‘Anti-Capitalism’ That Falls Short
'Anti-Capitalism' That Falls Short
October 1, 2012
"Scratch an extremist and you will find an opportunist" — V.I. Lenin
HAVANA TIMES — The little expression "anti-capitalist" is very much in
vogue today "We're anti-capitalists." Our position is "anti-capitalist."
Our revolutionary program is "anti-capitalist." "Down with the
capitalist enemy." "Death to the capitalists." This is how many people
express themselves. Yet reading and listening to some of these
"anti-capitalists," I'm amazed to find that they defend state capitalism.
Don't ask for names. More than once I have explained: the ideas must be
fought, not individuals.
What falls short in this "anti-capitalism" — which doesn't extend to the
operation of the Cuban government — are the people who dare to accuse
those of us who criticize state capitalism as being in league with the
"imperialist enemy" or favoring "capitalist restoration." What nonsense!
Those of us who hold socialist positions are ideologically and
politically confronting the state capitalism that exists in Cuba, though
concealed as "state socialism." Precisely what we seek is to transform
this state capitalism" into a more participatory and democratic
socialism, where the workers and the people are those who decide how to
reproduce their lives and all the laws that affect them, while
preventing the restoration of the old regime of exploitation by private
capitalists, imperialist corporations, and Creole land owners and
oligarchs – as occurred everywhere that "state socialism" was attempted.
In the specific case of Cuba, as we have reiterated, such restoration
would lead to neocolonial dependency, which would be nothing less than
our real or virtual annexation to the northern giant, which wants us as
an unconditional ally and yet despises us.
The advocates of state capitalism don't know that they're working for
annexation in the long run.
Our positions are reflected in our programs, proposals and actions.
Whether people are unfamiliar with them or have class limitations for
understanding them is another matter; workers who are exploited under
wage-labor statism will understand this quickly and well. This is why
some bureaucrat said to be careful with these ideas of "autogestion" or
self-management because they're like cocaine, addictive.
Many of us have already had our anti capitalism and our anti-imperialism
put to the test in direct confrontation against their forces in the
countries and cities of imperialism itself. This is unlike some of those
"pro-state capitalist 'anti-capitalists,'" dedicated to defending it,
without rhyme or reason, from their positions within the state, with the
people's resources, enjoying all types of media perks and privileges –
with all of this having been done in the name of "socialism and the
"Socialism" learned by rote
Indeed, as Professor Jorge Luis Acanda has pointed out, the
"prostitution of language" has led quite a few journalists,
intellectuals, politicians, activists and "leaders" to employ the terms
of political economy without the slightest attachment to their content
as historically recognized by socialists.
They call something "socialism" that has never been socialist; they
consider something to have been a "social revolution" when it was only a
political revolution; they consider "the enemy" to be anyone who doesn't
think like them; they confuse "social revolution" with the government, a
party and the state.
All of this confusion — introduced into the language of the social
sciences by the neo-Stalinists — is in part what has led such
"anti-capitalists" to be supporters of state capitalism and defend it to
the hilt, with their eyes closed and fangs bared, like bloodthirsty
zombies, without the least consideration, without knowing or
investigating the essences of the positions they call "contaminated,"
with no idea of who they're accusing.
Clearly… the problem is that they never linked capitalism with wages.
When they studied capitalism in college (if they studied capitalism),
nobody told them that capitalism is a social relation of production
linked to wage-labor exploitation. And if they ever had Capital in their
hands, it was for reading excerpts under the guidance of their teacher.
For these "anti-capitalists," capitalism is evil and exploitative,
because that's what they've heard ever since when that were kids. They
never knew why. They simply believe that "capitalism is evil because
it's evil; therefore anyone who looks like they're defending something
that has to do with capitalism is my enemy." From this, they end up
viewing almost all of humanity living under capitalist regimes as being
Because of that same ignorance, a guard at the Presidio Modelo Prison in
the era of the Batista dictatorship allowed the prisoners to read
Capital, thinking it was a work in support of capitalism. Extremes meet.
Such "anti-capitalists" don't differentiate between democratic,
authoritarian or fascist capitalists. To these people, all of them are
enemies just the same.
It was because of this that the alliance between the socialists and the
democrats was rejected and that the policies of the Comintern under
Stalin helped Hitler come to power in Germany. It was because of an
underestimation of the strength of the democrats and maintaining his
alliance with the neo-Stalinist conservative-hounds of state capitalism
in the USSR that Gorbachev ended up being the victim of a coup by his
"comrades" on the Politburo.
Those who delve into history only to know what happened, without
recognizing the lessons of the past for the present, can contribute much
to the knowledge of the past, but little to the development of the
present and the future.
We have "anti-capitalists" who are so "anti-capitalist" that they reject
everything that comes from capitalism (except for its sophisticated
products, which they consume and enjoy to the utmost, thanks to the
perks provided by state capitalism). But for them, the human values that
led to the triumph of capitalism over feudalism "have no validity under
socialism." They see capitalism— and socialism as well — as having
landed on the earth in alien spacecraft (complete with ETs), and having
nothing to do with what previously existed.
They don't know, never knew, never wanted to know, nor was it of any
interest to the neo-Stalinists, whether productive forces and production
relations of socialism and its values had been developing within the
Struggling to maintain special privilege
How long will this infantile disorder of the left continue? How long
will these senseless insults go on, these accusations of collusion with
the imperialist enemy? How long are some of these people going to keep
on disrespecting differences, even "pro-capitalist" positions, though
they don't share them?
How long are they going to continue considering the term "democracy"
exclusively as the political system of the bourgeoisie? How long are
they going to consider human rights and democratic values achieved by
the humanist struggles over the ages to be bourgeois?
Could it be that the bureaucracy that controls state capitalism and its
means of production and distribution is well served by this prostitution
of language in that it allows them to continue trying to confuse the
workers with their "socialism" that never was? Do they really want
socialism to be an economic and political model that is rejected by the
workers and people in general?
Everyone makes their own judgments. It's true that there's much
confusion and ignorance, but what's apparent in some of these
"anti-capitalist" extremists is the most vulgar opportunism.
To contact Pedro Campos, write: email@example.com