Camilo Wants Me to Work

Erasmo Calzadilla

Puddle photo by Caridad

I’m thankful to those who comment on my writings in Havana Times; I’m eager to read all their remarks sooner or later.  It’s very important to me to know what they’re thinking and saying.  Plus, they give me company and help me feel I’m not talking to myself, like some lunatic.

When Landis, Grady, Mark, Luis Miguel, Cristinita, Bob and the other usual individuals don’t write, I worry a little and miss them a lot.

But today’s entry is directed instead to certain aggressive commentators, such as Camilo and Hermenegildo, who from time to time log onto Havana Times to let off some of their bad feelings.

To Camilo, Hermenegildo and others, who’ve shown nothing but disdain for me…who’ve advised me on several occasions to “quit whining and get a job”: I want to set you all straight.

Since I graduated in 1999, I’ve always worked regularly “for the state,” as people here say.  It was only during this past year that I didn’t work for a period, after I was expelled from the institution where I was philosophy professor.  The apparent cause: my classes did not comply with the program dictated by the Central Committee of the Party.

I swear I tried to make them conform, but over time my classes were beginning to resemble more what I consider philosophy (knowledge that comes from active co-participation of the students) and not what is imposed by the program.

Yet I was confident.  My evaluations were good and it seemed that everything was going fine. However, one day it occurred to me to form a study circle with students to discuss and think about political questions.  Suddenly everything erupted.

We were at the end of the course and my students had already been evaluated with grades of between A and C by a committee of teachers specializing in the subject matter.  Nonetheless, those who were interested in removing me from my school (INSTEC) ignored this and determined through special surveys that my students knew nothing about philosophy.  It was therefore my fault that the students didn’t know that “the social being determines consciousness,” etc., etc.

Since then I have worked in another institution of higher education as a professor.  This time though it was on a contract basis because my work file indicated qualities that scare people in personnel departments.  They wouldn’t want me there tenured.

So, Hermenegildo and Camilo, if at some time I’ve been “without a job”… I don’t believe you should place the blame on me.

Ah, and a little piece of advice, if you’ll permit?  If you want to defend the regime, try not to look like you want to bite the head off of anyone who doesn’t think the same as you.  And instead of taking cheap shots, if you were to partake in just a little reflection, I believe that would be a big favor to the cause.

9 thoughts on “Camilo Wants Me to Work

  • Scientific socialism isn’t a crock, it’s just – as the name implies – not a philosophy, but science. Social science. The works of Marx and Engels are best associated with economy and sociology, not philosophy. Sure, scientific socialism influenced many philosophers – the whole Frankfurt School comes to mind – but it isn’t itself ‘hardcore’ philosophy.

  • Posted by grok:
    “The bottom-line here is: do you really believe that ’scientific socialism’ is a crock? What is your alternative? Religion..?”

    “Scientific socialism” is a crock. So is any religion that makes claims about having some sort of exclusive handle on the truth. Preposterous ideologies like “scientific socialism” are the antithesis of what philosophy is all about, namely the love of knowledge and the search for truth using rational argument.

  • @ sam, u say Marx “did not describe the precise process n the creation of socialism and communism,” yet in fact he did. N the 2nd chptr Comm Manifesto, nxt to last page, he says “proletariat will . . . wrest . . . all capital fm the bourgeoisie, to centralize all instruments of productions in the hands of the state.”

    There r 10 more points for the future socialist regime n these last 2 pages, but the above is the core “precise description.” I’m not making it up. It’s right there for all to see.

    “Concentration of all the instruments of production in the hands of the state,” plus the immediately set forth 10 points were the design by Engels & Marx. It was not the monster Stalin.

    U & people like u demonstrably hv made gods out of individuals like Marx, Engels & Trotsky. U’ve made a Sataan out of Stalin and all those nasty bureaucrats who r the product of the Marxian design.

    U r unable to see the truth, even with it right n front of u. Where’s the science?

  • I am feeling left out !


    While I do not comment every time I usually read what you write.

    Best to you


  • Grady-what exactly is wrong with Marx, or more specifically, what anti-scientific statements did he make? Are you sure it was him, or was it the power-hungry Stalinist bureaucrats who appropriated his ideology and mixed it up with absurdities like Lamarckianism?

    To the contrary, Marx was very scientific. He himself did not describe the precise process in the creation of socialism and communism precisely because no such experiment had been done, he merely offered a hypothesis. Having read some of the Kapital, Marx didn’t see himself as a prophet at all. It was his followers who blindly deified him!

    On the original article-this is reasonable. I don’t think people should just dismiss the concerns of those in authoritarian socialist countries as “petit bourgeois”. I don’t see how it is “petit bourgeois” to want to have Plato study groups. I don’t see why somoene who was fired for this is to blame. And frankly, I don’t think large scale oppression helps to build a socialist…

  • Don’t allow folks like Camilo and Hermenegildo to get you down. They don’t understand. Some day they may begin thinking for themselves and resisting the temtation to be judgemental–especially when their judgements are unreflective and pre-programmed. Usually, such consciousness only arrives after hard experience. In the meantime, your termination at the U. of Habana has, in reality, opened new doors to you (although potential future students at the U. of H. could have greatly benefited from your creative pedagogic methods). Incidentally, such unfair academic politics are in no way particular to Cuba. Back in the mid-1970’s, when I worked as a secretary in the Astronomy Department at Boston University, I remember a particularly innovative Assistant Professor who was purged because of his unorthodox methods. Whether Cuba or the EE.UU., the incestuous academic politics of the scholar squirels are ever the same.

  • You know, Erasmo, we’re almost old friends now. Thanks for the tip of the hat.

    In spite of what the former commenter says, not everyone need to be a frothing-at-the-mouth revolutionary. If you are not, then so what! You’re still a patriot.

    Re the question about so-called “scientific socialism” being a crock, let me have a crack at that.

    The basis of all science is the scientific method. This method, in its simplest formulation, is “hypothesis>experimentation>evaluation>conclusion>new hypothesis.” Marxism, i.e. scientific socialism, does not follow this method. It doesn’t even come close.

    So, is scientific socialism a crock, that is, is it non-scientific? You be the judge.

  • You’re certainly right about the bureaucratic nature of the opposition to what you were trying to do; but at the same time you make it very clear that preserving the goal of socialism does not appear to be a concern of yours — only ‘personal development’ of some sort; which comes across as very petit-bourgeois and narrow, whatever your intentions.

    If the cuban revolution were not in a tight squeeze, you probably wouldn’t be having such problems; but it is — and you don’t seem to want to be recognizing that, after a lifetime of personal sacrifice, along with all those around you. All I can say is that it is a crying shame the working-class in the West has totally failed socialist revolution after revolution, and instead been so easily bribed with their and others’ hard-made money. But no more there — we’re all getting in the same boat now.

    The bottom-line here is: do you really believe that ‘scientific socialism’ is a crock? What is your alternative? Religion..?

  • Don’t feed the trolls, Erasmo 😉

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