Saturday, June 20, 2015

1889. Who Should Lead the Communist Party of Cuba

By Pedro Campos, Havana Times, July 12, 2013

During a recent meeting of the Communist Party Central Committee President Raul Castro stated that “Party leaders must be capable of recognizing the country’s problems and looking towards the future”, an article published in Granma, Cuba’s major official newspaper, reported on July 3. I will limit myself to commenting on this particular remark.
It should be the other way around, Mr. President: those who are capable of identifying today’s problems, those who look for and find solutions to these problems and are able to look towards the future, should be the ones selected to head the Party. But no: you continue to appoint those who are loyal to you, even if they’re incapable of seeing, solving or identifying anything.
The way Party leaders are appointed – on the basis of intelligence gathered or produced by various State Security organs –, a mechanism imposed on the Party by the “founding leadership” of the Cuban revolution, in violation of bottom-up democratic election principles, is what robs Cuba of leaders able to identify and solve problems.
The solution is simple: do not appoint any more leaders, do not make any more proposals for new Central Committee members, provincial or municipal officials and do not even let these different Party institutions impose the “instructors” at the grassroots level of the Party.  Let the members make these proposals and elect who they see fit.
The problem faced by the Communist Party is the same problem Cuba’s entire economy and society faces: excessive centralization, top-down decision-making processes, and a general lack of democracy. Democratic centralism has two main components, but you have neglected the second one, as you have neglected all of the proposals advanced by the socialist and democratic left you have worked to silence.
As I have expounded on elsewhere, until you acknowledge the failure of the political, economic and social conceptions that could be grouped under the “Marxist-Leninist” school of thought, or, rather, the dogmatic, Soviet-Stalinist version of Marx’s and Lenin’s main ideas, a true rectification of the mistakes made thus far, and a true renewal of socialism, will not be possible.
In the meantime, we will have more of the same, disguised with new words and impelled by old and exhausted schemes, structures, methods, slogans and the word “socialism”, ever more divested of meaning and besmirched by failure, in short: more malaise, isolation and contempt.
Those of us who try and rescue the concept of socialism will continue to climb up a slippery slope, full of promontories and, of course, plagued with dangers.
The veiled persecution of democratic socialists continues in Cuba. After the Party, Armed Forces and Ministry of the Interior were “purged” of “perestroikists and left-wingers”, in a clean-up operation which began with the trials of General Ochoa and Minister of the Interior Abrantes, our comrades continue to be “visited” and denigrating articles and comments about us continue to appear in online publications and blogs.
In recent days, I attempted to leave several comments on Cubadebate, an online publication of the PCC. Though these were written in a respectful tone and showed the utmost moderation, they were all immediately rejected.
So be it. This is the time it was our lot to live in and it is better to live with dignity, to take up the struggle, than to live on our knees before the Empire and the new masters.
We continue to struggle for true socialism, for life.

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