Erasmo Calzadilla

Havana photo by Caridad

Someone named Greg commented in Havana Times that even though I have the capacity to be constructive, all I do is criticize and de-construct.  I thank Greg for his heeding; I’ll keep that in mind.  This also allows me to express my idea of how to take better aim for the betterment of things here in Cuba.

What I’m suggesting —concretely— is popular rule and workers ownership of their workplaces.

Let me explain…

In Cuba, it’s the Communist Party that governs at the local level, not the representatives of the people.  It is no less certain that institutions created for popular government exist and are sometimes effective, but only on some precise matters.  The representatives true role however, in my point of view, is to cover with the dress of democracy a mechanism that has nothing to do with being democratic.

Similarly, in workplaces, it is the respective administration and party cell that rule.  The workers are supposedly represented by the union, which can serve to protect them from irregularities and abuse, but these are not for exercising workers control over the means of production.  The workers are subordinate to a boss selected from above in a hierarchical structure that is neither democratic nor socialist.

As a consequence, neither in communities nor in workplaces are people really represented, which in turn generates such a level of apathy and alienation that everything ends up functioning haphazardly.  The flip side of a system like this is obviously crime – the two are indissolubly united.

For a change to occur, what is necessary is the awakening of mass consciousness, among other things.  People must gain trust in themselves and want to change things, take the reins of their lives and send their patriarchs far away.  The maturation of this lies at the end of an arduous and time-consuming path, as does anything that depends on popular imagination.

It is precisely this —the awakening of consciousness, the desire for freedom, for autonomy and responsibility— that I attempted to do as a philosophy professor from the classroom and on the university campus during my off-hours with students.  This, however, cost my being fired from my job, just like has happened to so many others for more or less the same reason.

But Greg, we’re not about to throw in the towel; We continue struggling here.  I hope that you, as the intelligent and sensitive person that you appear to be, try to understand and support us as much as possible.

Erasmo Calzadilla

Erasmo Calzadilla: I find it difficult to introduce myself in public. I've tried many times but it doesn’t flow. I’m more less how I appear in my posts, add some unpresentable qualities and stir; that should do for a first approach. If you want to dig a little deeper, ask me for an appointment and wait for a reply.

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