Communist Optimism Runs Dry in Cuba

Photo by Juan Suarez

By Benjamin Noria

HAVANA TIMES – On July 11, 2021, Cubans took to the streets not to ask for a stable electricity supply or because of food shortages, but to demand that Socialism does good on all of the promises it hasn’t yet fulfilled in 62 years of revolution. Cubans took to the streets because Communist optimism is running dry.

Communism is no longer the system that will resolve social inequality or the imbalance of private capitalist companies and their tyranny. This has been proven, for example, by the failure of the system established by Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union, by Pol Pot in Cambodia, by Mao Zedong in China, by Kim il-Sung in North Korea and the Cuban leaders.

What’s more, the dictators I’ve just mentioned took away the bourgeoisie’s power over productive forces and means of production, to then control them themselves. They pocketed the State’s power.

Like many people have been able to see from the outside, government and State leaders in countries with a socialist system live in luxury residences and travel in nice cars, and yet their people are dying of hunger. I don’t believe this is making progress in trying to eliminate social inequality.

They have all used a propaganda system excessively to bewitch their subordinates with a Communist utopia that would supposedly solve the greatest of humanity’s evils. They portrayed themselves as socialists so as to win over the masses and to stay in power for so many years.

Communist governments have crushed every kind of threat to their power: they have dissolved parliaments, founded a single political party, have ordered the assassination of opposition members within their governments, etc. They made the working class worship the one-party State; they monitor their every move and keep them under constant control from above.

What they needed to do was free the working class from exploitation, convert them into owners of production, take them to the dictatorship of the proletariat. That was Karl Marx and Engels’ ideology. However, they distorted these philosophers’ doctrines and became the exploiters, repressors, absolute monarchs, high priests of the people. They ended up distorting the social model conceived by Marx.

Socialism was supposed to be liberating, was supposed to give way for spontaneous associations of workers to organize factory committees, which were able to decide what was best for their own interests, on their own. A democratic system needs to arise, without a clash of the classes. It may have flaws, but it would have great potential for freedom.

It’s likely that Communism may be remembered as a totalitarian system where a group of fanatics took power and ruled for a long time, impoverishing their people and deciding over the lives of their citizens with an iron fist.

The Socialist ideal can no longer be saved because the ruling classes have destroyed the libertarian meaning of revolutionary struggles, with all their might.

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times.

5 thoughts on “Communist Optimism Runs Dry in Cuba

  • Karl Marx and Engels’ ideology and by extension its concrete sister: Communism is best left as abstract political ideology debated endlessly in university Political Science lecture halls and in those academic halls is where these ideologies should be left.

    During the late 1800s and early 1900s when workers, mainly men, worked in unsafe, unclean, factories and death traps known as mines (coal and gold) whether they were in United Kingdom, United States, Canada the work was laborious, backbreaking, poorly paid and long hours. They were basically a “mass” of workers all with the same type of laborious jobs, all suffering exploitation, all earning meager wages, all destined to the same mind numbing repetitive cycle of soul destroying arduous monotony. Perfect place to sow seeds of revolt.

    Rise up shouted the leaders of the proletariat as these mass of men were labeled and unchain yourselves, liberate yourselves, from the bourgeoisie the factory and mine owners, the owners of the means of production as they were called and establish a utopia of equality for all. We will call it Socialism but Communism is more apt. To the oppressed it sounded enticing. But will it work?

    Well, as Benjamin rightly notes historically: “This has been proven, for example, by the failure of the system established by Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union, by Pol Pot in Cambodia, by Mao Zedong in China, by Kim il-Sung in North Korea and the Cuban leaders. A complete failure worldwide.

    In 2021, there no longer exists a “mass” of workers all united doing the same monotonous work in unsafe precarious conditions in most Western countries. In the 1930s and beyond union organization and participation of the exploited workers helped them achieve worker generous benefits, health and safety laws, good pay, a decent standard of living which mollified many to accept their plight in life and carry on.

    Today, union participation in most countries has declined significantly because workers both men and women work in jobs that are precarious, part time, intern, in the so called “gig” economy where everyone is basically on their own, an individual, isolated, many working from home. This provides opportunities for some.

    Entrepreneurs and visionaries with the freedom to create and invest like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and many others like them have shown that with a little bit of economic freedom, willingness to take risks, and the right economic climate, economic freedom for one and many is the utopia.

    Unfortunately in Cuba, the majority of Cuban workers both men and women with their hands tied in a brutal totalitarian system, what was once promised in the 1959 Revolution, a socialist utopian system of workers’ rights and worker dignity has morphed into the very few Communist elites becoming: “ . . . the exploiters, repressors, absolute monarchs, high priests of the people.”

    Benjamin writes: “They ended up distorting the social model conceived by Marx.” No. Those very few elite Communists in power ended up doing what all human beings of whatever stripe will do in similar circumstances and that is once enabled with absolute economic and political power to keep it at whatever cost, and exploit all those without power. Marx had an economic model totally unhinged from the very nature of the human condition.

  • What I think is curious is the fact that although it is repeated ad nausem that Socialism or Communism doesn’t work, what is meant by “work”, and for whom, is never discussed. It is also taken as a given, that the greed driven system of Capitalism does work. So I wonder, how is world dominant Capitalism working now that mankind is facing what may be the absolutely greatest challenge it ever faced, which is the incredible destruction and degradation of the environment and the climate ? The corporate class has spent billions toward convincing people that there is no climate change and funding politicians who will do nothing to infringe on their obscene profits, despite the planet racing toward the cliff. It’s profitable to make throw away plastic, too bad if the ocean is full of it. Capitalism needs constant growth. That requires ever more consumption by those who can. When the collapse comes, and it will, it will be Capitalism which caused it, won’t it ?

  • Communism is obviously a complete failure the sooner it goes the better.

    Then the people can start to build a real lasting democracy once and for all.

  • I would dispute that. Marx and Engles were very concerned about the individual and individual freedom. Here are two quotes to prove my point.

    “For as soon as the distribution of labour comes into being, each man has a particular, exclusive sphere of activity, which is forced upon him and from which he cannot escape. He is a hunter, a fisherman, a herdsman, or a critical critic, and must remain so if he does not want to lose his means of livelihood; while in communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic.”

    “In the place of the old bourgeois society with its classes and its class antagonisms, there will be an association in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.”

    As you see they desire freedom, choice, and self-fulfillment.

  • Benjamin Noria demonstrates political confusion. His is the old excuse for the failures of Communism and Socialism in practice. That same old claim that such systems failed because the writings and opinions of Marx and Engels were “distorted”. But who is responsible for such action? Not those who imposed the systems, but: “the ruling classes” who “destroyed” the “revolutionary struggles”.

    Such evident nonsense can be dismissed as worthless. The writings of Marx and Engels reflect 19th century thinking and are redundant. Human beings are individuals, not a “mass”. Communism demands conformity and the eradication of individuality.

    Patria y vida!

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