A Declaration of Principles (Once Again)

Erazmo Calzadilla

Viñales, Cuba.  Photo: Caridad
Viñales, Cuba. Photo: Caridad

It’s often comforting to read the comments to my posts here on this website; but other times it can be sad.  It seems one is unable to show dissatisfaction with the top-down government (I’m taking a course in the use of euphemisms) and its disastrous consequences for this nation without immediately being associated with transnationals, the empire, capitalism, etc.

Previously, I’ve taken abundant bites (that’s to say criticism) from domestic officials; but in contrast to certain commentators with Havana Times, our bureaucrats could be considered wise.  If my superiors at the university were as simplistic as those analysts, they would have lost their contracts with that institution a long time ago, keeping in mind “the Cuban university is only for revolutionaries.”

Nevertheless, if someone wants to know my political position, I’m declaring it here once again, though I’ve written on this matter before.

I am a staunch enemy of everything that impedes the freedom and spiritual development of human beings, and therefore I’m against any asymmetry in the access to power.

To put it another way, I am opposed to any social actor who accumulates more power than others; say, for example, the transnationals in relation to small companies, or the community in relation to the individual, or one gender with regard to another, or a dictator (malevolent or benign) in relation to the citizens over which they rule.

I repeat: Anyone who concentrates in their hands any form of capital that exceeds that of other potential actors -even if supposedly for the common good- in the long run will engender imbalanced social dynamics, which in turn will give birth to alienation, violence, generalized stupidity and everything that denigrates and humiliates human beings.

That’s why if capitalism is the power of the monopolies over ordinary people, then I’m against capitalism; and if socialism is the power of a charismatic, good or bad leader, or if the community stands over the individual, or the communist party over everyone, then I’m also against “socialism” (though I don’t believe socialism is really that).

The type of socialism that excites me is the society in which we all have the same access to power.  Don’t think that I’m referring to some utopia; there currently exist some socialist homes and companies.  It’s in a socialist atmosphere where I really feel comfortable, and I also believe that the best thing that can happen for humanity is to generalize these practices.  Despite this, I would never think of imposing that on anyone.

3 thoughts on “A Declaration of Principles (Once Again)

  • Another interesting post Erasmo, though I think you’ve posed a false dichotomy in the second last paragraph. It’s not really a question of capitalism or socialism, it’s a question of democracy or dictatorship.

    As Grady notes, there are many examples of worker or member-owned cooperatives in democratic countries, which compete very successfully with privately or shareholder-owned companies. In my country (Canada), I am a member of Mountain Equipment Co-op, the largest outdoor sporting goods company in the country, and of a co-operative credit union which more than holds it own against the big banks. And co-operatives do pay taxes if they are profitable, as they should to help pay for important public services like health care and education.

  • Yes, it’s always interesting to read your posts, and this one is no exception. Still, you seem to be all about expressing yourself as though the spotlight were on you personally. It’s not on you personally, Erazmo. It’s on the problem of rectifying the existing economic and social system in your country.

    What exactly do you propose? What concrete steps do you propose for the Party and government to take?

    We understand that you are disgusted with the bureaucratic, self-destroying state socialism of the present Cuban experiment; but, what new hypothesis do you put forward for the further experiment in socialism?

    We socialists in the US have proposed that the old hypothesis of 100% ownership of all the means of production, a la Marx, be recognized as a failed hypothesis. We have proposed that employees be handed ownership through cooperatives, a la Mondragon, Spain; but with maybe 50% state non-controlling stock ownership to avoid taxes.

    What do you propose?

  • It is comforting to read such intelligent and objective posts like yours, Erasmo. your are so clear and, in my opinion, so right in your positions.
    Hace falta que hayan muchos mas como tu, porque esa Cuba de hoy lo necesita.

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