Political Power in Cuba Is Becoming More Concentrated

June 26, 2017 | Print Print |

By Pedro Campos

HAVANA TIMES — It has already become a habit: the “revolutionary government” sends out memos and statements without anyone signing them and the party itself and its political and mass organizations make announcements and issue statements about important foreign policy issues without anyone knowing who is answering for them.

On June 21st, Granma and Juventud Rebelde newspapers published the “Declaration of Cuban Youth” which condemned the Trump administration’s new US policy towards Cuba, and nobody signed it, nobody, not a single organization.

This kind of document has traditionally been used by the Cuban government to set the political approach that “Cuban revolutionaries” and all of their institutions need to follow: from the Party to the school children.

Behind the lack of signatures and names are the people responsible for the statement who are an important part of the contradictions that confine the “proletarian dictatorship” political system. The clash is between centralization and democratizing the system, which is being resolved in favor of centralization, until it reaches its maximum state.

It will end up destroying all of the system, because less and less people are involved in the decision-making process and as a result, less and less people are interested in maintaining the injustice.

Meanwhile, and as a part of the advance of this sickness which is eating away at the heart of the system, this kind of document, without naming the writers by name and personalizing them, represent a lack of respect for the same institutions created during the Revolution, its appointed leaders and especially the people of Cuba, who really have been taken less and less into account.

In this particular case, it’s a complete lack of consideration for, and awareness of, the Cuban youth, which are not only those who applaud or feel forced to applaud the system, but hundreds of thousands of young people, God knows how many there are, who don’t follow the government and its politics.

There has been more than one time when top leaders have set out an approach that wasn’t totally or partially shared by some leaders of their subordinate organizations and so the resulting statements didn’t meet “those at the top’s” expectations. The response “top leaders” found in the end for this was to write out the documents themselves and to send them to lower organizations for their leaders to sign. But, this hasn’t even been happening for some time: they are simply published without a signature.

What we notice in all of this is an increase in concentrated political power.This is part of the traditional manipulation of national and international news which the Cuban government has cynically practiced for over half a century. Only now the main leader [Fidel] is no longer around and political-military leaders are becoming more and more isolated from the foundations of Cuban society.

This phenomenon which we so clearly see in the national political climate is the same in the national economy too. With the state’s productive enterprises, the results of production and decisions about what to do with the money workers generate from the general exploitation of the Cuban people in many different ways, are becoming more and more concentrated within this circle of upper echelons.

The state-run socialist system, which tries to hide the State’s monopoly capitalism controlled by the political and military bureaucratic elite, is locked into the same classical and main contradiction of mainstream capitalism: while production is more social, appropriation (of the results of production) is more private. While some large owners are getting rich, the productive majority are becoming increasingly poorer.

Frederick Engels wrote about this subject and said that for mainstream capitalism, state monopoly capitalism, believed to be socialism, has led to crisis and that’s why it ends up destroying itself: “Accumulation of wealth at one pole is, therefore, at the same time, accumulation of misery, agony of toil, slavery, ignorance, brutality, mental degradation, at the opposite pole, i.e., on the side of the class that produces its own product in the form of capital.”

We Cuban democratic socialists have proposed solutions to these problems in many articles and essays and I have personally put these idea forward to government-party-state institutions:

  • Politically-speaking, to fully democratize the system, with freedom of speech, association and the right to vote while encouraging local participatory budgets.
  • With regard to the economy, to make appropriation a reality via real socialization of property and appropriation of surplus value; allowing economic freedom to develop all production areas via the individual self-employed, associated work such as cooperatives, and workers’ self-management of state and private businesses, etc.

What's your opinion?

  • Carlyle MacDuff

    In short Cuba is reaping the consequences of dictatorship.

    • Rich Haney

      Carlyle, except for one little comma you precisely parroted Moses. Intentional or accidental? One-track propagandists need to sometimes vary their positions…you know, to project a dose of individual credibility.

      • editorht

        Dear Rich, once again you are veering far from the subject of the articles in order to tangle with other commentators. Why not stick to the issues at hand. And please keep in mind, Batista is dead and we are in 2017.

  • Carlyle MacDuff

    In short, Cuba is reaping the consequences of dictatorship.

  • Moses Patterson

    The Castro oligarchy is shrinking.

  • Barbara Riess

    This is necessary journalism.

  • Gerard Matthews

    The young people have had enough!

    • CErmle

      The masses of the young people support their government. You are out if touch.

      • Carlyle MacDuff

        ceRMLE
        Be honest and admit that you don’t even know any young people in Cuba.

  • Rich Haney

    FANTISTIC!!! Hey, America, the saintly Batistianos WILL BE BACK IN CONTROL OF CUBA BY DAYLIGHT TOMORROW. Counter-revolutionary protestations like this, always sanctioned by acolytes like Moses, Carlyle, etc., have been preaching this for six decades. Uh, folks, it’s not likely to happen by daylight tomorrow…OR EVEN THE DAY AFTER. Wishful preaching backed by apocryphal logic like this article espouses will not erase the memories on the island of the Batista-Mafia dictatorship from 1959 till daylight on January 1, 1959. And the Cuban narrative from Little Havana in Miami will not recapture Cuba, and neither has the Bay of Pigs attack, the embargo, etc., etc.

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      A touch of advice Rich Haney. Lay off the weed for a couple of days and then read your contribution. Don’t be surprised when you find that it is just so much garbled nonsense, just sympathize with those of us who endeavored to decipher it!

  • Ryan Ross

    If anyone really wants to understand the democratic structure of Cuba, besides what the Havana haters here tell you, check out the link below. The US would be lucky to have a fraction of the % of Cubans participating in their govt. “After nearly nine million Cubans, out of a population of 11.2 million, debated the draft, 68% of the Guidelines were modified….the Conceptualisation and the Plan 2030 documents have been through a
    similar, though more selective, process of debate involving 1,600,000
    Cubans in 47,000 meetings…A total of 208,161 changes were proposed. Consequently, 92% of the original Conceptualisation document was modified.” Do they really want to copy our example of “democracy?”
    http://palgrave.typepad.com/yaffe/2017/06/conceptualising-cuban-socialism-.html

    • Kennedy Earle Clarke

      Truth Must Be Told. These people do not understand that there are intelligent people in the world who are well informed and who would not fall for the filthy propaganda H.T. spews out on the Internet.