The Problem of Democracy in Cuba: Between Vision and Reality / Edition 1

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Overview


Drawing on twenty-five years of first-hand research in Cuba, this book examines the relationship between socialism and democracy, in classical Marxist theory and in the practice of the Cuban revolution. While the author notes the role which underdevelopment and external threat have played in undermining the possibility for democratic socialism in this century, she focuses specifically upon a theoretical heritage plagued by silences, absences and simplifications concerning key political issues. In her application of this focus to the Cuban revolution, Bengelsdorf traces a pattern of confrontation with these absences around the issues of democracy. In this revisionist interpretation, she examines the succession of critical moments at which the question of democracy was raised and the nature of the leadership's response. She argues that the paternalism of the leadership in reining in possibilities it itself had evoked has been as destructive of the social project of the revolution as the dire economic straits in which Cuba finds itself in a post-socialist world.

"A belated, but nontheless very good effort to explore the irreconocilable tension between democracy and authoritarian, paternalist socialism in revolutionary Cuba. Informed by critical Marxism, book challenges the notion that Cuba is an excellent case of 'direct democracy,' laying responsibility for the absence of freedom and accountability squarely on Castro's dictatorial vocation and the Communist party's hegemony. In a surprising departure, author concludes that 'to the degree the (Cuban) leadership continues to insist upon defining the boundaries of civil society, it must in the end fail' (p. 178)"--Handbook of Latin American Studies, v. 57.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195090147
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/28/1994
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Lexile: 1540L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.25 (w) x 6.13 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 3
1 Marx and the State in the First Phase of Communism 12
2 Lenin and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat 33
3 The "Dictatorship of the Proletariat" in Practice: Actually Existing Socialism in the Soviet Union 50
4 Cuba - The First Decade: Paternalist Centralization and Anarchic Decentralization 66
5 Cuba in the Seventies: Centralized Decentralization 99
6 The 1980s - Unchanging Change: Cuba in the Era of Perestroika 134
7 Popular Power: The Reckoning 155
8 Into the 1990s: Socialism on One Island - or, Cuba in a World Without Alternatives 166
Conclusion 177
Notes 181
Bibliography 207
Index 225
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