Capitalism or Death

Yenisel Rodriguez

The Irony, by Kate Forrester

The government’s intellectuals have begun to implicitly legitimate a capitalist future for Cuba.  They are the same anti-capitalist intellectuals of the first 50 years of the so-called Revolution.

Without changing their apologetic and vindicatory method of the past, they are replacing socialist ideology with neoliberal thought with the agility demanded of sandlot ball.

[Instead of a hare] they are again selling us the unseen “cat in a sack,” but what’s happening is that the cat that they’re handing us is our own neighbor’s, that same person who used to teach us to hate those people who ate sparrows at the Heroes of Socialism Park.

It turns out that today those sparrows are a lethal plague, and with the house cat poorly educated in vegetarianism, we are left with no alternative than to find our freedom in adopting the predatory attitude of the sparrow-eating cat.

In the trade union, at the university, in the press — and with the greatest of impunity — they are selling us neoliberal capitalism.

University professors, who used to travel to the Soviet Union and who once preached Marxism-Leninism, today fly to France and Spain to then train us in a supposed de-clawed neo-liberalism.

They travel to defend the South, but look how they praise the First World!  They cooperate internationally by socialist vocation, but look how they enrich their souls with flashy junk!  They are politically instructed by the European left, but look how they teach us rightwing ideologies!

Someone once told me that these professors would be able to change from socialism to neo-liberalism with as much ease as changing their clothes.  That moment has arrived.

But they still have to deal with disguising their transformation, because these are times of transition.  That’s why they use such a paradoxical discourse.  After dedicating themselves to pro-socialist ideology that promises “no one will be left in the street,” they scientifically validate the government’s decision to lay off hundreds of thousands of Cuban workers.

One can see them with their laptops, with their cell phones and with that latest pleasure of enjoying expensive drinks.  Concerned with their next trip to Europe, they are PhDs on subjects of rights and at the same time get upset with those students who don’t mention Marx in their master’s theses.  In the face of such phoniness, they make you want to vomit.

Cuban universities are emptying themselves of political ideology to make room for an economic ideology that for more than 50 years we were prohibited from learning.  Today, however, they are imposing these on us with the plausible insistence of someone who knows their position is well-protected against the layoffs.

They act like they are top notch professors earning the prestige and money that Harvard professors make for a conference.

Today there are many Fouchés in our universities.  They hastily undress our Napoleón only to later dress him up with the bloody suits of the transnational Borbones.

They redirect the weather vane of “for all” toward new horizons where the common good is no longer in sight.  Likewise, what will be “for all” is identified in the new oppressive slogan that our rulers are figuratively promoting: “Capitalism or Death.”

Yenisel Rodriguez

Yenisel Rodriguez Perez: I have lived in Cuba my entire life, except for several months in 2013 when I was in Miami with my father. Despite the 90 miles that separate Havana and Miami, I find profound reasons in both for political and community activism. My encounter with socio-cultural anthropology eight years ago prepared me for a commitment of love for cultural diversity.

7 thoughts on “Capitalism or Death

  • I think both Yenisel and grok “got it right” – Since the 90’s Cuba has made concessions to globalized capitalism (read tourism industry) in order to survive. I personally think that Cuba will go on with its own path, borrowing some things from the Chinese model but, just as Grady said, only time will tell.

  • Grok
    I think you got it wrong
    This people you said they are easily molded is not true
    Yenisel got it right!
    They are like Fouche
    They adap to whatever the wind blows. If they said socialism they are for socialism y the great leader says capitalism they will be and they are for capitalism. This people have no principle. They just want to survive!
    Yenisel got exactly right!

  • Love the picture too!

    The kid is dress like a revolutionary Che or Fidel or Raul but mom is dressed with Nike!

    Some contradictions are just priceless!

  • I had a lot of fun reading this great article.

    For those of you that do not know
    the title and end end of the article “Capitalism or Death.” he is mocking the Cuban regime since they used to said “Socialism or Death”.

    Yenisel, you got the gist right. It looks like the captain realized finally they were moving in the wrong direction and finally decided to turn the boat around. The turn is not a full turn is more like a diagonal turn. We will see how this develop.

  • The price of freedom of speech is that any fool may comment. That being said (ahem): certainly at least one faction of the cuban bureaucracy can be counted on to be aiming towards implementation of the “chinese/vietnamese model” of capitalism under the ultimate control of a conveniently-centralized stalinist apparatus — themselves, of course. All this, even in the face of the obvious and SPECTACULAR failure of the neo-liberal capitalist model in EVERY corner of the Planet — even China, where the other shoe simply hasn’t dropped yet. And even in the face of the growing revolutionary impetus of the working-class around this same Planet..! It boggles the mind how easily the (false) consciousness of university-educated intellectual workers — even self-proclaimed “socialist” ones — can be molded to suit whatever exigency of the moment is called-for by their superiors.

    This is why workers have to stick to their strategic vision of workers’ democracy from the grassroots — *whatever* the lay of the political landscape at present. And AFAIC cuban workers can start by throwing out the bureaucratic scumbags who are aiming to bring in capitalists that are over-eager to build “golf courses” — and therefore *gated communities* — in this ‘last bastion of [formerly-existing] Socialism’…

    Death to Neo-Liberal Capitalism.
    Long Live the Socialist Revolution. Everywhere.

  • Yenisel, it’s a pleasure to see a Cuban stand up and speak with such fire! I only wish you would speak with fiery focus on socialist program, rather than on the personal character of government and party apologists.

    You presume that the government and party are ushering in an era of neo-liberal capitalism for Cuba. You may be correct, but you may be wrong. Only history will tell.

    The half-century blind alley into which Cuba has been led is not the product of individuals with character flaws. It is the product of a mode of production that does not and cannot work. It is this mode of production that should be drawing your fire, not the sycophants you rightly despise.

    There is another socialist mode of production available: the cooperative socialist mode, but no one of your caliber has as yet been willing to consider it in HT, or interview our nascent movement for it in the US.

    I’ve been trying to open a principled discussion about such matters for a long time, but everyone seems to talk only of personalities and person character traits. No one seems interested in program or the possibility of developing a corrected program for workable socialism.

    Thank you for lashing out at slimy individuals. Could you please begin talking about something of more substance?

  • Well production of consumer goods in UdSSR wasn´t that bad, just not as good as in the most advanced countries. Cuba itself with so many relatives living in rich countries just have a big problem to realize consumption is only possible with high production. Nobody ever ruling in the party forbid to produce more, just a lack of incentives existed plus the problems of the geographical and political situation. In general Cubans love to consume, lots of people don´t even see any sense in saving money at the bank. Well and their is this big envy in the society. If somebody gets rich by hard work, why not. Capitalism problem is some get rich without even working, consume as hell and demotivate the working force by their lifestyle. And of course the workforce pays the rent of those. Well i would prefer the world without the superrich, because once you have them goodnight democracy. So lets hope Cuba finds it´s own way to improve their economy.

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