Cuba’s Anti-Philosophy Army in Action

Erasmo Calzadilla

Photo: Caridad

“Universities have ended up being faithful reflections of those decadent societies that strive to offer up the sad spectacle of senile conservatism. That’s why science in the face of these silent and closed houses either passes by silently or surrenders itself mutilated and grotesque in the service of the bureaucracy.” – The Manifesto of University Reform. Cordoba 1918

There are thousands of them disbursed throughout all the schools throughout the entire country. They don’t wear uniforms but they have uniform brains. Their control center is in some office in the Revolution Square municipality that dictates the study program of university courses – even how they should be taught.

Many were graduates of Lomonosov (Moscow State University) and other Soviet academies, but many of them come from the Cuban military. The highest level one can attain is doctor of sciences, but a doctorate is of little worth before the imperatives of the “commander-in-chief.”

In their “bags” they carry three instruments with which they say they can understand reality: The Three Laws of Dialectics, The Seven Pairs of Categories, and the “Reflections” of Fidel Castro, but the real truth is that they don’t use any of these; instead they draw only on common sense acquired during hours and hours in front of the national TV news. They persuade, if they do, by appearing very convinced, but not for the reasons they give.

To break the students in and to get around their insidious questions, they feign flexibility. They accept that everything is screwed up and everything must to be changed (there’s no choice), everything except the leadership of the party and the construction of “socialism” (a word so abused and misused that no one really knows what it means).

As for the rest of the professors, they’re now going through seminars on the Cuban Five and ALBA. Those who don’t pass will have to undergo a job evaluation and see their wages reduced.

Can anyone figure out who I’m talking about?

They’re Cuban “philosophy” professors, an entire anti-philosophy army that “offers their services” in universities across the country and other centers of study. (Of course there are individual exceptions.)

One day I was able to visit websites and blogs of teachers of that subject from around the whole world, and I verified that despite the onslaught of neo-liberalism, philosophy is continuing to survive in the schools, at least in some.

On this island though, the anti-philosophy army — under orders from the Ideological Department of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) — is in charge of impeding this area of study. They don’t have to put in a lot of effort, they simply have to be themselves, clinging to the positions they occupy even when they’re well past the age of retirement.

Full university autonomy is harmful to society, but the total dependence on those in power is contemptuous.

I’ll conclude with another statement from the Cordoba Manifesto:

“That’s why we want to pull that up by the roots… the archaic and crass concept of authority that in these houses of study is a bastion of absurd tyranny that serves only to criminally protect false dignity and false competition.”

One thought on “Cuba’s Anti-Philosophy Army in Action

  • I can appreciate your line, Erasmo: ” ‘socialism’ (a word so abused and misused that no one really knows what it means).

    We in the US believe we know what socialism is, and we hope to achieve it by 2021. Still, it is difficult even to discuss it with other socialists because the anti-philosophy army of which you speak is in control all over the world. There are numerous philosophy (and other) professors in universities everywhere who spout Marxist nonsense and never even consider that it might be bogus and injected into the movement by the bitter enemies of socialism.

    You apparently recoil in disgust, Erasmo, at the wooden-heads in Cuba. Believe me, they are in every country. They are the main impediment to international socialist transformation.

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