End Cuba’s Divorce of Politics & Science

Pedro Campos

Photo: Irina Echarry

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.
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To contact Pedro Campos, write: [email protected]

 

 


21 thoughts on “End Cuba’s Divorce of Politics & Science

  • September 13, 2012 at 5:57 pm
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    9 million people die from starvation each year according to FAO. Nowadays.

    In two decades that’s 180 million people, a number that excells the ‘accurate’ (ie, whose range often surpass 100%) estimatives of the most infamous anti-communist propagandist, Stéphane Courtois, on these episodes you mention.

    So enough ‘Marxism kills’ or any other ‘*ism kills’ bullshit.

  • September 6, 2012 at 10:12 am
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    Let the record show that ‘Griffin’ has not answered my question. If he loved the Cuban people as he claims, he wouldn’t relentlessly demonise their government and denigrate their economic system. It’s okay if Cubans do it but they don’t need help from self-proclaimed ‘friends’ like this.

    Intentional or not by ‘Griffin’ – I personally favour the former – he’s following a chilling strategy the US used in Libya and is now using in Syria and is standard operating procedure for US operatives. It is well-summarized in the 12 August issue of Granma in an article about Syria:

    “Initially peaceful demonstrations for internal reform…were immediately utilized by the Western powers to destabilize the country by fueling a civil war, with the intention of imposing a government more compliant to their designs.”

    Even assuming ‘Griffin’ is as innocent as he claims to be, the first fuel added to the fire involves fanning the flames of discontent, what he and ‘Moses’ relentlessly do. As such, he is laying with fire, either intentionally or as a naïf and fool. Either way, it needs to be called out.

  • September 6, 2012 at 7:23 am
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    Lawrence,

    This will be my last response to your comments. You are beyond unreasonable.

    I read HT to learn more about Cuba. I have travelled to Cuba and fell in love with it’s people and culture. I also see that the people are suffering terribly from the government oppression. Several Cubans both inside and outside of the country have said this to me. I add my comments where it interests me to do so. I try to keep a balanced perspective and an open mind. I appreciate a plurality of opinions and resent ideological busy-bodies who attempt to shout down opinions outside their narrow strictures. A free exchange of ideas is not interference.

    Quite frankly, and I mean this with complete honesty, it seems to me you are the fanatic, accusing me of promoting violent rebellion in Cuba and sundry other opinions I have never stated. It is perhaps irresponsible of you to even suggest a thing on a website like this. Enough.

    Adieu.

  • September 6, 2012 at 6:02 am
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    ‘Griffin’, you are avoiding answering the key question I asked, Why are you camped on this website – at every opportunity criticizing Cuba’s government? HT is a website that offers Cubans an opportunity to criticize their own government. They don’t need outside help. You clearly want to interfere. Why? From everything I read here, Cubans are doing a fine job of writing about the problems in their own country. They don’t need your two cents worth, especially since it is highly skewed toward the American narrative, a narrative that is responsible for an outrageous 50-year embargo.

    I rarely comment on what Cubans write here. I come to learn, not to interfere. Your one-sided comments are not representative of all thinking, especially thinking that is independent of the US narrative. As such, it requires balancing with another perspective.

    You write, “I come here to read about and discuss Cuba.” But you and ‘Moses’, who has a similar outlook to yours, are by far the biggest commenters on the website, never missing a day or an opportunity to advance your perspective. That perspective relentlessly promotes capitalism, and demonises Cuba’s leaders, beyond reason. Where does the fanaticism come from?

    Please answer the question. Why are you doing this?

  • September 5, 2012 at 9:31 pm
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    Lawrence: you are fantasizing again. Not once did I defend the US empire. Not one word. I wrote something about Cuba, you respond by ignoring my comment and invent fake quotes I did not say with your “He failed to say,,,” trick. It really does get tiresome. You can’t seem to get off personal attacks on me for offering a different point of view.

    You wrote: “Griffin’, are you promoting violent rebellion? It seems to me you are.”

    No! A thousand times No! Far too many Cubans have been killed by this brutal government. Not another martyr, please. But there you go projecting again.

    I come here to read about and discuss Cuba. You think talking about Cuba on a Cuban blog is peculiar?

  • September 5, 2012 at 1:52 pm
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    ‘Griffin’ tells us something about himself, finally, but withholds an answer to the key question, which is why I speculated on where he lives and works. Why is ‘Griffin’ camped on this website so relentlessly? He claims he is Canadian but he defends the US empire whenever I point out what it represents, what it is doing and what it has done. I’ve certainly met a number of rightwing Canadians in my time but never ones so supportive of the US agenda or offering so much unflagging time and effort in support of their warped viewpoint.

    This is not rational, it is not human and it reeks of US propaganda techniques. ‘Griffin’ insists on referring to the Cuban government as if it was on a par with world class monsters. Compared to any US administration of course, it is almost saint-like, where the blood on the hands of US presidents far surpasses anything Cubans are responsible for.

    Why is ‘Griffin’ so strident? So obsessed? So fanatical? ‘He needs to tell us more about himself if he wants speculation about where he comes from to stop.

    I’ve written about what I’m doing several times. I came to Havana Times to learn about the other side of Cuba, the side I won’t read in Granma, and there I found the ‘Griffin’ element, clearly not commenting in the spirit of what’s on offer, but to propagandise. So I set myself a mission to counteract the propaganda. ‘Griffin’, what are YOU doing?

    It’s obvious to me his element is camping on a website critical of the government to take advantage of the opportunity it offers to foment unrest amongst Cubans who are honestly looking for solutions to Cuba’s problems, not a revolution. ‘Griffin’, are you promoting violent rebellion? It seems to me you are. Why do you insist on interjecting your US-oriented propaganda on this website?

    ‘Griffin’ gives himself away as a propagandist, without realizing it, by his continuous insistence on wanting to “bring the subject back to Cuba”. Of course he does. Without a perspective on what is common practice elsewhere, any country can be demonized.

    ‘Griffin’ calls me a propagandist and he is right. Since he gives a one-sided picture, it forces me to give the other side as balance. Without the ‘Griffin’ element I would be more critical of what I heard and witnessed in Cuba.

  • September 5, 2012 at 11:53 am
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    Lawrence,

    I bring the subject back to Cuba because this blog is about Cuba. Reference to other countries is fine if it involves Cuba, or to make a specific comparison. But to dwell on the history of Iraq is irrelevant.

    For the record, I am Canadian by birth and live in Toronto. I have never lived in the US. And yes, Rob Ford is a lousy Mayor, but the other two candidates were comparable idiots. He was not “returned”, he was elected mayor only once. Still, Ford won’t be re-elected and may even be turfed out of office if the conflict of interest case goes hard on him. I’m quite well aware of the Quebec student strike and the provincial election last night. In each of these issues you seem not to comprehend the essential character of the pluralistic society we live in. There are several differing visions and factions and parties vying for power and influence. Democratic societies work out these differences through elections, parliamentary debate and public discussions. THe Cuban solution (bringing it back on topic…) is to rig elections, limit parliamentary debate and ban public discussions. I suppose that makes some people feel safe in the authoritarian “consensus” camp, but those with another point of view are left silent or jailed.

    You made the assertion that no democratic capitalist society provides serves the citizens interests over time, therefore the onus is upon you to support that assertion with facts.

    I well understand the strawman argument, including the version you use with the “He failed to mention” device by which you build a strawman and then knock it down. It is odd how you not only invent opinions for me, write quotes for me (…failed to mention…) , and now you even invent an alternative biography for me!

    Personally, I would rather discuss Cuba than engage your silly arguments about what you think I really said and who you think I am.

  • September 5, 2012 at 7:24 am
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    ‘Griffin’ continues to be challenged by logic, or is it sophistry not ignorance we are looking at? For whatever reason he seems unable to comprehend the meanings of the ‘Straw Man’ or the “Onus Probandi” fallacies.

    To repeat for ‘Griffin’, The Straw Man fallacy is “an argument based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position” [Wikipedia]. Somehow ‘Griffin’ thinks my pointing out what he failed to tell us is an example of misrepresenting his position!

    In his original post ‘Griffin’ then committed three “Onus Probandi” fallacies, where the burden of proof rests upon him who affirms, not on him who denies”.

    He of course ignores these transgressions of logic and instead asks me to back up my assertion that no “capitalist representative democracy has continued to function successfully, i.e., in citizens’ interests, over time.”

    He also asks me to define what is meant by “in citizen’s interests” and provides his own definition, that “citizens decide themselves what their interests are, and then freely vote accordingly.” No argument there, but if citizens cannot achieve what they have decided on, despite having ‘free’ voting, then their government cannot be viewed as successful!

    Under the circumstances, there would seem not to be much to choose from between the government in Cuba and the so-called democratic countries whose propagandists hold up ‘free choice’ and ‘free voting’ as examples of superiority whilst failing to note that these ‘freedoms’ have not allowed its citizens to gain the basics they want – good systems of health care, education, housing and guaranteed employment.

    In this respect Cuba, while far from perfect, has a huge leg up on capitalist countries who appear to be in a race for the bottom in all categories. I’ve elaborated before on this and can again if ‘Griffin’ wants me to rake up more dirt in the capitalist world. I just watched a shocking news report on the US housing debacle that is fresh in my mind. Four million homes have been repossessed and they are still taking place in great numbers!

    “Griffin’ offers Canada as an exception to my statement that no capitalist representative democracy has continued to function successfully, i.e., in its citizens’ interests and lists a number of things he feels makes it successful. Most of them have to do with superiority in relation to the US, hardly a yardstick for excellence I think. ‘Griffin’ claims to be Canadian but writes little about life in Canada except what one can learn from googling. My guess is, if true, he’s a Canadian living in the US, working for?

    This may explain why he may be unaware of what is really taking place in Canada. The Occupy Movement and the Quebec student strike and as of this morning, the return of a separatist government in Quebec, are just some of the highlights.

    Toronto has the most unpopular mayor in its history. Most people voted against him or didn’t vote, effectively saying, “none of the above” He was returned in a split vote. The system allows this to happen. It’s the way these so-called democracies work. I don’t see a lot of satisfaction in the country from my venue in Canada. Who knows where ‘Griffin’ lives.

    ‘Griffin’ does write at length, however, about the US, admitting the role its government played in bringing down three governments. He justifies two of them, with only Iran being “a tragic, short-sighted and criminal act”, hard to deny in light of what the US is now facing.

    The “correctness” of aiding Allende’s overthrow “continues to be debated” according to ‘Griffin’ – perhaps where he works or who he hangs out with or in the hearts of Pinochet lovers, the general who replaced Allende whose name ‘Griffin’ seems challenged to mention for some reason. Perhaps it has something to do with the 3,000 people his government disappeared and the 30,000 arrested, with thousands tortured.

    Of course for folks like ‘Griffin’ US support for Pinochet was perfectly acceptable, as he writes, because the US felt Allende was moving closer to the “governments of Cuba and the USSR.” Criminal acts, it seems, have no limits in US eyes when it comes to opposing governments that offer alternatives to capitalism.

    As for Iraq, it had a very chequered history, with governments of various stripes coming and going, much of it having to do with US and British interest in Iraq’s oil. According to Wikipedia they were responsible for a number of coups against democratic and non-democratic leaders. The last one was not democratically elected but if you really want to know the role the US and Britian – the ‘mother country’ – played in Iraq, Wikipedia is a good place to start.

    ‘Griffin’, of course can’t wait to “bring this discussion back to Cuba” and its ills. Why is such a small country an obsession with ‘Griffin’ one must ask when there are so many ills in whatever country he resides in? One might well ask. Caring for humanity, as he’s claimed in the past, hardly rings true in light of what he has just written.

  • September 4, 2012 at 7:51 pm
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    “And the evidence is equally overwhelming that capitalism falls into the same category for exclusion ”

    So says the man living in a capitalist society, typing away on his capitalist built computer with its capitalist created software over the capitalist invented Internet. For him, democracy means his way or against the wall. Socialismo o Muerte.

    The “overwhelming evidence” of the failure of Marxism to serve the people’s interests lies in the millions of unmarked graves of the Holomodor, the Killing Fields, the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution and drowned in the Florida Straights.

  • September 4, 2012 at 1:28 pm
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    Lawrence you wrote,

    “He fails to tell us there is NOT ONE example of a capitalist representative democracy that he can cite that has continued to function successfully, i.e., in citizens’ interests, over time.”

    Again using the “He fails to tell us…” rhetorical device to put words in my mouth. That is your strawman argument which you employ time and again. So it is your assertion that “no capitalist representative democracy has continued to function successfully, i.e., in citizens’ interests, over time.” Those are your words. Could you please back that up with examples of how all capitalist representative democracies have failed to do so, and to define what you mean by “in citizen’s interest”?

    I would define that by meaning the citizens decide themselves what their interests are, and then freely vote accordingly.

    You also wrote, “three collapsed democracies that the US, …had its dirty hands in – Iran in 1951, Iraq in 1963 and Chile under Allende in 1973.” Yes, the US did help bring down those governments, but that does not prove your assertion.

    The US toppled the Iranian democracy in 1953, a tragic, short-sighted and criminal act, but it in no way proves your assertion. Iraq in 1963 was no democracy. Colonel Abd al-Qasim seized power in a coup in 1958 and ruled as an autocrat until he was overthrown in 1963. The CIA helped or at lest encouraged the Baath Party to overthrow him, and the Baath party replacement were no democrats either. Again, it does not prove your assertion. In Chile in 1973, the democratically elected Allende had been moving closer to the very undemocratic governments of Cuba and the USSR. The US helped the Chilean generals overthrow Allende. The correctness of that act continues to be debated, but it still does not prove your assertion. By the way, Chile is a democracy once more and with the strongest economy in Latin America.

    Now, to refute your assertion that no democracy has succeeded, I’ll offer an example. How about Canada? The standard of living has steadily risen over the past several decades. The Canadian people enjoy a state run public healthcare system, public education, and a relatively peaceful society. The Canadian Constitution guarantees human rights and freedoms. Free and democratic elections are held and new governments are elected without civil strife. In the difficult era of the post 2008-2009 financial crisis, Canada has been rates as having the healthiest economy in the G8. Do you think Canada has failed it’s citizens?

    Now to bring this discussion back to Cuba, as this is a blog about Cuba, I would argue that the authoritarian Marxist dictatorship of Cuba has indeed failed to serve the interest of the Cuban people “over the long term”. The standard of living continues to fall, the public health care system is decaying, the educations system is declining, the public infrastructure is breaking down and even the very buildings the people are forced to live in are collapsing. There is a severe lack of respect for human rights and freedoms.

    Words like “success” and “failure” are relative terms, but it seems clear to me that Canada’s democracy has been far more successful, and that Cuba’s dictatorship has been a failure.

    Many people in Cuba believe the solution to these and other problems they face will be found through freedom and democracy. I support and endorse that view. You seem to think it is an outrageous position. Now tell me who the propagandist is.

  • September 4, 2012 at 7:28 am
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    Thanks Luis for noting the “straw man” technique, categorized under the heading of “red herring fallacies”. Now that the most obvious disinformation has been dealt with, we can get on with meatier things.

    ‘Griffin’ asserts that “All western democracies function well, over time, serving the citizens’ interests.” Since we’ve started off writing about fallacies, let’s continue along that line. It’s a good way of encouraging logical thinking. This one is an example of an “informal fallacy – arguments that are fallacious for reasons other than structural .flaws”.

    It’s known as the “Onus Probandi” fallacy, short for a phrase in Latin that translates as “The burden of proof rests upon him who affirms, not on him who denies”. In other words, ‘Griffin makes an assertion and provides absolutely no evidence of its truth. I can supply plenty of examples that makes ‘Griffin’s statement LOL laughable but the burden of proof is on him to validate what he wrote lest we simply dismiss his writings as outright propaganda with no basis for truth.

    ‘Griffin’ next asserts that citizens’ interests in all western democracies “are defined by the citizens themselves – another example of ‘Onus Probandi’ I’m afraid – no evidence offered in support, plenty available for refutation and equally LOL.

    ‘Griffin’ ends by asserting, “Only occasionally do democracies falter, but they don’t collapse, and sooner or later the problems are resolved, according to the citizens own interests. More ‘Onus Probandi’ of course but it’s useful to point out three collapsed democracies that the US, whilst piously embracing democracy, had its dirty hands in – Iran in 1951, Iraq in 1963 and Chile under Allende in 1973. The evidence can be looked up in Wikipedia under those three entries, so ‘Griffin’ can’t cry ‘Onus Probandi’ on my part. I started to write out summaries but it was long.

    This is a short list of US complicity in bringing representative governments down when they didn’t serve the US empire to its satisfaction. I think most reading this are aware of the more complete list, the ‘director’s cut’, so to speak of US duplicity when it comes to not supporting democracy. It’s a motherhood term in Americans’ mouths, devoid of original meaning and a marker of propaganda when they spout it. Be aware.

  • September 3, 2012 at 4:07 pm
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    “It’s nice to hear you come right out and say it: if given a chance, most people will chose a capitalist democratic system over a socialist authoritarian one”

    Lawrence didn’t imply this.

    “Contrary to your propaganda, Cuba is not an egalitarian society”

    Lawrence also didn’t imply this.

    He only said: “Participatory democracy in an egalitarian framework is the ideal”

    Straw-man fallacy detected.

  • September 3, 2012 at 8:18 am
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    Lawrence,

    It’s nice to hear you come right out and say it: if given a chance, most people will chose a capitalist democratic system over a socialist authoritarian one, and that is why you insist it must be authoritarian, to deny people their rights and freedoms.

    All western democracies function well, over time, serving the citizens’ interests. These interests are defined by the citizens themselves and not by one ruling family in power for 5 decades which bans free speech and human rights. Contrary to your propaganda, Cuba is not an egalitarian society: Compare the lifestyles of the elite in Miramar mansions with the people living the crumbling tenements of Centro Habana or Lawton.

    Only occasionally do democracies falter, but they don’t collapse, and sooner or later the problems are resolved, according to the citizens own interests.

  • September 2, 2012 at 2:51 pm
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    Then you apparently know nothing of the Chinese Gung Ho coops, the amazing Faridabad, India “City of Hope,” the massive Italian coops of today (or of pre-fascism days), the workers’ coop during the Spanish Civil War, or anything of successful cooperation of all sorts all over the world, yesterday and today.

    Just because the successes of coops are not mentioned or promoted, either by the capitalists of the Marxists, does not mean that the record is negative. In fact, the record is positive and undeniable.

    Also, John, you do not understand that real “capital” is the latent labor and genius of productive human beings, not the financial instruments used to deploy such labor and genius. You think of it, apparently, as money owned by banks and other capitalistic entities.

    For your information, banks do not lend capital; they extend “credit,” simply because they have usurped the legal authority to do so, and get rich off of unjust, massive usury. Thinkers like you swallow their ideology and let them get away with their horrific racket of interest piracy.

    You probably cannot comprehend that the Mondragon workers, due to their excellent professional leadership corps, have developed the template for workers all over the world to have their own banks and generate their own financial capital, i.e., their own investment credit.

    You set forth a lot of presumptive nonsense about the Mondragon phenomenon, but apparently have no specific knowledge about it. Nothing you have said in this comment is valid.

  • September 2, 2012 at 10:39 am
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    Sr Campos,

    Great essay! I look forward to reading more from you!

  • September 2, 2012 at 10:38 am
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    ‘Griffin”, writing that “democratic pluralism is essential”, states that “The sum total of all these individual players acting freely is what finds the way to the optimum solution. This can only happen in a free and democratic society.” He fails to tell us there is NOT ONE example of a capitalist representative democracy that he can cite that has continued to function successfully, i.e., in citizens’ interests, over time.

    Sooner or later, all the representatives come to serve the dominant power, which is the capitalist class. Which, of course, is why ‘Griffin’ slathers over “democratic pluralism”.

    Participatory democracy in an egalitarian framework is the ideal, not a system that is easily co-opted – what ‘Griffin’ is propagandizing for, of course.

  • September 2, 2012 at 10:10 am
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    ‘Moses’ cannot understand why a scientific approach would rule out capitalism. It’s the same reason it rules out monarchies, dictatorships, oligarchies and theocracies – there is overwhelming evidence these are not systems that serve citizens’ common good.

    And the evidence is equally overwhelming that capitalism falls into the same category for exclusion – obvious for most who read HT but some proselytizing types are clearly out of their depth, struggling to stay afloat in Pedro’s excellent essay.

  • September 1, 2012 at 10:07 pm
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    To be scientific and democratic is great. Let’s keep in mind, it is impossible for anybody no matter how scientific , to fully comprehend enough about an economy to effectively manage it. That is the concept at the centre of the problem with the centrally planned economy and totalitarian government. It’s impossible to know enough, no matter how many analysts and informants the government has working for them.

    It is also why democratic pluralism is essential. It’s not so one party or one leader will hit upon the one right idea. It’s because there is no one right idea. There are a million different ideas at play every day, with varying degrees of what’s right and wrong, each individual making their own decisions with their own information. The sum total of all these individual players acting freely is what finds the way to the optimum solution. This can only happen in a free and democratic society.

    Being scientific is great, but don’t stay in the trap of believing with a better idea one can figure out the perfect solution to all problems. Been there, done that.

  • September 1, 2012 at 7:44 pm
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    the only successful large group of co-ops that i know is the mondragon group in spain which grew up in the basque region in an unrepeatable historical era. the main problem with co-ops is capital. those that own capital do not want to give it to co-ops. the only other source can be government giving or loaning the taxpayers’ money to co-ops. then the government is in the business of picking winners. the winners are really those who can apply the most political pressure.

  • September 1, 2012 at 2:22 pm
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    Good critique, comrade Pedro . . . but you left out the most important part, the core economic hypothesis that should be implemented in place of the discredited hypothesis of state monopoly ownership, for the further socialist experiment.

    What is this new core economic hypothesis?

    Is is arguable, of course, but we think it is modern cooperative, state co-ownership socialism.

    This however seems to be your constant theoretical stumbling block. You cannot understand that real cooperatives need private property rights and the conditioned socialist trading market in order to exist and flourish.

    You still believe that the elimination of such rights and the market can be plucked from the far-in-the-future communist future, and implemented today during the socialist bridge, where it cannot possibly work.

  • September 1, 2012 at 9:58 am
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    Well-argued…except for the part where you obviously continue to reject the possibility that the true democratic interests of the majority MAY include conversion to an albeit regulated but free capitalist system. How can you argue for maintaining the “marriage” of science and politics and yet limit the choices available? You write, ‘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.’ Your discussion appears to wish to do exactly what your apostle Marti warned against: replacing the current statist capitalist monopoly for your version of the socialist gospel without considering the capitalist alternative.

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