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This chapter charts the organisational and theoretical development of the Cuban Trotskyist movement following the crushing of the March 1935 general strike, through the war years when the official communists were in a national unity alliance with Batista, until the end of the insurrection conducted by the Movimiento 26 de Julio (M26J) in the period 1956-58. I contend that the Cuban Trotskyists organised in the Partido Bolchevique Leninista (PBL) and then, from 1940, the Partido Obrero Revolucionario (POR) were characterised by an increasing tendency to make common cause with petty bourgeois nationalism and emphasise the slogans and struggle for national liberation. I argue that this one-sided approach to the revolution which failed to propose a politically independent course for the working class, not only placed the Cuban Trotskyists firmly in the ‘national liberation’ camp of Latin American Trotskyism which started to crystallise in the late 1930s, but largely determined Trotskyism’s eventual organisational dissolution in Cuba. Indeed, in linking the Cuban Trotskyists’ ideological evolution to their organisational fortunes, I develop the argument that the disappearance of the POR as an organised party in the 1950s reflected not only the weakness of the working class after more than a decade of trade union and state collaboration, but also the Trotskyists’ own tendency to accept the notion of the independence of the democratic anti-imperialist revolution and their failure to distinguish themselves clearly from various petty bourgeois nationalist groups.
This chapter is divided into four sections. I first trace the Cuban Trotskyists’ organisational and theoretical development in the period from 1935 until the 1950s. This section in linking the PBL’s and POR’s declining influence in the labour and movement to their underlying theoretical prescription for revolutionary activity charts the evolution of Cuban Trotskyism during three distinct periods in which successive attempts at reorientation were ended by crises in organisation. While this analysis and discussion primarily focuses on the debate between the democratic versus Permanent Revolution perspectives for the revolution in Cuba, the three subsequent sections deal with the Trotskyists’ positions on other specific issues which conditioned their approach to the struggle for socialism. This broad scope allows me to trace the Cuban Trotskyists’ political trajectory by taking into account all its inter-related peculiarities.
In this section I trace the PBL’s organisation, activity and underlying revolutionary strategy in the period 1935-39. I argue that the Cuban Trotskyists continued to display a number of features which had characterised the development of their party during the Revolution of the 1930s. That is, first, they suffered a further round of desertions and dislocation in party organisation after an attempted regrouping. Second, although they again drew up a political thesis which broadly applied Trotsky’s theory of Permanent Revolution to Cuban conditions they did not intervene in the national liberation and working class movements on the basis of a programme of action which unequivocally insisted on the necessary proletarian content of the anti-imperialist struggle. Linking these organisational and ideological characteristics of the PBL, I also contend that although state repression and the weakness of the working class movement were important reasons explaining the Trotskyists’ inability to extend their influence, a further debilitating factor was their continued failure to distinguish clearly between the democratic and proletarian anti-imperialist revolutions.
The failure of the March 1935 general strike signalled an unleashing of terror and repression against the organisations of the radical national liberation and working class movements. Under such conditions, disorganisation and disarray characterised the PBL as much as any other organisation. While several leading members of the PBL’s largest Sectional Committee, that in Guantánamo, were arrested in 1935 for their continued activity,(1) in the post-March 1935 period, the PBL’s principal organic roots in the working class movement through its members in the Labour Federation of Havana (FOH) were broken. During the short-lived but decisive strike and its aftermath, the offices of the PBL-controlled FOH were raided, and those present were arrested. At a meeting of the FOH and Confederación Nacional Obrera de Cuba (CNOC) leaderships called to discuss a proposal of joint work, Gastón Medina, the PBL’s and FOH’s General Secretary, was arrested along with César Vilar, the leader of the CNOC.(2) Among the dead at other centres was Cresencio Freyre, a PBL member and head of the Bakery Workers’ Union.(3) The Emergency Tribunals later sentenced other Trotskyists to terms of six to ten years imprisonment. By October 1935, the PBL’s Havana section alone had thirty comrades, for the most part eminent political and trade union leaders, in prison.(4)
However, a crisis in the party’s organisation in the months following the March 1935 general strike was as much the result of on-going internal discord as it was of repression from outside. As numerous documents of the PBL during the period 1935-36 stated, the party was passing through an “exceptional period”.(5) While this undoubtedly referred to the task of regrouping taking place in conditions of illegality, it also alluded to the continued internal conflict between advocates of building a broad multi-class anti-imperialist association and those who adhered to the Leninist project of building a proletarian vanguard party. This internal division was recognised by Gastón Medina, the General Secretary of the PBL after the defeat of the March 1935 general strike. As a firm adherent of “the immediate defense of the present organization of the Bolshevik Leninist Party”, he warned that the PBL was still faced with a capitulation, albeit more spontaneous than organised, to the “petty bourgeois chieftains”,(6) that is, dissolution of the PBL inside Joven Cuba and the Partido Revolucionario Cubano (Auténtico) (PRC(A)).
The perspective of continuing to participate uncritically within the ranks of Joven Cuba in an attempt to push the Guiteristas towards revolutionary socialism was expressed by R.S. de la Torre in the international Trotskyist journal The New International. This current within Cuban Trotskyism continued to adhere to the so-called ‘external road’ perspective which, in focusing on a vague military bloc, did not insist on presenting an independent working class position in competition with petty bourgeois nationalism in the anti-imperialist struggle. De la Torre was convinced of the potential of loose participation in Joven Cuba:
“penetration into the ranks of Young Cuba [i.e., Joven Cuba], the sympathy that its members have for our party, open up good perspectives for our organization. The petty-bourgeoisie does not want to call a halt to its insurrectionary intentions. It is a question of life of death for it. Here is offered a brilliant opportunity to the proletarian party to demonstrate its abilities of leadership.”(7)
In opposition to the so-called “liquidators” who supported “the concept of a new ‘centrist’ organism on the basis of the dissolution of the party”,(8) Gastón Medina, the principal advocate of organisational independence, suggested the creation of a “pre-party (bridge) organization” to reinforce the PBL’s independent party structure. His intention was to reverse the trend of PBL members deserting the party for other organisations by constituting an ‘external’ organisation through which the PBL’s peripheral contacts could pass on their way to the proletarian vanguard party. As Gastón Medina argued, this ‘bridge’ organisation was intended to consolidate the proletarian rehabilitation of the party on the basis of the existence of the Fourth International.(9)
However, just as in 1934, the internal political conflict was not expressed in the formal presentation of contending theses which explicitly linked the two distinct organisational paths with the two very different underlying strategies for revolution. Instead, events again overtook the conflict as Joven Cuba itself lapsed into a spontaneous process of disintegration after the assassination of its figure-head, Guiteras, in mid-1935. Paying testimony to the ultimate futility of the ‘external road’ perspective, that sector of the PBL which had thoroughly convinced itself of the viability of tying the destiny of the working class party to the fate of petty bourgeois nationalism largely joined the Guiteristas in either abandoning active politics or joining the PRC(A), the increasingly moderate nationalist-reformist party led by Grau San Martín.
Thereafter, those who insisted on the validity of the project of building an independent revolutionary Marxist party began the task of reorganising their much reduced forces. In 1936, a small Sectional Committee consisting of nine members was reconstituted in Victoria de las Tunas.(10) Pérez Santiesteban himself, the original General Secretary of the Las Tunas Trotskyists, remained active in the party in Havana after escaping the persecution in the Las Tunas municipality.(11) He subsequently became a national leader of the PBL, and then POR, until the latter’s ultimate disappearance in the early 1950s. The guantanameño and santiaguero Sectional Committees were similarly re-structured among those members who had not either drifted into Joven Cuba on an individual basis or abandoned all revolutionary activity, disillusioned in the face of the mounting repression and the apparent victory of the Batista regime.(12) In 1936, Luis Miyares (*Manuel López) was one of the local leaders in Santiago de Cuba with whom the national leadership of the PBL in Havana maintained contact.(13)
In taking concrete steps towards reconstituting a centralised party leadership at the national level, the PBL held a National Plenum in February 1936.(14) The Cuban Trotskyists also addressed the serious problem of the gap which had existed between the political level of the PBL’s leadership and the underlying broad democratic bloc prejudices of a majority of the party’s rank and file membership. The Central Committee of the PBL couched its discussion of this issue in terms which identified excessive bureaucratic centralisation in the 1933-35 leadership as the principal past organisational failing. Although the formation of a centralised leadership was a basic tenet of the PBL as set out in its founding ‘Statutes’, the new Central Committee effectively recognised that the PBL’s leading bodies had tended to impose decisions on a politically ill-prepared membership. Alluding to the lack of a vibrant party life which stressed the importance of members’ political education, an internal document of the PBL noted that the pre-March 1935 leadership had not given sufficient value to the party’s basic unit, the cells. The report perceptively recognised that it had been as a consequence of this failing that when the initial leadership wasted away it was accompanied by a total breakdown in party discipline and the near collapse of the PBL as an organised political party.(15)
In resolving to correct these past organisational deficiencies, the membership’s identification with the party together with homogeneity in the ranks were declared paramount concerns in confronting the task of building a “vanguard which is flexible yet with a strong backbone”.(16) Of primary concern was an insistence that there must be a strict delimitation in the cells and sections between members and supporters. Seemingly with the intention of preventing the re-emergence of branches with a loose mass character as had been built in Guantánamo in 1932-34, the Central Committee of the PBL gave life to Gastón Medina’s idea of creating a pre-party ‘bridge’ organisation. The leadership proposed that while members who were active in the internal and public life of the PBL and who were subject to party discipline would be considered as full party members, they had to be distinguished from supporters who should be integrated into the party’s Socorro Obrero (Workers’ Aid) organisation.(17)
Those militants who insisted on the validity of building an independent Trotskyist party also attempted to re-establish the production of a journal. However, as in the 1933-35 period, these publications seem to have appeared spasmodically. In September 1936 the efforts to rebuild the organisation led the PBL to resume publication of a short-lived party organ, a periodical entitled Noticiero Bolchevique.(18) The production of this journal also seems to have been timed to coincide with preparations for a proposed ‘Congress of Marxist Unification’. This national meeting of PBL members and supporters was apparently planned for December 1936, though does not appear to have taken place.(19) In early 1938 the Havana District Committee, again showing signs of operating independently from the Oriente branches, produced a newspaper called Divisa Proletaria.(20) In the period 1938-40 various international Trotskyist publications regularly reported that the Cuban Trotskyists were also publishing in their own right the organ Rayo y Divisa.(21)
More important for the stabilisation and reorientation of the PBL, though, was the elaboration and publication for internal circulation of an extensive ‘Political Thesis’ in October 1935.(22) This document, breaking from the ambiguous path developed by the PBL during the revolutionary upheaval of 1934-35, not only displayed a firm grasp of the social and economic forces at work in Cuba, incorporating the idea that the governing regime displayed Bonapartist features, a characterisation which Trotsky himself later applied in general terms to all Latin American regimes,(23) but proposed a definite plan for revolutionary activity in Cuba which highlighted the need for the independence of the proletariat’s programme and organisation. The Trotskyists referred to the immediate insurrection perspective as an exhausted technique and explicitly recognised that the central task was to conquer the masses through the development of an action programme which combined a struggle to liquidate the remnants of feudalism in the countryside (the agrarian revolution) with a struggle to overthrow imperialist domination (national independence), this under the leadership of the proletariat. This marked a decided return to the strategic and tactical approach advocated by both Trotsky and the PBL in its own manifestos and programmes drawn up in September-October 1933.
In the first place, during the period in which Batista was consolidating his authority after the defeat of the March 1935 general strike, the PBL drew on the Bonapartist concept in order to characterise the Batista regime in terms Marx had used to describe the French bourgeoisie’s acceptance of Bonaparte in revolutionary France in 1852. That is, just as Marx considered that the weakened French bourgeoisie through “fear of losing their conquests” recognised that they depended on their rival, Bonaparte,(24) so the Cuban Trotskyists argued that the Batista regime was equally divorced from any of the local class formations, but was one which the old parties of the oligarchy similarly approached in order to take up “bureaucratic positions with a complete understanding of their submission”.(25)
In addition to introducing the concept of Bonapartism into an analysis of the structurally weak Cuban political economy, another strength of the PBL’s 1935 ‘Political Thesis’ was its attempt to address the causes of the defeat of the Revolution of the 1930s and the Trotskyists’ own role in events. The PBL advanced a self-critique which made reference to the ambiguity inherent in its own understanding of the form and content of the Anti-Imperialist United Front leading up to the March 1935 general strike. Rejecting its past belief that abstract discussions with the forces of petty bourgeois nationalism could lead to a fighting United Front, the PBL returned to Trotsky’s explicit understanding that the United Front had to be formed on the basis of an immediate struggle for concrete demands. The Cuban Trotskyists posited that a United Front must be formed “on the basis of a programme of immediate action.”(26) Underlining this understanding of the importance of such well-defined United Front work, they furthermore criticised the strategy of the Auténticos, Joven Cuba, and the PCC in the immediate post-March 1935 period, namely, that of a call for insurrection to install a so-called ‘revolutionary popular government’. For the PBL, this was an elitist strategy based on an exhausted technique,(27) in the sense that it approached the problem of the seizure of power independently of the democratic participation of the masses. Significantly, though, the PBL did not explicitly address the inherent ambiguities in the actual slogan of a ‘revolutionary popular government’ in terms of the petty bourgeois nature of the proposed regime.
The PBL’s Trotskyist credentials, however, were also evident in their analysis of the world-wide revolutionary process. Starting from an understanding that every nation’s economic life and development was dependent on the world market and that it was utopian to believe in the possibility of destroying the features of the world market for the sake of an independent bourgeois national economy, the PBL posited that the only way forward was the world-wide proletarian revolution and socialism.(28) The Trotskyists also insisted that the petty bourgeoisie was incapable of leading a successful anti-imperialist revolution, and that the democratic anti-imperialist revolution was not a distinct stage in the revolutionary process, but was rather a temporary phase in the deeper proletarian revolution leading to the unequivocal installation of a necessarily proletarian revolutionary state. Adhering to a ‘permanentist’ outlook the PBL in its ‘Political Thesis’ declared that:
“1. The arrival of imperialism—the last stage of capitalism—has opened the epoch of the World-wide Proletarian Revolution and Socialism as the only progressive way forward.
3. The democratic and anti-imperialist agrarian struggles cannot have an independent or permanent character. The so-called ‘anti-imperialist, agrarian democratic revolution’ is nothing other than the first phase of one single revolution: The Proletarian Revolution.
6. The petty bourgeoisie (including the peasants) does not possess its own economy. Despite its revolutionary role in the face of the oppressive bourgeoisie, imperialism and the landlords, because of its multiple contradictions and lack of homogeneity, it is incapable of leading the revolution. The petty bourgeoisie is destined to orientate itself towards capitalism or to be dragged along by the proletariat. No half-way solution is possible.
7. Only the proletariat, as a progressive class, is capable of exercising revolutionary hegemony, even from the initial anti-imperialist agrarian democratic phase.
12. The slogan of a ‘Democratic Dictatorship of the Workers and Peasants’ advanced by the Comintern is a slogan without any meaning which can only sow confusion. This slogan carries with it the idea of the development of an independent economy in the country based in the community of interests of the workers and peasants. [....]
13. The Bolshevik Leninist Party declares: only the dictatorship of the proletariat is capable of guaranteeing the success of the permanent development of the Revolution. Only a state based on the Soviets of Workers, Peasants and Soldiers represents the guarantee of the dictatorship of the proletariat and of the Revolution. Only the independent action of the proletariat in the struggle to install its dictatorship will make possible the revolutionary enrolment of the great masses of the peasantry and the petty bourgeoisie.”(29)
On the basis of this theoretical analysis, and returning to clarify the issue of the character of any United Front work, the PBL advanced a forty-five point Programme of Democratic Demands as well as a fourteen point Programme of Action. The series of democratic demands included a rejection of the electoral manoeuvres proposed by Batista and the convocation of a Democratic Constituent Assembly, freedom of speech, press, meeting, organisation and demonstration, abolition of the 50% Law, the right to strike and an end to compulsory arbitration, the establishment of a minimum wage and the implementation of the eight-hour working day, nationalisation of the private railways and public services, measures enabling financial assistance and credit facilities for co-operatives in the rural areas involved in either production or consumption, the state supply of quality seed and livestock for the poor peasants, an end to all payment of the foreign debt, denouncing all foreign territorial claims on Cuba, a breaking of diplomatic relations with the Vatican and the establishment of diplomatic and commercial relations with the USSR, as well as the right of asylum for persecuted foreign political revolutionaries, in particular for Trotsky.(30)
The PBL’s Action Programme called for a struggle for the reconstruction of the trade union movement, the development of revolutionary work within the legal trade unions, the formation of a National Revolutionary Army and special brigades to defend the class actions of the proletariat and the mass revolutionary movements, the creation of Peasant Leagues on the basis of a plan of specifically agrarian demands, and the creation of Workers’ and Peasants’ Committees in the workplaces to plan their struggles.(31)
Taken together, these two inter-related sets of democratic slogans and transitional demands were an exemplary exposition of the PBL’s attempt to link the struggle for the most elementary features of bourgeois democracy and national independence with the working class-led struggle against imperialism. The Cuban Trotskyists implicitly argued that the proletariat had suffered a historic defeat in the March 1935 general strike and called for the rebuilding of the trade union movement, the basic level of working class organisation. They also attempted to orientate the continuing calls for armed actions emanating from the remains of Joven Cuba towards the working class by insisting on the need to attach such isolated, individual displays of revolutionary violence to the struggles of the working class. In furthermore concluding the Action Programme with a call for “the creation of a United Front of all the Revolutionary Parties upon the basis of the Action Programme and the Plan of Democratic Demands at the national and local level”,(32) the Trotskyists reaffirmed the clarity with which they, at least in point of theory, defined any anti-imperialist work. That is, they posed the issue of forming a United Front on the basis of a struggle for clearly defined immediate goals.
However, despite formally elaborating an unequivocally proletarian anti-imperialist perspective as well as a perceptive critique of the PBL’s own past activity, the Cuban Trotskyists’ efforts to rebuild a stable party structure and reverse their political fortunes bore little fruit. In the 1935-39 period the PBL did not recover the membership or levels of influence which it had gradually lost during the course of 1934-35. First, by the end of the 1930s the PBL had been further reduced to three geographical centres, namely, Havana, from whose ranks the Central Committee was largely drawn, as well as the Santiago de Cuba and Guantánamo regions of Oriente. The reconstituted Victoria de las Tunas branch disappeared in 1937-38.(33) Furthermore, the number of activists in each branch substantially declined giving the PBL a membership total which mirrored that of most other Trotskyist groups in Latin America. Although a report at the 1938 Founding Conference of the Fourth International cautiously credited the Cuban Trotskyists with 100 militants,(34) this figure seems to be a rather optimistic assessment. In the early 1940s it was reported that the Santiago de Cuba Sectional Committee, for example, albeit the smallest of the three remaining branches, had not recruited anyone since 1937 and had apparently been reduced to five members.(35)
While state repression in the 1935-36 period had initially hindered the rebuilding and growth of the PBL, the continued inability of the Cuban Trotskyists to build on the organisation which they at least stabilised in 1936 was the result of a combination of factors both internal and external. In the first place, although the PBL’s formal understanding of the form and content of United Front work corresponded with Trotsky’s insistence on concrete action on the basis of an agreed programme of demands, it was evident that discrepancies continued to exist between the perspectives outlined by the leadership in the party’s principal programmatic documents and the practical work of the PBL’s rank and file. For example, the Cuban Trotskyists demonstrated their return to United Front work on the basis of ill-defined goals in their intervention in the National Committee for Amnesty for Social and Political Prisoners, agitating alongside the PCC and twenty-nine other organisations for an end to torture and the release of those imprisoned by the Batista regime.(36) In short, the PBL did not participate on the basis of a clearly elaborated programme of action which furthered the cause of working class regrouping and political independence. As the PBL itself recognised, this Amnesty Committee’s work was largely limited to covering itself in a cloak of respectability by making appeals to the church and the ‘good bourgeoisie’.(37) Its ineffectiveness was confirmed when twenty-two members out of its twenty-seven-member Central Committee were arrested and sentenced to terms in prison in early 1936.(38)
On the other hand, the PBL constituted its Socorro Obrero organisation as a type of pre-party bridge. It was laudably conceived as a parallel organisation to the PCC’s International Labour Defence, bringing together a mixture of anarchists and PBL members largely on the basis of anti-Stalinism and looking after the welfare of prisoners who belonged to the FOH trade unions.(39) The PBL also displayed a firm commitment to furthering the cause of working class independence from both the petty bourgeoisie and the state when an open trade union movement re-emerged. The Trotskyists first joined the legal trade unions organised by the Batista regime, and used the unions’ magazines to supplement the education and propaganda value of the Trotskyists’ own party journals. By mid-1937 Trotskyists were publishing articles in Dialéctica, the organ of the Sindicato de Yesistas de La Habana, the Plasterers’ Union of Havana, and El Repartidor, the magazine of the Sindicato de Repartidores de Pan de La Habana, the Bread Distributors’ Union of Havana.(40) More importantly, though, the organisation and political content of the PBL’s actual fractional work inside the trade unions was based on a strict understanding of the dangers of class collaboration. The Trotskyists argued that just as under Machado, reformist leaders were seeking to organise the labour movement under the aegis of the Ministry of Labour and submit the demands of the movement to government arbitration.(41) In order to combat the penetration of this spirit of reformism into the ranks of the working class the PBL, rejecting the PCC’s 1931-34 sectarian strategy of attempting to build isolated ‘revolutionary’ trade union fronts, put forward in outline form a strong trade union platform around which Trotskyist fractions in various trade unions could organise the most radical workers who had not yet joined the PBL politically. Linking the slogan for the formation of a ‘Workers’ Alliance’ to a programme of action, the PBL made calls to organise the working class independently of the state on the basis of a number of minimum democratic demands including the right to strike and freedom of organisation, assembly and speech and the annulment of the decree laws.(42)
However, despite these attempts to rebuild a revolutionary movement in the trade unions, the PBL faced a number of obstacles. Importantly, the party’s stability and growth were adversely affected by serious disruptions in the Trotskyists’ national leadership. Although not on the scale which the revolutionary events in the 1934-35 period had induced, the leadership continued to display a degree of instability in terms of personnel. The most significant loss was that of the post-March 1935 General Secretary, Gastón Medina, who died of tuberculosis in Havana on 17 August 1938, the result of past torture in Batista’s jails.(43) He had been the principal defender of what I have characterised as the ‘Trotskyist’ proletarian anti-imperialist tendency within the PBL in the period 1933-35. He had also been responsible for drawing up the October 1935 ‘Political Thesis’ which had attempted to reorientate the party after the defeat of the Revolution of the 1930s.
More significantly, though, the PBL had to overcome peculiar socio-politico hurdles. Although all revolutionary organisations had found themselves in a state of disarray after the defeat of the Revolution of the 1930s, in the late 1930s an already weak working class movement faced the further obstacle of a PCC-Batista joint front which reinforced the containment of class-based organisation and struggle. As described in Section 3.3, after the effective crushing of the revolutionary movement in 1935, the Batista regime increasingly took on a paternalistic Bonapartist character as Batista himself sought to broaden his base of popular support. He achieved this by turning to the official communists and cementing a joint front with the PCC. Although this was not completed until early 1939, from 1938 Batista was able to use the official communists to offset a renewal of working class opposition.
In sum, then, the Cuban Trotskyists’ attempt to reorganise the PBL in the aftermath of the defeat of the Revolution of the 1930s, and then in the light of the PCC’s rank opportunism in the face of overtures from Batista, had to a large extent come to nothing by the end of the 1930s as a real decline in the PBL’s numbers and implantation in the labour movement reflected the balance of class forces. While, internationally, after a decade of defeats the working class was being led into an international military conflict by largely compliant social democratic and Stalinist parties, in Cuba the decade of defeats had been of historic proportions. The crushing of working class organisation in the aftermath of the March 1935 general strike produced a crisis in every political organisation, as much among the Auténticos and official communists as among the Trotskyists. This had cleared the ground for Batista to set about reorganising a national social equilibrium from above, unchallenged by either a weak national bourgeoisie or the defeated working class movement. The cementing of the Batista-PCC joint front only added to the enormity of the task of cultivating an independent working class movement which the small group of Cuban Trotskyists faced. Thus, although the elaboration of the ‘Political Thesis’ in late 1935 marked a return to an insistence on the independence of working class political organisation and the leading role of the proletariat in the anti-imperialist revolution, the PBL’s dislocation in 1935-36 and its small size inside the already weak opposition movements hindered its ability to challenge the general stagnation of autonomous working class organisation. It was, though, the Trotskyists’ tendency to dilute the class-based content of any practical United Front work which ultimately confirmed the steady stagnation in membership and determined the subsequent development of Cuban Trotskyism in the 1940s.
In this section I chart the organisational and theoretical development of Trotskyism in Cuba in the period 1940-46. Describing how the Cuban Trotskyists’ post-1939 organisational development was characterised by continued relative isolation from the working class and a further series of internal crises I contend that these were largely provoked by two inter-related factors. In the first place, I argue that the Trotskyists were active in an environment which was particularly detrimental to their political fortunes. That is, in a society characterised by weak class formations and a Bonapartist-type regime, the co-option of the official communist party into a governing entente enabled increased state interference in the labour movement to debilitate further the potential for independent working class action. In addition to these structural obstacles, I also contend that the Trotskyists’ own continuing tendency to stress the slogans and struggle for national liberation and emphasis on the formation of undelineated blocs with the forces of petty bourgeois nationalism was a major factor determining their apparent inability to take advantage of a sharpening in the general level of dissatisfaction with the existing social equilibrium.
The apparent isolation and gradual decline in the PBL’s membership in the post-1935 period eventually provoked a round of largely unprincipled in-fighting and dissension among the three remaining branches of the PBL in 1940. The spark which appears to have triggered the two-year round of internal disputes was the expulsion of Charles Simeón, the PBL’s General Secretary, in late 1939 or early 1940. He had first temporarily occupied the post of General Secretaryship during Gastón Medina’s two-year illness, before taking over on a permanent basis after Medina’s death.(44) Although the specific reasons behind Simeón’s separation remain uncertain,(45) the PBL was subsequently seen to be in need of an overhaul in terms of discipline and orientation.(46) The apparent virtual internal paralysis led the Havana-based leadership to take the initiative by selecting a new Provisional Executive Committee in May 1940, charging it with the task of convening a National Conference with a view to “normalising the life of the party.”(47)
The new Provisional Executive Committee, composed of the remaining members of the previous members of the National Executive Committee and the most active militants in Havana,(48) included *Bode, the General Secretary (possibly Pérez Santiesteban),(49) Pablo Díaz González (*Pedro Durán), *Alonso, *Andrade, *Santiso, *Kamayen and *Rufo.(50) This Provisional Executive Committee subsequently constituted a new Central Committee and concentrated its authority in a three-member Political Bureau which was responsible for the day-to-day work of the party.(51) The reorganisation of the leading bodies of the Cuban Trotskyist group led to the founding of the Partido Obrero Revolucionario on 19 September 1940 shortly after Trotsky’s murder.(52)
However, despite this attempt on the part of the POR’s leadership to “discipline and orientate the Party”,(53) the Cuban Trotskyists continued to gravitate away from a perspective which, in accordance with Trotsky’s prescription for revolutionary activity, focused on forging a democratic centralist vanguard party which advocated a strict proletarian anti-imperialist revolution. In the first place, every branch of the old PBL was not integrated into the new party. The organisational changes initiated by the Provisional Executive Committee were rejected by the Santiago de Cuba Sectional Committee which continued to operate under the title of the PBL until at least the end of 1941.(54) The underlying cause of the feuding was general frustration with the atmosphere of stagnation and decline which had permeated party activity. This was evidenced by the fact the organisational split did not take place on the basis of any ideological differences, but as the result of secondary, tactical considerations. On the initiative of *Bakunin, the santiaguero branch refused to embrace the project of restructuring and renaming the party solely on the grounds that a simple change of name could not lead to the consolidation of the revolutionary party in Cuba.(55) In correctly identifying a possible limitation of the new Provisional Executive Committee’s initiatives, the santiaguero Trotskyists, however, did not identify nor propose a principled debate over the political causes behind the PBL’s organisational crisis. While, at this stage, they were not explicitly challenging the need for a centralised vanguard party, they did challenge the principle of democratic centralism by repeatedly rejecting the leadership’s invitations to continue the discussions inside the POR. With no explicit ideological issue at stake, and with both the POR and the Santiago de Cuba Sectional Committee of the PBL continuing to publicly declare their adherence to the Fourth International, the santiagueros, frustrated at the party’s stagnation and apparent inability to influence the workers’ movement, had in effect used a disagreement over a secondary issue as a pretext for forging the de facto split in the ranks of Cuban Trotskyism.
In January 1941, after the Santiago de Cuba section had reiterated that it would continue to publish its own propaganda without seeking any central authority, the POR’s national leadership decided to apply the letter of the party’s statutes. Concerned that the conditions created by the Second World War would increasingly narrow the Cuban Trotskyists’ opportunities for open work, and that the santiagueros’ criticisms could sabotage the other oriental branch in nearby Guantánamo, the Political Bureau argued that members should be separated from sympathisers, that each militant should be assigned his or her task and responsibility so that new members would not be “infected with the ballast of irresponsibility and lack of discipline” inherited from the past.(56)
Despite the firm statement of intent, however, this further attempt on the part of the Trotskyists to establish a degree of stability and give an impetus to internal party life did not lead to any marked growth in membership or influence, or even to a sustained period of commitment to publishing a party organ. During the period 1940-42, while it seems that the santiagueros fell in line with the newly established POR party structure, the only new shoots of growth were a five-member branch constituted in the small town of Aguacate in the province of Havana,(57) and what appears to have been a short-lived Sectional Committee formed in Camagüey on 17 November 1940.(58) As for the production of a regular party press and theoretical material, the newly constituted POR repeated the pattern which the PBL had established after its two attempts to establish some order in the Trotskyists’ ranks in September 1933 and late 1935. In the first place, the POR launched what was intended to be a regular party organ, Cuba Obrera (Workers’ Cuba).(59) However, despite the POR’s fears about the government’s intention to suppress “propaganda of a class character”,(60) it appears that, like Rayo and Noticiero Bolchevique before it, this newspaper ceased publication shortly after its birth solely as a result of a dwindling internal commitment and the lack of funds. Production first lapsed after four issues had appeared in successive months at the end of 1940, and although it reappeared in June, July and August 1941, this August issue was the last to be published.(61)
As the PBL had done at its founding in 1933 and, again, in 1935 when attempting to establish a degree of stability and direction in the party, the POR on its founding also drew up and submitted to its rank and file an extensive theoretical document, the Declaración de Principios.(62) In outlining the Trotskyists’ views on the general crisis of capitalism and the specific problems of the Cuban revolution, this document again marked a definite return to Trotsky’s Permanent Revolution perspective, at least in point of theory.
In the first place, the ‘Declaration of Principles’ reiterated that the working class in alliance with the rural and urban petty bourgeoisie had to play the leading role in the struggle against capitalism and for a necessarily socialist revolution.(63) Like the early texts of the Comintern and, indeed, Trotsky himself, the POR also drew a distinction between the conquest of power by the proletariat in Latin America and the actual construction of communism. Basing its analysis on an appreciation of the indissolubility of the world economy and the necessary international character of socialism, the POR argued that in the first phase of the Latin American revolution the proletariat would combine the basic democratic tasks with the possible socialist ones. The ultimate socialist transformation of Latin America could only totally triumph, they argued, when the proletarian revolution in the U.S. also erupted.(64)
Although the document stressed that the definitive triumph of the revolution in Cuba depended on the success of the socialist movement in the U.S., the POR rejected the idea that the Cuban working class must await the triumph of the North American proletariat before posing the question of proletarian revolution in Cuba. The Cuban Trotskyists argued that such an understanding approached that of the Stalinists’ denial of the possibility of revolution on the grounds of the lack of ‘maturity’ in Cuba for socialism, and the substitution of the theory of the ‘next stages’ of national and social liberation under the ‘progressive platform’ of the Coalición Socialista Democrática.(65) Emphasising that the proletariat in Cuba could not renounce the struggle to forge its own vanguard or even initiate its own proletarian revolution until the proletariat in the U.S. had seized power, the POR reiterated the perspectives of the Bolsheviks in backward Russia in 1917 and railed against geographic fatalists who rejected the revolutionary project on the grounds of Cuba’s proximity to the United States. They declared that:
“[t]he perspective of permanent revolution in no case means that backward countries should await the starting signal from the more developed ones, nor the colonial peoples should wait patiently for the proletariat of the imperialist centres to free them. He is helped who helps himself. The workers must struggle in a revolutionary fashion in all countries, wherever favorable conditions exist, thus giving an example to the workers of other countries.”(66)
However, again, as in the case of 1933 and 1935, the branches took up this renewed theoretical commitment to the principles of the theory of Permanent Revolution in a thoroughly ambiguous fashion. This was most evident in the activity of the POR’s principal asset, its branch in the Guantánamo region where the local Trotskyists had maintained a base in the working class. During the late 1930s and 1940s, having established an embryonic youth organisation, the Juventud Obrera Revolucionaria, as well as participating in anti-Stalinist Comités de Oposición Sindical in various trade unions, the POR had a pool of support in the two branches, Delegaciones 10 and 11, of the Hermandad Ferroviaria, the local Commercial Workers’ Union as well as a number of centrales.(67) The Trotskyists, furthermore, played a leading role in a small number of strike movements which challenged the official communists’ de facto ‘no-strike’ policy. At the start of the 1940 zafra, for example, the guantanameño Trotskyists participated in stoppages in the Cecilia and Romelié centrales, denouncing the official communists’ collaboration with the government and employers.(68) José Medina Campos of the POR also led strikes of railway workers in April and November 1941 which interrupted sugar production as well as transport to and from the U.S. Naval Base.(69) However, the guantanameño Trotskyists’ activity was not strictly directed at exposing the limitations of petty bourgeois nationalism and bringing those radical worker elements in the trade union milieu into political agreement with the POR. That is, although the Trotskyists called for increased autonomy from the Ministry of Labour and the Stalinist-controlled trade union bureaucracy alike, a call which found a wide echo among broad layers at the base of the Auténtico party, the POR’s United Front platform did not display a clear worked out understanding of the practical importance of working class political independence. The Trotskyists instead tended to accept a ‘lesser evil’ thesis which characterised Stalinism as the main enemy in the workers’ movement and failed to distinguish the POR from the local worker Auténtico leaders in the non-Stalinist opposition movements. As such, the guantanameño Trotskyists participated in a largely uncritical manner in the Auténtico worker-dominated Comités Pro Demandas Obreros y Campesinos, a loose United Front organisation which had been formed for the purposes of securing the election of non-Stalinists in local elections. The Trotskyists could, furthermore, claim that their own youth organisation worked in “close harmony” with its Auténtico counterpart. Indeed, far from ultimately viewing these radical petty bourgeois groups as obstacles to the proletarian revolution, the POR enthused that these groups were the “fertile sap of the future of our Revolution.”(70)
At the national level, on the other hand, the Trotskyists’ trade union intervention during the December 1942 Third National Congress of the Confederación de Trabajadores de Cuba (CTC), the official communist-controlled national labour confederation, was more consistent with insisting on the unequivocal proletarian nature of the anti-imperialist struggle and competing directly with the Auténticos for the leadership of the masses. Raising the POR’s profile on the national stage, the Trotskyist delegates acted as an organised fraction at the Congress and developed a strategy which not only challenged the Stalinist domination of the labour movement but did so from a perspective which sought to rally the Auténtico worker opposition around an unambiguously anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist programme.
As the Fourth International’s theoretical journal described, the POR fraction contributed to the preparation and presentation of “a detailed and positive program of independent trade-union action around which the anti-Stalinist opposition could rally”.(71) In the first place, in their interventions at the platform POR members criticised the CTC leadership for accepting Batista’s dictates on wage claims which granted pay increases at a rate below that of a consumer product-starved inspired price inflation. Pablo Díaz claimed that the CTC Executive had simply served as a government tool, preventing workers from using its most basic weapon, that of the strike, just at the moment when there was a ground swell of discontent in various sectors for better wages.(72)
However, the Trotskyists also insisted that organisational unity in the trade union movement should be maintained and argued against setting up a second national trade union centre. When the Stalinist-controlled Credentials’ Commission at the CTC Congress eventually refused entry to 150 opposition delegates, the Trotskyists, though joining 303 delegates in walking out in protest, rejected the Auténtico leaders’ sectarian calls to set up a second, parallel trade union centre, just as the OCC and PBL had earlier opposed the PCC’s sectarian trade union policy.(73) At a meeting of the Frente Democrático Sindical, the temporary organisation constituted by the delegates who had withdrawn, the POR fraction argued for the constitution of a revolutionary opposition workers’ front inside the CTC on the basis of a minimum programme for internal democracy and an end to Stalinist-reformism in collusion with state.(74) In its declaration to the Frente Democrático Sindical, the POR fraction insisted that:
“[w]e cannot think [....] of the formation of a new trade-union center so long as there has not been demonstrated in a clear definitive way the impossibility of salvaging the CTC from the hands of the Stalinist-reformist gang, through constant and effective work among the rank and file. We shall oppose any group or tendency which tries to drag the Cuban proletariat along the road of adventurism.”(75)
In presenting a coherent and incisive argument consistent with Trotsky’s analysis of trade unions in Latin American that the principal struggle was for workers’ control of the existing bureaucratic apparatuses and trade union independence from the state, the POR fraction thereby helped to avoid, at least temporarily, a disastrous split in the trade union movement. They furthermore presented an action programme which embodied the essential features of the Transitional Programme, the founding programmatic document of the Fourth International. Incorporating the essence of Trotsky’s ‘transitional’ method of attempting to deepen the struggle and lead the masses through a conscious fight for democratic demands to socialist goals in their own independent proletarian organisations created in that struggle, the platform of demands included calls for the implementation of a sliding scale of wages and popular committees for the control of prices, the maintenance of class-based trade union unity in tandem with the widest trade union democracy, and a Proletarian Military Policy similar to that of the Socialist Workers’ Party in the U.S. (SWP(US)) in which the trade unions took responsibility for the military training of workers.(76)
However, despite having had a degree of success in this exemplary fraction work in mass organisations at a national level, and despite the apparent return to the Cuban Trotskyist fold of the self-styled santiaguero Sectional Committee of the PBL at some point in 1942-43, the POR as a national party did not break out of its isolation in the early 1940s. Only at a local level did the guantanameño Trotskyists continue to lead local strikes alongside Auténtico trade unionists against the dictates of the complicitous official communist party. On 17 May 1943, the railway workers in the Guantánamo region again went on strike demanding a pay increase of fifty per cent to counteract the high rate of war-induced price inflation. While the strike was crushed after sixteen days, leaving six workers, among them two POR members, Juan Medina Campos and Luciano García Pellicier, disciplined by the management and/or dismissed,(77) the Guantánamo branch of the POR reiterated the basic tenet of revolutionary defeatism, namely, that there should be no cease-fire in the struggle against capitalism. Raising the banner of proletarian organisational and political independence, the Trotskyists denounced one of their old adversaries, Manuel Tur, the local PSP leader, for intervening in the strike only to the extent of sabotaging and choking off any national action by railway workers, and Mujal for having disowned the strike movement in an attempt to ensure that the Auténtico leadership took no responsibility for it in the eyes of the government and imperialism in this militarily strategic region.(78)
In general terms, though, the POR failed in its objective to lead the construction of a revolutionary communist opposition to Stalinist domination of the labour movement during the course of the Second World War. As with previous attempts to stabilise the PBL’s organisation and extend Trotskyist influence in the late 1930s, the reasons behind this evident failure encompassed structural factors largely beyond the POR’s control and political ones which were the responsibility of the Trotskyists alone. In the first place, the Cuban Trotskyists were active in a country in which class-based institutions were weak. As outlined in Chapter Three, while imperialism had already rendered the national bourgeoisie largely ineffectual in the aftermath of the 1895-98 War of Independence, the historic defeat of the revolutionary movement in the 1930s had accelerated the decline of the old ruling oligarchy and destroyed the independent working class movement. The consequent exceptional weakness of class formations in Cuba was further exacerbated in the post-1935 period with the emergence of a Bonapartist-like regime committed to the project of co-opting elements of various classes into a governing entente. Most significantly for the fortunes of Trotskyism, after the formation of the Batista-PCC joint front in the late 1930s, the official communists used the power which they acquired to blunt attempts to renew class-based opposition to the Batista capitalist government. The rapid growth of the official communist party and its seats in Batista’s cabinet pay testimony to the fact that class collaboration under Stalinist leadership was deeper in Cuba than in any other Latin American country.
In addition to the Bonapartist features of the Cuban political economy which tended to weaken the development of already fragile class-based institutions, the Cuban Trotskyists were also confronted with the problem of the lack of a Marxist tradition in Cuba. As described in Section 3.1.3, while the Cuban labour movement was dominated by anarcho-syndicalism for forty years from 1985 to 1925, it was nationalism rather than communism which conditioned the peculiar aspects of the Cuban variant of anarchism. It was primarily because of this lack of a distinct socialist culture in the Cuban working class that the Russian October Revolution did not provoke any rupture on ideological grounds in the labour movement. Furthermore, the Cuban Communist Party itself was only formed in 1925. Thus, in the early to mid-1940s, opposition to the Stalinists’ state-sponsored bureaucratic usurpation of working class organisation more easily found spontaneous expression in the deeply-rooted traditions of petty bourgeois nationalism before a strict class position won currency.
The Cuban Trotskyists also suffered from the lack of resources at their disposal. This, for example, prevented them from financing a full-time party worker to co-ordinate internal party life activity. The great distances between the POR’s two principal centres, Havana and Guantánamo, also made it difficult to hold any regular national meetings to discuss and plan co-ordinated work. The Cuban Trotskyists in the early 1940s also had little experience of the tasks which a small group of revolutionaries had to undertake in order to lay the basis for future growth. Unlike most Trotskyist groups in the world, the PBL was virtually a mass party at birth with prominent cadres already leading various trade unions and student organisations. Although not necessarily desirable, it had not undergone an organic development from a small revolutionary nucleus to a fighting propaganda group to a genuine revolutionary party with solid roots in the working class. With the death of Rogelio Benache, arguably the POR’s most talented workers’ leader in January 1944, like Gastón Medina, the result of the effects of past torture in Batista’s jail,(79) the remaining POR members in the early 1940s had little preparation for the tasks of slowly and methodically consolidating the POR as a well-defined fighting propaganda group.
However, despite these obstacles to growth, I contend that had the POR developed a different strategy and set of tactics from those it actually did employ, then the Cuban Trotskyists could have overcome to some extent the structural obstacles which they faced and a different outcome may have resulted. That is, it was the Trotskyists’ own political strategy which continued to be a major factor conditioning their apparent inability to either stabilise their organisation or break out of their isolation and take advantage of a general level of dissatisfaction with the PCC’s collaboration with Batista in the labour movement. More specifically, just as the PBL in the 1930s ultimately displayed that it had no well-formed understanding of the need for working class organisations to maintain their political independence from the forces of petty bourgeois nationalism, so the POR in the early to mid-1940s also emphasised the formation of undelineated blocs with essentially pro-capitalist forces. It was this political characteristic of the POR, I argue, which ultimately determined the Trotskyists’ continued isolation.
The effect that the Cuban Trotskyists’ own political failings had on the fortunes and organisational continuity of their party was demonstrated by the line which they developed around events in 1944-45. In early 1944 the POR launched a national newspaper and developed an electoral tactical line in an attempt to take advantage of the heightened political atmosphere created by the forthcoming May-June 1944 elections and the hopes Auténtico workers held that these could bring an end to the Batista-official communist control of the labour movement.
The newspaper, launched in May 1944 to coincide with the elections, and under the influence of Louis Rigaudias (*Rigal), a prominent activist in the pre-war French Trotskyist movement,(80) was given the name Revolución Proletaria in order to unambiguously proclaim the necessary character of any revolution at that point in time in Latin America.(81) During the period May 1944 to May 1946, nineteen issues of the newspaper, edited by Pablo Díaz, came out ensuring that the party fulfilled its basic propaganda and education functions among its supporters and contacts. However, the content of this propaganda advocated an essentially opportunist tactical line. Specifically, the electoral tactical line which the Trotskyists developed was rather inconsistent in terms of maintaining the principle of proletarian political independence. Indeed, the Trotskyists’ attitude towards the Auténticos as set out in the pages of their newspaper betrayed the essence of the name which they had given to that same paper.
On the one hand, in Guantánamo the POR attempted to win adherents to communism and extend and consolidate its influence among the working class by standing independent candidates in the 1944 local elections. Although the Supreme Court ultimately prevented the Trotskyists from getting on the ballot paper, they held a “write-in campaign” for two posts on the Guantánamo council. Building on the prestige they had won in their trade union work in the region, the POR’s two candidates, Juan Medina and Luciano García, the two militants who had been victimised in the rail strike the year before, received over 1,000 officially counted votes,(82) a substantial figure in a region where the rate of illiteracy was high.
In the National Legislative and Presidential elections, on the other hand, where the Trotskyists did not have the resources to stand their own candidates, the POR, as a result of its belief that the Auténtico base was made up of revolutionary workers,(83) displayed ambiguous concern for safeguarding the independence of the working class from the forces of pro-capitalist nationalism. That is, the Trotskyists made a distinction between the private views of individual Auténtico candidates and the relationship of the party as a whole to the working class by giving “critical support” to what they termed “Grau San Martín and the working class candidates inside the PRC(A).”(84) Thus, in the National Legislative elections they called for a vote for those Auténticos in Guantánamo and Santiago de Cuba who had signed up to a minimum programme of democratic and trade union demands.(85)
While this dilution could have been justified in Cuba on the basis of the incomplete and ill-defined identification of parties with specific social classes, in the 1944 Presidential elections the POR slipped into loose, ultimately opportunist, phraseology which evidenced its own illusions in the revolutionary potential of the petty bourgeoisie. Although the POR was certainly more ‘critical’ than ‘supportive’ in its assessment that Grau San Martín had abandoned the anti-imperialist struggle in favour of ‘democratic’ imperialism and that he headed an electoral bloc which included an assortment of old anti-labour pro-Machado supporters,(86) the electoral tactic of ‘critical support’ did not clearly disassociate Trotskyism from these alien class forces. That is, while Grau San Martín did not propose any anti-capitalist or anti-imperialist measures, the Cuban Trotskyists developed a United Front tactic which lowered the banner of proletarian independence in the anti-imperialist struggle. Indeed, despite formally rejecting the notion that they proposed support for Grau San Martin on the limited basis that he was the “’lesser evil’”, in the same article, and in direct contradiction, they rather loosely viewed their orientation as a “tactic in fighting the immediate enemy of the workers: that is, the military-police dictatorship of Batista disguised under the civilian trappings of the Socialist Democratic Coalition”.(87) In other articles they similarly gave definition to the ‘lesser evil’ tactic arguing that despite the Auténticos’ reconciliation with U.S. imperialism, the re-election of Batista would mean the crushing of the Cuban Revolution for the foreseeable future. They contended that a victory for Grau San Martín at the polls would represent a step forward and, accordingly, raised the slogan of: “To fight continuismo is to struggle for the Revolution”.(88)
Thus, rather than adopting the only consistent proletarian position in an election where no working class candidates stood, that of ‘active abstention’, limiting agitation to that of propaganda in favour of a future independent working class party in preparation for the day when the masses, or at least the most advanced section, turned against the government pretenders of both camps,(89) the POR settled into a softer Left line which, while not jeopardising its prestige with Auténtico workers in the short-term, did little to break those same workers away to an independent proletarian line in the medium-term.
On Grau San Martín’s victory at the polls, the collapse of the POR’s strictly class-based political analysis was most evident in the propaganda and activity of the party’s guantanameño Sectional Committee. In a leaflet entitled ‘Let’s Make the Victory Gained on 1st June a Decisive Step Along the Road of the National and Social Liberation of Cuba!’,(90) the Trotskyists not only associated themselves with the awakened desires of the masses to move against the defeated Batista-official communist alliance in the field of labour, but ambiguously viewed Grau San Martín’s election as somehow ‘theirs’, a progressive step towards the revolution. Rather than warning the workers that the new government would ultimately be incapable of implementing even a moderate nationalist programme because of the clash this would provoke with imperialism, the Cuban Trotskyists gave the impression that the nature of the Grau San Martín government was open to question, to be determined by future its future performance.(91)
The POR rather belatedly sought to rectify its confused position and re-establish its concern for proletarian independence only after the most advanced sections of the working class had already begun to turn away from the Auténticos. In January 1945, as it became evident that the government of Grau San Martín would not embark on a process of democratising the CTC to challenge the PSP’s dominance, the POR launched a trade union fractional organisation, the Defensa Obrera Revolucionaria de la Confederación de Trabajadores de Cuba, in an attempt to group the most radical workers who had not yet identified politically with the POR around a programme of demands which emphasised the need for increased autonomy from both the Ministry of Labour and the trade union bureaucracy.
In denouncing the PSP for its acts of armed aggression, its state-sanctioned extortion and its abandonment of the struggle against the bourgeoisie and the capitalist state,(92) as well as the Auténtico leaders for reaching agreement with the PSP at the post-election Fourth Congress of the CTC, the Defensa Obrera Revolucionaria’s eleven-point programme of struggle reasserted the need for “the absolute political independence of the proletariat. Against all arrangements with the political parties of the bourgeoisie.”(93) In attempting to carry forward the struggle for independent working class organisation, the clearly elaborated programme also insisted that the right to call a strike had to reside solely with the workers without any involvement from the Ministry of Labour and that real wages should be defended through the introduction of a sliding scale of wages.(94)
However, after more than a decade of debilitating reliance on state interference to attain economic and political goals, as well as the lack of a Marxist tradition in Cuba which consistently espoused the principle of proletarian political independence, these attempts to create a revolutionary opposition to the de facto PSP-Grau San Martín alliance inside the trade union movement failed. Having limped behind the Auténticos with a rather weak ‘critical support’ perspective, the POR’s principled trade union fraction initiative came too late to influence a section of the Auténtico workers. The POR, displaying the Cuban Trotskyists’ long-term tendency to emphasise the formation of undelineated blocs with the forces of petty bourgeois nationalism, proved unable to forge a class-based opposition to the overtly pro-capitalist PSP-Grau San Martín alliance. Instead, democratic nationalist sentiment again took hold and conditioned the re-emergence of a myriad of petty bourgeois revolutionary action groups when the general level of discontent and the outbreak of the Cold War necessitated the removal of the PSP from its positions of influence in the labour movement. The POR, having been unable to win any substantial number of fresh recruits to breathe life into the party again faced another round of organisational disintegration as internal differences virtually paralysed its activities for a period in 1946.
Although the Auténtico government had been discredited through its compromise with the official communists in the trade union field and the evident peace it had made with U.S. imperialist interests, in conditions characterised by weak class-based institutions and a debilitated independent working class movement, the POR proved unable to break out of its isolation after a period of concerted effort. This stagnation in Trotskyist influence provoked a further period of internal dissension and paralysis in early 1946. In this section I trace the Cuban Trotskyists’ organisational and theoretical development in the post-World War Two era from 1946 until the 1959 Cuban Revolution. In so doing, I develop my argument that despite the general weakness of working class-based organisations, the principal reason for the Trotskyists’ organisational stagnation was their own political strategy. That is, the Cuban Trotskyists’ failure to distinguish clearly between democratic and proletarian anti-imperialist work and to form undelineated blocs with the forces of petty bourgeois nationalism not only explain their continued inability to build a distinct revolutionary communist party, but in the early 1950s led to the actual disappearance of the POR.
Just as a stagnation at the end of the 1930s had provoked a crisis within the Cuban Trotskyist party, so the Trotskyists’ inability to recruit substantial numbers of new members in 1944-46 led to internal dissension and paralysis in early 1946. The dissent inside the POR was initiated by a section of the small Havana branch which, leaving aside Pablo Díaz’s work in the Laundry Workers’ Union, had virtually no contact with the working class and had largely been reduced to serving as the POR’s administrative centre. Three members in Havana, describing themselves as representing the majority on the Central Committee, drew up and circulated an internal report in March 1946 which launched into a sharp criticism of the listless direction of the POR.(95)
Although various reports to be found in the internal documents of the international Trotskyist movement stated that the Cuban POR counted on seventy-five members in 1944-45,(96) and thirty-five in early 1947,(97) the number of comrades who considered themselves to be Trotskyists in the immediate post-war period actually numbered approximately twenty. The March 1946 internal report drawn up by the ‘majority’ Central Committee faction in Havana noted that the POR had been reduced to a total of seven or eight in members in its principal section, Guantánamo, with a further three individuals in Santiago de Cuba, three or four comrades in the small western town of Aguacate, a candidate member in Victoria de las Tunas, and three members in the Havana group who acted as a Central Committee and four others on the periphery.(98) The report set out in no uncertain terms the view that the party was faced with a progressive disappearance without the slightest perspective of how to halt the decline and rejuvenate its revolutionary potential. In describing how the POR had not capitalised on the opportunities which had opened up to it in the light of Stalinism delivering itself to Batista and then the ‘revolutionary’ Auténtico opposition subsequently being discredited in government,(99) the report located the reasons for this failure in the POR’s own organisation and political perspectives. As with the PBL during the Revolution of the 1930s, the collapse of cell activity and the internal discussion of issues were again identified as a basic debilitating factor.(100) That is, the POR was a ‘centralist’ organisation, but without a vibrant internal life could not be a ‘democratic centralist’ one. The report also correctly argued that the party’s apparent paralysis was the result of its own political opportunism in not clearly differentiating itself from petty bourgeois nationalism in the struggle against Stalinism. The report’s authors wrote:
“[d]espite the efforts of our comrades in the trade unions, in practice we did nothing other than be in the rear of the groups in opposition to Stalinism which arose from time to time. With slight exceptions we practically remained behind the coat-tails of the Comisión Nacional Obrera of the PRC(A).”(101)
Frustrated with the atmosphere of inertia which characterised the remaining elements of the POR, the ‘majority’ Havana faction derided the party for its lack of “seriousness and systematic persistence which corresponds with Bolshevik militants”,(102) and advanced a list of general and immediate questions which needed to be addressed in order to re-generate the internal life of the POR. These included the elaboration of a general political thesis, a trade union thesis, a declaration of principles for a projected youth organisation, a study of the documents of the SWP(US) Minority and Majority, the removal of all resolutions on international matters which had not been fully discussed by the party membership, and the application of rigorous collective discipline.(103) Posing a blunt ultimatum, the ‘majority’ Havana faction stated that if these issues were not addressed, the newspaper which they were largely responsible for, would cease publication. In their words; “we want order or we do not plan anything.”(104)
The atmosphere created by this sort of strongly worded address, on top of the progressive paralysis in the internal life of the party, and the failure of the party’s fraction work inside the CTC, could have easily announced the imminent collapse of the POR. However, although the issues put forward were not taken up in any proposed internal discussion, the party was given another focus and temporary lease of life through a sudden tactical turn to political work inside a series of the revolutionary action groups which emerged among the ranks of disaffected pesepistas and Auténticos. While the leader of the disgruntled ‘majority’ faction in Havana was expelled shortly after drafting the report,(105) the crisis, therefore, was principally defused by another round of ill-thought out empiricism. In a kind of caricature of the PBL’s spontaneous and ill-disciplined entry into Joven Cuba in an attempt to construct the revolutionary Trotskyist party via the ‘external road’ in 1934-35, Pérez Santiesteban, the one Central Committee member in Havana who opposed the highly critical internal report of the ‘majority’ faction, responded to the crisis empirically by leading a largely unorganised entry into the recently organised Movimiento Socialista Revolucionario (MSR) of Rolando Masferrer.
The MSR had been born out of a nucleus of activists from the Legión Revolucionaria de Cuba, an anti-Machado action group from the 1930s, and a number of members around Masferrer from the official communists’ shock brigade who disagreed with the party’s adherence to doctrine of dissolution proposed by Browder in the United States in the mid-1940s. These pesepista dissidents had received some support from the Soviet Union as a result of the PSP’s unwillingness to disown Browderism when requested by Moscow. However, after the Duclos letter and the PSP’s reluctant acceptance of the Moscow-line, the dissident ‘officials’ were expelled from the Cuban party as part of the eventual agreement which brought the Cuban communists back into the official fold.(106) On the back of discontent with Grau San Martín, Masferrer and his supporters were able to attract a variety of Leftists who were prepared to join them in forming a new revolutionary organisation. From the beginning, Pérez Santiesteban played a leading part in the discussions of the new formation and, indeed, it appears that he more than anyone was responsible for it adopting the name ‘Revolutionary Socialist Movement’, this, as he described, in an attempt to combat the ambiguities implicit in the previously proposed ‘Izquierda Revolucionaria’.(107)
Although the Cuban Trotskyists recognised that the MSR was essentially another petty bourgeois organisation which the Cuban political economy characteristically gave birth to from time to time,(108) and that it admitted anyone and everyone, had no perspective for building a revolutionary party, and had no political line to guide activity,(109) they initially viewed their entry into the MSR with a great deal of optimism in terms of the possibilities for recruiting.(110) Even Pablo Díaz, one of the authors of the internal report which had criticised the party for being on the ‘coat-tails’ of the petty bourgeois opposition to Stalinism, was enthusiastic about the fact that the POR was in effective charge of the MSR’s programmatic elaboration.(111)
However, the POR’s almost spontaneous turn towards political work inside the MSR had taken place with little analysis or preparation and quickly slumped into chaotic improvisation and eventual despondency.(112) Rather than seeking to win the best elements of the new organisation to the POR by attempting to expose the petty bourgeois character of the MSR’s leadership, the Cuban Trotskyists all but dissolved inside the new organisation. The principle of concluding temporary alliances with the forces of petty bourgeois nationalism for concrete and carefully delineated ends was sacrificed as the POR, in effect, viewed the MSR as the ‘blunt’ vehicle for revolution. The publication of the POR’s only public organ, the newspaper Revolución Proletaria, was suspended, never to reappear,(113) and without any independent programme of its own the POR took responsibility for elaborating the MSR’s theoretical documents.
The futility of the ill-thought out fractional work was displayed by the fact that these documents were wholly ignored by the MSR’s leadership and activists alike as they threw themselves into adventurist ‘actions’ and opportunism to arrest control of certain sectors of the labour movement from their rivals, the PSP. Threats and bureaucratic manoeuvres agreed on the spot by leaders who were not controlled by the base simply drowned out the POR’s vain calls for a discussion of theoretical issues.
Although the POR also worked in a number of smaller petty bourgeois organisations, for example, the Juventudes Laboristas, the youth wing of Movimiento Laborista led by a future Ortodoxo leader Carlos Márquez Sterling,(114) and the Liga Radical Martiana, another revolutionary action group,(115) which had been given life as a result of disillusionment with the government of Grau San Martín, the Cuban Trotskyists continued to concentrate their activity inside the MSR until 1948. The spark which triggered their effective withdrawal was the MSR’s agreement to support Carlos Prío Socorrás, the Auténtico party candidate, in the presidential elections. For Pérez Santiesteban, who was still in the MSR’s leadership, the MSR’s electoral tactic was the final straw and he wrote a document for circulation around the loose collection of MSR branches which outlined the problems of the organisation. He set out in no uncertain terms, though rather belatedly, that the MSR had fallen into the traditional pattern of activity which had characterised the revolutionary movement in Cuba and that a complete break from the past was required. Proposing a rapid root and branch internal rectification in terms of the MSR’s basic organisation and approach to theory, he argued that the organisation should first draw up statutes in order to establish the rights and duties of its membership, before then elaborating a programme of transitional demands, the defence of which should be the principal activity of its activists.(116) In effect, though, he was only forlornly recognising the limitations of petty bourgeois nationalism without attempting to develop a similarly profound review of the POR’s strategy and tactics which argued that action groups like the MSR were in fact obstacles to workers’ power rather than vehicles for it. The document was circulated around the country, but only had an impact in terms of helping to win activists to the POR in the Guantánamo region where the Trotskyists had a relatively strong representation in the MSR and some prestige among the working class.(117)
In the aftermath of this escapade with the MSR, while the POR broadly viewed its experience as a failure, it continued to fail to locate its error in the deep-seated strategic critique that the forces of petty bourgeois nationalism were ultimately an obstacle, not agencies for the necessary proletarian anti-imperialist revolution. That is, despite the criticisms Pérez Santiesteban made of the MSR and its leadership, the POR did not criticise its own willingness to make common cause with petty bourgeois groups. Indeed, it was this inability or unwillingness to propose a politically independent course for the working class, something which characterised the whole history of Trotskyism in Cuba, that led the Trotskyists to argue that they had had limited success because of the backwardness of the MSR’s leaders and this leadership’s inability to work towards the construction of a revolutionary party in a Bolshevik sense.(118)
In further limiting criticisms of its entry work to the tactical concerns of having not thoroughly discussed and prepared themselves for fraction work beforehand, the POR pursued a policy of substituting its work inside the MSR with a more prepared entry into the Acción Revolucionaria Guiteras (ARG), another action group with terrorist roots and little political formation.(119) By mid-1949, however, after the POR had recognised that the socialist sounding phrases of all the recently resurrected action groups were used to cover simple criminal activity, this attempt at working inside the ARG ended. With specific reference to the ARG, the POR wrote that between what it says and what it does lies an ocean, its “’revolutionary syndicalism’ has not gone beyond simple racketeering and gangsterism.”(120)
Abandoning its activity in these action groups, the POR, far from leaving with additional recruits, had taken another step towards organisational and theoretical collapse. As Pablo Díaz described, the principal feature of the Cuban Trotskyists’ activity had become participation in movements which strove for national economic development.(121) In implicitly accepting a one-sided approach to the revolutionary process, he emphasised the struggle for national liberation and simply sought to push democratic nationalist groups further and further to Left against imperialism rather than raising a programme of action which prioritised the necessary proletarian anti-imperialist character of the struggle. While the Trotskyists, then, did not disintegrate in a round of splits within the confines of their own organisation, they did wither on the vine of a nationalist movement which, though identified as a ‘vehicle’ for revolution, had little by way of an anti-imperialist action programme.
At the POR’s last appearance as a nationally organised party during the Sixth National Workers’ Congress in 1949, the party’s fraction paid testimony to the POR’s inability to express the fact that a great gulf existed between Trotskyism and the forces of petty bourgeois nationalism. Through the intervention of a number of delegates from the Guantánamo region headed by Antonio ‘ñico’ Torres, a representative of Delegación 11 of the Hermandad Ferroviaria de Cuba,(122) the raising of the banner of Trotskyism at this Congress did little more than confirm that a deep malaise had set in. The Trotskyist delegates distributed a manifesto which, far from seeking to orientate a proletarian vanguard, merely amounted to a well-structured piece of advice for a nationalist government setting out on the path of national economic regeneration within the confines of the world market. With its central concerns being economic diversification, industrialisation and the pipe-dream of breaking out of the dollar orbit by setting up barter agreements with Western Europe and Latin America,(123) the POR presented a defeated caricature of the PBL’s earlier theoretical attempts to break away from a theory which defended the independence of a democratic anti-imperialist revolution. The wider horizons of revolutionary socialism had dwindled, along with its membership, into an overtly stagist approach to revolutionary activity. Like the Apristas, the POR was reduced to militating in the Left-nationalist milieu for a round of ‘progressive’ capitalist development before the proletarian anti-imperialist programme was raised.
During the early 1950s, the POR’s Havana branch seems to have collapsed as its most committed member, Pablo Díaz, spent increasingly lengthy spells in New York for the purposes of employment. The remaining activists in the Guantánamo region who adhered to the banner of Trotskyism did so as individual trade union militants.(124) Although Broué has found evidence relating to the expression of Trotskyist ideas in Cuba during the 1950s in the correspondence of various individuals; namely the Mexican Octavio Fernández, and the Cubans Bodernea,(125) Pérez Santiesteban and Pablo Díaz,(126) any continuity in reality amounted to taking the ultimate step away from an insistence on the necessary proletarian character of the anti-imperialist revolution. Indeed, the only ‘permanent’ characteristic of the Trotskyists’ assessment of revolutionary strategy was their progressive flight from a perspective which sought to defend an independent class programme of the proletariat against the forces of democratic petty bourgeois nationalism.
Such a ‘dissolutionist’ strategy was not without precedent in the Latin American Trotskyist movement, the most notable example being the Bolivian POR effectively placing itself at the service of the petty bourgeois nationalist Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario (MNR) government in an attempt to serve as a radicalising influence and gently push it towards socialism. In Cuba in the 1950s, the old POR members’ flight from Trotskyism was complete with their integration into the 26 July Movement milieu in the insurrectionary war against the regime of Batista. With the POR having lost all of its earlier independent initiative and drive, those ex-Trotskyists who remained committed to a revolutionary project effectively identified the M26J as another petty bourgeois vehicle for revolution and settled into openly struggling for a democratic anti-imperialist revolution without any concern for attempting to build a Trotskyist vanguard party, or even fraction, if only to gently push the forces of petty bourgeois nationalism towards socialism.
During the revolutionary struggle of 1956-59, the participation of ex-Trotskyists in both the sierra and llano fell into two categories. On the one hand, there were those ex-members of the POR who openly renounced Trotskyism in order to join the M26J at an early stage and fully embrace the primacy of the one-sided struggle for national liberation. On the other hand, there were those individuals who participated in the armed struggle once it was underway but who never totally rejected the need for a Trotskyist organisation. This second body of former Trotskyists constituted the core group which went on to reorganise the Cuban Trotskyist party after the triumph of the Revolution.
The two most prominent examples of ex-POR members from the late 1940s who formally renounced Trotskyism in order to join the M26J at an early stage were Pablo Díaz and Antonio ‘ñico’ Torres. Díaz, who had based himself permanently in the U.S. in 1952, led the Comité Obrero Democrático de Exiliados y Emigrados Cubanos, a workers’ organisation in New York. Together with the larger Acción Cívica Cubana and Comité Ortodoxo de Nueva York organisations, this Democratic Workers’ Committee of Cuban Exiles and Emigrants worked in the Club Patriótica 26 de Julio to collect funds for the insurrection, recruit fighters and challenge the propaganda of the Batista regime in the United States.(127) Receiving instructions to go to Mexico in October 1956,(128) Pablo Díaz also joined the Granma expeditionaries as one of fourteen members of Fidel Castro’s General Staff.(129) However, after the chaos surrounding the ship’s landing, Díaz made his way back to Havana and then to New York to resume his work in the Democratic Workers’ Committee of Cuban Exiles and Emigrants during the course of the insurrection.
The extent to which Cuban Trotskyism had collapsed into emphasising the struggle of petty bourgeois nationalism above that of the independent action of the working class was evident in the thesis which Díaz submitted to the Sierra Maestra Workers’ Congress in October 1958. In this document, he posited that although the working class had the potential to transform the country politically and socially, because of its low level of consciousness it was up to the M26J to take responsibility and act as the agent for revolutionary change.(130) Displaying another characteristic feature of Cuban Trotskyism, he also argued that the working class had a role to play in the overthrow of the Batista regime via the general strike. Resurrecting the old ‘Workers’ Alliance’ slogan, he contended that the general strike could only be successful if the workers’ sections of the various revolutionary parties and organisations formed a United Front Body which drew up a programme of action to mobilise the working masses in the final push against the Batista regime. This programme of action which, borrowing from the Trotskyist vocabulary, he called a Transitional Programme, did not, however, go beyond a minimum programme of economic and democratic demands. The action programme he proposed included a call for a six-hour working day in the sugar industry with no reduction in pay, a maximum working week of forty hours, social security and maternity pay, and full trade union democracy allowing for the election of officials by workers themselves.(131)
Of those former Trotskyists who remained in Cuba during the period of the insurrection, ñico Torres was the most prominent. Torres, after satisfying the leadership of the M26J that he was no longer a Trotskyist, was named second in command of the M26J’s Sección Obrera in Guantánamo under Octavio Louit Venzant on 25 September 1955.(132) Given the initial relative success of the M26J’s guantanameño Workers’ Section, its leaders, including ñico Torres, rapidly became national leaders, eventually becoming principal actors in the Frente Obrero Nacional and the reorganisation of the CTC from 1959.(133) Other Trotskyists or former Trotskyists who were active in the M26J in Cuba itself included Alejandro Lamo and Gustavo Fraga in the province of Oriente. While Alejandro Lamo, an ex-Trotskyist from Santiago de Cuba, joined the Rebel Army,(134) Gustavo Fraga was a leader of the M26J Workers’ Section of Guantánamo and Yateras. Along with ñico Torres and others, Fraga drew up the first draft of the organisational thesis of the Workers’ Sections inside the M26J. He died in an accidental explosion in an M26J bomb factory on 4 August 1957.(135)
Of those ex-Trotskyists who participated in the armed struggle once it was underway but who never totally abandoned all notion of building a Trotskyist vanguard party, was a core of members from the Guantánamo branch including Juan Medina, Luciano García and Idalberto Ferrera Acosta, as well as Roberto Acosta in Havana. In Guantánamo, the Ferrera’s house was used as a meeting place and refuge for the various revolutionary groups and combatientes.(136) Idalberto Ferrera Acosta, as a civilian employee and trade union organiser in the U.S. Naval Base, and his wife Guarina Ramírez Acosta, also participated in the clandestine activities of the Resistencia Cívica and the M26J. Guarina Ramírez served as a messenger for Ivan Rodríguez, a leader of the movement in Guantánamo, before joining the 18 Antonio López column in the Second Frank País García Front as a teacher.(137) Their sons, who became leaders of the post-1959 Trotskyist party, also took part in the insurrection in various capacities. Idalberto Ferrera Ramírez and Juan León Ferrera Ramírez were initially active in the student cells of the M26J before they went up to the Sierra after the Second Front was opened. Idalberto Ferrera Ramírez was initially deployed as a guerrilla before becoming a nurse. Juan León Ferrera, after smuggling radio equipment, arms and munitions from the U.S. Naval Base to the Sierra, led a group of eight guerrillas in the Second Front and was made a sergeant in the Rebel Army.(138)
Other former POR members were also active in the Guantánamo region in the trade union movement, particularly among railway workers.(139) According to Adolfo Gilly, Juan Medina and Luciano García, as leaders of the railway workers’ union in Guantánamo, reported that they had supported an M26J-PSP alliance at a trade union conference in the Sierra during the insurrection.(140) Whether or not this was on the basis of any agreed programme of action is uncertain. Elsewhere, in Havana, Roberto Acosta, a leading founding member of the PBL in Santiago de Cuba, was active in the Resistencia Cívica. Amongst other things, he provided his house to hide his engineering colleague Manuel Ray, its Acción y Sabotage head. He also collaborated with the M26J and was involved in the network which prepared messages and correspondence for Fidel Castro and the Rebel Army leaders in the Sierra Maestra.(141)
By the time the insurrection broke out, then, there was no organised Trotskyist group in Cuba, although as individuals a number of ex-members of the PBL and POR participated in the armed struggle wherever and however they could. After more than two decades of fighting with little success, though, this involvement had in many respects led them full circle to pursue a political strategy which had much in common with that advocated by Mella in the ANERC and the early dissidents in the OCC. That is, in supporting an insurrectionary movement alongside the forces of petty bourgeois nationalism they, in practice, subordinated proletarian political independence to the struggle for, at best, a democratic anti-imperialist revolution.
In sum, then, under the conditions of semi-legality after the March 1935 general strike those sections of the PBL which had opposed the so-called ‘external road’ to building the revolutionary party were able to regroup, albeit with a much reduced membership which mirrored that of most other Latin American Trotskyist groups. From the mid-1930s to the early 1950s, their numbers declined steadily from a figure approaching approximately one hundred to no more than twenty. However, even at their weakest moment before their eventual organisational dissolution in the early 1950s, they enjoyed some trade union influence among workers in the Guantánamo, the only region in which they had been a mass party during the Revolution of the 1930s.
Organisationally, just as the PBL during the Revolution of the 1930s was characterised by periods of internal dislocation followed by attempts at reorganisation, so Cuban Trotskyism between 1935 and 1959 was characterised by increasingly lengthy intervals of organisational crisis punctuated by brief periods in which the leadership attempted to establish some stability in the party. In tracing this pattern of organisational development, I have argued that its decline and eventual dissolution was as much the result of the peculiar features of the Cuban group’s political thinking as it was of the characteristics and difficulties posed by the environment in which they operated. That is, the disappearance of the POR as an organised party in the 1950s reflected not only the weakness of the working class after more than a decade of trade union and state collaboration as well as the pressures of operating in a nationalist, anti-Stalinist milieu, but more importantly, the Trotskyists’ own failure to distinguish clearly between the democratic and proletarian anti-imperialist revolutions and to steer the working class on a politically independent course of action.
The Cuban Trotskyists made various attempts to break out of their organisational isolation not by insisting on the independence of proletarian political organisation, but by making increasing concessions to non-proletarian nationalist groups. From a loose and ambiguous critical support perspective with regard to the Auténticos in the early to mid-1940s, they made several largely unorganised attempts at ill-defined entry inside a number of self-titled action groups in the late 1940s. However, the final crisis in the evolution of the POR in the period between revolutions did not simply spring from poorly prepared fraction work or the MSR’s and then ARG’s slide into increasingly open gangsterism. It was instead the result of the POR’s mistaken assessment of its whole method of revolutionary activity. That is, in again tying its destiny, as well as that of the working class, to the fate of petty bourgeois nationalist groups, the POR’s targeted fraction work unsurprisingly came to an ignominious end when the action groups themselves were either incorporated into the government machine or suppressed. The government simply no longer required the pistoleros’ threats and terror tactics to remove the PSP from its positions of office in the working class. Pursuing their own logic of organisational dissolution, many ex-Trotskyists ultimately coalesced in and around the M26J on an individual basis without any ‘critical’ component. If they remained socialists, their entry into the M26J milieu confirmed their explicit acceptance of the theory of the independence of the democratic anti-imperialist revolution, a tendency which had characterised the early OCC and PBL.
Despite Trotskyism’s small number of adherents in Cuba, one of its principal merits as a radical Left alternative was that during the course of the Second World War the PBL, and then POR, broadly maintained the principle that the greatest threat to Latin American countries was imperialism whatever its mask, be it bourgeois democratic or fascist. During the course of the war, while the local official communists eventually served as uncritical recruiting agents for war abroad and strike-breakers on the home front, the Trotskyists identified U.S. imperialism, the local oppressor, rather than Nazi Germany as the principal threat, and attempted to apply the SWP(US)’s Proletarian Military Policy to Cuban conditions. However, in their interpretation of the nature of the war and the strategy they advocated, the Cuban Trotskyists also displayed their essentially one-sided approach to the revolution in Cuba, giving undue emphasis to the slogans and struggle for national liberation.
On the outbreak of the war, the Cuban Trotskyists argued that it was not a war of fascism against democracy but an imperialist war for a new division of the world. For the PBL there was no basic distinction to be drawn between Britain oppressing millions of Indians and Africans, and Nazi Germany oppressing its working class. Capitalism itself was seen to be the cause of the war, and war could only be stopped once and for all by directing action towards the destruction of the capitalist system.(142) After the entry of the Soviet Union into the war in 1941, the Cuban Trotskyists denounced the Stalinists for their initial pacifism and then subsequent pro-war stance which entailed supporting the despatch of the Cuban working masses as cannon-fodder.(143) Even the independent-minded Santiago de Cuba Sectional Committee of the PBL remained firm in accusing the official communists of becoming the “fervent supporters of the imperialist war at the service of the White House.”(144) In contrast to the Stalinists’ volte-face, throughout the course of the war, the Cuban Trotskyists consistently advanced three central programmatic demands which taken together constituted a variation of the Proletarian Military Policy. In numerous documents, they raised the slogan of “NOT A SINGLE CUBAN SOLDIER OUTSIDE CUBA”,(145) they opposed government-sponsored compulsory military service from September 1940,(146) and they argued for military instruction for the masses under the control of workers’ organisations.(147)
However, in advancing a Proletarian Military Policy, the Trotskyists’ underlying bias towards the slogans and demands for national liberation diluted the primacy of the proletarian nature of the envisaged revolution. For example, although they rejected neutral pacifism with the argument that the working class would ultimately solve the great problems of the day with arms in hand, rather than uncompromisingly insisting on the class significance of the workers under arms, they invoked the bourgeois democratic traditions of the nineteenth century Cuban Liberation Army. As they wrote, “we want to reclaim the mambisa tradition of the soldier-citizen: it was the soldiers of the Liberation Army who, exercising the right of suffrage, elected the Government in Arms.”(148)
The Cuban Trotskyists also revealed their tendency to accept the theory of the independence of the democratic anti-imperialist revolution in the unconditional support they gave to various national liberation struggles against imperialism during the war. Aside from raising rather ambiguous slogans, such as “Long live the war of the colonial peoples for their national liberation!”,(149) which on their own implied acceptance of a two-stage revolutionary strategy, the Cuban Trotskyists also directly equated the struggle of the Soviet Union against imperialist aggression with that of the Chinese people in their war of national liberation against Japan. They suggested that both struggles were equally anti-imperialist and therefore both deserved unconditional support.(150) In accepting Trotsky’s argument that the Soviet Union would deserve unconditional support in the war no matter how subservient and how great the material aid it received from the Allies, the Cuban Trotskyists mistakenly gave unconditional support to national liberation movements when, in fact, that support should have been conditioned by the degree of independence the Chinese bourgeois nationalists maintained with respect to the Allies.(151)
Further privileging the struggle for national liberation, the Cuban Trotskyists also displayed a tendency to justify their slogan of ‘Not a Single Cuban Soldier Outside Cuba!’ on strategic grounds rather than on the basis of political arguments. That is, rather than insisting that the proletariat’s main enemy was imperialism and workers simply had no interest in prosecuting imperialist designs, the POR diluted this message with the argument that “[t]he defence of the national territory [of Cuba] demands the permanent presence inside that territory of all available forces.”(152) The slogan of ‘National and Social Liberation!’ was twisted to privilege the struggle for national defence, leaving on one side the permanent struggle of the proletariat world-wide.
The Spanish Civil War broke out in mid-1936 at a time when the reorganised PBL was still adjusting to the conditions of the March 1935 defeat, and continued until 1939, when class collaboration in Cuba had been cemented in an alliance between Batista and the official communist party. From the outset, the Cuban Trotskyists were unequivocal in rebutting the official communists’ assertion that it was simply a war between pro-democratic Leftists and pro-fascist Spanish reactionaries. They instead adhered to the Permanent Revolution perspective, arguing that only the independent action of the Spanish proletariat against both the fascists and the vacillating Popular Front government could save the Spanish Revolution.(153) However, in again setting out its internationalist proletarian standard in the Cuban labour and revolutionary milieu the PBL seems to have been ignorant of the content of the political debate which had erupted between Trotsky and the followers of Nin in the Spanish POUM.
Fulfilling the basic education and propaganda functions of a revolutionary party, the PBL published Trotsky’s July 1936 article ‘The Lesson of Spain’ which polemicised against the Popular Front alliance of working class leaders with the bourgeoisie. However, while Trotsky argued for a “genuine alliance of workers and peasants [....] against the bourgeoisie”,(154) which was ultimately aimed against the POUM as much as the Spanish Stalinists, the PBL was rather more ambiguous. On the one hand, the Cuban Trotskyists attacked the Comintern when arguing against all notion of political blocs with the Republican bourgeoisie:
“[t]he policy of forming a bloc with the republican bourgeoisie, with the so-called ‘democratic bourgeoisie’, as advocated by the revisionist Stalinists since the Seventh Congress of the Communist International, is in essence a restraining counter-revolutionary policy, the consequences of which will be paid by the Spanish proletariat.”(155)
On the other hand, though, they did not offer any criticism of the POUM for signing the Left Electoral Pact, a de facto Popular Front. The Cuban Trotskyists limited their analysis of the POUM to congratulatory comments on its calls to reorganise the Workers’ Alliances as organs of proletarian expression,(156) and seem to have been unaware of the POUM’s subsequent decision to enter the Catalan government, a move which led to the undermining and dissolution of the anti-fascist committees, the real embryonic organs of proletarian power.
In Cuba, the PBL followed a broad Trotskyist perspective in its intervention in the Ateneo Socialista Español, a non-partisan Spanish workers’ organisation,(157) while appearing to have little knowledge of the conflict which had erupted between Nin and the POUM, on the one hand, and Trotsky and the Spanish Bolshevik Leninist group on the other.(158) This schism at the international level certainly did not provoke any debate within the PBL at the time. In one of the few references which they made to the POUM, the Cuban Trotskyists praised Maurín for speaking against a policy of collaboration and subordination to the bourgeoisie, and naïvely commended the POUM for “calling on the Spanish proletariat day after day to reorganise the Workers’ Alliance, the true organs of proletarian expression, and the workers’ militias, the embryos of the Red Army.”(159) Indeed, unlike the fiercely intransigent Trotskyist movement elsewhere in Europe and the Americas, it was only after the Civil War had ended that the Cuban Trotskyists addressed the Nin-Trotsky controversy. However, even in their belated references to the dispute they displayed their split loyalties. While in 1940 they unequivocally labelled the POUM as a centrist group between Marxism and reformism which was incapable of leading a successful struggle for socialist revolution,(160) in the same year in a more considered reflection on the outcome of the fiery debate between Nin and Trotsky they questioned what they perceived to be Trotsky’s unnecessarily hostile language as well as the actual substance of his arguments. They wrote:
“[t]he violent characterization made by Comrade Crux calling Nin and Andrade ‘traitors’, closed the road to reintegrating into our ranks a great number of revolutionaries. Because if it is true that the conduct of Nin and Andrade well merited the characterization, it is not less certain the characterization was impolitic.”(161)
Among those Cuban Trotskyists who went on an individual basis to fight in the Spanish Civil War, however, the POUM-Trotsky controversy certainly was well-known and had a number of consequences. The most prominent Cuban Trotskyist who fought in the Spanish Civil War was Breá, a central figure in stimulating Trotskyist discussion within the Oposición Comunista de Cuba in the 1932-33 period. Having returned to Europe after the fall of the Grau San Martín government in 1934, Breá made his way to Spain in July 1936 with his companion Mary Low.(162) From late July 1936 to early 1937, as a militant of the Bolshevik-Leninists, the official Trotskyist group,(163) he fought with the POUM militia on the Aragón Front, and worked with the International Secretariat of the POUM(164) and as a journalist for the POUM’s newspapers La Batalla and the P.O.U.M..(165)
In Barcelona, in late 1936, Breá was detained on two separate occasions by the Stalinist security forces. The POUM refused to give him any protection and together with Low, he eventually had to leave once more for France.(166) Their experiences in Spain were vividly recounted in their Red Spanish Notebook,(167) the first account of the Spanish Civil War from a Trotskyist perspective to be published in English in book form. Unlike the PBL in Cuba, in this book Breá outlined the ideological confusion of the anarchists and anarcho-syndicalists who, in his opinion, “threw away the power when it fell into their hands because their principles were against taking it.”(168) For Breá, the only way forward in Spain was to oppose Communism to Fascism,(169) and he argued the need for what he termed “a Common Front—that is to say an alliance of the proletariat without an amalgamation of programme.”(170)
Breá also reaffirmed the outright counter-revolutionary role of those who adhered to the Comintern while, at the same time, refusing to lay the whole blame for the failure of the revolution at their door. In revealing the depth of the Cuban Trotskyists’ anti-Stalinism, Breá also criticised the POUM. He wrote:
“[i]t would be childish to throw the blame there [i.e., at the Stalinists’ doorstep] when we have known so long what a counter-revolutionary part Russia and her acolytes have been playing in all countries. Forewarned is forearmed. The responsibility must lie with those revolutionary parties in Spain who know Stalinism for what it is. I mean the P.O.U.M. and Anarchists, and the Anarcho-Syndicalists.”(171)
Aside from Breá, other Cuban Trotskyists also fought in the Spanish Civil War, albeit as individuals isolated from the international Trotskyist movement. Apart from the PBL members of Spanish origin who had been deported from Cuba to Spain in 1934,(172) news reached the PBL in late 1936 that Edelmiro Blanco, a leader of the General Commercial Workers’ Union, had been killed in action.(173) Wilebaldo Solano has also recounted that another Cuban Trotskyist, Enrique de la Uz, fought in the International Brigades and that Juan Andrade, a leader of the POUM, spoke on various occasions of a group of Cuban Trotskyists which had fought valiantly.(174)
The Cuban Trotskyists’ activity, then, during the Spanish Civil War was broadly determined by an acceptance of the necessity for insisting on the proletarian character of the anti-fascist war, a fundamental tenet of the Permanent Revolution perspective. However, as a group the PBL seem to have failed to gain an understanding of the deep chasm which had developed between the POUM and Trotsky. Only Breá in Spain developed a clear understanding of this dispute, and perhaps it was only as a result of his return to Cuba in 1940 that the PBL subsequently came out against the POUM’s so-called ‘centrism’.
During the period between the end of the March 1935 general strike and the late 1940s the PBL, and then POR, maintained regular contact with the international Trotskyist movement mainly through the offices of the U.S. Trotskyists. They received the press of numerous Trotskyist groups across the Americas and Europe,(175) and sent letters and reports to the SWP(US) and international leadership in New York.(176) While they were never able to send a delegate to any international meeting, principally due to financial constraints, they mandated the New York-based U.S. Trotskyist Fred Browner to represent them in their stead.(177) They also maintained contact with the international movement through the occasional visit from U.S. Trotskyists,(178) and through a small number of European Trotskyists who as refugees spent the duration of the Second World War in Cuba. Apart from Louis Rigaudias, this included Anton Grylewicz, a leader of the German Trotskyists.(179)
In the late 1940s, though, these links and contacts with the Fourth International gradually faded. While this drift away from the international movement was largely the result of the Cuban Trotskyists’ own crisis of organisation and ultimate dissolution, this was not a one-way causal relationship. That is, the POR developed specific positions on the nature of the Soviet Union as well as on the nature of the revolution in Cuba which led it to become increasingly distanced from its principal link with the international movement, the SWP(US). This international isolation, I contend, while not provoking the Cuban Trotskyist party’s dissolution did further compound the stagnation and disillusion which had set in among the Trotskyists.
In the debate on the nature of the revolution in Latin American and the Trotskyists’ orientation towards local non-proletarian nationalist groups, the Cuban Trotskyists, notwithstanding their small numbers in the 1940s, were one of the principal groups belonging to the loose ‘national liberation’ camp. Thus, when Justo’s Liga Obrera Revolucionaria (LOR) in Argentina took up the ‘national liberation’ mantle by emphasising the struggle and slogans for national liberation in a theoretical struggle against the Trotskyists’ international centre based in New York, the Cuban Trotskyists initially expressed sympathy for Justo’s view.(180)
Political disagreements between the POR and SWP(US) continued to surface on the issue of the ‘proletarian’ versus ‘national liberation’ line until the POR’s organisational dissolution in the early 1950s. The SWP(US) largely pressed the Cubans to establish unambiguously their proletarian anti-imperialist credentials. The North Americans, for example, expressed their “thorough-going disagreement” with the POR’s ‘critical support’ tactic prior to the 1944 elections,(181) on the grounds that it failed to “clearly dissociate” the Cuban Trotskyists from Grau San Martín’s “treacherous banner”.(182) By the early 1950s the polarisation in views was such that the SWP(US) curtly advised the POR to resume its activity and become “a real revolutionary Marxist proletarian tendency” free from its past confusion and deviations by orientating itself towards workers influenced by the PSP. No mention was made of principled delineated work among those groups which were influenced by ortodoxia and the struggle for national liberation.(183)
Despite these criticisms, the POR remained ever firm in its commitment to loosely based alliances and entry work in petty bourgeois nationalist groups. While this was evident in its entry into the MSR and then ARG in the late 1940s, on the international plane the Cubans also supported the tactics of participating in the Peronist movement in Argentina and the MNR in Bolivia. They justified this on the ‘national liberation’ basis that such Bonapartist and petty bourgeois nationalist movements had a mass following and were essentially progressive as a result of their opposition to imperialism.(184)
Differences between the Cuban Trotskyists and the SWP(US) also opened up over the issue of the nature of the Soviet Union. Unlike the case of the Trotsky-Nin dispute, from an early stage the Cuban Trotskyists were broadly aware that a debate on the nature of Soviet Union had erupted within the international Trotskyist movement. In May 1940, for example, they condemned the SWP(US) Minority which had taken up an ‘anti-defencist’ position as a petty bourgeois opposition which had succumbed to the pressure of bourgeois public opinion.(185) During the course of the Second World War, the POR, like Trotsky before his murder and the majority of the International Trotskyist movement, consistently advocated giving unconditional defence to the Soviet Union on the basis of various economic features; namely, the existent property relations, state-sponsored economic planning and the state monopoly of foreign trade.(186) At the same time, and again like Trotsky, they were also unrelenting in their descriptive denunciation of the political character of the Soviet regime. Criticising the suppression of soviet, worker and party democracy which in their view only served the interests of increasing the control and privileges of the bureaucracy,(187) the Cuban Trotskyists expressed the opinion that the Soviet bureaucracy in power was a “privileged caste” which had broken with the concept of ‘proletarian revolution’ and which, on the back of the Soviet masses, had consolidated a “Bonapartist State and an anti-proletarian dictatorship.”(188) Giving no political support to the Soviet bureaucracy, the POR entrusted the gains of the October 1917 Revolution to the working class across the world. Calling for the defence of these gains by those same methods which had installed the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, the POR advocated continuing the class struggle against the local bourgeoisies and representatives of imperialism everywhere, and to oppose the imperialist war with a struggle to ignite civil war and national and social liberation.(189)
However, during the mid-1940s, the Cuban Trotskyists’ views on the nature of the Soviet Union underwent a qualitative change. From advocating the unconditional defence of the Soviet Union on the basis that the existent property relations conferred upon it the status of ‘Workers’ State’, however politically degenerated, the POR came to support the Shachtmanite ‘anti-defencist’ thesis and eventually posited that the Soviet Union was some sort of state capitalist formation.(190) While the exact route by which the Cuban Trotskyists adopted this position is unclear, it is more than likely that their analysis of the Soviet Union was conditioned not only by the influence which Mario Pedrosa, a member of the Fourth International’s International Executive Committee, had among Latin American Trotskyists, but by their own experience of Moscow’s acolytes in Cuba. During the Revolution of the 1930s the PBL had been unequivocal in denouncing the anti-revolutionary direction of the PCC. As noted in Section 5.3, they considered that the first task for revolutionaries lay in eliminating Stalinism as a factor in the workers’ movement. The POR had been similarly unequivocal in denouncing the official communists for abandoning all pretence of class struggle in exchange for state succour during the 1940-44 period when Batista was in power.
Thus, despite the POR’s formal ‘defencist’ position with regard to the Soviet Union during the Second World War, by July 1945, the newspaper Revolución Proletaria was lambasting the “Stalinist Dictatorship” for its history of crushing working class organisations in Poland in order to expand its “Totalitarian State”.(191) From this analysis it was a short step to abandon the Fourth International’s position that the subsequent overturn of property relations in Eastern Europe was somehow progressive. Arguing for an end to the Soviet occupation of Poland, the POR reminded the readers of its newspaper that “’[t]he liberation of the working class will be the work of the workers themselves’”.(192) By the late 1940s, the POR’s completely revised ‘anti-defencist’ and state capitalist conclusions on the Soviet Union were publicly expressed in a letter to the French Socialisme ou Barbarie group.(193)
While the Cuban Trotskyists do not seem to have explicitly supported the ‘anti-defencists’ in any faction fight within the international Trotskyist movement, their revised political conclusions were shared by Louis Rigaudias who moved to New York in September 1945 and became a leader of the SWP(US) Minority standing for a state capitalist explanation of the USSR’s development.(194) However, despite this personal link to the ‘anti-defencist’ camp on the American continent, the POR does not seem to have established any formal organisational ties with any of the ‘anti-defencist’ tendencies which split from the Fourth International in the 1940s. Given that the major group of ‘anti-defencists’, the Shachtmanites, advised Cuban Trotskyists to integrate as a fraction into the nationalist movements,(195) a strategy which the POR itself prioritised despite the advice of the SWP(US), this absence of formal contact is even more surprising. Ultimately, it may have been the Shachtmanites’ own internal ruptures in the late 1940s and their limited interest in forming an international organisation as they moved to the Right in pursuit of an elusive Labour Party in the United States which determined this outcome.
While, then, two profound theoretical schisms opened up between the Cuban Trotskyists and the Fourth International’s centre in New York, there was also a degree of discontent on the part of the Cubans for what they perceived to be the excessive interference of the U.S. Trotskyists in the affairs of Latin American groups and the international leadership’s ‘exclusiveness’. In the first place, the Cuban Trotskyists objected to what they perceived to be the centre’s interference in the internal affairs of national sections. Under the conditions imposed by the Second World War in which the functioning of the Fourth International as a genuinely collaborative and democratic body was compromised, the POR contended that, ultimately, it was the task of the national sections in Latin America to solve their own issues and take responsibility for so doing. Recognising their own fallibility while, at the same time, rebuking the international centre for its belief that the seemingly permanent crises in Latin American sections should be solved from New York, the POR wrote:
“[t]here are metropolitan prejudices and there are colonial prejudices. We have to cure ourselves of that disease. Messianic prejudice belonging to our own prevailing politics in our countries weighs down on us quite often. The action is a reflection of the environment. Likewise, our prejudice is balanced by that of our North American friends. As a general rule, though with exceptions, they have an encyclopaedic ignorance of the South American countries though they think they are very well informed. We are the ones who have to solve our own issues and this behaviour will in the end turn out to be to our collective advantage going beyond political borders.”(196)
During the conditions of war the POR viewed the centre in New York as no more than “a point of moral convergence”, which needed “to be maintained as an effective leadership in embryo.”(197) It was on this basis that the Cuban Trotskyists distanced themselves from Justo and the Argentinian LOR for intransigently pursuing a split from the Fourth International when the conditions of war meant that such a move was only a formal matter anyway, and the task was to fight out the battle within the existing loose international framework.(198) The Cubans’ disagreement with the LOR was principally a tactical concern over its decision to formally split from the Fourth International and attempt to build an alternative international centre. In a letter dated 9 June 1942 to the LOR, *Bode, the General Secretary of the POR, expressed the Cuban Trotskyists’ deep regret at the what it termed the LOR’s precipitate “decision to break with New York since such a step can only lead to the abandonment of a position legitimately held and the leaving of the best arguments in the hands of the centrist tendency for it to defend its position.”(199)
The POR also criticised the Fourth International’s leadership for what the Cubans perceived as its tendency towards ‘exclusiveness’. Just as the POR tended to advocate the building of broad anti-imperialist blocs at home, so at the international level it urged tolerance and inclusiveness when it came to dealing with groups who fundamentally challenged the line of the international. Thus, although in 1940 the Cuban Trotskyists agreed that the SWP(US) Minority should be denied an independent public press,(200) and condemned its conduct in appropriating the organs of the Majority,(201) they urged that every effort should be made to keep the oppositionists within the ranks of the party. Constructive work with the activists influenced by the Minority and not the “blind imposition of discipline”, expulsions and personal attacks were what the PBL advised.(202) As outlined in Section 6.3.1, the Cuban Trotskyists also expressed their tendency to favour broad inclusion before sharp delineation in their reflections on Trotsky’s approach to challenging Nin during the course of the Spanish Civil War. The POR furthermore criticised the Fourth International’s leadership for what the Cubans perceived to be its ‘exclusiveness’ in not initially inviting so-called centrist and ultra-leftist organisations, including the POUM, to the International’s congresses and conferences in the post-Second World War Period.(203)
While, then, the political differences which existed between the Cuban Trotskyists and the various Trotskyist centres in the Americas in the 1940s only compounded the POR’s isolation, further schisms which arose in the international Trotskyist movement in the 1950s did little to encourage the small number of Trotskyist activists to regroup and develop a coherent understanding of the revolutionary process. As described in Section 2.4, the emergence of the International Secretariat of the Fourth International in the early 1950s, was perhaps the most logical home for adherents of the ‘national liberation’ tendency within international Trotskyism. However, this distinct ‘Pabloite’ tendency was of little assistance since it had become a partisan of actual liquidation inside ‘centrist’ Stalinist parties as well as revolutionary national groups. The Cubans with their experience of a particularly pro-capitalist official communist party at home as well as a state capitalist interpretation of the Soviet Union would have rejected outright any suggestion that Stalinism could act as a vehicle for proletarian revolution.
In sum, then, although the Cuban Trotskyists kept in contact with the stabilising influence of the international centres during the 1930s and early 40s via correspondence, exchanges of press, foreign refugees and the occasional visits from North Americans, in the post-World War Two period a number of theoretical differences developed between the Cubans and the U.S. Trotskyists which contributed to the former’s international isolation. This isolation thereby removed one factor which could have served as a fixed point in avoiding complete dissolution. The Cuban Trotskyists’ support for the state capitalist, ‘anti-defencist’ thesis on the Soviet Union cut the POR off from contact with the major Trotskyist parties in the U.S. and Latin America in the late 1940s. Furthermore, while the majority of the Shachtmanites ‘discovered’ that there were only two camps and not three as they evolved towards conciliation with the trade union bureaucracy and the Democratic Party in the U.S. in pursuit of an elusive Labour Party, the dispersion of the groups adhering to the Fourth International in the 1950s and the International Secretariat’s faith in the revolutionary potential of pro-Soviet communist parties did not aid the Cubans in establishing any stable external influences.
In this section I chart the official Cuban communists’ critique of Trotskyism and the Cuban Trotskyists’ response to this propaganda in the period 1935-58. I describe how the Stalinists’ commentary on Trotskyism was characterised by a series of inaccurate and slanderous outbursts which, while depicting Trotskyism as a counter-revolutionary current in the workers’ movement that was working hand-in-hand with fascism, over-emphasised the actual strength of Trotskyism in Cuba. I furthermore argue that as in the case of post-1959 Cuban historiography,(204) these attacks were directed at discrediting the activities of Mujal and the Auténticos’ labour organisations during the 1940s as much as they were aimed at attacking the manifestation of Trotskyism in Cuba.
During the Moscow Trials in the late 1930s, the official Cuban communists supplemented the propaganda which a still authoritative Moscow put into circulation by initiating an anti-Trotskyist campaign of their own in Cuba. The PCC’s Bandera Roja newspaper accused Trotskyists of a litany of crimes from creating terrorist centres, to sabotaging Soviet industry,(205) to attempting to restore capitalism in the Soviet Union, and rather ironically to concluding a pact with Nazi Germany.(206) The official communists in Cuba also launched a campaign against Trotskyism shortly after Trotsky’s assassination in Mexico in August 1940. Blaming Trotsky’s murder on a disaffected group within the Trotskyist movement, the Stalinists portrayed Trotsky as a spy in the pay of imperialism who from the 1920s had been fighting for the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union.(207) Carlos Rafael Rodríguez, a leading member of the PSP, labelled Trotsky a ‘Menshevik’ and slated the bourgeois press for suggesting that the “beloved guide of the workers of the world, comrade Stalin”, was involved in his death.(208) Trotskyism, the official Cuban communists argued, had long since ceased to be a political tendency and had become “a gang of criminals.”(209)
During the Second World War, the official communists continued to direct the standard Stalinist slanders against Trotskyists, accusing them of being counter-revolutionary agents and fascist spies bent on dividing the working class so as to facilitate the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union and a general offensive against the progressive forces of the day.(210) Their attack on Trotskyism in Cuba peaked in 1942, shortly after the official communists had revised their understanding of the nature of the Second World War and had made another zigzag to support the war effort of Batista and the United States. As outlined in Section 3.3, the official communists’ new policy included uncritically supporting proposals for compulsory military service and the suppression of any strike action. Given that the opposition which the official communists faced within the labour movement was concentrated in the Auténticos’ Comisión Obrera Nacional, whose General Secretary was Junco, one of the principal founders of the OCC in 1932, the official communists’ tactic was one of denouncing the Auténticos in terms previously reserved for the Trotskyists. The official communists’ principal recurring accusation was that the Trotskyists had taken shelter in and taken over the Comisión Obrera Nacional. Despite the protests of various Auténtico leaders, the official communists argued that any denials of ‘Trotskyism’ were part of a “cunning manoeuvre” to betray the working class in an underhand way just as the so-called ‘Trotskyists’ were supposedly being exposed.(211) This tendency to over-emphasise the influence of Trotskyism was no better displayed than in the CTC’s report of the ‘State of Forces Represented at the Third Congress of the CTC in December 1942’. Although, as described in section 6.1.2, the POR only had a small number of delegates who acted as a cohesive fraction at the Congress, the official communists calculated that of the 972 delegates who attended, 108 (eleven per cent) were Trotskyists.(212)
In particular, the official communists identified Junco and Mujal, the leaders of the Comisión Obrera Nacional, as Trotskyists committed to the project of dividing the working class and delivering its organisations to the forces of reaction.(213) Adding to the official communists’ extensive track record of falsification and misrepresentation, they argued that this ‘cunning’ Trotskyist plan had a long history. They rather ludicrously contended that:
“[i]n 1935, the Cuban Trotskyists expelled like rats from the trade unions and popular organisations, received orders from their boss, Trotsky, to join Joven Cuba in order to disguise their activities and avoid the wrath of the masses. When Joven Cuba became politically fused with the PRC, the Trotskyists took shelter under the Auténticos banner in order to carry on poisoning the honest workers in that party with its intrigues and betrayals.”(214)
By the 1940s, then, the official communists’ campaign against the perceived threat of Trotskyism was primarily directed at discrediting the Auténticos rather than the much reduced group of Trotskyists. The official communists appear to have been motivated by the challenge which the PBL had once posed during the Revolution of the 1930s as well as the physical presence of such former Trotskyists as Junco in the leading bodies of the Auténticos’ labour organisations and their perceived radicalism, rather than by any reasoned analysis. The anti-Trotskyist propaganda which Moscow was promoting in the wake of the Moscow trials and murder of Trotsky simply served to concentrate the focus of the Cuban communists on the continued threat which Trotskyism allegedly posed. As described in Section 6.1.2, the POR’s only trade union base of substantial note was in the Guantánamo region, and even there it was a minority fraction of the Auténtico-dominated labour opposition. As such, the Trotskyist threat to their state-sponsored leadership of the labour movement was very much exaggerated.
That the official communists were principally concerned with eliminating the Auténticos from positions of influence was demonstrated by their actions in May 1942. They first initiated a campaign against Junco, a leader of the Auténticos’ National Labour Commission, formally expelling him from the Bakery Workers’ Union of Havana. In the run-up to a meeting he was due to attend in Sancti Spíritus to commemorate the seventh anniversary of Guiteras’ murder, Stalinist propaganda then began to denounce Junco and other Auténtico labour leaders like Simeón as divisionists, spies and fifth columnist agents in the workers’ movement,(215) terms usually reserved for Trotskyists. In this heightened atmosphere a Stalinist gun-squad went so far as to murder Junco while he was actually speaking at the commemorative meeting on 8 May 1942.
In contrast to the crude barbarity of the official communists, as much at the level of theoretical analysis as physical assault, the Cuban Trotskyists attempted to rebut the false accusations levelled against Trotskyism with the limited resources at their disposal. In the first place, although a number of leading members of the Auténtico National Labour Commission like Mujal and Junco were indeed ex-Trotskyists,(216) the PBL and then POR, publicly dissociated themselves from the political strategy and activity of these former Trotskyists. Thus, when García Villareal reappeared as an associate of a government minister in 1936 after his expulsion from the PBL in the first months of 1935, the PBL denounced him as a turncoat and traitor who, along with Junco, was a hardened adventurer who had dreamed of “profitable speculation close to the groups of the petty bourgeoisie.”(217) The Trotskyists similarly rejected the official communists’ accusations that Mujal, Junco and Simeón were Trotskyists during the 1940s.(218) Aside from warning of the danger which Mujal represented for the working class,(219) they argued that, if anything, it was the official communists who had something in common with Junco and his colleagues in the Comisión Obrera Nacional leadership. They succinctly argued that both were united in a pursuing a policy of class conciliation.(220)
Although, then, there is no evidence to suggest that the accusations put forward by the official communist party with respect to either the anti-working class nature of Trotskyism or the more specific charge that the Auténticos somehow represented the face of Trotskyism in Cuba, the PBL’s and POR’s rebuttals of the official communists’ accusations went largely unheard at the time. While the Trotskyists’ protestations have equally been ignored in post-1959 Cuban historiography, this has been motivated by concerns which the Cuban Trotskyists themselves failed to notice. That is, the official Cuban communists were motivated as much by a desire to pass over a serious class-based analysis of Mujal, Junco and the Auténticos in the 1940s as it was to discredit the relatively small Cuban Trotskyist movement.
In summary, from 1935 to the 1950s in Cuba, Trotskyism had a much reduced influence on the national political scene and direction of the working class movement compared with that which it had exercised during the Revolution of the 1930s. After the regrouping which took place in the ranks of the PBL after the defeat of the March 1935 general strike, Trotskyism experienced no substantial period of growth. Indeed, through the 1940s the POR suffered a gradual decline in membership before it eventually disappeared as an organised party in the early 1950s.
In addressing the Trotskyists’ diminished influence on the national political scene and their eventual dissolution I have argued that there were various inter-related factors explaining their apparent failure. That is, both structural realities largely outside the Cuban Trotskyists’ immediate control, as well as their own understanding of the revolutionary process aggravated their organisational fortunes. Thus, as I have outlined, the Trotskyists’ failure was in part conditioned by the peculiar balance of political forces skewed against them. First, the international balance of class forces militated against them. While the Fourth International itself was born in a period of defeat for the working class, the Second World War saw potentially powerful working class movements in the major industrial nations follow their respective bourgeoisies into war. The broad consensus achieved with the aid of class collaborationist social democratic and official communist parties was that fascism and not capitalism itself was the principal enemy.
The most significant structural obstacle which the Cuban Trotskyists faced at home was the lack of a Marxist tradition and the particularly weak local class-based institutions which had never developed a belief in their own independent activity and destiny. After the defeat of the Revolution of the 1930s, these conditions facilitated the rise of a Right-Bonapartist regime under Batista which granted favour to a compliant official communist party in exchange for certain economic incentives. The growth of the Cuban Communist Party from the late 1930s into one of the largest and most powerful official communist parties in the Americas, not only further depoliticised a working class which had suffered a recent historic defeat, but enabled a bitter and slanderous campaign to be waged against Trotskyism. The Trotskyists themselves simply did not have the resources to respond effectively to such attacks.
However, although the overwhelmingly negative balance of social and political forces severely hindered the building of a Trotskyist party, to explain the apparent failure of Trotskyism in Cuba in the 1930s, 40s and 50s, and then the POR’s eventual disappearance, in these terms alone would be to resort to bland determinism. As such, an additional major reason behind the Trotskyists’ organisational dislocation was their own underlying political trajectory. That is, the gradual dissolution of the POR not only reflected the weakness of the working class and a long period of state and trade union collaboration, but also the failure of the Cuban Trotskyists to distinguish themselves clearly from the strategy and organisations of the forces of petty bourgeois nationalism. The underlying implication of this argument is that although a different political strategy may not have resulted in the Trotskyists leading a proletarian anti-imperialist revolution in the short or medium term, it would have produced a different outcome in terms of at least avoiding actual dissolution and keeping alive a tradition of working class political independence.
As I have described, the historic defeat borne by the revolutionary movement in March 1935 effectively cleansed the PBL of those advocates of the ‘external road’ thesis who more or less openly opposed clear delineation between the petty bourgeoisie and a proletarian Marxist party. However, although what I have referred to as the ‘Trotskyist’ tendency within the PBL during the Revolution of the 1930s reassessed its understanding of the revolutionary process so as to formulate a strategy which incorporated the essence of Trotsky’s theory of Permanent Revolution, the Cuban Trotskyists continued to display a long-term tendency to be one-sided in their approach to revolutionary activity, in effect, tying the destiny of the working class and anti-imperialist revolution to the fate of petty bourgeois nationalism.
This tendency was particularly evident during the 1940s, when the POR all but abandoned Trotsky’s understanding that any Anti-Imperialist United Front could only be formed on the basis of a struggle for immediate practical objectives in order to expose the ultimate inability of the petty bourgeoisie to lead even the most limited anti-imperialist revolution. The Cuban Trotskyists instead developed an action programme which prioritised the struggle for an ‘intermediate’ democratic anti-imperialist revolution. While they borrowed the language of radical petty bourgeois nationalism, the name of their newspaper in the early 1940s, Cuba Obrera, being the most public expression of this, they furthermore blurred the clear lines of demarcation between proletarian anti-imperialism and petty bourgeois nationalism in calling for an uncritical vote for the Auténticos in the 1944 elections. This feature of Cuban Trotskyism was further evidenced in the act of dissolving without any distinct programme inside the Movimiento Socialista Revolucionaria, an organisation which professed a continuity from Joven Cuba. While these tactical orientations could be seen as rather desperate attempts to escape from their isolation, they embodied an opportunist, short-term perspective which ultimately failed to understand what Lenin had termed as their “special task”, that is, “the struggle against the bourgeois-democratic movements within [their own country].”(221) The POR simply did not appreciate that while Stalinism had to be fought in the labour movement, this could not be achieved effectively through making common cause with the various petty bourgeois gangs.
It was because the Cuban Trotskyists prioritised the broad Second Period policy of forming democratic anti-imperialist blocs with the forces of reformist and revolutionary nationalism at the expense of proletarian political independence in strict competition with petty bourgeois nationalism, that they themselves ultimately disappeared into the ill-defined nationalist milieu in the 1950s. While the Cuban Trotskyists’ anti-Stalinism when mixed with the terrorism of the pistoleros took a small number of them off to the Right, those who remained loyal to the revolutionary project aligned themselves uncritically with the M26J.
Although the Cuban Trotskyists were small in number in the period 1935-58, their significance in and contribution to the history of the revolutionary movement in Cuba were far from negligible. In the first place, during the 1930s and 40s when the official communists substituted the ultra-radicalism of the Third Period, which dismissed all concerns of the national liberation movement, for the abandonment of the whole project of class struggle and revolutionary politics, as evidenced by their participation in the bourgeois government of Batista and reluctance to jettison the conceptions of Browderism in the 1940s, the Cuban Trotskyists insisted on the validity of the project of socialism and the dictatorship of the working class on an international scale. Furthermore, unlike the official Cuban communists, who, with a notable exception in the mid-1940s, broadly made tactical turns in the wake of a re-written script passed down from Moscow, the PBL and then POR defended their own argument developed during the formative years of the OCC that it was necessary to intervene on the terrain of national liberation in order to win to the cause of socialism the most radical sector of petty bourgeois nationalism. However misguided their tactics which failed to propose a politically independent course of action for the working class, their attempt to integrate the problem of national liberation and role of the petty bourgeoisie in the semi-colonial setting of Cuba into the revolutionary project was a sincere attempt to further the cause of socialism.
|1.||See, for example, Juzgado de Instrucción—Guantánamo, Elías Suárez y Caunedo (AHPSC: Audencia de Oriente Sala de Urgencia, Legajo 1, Expediente 1, Folio 8.); and Juzgado de Instrucción—Guantánamo, Rafael Sebastian y Cobas. (AHPSC: Audencia de Oriente Sala de Urgencia, Legajo 1, Expediente 1, Folio 9.) (Back to text)|
|2.||Unsigned, ‘Report Reveals Terror Rule of Wall Street Regime in Cuba’, New Militant (New York), Vol. 1, No. 46, 9 November 1935, pp. 1, 4. (BLNL: A.misc.171.) This report actually names *Lassalle (Pérez Santiesteban) as the arrested leader of the FOH. However, Medina was the General Secretary of the FOH at the time and his brothers have confirmed that he was imprisoned in the post-March 1935 period. Medina Escobar, M, Algunos Apuntes sobre la Vida de Gastón Medina Escobar, op cit. (Back to text)|
|3.||De la Torre, RS, ‘The Situation in Cuba’, The New International, op cit, p. 205; and Unsigned, ‘Solidarity with Cuban Comrades!’, New Militant (New York), Vol. 2, No. 18 (Whole No. 70), 9 May 1936, p. 1. (BLNL: A.misc.171.) (Back to text)|
|4.||De la Torre, RS, ‘The Situation in Cuba’, The New International, op cit, p. 204. (Back to text)|
|5.||[“período de excepción”](My translation, GT.) See, for example, Central Committee of the Partido Bolchevique Leninista, A Todas las Secciones, Células y Militantes del Partido, Havana, 24 October 1936. (IHC(a): Fondo Primer Partido Marxista Leninista, Sig. 1/12:81/1.1/8-9.) (Back to text)|
|6.||Letter from the PBL to the International Secretariat of the ICL, 20 March 1935, op cit, p. 14. (Back to text)|
|7.||De la Torre, RS, ‘The Situation in Cuba’, The New International, op cit, p. 205. (Back to text)|
|8.||Letter from the PBL to the International Secretariat of the ICL, 20 March 1935, op cit, p. 14. (Back to text)|
|9.||Ibid, pp. 13-14. (Back to text)|
|10.||Minutes of the Sectional Conference of the Victoria de las Tunas Section of the Partido Bolchevique Leninista, 21 September 1936. (IHC(a): Fondo Primer Partido Marxista Leninista, Sig. 1/12:81/2.1/2.) (Back to text)|
|11.||Manuscript of the interview given by Pedro Verdecie Pérez to Rafael Soler Martínez, op cit. (Back to text)|
|12.||Manuscript of the interview given by Luis Miyares to Rafael Soler Martínez, op cit, p. 4. (Back to text)|
|13.||Letter from Manuel López to G. Melt, Santiago de Cuba, 11 September 1936. (IHC(a): Fondo Primer Partido Marxista Leninista, Sig. 1/12:81/1.1/1-2.) (Back to text)|
|14.||CC of the PBL, A Todas las Secciones, Células y Militantes del Partido, 24 October 1936, op cit, p. 1. (Back to text)|
|15.||Ibid. (Back to text)|
|16.||[“vanguardia flexible pero bien vertebrada”](My translation, GT.) Ibid, p. 2. (Back to text)|
|17.||Ibid, pp. 1-2. (Back to text)|
|18.||Noticiero Bolchevique (Havana), No. 1, September 1936. (IISG: ZDK 28141.) This single issue is the only one I have located in the archives I have quarried. (Back to text)|
|19.||See Letter from Manuel López to G. Melt, 11 September 1936, op cit. While this intended attempt to promote the rebuilding of a Marxist party appears to have reflected, at least in name, a certain influence from Spain and the POUM, I have found no evidence which indicates that such a project actually got off the ground. (Back to text)|
|20.||Letter from Roberto Pérez Santiesteban to Fred Browner, Havana, 13 February 1938. (HI: SWP Collection, Box No. 30, Folder 28.) (Back to text)|
|21.||See, for example, various unsigned features in the Mexican Trotskyist journal Clave from issue No. 6, 1 March 1939, p. 65 to issue Year 2, Nos. 8-9, April-May 1940, p. 297. (HI: Library, Microfilm No. 262.); and Unsigned, ‘Las Fuerzas de la Cuarta Internacional’, Boletín de Información, No. 4, 1938, pp. 27-28. (Organ of the Latin American Bureau of the Fourth International) (SWP(US).); and Unsigned, ‘Affiliated Sections of the Fourth International’, Socialist Appeal (New York), Vol. 2, No. 46, 22 October 1938, p. 3. (BLNL: M.A.10.) (Back to text)|
|22.||Central Committee of the Partido Bolchevique Leninista, Tesis Política, Havana, 25 October 1935. (HHL: Trotsky Archive, Fourth International, Cuba, 16122.) (Back to text)|
|23.||See, for example, Trotsky, LD, ‘Nationalized Industry and Workers’ Management’, In: Allen, N, and Breitman, G (eds), Writings of Leon Trotsky (1938-39), op cit, p. 326; and Trotsky, LD, ‘Latin American Problems: A Transcript’, op cit, p. 785. (Back to text)|
|24.||Marx, K, (1977), op cit, pp. 66-67. (Back to text)|
|25.||[“posiciones burocráticas completamente informada de su sumisión”](My translation, GT.) Unsigned, ‘La Situación Política Nacional’, Noticiero Bolchevique (Havana), No. 1, September 1936, p. 2. (IISG: ZDK 28141.) (Back to text)|
|26.||[“en base de un programa de acción inmediata.”](My translation, GT.) CC of the PBL, Tesis Política, op cit, p. 19. (Back to text)|
|27.||To their credit, the PBL through the period 1935-39 continued to criticise Guiteras and Joven Cuba for being “enslaved by the idea of the next putsch” (Letter from the PBL to the International Secretariat of the ICL, 20 March 1935, op cit, p. 13.) and approaching the problem of the revolution as a technical matter which could be solved independently of the masses. (Ibid, p. 13; and Pérez Santiesteban, ‘En Memoria de Antonio Guiteras’, Dialéctica (Havana), Year 1, No. 11, May 1938, p. 10. (Monthly organ of the Sindicato de Yesistas de La Habana) (SWP(US).)) Accurately depicting Joven Cuba as an insurrectionary army without any democratic internal life, Pérez Santiesteban insisted that the task of national liberation in Cuba could only be achieved “under the banner of revolutionary socialism as a joint project of the oppressed layers of the Cuban population under the leadership of the proletariat.” [“bajo la bandera del socialismo revolucionario como la acción conjunta de las capas oprimidas de la población cubana dirigidas por el proletariado.”](My translation, GT.) Ibid, p. 10. (Back to text)|
|28.||CC of the PBL, Tesis Política, op cit, pp. 9-10. (Back to text)|
|29.||[“1. La llegada del imperialismo—última etapa del capitalismo—ha abierto la época de la Revolución Proletaria Mundial y la del Socialismo como única salida progresiva. [....] 3. Las luchas democráticas y agrarias anti-imperialistas no pueden tener un caracter independiente ni permanente. La llamada ‘revolución democrático agraria anti-imperialista’ no es otra cosa que la primera fase de una sola revolución: La Revolución Proletaria.” 6. La pequeña burguesia (incluyendo los campesinos) no posee economia propia. Pese a su papel revolucionario frente a la burguesia opresora, frente al imperialismo y a los terratenientes, por sus multiples contradicciones y por su falta de homogeneidad, es incapaz de dirigir la revolución. La pequeña burguesia está destinada a orientarse hacia el capitalismo o a ser arrastrada por el proletariado. No hay termino medio posible. 7. Solo el proletariado, como clase progresiva, es capaz de ejercer la hegemonia revolucionaria, aun desde la fase inicial democrético agrario anti-imperialista. [....] 12. La consigna de ‘Dictadura Democrática de Obreros y Campesinos’ lanzada por la Internacional Comunista, es una consigna vacia de sentido que no puede sino diseminar la confusión. Esta consigna lleva en sí la idea del desarrollo de una economia independiente en el pais, basada en la comunidad de intereses de los obreros y campesinos. [....] 13. El Partido Bolchevique-Leninista declara: que solo la dictadura del proletariado es capaz de garantizar el éxito del desarrollo permanente de la Revolución. Solo estado basado en los Soviets de Obreros, Campesinos y Soldados representa la garantia de la dictadura proletaria y de la Revolución. Solo la acción independiente del proletariado, en la lucha por instaurar su dictadura, hará posible el enrole revolucionario de las grandes masas del campesinaje y de la pequeña burguesia.”](My translation, GT.) Ibid, pp. 10-11. (Back to text)|
|30.||Ibid, pp. 24-25. (Back to text)|
|31.||Ibid, p. 23. (Back to text)|
|32.||[“la creación del Frente Unico de todos los Partidos Revolucionarios sobre la base del Programa de Acción y del Plan de Demandas Democraticas en las escalas nacional y local.”](My translation, GT.) Ibid, p. 23. (Back to text)|
|33.||Manuscript of the interview given by Pedro Verdecie Pérez to Rafael Soler Martínez, op cit. (Back to text)|
|34.||Prager, R, (ed.), Les Congrès de la IV Internationale, (Vol. 1: Naissance de la IV Internationale (1930-1940)), Paris, La Brèche, 1979, p. 241. This undoubtedly over-inflated figure was the one presented by Pierre Naville in his credentials report to the Founding Conference of the Fourth International in September 1938. The unreliability of these figures is evidenced by the fact that the Cuban section was also incorrectly referred to as the Partido Obrero Revolucionario. Ibid, p. 215. (Back to text)|
|35.||Letter from the Political Bureau of the Partido Obrero Revolucionario to the Latin American Department of the Fourth International, Havana, 26 March 1941. (HI: SWP Collection, Box No. 31, Folder 1.) (Back to text)|
|36.||Morrow, F, ‘Unity in Fighting the Cuban Terror’, Socialist Call (New York), Vol. 1, No. 31, 19 October 1935, p. 4. (BLNL. M.A.56.) This non-partisan organisation was constituted on 29 June 1935 and united thirty-one democratic and socialist organisations, including various groups affiliated to the Aprista party, the PCC and the FOH’s Socorro Obrero, on the basis of minimal democratic demands against political imprisonments and widespread torture. Unsigned Report from Havana, ‘Terror Reigns in F.D.’s Cuba’, New Militant (New York), Vol. 2, No. 18 (Whole No. 70), 9 May 1936, pp. 1, 4. (BLNL: A.misc.171.) (Back to text)|
|37.||Ibid. (Back to text)|
|38.||Ibid. (Back to text)|
|39.||Unsigned Report from Havana, ‘Terror Reigns in F.D.’s Cuba’, New Militant, 9 May 1936, op cit. (Back to text)|
|40.||Pérez Santiesteban, Pablo Díaz and Gregorio Marrero, all leading Trotskyists in Havana, were the principal contributors to various editions of these two legal trade union magazines. (Back to text)|
|41.||See Unsigned, ‘La Cuestión Sindical’, Noticiero Bolchevique (Havana), No. 1, September 1936, p. 10. (IISG: ZDK 28141.) (Back to text)|
|42.||Ibid, pp. 10-11. This slogan for the Workers’ Alliance was repeated in numerous documents. See, for example, the editorial column of Dialéctica, May 1938, op cit, pp. 3-4; and Unsigned, ‘La Situación Política Nacional’, Noticiero Bolchevique, op cit, p. 3. (Back to text)|
|43.||Gastón Medina had been forced to swallow aviation fuel in Batista’s jail after the March 1935 general strike. Medina Escobar, M, Algunos Apuntes sobre la Vida de Gastón Medina Escobar, op cit. An obituary in the international Trotskyist press appeared in ‘Muerte Sentida’, Boletín de Información, October 1938, op cit, p. 13. (Back to text)|
|44.||Interview given by Idalberto Ferrera Acosta, Mario Medina Escobar and Francisco Medina Escobar to Gary Tennant, 30 July 1997, op cit. (Back to text)|
|45.||Unfortunately, I have been unable to ascertain the reasons behind Simeón’s separation. However, Simeón’s subsequent public activity in the Auténtico milieu suggests that his support for such a trajectory may have been at the root of the disagreement. (Back to text)|
|46.||Boletín Interior del Partido Obrero Revolucionario, March 1946, op cit, p. 5. (Back to text)|
|47.||Letter from Bode to C. Munis, Havana, 2 May 1940. (HI: SWP Collection, Box No. 30, Folder 29.) (Back to text)|
|48.||’On the Movement of the Fourth International in Latin America’, In: Reisner, W (ed.), op cit, p. 382. (Back to text)|
|49.||Although Broué claims that *Bode was the pseudonym of a Cuban called Bodernea (Broué, P, (1997), op cit, p. 892.), and elsewhere states that he has located letters from Cuba signed by Bodernea (Broué, P, (1982), op cit, p. 23.), it appears that both ‘Bode’ and ‘Bodernea’ were pseudonyms. I certainly have not come across the name ‘Bodernea’ in any primary source document and none of the old Cuban Trotskyists I interviewed had ever heard of Bodernea. (Back to text)|
|50.||Provisional Executive Committee of the PBL, ‘Bolshevik-Leninist Party of Cuba’, International Bulletin (New York), Vol. 1, No. 1, July 1940, p. 6. (SWP(US).) While, again, I have not been able to ascertain the real identities of these post-holders, in terms of continuity in the leadership ‘Rufo’ was the pseudonym of one of the members of the PBL’s Central Committee members in 1934. Whether or not this was one and the same person is unclear. (Back to text)|
|51.||Letter from the Political Bureau of the POR to the Latin American Department of the FI, 26 March 1941, op cit. (Back to text)|
|52.||Central Committee of the Partido Obrero Revolucionario, Declaración de Principios del Partido Obrero Revolucionario, Havana, October 1940, p. 22. (SWP(US).) (Back to text)|
|53.||[“disciplinar y orientar al Partido”](My translation, GT.) Boletín Interior del Partido Obrero Revolucionario, March 1946, op cit, p. 5. (Back to text)|
|54.||The latest document signed by the Santiago de Cuba Sectional Committee of the PBL which I have located is the manifesto Al Pueblo de Cuba, November 1941. (SWP(US); and HI: SWP Collection, Box No. 31, Folder 1.) (Back to text)|
|55.||See Letter from the International Executive Committee and the Latin American Department of the Fourth International to the Santiago de Cuba Comrades, 16 August 1941. (HI: SWP Collection, Box No. 31, Folder 1.) (Back to text)|
|56.||Letter from the Political Bureau of the POR to the Latin American Department of the FI, 26 March 1941, op cit. (Back to text)|
|57.||Ibid. (Back to text)|
|58.||Unsigned, ‘¡Salud, Camaradas de Camagüey!’, Cuba Obrera (Havana), Year 1, No. 4, December 1940, p. 8. (SWP(US).) (Back to text)|
|59.||[Cuba Obrera](My translation, GT.) (Back to text)|
|60.||Letter from the Political Bureau of the POR to the Latin American Department of the FI, 26 March 1941, op cit. (Back to text)|
|61.||The latest issue of Cuba Obrera which I have been able to locate is dated August 1941. Furthermore, Louis Rigaudias does not recall a Trotskyist newspaper being published at the time of his arrival in Cuba in February 1942. Excerpt from Unpublished Manuscript of the Memoirs of Louis Rigaudias (Translated by Margaret ‘Gretl’ Glogau.), nd, p. 4. See page 296 note 80 for a biographical sketch of Rigaudias. (Back to text)|
|62.||CC of the POR, Declaración de Principios del Partido Obrero Revolucionario, October 1940, op cit. (Back to text)|
|63.||Ibid, p. 3. (Back to text)|
|64.||Ibid, p. 11. (Back to text)|
|65.||Ibid, pp. 12-13. (Back to text)|
|66.||Ibid, p. 13. (Translation from ‘Problems of the Cuban Revolution’, International Bulletin (New York), Vol. 1, No. 8, December 1941, p. 3. (SWP(US).)) (Back to text)|
|67.||See the leaflet Unión de Empleados del Comercio de Guantánamo: Asamblea General, 23 April 1942, Guantánamo. (SWP(US); and HI: SWP Collection Title, Box No. 31, Folder 2.); and Unsigned, ‘De la Sección de Guantánamo’, Cuba Obrera (Havana), Year 1, No. 2, October 1940, p. 7. (SWP(US).); and Unsigned, ‘De la Sección de Guantánamo’, Cuba Obrera (Havana), Year 1, No. 3, November 1940, pp. 3, 7. (SWP(US).) (Back to text)|
|68.||Trade Union Department of the Guantánamo Section of the Partido Bolchevique Leninista, A los Obreros de los Centrales y Sus Colonias. A Toda la Clase Obrera, Guantánamo, 25 January 1940. (RSM.) (Back to text)|
|69.||Letter from J.B. Gaylord of the Ferrocarril de Guantánamo to the Fiscal de la Audencia de Oriente, Santiago de Cuba, 1 April 1941. (AHPSC: Audencia de Oriente Sala de Urgencia, Legajo 9, Expediente 92, Folio 2.); and Letter from James Byron Gaylord (Administrator General del Ferrocarril Guantánamo) to Sr. Fiscal del Tribunal Supremo, Havana, 21 November 1941. (AHPSC: Audencia de Oriente Sala de Urgencia, Legajo 9, Expediente 9, Folio 2.) (Back to text)|
|70.||[“armonía estrecha [....] savia fecundante del futuro de nuestra Revolución.”](My translation, GT.) ‘De la Sección de Guantánamo’, Cuba Obrera, October 1940, op cit, p. 7. (Back to text)|
|71.||Unsigned, ‘Cuba’, Fourth International (New York), August 1943, p. 254. (PRL.) (Back to text)|
|72.||Ibid. (Back to text)|
|73.||La Voz Revolucionaria del Trotskismo en el III Congreso Nacional Obrero, Havana, Ediciones ‘Cuba Obrera’, nd, pp. 6-9 (HI: SWP Collection, Box No. 31, Folder 15.); and Hoover, JE, to Berle Jr., AA, Survey of Communist Activities in Cuba, 14 June 1943, op cit, p. 46. (Back to text)|
|74.||La Voz Revolucionaria del Trotskismo en el III Congreso Nacional Obrero, op cit, pp. 36-38. (Back to text)|
|75.||Ibid, p. 37. (Translation from ‘Cuba’, Fourth International, August 1943, op cit, p. 254.) (Back to text)|
|76.||La Voz Revolucionaria del Trotskismo en el III Congreso Nacional Obrero, op cit, pp. 11-27. The Proletarian Military Policy as elaborated by Trotsky argued that revolutionaries, though opposed to the capitalist state defining and regulating conscription and military training, should not campaign against conscription once it had been made into law. Trotsky argued for no let up in the struggle against capitalism and to defend the widest democracy by instead calling for compulsory military training under the control of the trade unions and workers’ movement. See Trotsky’s thoughts on this matter in Allen, N, and Breitman, G (eds), Writings of Leon Trotsky (1939-40), op cit, pp. 321-322, 344-345, 392. (Back to text)|
|77.||’Cuba’, Fourth International, August 1943, op cit, p. 255. (Back to text)|
|78.||Guantánamo Sectional Committee of the Partido Obrero Revolucionario (Trotskista), ¡Obreros de Cuba!, Guantánamo, 2 June 1943. (SWP(US); and HI: SWP Collection, Box No. 31, Folder 3.) For an account of these war-time labour disputes on the Guantánamo railway network which misrepresents the official communists as defenders of labour’s rights against the treacherous policies of Mujal see Zanetti, O, and García, A, Sugar and Railroads: A Cuban History, 1837-1959, Chapel Hill: NC, University of North Carolina Press, 1998, pp. 362-364. (Back to text)|
|79.||Miyares, L, ‘Hombre y Ejemplo: Rogelio Benache’, Revolución Proletaria, 1 May 1945, op cit, pp. 1, 3. (Back to text)|
|80.||Louis Rigaudias (1911-1999), also known as *Rigal and *Charles Millner, was born in Turkey but joined the Trotskyist movement in France in 1933 after having gone to Paris to study in 1928. During the 1930s he was a leading militant in the French Trotskyist milieu before arriving in Havana on 14 February 1942 after eighteen months of underground Trotskyist activity after the Nazi occupation of Paris. See Casciola, P, Louis Rigaudias (A Biography), Foligno, Centro Studi Pietro Tresso, nd. (Unpublished) (CSPT.) (Back to text)|
|81.||Excerpt from Unpublished Manuscript of the Memoirs of Louis Rigaudias, op cit, p. 4. (Back to text)|
|82.||See Balanque, F, ‘Centenares de Obreros Votaron por el Trotskismo’, Revolución Proletaria (Havana), Year 1, No. 3, 15 July 1944, pp. 1, 3. (SWP(US).); and Stuart, JB, ‘Cuba’s Elections: Background and Analysis’, Fourth International, July 1944, p. 208. (SP.) ‘JB Stuart’ was the pseudonym of Sam Gordon (1910-1982), the U.S. Trotskyist who served as the Fourth International’s representative in Great Britain and then in Ceylon. (Back to text)|
|83.||Guerra Ayala, R, ‘La Reacción y la Voz del Autenticismo Revolucionario’, Revolución Proletaria (Havana), Year 1, No. 3, 15 July 1944, p. 1. (SWP(US).) (Back to text)|
|84.||[“apoyo crítico [a ....] Grau San Martín y a los candidatos obreros dentro del P.R.C.”](My translation, GT.) Unsigned, ‘Para Combatir el Continuismo Votemos por Grau San Martín: Apoyemos los Candidatos Proletarios del P.R.C.’, Revolución Proletaria (Havana), Year 1, No. 1, 1 May 1944, p. 3. (SWP(US).) (Back to text)|
|85.||See Unsigned, ‘Los Trotskistas Santiagueros Apoyan a R. Mugica Guzmán’, Revolución Proletaria (Havana), Year 1, No. 2, 1 June 1944, pp. 1, 5. (SWP(US).); and Unsigned, ‘Martín Castellanos, Candidato Auténtico Defiende un Programa Revolucionario’, Revolución Proletaria (Havana), Year 1, No. 2, 1 June 1944, pp. 1, 4-5. (SWP(US).); and Castellanos Martínez, M, ‘Al Pueblo de Guantánamo’, Revolución Proletaria (Havana), Year 1, No. 2, 1 June 1944, p. 3. (SWP(US).) (Back to text)|
|86.||’Para Combatir el Continuismo Votemos por Grau San Martín: Apoyemos los Candidatos Proletarios del P.R.C.’, Revolución Proletaria, 1 May 1944, op cit, p. 3. (Back to text)|
|87.||[“’mal menor’”...”táctica para combatir el enemigo inmediato de los trabajadores: la dictadura militar-policiaca de Batista, disfrazada con el taparrabos civilista de la Coalición Socialista Democrática”](My translation, GT.) Ibid, p. 3. (Back to text)|
|88..||[“Combatir el continuismo es luchar por la Revolución”](My translation, GT.) Unsigned, ‘Combatir el Continuismo Es Luchar por la Revolución’, Revolución Proletaria (Havana), Year 1, No. 2, 1 June 1944, pp. 1, 3. (SWP(US).); and Unsigned, ‘Contra la Conciliación: Vigilancia Revolucionaria’, Revolución Proletaria (Havana), Year 1, No. 3, 15 July 1944, pp. 1, 3. (SWP(US).) (Back to text)|
|89.||This was Trotsky’s prescription for class-based participation in elections in Mexico in 1940 when no working class candidates were standing. See Gall, O, (1991), op cit, pp. 241-242. (Back to text)|
|90.||[’¡Hagamos de la Victoria Obtenida el 1º de Junio un Paso Decisivo en el Camino de la Liberación Nacional y Social de Cuba!’](My translation, GT.) Guantánamo Sectional Committee of the Partido Obrero Revolucionario, ¡Hagamos de la Victoria Obtenida el 1º de Junio un Paso Decisivo en el Camino de la Liberación Nacional y Social de Cuba!, Guantánamo, 3 June 1944. (SWP(US); and HI: SWP Collection, Box No. 31, Folder 4.) (Back to text)|
|91.||’Editoriales: Perspectivas del Nuevo Gobierno’, Revolución Proletaria (Havana), Year 1, No. 5, 31 October 1944, p. 6. (SWP(US).) (Back to text)|
|92.||Defensa Obrera Revolucionaria de la Confederación de Trabajadores de Cuba, Declaración de Principios, Havana, January 1945. (IHC(a): Fondo Primer Partido Marxista Leninista, Sig. 1/8:12A7/1.1/1-3.) The leading POR members in the Defensa Obrera Revolucionaria included Pablo Díaz González of the Laundry Union in Havana and Rafael Soler Puig of the Metal Workers’ Union in Oriente. (Back to text)|
|93.||[“la absoluta independencia política y de clase del proletariado. Contra toda clase de componendas con los partidos políticos de la burguesía.”](My translation, GT.) Ibid, p. 3. (Back to text)|
|94.||Ibid, p. 3. (Back to text)|
|95.||Boletín Interior del Partido Obrero Revolucionario, March 1946, op cit. (Back to text)|
|96.||Unsigned, Cuban Report, nd, p. 4. (From internal evidence, dated 1944-45) (HI: SWP Collection, Box No. 31, Folder 4.) (Back to text)|
|97.||Patrice, ‘Report on Latin America’, Minutes of the Third International Executive Committee Plenum of the Fourth International, March 1947. (CSPT.) The unreliability of this report by Sherry Mangan (*Patrice) to the International Executive Committee of the Fourth International is evident in the fact that he also reported that the Cuban Trotskyists published a monthly newspaper and had no urgent problems. As I describe, their newspaper in fact ceased publication in mid-1946 and, as the 1946 internal report detailed, the POR was faced with disintegration as an organised party. (Back to text)|
|98.||Boletín Interior del Partido Obrero Revolucionario, March 1946, op cit, p. 5. (Back to text)|
|99.||Ibid, p. 5. (Back to text)|
|100.||Ibid, p. 6. (Back to text)|
|101.||[“[a] pesar de los esfuerzos por nuestros camaradas en los sindicatos no hicimos otra cosa en la práctica que estar a la zaga de los grupos de oposición al stalinismo surgidos de vez en cuando. Con ligeras excepciones nos mantuvimos practicamente tras los faldones de la Comisión Obrera Nacional del PRC(A).”](My translation, GT.) Ibid, p. 6. (Back to text)|
|102.||[“la seriedad y persistencia sistemáticas correspondentes a militantes bolcheviques”.](My translation, GT.) Ibid, p. 5. (Back to text)|
|103.||Ibid, p. 8. (Back to text)|
|104.||[“queremos orden o no planificamos nada.”](My translation, GT.) Ibid, p. 7. (Back to text)|
|105.||According to Pablo Díaz, himself a signatory to the scathing internal report, the comrade was expelled on the grounds of putting the organisation in danger after he had became involved in “some very shady stories and was arrested by the secret police.” Letter from Pablo Díaz González to unnamed U.S.-based Comrade, Havana, 3 November 1946. (HI: SWP Collection, Box No. 31, Folder 5.) By a process of elimination, this comrade was probably the signatory ‘N. Bacun’. Although I have been unable to identify the real name of this person, it is not beyond the bounds of reason that it was the same person who had instigated the split of the Santiago de Cuba branch of the PBL from the POR in 1940-41. The principal opponent of the POR initiative in Santiago de Cuba was known by the name of ‘Bakunin’. (Back to text)|
|106.||Pérez Santiesteban, Por una Rectificación del Curso Político del M.S.R., Havana, 18 April 1948, p. 1. (HI: SWP Collection, Box No. 31, Folder 6.); and Letter from Pablo Díaz González to Stein, Havana, 22 June 1948. (HI: SWP Collection, Box No. 31, Folder 6.) (’Morris Stein’ or Morris Lewit (1903-1998) joined the Communist League of America in 1930 and in the 1940s was the National Organisational Secretary of the SWP(US).) See the revealing report in the POR’s newspaper describing how the PSP’s dispute with Moscow eventually culminated in agreement between the two Stalinist centres. The official Cuban communists subsequently confessed their opportunism in arguing that imperialist powers would be able to co-operate in promoting the well-being of the working masses. The PSP also struck up an anti-imperialist tune once more, although it did not go to the extreme of compromising its good relations with the Grau San Martín government. See Unsigned, ‘La Disputa Blas Roca-Kremlin Culmina en un Compromiso’, Revolución Proletaria (Havana), Year 2, No. 9, 1 April 1946, pp. 1-3. (RJA.) (Back to text)|
|107.||Pérez Santiesteban, Por una Rectificación del Curso Político del M.S.R., 18 April 1948, op cit, p. 1. Thomas also argues that Pérez Santiesteban played a great part in the initial formation of the MSR. Thomas, H, (1971), op cit, pp. 741-742. (Back to text)|
|108.||Letter from Lasalle to the International Secretariat of the Fourth International, Havana, 22 December 1946. (HI: SWP Collection, Box No. 31, Folder 5.) (Back to text)|
|109.||Pérez Santiesteban, Por una Rectificación del Curso Político del M.S.R., 18 April 1948, op cit, pp. 1-4. (Back to text)|
|110.||Letter from Lasalle to the International Secretariat of the Fourth International, 22 December 1946 , op cit. (Back to text)|
|111.||Letter from Pablo Díaz González to unnamed U.S.-based Comrade, 3 November 1946, op cit. (Back to text)|
|112.||The POR were not the only non-PSP socialists to find that they their initial optimism was misplaced. Boris Goldenberg (1905-1980), a naturalised Cuban citizen of Russian origin who had been a leader of the German SAP, the Socialist Workers’ Party which broke away from the German Communist Party shortly before Hitler came to power, and signatory of the Declaration of the Bloc of Four with the International Communist League in 1933, was also a leading member of the MSR in 1946-47. See Thomas, H, (1971), op cit, p. 754. Goldenberg, in fact, appears to have worked closely with Pérez Santiesteban inside the MSR. Certainly Pérez Santiesteban requested material on the development of the Soviet Union from the Fourth International in New York which Goldenberg wished to incorporate in a series of articles he was publishing in the MSR’s magazine Tiempo en Cuba. Letter from Pablo Díaz González to Stein, Havana, 14 January 1947. (HI: SWP Collection, Box No. 31, Folder 5.) (Back to text)|
|113.||Ibid. The latest edition of Revolución Proletaria which I have located is dated May 1946. (Back to text)|
|114.||Letter from Lasalle to the International Secretariat of the Fourth International, 22 December 1946, op cit. (Back to text)|
|115.||The Trotskyist Roberto Tejera published a pamphlet on the life and death of Trotsky in collaboration with the Liga Radical Martiana. Tejera, R, Leon Trotsky, Havana, 1948. (HI: SWP Collection, Box No. 32, Folder 5.) (Back to text)|
|116.||Pérez Santiesteban, Por una Rectificación del Curso Político del M.S.R., 18 April 1948, op cit, pp. 2-7. (Back to text)|
|117.||Letter from Pablo Díaz González to Morris Stein, Havana, 9 May 1948. (HI: SWP Collection, Box No. 31, Folder 6.) (Back to text)|
|118.||Ibid. (Back to text)|
|119.||Ibid. (Back to text)|
|120.||[“’sindicalismo revolucionario’ no ha pasado de simple matonismo y guapería.”](My translation, GT.) Trotskyist Fraction, El VI Congreso Nacional Obrero, Culminación de Once Años de Traición y Entreguismo en el Movimiento Sindical, Havana, 6 May 1949, p. 2. (SWP(US); and HI: SWP Collection, Box No. 31, Folder 6.) (Back to text)|
|121.||Letter from Pablo Díaz González to Morris Stein, 9 May 1948, op cit, p. 5. (Back to text)|
|122.||Trotskyist Fraction, ‘El VI Congreso Nacional Obrero, ....’, 6 May 1949, op cit, p. 4. (Back to text)|
|123.||Ibid, pp. 2-4. (Back to text)|
|124.||In the 1950s the former POR members in Guantánamo appear to have continued to publish various articles translated from The Militant in the trade union journal of the Railway Workers’ Brotherhood. Fanjul, A, ‘The Role of the Trotskyists in the Cuban Revolution’, Intercontinental Press (New York), 11 May 1981, p. 493. (SP.) (Back to text)|
|125.||There is some doubt over the actual identity of Bodernea. See page 284 note 49. (Back to text)|
|126.||Broué, P, (1982), op cit, p. 23; and Letter from Pierre Broué to Gary Tennant, St. Martin D’Héres, 22 December 1997. (Back to text)|
|127.||Díaz González, P, Emigración Cubana a los Estados Unidos, nd. (OAH: Fondo Pablo Díaz González, Cuaderno 3.); and Interview given by Mario Mencía to Gary Tennant, Havana, 30 July 1997. (Back to text)|
|128.||Díaz González, P, De New York a Tuxpan: Memorias de un Expedicionario del Granma, nd, p. 1. (OAH: Fondo Pablo Díaz González, Cuaderno 3.) (Back to text)|
|129.||Mencía, M, Tiempos Recursos, Havana, Editorial Ciencias Sociales, 1986, p. 325. (Back to text)|
|130.||Díaz González, P, Tesis para Presentar al Congreso Obrero que se Efectuará en la Sierra Maestra en Octubre de 1958, New York, 20 October 1958, p. 1. (OAH: Fondo Pablo Díaz González, Cuaderno 3: 53.) (Back to text)|
|131.||Ibid, pp. 2-3. (Back to text)|
|132.||Sección de Historia del Comité Provincial del Partido en Guantánamo, Reseña Histórica de Guantánamo, op cit, pp. 122-123; and Interview given by Octavio Louit Venzant to Gary Tennant, Havana, 13 August 1997. Octavio Louit, like ñico Torres, was a member of the Delegación 11 of the Hermandad Ferroviaria de Cuba. (Back to text)|
|133.||Interview given by Mario Mencía to Gary Tennant, op cit; and Interview given by Octavio Louit Venzant to Gary Tennant, op cit; and Instituto de Historia...., Historia del Movimiento Obrero Cubano, 1865-1958, Vol. 2, op cit, 342. (Back to text)|
|134.||Manuscript of the interview given by Luis Miyares to Rafael Soler Martínez, Santiago de Cuba, 6 April 1996. (Back to text)|
|135.||Comisión Nacional de Historia, Muestra (Movimiento Obrero en la Provincia Guantánamo), Havana, nd. (IHC(b).); and Betancourt Molina, B, ‘Gustavo Fraga: Un Heroe’, Vanguardia Telefónica (Havana), September 1959, No. 5, pp. 56-57. (BNJM.); and Bosch Ferrer, D, and Victor H, ‘Imagen de un Formador: Gustavo Fraga Jacomino’, Venceremos (Guantánamo), 2 August 1997, p. 3. (Back to text)|
|136.||Interview given by Guarina Ramírez Acosta, Idalberto Ferrera Acosta and Juan Leon Ferrera Ramírez to Gary Tennant, Havana, 28 July 1997; and Autobiografía de Guarina de la Caridad Ramírez Acosta, Havana, 12 July 1985, p. 2. (Unpublished) (IFA.) (Back to text)|
|137.||Ibid, p. 2. The Second Frank País García Front in the Guantánamo region was opened on 11 March 1958. (Back to text)|
|138.||Interview given by Guarina Ramírez Acosta, Idalberto Ferrera Acosta and Juan Leon Ferrera Ramírez to Gary Tennant, 28 July 1997, op cit. (Back to text)|
|139.||Unsigned, ‘Background Of POR’, The Internationalist, Vol. 4, No. 7, 1 April 1960, pp. 1, 8. (SP.); and Interview given by Guarina Ramírez Acosta, Idalberto Ferrera Acosta and Juan Leon Ferrera Ramírez to Gary Tennant, 28 July 1997, op cit. (Back to text)|
|140.||E-mail letter from Adolfo Malvagni Gilly to Gary Tennant, Stanford: CA, 4 April 1997. This version of the Trotskyists’ attitude to a United Front between the M26J and the PSP was challenged by Guevara. He argued that the Trotskyists had refused to co-operate with the PSP in the general strike during the insurrection. Zeitlin, M, ‘An Interview with ‘Che’’, Root and Branch (Berkeley: CA), Winter 1962, p. 53. However, elsewhere Guevara rather confusingly portrayed David Salvador’s attitude to the PSP during the insurrection as that of the Trotskyists. Guevara erroneously suggested that Salvador had much affinity for Trotskyism. Guevara, EC, ‘Conferencia de Prensa en Montevideo (Uruguay, 9 August 1961)’, In: Ernesto Che Guevara: Escritos y Discursos, Vol. 9, Havana, Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, 1977, p. 107. (Back to text)|
|141.||Acosta de Arribas, R, Ficha Biográfica de Roberto Acosta Hechavarría, Havana, nd, p. 2. (Unpublished) Acosta was subsequently awarded the Medal of the Clandestine Struggle by the Council of State for this activity. Ibid, p. 3. (Back to text)|
|142.||Central Committee of the Partido Bolchevique Leninista, A las Masas Trabajadoras de Cuba, Havana, 15 October 1939, p. 1. (AHPSC: Fondo Audencia Territorial de Oriente Sala de Urgencia, Legajo 2, Expediente 19, Folios 3-4.) (Back to text)|
|143.||Central Committee of the Partido Obrero Revolucionario, ¡Aprestémonos a la Defensa Armada de Nuestros Derechos Democráticos!, Havana, 14 December 1941. (SWP(US); and HI: SWP Collection, Box No. 31, Folder 1.) (Back to text)|
|144.||[“fervientes propagadores de la guerra imperialista al servicio de la Casa Blanca.”](My translation, GT.) Santiago de Cuba Sectional Committee of the PBL, Al Pueblo de Cuba, November 1941, op cit, p. 2. (Back to text)|
|145.||[“NI UN SOLDADO CUBANO FUERA DE CUBA.”](My translation, GT.) See, for example, CC of the POR, ¡Aprestémonos a la Defensa Armada de Nuestros Derechos Democráticos!, 14 December 1941, op cit, p. 3. (Back to text)|
|146.||Ibid, p. 2. (Back to text)|
|147.||Ibid, p. 2; and Santiago de Cuba Sectional Committee of the PBL, Al Pueblo de Cuba, November 1941, op cit, pp. 3-4. (Back to text)|
|148.||[“queremos reivindicar la tradición mambisa del soldado-ciudadano: eran los soldados del Ejército Libertador los que ejerciendo el derecho de sufragio elegían al Gobierno en Armas.”](My translation, GT.) CC of the POR, ¡Aprestémonos a la Defensa Armada de Nuestros Derechos Democráticos!, op cit, p. 3. (Back to text)|
|149.||[“¡Viva la Guerra de los Pueblos Coloniales por su Liberación Nacional!”](My translation, GT.) Partido Bolchevique Leninista, ¡Obreros! ¡Defendemos la Unión Soviética!, June 1941. (SWP(US).) (Back to text)|
|150.||La Voz Revolucionaria del Trotskismo en el III Congreso Nacional Obrero, op cit, pp. 11-12. (Back to text)|
|151.||In 1942-43 Shachtman’s Workers’ Party argued against support for the Guomindang, a position which was adopted by a number of Chinese Trotskyists, most notably Wang Fanxi. This minority ‘proletarian’ line was opposed by the SWP(US) and the majority of the Chinese Trotskyists including Peng Shuzhi. They argued that the war against Japan, from a Chinese point of view, was progressive and opposed attempting to win it through proletarian revolution. See Benton, G, op cit, pp. 86-88. (Back to text)|
|152.||[“[l]a defensa del territorio nacional demanda la permanencia dentro del mismo de todas las fuerzas que sea posible organizar.”](My translation, GT.) La Voz Revolucionaria del Trotskismo en el III Congreso Nacional Obrero, op cit, p. 15. (Back to text)|
|153.||Central Committee of the PBL, ‘¡Apoyemos la Heroica Acción Revolucionaria del Proletariado Español! ¡Adelante por la Revolución Proletaria Mundial!’, Noticiero Bolchevique (Havana), No. 1, September 1936, p. 21. (IISG: ZDK 28141.) (Back to text)|
|154.||Trotsky, LD, ‘La Lección de España’, Noticiero Bolchevique (Havana), No. 1, September 1936, pp. 7-9. (IISG: ZDK 28141.) (Translation from Allen, N, and Breitman, G (eds), The Spanish Revolution (1931-39), New York, Pathfinder Press, 1973, pp. 234-239.) (Back to text)|
|155.||[[l]a política de bloque con la burguesía republicana, con la sedicente ‘democracia burguesa’, preconizada por los revisionistas stalinianos a partir del VII Congreso del la I.C., es en su esenca una oplítica de frenaje contra-revolcionario, cuyas consecuencias está pagando el proletariado español.”](My translation, GT.) Unsigned, ‘La Revolución Española’, Noticiero Bolchevique (Havana), No. 1, September 1936, p. 4. (IISG: ZDK 28141.) (Back to text)|
|156.||Ibid, pp. 4-5. (Back to text)|
|157.||Letter from Roberto Pérez Santiesteban to Fred Browner, Havana, 17 October 1937, p. 1. (HI: SWP Collection, Box No. 30, Folder 27.) Although a minority in the Ateneo Socialista Español, the Cuban Trotskyists gained a position in its leadership facilitated by the alliance which they formed with the anarchists. The anarchists apparently protested against the official communists’ calls to expel the Trotskyists on the usual slanderous grounds that they were fascists. Ibid. (Back to text)|
|158.||See, for example, Letter from Charles Simeón to Fred Browner, Havana, 30 September 1937, (HI: SWP Collection, Box No. 30, Folder 27.) which refers to Nin and Maurín as if they were upholders of Trotskyism. However, this is not to say that the PBL was not aware of the existence of the Bolshevik Leninist Group in Spain, the section officially recognised by the International Communist League. Dialéctica, the magazine of the Plasterers’ Union, for example, published the document ¿Que Queremos los Trotskistas en España? written by the Spanish Bolshevik Leninists. This document, though, made no mention of the POUM and simply argued the need for advancing the struggle for social revolution above that of promoting the Popular Front government. Sección B.L. de España, ‘¿Que Queremos los Trotskistas en España?’, 19 July 1937, Dialéctica (Havana), Year 1, No. 5, November 1937, pp. 15-16. (Organ of the Sindicato de Yesistas de La Habana) (IHC(b).) (Back to text)|
|159.||[“llamaba día a día al proletariado español a reorganizar las Alianzas Obreras, verdaderos órganos de expresión proletaria, y las milicias obreras embriones de l Ejército Rojo.”](My translation, GT.) Unsigned, ‘La Revolución Española’, Noticiero Bolchevique, op cit, p. 5. (Back to text)|
|160.||CC of the POR, Declaración de Principios del Partido Obrero Revolucionario, October 1940, op cit, p. 19. (Back to text)|
|161.||Provisional Executive Commission of the Bolshevik Leninist Party of Cuba, Resolution on the Problem of the Opposition in the S.W.P., Havana, 11 May 1940. (HHL: Trotsky Archive, Fourth International, Cuba, 1599.) (Back to text)|
|162.||Mary Low, who was Breá’s companion from 1933 until his death in 1941, worked for the POUM radio station broadcasting in English as well as writing for their English language bulletin, The Spanish Revolution. Interview given by Mary Low Machado to Gary Tennant, Chorleywood, Hertfordshire, England, 18 July 1995. For details of the life and work of Mary Low see Low Machado, M, Where the Wolf Sings, Chicago: IL, Black Swan Press, 1994, pp. 53-59; and Alba, V, and Schwartz, S, Spanish Marxism Versus Soviet Communism, New Brunswick: NJ, Transaction Books, 1988, pp. 286-289. (Back to text)|
|163.||Guillamón, A, Documentación Histórica del Trosquismo Español (1936-1948), Madrid, Ediciones de la Torre, 1996, p. 17. In fact, there were two rival Trotskyist groups in Spain. Apart from the Bolshevik-Leninist Group led by *Munis (Manuel Fernández Grandizo) which worked as a fraction in the POUM, there was also the ‘Le Soviet’ group led by *Fosco (Nicola di Bartolomeo). (Back to text)|
|164.||Letter from Wilebaldo Solano to Gary Tennant, Paris, 15 July 1997. Wilebaldo Solano became the Secretary of the POUM’s youth organisation, the Juventud Comunista Ibérica, after the death of Germinal Vidal in street fighting in Barcelona in July 1936. Later, in exile, Solano was one of only two people to ever hold the post of General Secretary of the POUM. (Back to text)|
|165.||See, for example, Breá, J, ‘Correo Miliciano del P.O.U.M. Relatos y Notas de Nuestras Camaradas: Hombres y Cosas del Frente’, P.O.U.M., No. 10, 27 October 1936, p. 3. (Organ of the Madrid section of the POUM) Another article by Breá stressed the contrast between the revolution in Barcelona and Madrid. Orr, CA, ‘Souvenirs sur l’Hôtel Falcón’, Cahiers Léon Trotsky (Paris), No. 51, October 1993, p. 48. (Back to text)|
|166.||Letter from Mary Low Machado to Agustín Guillamón, Miami: FL, December 1997/January 1998. The exact reasons for the POUM’s refusal may be multi-fold. There are various accounts which argue that the POUM’s leadership did not take kindly to Breá on the grounds of his Bohemian lifestyle, but tolerated him only because they attached great value to the work of Mary Low. (These assertions were outlined by Wilebaldo Solano during conversations with Agustín Guillamón. Letter from Agustín Guillamón to Gary Tennant, Barcelona, 16 October 1996. See also Orr, CA, op cit, p. 48.) However, Mary Low Machado has recounted that the POUM refused Breá protection stating that his “presence complicated their relations with Stalinism!” [“presencia les complicaron sus relaciones con el stalinismo!”](My translation, GT.) Letter from Mary Low Machado to Agustín Guillamón, op cit. Another factor is that the official Trotskyist group in Spain, the Bolshevik Leninists, would all be expelled in February 1937. (Back to text)|
|167.||Red Spanish Notebook with a preface by C. L. R. James was first published in London in 1937 by Martin Secker and Warburg, who also published George Orwell’s Homage To Catalonia. It was reprinted in San Francisco by City Lights in 1979 with a new introduction by Eugencio Fernández Granell, a founder along with Nin of the Spanish Communist Opposition. A French edition, Carnets de la Guerre d’Espagne, Editions Verticales, 1997 also contains an extended biography of Breá and Low written by Gèrard Roche. Roche, G, op cit, pp. 9-32. (Back to text)|
|168.||Low, M, and Breá, J, Red Spanish Notebook, San Francisco: CA, City Lights, 1979, p. 247. (Back to text)|
|169.||Ibid, p. 254. (Back to text)|
|170.||Ibid, p. 256. (Back to text)|
|171.||Ibid, p. 254. (Back to text)|
|172.||’La Lucha Revolucionaria en Cuba’, Comunismo, May-June 1934, op cit, p. 237. (Back to text)|
|173.||’La Revolución Española’, Noticiero Bolchevique, op cit, p. 6. (Back to text)|
|174.||Letter from Wilebaldo Solano to Gary Tennant, op cit. (Back to text)|
|175.||See, Unsigned, ‘Publicaciones Recibidas’, Noticiero Bolchevique (Havana), No. 1, September 1936, p. 11. (IISG: ZDK 28141.); and Letter from Roberto Pérez Santiesteban to Fred Browner, Havana, 19 March 1938. (HI: SWP Collection, Box No. 30, Folder 28.); and Unsigned Letter to Cuban Comrades, New York, 24 March 1938. (HI: SWP Collection, Box No. 30, Folder 28.) (Back to text)|
|176.||See, for example, the numerous letters held in Folders 27 and 28, Box No. 30, in the SWP Collection at the Hoover Institution in Stanford, California. (Back to text)|
|177.||Letter from Roberto Pérez Santiesteban to Fred Browner, Havana, 19 April 1938. (HI: SWP Collection, Box No. 30, Folder 28.); and Minutes of the Pre-Conference of the All American Pacific Bureau of the Fourth International, 17 May 1938. (HI: SWP Collection, Box No. 4, Folder 7.) From an earlier letter, it appears that Browner visited the Cuban Trotskyists in Havana in early 1937. Letter from Fred Browner to unnamed Cuban Trotskyist (From internal evidence, possibly Roberto Pérez Santiesteban), 19 October 1937. (HI: SWP Collection, Box No. 30, Folder 27.) (Back to text)|
|178.||Apart from meetings with visiting Trotskyists who worked as seamen (See Letter from the Provisional Executive Commission of the Partido Bolchevique Leninista to C. Munis, Havana, 2 May 1940. (HHL: Trotsky Archive, Fourth International, Cuba, 1595.)), POR members also met Max Shachtman in December 1941 when he visited Cuba to investigate the apparently mysterious death of Arkadij Maslow. Maslow (1891-1941), along with Ruth Fischer, had been a supporter of Zinoviev in the German Communist Party (KPD). Expelled from the KPD in 1926 he dropped out of active politics after Zinoviev capitulated to Stalin. He fled to Paris in 1933, moving to Havana in 1940. Though he died suddenly in a street in Havana, Shachtman’s investigation found that he probably died of natural causes. See the Letter from Max Shachtman to Ruth Fischer, Havana, 5 December 1941, In: Lübbe, P (ed.), Ruth Fischer / Arkadij Maslow: Abtrünnig wider Willen, Munich, R. Oldenbourg Verlag, 1990, pp. 148-149. (Back to text)|
|179.||See Letter from Pérez Santiesteban, R, to Fernández, R, Havana, 25 January 1942. (HI: SWP Collection, Box No. 31, Folder 2.); and Letter from Pérez Santiesteban, R, to Marc, Havana, 31 January 1942. (HI: SWP Collection, Box No. 31, Folder 2.); and Brunner, D, ‘Fritz Lamm—Exil in Kuba’, In: Grebing, H, and Wickert, C (eds), Das ‘andere Deutschland’ im Widerstand gegen den Nationalsozialismus, Essen, Klartext Verlag, 1994, pp. 151, 157. Anton Grylewicz (1885-1971), a member of the Central Committee of the KPD in the early 1920s, he was removed from that post in 1925 after steps were taken against the Zinovievists, Fischer and Maslow. He eventually joined the German Left Opposition in 1930. After emigrating to Prague in 1933, he moved on to Cuba after the outbreak of war. It appears, though, that despite having made contact with Leon Katz, another German Trotskyist in Cuba, and Goldenberg, the Cuban Trotskyists did not make contact two other prominent ‘dissident’ German communists, Heinrich Brandler and August Thalheimer. Having been leading supporters of the Right Opposition in the 1920s and 30s, they also resided in Cuba for over a decade though were largely inactive politically. See Becker, J, and Jentsch, H, ‘Heinrich Brandler—Biographische Skizze, 1924-1967’, Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung (Berlin), Vol. 6, 1998, pp. 322-323. (Back to text)|
|180.||Quebracho, op cit, p. 190. (Back to text)|
|181.||Letter from Braverman, SH, to Hernández, R, 11 August 1944. (HI: SWP Collection, Box No. 31, Folder 4.) (Back to text)|
|182.||Cited in Stuart, JB, ‘Cuba’s Elections: Background and Analysis’, Fourth International, July 1944, op cit, p. 208. (Back to text)|
|183.||’Resolutions of the Third World Congress, Latin America: Problems and Tasks’, Fourth International November-December 1951, op cit, p. 212. (Back to text)|
|184.||See Letter from Pablo Díaz González to Stein, Havana, 22 June 1948, op cit. (Back to text)|
|185.||Provisional Executive Commission of the Bolshevik Leninist Party of Cuba, Resolution on the Problem of the Opposition in the S.W.P., op cit. Given the POR’s subsequent trajectory over this issue, it must be noted that this Resolution was passed within ten days of a visit to Havana by a U.S. seaman and may not have been the result of extensive discussions within the POR. At the time, Mario Pedrosa (*Lebrún), the leading Latin American supporter of the Minority ‘anti-defencist’ position was claiming to speak on behalf of a number of Latin American groups and it is not beyond the realms of possibility that a primary concern of the visiting U.S. seaman was to secure the formal support for the Majority of a principal Latin American section. Certainly, the highly critical 1946 Internal Bulletin called for the removal of all resolutions on international questions which had not been previously discussed by the party’s dispersed membership. Boletín Interior del Partido Obrero Revolucionario, March 1946, op cit, p. 8. (Back to text)|
|186.||PBL, ¡Obreros! ¡Defendemos la Unión Soviética!, June 1941, op cit. (Back to text)|
|187.||CC of the POR, Declaración de Principios del Partido Obrero Revolucionario, October 1940, op cit, p. 18. (Back to text)|
|188.||[“casta privilegiada [....] Estado Bonapartisa y la dictadura anti-proletaria.”](My translation, GT.) CC of the PBL, A las Masas Trabajadoras de Cuba, 15 October 1939, op cit, p. 2. (Back to text)|
|189.||PBL, ¡Obreros! ¡Defendemos la Unión Soviética!, June 1941, op cit. (Back to text)|
|190.||See Gilly, A, ‘Open Letter to Jack Barnes on Trotskyism in Cuba’, Intercontinental Press (New York), 11 May 1981, p. 492. (SP.) (Back to text)|
|191.||[“Dictadura Staliniana [....] Estado Totalitario”.](My translation, GT.) Alvarez, S, ‘El Caso Polaco Es Ejemplo de la Contrarevolución Burocrática’, Revolución Proletaria (Havana), Year 2, No. 3, 8 July 1945, pp. 1-2, 4. (SWP(US).) (Back to text)|
|192.||[“’[l]a liberación de los trabajadores será obra de los trabajadores mismos’”.](My translation, GT.) Ibid, p. 4. (Back to text)|
|193.||In this letter the Cuban Trotskyists argued that Tony Cliff’s exposition of the state capitalist theory on the Soviet Union was the strongest they had come across and that they were working on a Spanish translation. Letter from the POR to Socialisme ou Barbarie, Havana, 25 June 1949, published in Socialisme ou Barbarie (Paris), 1949, p. 93. The journal Socialisme ou Barbarie, founded by Cornelius Castoriadis (1922-1997) in 1949, characterised the Soviet Union under the rule of the Stalinist bureaucracy as an expansionist capitalist superpower. The journal was also notable for defending the council communist ideas of workers’ management from below. See Ames Curtis, D (ed.), Cornelius Castoriadis: Political and Social Writings, (Vol. 1, 1946-1955: From the Critique of Bureaucracy to the Positive Content of Socialism), Minneapolis: MN, University of Minnesota Press, 1987; and Economou, A, ‘Obituaries: Cornelius Castoriadis’, Revolutionary History (London), Vol. 7, No. 2, pp. 219-221. (Back to text)|
|194.||Letter from Louis Rigaudias to Gary Tennant, Paris, 27 February 1997. (Back to text)|
|195.||Alvarez, A, ‘Letter to a Cuban Socialist: On the Problems of Latin America’, The New International, Vol. 15, April 1949, pp. 103-106. (BJL.) (Back to text)|
|196.||[“Hay prejuicios metropolitanos y hay prejuicios coloniales. Tenemos que curarnos de esa enfermidad. Sobre nosotros pesa muchas veces el; prejuicio mesiánico propio a la política imperante en nuestros países. En la acción refleja del medio, contraparte del prejuicio de nuestros amigos norteños que por regla general, y salvo excepciones, tienen una ignorancia enciclopédica sobre los países del Sur, pero se creen muy bién informados. Somos nosotros los que tenemos que resolver nuestros propios asuntos y esta conducta a la postre revertirá en beneficio colectivo mas allá de las fronteras políticas.”](My translation, GT.) Bode, ‘Apreciaciones sobre la Lucha de la L.O.R. contra el Centrismo’, Boletín Sudamericano (Buenos Aires), Year 1, No. 5, June 1943, p. 3. (Back to text)|
|197.||[“un punto de convergencia moral” .... “mantener como embrión de una efectiva dirigencia”](My translation, GT.) Ibid, p. 2. (Back to text)|
|198.||Ibid, p. 2 (Back to text)|
|199.||[“decisión de romper con Nueva York, por considerar que un paso de tal naturaleza no puede conducir mas que al abandono de una posición legitimamente mantenida, dejando en manos de la tendencia centrista los mejores argumentos para la defensa de su posición.”](My translation, GT.) Ibid, pp. 2-3. (Back to text)|
|200.||Ibid. (Back to text)|
|201.||Provisional Executive Committee of the PBL, ‘Bolshevik-Leninist Party of Cuba’, International Bulletin, July 1940, op cit. (Back to text)|
|202.||Provisional Executive of the PBL, Resolution on the Problem of the Opposition in the S.W.P., op cit. (Back to text)|
|203.||Letter from the Central Committee of the Partido Obrero Revolucionario to the International Secretariat of the Fourth International, Havana, 19 July 1947. (TIL: Series I, Part D, Box 5, Folio 11.) (Back to text)|
|204.||I outline these post-1959 attempts to associate Trotskyism with Mujal in Chapter One. See page 12. (Back to text)|
|205.||Unsigned, ‘De la Teoría Trotskista al Fascismo’, Bandera Roja (Havana), 9 January 1937, pp. 1, 4. (IHC(b).) (Back to text)|
|206.||Escobedo, A, ‘La Alianza Trotsko-Fascista’, Bandera Roja (Havana), 26 March 1937, pp. 1-2, 5. (IHC(b).) (Back to text)|
|207.||See, for example, Unsigned, ‘La Reacción no Podrá Ocultar la Negra Historia de Trotzki’, Hoy (Havana), Year 3, No. 202, 23 August 1940, p. 12. (IHC(b).) (Back to text)|
|208.||[“guía querida de los trabajadores de todo el mundo, camarada Stalin”](My translation, GT.) Rodríguez, CR, ‘El Fin de Una Carrera Criminal’, El Comunista (Havana), Year 2, No. 12, October 1940, pp. 772-773. (IHC(b).) (Back to text)|
|209.||[“una banda de delincuentes.”](My translation, GT.) Cuesta, M, ‘La Banda Internacional Trotskista’, El Comunista (Havana), Year 2, No. 14, December 1940, p. 975. (IHC(b).) (Back to text)|
|210.||See, for example, Luzardo, M, ‘La Lucha contra el Trotskismo’, Fundamentos (Havana), Vol. 1, No. 3, June 1941, p. 214. (IHC(b).); and Tercer Congreso de la CTC (1942), Intervención del Compañero Faustino Calcines. Morning Session, 11 December 1942. (IHC(a): Fondo Primer Partido Marxista Leninista, Sig. 1/8:13/3.1/57-69.) (Back to text)|
|211.||[“maniobra hábil”](My translation, GT.) ‘El Trotskismo Enemigo del Movimiento Obrero: Intervención de Faustino Calcines, Secretario de la Federación de Trabajadores de las Villas’, In: III Congreso Nacional de la C.T.C. ¡La Unidad es Victoria!, Havana, 1944, pp. 39-40. (IHC(b): 331.88063/Con/I.) (Back to text)|
|212.||Informe sobre el Estado de Fuerzas Representantes en el III Congreso. (IHC(a): Fondo Primer Partido Marxista Leninista, Sig. 1/8:13/3.1/203.) (Back to text)|
|213.||See, for example, Unsigned, ‘Elementos Trotskistas Le Prendieron Fuego Intencionalmente al Local de las Oficinas del Comité de U.R. Comunista en Vedado’, Hoy (Havana), Year 5, No. 116, 17 May 1942, pp. 1, 8. (IHC(b)); and Luzardo, M, ‘La Lucha contra el Trotskismo’, Fundamentos, June 1941, op cit, pp. 214-215. (Back to text)|
|214.||[“[e]n el año 1935, los trotskistas cubanos, expulsados como ratas por los sindicatos y organizaciones populares, recibieron la orden de su jefe Trotsky, de ingresar en Joven Cuba, para enmascarar sus actividades y no ser objeto de la denuncia sistemática de las masas. Al fusionarse esta organización polític|
|215.||See, for example, the leaflets URC Sancti Spíritus Municipal Committee, A la Cárcel los Especuladores, Agiotistas, Troskistas y Quintacolumnistas, nd. (OCG: Pablo Gómez Arias file.); and URC Sancti Spíritus Municipal Executive Committee, A los Trabajadores, Campesinos y a Todo el Pueblo, April 1942. (OCG: Pablo Gómez Arias file.); and Sancti Spíritus Partido Unión Revolucionaria Comunista, A los Trabajadores Espirituanos, nd. (From internal evidence, April-May 1942.) (OCG: Pablo Gómez Arias file.) (Back to text)|
|216.||In addition to the likes of Mujal and Junco, a limited number of ex-Trotskyists eventually became associated with a variety of overtly anti-working class causes. Emilio Tró, for example, a member of the OCC during the Revolution of the 1930s was the leader of the Unión Insurreccional Revolucionaria, the pistolero gang to which Fidel Castro himself belonged. The starkest example, however, of a former Trotskyist consciously participating in anti-working movements was that of Rafael Solér Puig. Having entered the organisations of the petty bourgeois pistolero groups along with the POR members in the late 1940s, Solér Puig was dragged by them into gangsterism and counter-revolution on the extreme Right of political spectrum. A long-time Trotskyist in Santiago de Cuba in the 1930s and 40s, he became a gangster in the 1950s and among other things was responsible for the assassination of ‘Pipi’ Hernández, an exiled leader of the opposition to Trujillo, the dictator of the Dominican Republic. Solér Puig later returned to Cuba as part of the U.S.-sponsored Bay of Pigs invasion force. After being captured he was shot by the Revolutionary Government. Interview given by Mary Low Machado to Gary Tennant, op cit. (Back to text)|
|217.||[“especulación productiva cerca de los grupos de la pequeña burguesía.”](My translation, GT.) Unsigned, ‘Villareal Ha Encontrado su Camino’, Noticiero Bolchevique (Havana), No. 1, September 1936, pp. 13-14. (IISG: ZDK 28141.) (Back to text)|
|218.||See, for example, Unsigned, ‘En Torno a los ‘Trotskistas’ en el P.R.C.’, Cuba Obrera (Havana), Year 1, No. 4, December 1940, pp. 1, 8. (Back to text)|
|219.||Unsigned, ‘De la Sección de Guantánamo’, Cuba Obrera, October 1940, op cit, p. 7. (Back to text)|
|220.||Unsigned, ‘Lazaro Peña-Junco, Blas Roca-Mujal, Hermanos Gemelos Bajo una Misma Bandera: ¡Concilición de Clases!’ Cuba Obrera, August 1941, op cit, pp. 1, 6. (Back to text)|
|221.||This was stated with clarity by Lenin during the Second Congress of the Comintern. See Theses, Resolutions and Manifestos of the First Four Congresses of the Third International, op cit, p. 80. (Back to text)|
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