Pedro Campos

Cuban workers. Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES, July 25 – In comments made by Cuban bureaucrats interested in maintaining the status quo and not “changing anything that must be changed,” it’s common to see in their “arguments” the assert that: “While we are under siege by imperialism, it is not the time to make sharp criticism of corruption, bureaucracy or deviations committed in the emancipatory, democratic and socialist advance of the Revolution.”

According to those who hold such positions, Fidel and Raul Castro made a mistake when they called for mass discussions about the form of socialism we want to see, since the sole beneficiary of this dialogue was imperialism.  For the bureaucracy, we in Cuba will be able to discuss socialism only when imperial pressures disappear – but not now.  However, at this very moment, the bureaucracy, corrupt elements and opportunists of all kind are putting the continuity of the Revolution in danger.

These inveterate ultra-conservatives maintain that we can never discuss our problems, or those of socialism, because the forces of imperialism will never allow us the truce necessary for such debate.

Do they really believe that imperialism will forgive the existence of the Revolution or willingly allow it to make needed socialist transformations? Will they freely help us with investments, capital, etc.? It has been said on other occasions that what the imperialists will do in relation to Cuba is do everything to prevent the construction of a new socialist society here.

In fact, it’s precisely the other way around: opposing debate and criticism of the Revolution can only serve imperialist and counter-revolutionary plans to destroy the Revolution and prevent socialist transformations in Cuba. The strategic political objective of imperialism is to prevent the construction of socialism in Cuba.

Counterrevolutionary “revolutionaries”

It’s therefore quite clear that those who want to obstruct debate over the Revolution in Cuba are seeking the same outcomes as imperialism.

It’s simple: They are trying to silence revolutionary criticism against the corrupt and bureaucratized wing of the Party-Government-State. It is indispensable to oppose the political maneuvering of that wing and to assist those who are truly willing to make changes in support of the consolidation of socialism – be they within or outside of those structures.

Those who are attempting to prevent criticism are also concealing a neo-Plattist concept, one that objectively subordinates the advance of the Revolution and socialism in Cuba to the interests and approval of our historic enemy.

At the moment, we obviously have serious differences with such comrades in terms of methods and focus. But we should not pose ourselves against each other. We should not become opponents. We should not become sectarian and allow our differences with them to impede their participation in the needed debate that is now taking place in Cuban society, despite opposition from those same circles. We are willing to debate fraternally based on the fact that some of them and others of us want to save the Revolution and make socialism advance. But no – the dominant sectarian forces in power are hindering this.

Opening discussion around Participative and Democratic Socialism

Those in favor of Participative and Democratic Socialism (Socialismo Participativo y Democrático, or SPD) do not wish to impose anything. We want the masses of people, communists and revolutionaries to know about these points of view and discuss them; and —if they find them objectionable— they can reject these ideas. We know that some people fear such a debate; they have not hidden their opinion that these ideas are as “addictive” as cocaine.

The dominant sectarian faction of the PGE is impeding the popularization of these ideas in Cuba and in the official media. They have even fired comrades from their jobs and expelled people from the Party for disseminating or expressing these opinions.

What course is left for us other than disclosing our points of view through whatever means possible? The truth of the matter is that this discussion goes back to even before Fidel’s 2005 speech [admitting the possibility of the Revolution being reversed due to internal ills such as corruption], or have many revolutionaries forgotten that many similar questions were posed in previous debates at the 4th Party Congress in 1991? And look at what has happened? It is as if nothing had been said by the rank-and-file membership.

The historical leadership played an extraordinary role in the revolutionary process. No one has tried to deny this in the positions of SPD. But to now try to blame the ultimate division of the revolutionary camp and the possible failure of socialism in Cuba on those who want to radicalize the Revolution and make it advance to democratic, participative and socialist heights —to where the historic leaders have been unable to take it— is at least irresponsible and demagogic.

Constrained by the interests of the bureaucracy

The sole culprit behind the disaster that is now being suffered by the Cuban revolutionary process is the bureaucratic statist system, which many of those within the historic leadership have held up as being “socialist.” Now they have dug their heels in by continuing to characterize the system as such, despite all the lessons of revolutionary practice in the 20th century. To make matters worse, they openly repress and ostracize those of us who differ or try to contribute to change in favor of more socialism.

This is how they have responded to those of us who responded to Fidel and Raul’s call!

If we are the target of indirect and direct acts of aggression, it won’t be because we have the blood of martyrs (or want to be the victims of suicide, as some say), but because the betrayal of socialism has already taken possession of the minds of the ultimate murderers.

Nor should they continue insinuating that those of us who defend the ideas of SPD are “working for the enemy.” They would have to try to prove such a charge in court. But no matter how many traps they attempt to lead us into, they will fail. Remember, we didn’t begin yesterday struggling against the enemies of socialism. Some of us are hardened combatants of the Revolution, and we have learned a thing or two.

Those in power can indeed do everything, this is true: even devour their young. But we now know where that seemingly golden road is leading. No one in Cuba who is serious —not even in the very heart of the Party or the government, where we are well known, or around the world— no one will believe them, even if they plant millions of dollars, loads of weapons or packages of cocaine in our houses. Nor will they be believed if they present “documented proof” of any supposed relationships with emissaries of the empire.

All this is threadbare, just like the argument that we are leveling the same critiques as imperialism. Imperialism may be manipulating some truths that exist independently of whoever raises them, they can even try to use some of our criticisms, but the solutions that they outline to the same problems that we point out have nothing to do with our proposals. They are simple misrepresentations.

I repeat: Who is going to believe them? They can try to ignore us, even kill us, but our ideas will never be crushed. If they end up attempting similar acts of stupidity, these will only serve to destroy the Revolution in a few hours.

Fidel is the sole leader responsible for us thinking and acting in this way.

It is clear. Resorting only to such arguments, they are seeking to silence the discussion, current debate, accusations and articles like that by Dr. Esteban Morales.

If the Party-Government-State wants to put an end to the revolutionary debate taking place online, there is a simple solution: Have the nation’s parliament take on the roll which communist/poet Félix Guerra has been clamoring about for more than a year, or hold a national conference with the participation of all sectors, without the sectarianism that we have outlined here. If they please, they can even invite the opposition with whom they negotiated recently through the Catholic Church.

Regarding that point, people looked very negatively at the government’s negotiating with the opposition and imperialism through the Church while at the same time trying to isolate the left, to silence it, to repress it in a multitude of forms. This was seen as something “ugly” in the eyes of everyone, including the very enemies of the Revolution, who can have little trust with regard to respecting the human rights of those who continue repressing their own comrades in struggle.

The trap of stifling debate

Isn’t firing someone from their job for expressing socialist ideas a violation of their human and constitutional rights?

Don’t they realize that those positions are impeding the advance of the Revolution?  Are they trying to silence the needed debate?  Aren’t they creating the conditions for full capitalist restoration? Aren’t they falling into the trap of those who wish to prevent the advance of socialism in Cuba?

I don’t consider them envoys of the empire for all of this. However, they know that their positions serve imperialism and counterrevolution, and not our proposals for change, which cannot be carried out if there is not first a deep, revolutionary and sincere criticism of what has been realized.

To contact Pedro Campos write: [email protected]

Writing (in Spanish) on Participative and Democratic socialism can be found at

6 thoughts on “The Trap of Stifling Debate

  • Earth to Sam and grok: Flash! One does not have to be a Marxist in order to be a socialist.

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