A government agenda that reflects the proposal for democratic socialism should stem from a much-needed change: remove Lenin from the equation.
By Alejandro Armengol, Cubaencuentro
HAVANA TIMES – First of all. Not ha ghost, or utopia or storming Heaven. It’s a government agenda, not a plan to change to world. This is nothing new either. It has existed and continues to exist in Europe, with greater or less emphasis elsewhere, without the need for barricades, anthems and flags. The rest is just noise and ignorance, and ignorance is the weapon of con artists.
The best thing to do is start off with clear boundaries. Being in favor of an agenda that promotes social justice, where the government and State contribute to improving the social and economic conditions of the poor, doesn’t mean that you support forced nationalization, the creation of a Communist party, establishing the so-called “dictatorship of the proletariat” and shooting down bankers and business owners.
What’s more, democratically-elected governments with this kind of agenda have been around for a while and they have fulfilled their duties with similar achievements and limitations as other governments on the other end of the political spectrum. The key to this boundary lies not only in the democratic election in the very beginning, but in upholding the institutions that can determine change tomorrow and dissolve this government. It’s a matter of strengthening democracy, not dictatorship.
So, please, don’t confuse democratic socialism with the chaos in Venezuela, Cuba’s totalitarian government and the USSR’s history. Anyone who does this runs the risk of being labeled a hooligan or a fool.
Add to that the fact that socialists and communists have always been the worst of enemies, is an old sign of the evil stupidity does: ignorance is also a sin.
A government agenda that reflects the proposal for democratic socialism should stem from a much-needed change: remove Lenin from the equation. The political/economic model Lenin created was a historic aberration. Turning to Stalin to denounce the evil nature of this monster isn’t enough.
We have to also condemn the failed “21st century socialism” (by name, design and aspirations), which Hugo Chavez proposed and never brought to fruition. Likewise, accepting that Mao Zedong’s legacy in China and Ho Chi Minh’s in Vietnam, is nothing but accepting historic events and examples of mistakes and horror.
Trying to salvage all of these monsters is beyond impossible: terror and fury. However, this condemnation doesn’t mean refuting democratic socialism, or any government agenda that prioritizes social justice.
Defending a system of social justice (which hasn’t existed after January 1, 1959, in Cuba, to give you an example) doesn’t mean you’re signing up to exhausted plans. You can be in favor of free education, medical services for the population and a framework of State property, without walking around with the works of Marx and Engels under your arm. People who believe that placing all of a country’s economic resources in the hands of a State (a government in practice, a party, a dictator) are walking down the wrong path: this doesn’t solve problems, but rather aggravates them instead.
Some people in the US cry out and have a fright whenever they hear the word “socialism”, acting out of ignorance, which might go beyond personal experience and anecdotes.
While it’s true that the enemy has always added to this confusion, referring to “socialist republics”, the “Socialist Bloc”, and the “construction of socialism”, they haven’t won the battle just yet.
You might or might not believe in the benefits and dangers of socialism, just like you might or might not believe in the benefits and dangers of capitalism. However, it is too crass to confuse or put these phrases and events on the same playing field as European socialism, social democracy and democratic socialist parties the world over.
Being afraid of words won’t fix anything. Universal social benefits and putting the brakes on excessive greed is what we need, which has been the flag this country has brandished as the driving force for progress.