by Albert Weisbord
(From the magazine “La Parola del Popolo” December 1962)

THE RECENT cynically arranged agreement between Kennedy and Khrushchev underlines again the readiness of the Russian nationalists to betray and sell out every working class revolutionary movement including their own.

Let us first review the basic actions:

1. Moscow SECRETLY sent into Cuba over 40 medium and intermediate range rockets with atomic bomb capabilities of destroying a vast portion of the U.S.

2. Moscow also SECRETLY delivered a considerable number of fast bombers capable of dropping atomic bombs for similar U.S. destruction.

3 Moscow shipped in thousands of technicians and experts—
a) to build and control the new airfields, launching pads, and auxiliary equipment;
b) to set the rockets, guard them, and fire them if need be;
c) to maintain and control the bombers (and to train Cubans to use them?).

4. Through the employment of U2 “spy planes” Washington discovered the entire project, immediately clapped a blockade around Cuba and mobilized for war against the Soviet Union.

5. Moscow dismantled the rockets and equipment and shipped them back under close U.S. Navy inspection. Moscow also promised to do the same with the bombers and further promised to send no more such weapons to Cuba. The Soviet technicians were also to be returned.

6. Washington removed the blockade, but since no implementation had been made to Khrushchev’s promise for neutral inspection, did not remove the ban against invasion or eliminate the practice of U2 and other plane surveillance. Nor did Washington promise to normalize relations with Cuba and return the Guantanamo Base to Cuba.

Given these facts, let us analyze their meaning for the workers.

1. Kennedy repeatedly stressed the point that Russia had acted SECRETLY as though the big crime was not the mounting of rockets but the secret manner by which it was done. Surely to prepare a sudden blow in war there must be secrecy and both sides must have many such secrets. Why the sudden indignation by Washington, then?

Very, very simple. Apparently, in line with their open pledges that neither side would start “preventive” wars by means of sudden “sneak attacks” there had been arranged a secret “gentleman’s agreement” for both sides to act in a certain manner in regard to atomic warhead distribution. This distribution was to be made openly. The U.S. bases in Turkey, Spain, Iran, Pakistan, and elsewhere were all publicly announced. The Germans were not to be given “secret” atomic weapons without previous open notice to the Soviet Union and the Soviet Union was to act likewise with China, or Poland, etc. And now the Russian had “double-crossed” the Americans. It was time for Kennedy to take off his shoe and bang it on the desk as Khrushchev had done at the United Nations when the U2 plane incident over Russia had come up.

Previously the working class of the world had not known of these “secret” Russian deals with U.S. imperialism. Now it does know and wonders what other secret deals exist between them. Could it be that another secret deal had been made as far back as Yalta giving Russia all Europe East of the Elbe River and to the capitalists all Europe West of the Elbe and all the Americas? Is this why the big French and Italian Communist Parties have never tried to seize power although internally events at times made such attempts very feasible?

And can it be that the unexpected Cuban Revolution under Castro drastically upset this deal and embarrassed not only the U.S. but the Soviet Union as well? Can it be that if the U.S. will pay a sufficient bonus the Soviet Union will be glad to surrender Cuba and go back to the original distribution of spheres of influence?

2. In the light of the fact that it was the U2 “spy plane” that made the discovering photographs of Russian “duplicity” in Cuba, this now completely justifies the U.S. contention that the U2 is a necessary weapon against “dishonorable” communism. The new situation exposes the utter demagogy of Khrushchev’s shoe-banging and so-called indignation. Instead of conducting the struggle in a Marxist manner based on dialectical realism, Khrushchev wants to mask himself as a “gentleman” but, being in fact no gentleman, all he can do is fall flat on his face. The Cubans are now aware how “gentlemanly” the Russians are and with what etiquette they sacrifice the Cuban Revolution.

3. Of course Moscow must have known from the start that such a vast operation as they attempted in Cuba could not be kept a “secret.” If Khrushchev did not know this they should have his head examined. We must assume that he knew Washington would find out and at once call his bluff and that Khrushchev a year ago had made his decision as to whether he would withdraw the rockets or engage in all-out war. He must have made the decision that he might have to withdraw the rockets before he sent them in!

4. Moscow could have chosen war, why did it not? One thing ought to be crystal clear. For a long time Khrushchev has boasted the Soviet Union had developed such wonderful anti-missile missiles that U.S. rockets would be completely nullified. Does any one believe now that the Soviet Union is impervious to missile attack or that if the S.U. had really had such perfect anti-missile missiles it would not have chosen war? It is hard for us to believe that the Russian’s have abandoned the class struggle so far as to back down when they had absolute victory in their grasp to free the entire working class of the world from capitalist slavery. If Russians did have a perfect anti-missile defense, then their backing down was unspeakable treachery!

So now the working class of the world knows that not only is Khrushchev an “honorable gentleman,” or as Kennedy called him “a statesman,” but that he is also a boaster and a liar. He apparently has no anti-missile missile system perfected. It will be no accident if Western Imperialism now shoves its foot down his and the workers’ throats.

5. The question now arises: If the Russians knew that in all probability their gamble would be discovered and they would have to withdraw, why did they place rockets, planes, and men in Cuba in the first place? What is to be gained by such an apparently senseless maneuver? Khrushchev had two big things to gain:
a) The maneuver has been used to break the influence of Castro, to expose him as powerless, and to make Cuba entirely dependent upon Russian Stalinist-Khrushchevism;
b) The maneuver would bring a better price from U.S. imperialism for the betrayal of the Cuban Revolution.

To bring Castro into line, to expose him as “a frog who wanted to be a cow,” is an important matter to the Russians in their effort to lead the world’s workers. The Cuban Revolution was accomplished without the aid and even, in part, against the efforts of the Cuban Khrushchevists. The Cuban Revolution demonstrated the truth that for a social revolution to begin to succeed it must by-pass the Communist Khrushchev Party.

Furthermore, Castro, after taking power, fused his movement with that of the Communists and then liquidated the influence of the old reliable Khrushchevists, while he himself took over leadership in order to make himself and his Cubans the real center for all social revolution in Latin America. This was too dangerous. The time had come to put the megalomaniac Castro in his place. The Russian maneuver did it.

When the Russians supplied rockets and bombers all Cubans and Latin Americans knew it was Russia, not Castro, that made Cuba strong. When Russia, without a word to Castro, ordered the dismantlement of the weapons and their removal and even agreed to “neutral inspection” to verify Cuba’s disarmament, all the world saw Castro as an impotent cast-off figure ready to be sold by Khrushchev for the highest bid. Castro now is a broken leader. He can only follow the Russian line. He has been put in his place.

Castro is indignant that he was not even consulted by Russia. But why should Castro have been consulted by his master? When Castro acts does he consult the Cuban Revolution? Do Cuban workers discuss the issues and vote on them through their elected delegates? Just as Castro makes all the decisions without consulting the Cuban people, so Khrushchev can make all the decisions without consulting Castro! What historic initiative has been left for the Cuban Revolution?

It has now been made plain that the Cuban maneuver by Khrushchev was not for Cuba’s sake but entirely for Russia’s. Cuba now will be swapped for Berlin, or for Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, etc. No doubt, this has already been settled in another “secret” arrangement. The U.S. can say that these bases are “outmoded,” that it has enough inter-continental ballistics missiles to make these bases valueless, etc., etc. At any rate the bases will go, despite the tears and wails of Franco, Turkish generals, Shahs, and Pakistani Rajahs who would like to continue to blackmail the U.S. for more money in perpetuity.

6. Very interesting, and not only from a theoretical point view, is Moscow’s agreement with Kennedy that the rockets and bombers placed in Cuba were “offensive” weapons. Moscow, no doubt, hopes to prove that similar weapons are also “offensive” in Turkey, Spain, Iran, Pakistan, etc., and thus get Washington to use this argument as a pretext for their removal from those countries.

Actually, from a Marxist point of view, the whole idea of calling weapons “offensive” or “defensive” is utterly ridiculous, a sort of fetishism in which ideas are put into things. It is even more ridiculous than the ridiculous attempt to prove who was the “aggressor” and who the “defender” in World War I. Everybody acts in “self-defense,” everybody “wants” peace. 

Why are rockets in Cuba “offensive” and in the U.S. “defensive"? Why can Argentina, for example, have bombers and not Cuba? If the U.S. is mounting an invasion against Cuba and Cuba can send a rocket destroying the U.S. launching pads against her is that not part of Cuba’s defense? Or if the U.S. navy is protecting a counter-revolutionary invasion against Cuba and Cuba’s bombers destroy that navy is that not defensive? 

Make no mistake, what Khrushchev really means is that Cuba should be disarmed of all really powerful weapons. Cuba is to be stripped of its legitimate defenses and stand as a sitting duck ---a U. S. open target—defended only by the puny sticks and stones of Cuba’s masses and—by Khrushchev!

7. Similarly interesting is Khrushchev’s “agreement” that neutrals inspect Cuba for verification of disarmament. First of all, we must ask the question how can Khrushchev make an agreement for anyone to inspect Cuba without even notifying or getting the support of the Cubans to do so? This agreement could only have been made either on the basis that Castro had “sold” Cuba to the Russians before-hand in another “secret deal” between Castro and Khrushchev, or on the basis that Khrushchev had such contempt for the “heroes” of La Habana that he did not think it worth while to bother to even notify them.

8 Furthermore, Khrushchev is quite willing to have Cuba “inspected,” even though this means going over every nook and corner of Cuba and revealing everything to Cuba’s many enemies. Khrushchev, of course, would not allow this for the Soviet Union! And if the U.S. can “inspect” Cuba, can Cuba “inspect” the U.S., or, for that matter, the Soviet Union? Don’t be ridiculous; what is law for the shark is not law for the sardines! And suppose Cuba demands inspection of Nicaragua, Honduras, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and the other places where counter-revolutionary Cubans and others are allegedly being trained for the new invasion against Cuba? 

Of course, Cuba can not possibly submit to any “inspection” without the complete suffocation of the Revolution. Both Khrushchev and Kennedy know that the Cuban masses would never easily permit it. The very suggestion of it by Khrushchev shows how eager he is to betray that Cuban Revolution. As it is, since Kennedy will refuse to bar invasion against Cuba until such on-the-spot inspection is completed, this gives the reactionary regimes of Latin America and the Cuban counter-revolutionaries a full and free hand in the future to do their dirty work. Cuba stands utterly isolated while all Latin American governments are mobilized by U.S. ready to be paid for the kill.

How can Cuban Revolutionary workers fight Castro, Khrushchev, the Vatican, Kennedy, the Organization of American States and the United Nations all at one and the same time? There is a way, for history is on their side, but it would be a miracle were the Cubans to accomplish it.

9. Finally, Khrushchev adopted the anti-Marxist view that “neutrals” can be trusted to do the inspection without harm to the Cuban Revolution. This proposal involves the following conclusions:
a) That there are genuine “neutral” bodies or organization that stand for “objective truth” and that rise above the world’s class struggles;
b) That these non-working class “neutrals” will not help the imperialists by reporting all that they have seen to the enemy to help them destroy the Cuban Revolution.

ONLY WILD-EYED dreamers can believe in any of these points. Who are “neutrals” in the class struggle? Have these “neutrals” no interests of their own they must guard and protect or are they some angels in the sky? But if “neutrals” have material interests are they not as blinded and affected by them as all the others? Where are these “neutrals” to be found, in Latin America, say Argentina; in the Middle East, say Egypt; or in Asia, say India; or in Africa, say Nigeria; or perhaps Iceland, Andorra, Lichtenstein, Monaco or similar insignificant regions? 

A closer examination will reveal that these so-called “neutrals” that count are engaged in their own class struggles and materialist battles. They all want loans and money from the rich capitalists or they want help from Russia. They are “neutral” because they wait for the highest bidder and during this historical moment while they are waiting, they rationalize their indecision as “neutrality,” and “objectivity." 

See, for example, with what a rush all Latin American governments united behind the United States: supposed democratic regimes (like Costa Rica, Bolivia, Chile, Brazil, Venezuela); military regimes (like Peru and Argentina); dictatorship regimes (like Paraguay, Nicaragua, and Haiti) all formed ranks and eagerly offered their forces for Cuba’s destruction. The Latin American working class will never forget that shameful sight. If the Cuban workers must rid themselves of Castro, the Latin American workers must extend the Cuban Revolution through Latin America and all get rid of Khrushchev. Then they will be able to deal with the United States. 

Khrushchev and Kennedy have no such illusions as our wild-eyed dreamers. They know all about the “neutrality” of the Red Cross supported by international capitalism. They know all about the “neutrality” of the United Nations that lets in Formosa but keeps out mainland China. The formula of “neutral” inspection is just a formula to cover Moscow’s despicable sell-out of the Cuban Revolution, and the world revolution for that matter, for the better protection of immediate Russian national interests. 

But Khrushchev’s alliance with Kennedy can only weaken Russian working class interests, not help them. Khrushchev has not only alienated the workers of Cuba and of all Latin America but has also seriously damaged the system of working class alliances all over the world, in Europe and in Asia as well. 

Kennedy can now take his next armament steps: to furnish the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance and West Germany with full nuclear weapons. France and England will rapidly advance their atomic weaponry’s, while Russia will not be able to trust China to a similar degree. Russia’s betrayal of Cuba and of Latin America is matched by her betrayal of China to such an extent that the very existence of the Russian Revolution is in danger. Within the ranks of the workers of the world Moscow Stalinist-Khrushchevism stand as a lethal enemy.

November, 1962