The ideas of Marxism and Trotsky more alive than ever in Havana
Around thirty-five people participated today in the presentation of the book Reason in Revolt, held at the International Havana Book Fair. Celia Hart Santamaría introduced the event and pointed out this was a very courageous book of struggle, and that the book had appeared at a time when the ideas of Marxism were being vilified.
Jordi Martorell of the (Spanish) Frederick Engels Foundation of Socialist Studies explained the context in which Reason in Revolt had been written by Alan Woods and Ted Grant. It was published for the first time ten years ago, in 1995, in commemoration of the centenary of Frederick Engels’ death. At that time, after the collapse of Stalinism in the Soviet Union, the bourgeoisie had launched a ferocious campaign against the ideas of Marxism. Woods and Grant took up the challenge to answer this onslaught of the bourgeoisie and demonstrate the validity of Marxist philosophy, i.e. dialectical materialism.
Jordi explained that the book set as its task the vindication of the ideas of dialectics in the light of the most recent scientific discoveries. Thus, one can see the laws of dialectics being reflected in the theory of punctuated equilibriums, an evolutionary theory put forward by Stephen Jay Gould, or in chaos theory and the ubiquity theory.
Ten years after the publication of Reason in Revolt – today there are several editions in Spanish, English, Turkish, Greek, Urdu, Italian, German and soon there will also be French, Bahasa Indonesia and Dutch editions – all the promises of capitalism about a “peace dividend” after the end of the cold war, the “end of history”, etc., have been shattered by reality.
Capitalism offers us a world of wars and crises, but by necessity it also breeds revolutions as in Venezuela. That is why the meeting also served as the presentation of the international Hands Off Venezuela campaign, launched in December 2002 by Alan Woods, one of the authors of Reason in Revolt.
Jordi Martortell said that the defence of the Bolivarian revolution is an extremely important duty for revolutionaries all over the world. This revolution has shown once again the fighting capacity of the masses, despite the open betrayal of many of its leaders who have openly sided with the reaction. Clear examples of this are the defeat of the coup in April 2002, the workers’ control in the oil industry in December 2002 and January 2003 and more recently the defeat of the reaction in the referendum of August 15.
Celia Hart and Jordi Martorell
The development of the Venezuelan revolution has posed the need to transcend the capitalist system – as Hugo Chavez explained in his speech at the World Social Forum – and that is only possible under socialism. Jordi Martorell linked this idea to the conception of the founder of the Cuban Communist Party, Julio Antonio Mella, that this was not the era of the French Revolution in 1789 but of the Russian socialist revolution. Che Guevara also spoke about the “socialist revolution or a caricature of revolution.” These ideas are the basis of Trotsky’s theory of the permanent revolution, Jordi said, together with the other mainstay of Trotsky of the need to extend the revolution internationally, which is what Che Guevara also strove for.
Jordi Martorell finished off by highlighting the importance of the Venezuelan revolution, its socialist victory and its spreading to an international level, as a means of defending the Cuban revolution.
After this there was a debate with the public and with the participation of comrades from Venezuela, Mexico and Cuba itself. A Cuban comrade, veteran of the revolutionary war and close collaborator of Che after the 1959 victory, finished the question-and-answer session, emphasising the need to vindicate the ideas of Trotsky, his struggle against the Stalinist bureaucracy in the USSR and the theory of the permanent revolution.
The meeting ended in the spirit of proletarian internationalism with the slogan of “workers of the world, unite!”
Twenty-one copies of the Spanish edition of Reason in Revolt were sold at the end of the meeting. Due to the interest generated by the book, the possibility of a Cuban edition is now being discussed.