formal leadership posts in the government and state, Fidel Castro gave a remarkable, sweeping speech at the University of Havana (To read the entire speech, which I strongly recommend to understand the current developments) which laid out the framework for the economic and social crisis facing Cuban socialism and the general line of march on how to move forward. It is a good starting point to understand the origins of the new economic policies that are now being concretely formulated and codified.

The speech was brutally frank, nothing less than a tour de force revealing, explaining, and attacking – with facts, humor, anger, sarcasm, and real passionate humanity – examples of corruption, inefficiency, bureaucratism, and the administrative mentality that had to be addressed and transformed for the viability of the socialist revolution and its survival. “This country can self-destruct; this Revolution can destroy itself, but they can never destroy us; we can destroy ourselves, and it would be our fault.”

At a time when Cuba was producing less than one-and-a-half million tons of sugar a year, Fidel, to cite just one example, said to the gathered students, “You will be amazed when I tell you that, according to its inventory, the Ministry of Sugar has 2000 to 3000 more trucks than it had when it was producing 8 million tons of sugar. It’s tough, but I’m going to tell it like it is.”

At the time of Fidel’s November 2005 speech the Cuban economy and finances had been steadily advancing, with several years of regular, and in some years strong, economic growth. Economic ties with Latin America and China had increased significantly. Revenues from tourism were high and growing. And it was in this framework, ascendant from the miserable depths of the Special Period, that Fidel addressed head-on the structural and systemic problems, the new contradictions that were accumulating.

New Blows

Within a few years, however, the revolutionary government now led by Raul Castro was grappling with the same problems as laid out by Fidel in 2005 but now magnified many times over by a number of concrete national and international developments. First and foremost was the extensive material devastation caused by the 2008 Hurricane season, particularly the effects of Hurricanes Gustav and especially Ike (no relation to the author of this essay).  In the hurricane damage over 320,000 houses were destroyed or severely damaged with over 2 million Cubans displaced. In the agricultural province of Villa Clara over 70% of agricultural production was destroyed. Over 3300 tobacco houses were destroyed. And so on. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimated damages at nearly $4 billion.

What truly marked the beginning of an unfavorable new dynamic in the Cuban economic reality was the world-historical concrete new fact of the 2007-08 world capitalist financial crash. Among other direct consequences of this for Cuba was a radical drop in the world market price of nickel, a major Cuban-produced raw material commodity essential in many modern manufacturing processes. (Of course, the modernization of Cuban nickel-mining operation was a result of a Cuban partnership with foreign capitalist firms – those with the capital – most notably the Canadian Sherritt International Corporation.) There was also a significant drop in the revenues brought in by tourism as the effect of the world capitalist crisis and retraction hit consumer spending in the advanced capitalist countries where much of the vacation travel to Cuba comes from.

Acquiring Capital for the Cuban Workers’ State

Given the paucity of capital in Cuba – that is, the monetized savings in hard currency for investing in agricultural and industrial machinery, factories, rolling stock for railroads and other industrial infrastructure, and so on – it is inevitable that, for the foreseeable future, what the revolutionary government must do, will necessarily involve co-operative and contract agreements with private or “state” firms in capitalist countries. These firms will invest, of course, not out of the goodness of their hearts but in order to generate profits. (Although some individual “investors” may harbor sentimental feelings or affection for Cuba. Good if that’s the case, but even those will want and need to make money.) In that sense they will be allowed to siphon off a portion of the surplus value created by the labor output of the Cuban industrial workers employed in these enterprises.

Cuba, of course, has much to offer to firms willing to invest in Cuban means of production; in particular, a highly educated and healthy population. Cuba also has a number of products and services from its already existing industries such as biotechnology that with further development and market access will have high demand on world markets

Within the borders of Cuba, the capitalist market is no longer dominant but Cuba functions in a world economic framework where private capital — that is, a handful of giant capitalist firms operating through a handful of advanced capitalist states — utterly dominate world production and exchange. Cuba must trade in hard currency (that is, the currency of advanced imperialist countries) which it can obtain only with great difficulty due to the US attempts to blockade it.

Developing Cuba’s Oil Fields

Perhaps the most crucial economic project being undertaken now in Cuba involves the extraction of apparently large oil deposits discovered in Cuban territorial waters. This will involve deep-sea drilling from massive platforms. Years of searching, chartering, mapping, discovery, and preparation are now finally giving way to actually building the platforms and extracting the oil. These fields, once they start producing, will be a tremendous boost to the Cuban economy. But Cuba is nowhere near having the capital, technology, or management expertise to undertake this huge task without the assistance of foreign capital and either foreign private capitalist monopoly enterprises or state-owned firms from capitalist countries.

After these firms take their slice – and it will have to be enough to make it worth their while – then the remaining surplus value created will go to workers wages, plant maintenance, and the Cuban workers’ state to bolster, among other things, free medical care and education. Not a dime will line the pockets of a private bourgeoisie in Cuba.

(Washington, which waived safety rules and regulations and turned a blind eye to the recklessness of BP leading to the 2010 Gulf oil spill disaster, has tried to stoke fears about the Cuban project.)

The legacy of Che

Cuba needs capital in the form of advanced technology and the financing of means of production in order to industrialize, digitalize, build and rebuild its railroads, bridges, aqueducts, water systems, electrical grid, and other infrastructure and also create myriad light industrial projects that can produce quality consumer items for the Cuban people and for the tourism industry. Cuba also needs to modernize and render more rigorous and transparent its accounting methods, which suffer especially from bureaucratism as Fidel Castro stressed in his University of Havana speech. This was a central theme in the economic writings and methods of Che Guevara in the early years of the Cuban Revolution.

Central to the development of the Cuban economic and financial system as it developed under siege from US imperialism has been political and moral appeals to working people and revolutionary-minded intellectuals to defend their revolution and state power. This is particularly identified with the figure of Che Guevara and his writings on the “new socialist man and women,” moral and material incentives, voluntary labor, and revolutionary internationalism. One example of this precious legacy is in the Cuban medical and educational internationalist missions around the world and the Latin American School of Medicine in Havana.

This will continue within the new orientation and the new drive to raise productivity, living standards, technological advances in the modes of production, industrialization, and increased production of materials for housing and other pressing needs. But appeals to working-class and revolutionary consciousness can turn into clichéd phrase-mongering if bureaucracy, inefficiency, and deteriorating work habits due to scarcity and corrupt mismanagement come to dominate the process of work and production.

Moral incentives, as formulated and practiced by Che Guevara, were always promoted as part and parcel of hard work, raising productivity, strict control and accounting of resources, application of the most modern technology, absolutely minimum bureaucratism, and integrity, honesty, and personal sacrifice at the center of everything.

No change in Cuban socialist internationalism

If the new economic policies announced in Cuba indicated a subjective embrace of the capitalist market and capitalist methods on the part of Cuba’s communist leadership, then this would be reflected in a shift toward renunciation of revolutionary struggle and accommodation with imperialism; that is, the movement of Cuban foreign policy to the right. There is, of course, no evidence of this whatsoever. Neither is there any signal whatsoever that Washington, under the Obama Administration, has any perspective of ending US sanctions and normalizing relations with the island. Washington continues its goal of subverting and eliminating the socialist revolution and workers’ state in Cuba.

The revolutionary government of Cuba continues to expect, look for, and, above all, politically be in active solidarity and promotion of new upsurges and victories of workers’ and peasants’ power anywhere in the world. It is a government, true to the legacy of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, which has tied its fate ultimately to the oppressed and exploited overwhelming majority of humanity.

  1. Lenin’s Final Fight, Pathfinder Press, p. 207 []
  2. Lenin’s Final Fight, p. 58 []

Ike Nahem is the coordinator of Cuba Solidarity New York a member of the National Network on Cuba. Nahem is an Amtrak Locomotive Engineer and member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, a division of the Teamsters Union. These are his personal political opinions. He can be reached at: ikenahem@mindspring.com. Read other articles by Ike.

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  1. Josie Michel-Bruening said on October 27th, 2010 at 10:27am #

    Thank you very much, dear Ike Nahem!
    I regard this extensive article as an excellent piece.
    Additionally, it was high time, I think, that somebody would write so well based on facts about the current development in Cuba based on its history.
    I hope, you will find many readers.
    In the light of your profound knowledge you certainly are familiar with the terrorist attacks carried out by the exile Cuban groups against Cuba and the case of the “Cuban Five” still suffering from incarceration in the United States for having monitored them.
    Good luck for your work and best wishes from Germany to you.

  2. ajohnstone said on October 27th, 2010 at 12:43pm #

    Cuba has become a cause celebre amongst many on the Left. This misty-eyed respect for Cuba would not be so worrying were it confined to the dying ranks of Tankie Stalinists; however, its tendrils reach well beyond them.
    The Castro regime has proven remarkably resilient and ha maintained a tight control over the economy. At times, this has meant a heavy bureaucratic hand, requiring strings of permits to produce, distribute and export or import goods. None of this has abolished the commodity nature of production, nor the wages system. The collapse of the Soviet Union, and the loss of Cuba’s export markets as well as the convenient supply of oil for industrial purposes led to the economy undergoing serious recession, from which it has yet to fully recover. Since then, the government has been trying to re-orientate the economy.

    The continued existence of the wages system has meant the need for measures to impose labour discipline. The Cuban state only recognises one trade union federation, Central de Trabajadores Cubanos (CTC). This consists of unions entirely dominated by the ruling Communist Party, wherein officers are vetted (not just by their present affiliations, but on a documentary of their entire lives going back to their school records) before they are allowed to take up posts. Whilst independent trade unions are not entirely illegal, their existence is subject to repressive controls and harassment, beginning with the Associations Act (Leyes de Asociaciones) and escalating to the generally repressive political order laws. The requirements of the Labour Code demand that collective agreements be decided by both workers’ meetings, and the employers, with the Communist Party being heavily involved on both sides of these negotiations. There is no legally-sanctioned right to strike. Thus, although there are formal and nominal freedoms, in practice they are undermined by highly centralised capacity to crush dissent. In the absence of political and trade union freedoms, then, the working conditions of Cuban workers are hard. Their living standards drastically cut by the recent recessions, even if they “agreed” to this in mass meetings to save their jobs.

    Although Cuba nominally has 100 percent suffrage, this is restricted to candidates approved by the Committee for the Defence of the Revolution. Likewise, a plethora of laws make free criticism and electoral organisation impossible: Article 144(17) of the criminal code prohibits disrespect to authority; Articles 200–201 preventing the spread and cause of panic and disorder have been used to imprison people publicly voicing criticisms; Article 103 prohibits ‘enemy propaganda’ which is interpreted as anyone inciting criticism of the Cuban system and its international allies; Article 203 criminalises disrespect to the flag and symbols of the regime; Article 115 prevents the dissemination of ‘false news against international peace’; and the piece de résistance is articles 72–74 which forbid anything ‘dangerous’, which can be anything the police and courts decide are so.

    These battery of laws amounts to an arsenal fit to stop any independent thought and organisation, and amounts to a capacity to arrest anyone the state doesn’t like, any time they want. In a situation in which workers cannot hope to organise politically, it makes free association in trade unions impossible. All of this needs to be borne in mind when stories are repeated by apologists of Cuba about how workers have democracy and freedom to organise in Cuba; or of how workplace committees and trade unions decide industrial matters.

    The supporters of Cuba put their concerns for “national rights” before class solidarity, in supporting the Cuban regime. They excuse its actions as a necessary defence against US aggression, and will it to survive against the greater power, even at the expense of its workers’ lives and liberties. Socialists do not consider that the best way to assist the workers of Cuba is to support the régime that dragoons them in siege warfare with the US. We need to free socialism from the taint of the undemocratic methods applied in Cuba and stand clearly for the political freedoms of association and speech for the working class the world over, so as better to spread the ideas and consciousness required for the building of a truly stateless classless world co-operative commonwealth.

  3. Don Hawkins said on October 27th, 2010 at 1:20pm #

    In Cuba can you still play a game of checkers in the park. How about here in the States same well yes and take a look at these pictures.

    http://linhdinhphotos.blogspot.com/

    Everything should be made as simple as possible but not simpler will that happen oh yes but maybe not the way we think.

  4. teafoe2 said on October 27th, 2010 at 1:29pm #

    ajohnstone offers pro-ZioImperialist propaganda, nothing more. Anybody with the slightest acquaintance with Cuba will recognize that his comment is pure nonsense, nothing but nostalgia for Meyer Lanskyism.

  5. shabnam said on October 27th, 2010 at 1:56pm #

    {We need to free socialism from the taint of the undemocratic methods applied in Cuba and stand clearly for the political freedoms of association and speech for the working class the world over, so as better to spread the ideas and consciousness required for the building of a truly stateless classless world co-operative commonwealth.}

    This is good rhetoric in writing. The most important factor to free socialism from the taint of the undemocratic methods is that the population of the United States and other capitalist countries in the West who have let the world into an Iron Cage let a revolution to bring down the rule of the capital on earth which is responsible for many wars and much suffering around the world. As long as you have done nothing but few empty rhetoric, then people in the other countries like Cuba, Arab countries, Iran and Cuba who have lost many lives to improve their status and humanity, have seen no mass movement against imperialism and Zionism worldwide especially in the Western countries responsible for undemocratic world system that have forced on the rest of the population on earth, imposing so many sanction to kill whoever is not following their instructions and you have paid NO ATTENTION,
    You better to do YOUR SHARE NOW TO HELP the cause. Stop preaching and copy, at least, the French people militancy that is at play now. Bring your undemocratic government and capitalist system down to help billions on earth. Destroy Zionism and imperialism NOW. Bring your savage troops home by persistent mass demonstration to send a message to say enough is enough. WHY ARE YOU SO QUIET?
    You neither have a job nor can keep your house, yet you are afraid to go into the street and set the flame, like French and Iranians. You should make the first move, not Cubans who have suffered to gain their free education and health care? Do you have that?

  6. ajohnstone said on October 28th, 2010 at 1:49am #

    Teafoe2 – present a political argument and go beyond the name-calling.

    Shaban – i fully agree with you that the only way to solve the worlds problems is to escalate and intensify the class struggle. Capitalism is subject to periodic slumps and is a global system, global economic crises are inevitable from time to time. I’d like to think that this would trigger off a world-wide movement for global socialism but experience has unfortunately shown that there is not necessarily a fixed one-to-one relationship between economic crises and the growth of socialist ideas. Other factors too are involved and only time will tell how the socialist movement will fare.

    Utopia has always supposed to be an imaginary far-flung Island in uncharted seas. Now, it seems, it is a very real island in perfectly well-charted waters of the Caribbean for a good majority of the Left, such as the article’s author .

    Indeed Shaban , you can point to Cuba’s impressive record on health care and education (much better than in much of the rest of Latin America, including its healthy 76 year life expectancy). Cuba does indeed show what could be possible, even with meagre resources to meet the needs of human beings, and how artificial the deprivation across much of the rest of the world is. But the difference in treatment stems largely from an autarkic nation’s need to maintain a functioning workforce versus the surplus population of the mono-export countries of much of the rest of South America.
    Castro was in an impossible position. They wanted to improve the living standards of the “unconscious masses” but were severely limited as to what they could do by world market conditions and in fact, as the government of a state-run capitalist economy in the context of global capitalism, were in a sense obliged to impose the restrictions on consumption that world market conditions (and a blockade by US) imposed. Cuba tried to escape from the laws of the world market economy but only at the price of establishing a state capitalism which in the end has had to take into account world market pressures anyway.

    The idea that an enlightened minority should seize power with a view to liberating the unenlightened masses is that the minority can come to justify, as part of its programme of uprooting capitalist ideas, coercion against so-called “backward” elements within the working class who are accused of clinging to capitalist ideas to the detriment of the common good—and in Cuba one idea that has been classified as backward is pressure for a higher individual wage or salary, denounced as selfish “economism”. So it is not just people in the pay of the CIA who end up in jail but also genuine trade unionists and advocates of free speech. Socialists like yourself probably would too.

    According to the author, Cuba is “on the road” to “socialism” via “the workers state”, while the transition to “communism” is a distant vision in the future. He is compelled to accept that trading with world capitalism necessarily imposed severe limitations on actions, in short acknowledging that the economic conditions dictate the country’s direction.
    National defence, nationalisation, industrialisation, agrarian reform and the development of foreign trade are all urgent issues that have to be addressed if Castro’s Cuba is to survive BUT it won’t be socialist nor on the road towards socialism and no amount of wishing otherwise can change that reality.

  7. Don Hawkins said on October 28th, 2010 at 3:36am #

    Shabnam here in the United States am not sure of the number but a lot there is not much fight left the mind is gone. A few human’s here in the States seem to run this giant machine that must be fead at all costs and that cost is high. Iam surprised we still have a few who paint or read but it seems most live in this dreamlike state controlled by this giant machine and does it have a soul well no it sure doesn’t. These elections in a few day’s is a good place to see the effect’s of what this machine does. The mind is dead only a shell of machine like words that have no basis in reality. Is there such a thing as reality oh yes and the ones that live in that machine like unreality are in for a rather big surprise. How will they do when the window break’s between reality and unreality and the glass begins to fly not well am afraid. How much longer will this machine keep people in dreamland with machine like words as seen on TV or talking on a cell phone or tweeting until there fingers fall off or buying stock or bonds and have fun doing it or buying little plastic things not realizing the terrible thing they lost or never had a mind of there own and being able to live in a toxic free zone how long good question but from the look’s of that storm in the middle of the greatest nation on Earth the last few day’s not long not even a blink of an eye when compared to just the last five thousand years. If you turn on the New’s here in the States the tube this election is big new’s the machine at work again like it’s this great thing that is going to happen again change is on the way well that’s true but not from the human’s we see on TV and for that matter most human’s the machine won sort of as we all go down the drain in not such slow motion while tweeting, tweeting, tweeting.

  8. Don Hawkins said on October 28th, 2010 at 4:17am #

    Next week here in the greatest Nation on Earth once you know will be somewhat amazing to see and hear. The machine will be in high gear the last of the messages from the human’s with dead minds will be heard then machines will count the votes for the two party’s again the machine at work then the winners will head to the hill in machines and bring with them there dead minds to feed the machine with the help of the Fed that will print well not print but with the use of another machine and zero’s and one’s electronically almost like out of thin air that is not so thin maybe one trillion of credit’s or is that debit’s that will go to the few human’s with again dead mind’s to feed the machine then there will be much tweeting and texting of the machine like minds that are dead of course they don’t know that it’s just better that way and the World will be all atweeting and how will this all play out not well don’t blink.

  9. Don Hawkins said on October 28th, 2010 at 5:02am #

    War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.
    George Orwell

    Don’t Blink! Oh Beck look around your studio what do you see machines hard at work is your mind machine like did they win you over Glenn think not try it without them. Let’s say this together climate change is real can we do that Glenn ok let’s try it again climate change is real. Who won Glenn who won.

  10. shabnam said on October 28th, 2010 at 5:19am #

    I agree with much of your argument. I realize that ‘socialism’ in one country is a myth. Cuba’s achievement is impressive; however, to continue reform, Cuba like other countries who wish to be independent from the rule of capital must work together.

    People who follow the development of the left in their countries have come to this understanding that they have been deceived. The ‘socialists’ in the West, a source to emulate and connect for many socialists in the developing countries, lost their credibility when the socialists in the developing countries found the left in the West is the major group who supports Israel and Zionism for the interest of the ‘Jewish state’ where is the major threat against world peace, according to many people. They also demonized Palestinian struggle as ‘backward’, against ‘class struggle’ therefore, not worthy of support. This misleading picture is still circulating among many ignorant and opportunist Iranian ‘left’.

    We should celebrate achievement of the Cuban people against all odds, although they have a long way to go, and cooperate with other groups and countries who want to free themselves from the hegemonic rule of imperialism dominated by Zionism and their oppressive economic system which is the base for elite power.

    No one can contribute to socialism more than people of the United States and other major capitalist countries who call the shots. They can help socialism through their militant actions against their corrupt elite to break the chains from their ankle to set themselves and others free. The demise of the ruling elite in the US is going to help billions on earth including undemocratic practices in Cuba.

  11. Josie Michel-Bruening said on October 28th, 2010 at 7:45am #

    Well, I wonder if any one of those maintaining Cuba is an “undemocratic” country has ever been in Cuba, has visited universities, schools, farms, hospitals, facilities for handicapped people, factories, talked with people there or listened to their discussions at the streets all around the country or has at least read the books of the Canadian author Arnold August who observed Cuban elections since 1997?
    Well, I did all of this since 1995 again and again, as a German citizen I am allowed to do so, but the corporated medias here don’t want people like me report officially about my experiences.
    Nevertheless, I read some good respectively unbiased arguments also.

    However, since the wall in Berlin has fallen capitalism has won, each kind of socialism is out, so the opportunistic slogan is: “Join the best!”
    Therefore, I can only repeat what William Blum, former member of State Department said in 1999 when referring to US interventions in the world and among others to Cuba:
    “The saddest part of this is that the world will never know what kind of society Cuba could have produced if left alone, if not constantly under the gun and the threat of invasion, if allowed to relax its control at home. The idealism, the vision, the talent, the internationalism were all there. But we’ll never know. And that of course was the idea.”

  12. teafoe2 said on October 28th, 2010 at 11:30am #

    ajohnstone: your bullshit is not worth discussing. you are arguing for the reimposition of US imperial control over Cuba, which makes you an asshole. You draw breath in the US, right? So if you’re so concerned about Civil Liberties, why are you focussing on Cuba instead of on the US Gulag, Patriot Act, Zionist suppression of information about Izzreally control of US media and political system?

  13. teafoe2 said on October 28th, 2010 at 11:48am #

    The biggest reason that the Cuban government and legal system criminalizes various forms of counter-revolutionary activity is to prevent spontaneous popular vigilantism from taking action against agents of pro-colonialist subversion, which would probably lead to excesses and disorder. But when the government drags its feet and is slow to deal severely enough with spies and provocateurs, the outcry from the general Cuban public forces them.
    Los Cubanos are a people under siege, who have been under attack since they emerged from slavery in 1959. Toleration of bunco artists working to re-impose US rule is not acceptable to the majority.

  14. Deadbeat said on October 28th, 2010 at 2:28pm #

    Thank you t42 and shabnam for your comments. I’ve seen too many “socialists” attack Cuba for being “undemocratic” yet these same “socialists” have absolutely nothing to say about the influence of Zionism in the U.S.

  15. bozh said on October 28th, 2010 at 2:29pm #

    Cubans have at least four of the greatest pan-human values: right to work, educated, health care, be informed.

    Is it any wonder that some americans demonize that? They pretend to demonize Castro, but in fact they fear/loath our dearest values. Castros come and go but justice-sanity never will.

  16. bozh said on October 28th, 2010 at 3:06pm #

    People who accuse socialists of acting in favor of israel, have not even shown let alone proved that even one socialist supports israel in any wise or had written in favor 0f any crime it had perped.

    What these may be doing appears one of the oldest ruses: label a person, say, “socialist”, “zionazi”, ”communist”, and using these labels as factual, go on to prove that they r right.
    No further evidence is needed! I fact no socialist can be pro israel. I am not sure that any ‘jew’ cld ever learn the label nazi!

    Such thinkers think, i think, that none wld notice the message: see, socialism is also evil. And we have just proven it.

  17. catguy00 said on October 28th, 2010 at 7:29pm #

    I know. It reminds me of the labels the neo-cons throw around for anyone who dares questions them.

  18. shabnam said on October 29th, 2010 at 3:49pm #

    {People who accuse socialists of acting in favor of israel, have not even shown let alone proved that even one socialist supports israel in any wise or had written in favor 0f any crime it had perped.}

    The socialists in the West were one of the groups who strongly supported Israel and Zionist state of Israel. Iranian left who were influenced by the socialists and Jean Paul Sartre in the west were strong supporters of Israel against ‘backward’ Arabs.

    Jalal Al-e-Ahmad, a socialist during 1950s and 60s was in contact with the Socialists in France including the Iranian socialists who supported Israel against Arabs and translated essays about kibbutz. They thought the zionot movement has shaped in the West then must be ‘progressive’. Their view was shaped by lies where coming from the socialists in the West who were biased against Arabs.

    This kind of thinking still may be circulated among much Iranian opposition including the left. We have to remember that Stalin was a strong supporter of Zionist movement, but later, when he turned against Trotsky, changed the course on Israel. Stalin’s support for the state of Israel in Palestine was critical. The Tudeh Party in Iran supported the Soviet Union and Stalin as its leader; therefore, Stalin views on Israel influenced the left who were supporting the Tudeh Party.

    Jalal Al-e-Ahmad (December 2, 1923 – September 9, 1969) was a prominent Iranian writer, thinker, and social and political critic. Al-e-Ahmad joined the Tudeh Party along with his mentor Khalil Maleki shortly after World War II. Following the 1953 Iranian coup d’état Al-e-Ahmad was imprisoned for several years and “so completely lost faith in party politics.
    Jalal was invited to Israel in 1963 where he became acquainted with the realities of racist state of Israel. From then on he turned against Israel and called it a racist state and extension of US imperialism in the region, instead he became strong supporter of Palestine. Many Iranian opposition groups hate Al e Ahmad because he exposed the opportunist socialists and the intellectuals who said nothing against Israel, but they were ready to condemn Palestinians as ‘backward’ Arabs.

    He wrote a critical essay, Velayat-e Esrael, in 1964 to tell his observations on apartheid state of Israel. Then, he asked the Iranian socialists in France to stop writing about Kibbutz. He supported Palestinian struggle against the Zionist state of Israel until his death in1969.

    The following is a rough translation of a letter ( 2/3 of it) written by one of Jalal Al Ahmed’s friends who was in France at the time that the following event took place, meetings in support of Israel by the ‘socialists’ and reactionaries combined. This letter was written in 1968 after 1967 war, shows FULL SUPPORT OF ISRAEL BY MANY FAMOUS SOCIALIST, many of whom were JEWISH, and their ignorant crowd:

    Recently, the Middle East war exposed the hypocrites and marked their forehead to be recognized as hypocrites from now on. They cannot change the facts even if they sign a letter to ask for forgiveness. People of France, young and old, right and left, racist and Anti Arabs never thought they witness such a scene. No one thought that it was possible to let people come to this madness. Aimé Césaire said: these animals in different colors are the army of colonialism. All sell slaves and all owe the revolution.
    The preparation of French public opinion took 2 weeks. Who did jump into this circus first? The leftists, corrupt People who thought they were representing the “global conscience”, thus they have the mission to defend the rights of others all over the world were there. Those who condemned everyone in support of humanity joined the circus. All came at once. From Jean Paul Sartre to Eugène Ionesco who reached the obscenity to claim: “Although stateless Palestinian, for the past 20 years are in the refugee camps receiving food, half of what is necessary for a person to live, from the United Nations; yet they want to perform a task that Hitler did not do”, it means the Palestinians want the European and American Jews who are representative of the ‘Western civilization’ to be massacred in the Arab countries.

    Another melancholy, Lanzmann, who is close to Jean Paul Sartre, became so mad with the imaginary Arab brutality that he said whatever came to his tongue against the Palestinians.
    The Left federation and Mr. Mendès France, however, do require a special place. But Daniel Meyer was more aggressive and obscene than others. The head of the Human rights convention, Daniel Meyer according to his historic mission said: “I hate being a Socialist, I hate being a human, but I confess that I am a JEW.” (Good for you!!!)

    The circus, like this, was let by these literary and political rouge individuals for the whole WEEK. I wish you were here to see Jalal. But when these individuals’ mouth foamed due to too many speeches, then the real personalities who controlled this circus entered the scene.
    The political environment was ready. The entire French left (minus the communists who didn’t know what they were doing) emotionally was prepared to be taken as HOSTAGE. The bourgeois organizations and other reorganization that practices usury, were flirting with the lefties intellectuals. They started to collect signature for donation to collect money.
    Baron Edmond de Rothschild, the Secretary general of the Union of Zionists pro Israel worldwide, with his racist and anti Arab speeches along with famous leftist individuals rushed into the scene to help the ‘civilized Israel’ against the “backward and savage” Arabs. To make sure that you understand that I am not exaggerating, Jalal, I give you only one example to understand what I am talking about.

    It is more than 5 months now that a committee “One billion for the Vietnamese movement” is working to raise money for Vietnam, where they have raised 200 million franc so far. But these people, pro Israel, within 48 hours collected more than 3 billion franc where half of it was a gift donated by Rothschild family in Paris and London. You should understand what I am talking about.

    http://www.navaeian.blogfa.com/

  19. bozh said on October 29th, 2010 at 4:20pm #

    Yes, i have stated a few times that communists have recognized the state of israel and have supported israel until, say, ’56. Why? Because they thought ‘jews’ were building a more egalitarian society.
    However, as soon as they realized that they have been mislead, they began to detest the artificial state.
    UK labor party had also supported Israel. And from what i gather, still supports it
    Canadian New Democratic Party and much of labor also supports israel.

    My conclusion is that labor in canada is strongly inegalitarian and the NDP had been invaded by such people and a few defections to Liberal Party appears to indicate that.
    So, i no longer vote for NDP. tnx

  20. shabnam said on October 30th, 2010 at 8:31am #

    I have just spotted a translation of Al –e Ahmad’s essay ‘Velayat-e Esrael’ by Samuel Thrope, who has translated the title as REPUBLIC which in my opinion is wrong.

    Al-e Ahmad, in my opinion, intentionally used ‘Esrael’ starts with letter ‘A, to incorporate ‘angel of death’. I don’t know which part of the essay is chosen for translation to paint Al-e Ahmad, who was an ANTI ZIONIST, as pro Zionism and state of Israel where is ABSOLUELY A FRAUD. I have an internet copy of the same essay, ‘Velayat-e Esrael’, where I cannot find this piece that Samuel Thrope has translated as ‘Republic’. Is anyone knows where this piece is coming from? Iranian must look into it and if this is a fraud, then raise objections.

    One thing is clear 100% that Jalal Al-e Ahmad was an anti Zionist and imperialist. It is true, however, that the Iranian socialists, including Al-e Ahmad, were deceived by the Western socialists especially French, by their misleading description of Israel and supported Israel and Kibbutz for some times where still may be with some fraction of the Iranian opportunists and even ‘leftists’ today. However, Jalal broke with these socialists immediately as soon as he returned from Israel in 1963. Shame on Zionists who paints Jalal Al-e Ahmad as ‘Zionist’ to fool Iranians.

    http://zeek.forward.com/articles/116926/