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Creating culture for socialism

fidel y raulDuring the month of April, this new year, the Eighth Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba will take place, where among other central questions to be analyzed is the functioning of the Party, its ties with the masses, ideological-political activity, and cadre policy, at a moment considered opportune for the updating of our strategy of resistance and development.

Imagining this Congress in the light of the socio-political context of current Cuban society, brings to mind several very timely questions that I would like to submit to the consideration of readers in this article:

Revolutionary Cuban men and women need to reaffirm our collective commitment to the continuity of socialism, and promote identification, articulation, and dialogue among those of us who, with a diversity of opinions on particular aspects of the revolutionary process and a critical point of view, are capable of recognizing ourselves as sharing a common goal and fundamental principles. That is, working for greater democratization and deepening of Cuban socialism and defending the continuity of the most genuine of the Revolution, assuming it critically with what have been, and continue to be, its principal contradictions.

Needed is systematic theoretical work addressing the fundamental dilemmas of our society, with a clear ideological commitment and narratives attuned to the times we are living, that serves to contain the advance of public opinion trends attempting to discredit socialism and conservative liberal tendencies with which counterrevolutionaries pressure us, looking to create the subjective conditions necessary for the restoration of capitalism. Creating culture for socialism. In this same sense, revitalizing and strengthening the socialist, popular, and revolutionary character of our organizations and institutions, the principal tools we have to face these new times.

It is not arrogance that motivates us to continue betting on the Communist Party to defend the socialist project and national sovereignty, nor are we a priori, obstinately granting the Party a leadership role that has not been legitimately won over time.

We are talking about a party that since 1975 has been key in building the unity needed to maintain continuity of a process that began by nationalizing and socializing the means of production, eliminating the fundamental basis of exploitation in contemporary societies (that is, class exploitation, the principal limitation imposed on the exercise of any right or freedom by the majority), placing the humble in power, thus making possible the promotion of effective, universal, inalienable rights over a 60 year period and sustaining them under the most ironclad blockade and all kinds of attacks, which has been and continues to be a commendable accomplishment. Who can deny this?

A path of necessary transformations awaits us, along which dialogue and debate will be critical. But in order to dialogue, there is no need to cast aside the structures of power we have chosen, which have allowed us to come this far, to move to a copy of the discredited model of liberal democracy. Capitalism, including the neoliberal social democratic version – really the only version present – promises the world nothing more than one crisis after another, as we are seeing before our very eyes.

We are no less democratic having a single party, just as they are no more democratic having many. The fact that revolutionaries are critical of the democracy with which they want to compare us and we don’t run around like robots of the system shouting about abstract “freedoms” and “plurality” – apart from any socio-historical considerations, as if the complexity of the world could be summarized in these three or four symbolic fetishes – does not mean that we reject democracy. What we reject is the anti-democratic imposition of the idea that only one single model of democracy is possible.

One of the most notorious aspects of the San Isidro events, and the media performance that was staged, was the unveiling of the current array of counterrevolutionary tendencies, how they differentiate themselves, and also how they are linked.

Few events reveal the articulation of different forces better than the recent release of a document in which – as Argentine philosopher and activist Néstor Kohan points out in an insightful article – the signatures of several Cuban intellectuals appear, individuals who for some time now have defined themselves as exponents of leftist, emanicipatory, progressive thought, even socialist and revolutionary.

But we cannot ignore the collaboration of some with media outlets financially supported by organizations like the NED, created by the U.S. Congress to intervene in the internal affairs of other countries, under the false pretense of promoting democracy. Nor can we ignore that they have participated in projects which have publically acknowledged that their efforts are directed toward regime change and which have ties with organizations known worldwide as responsible for soft coups. Are we going to now say that the Open Society Foundation has altruistic, disinterested intentions? We cannot conduct a dialogue about the destiny of our nation based on such double standards.

This group’s action reminds us too much of the Letter of the 77, with which a number of anti-communist intellectuals in Czechoslovakia ignited a situation that led to the Velvet Revolution, and subsequently regime change. They have joined an effort involving a series of actions meant to import and apply standard coup-plotting methods used successfully in other countries of geopolitical interest to the United States. But Cuba is not Eastern Europe.

Cuba’s revolutionary process has been intransigent in defending our right to self-determination, and toward this end has undoubtedly limited its enemies’ range of action within and beyond our borders, but it is not a dictatorship, no matter how hard they try to characterize our Revolution as such. We ourselves have chosen to place no conditions on this intransigence, and this decision has not always been easy. I wish we had been allowed to launch socialism without all the persecution.

It is no accident that they pressure us with talk of multi-party systems and political fragmentation within government structures, state administration, and legislative bodies. This is clearly unconstitutional. The Constitution cannot be a document is invoked or ignored as is convenient. This proposal is not very republican. The demand for a multi-party system is a strategic one, meant to destroy the legal framework that protects the reigning consensus in favor of the continuity of socialism in Cuba.

We are not facing a breakdown of this consensus. This is pressure from groups with very specific interests, linked to a foreign strategy, with no proven social base of support that could be described as massive, as they would like to present it. No effect on the interests of groups pushing for the restoration of capitalism can be put above national interest; they cannot arbitrarily assume the right to speak on behalf of the nation.

These groups are giving continuity, consciously or not, to the same position taken by those who, since January of 1959, nostalgically recall the destroyed bourgeois republic and resent deeply that the interests of certain classes were affected, openly oppose the Revolution, and call for the fall of the system to allow for the restoration of capitalism, on day one.

The model of democracy they defend has been discredited internationally. Multi-party systems do not guarantee that the interests of the majority are represented in the exercise of power, nor do they guarantee effective diversity in the political arena. They only guarantee that economic elites alternate taking turns in office, all with the same ideological trademark and committed to maintaining all fundamental aspects of the status quo.

In these systems, political freedoms are only effective for the elites that wield economic power and those who do not oppose them. Let us ask the Yellow Vests how they are treated in the streets of France, or the Chilean youth who have lost an eye, or the hundreds of truly independent journalists and many social leaders who have been murdered in our region over the last few years.

A multi-party system in Cuba would only serve to allow groups with class economic interests, and access to significant capital coming from the North,

to gain the political muscle needed to dismantle the system and erect one in which they could co-opt emerging judicial-political institutions to favor their interests. Following this path, we will never reach a more democratic, equitable, or just society for the majority of our people. On the contrary, it would mean the opposite.

The perversity of a right with aspirations strictly governed by the logic dictated by the accumulation of capital, and the inability of the center to contain it, have been made clear historically and scandalously on the current international scene.

Who would benefit from a right or a “center” functioning without objection in Cuba today, realistically speaking? If we have already overcome such political backwardness, would could be gained from returning to it? How much hunger, inequality, violence and death are we talking about? Do we have any idea of the figures? No matter how lovely they sound, we must leave abstractions behind: We are talking about the 21st century, Latin America, Cuba, 90 miles from a country that has besieged us for 60 years and spent millions on subversion.

Copying a bourgeois social democratic model, in the Nordic or Asian style, leaving aside the history of our region and our country, ignoring our geopolitical location and the United States’ agenda, is outrageously defending a position contrary to any realistic logic. Saying that the blockade will be eliminated when we move toward a model of bourgeois democracy is accepting outright the return of servile capitalism.

Welcome to another Congress of our Party. With its leadership, let us seek more democracy, justice and dialogue with clarity regarding the future of our nation.

(Taken from Granma)

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