HAVANA TIMES – Militancy, we might say, is the stance taken by a person who joins a party, association or any other body. A party, in the sense of a political grouping, is an organized group of people with common ideological principles and precepts defending a particular opinion or course of action.
Belonging to a party implies enlisting on the basis of choice or voluntarism or being prepared to meet certain obligations out of mere conviction.
Every political party has its written statutes or regulations. And for every party the practice of party democracy is indispensible.
As we know, political parties were abolished. In Cuba in 1959. The sole objective of the single party system introduced has been the establishment and perpetuation of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC).
The PCC describes itself as.”An organization which groups together the vanguard of Cuban revolutionaries. The Constitution of the Republic of Cuba, adopted by popular referendum, defines it as “Marti-revolutionary and Marxist-Leninist organized vanguard of the Cuban nation, the leading force in society and of the State…”
Enrollment in the ranks of the Communist Party is preceded in most cases by being a member of another organization, the Union of Young Communists (UJC).
From an early age students go through the process of recommendation, being selected from the classroom as being those who according to “certain rules” comply with the requirements to be members. But on reaching the age of 32, the young associates are expected to move on to the ranks of the PCC.
If for any reason a young militant decides not to continue affiliated, in other words not to move on to the Party, he or she is subjected to a rigorous analysis in which they have to explain the reasons for their decision.
They have to fill out a questionnaire as well as address a meeting with their superiors and their peers. The causes must be clearly detailed and – take note – under no circumstances are ideological problems to be brought up.
This suggests that in most cases, young people are forced to lie, excusing themselves on grounds of health, or a crisis in the family finances making it impossible for them to continue paying the high monthly dues militants have to pay (which is a fact) or telling other sanctimonious lies.
Everything in other words except questioning the organization and its archaic rules, so very disappointing for those involved. Many remain associated out of self interest, because it can help them get them a promotion in their job; or for the value-added implied by being a militant for getting permission for one thing or another, a subsidy or a study grant abroad.
A friend of mine has just gone through this unfortunate experience, which is why I have felt the need to write this comment and ask myself once more what party democracy is all about. Is being a militant a sacred oath for life, or is it simply volunteering under duress?
Note: No matter how honorable the reasons given, any deviation or abandonment of the militant stance, even if requested by the member personally, is subject to a sanction.