Dmitri Prieto

Newspaper reader. Foto: Caridad

A recent experience in south Havana made me think of several things.  Firstly, the potential of people’s self-organization and the possibilities of institutions when they involve themselves with popular needs expressed “from below.”

See How Things Should Be (1).

I’m not referring to something that is a top-down “ordered” campaign or an action of rank and file Party “militants” (and in any case we had the full support of the local Committee for the Defense of the Revolution).

Secondly, that only in this way do people see what they’re doing as something that’s theirs…something of their own.

When I commented about the Electrico experience to a French friend, she began to chuckle at the thought of vaccinating stray dogs and cats and planting trees as somehow becoming a step towards a new possible Cuba.

Many think (and I include myself) there must be an analysis of “macro” political measures that should be carried out by the people of Cuba —ordinary citizens— that would equate to all of us inventing our future together.

When I say inventing, I mean it in the sense of creating, deciding and self-managing.  It’s not enough just to make demands and denounce and criticize what is poorly done.

Several readers responded to my posts saying I don’t provide a “program” of how Cuba should be.  I find that in the current state of the country, those of us in Cuba are receptive to — more than programs— concrete and well coordinated actions that connect us to our future through solidarity and leadership.

Seeing people cooperate and organize themselves produces faith in the possibility of that future.  After all, Jose Marti had already begun to work with people starting from their own settings that they (workers, soldiers, women, Afro-Cuban activists, journalists) had created.  The independence of Spain was also achieved this way, though there was and still is a tremendous distance to travel to get to the Cuba we dream of.

It is not enough to complain about charismatic leaderships or paralyzed structures, because the charisma of leaders and the perfidious inertia of structures are built on common practices of the common people.

To achieve a freer more livable Cuba then (which for me means a socialist Cuba, because socialism only exists if one lives in freedom), we should begin to sow practices: actions in the form of trees and gratuitous love for animals, practices of coexistence and of interaction between people in the form of solidarity beyond mere orders. That’s where it begins.


Dimitri Prieto-Samsonov

Dmitri Prieto-Samsonov: I define myself as being either Cuban-Russian or Russian-Cuban, indiscriminately. I was born in Moscow in 1972 of a Russian mother and a Cuban father. I lived in the USSR until I was 13, although I was already familiar with Cuba-- where we would take our vacation almost every year. I currently live on the fifth floor of an apartment building in Santa Cruz del Norte, near the sea. I’ve studied biochemistry and law in Havana and anthropology in London. I’ve written about molecular biology, philosophy and anarchism, although I enjoy reading more than writing. I am currently teaching in the Agrarian University of Havana. I believe in God and in the possibility of a free society. Together with other people, that’s what we’re into: breaking down walls and routines.

2 thoughts on “How Things Should Be (II)

  • I agree. Not only do I agree, but I believe that manifesting what we desire is more powerful than any program or platform. Creating new social relationships now – doing for ourselves and one another – together, using self organization and self management is how real and profound change can take place. Even small things, like gardens and vaccinations for dogs can open our imaginations as to what we can do together.
    Bravo for helping us all imagine more of what is possible! And possible now!
    Gracias!

  • As the “French friend” involved, I must say I was convinced by the arguments!! Thanks Dima for showing the way from stray cats and dogs to a New Cuba !!

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