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Foco and the Vanguard

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Soviet cogitations: 10797
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 21 Dec 2004, 23:53
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Philosophized
Post 17 Feb 2010, 21:50
First off this is a paper I have to do for class so I'll just post the question:

The Cuban Revolution clearly represented a breakthrough in the history of Latin American social movements, but its meaning was far from clear. It presented Marxist theoreticians with a real dilemma: How had armed peasants led by petty-bourgeois with no apparent connection to Marxist ideology pulled off what appeared to be a socialist revolution?

Quote:
The debate was more than academic, as dozens of Marxist movements throughout Latin America adopted Che Guevara’s theory of guerrilla warfare as the path to their own revolutions. By 1967, not one of them had succeeded, and Che’s own death led left-wing parties throughout Latin America to re-examine the guerrilla strategy.

How did the Cuban revolutionaries’ guerrilla strategy in general, and the concept of the foco in particular, relate to Lenin’s theory of the vanguard party? How did the 26th of July Movement resemble and/or differ from the Bolsheviks in their goals and accomplishments (or failures)? What were some of the strengths and weaknesses of the strategy?

Refer to Lenin, What Is To Be Done? and “Guerrilla Warfare”; Che’s Guerrilla Warfare and/or “Guerrilla War: A Method”; Che’s “Cuba: Historical Exception or Vanguard?”; Childs, “An Historical Critique”; Debray, “Revolution in the Revolution?”; Spartacist League, “Theses on Guerrilla Warfare”


So my question (related to the essay question) is how is Che's idea of the foco similar/different to Lenin's idea of the vanguard party? Is either one overall a better revolutionary theory for the armed struggle? Finally what are everyones thoughts on the homogeneity of the "core" of the revolutionary movement? Should the "core" of the armed struggle be united by theory such as the Bolsheviks in Russia for should it be more diverse such as the M-26-7 without a revolutionary theory?
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"By what standard of morality can the violence used by a slave to break his chains be considered the same as the violence of a slave master?" - Walter Rodney
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Soviet cogitations: 95
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Aug 2009, 17:53
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Post 06 Mar 2010, 05:25
The "Foco" IS the Vanguard.

The Vanguard in any Revolution is the focus of attention and leading the movement. The same applies for Che Guevara's theory of "Focoism". Basically he argued that the "Foco" becomes the focus of attention and leads the Revolutionary struggle to it's final victory, as does Lenin's theory on the "Vanguard".

"Focoism" is more complex than I just said, but it is entirely true when I say the "Foco" is exactly the same as the "Vanguard", just extended to an Armed Struggle Strategy of Revolution.
“We are advocates of the abolition of war, we do not want war; but war can only be abolished through war, and in order to get rid of the gun it is necessary to take up the gun.” - Mao Tse Tung
User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 10797
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 21 Dec 2004, 23:53
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Philosophized
Post 05 Apr 2010, 09:05
That is what I argued in my essay that the foco was the vanguard.

Another question of the armed struggle in the "homogeneity" of the vanguard's theory. In Cuba the M-26-7 platform was extremely broad:

Quote:
The first revolutionary law would have returned power to the people and proclaimed the 1940 Constitution the Supreme Law of the State until such time as the people should decide to modify or change it. And in order to effect its implementation and punish those who violated it - there being no electoral organization to carry this out - the revolutionary movement, as the circumstantial incarnation of this sovereignty, the only source of legitimate power, would have assumed all the faculties inherent therein, except that of modifying the Constitution itself: in other words, it would have assumed the legislative, executive and judicial powers.

This attitude could not be clearer nor more free of vacillation and sterile charlatanry. A government acclaimed by the mass of rebel people would be vested with every power, everything necessary in order to proceed with the effective implementation of popular will and real justice. From that moment, the Judicial Power - which since March 10th had placed itself against and outside the Constitution - would cease to exist and we would proceed to its immediate and total reform before it would once again assume the power granted it by the Supreme Law of the Republic. Without these previous measures, a return to legality by putting its custody back into the hands that have crippled the system so dishonorably would constitute a fraud, a deceit, one more betrayal.

The second revolutionary law would give non-mortgageable and non-transferable ownership of the land to all tenant and subtenant farmers, lessees, share croppers and squatters who hold parcels of five caballerías of land or less, and the State would indemnify the former owners on the basis of the rental which they would have received for these parcels over a period of ten years.

The third revolutionary law would have granted workers and employees the right to share 30% of the profits of all the large industrial, mercantile and mining enterprises, including the sugar mills. The strictly agricultural enterprises would be exempt in consideration of other agrarian laws which would be put into effect.

The fourth revolutionary law would have granted all sugar planters the right to share 55% of sugar production and a minimum quota of forty thousand arrobas for all small tenant farmers who have been established for three years or more.

The fifth revolutionary law would have ordered the confiscation of all holdings and ill-gotten gains of those who had committed frauds during previous regimes, as well as the holdings and ill-gotten gains of all their legates and heirs. To implement this, special courts with full powers would gain access to all records of all corporations registered or operating in this country, in order to investigate concealed funds of illegal origin, and to request that foreign governments extradite persons and attach holdings rightfully belonging to the Cuban people. Half of the property recovered would be used to subsidize retirement funds for workers and the other half would be used for hospitals, asylums and charitable organizations.


This is hardly something that is unreasonable for the bourgeois state to enact but since it was unwilling to then this allowed revolutionaries to take power and consolidate power. If it was not for the consciousness of the M-26-7 the Cuba Revolution would probably not have taken it’s course. This is contrary to Lenin’s idea of the vanguard. Thoughts?
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"By what standard of morality can the violence used by a slave to break his chains be considered the same as the violence of a slave master?" - Walter Rodney
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