Should Communists Back the New Cuban Constitution?

Erasmo Calzadilla

Lighting a cigarette butt. Photo: Juan Suarez

HAVANA TIMES – The vast majority of appeals to vote NO that we see on the internet are being injected with propagandist anti-communism which would be summarized as follows:

Today, Cuba is Communism’s breeding ground in the Americas, under the aegis of its dinosaurs, supported by powerful international alliances which form part of the Axis of Evil. The advance of this ideology has destroyed countries which were once prosperous, such as Venezuela and Nicaragua, and their leaders are refusing to leave power using democratic channels. The only alternative to such a freak of nature is Capitalism, the creator of wealth, which isn’t a panacea, but it’s the lesser of two evils.

Such a hodgepodge of truth and lies needs to be unraveled, bit by bit, starting off with the very concept of Communism.

I don’t intend to cover something that’s been widely written about, but for now, I just need to say that this doctrine talks about the ascent of human beings towards a better qualitative state, when the working class has access to controlling the main modes of production. Not any working class, but the working class that has exceeded itself, that has become worthy of this human feat which is rarely seen, the self-government of the lower class, real democracy.

The idea has grown old in many ways. Those of us who aren’t happy with the way that capitalism has shaped our world and advocate for human emancipation, need another theoretical framework, another myth to give us hope, seeing as this one no longer does the job. However, one thing that must remain perfectly clear is that the clan that rule Cuba isn’t communist and it doesn’t aspire to be either, no matter how much they like to call themselves this.

Them dismantling the workers’ movement, destroying their class conscience and removing them from controlling modes of production like never before, all perfectly prove this. That is to say, Cuban socialism isn’t moving towards Communism, but in the opposite direction altogether. Charging its workers the highest taxes in the world (which is why the majority earn less than 40 USD per month), distributing with them education and healthcare for everyone, and preventing private hands from accumulating wealth, isn’t enough for it to be classified the movement founded by Karl Marx, not in the slightest.

When the new Constitution proposes in Article 5. that the Communist Party will continue to be the avant-garde of the country, it’s a strategic maneuver, a scam full of hollow meanings; because the Communist Party isn’t even holding the reins of power.

During all this time, the PCC hasn’t been anything but a transmission belt that the people above manipulate to control those below. It has never had what it takes to question the path that the Secretary-General has taken. Because this whole business of “Secretary” is another lie, of course; in reality, there is only one boss who we need to obey and praise.

Ideologically-speaking, it’s more or less the same thing: after six decades of “praxis”, the Communist Party hasn’t been able to create a coherent theory that guides its actions; and let’s remember that politics is supposedly a science. It’s sad role in this sense has been limited to justifying (a posteriori) decisions made by the grand leader and labeling anyone who opposes his plans a “counter-revolutionary”, in the name of real Communist principles.

Anarchists refute the leading role that Marxists give the State in the class struggle. And yes, an all-powerful State is something to be afraid of. However, that’s not even the case in Cuba; the Cuban State has been another whore with its legs wide open for the Castros.

Lacking doctrinal foundation and a social base, the PCC has evolved with the times, from an army of angry Talibans into a den of opportunists who are looking to go up the ladder, comfortable technocrats and criminals keen on being protected; following the perverse path of their counterparts in the now-extinct Soviet Bloc.

Everything I have mentioned above is the reason why I believe that people who truly believe in this doctrine (if there are any pure Communists left), have more reasons to vote NO in the new constitutional referendum than the pro-capitalist team (liberals, pro-market or however you call them). Legalizing private property while tying workers hands behind their backs, preventing them from associating freely and having the right to strike, is another step towards capitalism, not communism. The reg flag that flies above the Central Committee is just a smokescreen, which tries to disguise the hand-over of power to the new privileged class that is already lying in wait.

ARTICLE 5. The Communist Party of Cuba, the single party, Marti and Fidelista in nature, and Marxist-Leninist, the organized vanguard of the Cuban nation, sustained by its democratic nature and permanent ties with the people, is the superior leading force of society and the State. It organizes and guides common efforts aimed at building socialism. It works to preserve and strengthen the Cuban people’s patriotic unity and to develop ethical, moral and civic values.