Mahir Çayan: Fidel-Guevara and Our Stance on the Cuban Experiment

This writing is taken from ”On the Character of New Opportunism”, published in Aydınlık Sosyalist Dergi, issue:20 in June 1970. In this essay, the author replies to the polemic of Campus Maoists and left opportunist line, who claim Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and their comrades are nothing but petty-bourgeoise revolutionaries, who do practice anti-Leninist line. The author, Mahir Çayan, after discussing the invalid arguments of opportunists, finally point out for the real revolutionary line of the Marxist-Leninist movement.

The new opportunism is addled by the Cuban revolution experiment. According to some, Cuba is not a socialist country. Accoding to another, “yes there has been a revolution in Cuba, but this is a coincidental result of a narrow experimentalist understanding” (See H. Berktay, Proleter Devrimci Aydınlık, Issue: 16, p. 327) And according to them, if American imperialism had acted awake, this revolution would not have happened! ”Because of the dormancy conditions of both Cuban ruling classes and Amerian imperialism, Cuban experiment had succeeded.” (See H. Berktay, Proleter Devrimci Aydınlık, Issue: 16, p. 326) In other words, according to them, the Cuban revolution is a miraculous phenomenon. Here is the scientific socialist thought (!) exhibited, or rather the dialectic of massacred Marxism!

The metaphysician explains the revolutions by chance and miracles. For him, for example, the French bourgeois revolution is a coincidence. The French revolution is described by the metaphysician as Louis XVI being a weak and soft person. ”If he was a strong person, there would be no revolution.” he says. Moreover, ”Had Louis XVI cut his food short, he would not have been caught and the course of history would have changed.”[1] However, there is no room for explanations of miracles and coincidences in scientific socialist understanding. Miracle and coincidence exists in, in Lenin’s words, ”neither in nature nor in history”. Here is the theoretical end of those who confuse form and essence and searching for absolute principles in form rather than essence, to be traffic policemen of the world revolutionary movement: Swim in the swamp of metaphysics!

The scientific socialist worldview does not explain the Cuban revolution with a momentary blunder of American imperialism and Cuban ruling classes. The success of the Cuban experience is related to the present state of world capitalism.

Lenin proposes the existence of the following three conditions for a colonial country like Cuba to win the anti-imperialist war, which is the first stage of the transition to socialism through a series of internal revolutions: ”The coordination of the efforts of a significant part of the population of these oppressed nations or the international situation is particularly appropriate (for example, weakened imperialist intervention, paralyzed by a war between them and their own contradictions, etc.), or the proletariat of one of the major states must simultaneously oppose the bourgeoisie.”[2] The distinctive feature of today’s imperialism’s 3rd general crisis period is the combination of all these factors. One third of the world is socialist. The oppressed nations are blasting lethal punches to imperialism every day. The world is constantly being turned upside down. Now world capitalism is giving its last breath. The Cuban revolution is neither a coincidental result of a narrow empiricist understanding nor a miraculous event. The Cuban revolution is a necessary result of the dying imperialism!

It is revisionism itself, to see that it would be possible for American imperialism to prevent the Cuban revolution, saying, “If American imperialism acted vigilantly, this revolution would not have happened.”[3] It is to say that imperialism is almighty, and therefore, in the strategic plan, it does not believe in the victory of the revolutionary struggles of the peoples of the world, especially the Latin American peoples’, by magnifying imperialism! This is the pacifism and it’s ideology!
Coincidences and miracles, and the left opportunists, do not deepen the treasure of Marxism-Leninism. However, the Cuban experience and its leaders have deepened and enriched the treasure of Marxism-Leninism! According to the new opportunism, which poses a ridiculous dilemma saying “Are you for the people’s war or guerrilla war”, Cuba has never had a people’s war. However, guerrilla warfare is the main form of struggle for the first two stages of the popular war.
We say that the heroic Cuban people, by carrying out a people’s war, made the National Democratic Revolution and passed to socialism. And our views on the Cuban experiment, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara are clear: Now in addition to the experiment of the October revolution, there are revolutionary experiments in China, Eastern European Socialist countries, Korea, Vietnam and Cuba. The victorious revolutionaries of these countries enriched and developed Marxism-Leninism and the October revolution. All these revolutions, from China to Cuba, have been won without exception by armed struggle and by fighting against the armed imperialist attack and intervention. The armed uprising of the Cuban people began in 1953. He had fought for more than two years of revolutionary people’s war before he overthrew the rule of American imperialism and his puppet Batista in Cuba. (China’s Revolution, History, Documents and Analysis, edited by Verasimons, pp. 404-5. Chinese CP’s comment on the open letter of the CPSU Central Committee, published March 31, 1964.)

Yes, the Cuban Revolution is a great contribution to the treasure of Marxism-Leninism. And there is much to be learned from the victorious proletarian revolutionaries of the Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and his friends, Marxists of the semi-colonial country like us. Because we do not read and learn Marxism for intellectual babbling and traffic policing of the world revolutionary movement. We learn Marxism to change the world, to make a revolution in the world’s Turkey!
Calling the victorious proletarian revolutionaries of the Cuban socialist revolution “petty-bourgeois revolutionaries”, “left opportunists” is the treason, opportunism itself. And all Turkish proletarian revolutionaries should be suspected and be in doubt of the personalities of those who spread those view among our ranks.

The gallivanting author of Proleter Devrimci Aydınlık criticizes our writing ”Right-Deviation, Revolutionary Practice and Theory” for Fidel Castro reference. (See. Alpay, P.D. Aydınlık, Issue: 17, p: 366) We have always referred to, and will always do, the victorious proletarian revolutionaries who have contributed to the treasury of Marxism-Leninism.[4] The tiny(!)difference between us and the new opportunism is here! They refer to the so-called revolutionary Campus “Mao” ists of America, while we refer to the victorious revolutionaries who develop and enrich the treasure of Marxism-Leninism!

Let us explain a very important question about the proletarian revolutionary line in Latin America before finishing this chapter. The following two issues should not be particularly confused:
It is necessary to distinguish Fidel Castro and his comrades who say that all Latin American countries have ”the backwardness of industry and the feudal character of agriculture” therefore ”It is essential, in the anti-imperialist struggle, to create a program according to the interests of the vast majority of the people, of the working class, of the peasants, of the intellectuals, of the petty-bourgeoisie and of the national bourgeoisie as the most progressive strata”. (from the second Havana Declaration) and A.G Frank, A. Shah etc. who say, by linking the validity of the strategy of the National Democratic Revolution to the existence of feudalism as the relation of production, ”There is under-developed capitalism in the agriculture and there is no national bourgeoise.” therefore, suggests the socialist revolution route for these countries. This is the first one.

Fidel Castro’s and Che Guevara’s views should not be confused with the dogmatic proposals of Debray in particular, this is the two. Even W.J. Pomeroy who oppose the fact that the armed people’s war is the only way out of the yoke of imperialism and propose a peaceful revolution, openly admits this fact. Let’s see what Pomeroy says: “Debray’s highly dogmatic formulations need to be distinguished from the statements of the Cuban leaders, whom he often thinks speak in their own name.” Especially saying “Debray’s book Revolution in Revolution is the official view of the Communist Party of Cuba. This book has been published and distributed in Cuba for 2.5 million ”is nothing but an immoral falsification. Because this book has been harshly criticized by Simon Torres and Julio Arende, who voiced the views of the Communist Party of Cuba, in the June 1968 issue of the Monthly Review with an article titled “Debray and the Cuban Experience”. The main lines of this criticism are;

1. Debray’s suggestion that lider military leadership should be the main element is wrong. On the contrary, political work is essential. And the military side must be subordinated to political leadership.

2. Debray’s distinction of the bourgeois city-proletarian countryside and ”Llana-Sierra” as a class conflict is not a Leninist analysis.

In the section titled “Who Created Who”, it is stated that Debray’s claim that foco in Cuba created the party is wrong and asserted that the party is essential for the revolution. Simon Torres and Julio Arende, referring to Lenin’s book “What is to be Done” conclude that Debray has an economist view.

But ignoring these differences, the pacifists of all countries try to identify Debray’s dogmatic formulations and the proletarian revolutionary line in Latin America. For example, a so-called ”Mao”ist party called Progressive Labor accuses F. Castro, Che Guevara, and others of left opportunism (!) By gathering all these different ideologies under the title Debrayism. [5] And in our country, the spokesmen of the new opportunism, the branch of the Campus “Mao”ists, just like their American ideologists, confuse these different ideologies (ie AG Frank, the opportunist lines of Debray and the Leninist line of Cuban triumphant proletarian revolutionaries) and attempt to criticize Castro-Che Guevara. The spokesmen of new opportunism think, by condemning and accusing Latin American triumphant proletarian revolutionaries, who propose the conquest of cities from the countryside, with Debray’s dogmatic formulations and interpreting the great proletarian revolutionary Mao Tse-Tung in the American way, they can cover their betrayal and cowardice!

In the 3rd general crisis of imperialism, which is imperialism’s last hours, contrary to what the new opportunism claims, the Marxist-Leninist movement is not outside the struggle against the Castro-Guevara line, but against the ”left” which gives the countryside a second priority and dismissing peasants’ and peasantry peoples’ revolutionary movement, and which is seeking a tranmission to socialism, advocating a peaceful coexistence; against to such Neo-Blankist, Neo-Trotskyist, all the right and left deviations. Only by such a struggle, the Marxist-Leninist movement can entstreghen itself and destroy imperialism. Who call Castro-Guevara ”left opportunists” are the pacifists of the all countries!

Mahir Çayan

[1] George Politzer, Beginning Principles of Philosophy, p. 179.
[2] (A. Propos de la Brochure de Junius V. 1, p. 336) Arzumanian, the present crisis of world capitalism, p. 2.
[3] To draw the attention of counter-revolutionaries, such comments are made by the authors of anti-communist pamphlets published by the Chambers of Commerce.
[4] A spokesperson for the new opportunism criticizes our reference to F. Castro. Let’s say F. Castro is the o opportunist of the Left! (!). Is transferring from a “left opportunist” is an exorbitant mistake that will be subject to criticism? No. In “What Is To Be Done?” Lenin refers to the anti-Marxist Lassalle whom Marx and Engels accused of treason. According to the logic of this dealer, Lenin shares the same opportunist line with Lassalle because he refers to Lassalle, whom Marx accused of treason.
[5] In Progressive Labor, Debrayism’s story is told. Even, in an essay with signature John Kily, Che Guevara accused of lying.

Source: Mahir Çayan – Bütün Yazılar, Boran Yayıevi 2004,üçüncü baskı, sayfa 181-187

Mahir Çayan – Collected Works, Boran publishing house 2004, issue third, page 181-187.