HAVANA TIMES — The Left has a fundamental advantage and drawback: it is the ideal mechanism to manage a series of moral and ethical values, concepts of solidarity, fraternity, equality and social justice which can be applied and expressed by individuals and the masses alike. These give those who claim to possess such sensibilities an aura of moral superiority, when contrasted with those who declare an inclination towards the pursuit of financial benefits and material wealth, to the detriment of the spiritual and the longing for social justice.
This also places the Left in a contradictory position with respect to the age-old pursuit of power, as the very instant that the Left takes power it assumes a position to the extreme right of its own proposals, of the foundational causes and tenets behind its emergence.
The sensibility that has been termed “left-wing” throughout history (or since the French Revolution, to be more precise) and which has had different, more or less structured ideological foundations, appears to be incompatible with the aspiration to be part of the high spheres of power.
At the exact moment when a left-wing militant becomes the “Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces” and must administer the sale of mines, tanks, bombs and machine-guns, at the very moment they take command of law and order forces such as the police, from the moment they are forced to repress a demonstration or, quite simply, a protest in an underprivileged neighborhood, at the precise instant in which this representative of the oppressed must take over a prison and all of the country’s repressive forces, they position themselves as far to the right of their original project as can be imagined.
The chlorophyll and red cells needed to photosynthesize and oxygenate the political projects of the Left, the guarantee of democracy and the empowerment of the masses, can only be found in the auditing and checking of power by taxpayers.
The foundational utopia that sustains left-wing principles is incompatible with the high spheres of power, no matter what disguise this power puts on and, as though the contradiction inherent to the situation weren’t sufficiently clear and obvious, the past and current centuries have made a point of vomiting upon us the grim results of each and every one of the experiments conducted in this sense, with varying degrees of good or bad intentions, leaving behind deception and pain in all cases.
No places have had as negative a reaction to discourses of solidarity, of altruism, as the countries where the inaptly-called “communist” experiment took place. In this connection, Cuba appears to be turning into a paradigm, a proverbial example.
For the first time in the history of pseudo-communist dictatorships, the same leaders who took power (those who led the revolution, that is), not their children or followers but the very people who subverted the established order and even physically liquidated the representatives of that system through executions, imprisonment, exile, ostracism and dementia, are the same people who, without the slightest sense of embarrassment, without even the basic show of decorum that good manners demand, without acknowledging any mistakes, invoking excuses or asking for forgiveness over the pain they caused others, are now proposing a return to capitalism, only that, now, it is to be led by them, the former dictators of the proletariat, the former Marxist-Leninists, or by their friends or relatives.
They do this as though the past fifty years hadn’t taken place, as though we hadn’t seen thousands of deaths and millions of people humiliated, denied the possibility of returning to the country of their birth, as though a country with a system of values in tatters, split families and, most importantly, a sterile wasteland of Utopia, humiliated and abused time and time again, hadn’t been left behind.
But, why should one care about any of this, when Raul Castro and Barack Obama are embracing one another? Mayte cannot come down from the tree she hung herself from, Raul won’t come back from his cirrhosis and delirium tremens for having been excluded from all social spaces and Jorge (and everyone else on his raft) can’t be dredged up from the bottom of the sea – though, if we demand that they share power, that they repent for the damage they caused, that they leave and never come back (as part of a retirement offered by their victims, out of the kindness of their hearts, in order to take the higher ground), then, perhaps they will resurface and blossom, these women and children bloated by salt-water, swollen with memories and grief, with frustration and horror, perhaps they will return to keep us from forgetting.
They may come back to remind us that dreaming may prove expensive, dangerous and difficult, but that it is the only way to keep the present fertile and to once again water and treasure the aspirations the lie in the soul of eternal dreamers.
Why would they bother to come back for less?