Links 29: Editor's introduction

Since 1959, the Cuban Revolution has provided inspiration and an example for countless socialists and anti-imperialists around the world. The revolution’s ability to continue constructing a humane, progressive and egalitarian society—despite imperialist encirclement and the economic blows accompanying the demise of the Soviet Union—is living proof of the viability of the socialist project.

But with the revolution now 47 years old, younger Cubans have grown up in a society largely free of direct capitalist exploitation. (Cuba of course continues to be exploited through the “free” world market.) Will this younger generation compare its own situation with the pre-1959 neo-colonial exploitation, or with the illusions of consumerism propagated by imperialist capital?

Such questions form part of the context for a discussion prompted by Fidel Castro’s comment that the revolution cannot be militarily defeated by imperialism, but that “we can destroy ourselves”. In this issue, Canadian Marxists John Riddell and Phil Cournoyer write that the Cuban revolutionaries, in the words of Foreign Minister Felipe Pérez Roque, have noted imperialism’s hopes that the post-1959 generations “can be confused, defeated, divided, bought, or pushed around”.

However, Riddell and Cournoyer observe that Cuba’s leaders, despite the objective difficulties the country faces, have proved able to mobilise young people for revolutionary tasks such as the fight against corruption. Moreover, they point out, the discussion comes at a time of progress in both the economy and Cuba’s international relations.

This is followed by a debate about the implications of the comments by Fidel and Pérez Roque. Heinz Dieterich focuses on the inevitability of Cuban workers having a lower living standard than is the norm in imperialist countries, and doubts whether ideology (or “moral incentives”) can sufficiently counter the attractions of consumption. In reply, Jesús Arboleya writes that Dieterich fails to note the important differences between Cuba’s revolution and the “really existing socialism” that collapsed in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. “This discussion”, he writes, “goes back to the arguments of Che on the need to shape a ‘new man’ as a requisite of the socialist process. Dieterich’s comment is aimed at opposing this thesis …”

Also in this issue is an important appeal from the president of the Cuban Parliament, Ricardo Alarcón, for international efforts to publicise the case of the Cuban Five, unjustly imprisoned in the United States because of their efforts to prevent terrorist attacks. Alarcón proposed making the period September 12-October 6 a time for concentrating on the issue (September 12 will be the eighth anniversary of the imprisonment of the Five).

Two articles in this Links take up issues in the Middle East. In “Uncivil war: Imperialism and resistance in Iraq”, Rohan Pearce debunks Washington’s latest justification for its occupation of Iraq—that us troops are needed to prevent a sectarian civil war between Sunnis and Shiites. Then Adam Hanieh examines the role of “democracy promotion” in us strategy for maintaining domination over the countries of the Middle East.

The death of novelist Pramoedya Ananta Toer on April 30 was a loss not only for Indonesia, but for the entire world. Max Lane provides an overview of the great writer’s life, work and political outlook.

Links number 27 translated a letter from Communist Party of China cadres to cpc General Secretary Hu Jintao criticising the party’s pro-capitalist policies. This issue provides further evidence of ferment and resistance: a sharp criticism by a Beijing University professor of a draft property law that would violate China’s still nominally socialist constitution.

From the Philippines, Sonny Melencio explains the ongoing crisis of the Arroyo regime and the attempts to overthrow her in July 2005 and February 2006. With the government buffeted between elite oppositionists, progressive military rebels and the organised political left, the present quiet, Melencio predicts, will not last long.

The main discussion of the twenty-second congress of the Democratic Socialist Perspective, held in Sydney in January, was the dsp’s role in the Socialist Alliance. Here we reprint the congress’s main resolution on the subject.

Helmut Ettinger reports on the coming together of the Party of Democratic Socialism and various other left forces to mount a united and successful campaign in September’s German elections. The Left Party.pds won 8.7 per cent of the vote and 54 delegates, surpassing the Greens, who had been part of the outgoing government.

The issue concludes with a contribution by Doug Lorimer to an ongoing discussion about the character of democratic centralism in Lenin’s Bolshevik Party.

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This issue of Links is belated. The preparations for the dsp congress in January and other political work forced us to skip the last issue of 2005 and the first issue of 2006. We apologise to readers and thank you for your patience.