Internal contradictions, solutions and the new politics of the United
States / 14ymedio, Pedro Campos
Posted on January 31, 2015
14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Havana, 29 January 2015 — The main
contradictions in Cuban society lie between the concentration and
centralization of property ownership and decision making of all kinds,
and the broad cultural, technical and professional training of Cubans,
eager to improve their material and spiritual living conditions. The
unviable state-dependent employment model has been incapable of
satisfying these needs.
Its origin is the conception of socialism inherited from Stalinism,
which was based on the concentration of ownership and decision-making,
and the system of wage-labor for the State, with everything administered
by the Communist Party: a State-monopoly capitalism that sharpened all
the conflicts of the exploitative wage system.
The lack of a solution to these problems has stalled the productive
forces, the development of society, economic progress, modernity and
improvements in the living conditions of the great majority of the
The solutions move to increase the participation of citizens in
property, ownership of the results of their work, and decisions of all
kinds: economic, political and social. Democratization of politics and
socialization of the economy are also imposed.
But “state socialism” blocked these solutions, almost eliminating the
small and medium proprietor, preventing the development of forms of free
labor — unionized or otherwise — the free-management of production, the
social economy, and restricting the democratic participation of citizens
in political matters.
Now, with the normalization of relations with “the enemy,” there is no
danger of military aggression, always used as a justification to
postpone the empowerment of the people, and the Cuban government should
not delay any further moving in this direction.
The return to power of groups of oligarchs allied to American capital
would not resolve these contradictions – rather it would increase them –
newly excluding workers and citizens in general from economic and
political power, with concentrated ownership passing from the hands of
the State to the huge capitalist entrepreneurs, and political power from
the Communist Party to another party that could act at will without
submitting itself to democracy.
The proposals made from the positions of Participatory and Democratic
Socialism, since 1991 with the 4th Cuban Communist Party Congress, raise
the need to advance this process of democratization and socialization of
politics and the economy. Traditional opposition sectors have also
presented similar demands.
In 2006, networks of the international left published “Urging the Cuban
Revolution to Advance Entrepreneurial and Social Self-management” and
sent it to the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) and the Government. The
following year, they published “15 Concrete Proposals to Revitalize
Socialism in Cuba.” In 2008, we publicly presented the document “Cuba
Needs A Participative and Democratic Socialism, Programmatic Proposals,”
and with the view of the 6th Congress of the PCC and the entire Cuban
people, we announced our “Proposals to Advance Socialism In Cuba.” More
recently, we published “14 Keys for the Padlocks that Depress the Cuban
These and other documents of the broad democratic left argue the need to
democratize the party and the society, free up self-employment and
cooperatives, and especially to involve employees in the direction,
management and profits of state enterprises, without ignoring the
necessary spaces for state capital, domestic private capital, and
The neo-Stalinists have tried to prevent the people from having
knowledge of these ideas and a part of the traditional opposition has
tried to ignore them.
The “update of the model” did not resolve these conflicts — although it
introduced dynamics and presented proposals concomitant with
participative and democratic socialism — due to its limitations,
state-centric origin, biased legislation and its application of the same
traditional bureaucracy present in a State willing only to strengthen
its total control and never disposed to transparently bend toward the
In this scheme, the “update of the model” has not been able to
accomplish substantial modifications in what continues to block the
development of a socialized economy directly in the hands of the citizens.
The recent agreements between the governments of the United States and
Cuba come when all the problems of Cuban society are aggravated and the
insufficient “updating” is exhausted, unable to attenuate those problems.
Today, with the persistence of a high level of ownership concentration
and centralization of decision-making and its respective mechanisms and
laws, the economic and political structure of the country appears
unprepared to absorb the impact represented by the new US policies.
The inability of the State-Government-Party to understand the urgent
need to develop popular autonomous control of the economy and the
political life of the country is worrying.
Bureaucratic obstructionism at all levels, at fault for the slow
“updating of the model,” seems to be playing the same game with respect
to the normalization of relations with the United States.
The democratic left is also concerned that the eventual increase in
investment will be directed only to state enterprises, which will not
resolve the already exposed internal contradictions of Cuban society and
will lead to an alliance between monopolistic State capitalism and huge
American capital which, logically, will results in greater exploitation
of Cuban workers.
While there are American business sectors whose only interest is to do
business in Cuba, the Obama administration is also interested in
supporting “non-state” businesses, which they welcome.
The issues of democracy and human rights in the United States and Cuba
are a matter for their people, not the governments of both countries,
which should respect the Cuban people’s sovereignty and their capacity
to decide their future. The role of the governments is to create
conditions so that people can exercise their sovereignty.
Cuba should open a process of dialog and negotiations between all the
visions and projects, political, social and economic, led by a new
constituency, capable of harmonizing in democracy all the interests
present in the country.
The enunciated American policies to economically and politically empower
the citizens don’t hide their intentions to influence the internal
politics of Cuba, which are being manipulated by the new-Stalinist
mentality, the official press, the political structure and foreign
“leftists,” like the “imperialist [intention] to overthrow the
Revolution by other means.”
The US government could be making a mistake by stating that its new
policy is intended to achieve the same strategic objectives as the
prior, failed, policy. If the objectives continue to be to provoke
political changes in Cuba, the American government should ask itself if
it would like Cuba to propose the same objectives in its policies toward
the United States.
The objectives of the new policy, if they don’t want it to backfire and
be counterproductive, should be to live in peace with Cuba, to support
its economic development and to facilitate, with the elimination of
pressures on the Cuban government, the Cuban people being in a better
condition to decide their destinies, without political changes imposed
For its part, the Cuban government must consider that methods (policies)
must predominate over ends (strategy), so that the fact that the United
States has changed its policy – from one of pressures and isolation to
one of dialog and rapprochement – should influence what prevails in this
There are those in the bureaucracy and in the opposition who believe
that the problems of our country can only be resolved with the help of
the United States. Those who think this way don’t seem to recognize the
character of the internal contradictions nor their solutions, such that
it will be difficult to find support for their plans among the great
We appreciate the support of Obama and his administration for respect
for the human rights of the Cuban people, and for their offer of
assistance to non-state businesses and to facilitate people’s access to
the Internet. But the democratization of the Cuban political system, the
decision about the form of government, and the democratic election of
our representatives, these are our tasks and the more the Cuban
government feels that the United States is interfering in Cuba’s
internal affairs, the more difficult is the situation of Cubans in Cuba
and the more the current government will oppose this process.
Accelerating all the transformations toward a greater democratization
and socialization of political and economic life should be the priority
in order to cushion the impact of the new dynamics generated by the
“normalization” and to guarantee that internal changes are driven by
citizen empowerment and not by external forces. Something that appears
to be impossible as long as the go-slow bureaucracy continues to have
sufficient power to block the necessary transformations.
The difference between changes being promoted from within versus from
outside could mark aspects of the independence and sovereignty that
would appear in the future, sooner rather than later.
The current contradictions could exacerbated, rather than resolved, and
the call for normalization of relations with the United States could
stalemate or fail through not achieving the dynamics a new US policy
could generate, and through lack of respect by both governments for the
interests of the Cuban people who, in their vast majority welcome the
normalization, but who also – for the most part – reject outside
Source: Internal contradictions, solutions and the new politics of the
United States / 14ymedio, Pedro Campos | Translating Cuba –