Closing the Door to Provocation

Pedro Campos

Havana Bay

HAVANA TIMES, March 29 – The international powers, which also contributed to the collapse of the “socialist camp,” have not resigned themselves to the survival of the Cuban revolutionary process.  The island remains in a feverish struggle to advance the positions of Marxist socialism with freedom, justice and full democracy – despite the country’s multiple internal contradictions, obstacles presented by the bureaucracy and conservatives, the US blockade, and the old and new neo-Plattists.  Indeed, it’s all quite complicated.

The condemnation by the European Parliament of the Cuban government following the death of a prisoner on a hunger strike aims to polarize the political situation in the country.  This is equally in the interests of the opposition and the bureaucratic “cyst,” which is attempting to immobilize the revolution and stop its advance toward the socialization and democratization of the island’s politics and economics.  This advance is heightening the tenor of the ideological battle taking place within the heart of the nation.

We know the enemy’s tactics.  In their plans, polarization should lead the situation of the country to a worsened political and economic disaster at the hands of the authoritarian conservatives, contrary to the need for all forms of democratization and socialization.

In the end this would liquidate the remains of any hope that Cubans still hold of building a new socialist society.  This is the context the opposition and imperialism are expecting to capitalize on for the definitive reversal of the revolution through the natural law of pendular politics.

It is not through increased pressure or political polarization from the right that the problems of Cuba will be solved.  Imperialists know this, but they use these to provoke the Cuban government’s conservative wing —taking a defensive position— to employ repression, isolate the country internationally, further entrench itself, block movements toward democratization, seek divisions in the revolutionary camp and to make it more difficult for domestic political struggle aimed at advancing the process of change toward a more participative and democratic form of socialism.

In this way, the crude diversionist operation serves the extreme Manichaean sectors of Cuban society, which consist of two groups: 1) Those who seek to capitalize on the Cuban people’s revolutionary rejection of the anti-socialist campaign to continue the country’s decadent bureaucratic system, and 2) Those who want to demonstrate that Cuba’s escape from its current stagnation requires the country to orient itself towards democratic-bourgeois transition.  Neither of the two responds to the interests now expressed by the majority, who at this point in time want to live in a society of peace with progress, freedom, justice and full democracy.

The two extremes mutually support each other

The two extremes are each playing a game to justify their mutual existence, income and hegemonic desire.  Socialism in Cuba today faces both of these powerful forces.

Havana Torch March.

The anti-socialist campaign has been facilitated by those who believe they can ignore the outcome of that ideological battle in which it was made clear the need to eliminate the criminalization of differences, including political ones; to allow opportunities for free expression to all forms of thought, even if we don’t share them;  to review the judicial proceedings related to political matters and to adapt our legislation to the universal principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and especially to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which was signed but not ratified by the Cuban government.

Were the country to act in that direction, the opposition would be left without an argument and would have very little to “defend.”  But no, the bureaucracy needs to “always maintain people in check, immobilizing them from frontal struggle against the enemy.”  If that doesn’t appear to be the case, or is minimal, it’s necessary for the State to create some smokescreen according to the pragmatic Machiavellian advice of some who have studied it well so as to implement it, and we who have to combat it.  Those resistant to change always need to distract people’s attention with those who attack the revolution from the outside so that people forget who is obstructing the revolution from within – those “revolutionaries” responsible for reversing it, according to Fidel Castro (Nov. 5, 2005).

In this way, imperialism and the opposition take advantage of the present natural bureaucratic limitations and inadequacies in the political and judicial system, both urgently in need of change. We have a situation where the judge and the interested party are the same entity, acting as both the executive and the legislative power, in addition to everything being concentrated in reality in the presidency.  Many civil matters (such as prisons and the administration of the economy) are in hands of military structures, where there is no free socialist press that expresses political-ideological diversity with its corresponding criticism-advocacy function

Those and other throwbacks of the unsuccessful dogmatic framework of the neo-Stalinist court will have to be overcome by a principled political will in order to advance toward a new socialist society, which can be nothing other than fully democratic and libertarian.

In dialectical union against socialist progress, the [government and Communist Party] conservatives and the internationally-backed opposition do not accept (nor can they accept) the growth of ideas of Marxist, revolutionary, libertarian and democratic socialism.  These ideas have surpassed the expectations of the backward-thinking sector of the government and continue, against all obstacles, to catch on among workers and the general population.  These actors are in support of their true empowerment with direct control by labor and social communities over the means of production and participative budgets.  These ideas are clearing the path toward the eventual consolidation of socialism and the definitive defeat of capitalism.

The opposition began to understand that it could lose the terrain it had won on human rights issues against “State socialism.” This was because there have been widening and consolidating calls from within the revolution to reclaim those traditional issues that policies distant from socialism had abandoned to the right wing.

Diverse followers of the ideas of Marxist socialism have made devastating critiques of “State socialism” and have presented clear alternatives for deep structural changes for the democratization and socialization of political and economic power.  This is seen as necessary to prevent the reversal of the revolutionary process or it leading to more critical stagnation.

Neither support the rightwing or fall into traps

But no one should be in doubt: We will not support anything that contributes to Cuban society going to the right or returning to private capitalism; nor fall into the traps of either of the two extremes, where each one attempts to have people confuse us with their supposed opposites, seeking to neutralize us.  Nor will we cease struggling for Cuba to transcend the stage of state monopoly capitalism and advance toward a modern, worker-run, democratic form of socialism that is different from the old and unsuccessful model. Whoever is confused will have a double duty.

Old Havana used book seller.

We reject the plans and campaigns of imperialism and the opposition to destroy the revolutionary process; these also serve attempts to maintain the State-central bureaucratic system in power and to prevent the socialist advance of our revolution.  We reject political Manichaeism by both extremes; We are neither for capitalism nor for non-socialist State bureaucratism…neither for bourgeois democracy nor sham “socialist” democracy.  We want power to be truly exerted directly by the workers in production and service centers and by democratically organized communities in legislative assemblies (Popular Power).

It has been proposed and reiterated: In the face of enemy campaigns we call for cohesion among revolutionary forces, based on their diversity and mutual respect, and despite official intolerance.  We insist on dialogue, but not for one or another position or vision of socialism to be imposed on us, but to structure a new necessary consensus with the participation of everyone. The only one who could end up losing from all of this would be the historic enemy.

Some officials of the Cuban government don’t seem to understand that they are potential victims of a deadly trap laid by imperialism (which has been criticized in previous articles) telling them what they should do, trusting in their rejection, and putting it in the requirements for new conditions.  We again signal the alert.

The vulgar Stalinist notion of the “dictatorship of the proletariat” as being a centralized, hardcore, repressive and quasi-military government has nothing to do with the Marxist notion of a democratic republican system of workers, which would be a “dictatorship of the proletariat” only in it class content [workers using the State’s institution to prevent bourgeois counter-revolution], and not in the manner or operation of government.

As for dictatorship, this describes any state that responds to a class.  However, to express the interests of the great majority, it would be the most democratic political system and government imaginable, both in terms of its form and its content (it would be “ultra-democratic,” as Jose Marti desired for Cuba).  There is nothing farther from revolutionary Marxism as everything being dictated; nothing is so distant from the thinking of Marti.

Socialism will only be possible in a free and democratic society

Revolutionary humanism should be elevated rather than being limited to simplistic formulas and whims.  Socialism will only be possible in a society that is fully free and democratic.  Those who know with reason fear nothing.  Our current laws and the government’s handling in these fields must advance much further if it does not wish to continue paying high internal and external political costs for the acts or omissions that characterize its inadequacies

In the case of the second dissident [Guillermo Fariñas] waging a hunger strike, information presented to us indicates closer medical and media monitoring on the part of the government. The State must not fall for another act of provocation (which is what another death would mean) and should do everything within its reach to avoid it.  What would the revolutionary process lose by freeing a few sick prisoners?  Would it be a concession to the opposition or an exhibition of strength and tolerance?

Concerning a similar case, by chance I witnessed a recent march of some 15-20 women dressed in white with gladioluses in their hands.  They were going down the middle of calle Neptuno, in Centro Havana, with the traffic stopped and their being escorted by what seemed a cordon of agents of public order and other individuals dressed in plainclothes, but in an obviously protective stance.  Behind and on the outside of the cordon, several dozen women and a few men were screaming “The street belongs to Fidel!” and other slogans. They were followed by an ambulance, a truck full of police and two empty buses.

The “Ladies in White” made their “protest” and were followed by this procession of people who also exercised “their right to demonstrate” against them, without offending or attacking them. Most people stopped —silently— to watch the protestors and their accompanying counter-protesters.

Fortunately for all Cubans those who “think” could be winning out over those “supporters that allow themselves to be dragged along” by the provocative campaigns and actions.

Imperialism and the opposition desire an increase in domestic repression as this would support their anti-socialists plans.  Should Cuba follow their game?  It’s necessary to avoid falling for provocations against the revolutionary process.  We must do the opposite of what the opponent is attempting.  We must shut the door to reaction and do-nothing conservatism.

A Havana Times translation with permission from the author.

3 thoughts on “Closing the Door to Provocation

  • As often before, Pedro Campos makes many excellent points. He points out correctly that the coercive powers of the socialist state are meant to repress the bourgeois counter-revolution, not to repress healthy dialogue and activism within the revolutionary ranks.

    If a parent has a weapon to protect the family from possible predators in the neighborhood, this weapon should not then be used to force the family to stay indoors and keep their mouths shut.

    The major point of this article is that the Cuban leaders continually takes the bait set out by imperialism. They continually shoot the Cuban Revolution in the foot by doing exactly what imperialism wishes and needs.

    By keeping political prisoners unreasonably they validate the US incarceration of the Cuban 5.

    Why can’t the leadership “Close the Door to Provocation” by being magnanimous and pardoning the prisoners in question? The political gains would far outweigh any possible negative effects.

  • About 1/3 of the 75 jailed dissidents from 2003 have been released due to their health status, including Marta Beatriz Roque, Oscar Espinosa Chepe and Hector Palacio. Guillermo Farinas, the hunger striker, refuses Spain’s request to fly him out of Cuba for medical care in Spain. He is being closely cared for in the hospital.

    The Ladies in White who marched on Neptuno were protected by a guard of FEMALE cops on both sides and male cops ringing them Yoani Sanchez was part of the march of the Ladies. Outside of TWO RINGS of protection, angry citizens, most of them black, march along and shouted slogans. There was no violence whatsoever.

    When Cuban FEMALE cops did break up a protest by the Ladies, they were gently, but firmly, put on buses and taken…not to police stations, but to their HOMES…

  • Fascinating article.

    “We want power to be truly exerted directly by the workers in production and service centers and by democratically organized communities in legislative assemblies (Popular Power).”

    Who is ‘we’?

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