Re: (OPE-L) dreams and nightmares

From: Michael Eldred (artefact@T-ONLINE.DE)
Date: Tue May 20 2003 - 11:36:08 EDT

Cologne 20-May-2003

"Fred B. Moseley" schrieb Mon, 19 May 2003 22:04:50 -0400:

> I wrote in an earlier post:
> > >>  I think our main responsibility - those of us in the US - with
> > >>  regard to Cuba at the present time is to STOP THE US ECONOMIC
> > >>  AGGRESSION AGAINST CUBA, and of course to fight against a military
> > >>  invasion if that materializes.  I am convinced that if the blockade
> > >>  were lifted, and especially if US tourists were allowed to travel
> > >>  freely to Cuba, the Cuban economy would improve dramatically.  This
> > >>  would demonstrate even more clearly what is possible for the rest of
> > >>  humanity.  And I also think that the greater economic prosperity
> > >>  would also make possible a movement toward more free and democratic
> > >>  political structures at the national level.
> > >>
> > >>  Our main task right now is not to criticize Cuba for its lack of
> > >  > democracy at the national level (there will be time for this
> > >  > important topic later), but rather to defend Cuba, and the gains its
> > >>  people have made, against US aggression.
> > >>
> > >>  I intend to work hard on this task, and I urge others to do so as
> > >>  well.
> To which Riccardo replied:
> >
> > Frankly I am not able to undertsand. I don't see what impedes that:
> >
> > (i) harsh criticism is levelled against US aggression;
> >
> > (ii) solidarity is expressed to Cuba against aggression, and the
> > positive results (health policy, education) are recognized and
> > supported;
> >
> > (iii) friendly but strong criticism is raised against the dramatic
> > errors of Cuban government.
> >
> > I, for one, would support this kind of statement, which would be more
> > effective than the other, and not reduced to gain support only within
> > the few as the one I read on this list (which I also think was and is
> > wrong).
> >
> > the phrases by Fred in bold are incredible to me: democracy,
> > 'important topic', but we will deal with it later, we will have time.
> > in USSR, in China, in North Korea etc (all faced by imperialist
> > aggression) thhey waited, and wait, for long. and we know why: after
> > the XXth century, and criticism from the left, we cannot say we
> > didn't knew what was happening, and that there was and is a way to be
> > against capitalism and  do not support death penalty and a socialism
> > which crashes democracy *for all*.  this issue must be dealt now.
> > this is the true help we can give to Cuba. let them understand this
> > important point, which is (and was) vital to any revolutionary
> > experience.
> Riccardo, do you want the Cubans to make their political system more
> democratic at the national level NOW, under the current circumstances,
> when everybody knows that a more open democratic system would be exploited
> to the hilt by the US government and by Miami Cubans (a few hundred
> millions of dollars goes a long way in Cuba)?


To my ear this sounds like: the Cuban populace is venal at present, but at some
time in the future it will no longer be venal. At that future time, the Cuban
state could then decide to grant (part of) its populace democratic rights.
Exile Cubans, however, will continue to be excluded from any say in the
country. Democracy still, in 2003, has to be deferred by those wielding state
power who presumably know better and presumably know what is good for the

The socialist is realist enough to be cynical (about money, about political
power, about the democratic-capitalist state). Isn't there an amalgam of
idealism and cynical realism at work in socialist consciousness, a conception
of a bad world here-and-NOW and another world beyond, a deferred good world? A
good world that keeps on having to be deferred because of the existing bad

Is there a free press in Cuba at present?
Can Cuban citizens at present freely leave and re-enter the country?

> Or do you want to voice
> criticism now in order to improve the chances of democratic changes later?
> If the latter, then there is not much difference between us, and I might
> mostly agree with you.
> But if the former, then I disagree, for the reason stated.  It is an
> illusion and a recipe for disaster.
> It is my sense that what most Cubans want NOW is: (1) the US off their
> backs, and (2) a higher standard of living - usually with the belief that
> (2) will follow from (1).  Greater democracy at the national level is
> something they also want, but that is not their main concern right now.

How is that to be gauged if there are no free elections?

Capitalist democracy has (at least) two essential characteristic features:
i) The self-interest of citizens is allowed room for play (within certain --
especially legal-formal -- limits) and
ii) The democratic institutions are built inter alia on a principle of distrust
of the state by the populace. All governing instances must be open to scrutiny
and public exposure and they are set up in such a way that, within the state,
one instance can scrutinize and even rein in another instance.

The division of powers itself is derived from the affirmative recognition of
individual self-interest and from the insight that self-interest and political
power make a corrosive, corruptive mixture that must be held in check by social

Note that I am not saying that these institutions work perfectly, but they work
(NOW), and there is constant struggle over making them work, a struggle enabled
and guaranteed by democratic institutions and abstract-universal civil rights

_-_-_-_-_-_-_-  artefact text and translation _-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_
_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_- made by art  _-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_ _-_
_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_ Dr Michael Eldred -_-_-

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed May 21 2003 - 00:00:00 EDT