Proposals to Advance Socialism in Cuba

May 29, 2012 | Print Print |

Pedro Campos

HAVANA TIMES — These proposals were submitted to public opinion in January 2011, a few months before the Sixth Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba.

As an economic task of the present stage, priority must be given to the development of production relations of free association of the cooperative/self-management type. Intrinsic to socialism (though not the sole ones), these are necessary to rapidly improve the general well-being of the people.

- This would prevent the advance of capitalism and at the same time the economy would flourish rapidly, since people would work enthusiastically, without any kind of imposition, and would be able to meet their rational needs. This would move progressively towards eliminating all forms of exploitation of people by people – a major goal of all socialists of all periods.

- With the gradual advance of the production relations of free association of the cooperative/self-managerial type, the collectivist, democratic, solidary, libertarian and humanist principles inherent in this form of ownership, management and distribution would proceed to transfer the functioning of the new society and all institutions of the superstructure, leading to a new social consciousness.

Freely associated relations of production of the cooperative/self-managerial type are characterized by:

1) the freely associated workers themselves, as owners or as usufructuarios (users) of the means of production, self-“exploiting” their workforce,

2) democratically administering their productive affairs (controlling costs, planning and election of management) and

3) controlling and distributing the surplus labor or surplus product, before surplus value, allocating one part for the reproduction of the entity; another part for social security contributions, budgeted activities and plans for overall development; and dividing the rest equally for direct consumption by the workers. The cooperative is a form of ownership and association, and cooperativism is a form of organizing the management and distribution in the cooperative.

- So that the power of the workers and the people can become real and make effective the development and expansion of new typically socialist relations of production, it is necessary that the means of production, resources and financing — now in the hands of the bureaucracy — be progressively transitioned and controlled by different levels of people’s power, the nation, region, community, labor collectives and individuals.

As property/ownership is referred to according to the way it’s operated, state wage-labor ownership must gradually be replaced with socialist ownership by the entire public, workers collectives and social groups.

- Especially important will be the development of all types of cooperatives — of production, services and consumption — released from all existing state restrictions on the acquisition of resources, the imposition of production plans and prices. Instead, these should be the result of discussions between the producers and consumers.

Here, we’re referring to real cooperation and not those that have been known so far in agriculture under state tutelage, in which the government controls — indirectly — everything from management to what should be planted, sales prices and even the incomes of the cooperative’s workers.

Effective and preferential support by the state to the entire cooperative system through all types of assistance (credits, low taxes and others) is one of the guarantees of the advance to socialism.

- The concrete forms of socialist ownership — whether co-managed, self-managed or co-operative companies; whether the company as such is owned by the respective state level while use granted to the workers; whether the cooperative is owned by the workers or is jointly owned along with foreign companies, or diverse variations of these — will depend on the specific interests of the labor collectives and social groups, as well as the significance of the company to the general interests of the nation or the municipality.

- A body of laws must be created with respect to all of this. This would include a new law of the socialist enterprise and a new cooperative law. But whatever the forms of ownership, the tendency should be that the operation of these properties be on an autogestionaria (self-managerial) basis.

This would good well beyond the autonomy that is currently defended by the party leadership in their economic guidelines, which does not involve workers’ control over the management, administration or the distribution of a portion of the profits, and which maintains the exploitation of wage-labor.

- All these forms of ownership should be developed and would tend to integrate into a territorial, sectoral or branch forms of organization (such as unions of cooperatives and other associations) to form larger more powerful or more comprehensive groups, as appropriate. Any such arrangements would be democratically decided upon by their workers and corresponding state level authorities in co-managed companies. As this coalition converts into a grand union of self-managed associations, measures would need to be established making these indivisible and un-saleable, and that would require their merging or joining with other companies be subject to law.

- Institutions of public health, higher education, culture, recreation and so on, would function autonomously in the interests of the municipalities, the nation and the people as a whole, under control of their workers and all those affected by their operation.

Their budgets would be funded from both national and municipal sources, as well as from the revenue they would generate from their own operations. Their practices would determine the levels of state assistance. This autonomous status would allow them to manage their own finances and their work collectives would democratically elect their directors.


What's your opinion?

  • Alina M Lopez Marin

    It has been over a year since then. You should be reporting on progress if any.

    • Circles Robinson

      In some of his recent posts Pedro Campos has reported on what he considers minor progress in the direction of the proposals. He restates them here precisely because he feels they are still valid and not accomplished to date.

  • Grady Ross Daugherty

    Comrade Pedro, you are very close, in a programmatic sense, to our US Cooperative Republic Movement. We still have certain differences however, and it would be of great interest if these can be illuminated. Here’s how I see them:

    (1) You still believe apparently that “socialist” property is that owned by the socialist state, and that this property can be “loaned” to producers through the legal mechanism of “usufruct,” thereby satisfying the Marxian concept of “socialist” ownership. Our idea is that socialist property, under socialist state power, is that which is owned primarily by those who do the work, whether cooperative worker associates or small business individuals and families, including of course small farmers and ranchers. The socialist state would get its revenue through partial, silent ownership of most industry and commerce, not from taxes. Many enterprises would be owned 100% by the socialist state, but most would not.

    (2) You still believe in Marxism, and hold on to it as a kind of secular religion. This gives rise to your inability to see that private property rights and the conditioned trading market, under socialist state power, are the basis of worker self-management socialist republic. We discard this quasi-religious dogma and think with a more scientific frame of mind and system of analysis.

    (3) Your brilliant analytical, programmatic mind still needs to find “scriptural” quotes to back up anything you say. This freezes your mind in the past, and keeps you from critiquing the programs of those who’ve been turned into idols. We judge those idols by their fruit, and see them for the discrediting of socialism their bogus program and ideology has brought about.

    Although differences still remain between us, almost everything you say above is both correct and well put. We continue to think of you potentially as a great socialist leader of your country. Good luck and best wishes.

  • Elpidio Valdes

    Los vuelos de Pedro Campo en esta materia del socialismo y como consruirlo, lo estan llevando de la mano y corriendo, sin que tenga el aire necesario para aguantar esta carrera maratonica en la que se ha metido para tratar de demostrar que el y sus socios de la social democracia tienen toda la razon y los burgueses que dirigen el pais, hacia el capitalismo, segun sus propias teorias, no saben una sola palabra de marxismo, comunismo, filosofia y mucho menos de como dirigir un pais como Cuba.

    Los cubanos deben de darle gracias al Padre Azul, a el Hombre de Galilea y a cuanto santo exista, de que el senor Campos y sus socios de la social democracia, no tienen ni la mas remota posibilidad de llegar a dirigir Cuba y su proceso, pues de eso suceder, Honduras, Haiti y otros paises pobres de America Latina serian paises millonarios comparados con la Isla, que hipoteticamente dirigiria el senor Campos. Sin embargo es importante senalar, que el senor Campos y sus socios de la social democracia caribena, no estarian en los estratos de la poblacion (digamos el 90%) que estaria en los mas bajos niveles de pobreza y abandono total por parte de los organos de gobierno del senor Campo, si a eso se le pudiese llamar Gobierno.

    La autosuficiencia y el creerse el poseedor de la verdad absoluta, da la medida de como se manifiesta en un ser humano, que hasta hace unos anos, era uno mas en el pueblo, las infulas de publicar en cuanto medio de informacion le abra las puertas, sus articulos, donde ademas de enunciar sus teorias filosoficas y de direccion de la economica de la Isla, se autotitula como el unico que sabe que ocurrira si el gobierno de los burgueses y capitalistas, continuan por el camino de los actuales cambios.

    Hay algo sintomatico en todo esto, si el Imperio considero y considera que los cambios que se estan llevando a cabo en la Isla, no son suficiente y no abarcan todas las esferas de la vida de los cubanos, esto quiere decir que la Isla va por el buen camino, pues los gringos no apoyarian algo que ellos saben irira en contra de sus bastardos intereses capitalistas, por tanto quien esta equivocado en la Isla – Pedro Campos y sus brillantes ideas, o el gobierno de los burgueses y capitalistas que dirigen el pais.

    Por otra parte el Imperio sigue tratando de apretar las tuercas del Bloqueo Economico, Comercial y Finanaciero, sigue con sus planes de desestabilizacion a todo tren, sigue apoyando a los anexionistas de nuevo tipo y sus socios del negocio de la contra y el terrorismo, esos, para los que Pedro Campos ha pedido y aun pide cambio en el tratamiento de esos seres humanos que solo piensa en sus intereses personales y no en los intereses del pueblo y su proceso, ademas el Imperio en el ambito internacional sigue en sus campanas de todo tipo, como la de los derechos humanos, aspecto este, en el que ellos los norteamericanos que gobiernan, no tienen ni la mas minima moral y autoridad para enjuiciar a pais alguno en el mundo.

    En realidad yo siento pena por el senor Campos y sus escritos en la Isla, en el extranjero y en el espacio cosmico, pues tengo la impresion, que el senor Campos, en las noches de insomnios que el padece, relee sus articulos y se siente como el benefactor de los pueblos de nuestra America y eso lo alimenta para seguir en sus obras de ciencia ficcion filosoficas, sociales y economicas. Mientras que el senor Campos siga por este camino, el unico danado sera el y sus socios de la social democracia, pues el pueblo los ignora pues los conoce y por tanto,les permite que sigan con sus experimentos, hasta que un dia se cansen y se retiren a atender a los nietos, el jardin o el traspatio de su casa o del edificio donde vive.

    Un ultimo dato, seguir por esa linea de pensamiento, ignorando intencionalmente el Imperio de los Estados Unidos de America, en sus politicas de intervencion internacional, como el caso de Iraq, Afghanistan, Libia (donde la masacre realizada por la OTAN contra la poblacion de ese noble pueblo, ha llegado a la cifra de casi 50 mil personas, mas los descapacitados, desplazados, torturados y desaparecidos, sin dejar de contar el asesinato en la Television del senor Gadhafi), ahora Siria con sus operaciones encubiertas y falsos positivos, que esta pagando el pueblo de ese pais por no aceptar, como Cuba la intromision de sus agentes de operaciones negras, incluidos los hombres de AlQueda, que ya habian utilizado en Libia. Si el senor Campos ignora estas situaciones que tenemos en el mundo diario y se empecina en sus teorias social democratas, cada dia tendra menos apoyo en el pais, pues los cubanos saben que el Imperio norteamericano, tiene una espina en su garganta y esa espina es la Isla de Cuba.

    Que el Hombre de Galilea y el Padre Azul siempre protejan al pueblo de la Isla y los hermanos pueblos latinoamericanos de la avaricia y la barabarie del Imperio.

    • Freud

      I am not exactly an admirer of Campos and his proposal but you are accusing him of exactly the same attitudes of castro regime along the last 53 years and prognosticating his project would have same disastrous “achievements” without giving him the opportunity to put in practice his theories………. I am sure most Cubans would like to try another project… even Campo’s project .

  • john sparre

    this is all theoretical nonsense. import a couple of hundred kilos of dry land rice from china or the philippines and you will have a rice industry in the dry season. the mountain people of the philippines grow rice in mountain clearings. no paddy fields. thousands can debate for the next 10 years the direction cuba should take. people don´t debate where they will go on vacation for 10 years. they buy a ticket and go. they may end up in roma, malaga or nice but they won´t sitting at home debating. which is the best destination of the 3? any is better than a cold apartment north of moscow or stockholm. when i was young i´d listen to european leftists telling me how great the gang of 4 were. AMADA. alle macht aan de arbeiters. all power to the workers. they got 2% of the vote in every election. instead of wasting their time and money on election advertising they should have gone to asia. wankers is the british expression. revolutions don´t start in countries where everyone is rich enough to go to the cafe for a beer or 10. that may be cynical but it´s a fact. to do is to be or vice versa. NIKE slogan. just do it.

  • Moses

    Pedro and Grady would make fantastic university professors. OK, maybe a tad bit boring. But as economic leaders, I don’t think so. The problem with cooperative-based socialism is the need to C-O-O-P-E-R-A-T-E. I co-founded a dot-com with four other people 16 years ago. We were “forced” to sell 6 years ago (for quite a bit of money) because we had begun to fail to cooperate. We had every motivation to do so but gosh darnit, human nature is what it is. Grady, anytime you have “equal” partners in anything and then it stops being equal , for whatever reason, you will have problems. In marriage we call it divorce. If the Cuban government is a “silent” partner in a cooperative through the land agreement and the co-op wants the crop to sell to Brazil and the government wants to sell it to China, the guy with the army wins. This form of government (socialism)stifles the very best (innovation, initiative and self-sacrifice) of human nature and pretends the worst (sloth, jealousy, and selfishness) does not exist. Capitalism leaves a lot to be desired and is certainly inhumane more often than not, but humans ourselves leave a lot to be desired and if you saw the recent pictures of the dead children killed by the Syrian government, we can also be inhumane. Why would you expect our economic system to be any better than we are.