HAVANA TIMES — The subject of this article is inspired by Esteban Morales’s piece, “The Challenge Posed by the Intelligentsia,” which led to some considerations that I wish to share with my readers.
Official television and press sources covered some of the discussions between the delegates to the Sixth Congress of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC), as well as recent meetings of the Central Committee, the councils of State and Ministers, and the last session of the National Assembly – gatherings in which the authorities have been defining and implementing the policies of the “economic updating of the model.”
What was clearly revealed in these was the “weakness of the relationship between politics and science,” as pointed out in the article by the prestigious Cuban academic.
The problem is that the political authorities who are leading and making decisions (done so in the name of the Party and the Cuban people) are showing through their speeches their tremendous lack of thought and scientific analysis concerning current general issues of politics and economics.
Many of their decisions are adopted not scientifically but pragmatically, and not according to the demands of the circumstances but according to the wishes and interests of those who dominate in this area.
Here are some concrete examples:
1 – Most social scientific analysis — be it Marxist or non-Marxist, Cuban or foreign — agrees that the economic model of socialism attempted in the twentieth century (based on state ownership, wage labor and centralization of all important decisions) does not work and that it failed because it was unable to overcome certain contradictions.
Such incongruities existed between the producers and the means of production, between production and consumption, between the general interests of society and the particular ones of individuals, between their economics and their politics, and between socialized production and the concentration of control.
Nonetheless, despite the eloquent failure of the Cuban economy or the warnings by many Cuban social scientists, regardless of the evidence presented by the party’s own press or the popular majority’s unwillingness to continue with the same economic model, and notwithstanding even the very same criticisms leveled by the leadership of the Cuban party-government (which at times has called the model into question), they are not proposing to supplant this model but to “update” and “rectify” it with a series of cosmetic and stylistic changes. At no time have they focused on the system’s hyper-centralized, monopolistic and undemocratic essence.
2 – They might mention many of their decisions, but perhaps the political decision most divorced from a scientific analysis, the most obvious one, was the executive order and the discussions held at the highest levels concerning the anti-constitutional “hiring of workers by other self-employed workers.” As has been repeatedly explained, this not only violates the workers self-managerial spirit and essence of self-employment, but through this they are also trying to cover up and mask the development of private capitalism behind the cloak of “self-employment.”
The arguments put forward in approving this injustice lacked any scientific validity and only demonstrate how correct Esteban Morales was in his affirmation.
Not only have they shown that something is missing in their scientific analysis, something that should have taken into account that decision’s possible impact on the immediate future of Cuba, but they have committed the most flagrant violation of the law and the spirit of the present constitution.
This can only be explained by the most basic lack of respect for political science, contempt for the relationship between revolutionary thought and practical action as they exercise the most vulgar forms of pragmatism and display a total lack of consistency between means and ends.
The only person who dared to question what was being engendered at the Sixth Party Congress was a worker, while the others who participated in the discussion and supported the decision around wage-labor contracting were bureaucrats dedicated to the party and to government work. Yet none of those who participated, of those who are known publicly, are versed in the social sciences. That worker, adopting a clear political and scientific approach was crushed by the overwhelmingly bureaucratic majority.
Well before the holding of the Sixth Congress, some of us publicly and privately proposed inviting to the congress (and to the subsequent conference) certain scientific personalities and socio-political figures who were not delegates but who could contribute in the analyzes. We know only of one case of this occurring, where Mariela Castro provided input on the issue around which she works. None of the known social scientists who are critical of the statist system were invited.
You are absolutely correct Dr. Morales: There is a divorce between the politics of the government-party and political science. He doesn’t phrase it like that, but this is what can be perceived. The politics of revolutionaries is not the “art of the possible” (as Kissinger pragmatically once said, and as is now repeated by the neophytes of that philosophy); rather, we see practice as the criterion of truth – beyond theory.
Today we see how the policies of the government-party are adopted with their eyes closed to socio-political reality. They appear to be blind to the widespread discontent generated by their many executive orders and laws, whose outcomes are inconsistent.
This is due to a lack of coherence in their analysis and application; it is due to their primary interest being the survival of the state and its bureaucracy. The fact that what they are doing is at the expense of the people and their needs doesn’t seem to matter. But who are they governing for?
That explains the new customs regulations, the continuation of absurd and exploitative immigration regulations, the maintaining of a state monopoly over the domestic market, everything that has been happening with the Venezuelan cable and the Internet, as well as other anti-popular, wasteful and counterproductive measures that are too numerous to mention.
If politics is to be scientific, it must first be democratic; therefore only the broadest participation of all stakeholders in discussions and decisions can respond to scientific reality, which does no other than correspond to the specific interests of the historical moment.
As Marti said:
“We do not want to deliver ourselves from one tyranny to enter into another one. We do not want to leave one hypocrisy to run into another one. We love freedom, because in it we see the truth. We will die for true freedom, not for the freedom that serves as a pretext for allowing some people to continuing enjoying in excess while others suffer unnecessary pain. We will die for the Republic if necessary, as we would die for independence first.”
“At the root, [we must] seek to save Cuba from the dangers of personal authority and disagreements that — due to a lack of popular involvement and democratic habits in their organization — resulted in the first American republics falling.”
In these and many other cases, our national hero was very clear: The essence of scientific politics is based on linking them to the concrete democratic interests of the majority. When this is violated, there is a divorce between politics and science, whose most elementary consequence is failure.
Let’s end the divorce between politics and science.
To contact Pedro Campos, write: firstname.lastname@example.org