Castro v Marx

Marx thought socialism was a good idea, and one part of that good idea was “from each according to their ability, and to each according to their need”.

Raul Castro (the new leader of Cuba) also thinks socialism is a good idea… but he has a slightly different criteria. According to Castro, Cuba will now follow:

“the socialist principle of distribution, wherein each person receives according to his or her contribution, that is: pay for quantity and quality”

Castro has introduced capitalist “new-socialist” reform in Cuba, to replace the equal-pay system with performance-based salary (with no upper limit). Apparently this is supposed to boost efficiency and productivity. Indeed. Hand that man a cigar.

This is good news for Cubans and another nail in the coffin of soviet-style socialism. If Cuba is really on a reform path towards markets then that leaves only Nth Korea in the dog-house. Perhaps the US can relax their stupid sanctions now.

But what is the deal with the murder of semantics? Cuba is following the trend set by China and Vietnam in introducing market reform and calling it socialism. That is like curing cancer, and calling outcome “new cancer”. The great minds of China, Vietnam & Cuba seem to think that the definition of socialism is “have good intentions” and the definition of capitalism is “have bad intentions”. So as long as they introduce market reforms with good intentions, they are still socialists.

Of course, their understanding of political philosophy is retarded. But who cares. They can call themselves Britney Spears if they really want. What matters is the action — and the action is towards capitalism.

14 thoughts on “Castro v Marx

  1. If my memory of “Critique of the Gotha Program” serves me, Marx made a key distinction between socialism and communism. Socialism was to be the stage *between* capitalism and communism, a stage whose slogan was “from each according to his ability, to each according to his WORK.” Only later, when communism became possible with the rise of the communist man and the release of the well-springs of productivity blah blah blah, could the word “work” be changed to “needs.” So long as there was not enough productive capacity to meet everyone’s needs, that people had to economise to some extent, then the economic system had to remain at the socialist stage. What Castro is talking about is consistent with that.

    JJM

  2. There’s till hope for North Korea. Even Marx invested in shares in his later years.

    But I don’t think victory is secure, what name it is given. Venezuela is currently leading a leftist charge that has the potential to screw the entire South American continent.

  3. John McVey — yes, Marx drew a clear distinction between socialism and communism. Socialism has a big government that controlled everybody’s life and moulded them to become better people.

    Once that was done, the government could disapear and we would have communism. End-state communism is the same as left-anarchy.

    The difference between the “communists” and “anarchists” is that the former believe in going through socialism, while the later (including Chomsky & Orwell) thought that the socialism step would be a mistake. This is why Orwell was so against the USSR.

    We have never had communism (except perhaps 15,000 years ago)… while every “communist” country has been socialist.

    DavidL — I agree the game isn’t over. But I think hard-core “industrial socialism” (ie soviet style) is on the way out and the new big problem is “environmental socialism” and “islamic socialism”.

    Venezuela is trying to bring back industrial socialism… but I don’t think it will work. They will only get half way and then collapse soon enough, insh’allah.

  4. haven’t you lot cottoned on, yet? Chavez was put in by Bush so Americans could see how bad real existing socialism can be! With all these reforming societies, and with China becoming a fascist state (It’s got one party, and it embraces capitalism), we need some communes around, so romantics can see how they really function!

  5. Chavez was put in by Bush so Americans could see how bad real existing socialism can be!

    Ahh, I see. Funny I’ve not heard that mentioned before.

    Apart from about a third of his policies I quite like Bush. But he doesn’t strike me as Machiavellian. It just doesn’t fit with someone who can’t pronounce nuclear.

  6. I’ll bet Bush CAN spell nukilyer, but he gets more votes if he sounds like a typical voter, who also can’t spells proper!

  7. If Bush is that clever how come he didn’t argue to invade Iraq on humanitarian grounds and listen to the RAND Corp. on occupation forces etc?

  8. nicholas — you’re dangerously mis-informed about the nature of fascism. It is a socialist movement that stressed national strength instead, as opposed to the international version of socialism promoted by the Soviet Union. Hence the name “national socialists” (NAZI).

    Fascism is absolutely NOT capitalism. Nowhere near it.

  9. You are quite right Temujin Humphreys. Fascism is a form of socialism.

    Nicholas is right about China though – it’s fascist – but not for the reasons he gave (capitalist, one party state).

    It’s only genuinely capitalist at the small end of the economy. Its largest enterprises are mostly owned by the government. Those that are privately owned operate in close cooperation with the government in a mercantilist manner.

    It is not at all dissimilar to Nazi Germany. And of course it is a one party state.

  10. I’ve always known that fascism was a form of socialism, but fascism didn’t stress ownership of companies, just heavy control for national ends.
    And I’ve been against socialism since my late teens, ever since I first had a job, and saw how much the governments took from my wages- my own plans matter more to me than social planning, and I want to keep all of my wages, please.

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