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.”
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.