Erasmo Calzadilla

HAVANA TIMES — Yesterday were our elections, and once again I decided not to exercise my right to vote. I don’t support the circus that has been staged to legitimize the regime.

But nor did I sign the “Urgent Call for a Better and Possible Cuba,” which was circulated by the Concordia group.

The problem (for me) isn’t that it’s a liberal democratic document – far from it. Elections, democracy, the separation of powers and the rest of the components that make up liberalism seem grandiose, and I count on them to always curb latent totalitarianism.

I have no allergies to any form of representation if in practice it achieves what its name says. But social democracy? Perhaps this would be the lesser of the possible evils if we were in Western Europe a few decades ago.

The problem is that for all such enhancements to be more than merely cosmetic, they require a certain degree of economic equality between the actors who are going to participate in the “game,” but equity has always been a bone and a dog wandered away with it in its mouth.

I believe that global inequality and our proximity to the United States, go terribly against any possibility of achieving such a goal in today’s Cuba, a poor country without a civil tradition of liberal democracy.

In the vast majority of nations that surround us there exists “democracy,” but almost all of them have social problems that are much more serious than ours. Again, I don’t support dictatorship and I would desire its disappearance right now, but I don’t want the arrival of a system that would assuredly bring economic prosperity for those who are well placed at the expense of appalling evils for most people.

In our environment, the disaster of “liberal democracy” is clear: violence at a level that’s unknown here, drugs turned into a social conflict, prostitution and child labor, serious crises within the public health care system, the displacement of business people by transnational corporations, and many more.

All these things occur in nations where there’s freedom of association, multiparty systems, the free press etc.

So, my dear friends, I’m like Buridan’s ass, unable to make one choice of the other. But since I don’t want to suffer the same fate as the creature in that fable, I’m opting for a third choice.

It’s not the one of Tony Blair but of the ant who — from below — tries to awaken its sisters, brothers, friends, colleagues, partners, enemies, etc. to desire to be free in a wider (albeit modest) sense of the word. I’d rather concentrate my energies in participating in the creation of an alternative.

Anyway, I’m going to keep thinking about it. Maybe sometime in the future I’ll change my mind. It’s comforting to me to think that my decision isn’t particularly important, as it’s the people as a whole who must choose or create their future. I don’t know if that will happen through democratic elections or though some other means.



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.

6 thoughts on “Neither Voting Here nor Signing There

  • It would be helpful, Erasmo, to know that your problem in knowing what to advocate and what to do is not peculiar only to you in Cuba. May I recommend that you to seek the common denominator in all the countries, with regard to both the problems and the solution.

    Please take a serious look at the solution we advocate for transformation in the United States. It is a non-state monopoly form of socialism we call “modern cooperative, state co-ownership.” It would value and utilize private property rights and a conditioned free-trading market.

    This re-concept of socialism agrees with a basic conclusion of by P-J Proudhon: A state is necessary in the foreseeable future, and so calling for its immediate abolition is pointless. What is needed in post-capitalism is a counter-balance to the raw power of the state, in order to keep it from becoming tyrannical.

    The only such power he could find was the institution of private property rights. This was similar to what was (and is) advocated by pro-capitalist thinkers, but he went a profound step further and said that the private property needed to be owned directly by workers cooperatively, and by peasants and other small business people individually, not by either monopoly capitalists or by a socialist state monopoly.

    State monopoly socialism has had its turn upon the historical stage. I suggest that you look seriously at modern cooperative, state co-ownership socialism, and possibly become a cooperative republican (i.e., in favor of reorganizing Cuba as a democratic cooperative republic under socialist state power). Best wishes.

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