Thanks to the Party?

By  Erasmo Calzadilla

We have the solution to your problem. Photo: Caridad
We have the solution to your problem. Photo: Caridad

This is a response to Those Who Say Thanks to the Communist Party, Cuba Has Not Gone Backwards.

A few days ago Grady Ross posted a comment to my diary here in Havana Times which he titled “Why the Party Should Govern.”  In it he maintains that if the US were not constantly attacking Cuba, the Party would not have to exercise such iron control over the institutions of government.

He continued by saying that without the authority held by the Party leaders, we would have been defeated a long time ago and subjected to a foreign power once again.  He concludes inviting me to struggle against alienation, bureaucratization and declines in productivity.

These comments stirred a feeling of unease that compelled me to write this.

How does he know that Cuba would not have resisted without the tutelage of the Party?  Have we ever had the opportunity to test this?  Was it the party that fought and organized the Revolution?

You sir, have the same distrust of the people that has always been shown by the leaders of “real socialism,” a distrust that they have relayed to people with words similar to the ones you use, and which turn out to be quite convenient in maintaining their political privileges.

I would like to remind you that the few examples of democracy that have been given to the world have in fact occurred – and not without reason – under the danger of foreign attack; that is to say, foreign aggression is not an excuse for refraining from the call for self-government, but just the opposite.

What I am indeed saying is that authoritarianism has vastly contributed to alienation, bureaucratization, and the decline in productivity that you yourself warn of; all these are immediate consequences of people being divorced from the running of the state.

I believe that this style of leadership – beyond its effectiveness in securing a socially stable state and one which is far from being in abject misery, which sincerely merits an applause-, is untenable, because in the long run it sows its “own gravediggers.”

And I’m not referring to a worker’s movement conscious of itself and of its power, as Marx believed would happen in the final chapter of capitalism, but just the opposite – as you yourself have certainly noted.

2 thoughts on “Thanks to the Party?

  • PS: I wanted to add this but ran out of space: You’re absolutely correct in pointing out (thank you) that the the Party did not fight and organize the Revolution. The Revolution had to “go around” the old Communist Party people. It’s evident that the same bureau-brained folks who had to be gone around before have now led Cuba into its present blind alley. With regard to reform, these same folks must be gone around. But it’s their Marxist, 100% state-ownership-of-everything-in-sight socialism that makes them that way, and makes them an ossified impediment to dynamic reform. Cuba will either progress to a cooperative socialist republic or revert via some route back to capitalism.

  • Erasmo, it is clear that you are a patriot. I wish you the best of luck in analyzing what is wrong with Cuban socialism, and figuring out how to fix it. To my mind, there is nothing more revolutionary at the present time than participating in the discussions–inside Cuba and without–as to the “reform” or “perfection” of your country’s form of socialism. This is b/c Cuba is a model and an example to the world. If Cuba can perfect socialism, it can have a profound radicalizing effect all across the globe. If she can’t, Cuba–like the old S.U.–will continue to be an example of “unworkability.”

    What I’ve tried to do in all my comments to HT–and to you–is ask the Cubans to look at the experience of cooperatives around Mondragon, Spain, and try to apply the experience of the workers there to a “workable” reform of Cuban socialism. I have advocated re-instituting cooperative private property rights and the trading market. I hope you will consider this in your deliberations.

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