14. Socialism or barbarism
‘If the capitalist mode of production can ensure the boundless expansion of the productive forces, of economic progress, it is invincible indeed. The most objective argument in support of socialist theory breaks down; socialist political action and the ideological import of the proletarian class struggle cease to reflect economic events and socialism no longer appears an historical necessity.’ (Rosa Luxemburg, The Accumulation of Capital, p325)
Marx’s great contribution in applying his historical method to the study of the capitalist mode of production was to demonstrate that it would be superseded by socialism, a more advanced socialism. He showed two things: first, that socialism was possible - the preconditions for socialism were already present in his time; second, that socialism was necessary - the working class and other oppressed masses. The Russian Revolution of October 1917 made socialism a reality. At once imperialism reacted: imperialist powers rushed to the aid of the counter-revolution, with the British in the lead. Although defeated for the moment, for the next 70 years, imperialism continued to deploy every means it could to destroy the gains of the October revolution. Its victory in 1991 has exacted a terrible price from the peoples of the former Soviet Union.
Today the Cuban revolution is in the vanguard of the anti imperialist struggle and in the construction of socialism. Across Latin America new forces for change are in the ascendency, in the Middle East the battle against imperialism intensifies. This section will discuss the historical and present need for socialism to be built if we are to avoid barbarism.
CounterAttack Books No 1: The Legacy of the Bolshevik Revolution:
Pp 37-42: The market versus the Plan - Che Guevara’s heritage
Pp 118-125: In defence of socialism
Pp 131-136: Communism and social democracy - the great divide
Pp 136-142: Uphold the banner of communism
Rock around the Blockade pamphlet: Revolutionary Cuba – the streets are ours.
Inter-imperialist rivalry - a fight of hostile brothers by Trevor Rayne, from Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 172
The global economy facing war and recession by David Yaffe, from Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 171
FRFI 195 to 201 Five minutes to midnight series:
On the process of revolutionary consolidation from 1959-1965, focusing on Che Guevara’s work and analysis, see Che Guevara: The Economics of Revolution by Helen Yaffe. Chapter one is available online and includes a discussion about the role of cubanology. For material on socialist political economy debates see chapter three on the Great Debate and chapter nine on the Critique of the Soviet Manual of Political Economy (socialist political economy debates).. For an overview of different stages of the Revolution over 50 years and how these debates continue to the contemporary period see chapter 10.
On the history of the Cuban Revolution with some detail about its democratic structure is in the chapter on Cuba in Diana Raby’s book Democracy and Revolution: Socialism in Latin American today.
The Russian Revolution by Louis Brehony, from Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 199
The oppressed people of the world support Cuba by Helen Yaffe, from Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 180
Cuban revolution - the urban underground by Helen Yaffe, from Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 169