In February of 1959, argues J. P. Morray, though it could not yet be seen, “the proletariat was already in power [in Cuba] in the person of Fidel Castro.” Self-revelation occurred through struggle between the “Jacobins” of the July 26 Movement led by Castro, and the Cuban propertied classes. The “solidarity of the proletariat” and therefore unity with the Communists was necessary for the revolution to succeed. This unity was forged as the struggle developed until with the “collapse of the bourgeoisie” the Jacobins “seized the proffered hand of the abused Communists and scrambled to the solid ground of the proletariat and socialism.” If unity between the Communists was forged in the struggle against the bourgeoisie, unity between Cuba and the Soviet Union was forged in the struggle with the United States in measure as the Soviet Union bought what the U. S. stopped buying and provided what the U. S. refused to provide. (In the process, such bourgeois freedoms as freedom of the press and due process of law were abolished because they are unnecessary in a socialist society.)
I think Morray offers no concrete evidence to support his thesis that the Cuban Communists were indispensable to the revolution’s development into a “Socialist revolution.” The Cuban upper classes attacked all economic reforms as “Communist” and thereby made likely the equation of anti-Communism and counterrevolution. But the Fidelistas, with the loyalty of the Rebel Army and the support of the majority of Cubans, could and did easily vanquish domestic upper class opposition. The one crisis of loyalty in the army—the Huberto Matos affair—was resolved entirely by the Fidelistas without Communist aid of any kind. While the Communists had the loyalty of a segment of the working class, the Fidelistas commanded greater loyalty. Morray does not indicate why the Communist support was necessary when to this day most national and local labor posts are held by non-Communists, including men attacked by the Communists as ‘Mujalistas’ because they were anti-Communist. To Morray this indicates that the Communists are magnanimous—not that they may have erred in calling every anti-Communist a ‘Mujalista,’ thereby perhaps dividing the working class more than all their calls for ‘unity,’ and forcing many revolutionaries into the opposition.
Morray ably argues the thesis that the policies of the United States propelled the Cubans into an alliance with the Soviets, but this thesis does not articulate with his thesis that unity with the Communists was forged in the internal struggle with the bourgeoisie. A struggle with the weak Cuban bourgeoisie did not have to lead to nationalization, or to alliance with the Communists. But a struggle for economic independence meant United States opposition. Soviet proffering of aid and its acceptance—with no alternative but surrender to the U. S. available to the revolutionaries—enhanced the prestige of the Cuban Communists, who were in any case the tail of the revolution. As Morray says in a statement which contradicts his thesis: It was the “task of the vanguard party to keep up with the outsider.” Had there been no struggle with the U. S., and no Soviet aid to the revolution, I doubt—and Morray does not show—that the revolution would have become “Marxist-Leninist,” or that the Cuban Communists would have been any more necessary to Castro than, say, were Egyptian Communists to Nasser.
That, after the Soviet experience, Morray still argues that due process and freedom of the press are only bourgeois devices for class rule and are irrelevant to the construction of socialism, indicates not only his lack of understanding of the socialist tradition he claims to represent, but also how poorly he understands what continues to be a basic difference between the Fidelistas and the Communists—the Fidelistas’ concern for individual freedom.