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Re: liberalism and democracy in Cuba

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  • thekoba@aztecfreenet.org
    Dear Eric, The German Democratic Republic had multiparty democracy of a sort, but each of the four parties was committed to socialism and against imperialism.
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 25, 2003
      Dear Eric,

      The German Democratic Republic had multiparty
      democracy of a sort, but each of the four parties
      was committed to socialism and against
      imperialism. Multiparty of that sort can be
      tolerated and might be helpful to Cuba for the
      purpose of giving vent to various views on how
      to develop Cuba within the framework of socialism.

      When a third world country has the sort of
      multiparty elections that the West promotes,
      however, in which there are no holds barred,
      the result is that whichever party promotes
      the line pleasing to the West, gets the most
      funding and therefore is likely to win. That
      is not really democracy. It is placing one's
      country for sale to the highest bidder, and that
      high bidder is always imperialism.

      I am for a wide range of dissent within an
      anti-imperialist party and for open discussion
      within the framework of anti-imperialist
      struggle. That is real democracy. Crossing
      the line into accepting imperialist funding,
      as these Cuban traitors ("dissidents") did,
      is selling out one's country.

      Comradely,

      Kevin

      >Dear Kevin,
      >
      >No doubt you've heard about the attempted hijacking of
      >a Cuban ferry to Florida some weeks ago. Cuba
      >security caught the hijackers, took them back to
      >Havana, and they were tried and executed.
      >
      >Leftist writers Jose Saramago and Eduardo Galeano have
      >long been sympathisers with Cuba. They now have
      >broken with the regime there, insisting on abstract
      >democracy and liberalism and pluralism, etc.
      >
      >I found the following article on the Granma website,
      >but it says it comes from some other Cuban magazine
      >origianlly. Anyhow it deals with a familiar problem.
      >
      >Comradely,
      >
      >Eric
      >
      >-------------------------
      >
      >http://www.granma.cu/ingles/abril03/jue24/17saram-i.html
      >
      >Saramago, Galeano and Fidel Castro
      >
      >BY HEINZ DIETERICH STEFFAN
      >
      >A few days after the public rupture of Nobel
      >Literature Prize winner Jos� Saramago with the Cuban
      >Revolution on account of the execution by firing squad
      >of three hijackers of a ferry, and heavy prison terms
      >for "dissident journalists," in an article entitled
      >"Cuba hurts," Eduardo Galeano defined a "model of
      >power" that is "in decadence" and that "is converting
      >obedience to orders that come down � from the heights
      >into a revolutionary merit."
      >
      >Galeano states that he never believed in a "one-party
      >democracy," nor in the omnipotence of the state as "a
      >response to the omnipotence of the market;" that the
      >Revolution has gradually lost the "breath of
      >spontaneity and freshness that infused it from the
      >beginning;" that there is "a disaster of communist
      >states converted into police states," which is a
      >"betrayal of socialism;" and that the Cuban government
      >tried the groups collaborating with James Cason, head
      >of the U.S. Interests Section, "as if they were a
      >serious threat."
      >
      >The writer believes in the "sacred right to nations�
      >self-determination;" that democratic openings" in Cuba
      >are "more than ever essential;" that it has to be the
      >Cubans � "without anyone coming to put their hands in
      >from outside � who open up new democratic spaces and
      >conquer the liberties that are lacking," and that Rosa
      >Luxemburg was right as opposed to Lenin when she said
      >that "liberty is always the liberty of those who think
      >differently."
      >
      >Whether Rosa Luxemburg or Lenin was right is a lengthy
      >debate. What does not require debate is the logical
      >status of her famous affirmation on the freedom of
      >others. Just like Voltaire�s congenital aphorism on
      >liberty 150 years previously, and Emmanuel Kant�s
      >categorical imperative, these are abstract and general
      >prescriptive pronouncements that do not serve to
      >resolve concrete difficulties. To respond to a
      >concrete problem needs a material ethic; in other
      >words, an ethic with content, not a formal-abstract
      >axiology.
      >
      >Without any doubt, a great cosmic harmony on the right
      >to dissidence, freedom of opinion and democracy exists
      >in the sphere of abstract truth. Richard Nixon, Ronald
      >Reagan, George Bush, Tony Blair and Ariel Sharon act
      >precisely in the name of these values when they burn
      >Vietnamese people with napalm, blow Palestinian
      >children to pieces with fragmentation bombs or
      >pulverize Afghans with cluster bombs.
      >
      >No, the truth is concrete and if one affirms that
      >"freedom is always the freedom of others," it has to
      >be said that this axiom is valid when the others are
      >called Adolf Hitler or Ariel Sharon or George Bush and
      >his subalterns.
      >
      >This is the essence of the argument on the shootings
      >in Cuba, because it is the quid of the praxis.
      >Saramago has remained in the kingdom of abstract
      >axiology, faithful to its absolute truths undisturbed
      >by the uncertainties, contradictions and tragedies of
      >real life. "This is where I have got to," he says, in
      >a reminiscence of the Nazarene consummatum est: "Cuba
      >will follow its way, I will stay here."
      >
      >It is evangelism according to Jesus; but not from the
      >position of the victim who sustained his credo with
      >unbreakable absolutism during the whole via crucis of
      >his praxis of social transformation until he reached
      >his Golgotha; but from the position of the principled
      >intellectual sheltering in the fortress of
      >metaphysical abstract truths.
      >
      >The position of the Portuguese novelist is a luxury
      >intellectual redoubt, almost scholastic, one could
      >say, but consistent. That of the Uruguayan writer is
      >an artificial compromise between the diagnosis of
      >reality and therapy: it is inconsistent. When a
      >concrete response has to be given to the Cuban
      >problem, he takes refuge in general desiderata; in
      >other words he combines critical affirmations with
      >utopian aspirations that are outside the reality of
      >the problem. If Saramago is a monastery on a hill,
      >Galeano is a castle in the air.
      >
      >Galeano says that he does not believe in "single-party
      >democracy." The single party in Cuba was not born, as
      >he knows, from Leninism, but from the comprehension of
      >Jos� Mart�, for whom any political division in Cuba
      >would end up in colonialism.
      >
      >To abstract from this: if the author does not believe
      >in "single-party democracy," what political
      >superstructure for Cuba does he believe in? In the
      >democracy of a multi-party system? No, not that
      >either? Then with what is he going to replace the
      >current political superstructure in Cuba?
      >
      >Eduardo Galeano confirms that it has to be the Cubans
      >"who open up new democratic spaces, and conquer the
      >liberties that are lacking, without anyone coming from
      >outside to put their hands in." That�s very nice!
      >
      >George Bush, who has just not only put his hands in
      >Iraq, but 270,000 aggressors armed with tanks and
      >strategic bombardments, who has just confirmed in a
      >F-18 hunter aircraft factory that Washington must
      >maintain all the advantages that it has in weapons,
      >technology and espionage, would no doubt respect this
      >wish of the author of The Open Veins of Latin America,
      >that Cubans can construct their democracy without any
      >"outside" interference.
      >
      >He affirmatively quotes the revolutionary Rosa
      >Luxemburg � who was kicked to death in January 1919 by
      >the hordes of the grand German capital and thrown into
      >the Landwehr Canal in Berlin, as if she was an animal
      >� when he states that "without general elections,
      >without a freedom of the press and unlimited freedom
      >to meet, life vegetates� in all the public
      >institutions."
      >
      >Would life flower in Cuban public institutions if
      >there were general elections, freedom of the press and
      >unlimited freedom to meet, in the close vicinity of
      >Miami and Washington, where the Bush�s stole the
      >elections and from where more than 600 assassination
      >attempts have been conceived against the Cuban
      >president, Fidel Castro?
      >
      >In one of his texts, Galeano says that he is not
      >pretending to be objective; in other words, he
      >reserves the right to be subjective or non-scientific,
      >which is the same thing. It is probably for that
      >reason that he does not see any problem in posing "the
      >democratic openings" in Cuba that would replace the
      >Cuban political superstructure with the "democracy
      >nostra" of the Third World that the Iraqis are
      >beginning to enjoy.
      >
      >Of course, they don�t yet know how to handle the new
      >democracy and the right to dissidence responsibly, but
      >the teachings of the marines will rapidly change that.
      >A few days ago, the marines shot 20 civilians in Iraq
      >during a peaceful demonstration, without reading them
      >their rights, without respecting their "freedom of
      >unlimited meeting," and without any trial whatsoever,
      >not even summary.
      >
      >As opposed to the comfortably principled position of
      >Saramago and the pathetic subjective position of
      >Galeano there is a third position against the
      >executions by firing squad: dissenting from the death
      >penalty and acting in solidarity with the heroic
      >efforts of the Cuban project not to fall like "a ripe
      >fruit into the heart of the United States," as the
      >incubators of the Monroe doctrine predicted 200 years
      >ago.
      >
      >Cuba�s future is not in the corrupt institutionalism
      >of bourgeois civilization, nor under the control of
      >its corrupt elites. Its future is in the openings
      >toward post-capitalist participative democracy, of
      >which there is no mention by Galeano or Saramago.
      >
      >As Lenin would have said: �One step forwards, two
      >steps back.�
      >
      >Taken from Rebeli�n newspaper
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