“Under Raul Castro, Cuba has begun the journey towards capitalism. But it will take a decade and a big political battle to complete, writes Michael Reid”. So began the lead article of the London Economist magazine’s March 24 special issue on Cuba, under the heading “Revolution in retreat”.
It is a familiar refrain, but how much truth is there to it? Unfortunately for the credibility of The Economist, authoritative mouthpiece of the Anglo-imperialist ruling class, it’s a dog’s breakfast of factual errors, illogical arguments and wishful thinking.
“When on July 31st 2006 Cuban state television broadcast a terse statement from Fidel Castro to say that he had to undergo emergency surgery and was temporarily handing over to his brother, Raul, it felt like the end of an era,” Reid observed.
“In the event Fidel survived, and nothing appeared to change. Even so, that July evening marked the start of a slow but irreversible dismantling of communism (officially, ‘socialism’) in one of the tiny handful of countries in which it survived into the 21st century.”
Had Reid read Marx, he would understand that actual communism has never existed, let alone in a small number of countries. Marx wrote it could only be achieved on a world scale on the basis of socialist revolutions in the most developed capitalist societies.
So whatever is being dismantled in Cuba, it isn’t communism. Or even socialism, if this is understood to mean the consolidation of a first stage in the transition to a classless society. Even this would require socialist revolutions to take hold in developed capitalist countries.
For Reid’s argument to hold water, he would have to demonstrate that Cuba is abandoning its socialist orientation and gradually restoring capitalism, or that the economic reforms that have been implemented and decided on will inevitably lead to capitalist restoration.