Clothes Do Not Make the Man
Clothes Do Not Make the Man / 14ymedio, Pedro Campos
14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Havana, 23 April 2016 — Army General Raul
Castro, newly re-elected first secretary of the Cuban Communist Party
(PCC), in his closing speech at the Party’s 7th Congress spoke of moving
forward with our democratic, prosperous and sustainable socialism. It
turns out that the adjective democratic has just been added to the
socialism officially promoted in Cuba.
The leadership of the first Communist Party was allowed to take the
name, later used to turn the country into a disaster, even recognizing
one day that “no one knew how to build socialism.” The leadership of
the PCC has the right to name the society they are proposing whatever
they want. But those of us who have been defending a democratic
socialism in Cuba also have the right to make it clear that this name
has nothing to do with the socialism as practiced by the PCC.
Everything done from the leadership of the PCC is solely intended to
strengthen the state monopoly capitalism with ingredients
of paternalistic populism that has always characterized what has been
intended in Cuba since 1959.
In his speech, the general was precise: one party, the Communist, based
on Marxist-Leninist ideology, which, in any case, is based on democratic
centralism (promoted by Lenin to crush the growing dissent within the
Bolshevik Party) and not on democracy.
He also argued that Article 5 of the Constitution regarding the leading
role of the Communist Party in society will remain, and that there will
be a continuation of the centralization of decisions and state ownership
as the linchpin of the economy. Only wells are built from above:
everything from the top down.
The election of the first and second secretaries of the Politburo was
not performed by the full Congress nor directly by the Party membership,
but by the members of the Central Committee. The age limit for new
members of the Central Committee is established as 60. By the stroke of
a pen the possibility is eliminated that the generation that fought at
the Bay of Pigs, that ran the literacy campaign, and that carried the
hardest tasks of the Revolution on their shoulders, will serve on the
Central Committee. And the limit applies arbitrarily to new members, but
not to those who are now in their 70s and 80s and who have been in the
PCC leadership ranks for more than five decades.
Self-managed cooperatives and self-employment are still regarded
contemptuously as secondary “non-state” forms of work, while appropriate
ways of self-management for workers in state enterprises is not even
How can there be democratic socialism when the means of production are
controlled by the bureaucracy and the wage labor that typifies the form
of capitalist exploitation is maintained, without democratization of
politics and without socialization of the economy?
If the Communist Party decided to honor the democratic qualifier for its
socialism, it should assume the minimum standards of democratic
socialism: democratization of politics, socialization of property and
ownership in the economy, and allowing free expression and political
activism of our groups and all democrats.
But we are not exclusive nor sectarian. Hopefully Raul Castro and his
Party will act consistent with this new adjective and not as occurs with
the term socialism, which they converted into an undesirable word for many.
If the Communist Party is open to the interests of the entire Cuban
nation, it will promote a true popular, broad, horizontal participation,
without restrictions in discussions of the documents 7th Congress and of
a new democratic constitution, in town meetings, without pre-conditions.
If, as a part of that process it assumes the overall defense of all
human rights of all Cubans; if it prevents repression against peaceful
opponents and those who think differently and releases all prisoners of
conscience; if it endorses freedom of expression, association and
election; if it accepts the free development of various forms of
production and property; if it grants ownership, management and profits
to workers in state enterprises; if it accepts that Cubans living abroad
can visit their country with passports from other countries and that
those who want to can invest in it; it would not be democratic
socialists who turn their backs on them.
If they take steps in that direction, I am sure they will have the
support of many Cuban democratic socialists and democrats.
Source: Clothes Do Not Make the Man / 14ymedio, Pedro Campos –
Translating Cuba –