Heated debate about the RCIT book on Cuba
Report of a public meeting of the RKOB about the Cuban regime
Report of the RKOB (Austrian Section of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency), 2.9.2013 www.rkob.net
The RKOB (Austrian Section of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency) organized a public debate on Cuba at the annual political and cultural event of the Communist Party (similar to the L’Humanité fete of the French CP). The public meeting – “Is Cuba a socialist or capitalist country?" – was organized on the occasion of the publication of the RCIT’S new book on the restoration of capitalism in Cuba.
The debate took place between Michael Pröbsting and Michael Wögerer. Michael Pröbsting is International Secretary of Revolutionary Communist International Tendency and author of the recently published book "Cuba 's Revolution Sold Out?". Michael Wögerer is chairman of the Austro- Cuban society.
Comrade Pröbsting explained in his introduction that the profound economic and social reforms undertaken by the government of Raul Castro for several years have led to the dismissal of about half a million workers from state enterprises. He explained that according to official announcements of the Cuban state leaders that they plan to put 60% of the economy under the control of private companies by 2017. This restoration of capitalism in Cuba is reinforced by the close relationship of the government with the emerging imperialist power China.
Michael Wögerer however defended the political line of the Cuban governance without ifs and buts. He described the new economic reforms as an "update of socialism." He pointed out that the redundancies from the state enterprises would be unproblematic, since they would be offset by private sector development and the creation of new jobs in private companies. Comrade Wögerer expressed at the beginning of his speech his indignation at the position of the RKOB and announced that he will never again participate in a public meeting of the RKOB. Other supporters of the Cuban state policy limited their contributions to insults and heckling.
However they were the minority. The vast majority of contributions to the discussion from the audience were serious in nature and dealt – some more, some less – critically with the situation in Cuba. In addition to leading representatives of RKOB like Nina Gunić and Johannes Wiener comrades like Leo Gabriel (journalist and member of the International Council of the World Social Forum), Hermann Dworczak (activist of the Austrian Social Forum and a member of the Mandelite Fourth International), Gilbert Karasek (a longtime former shop steward and left-wing activist ) and numerous other spoke from the floor.
The event was very well attended with about 80 participants and was the largest among the political events on the fete.
Finally, we want to recommend our readers to purchase the new book “Cuba 's Revolution Sold Out?”, which analyses the character of the Cuban Revolution 1959-61, its bureaucratic degeneration, and the recent march of the Castro leadership towards capitalism. The book is written in English language, costs 8,- Euro / 12 US-Dollars / 7 British Pound (plus delivery charges) and can be ordered via the contact address of the RCIT (firstname.lastname@example.org)
On the RKOB’s website you can find photos and videos of the event at:
Speech of Michael Pröbsting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Ja9vV7SVCw&feature=c4-overview&list=UUCSUT4RYehM3d6by9il4AIw
Speech of Michael Wögerer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzshRT8acRg&feature=c4-overview&list=UUCSUT4RYehM3d6by9il4AIw
Statement of Nina Gunić: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1RH_aYtoR0&feature=c4-overview&list=UUCSUT4RYehM3d6by9il4AIw
Statement of Johannes Wiener: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=od2i3dFU4sA&feature=c4-overview&list=UUCSUT4RYehM3d6by9il4AIw