End the BUREAU, I’ll Take Care of the -OCRACY

Erasmo Calzadilla 

“Experience tends to universally demonstrate that the type of purely bureaucratic administrative organization (meaning the monocratic variety of bureaucracy) is, from a technical point of view, able to achieve the highest degree of efficiency.  In this sense it is the most rational formal means known for achieving effective control over human beings”   —Max Weber

It’s very suspicious that under a regime so intolerant of criticism, anyone can attack — freely and crudely — the bureaucracy.

Isn’t it similar to us behaving like a bull in front of the red cape that encourages us to charge while the bullfighter toys with our fury until we become exhausted?

A bureaucracy can end up becoming an inflexible structure, intolerant of anything new, formalist, conservative and given to braking creative impulses.  Many people agree that such a thing happened here in Cuba.  It acted to strangle civil, popular initiative to the same extent that it bloated the malignant version of bureaucracy, consolidating the “petrified republic,” as Marx called it.

But one must wonder who? – what social subject? – with what administrative and legal means? – with what practice was it able to murder the creative and self-constituting impulse of this people?  “Who threw the chalk?” (as the popular song goes when asking “who’s responsible?”).  Perhaps the bureaucracy itself, or was it only a consequence?

On the other hand we have another phenomenon: Our bureaucracy is not only non-functional owing to its rigidity, due to its being very bureaucratic, but also for being very little: for being irrational, disorganized, arbitrary, too flexible when this suits it and even being corrupt.

In the face of the “political will” of “our leaders,” the Cuban bureaucracy is a weakling and a doormat when the olive greens begin wandering around in circles.  But it’s worthwhile to again wonder who, with their arbitrariness and voluntarism, has allowed our bureaucracy to consolidate itself as a solid and stable institution?

That’s why when from the rostrum “they” point to the heretic (The bureaucracy) so that we participate in its stoning, it makes me think that what “they” are really trying to do is:

—    To get us to spend time fighting ghosts while “they” buy time.

—    To get us to focus on sweeping away the tiny islands of bureaucratic power that still persist, while we leave the field completely open to the advance of the group that today holds a hegemonic monopoly over power.

Until we can do without an administrative bureaucracy, I believe that it’s preferable to clean it up rather than to attack it.  This would bring it into the service of civil society, making “charismatic commanders” stumble and helping to impede dictatorial control by the party from becoming any more than what it is.


One thought on “End the BUREAU, I’ll Take Care of the -OCRACY

  • For what seems like the one-hundredth time, let my explain the reason for a state bureaucracy under the Marxian form of socialism. If you, Erasmo, and other Cuban HT readers, should stop and listen and think about what I am about to say, you may figure out the simple way of discarding the bureaucracy and solving the problems of contemporary Cuba.

    When capitalist state power is superseded in a given country by a Marxist-led political state, a core principle of ownership of all productive property by the new state is introduced. This immediately abolishes the institution of private productive property rights and the free, price-fluctuating trading market. The historically evolved market mechanisms and productions incentives flowing back and forth in the national economy are abolished. The leading political party thinks erroneously that this abolition is the substance of the anti-capitalist revolution.

    Coincidently, the people’s needs continue, and social production therefore must continue. With private property stewardship and market mechanism now absent, the default way to run national production is for wise bureaus to determine what needs to be produced, how it is produced, and in what quantities and at what prices. This may work okay for a while, especially at first and at times of national emergency, but it is inherently dysfunctional in the long term. It eventually clogs up and corrupts both social production and society. This is what happened in the Soviet Union and allied European states, and has also happened in Cuba.

    What is needed, in Cuba and in the world socialist movement, is a new understanding of workable socialism. The statist core principle has got to be recognized as having come from Marx and Engels, not from Stalin or Fidel and Raul. Socialism has got to base itself on private productive property rights and the socialist-conditioned and guided trading market. Vanguard party members should largely become cooperative entrepreneurs, and should largely become cooperative entrepreneurs, and less and less state bureau officials. Worker-owned coop corporations and a strong private-ownership peasantry and small business class must be the substance of the socialist project.

    The socialist state does not have to own everything in sight and be a bureaucratic monster. It need only own a healthy part of the national means of production, leave micro planning and administration of the economy up to private and cooperative enterprise. This would obviate the bureaucracy and transform Cuba and the other countries of the world.

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