The purpose of this final class is to investigate another concrete example of a workers’ state and how this has developed over time. Comrades will further inquire into how Marx’s writings have been distorted by opportunists. In addition to these two tasks, we will summarize our study of The State and Revolution by using it to imagine a revolution in the U.S.
Learning objectives and outcomes:
At the end of class 6, comrades will:
- Have a deeper understanding of the evolution of the Cuban revolution
- Appreciate the role that Cuba has played in the international communist movement, especially after the overthrow and dissolution of the Soviet Union
- Understand more deeply and succinctly the communist position on the state
- Cuba’s State in Revolution,” by Gloria La Riva (pp. 79-90)
- Chapter 6: The Vulgarisation of Marxism by Opportunists (pp. 191-206)
For “Cuba’s State in Revolution:”
- What led to the Cuban revolution?
- During the last class we talked about how the class struggle does not end with the overthrow of the bourgeois state. What additional insights does this chapter offer in this regard?
- What challenges does underdevelopment pose to the construction of socialism in Cuba? What about in other countries?
- What was the significance of the Agrarian Land Reforms and the Literacy Campaign?
- How does Cuba function as a workers’ democracy?
- What role has the Cuban revolution played in the international communist movement?
For “Chapter 6: The Vulgarization of Marxism by Opportunists:”
- What is Lenin’s problem with Plekhanov’s pamphlet?
- How did Bernstein distort Marx’s insight on the state?
- What was Katsky’s response to Bernstein here?
- Why do you think Lenin was so concernedwith this issue?
- What does Lenin mean when he says that opportunists are fearful and anarchists are either impatient or blind? How does Marx teach us to avoid both of these errors?
- Why does Lenin refer to revolution as embodying a “creative power?”
- Read the last paragraph together as a class. Does this ending communicate the urgency of the question of the state? Does this urgency exist today?
Music for discussion:
Watch the music video for “Work like Chavez” by Rebel Diaz. How does this song relate to today’s readings?
Following Cuba’s example
- This activity can be done individually or in small groups of 2-5.
- Individually or in your small group, think about the ways that the Cuban revolution has been able to wield the state not just to fight imperialism and capitalism, but to build socialism from the grassroots. (5 minutes)
- Now, imagine what we would be able to do with a workers’ state in the U.S. How might we reallocate resources to empower oppressed people? What organizations might we create? What campaigns might we embark on? What populations might we mobilize to conduct these campaigns? (10-15 minutes)
- Reconvene as a class and share what you have imagined.
Yohana De Leon: Remembering the Cuban Revolution