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Communist Party of Cuba

Conceptualising Cuban socialism

 

 

By Helen Yaffe

 

June 19, 2017
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Helen Yaffe's blog — On 1 June 2017, an extraordinary session of Cuba’s National Assembly of Peoples’ Power approved important documents which define the character, objectives and strategy of Cuban socialism into the post-Castro era. Since 2011, a programme of ‘updating’ the Cuban economic and social system has been underway, and these documents aim to establish the parameters within which those developments will take place. Helen Yaffe reports.

 

UPDATED: Controversy sparked by Cuban Communist Party leadership's approach to 7th Party Congress, Raul Castro's Congress report

 

Cuba's President Raul Castro addresses the 7th Cuban Communist Party Congress
in Havana, Cuba, Saturday, April 16, 2016

 

Introductory notes and translations by Marce Cameron[1]

 

April 17, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Cuba's Socialist Renewal blog — The Seventh Congress of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) began on April 16. The cluster of translations published below relate to the controversy surrounding the preparations for this congress.

 

Obama’s new Cuba policy: McDonald's in Old Havana?

Cuban students march in Havana on December 17, 2014, after the US released the last of the Cuban Five political prisoners.

By Marce Cameron

February 2, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly -- “I want to see Cuba before everything changes,” is how many reacted to Barack Obama’s surprise December 17, 2014, announcement that he would restore diplomatic relations with Cuba — severed by the US in 1961 — and urge Congress to lift the US blockade.

Seeing Cuba for oneself can only be encouraged, but those who fear that it will soon be transformed by American tourists, US corporations and commercialism need not rush to book flights.

Hordes of American tourists and a hotel boom to accommodate them may well be inevitable, but a US corporate invasion is not. Fears or hopes that Obama’s new Cuba policy will unleash a US corporate take-over and cultural recolonisation are unfounded. These fears and hopes are based on the dubious assumption that what holds back the tide of capitalist restoration on the Cuban archipelago is, ironically, the US blockade.

The Cuban revolution and ‘democracy’: the case of Yoani Sanchez

Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez holds up a medal presented by Miami Dade College.

You strangle us [for decades] and then you criticise us for the way we breathe. Fidel Castro

Cubans came to our region as doctors, teachers, soldiers, agricultural experts, but never as colonisers. They have shared the same trenches with us in the struggle against colonialism, underdevelopment and apartheid. Hundreds of Cubans have given their lives, literally, in a struggle that was, first and foremost, not theirs but ours. As Southern Africans we salute them.

Cuba: The legacy of the October 1962 Missile Crisis

By Ike Nahem

[This is the third in a series of articles by Ike Nahem. The first can be found HERE and the second HERE. For more articles on Cuba, click HERE.]

October 22, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- October 1962 marks the 50th anniversary of the so-called “Cuban Missile Crisis”. The last two weeks of that October was the closest the world has come so far to a widespread nuclear exchange.

Washington and the Cuban Revolution: Ballad of a never-ending policy -- triumph and reaction


[This is the second in a series of articles by Ike Nahem. The first can be found HERE. For more articles on Cuba, click HERE.]

By Ike Nahem

July 22, 2012 – Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On January 1, 1959, Cuban revolutionaries, led by Fidel Castro, swept into power and established a provisional revolutionary government across the length of the island, overthrowing the exceedingly venal military regime of Fulgencio Batista.

The revolutionaries (including such remarkable figures as Juan Almeida, Raul Castro, Camilo Cienfuegos, Ernesto Che Guevara, Armando Hart, Celia Sanchez and Haydee Santamaria) marched into Havana, culminating a three-year campaign that combined rural guerrilla war with a vast urban revolutionary underground.

Cuba's coming co-operative economy?

Havana billboard: “We are working – and you?”

By Marcelo Vieta

July 18, 2012 -- The Bullet -- In 2011, I made two trips to Cuba to study the new co-operatives. In June I was kindly invited by Camila Piñeiro Harnecker, a professor at the University of Havana and one of the country's leading experts on its co-operative movement, to participate in two conferences. In December, Wendy Holm (Canadian agronomist and co-operative facilitator working in Cuba for the last dozen years) extended an invitation to participate in the “Walking the Walk: Cuba's path to a more co-operative and sustainable economy” workshops, again in Havana. Both trips had international guests share experiences and knowledge of the co-operative organisational model with our Cuban hosts. The backdrop was, on both occasions, the recently proposed economic reforms coming out of los nuevos lineamientos (the new guidelines) of the Sixth Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba, completed and released on April 18, 2011.

Cuba: `Our task is to oppose imperialist threats, to create the best conditions for socialist democracy', reply to Samuel Farber

In an invasion approved by US President John F. Kennedy, on April 17, 1961, 1300 Cuban counter-revolutionaries, armed with US weapons, landed at the Bahia de Cochinos (Bay of Pigs). They hoped to cross the island to Havana with the help of the local population. However it became apparent within the first hour that it would fail.

[For more discussion on Cuba, click HERE.]

By Chris Slee

July 4, 2012 -- Links International Jornal of Socialist Renewal -- In his reply to my critical review of his book, Cuba since the revolution of 1959: a critical assessment, Samuel Farber says: "The driving idea behind Chris Slee's critical review of my recent book ... is that the undemocratic pratices of the Cuban revolutionary regime have been largely a response to the over 50 year old imperialist siege ... and not a defining characteristic of the island's political system... But the Cuban leadership did not adopt the USSR repressive model because Washington 'forced' them to go in that direction. That presumes that the Cuban revolutionary leaders did not have a political ideology of their own".

Debate: Cuba has a state bureaucratic *system* – a response to Chris Slee

This article is a reply to "System or siege? Samuel Farber misses the main cause of Cuba's problems", Chris Slee's review of Samuel Farber's Cuba Since The Revolution of 1959: A Critical Assessment (Haymarket Books 2011).

[For more discussion on Cuba, click HERE.]

By Samuel Farber

June 26, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The driving idea behind Chris Slee’s critical review of my recent book, Cuba Since The Revolution of 1959: A Critical Assessment (Haymarket Books 2011) is that the undemocratic practices of the Cuban revolutionary regime have been largely a response to the more than 50-year-old imperialist siege by the United States government and not a defining characteristic of the island’s political system.

System or siege? Samuel Farber misses the main cause of Cuba's problems

Cuba since the revolution of 1959: a critical assessment
By Samuel Farber
Haymarket Books, Chicago, 2011

Review by Chris Slee

June 13, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Samuel Farber was born in Cuba, but moved to the United States in 1958. He is an emeritus professor of political science at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, and has been involved in the socialist movement for over 50 years. He has written extensively on Cuba, from a point of view highly critical of the Cuban government. His views are promoted by sections of the US left, in particular the International Socialist Organization. While many of his criticisms have some validity, in my view he downplays the achievements of the Cuban revolution, and underestimates the impact of the US blockade in causing the problems and difficulties that Cuba faces.

Cuba's alternative to privatisation

[For more analysis and discussion on the changes in Cuba, click HERE.]

By Marce Cameron

March 11, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Cuban President Raul Castro has urged the Caribbean nation's citizens to contribute to a free and frank debate on the future of Cuba’s socialist project.

For the Cuban Communist Party (PCC), the aim of this debate is twofold: to strive for consensus on a new Cuban model of socialist development and to empower Cuba’s working people to implement what has been decided.

In other words, to advance a socialist renewal process in the face of entrenched opposition from within the administrative apparatus.

It is first and foremost a debate about the economy. A draft policy document, the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines, was submitted to a national debate for three months before to its adoption by the Sixth PCC Congress in April last year.

The core principles and objectives of the draft were conserved, but the final version of the Guidelines was substantially modified on the basis of this public debate.

Cuba: Interview with Mariela Castro, director of the National Centre for Sex Education (CENESEX)

By Bernard Duraud for the French newspaper L’Humanité, published December 9. Published in Spanish on the Cubadebate website, December 14. Translation by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews, edited by Marce Cameron for Cuba's Socialist Renewal.

[See also "Rainbow Cuba: the sexual revolution within the revolution".]

* * *

The daughter of Cuba's President Raul Castro and the late Vilma Espin, a key figure in the Cuban Revolution, Mariela Castro Espin, director of Cuba’s National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX), is a tireless campaigner for the rights of gays, lesbians and transsexuals, who have suffered discrimination for a long time. She is the initiator of important changes that concern them.

Rainbow Cuba: the sexual revolution within the revolution

March to celebrate LGBTI rights in Havana, May 2009.

By Rachel Evans

December 23, 2011 (updated January 28, 2012) – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- When I was 16, I went to a Cuba solidarity event in my home town. At the end of inspiring speeches about Cuba’s health record, education standards, and the revolution’s policy of sending doctors and teachers to impoverished countries, a rousing “Cuba si! Yankee no!” chant erupted. It was electric. Much better than the fake feeling, singing and dancing we’d experienced in the church hall on Sunday. I was impressed and resolved to visit the country and see the revolution for myself. Years later and having come out of the closet, I decided my trip to Cuba could help prove or dispel the oft-uttered line of Cuba being homophobic.

This work will help put to bed the lies and distortions propagated by the powerful United States (US) propaganda machine: that the Cuban Revolution is undemocratic, homophobic and tyrannical. My visit to and study of Cuba finds that there is no basis to these claims.

Cuba: 'Information on results of the Debate on the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines for the Party and the Revolution'

Introduction by Marce Cameron, translator

November 12, 2011 -- Cuba's Socialist Renewal, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Here is the complete English translation of the booklet Information on the results of the Debate on the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines for the Party and the Revolution, an explanatory document published together with the final version of the guidelines adopted by the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) Congress in April. As far as I'm aware there is no official translation of this document. Please note that this is an unofficial translation.

You can view or download it as a PDF file here, or read it on screen below.

Cuba: Changes go deep -- democratic reforms

Cubans vote for members of their local Assembly of People's Power.

[For more analysis and discussion on the changes in Cuba, click HERE.]

By José Alejandro Rodríguez, Havana

August 17, 2011 -- Progreso Weekly -- Apart from some exceptions, the powerful international media has ignored a recent Cuban parliamentary bill that would deepen democracy on the island. The reason is obvious: the news is not convenient. The initiative is made within socialist institutionalism, not in terms of the “transition” whose staging is highly anticipated and promoted by certain hegemonic interests in this world.

The idea is to give the green light to an experiment in the new provinces of Mayabeque and Artemisa, which, if they bear fruit, would be extended to the whole country through constitutional reform: the reassignment of the duties of the chairperson of the local Assembly of People's Power and chairperson of the assembly's territorial administrative board to different people, in each municipality and province.

Cuba: National Assembly approves economic changes; Raul Castro's speech

"More than once, I have stated that our own worst enemy is not imperialism but our own errors and that these, if they are deeply and honestly analysed, can be transformed into lessons in order not to fall into them again." -- Raúl Castro

[For more analysis and discussion on the economic changes in Cuba, and assessments of the sixth congress of the Communist Party of Cuba, click HERE.]

By President Raúl Castro

Speech given by President Raúl Castro Ruz, president of the Councils of State and Ministers, to the 7th ordinary session of the 7th legislature of the National Assembly of People’s Power, August 1, 2011. The parliament earlier that day also adopted the amended Guidelines of the Economic and Social Policy of the Party and the Revolution as state policy.

Compañeras and compañeros:

Cuba's Ricardo Alarcón: ‘Trying to reinvent socialism’

[For more analysis and discussion on the economic reforms in Cuba, and assessments of the sixth congress of the Communist Party of Cuba, click HERE.]

Ricardo Alarcón, president of Cuba's parliament, interviewed by Manuel Alberto Ramy

April 27, 2011 -- Radio Progreso Alternativa -- The sixth congress of the Communist Party of Cuba, a congress that, from what I have read and heard, foreshadows a country and a society that will be qualitatively different.

The president of the National Assembly and member of the politburo of the Communist Party, Ricardo Alarcón, granted me this interview. I know that his time is limited, so I'd like to ask him three very specific questions. The first refers to the area of the People's Power [Cuba's system of democratic representation].

* * *

`No space for shock therapies': Central report to the sixth congress of the Communist Party of Cuba

Cuba's President Raul Castro presents the central report to the sixth congress of the Communist Party.

By Raul Castro

April 16, 2011 -- Comrades all, the opening of the 6th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba this afternoon marks a date of extraordinary significance in our history, the 50th anniversary of the proclamation of the socialist nature of our Revolution by its Commander in Chief, Fidel Castro Ruz, on April 16, 1961, as we paid our last respects to those killed the day before during the bombings of the air bases.

This action, which was the prelude to the Playa Girón (Bay of Pigs) mercenary invasion organized and funded by the United States government, was part of its plans to destroy the Revolution and restore its domination over Cuba in league with the Organization of American States (OAS).

Cuba: Sixth congress of the Communist Party concludes -- three assessments


Cuba's President Raul Castro addresses the sixth congress of the Communist Party. 

[For more analysis and discussion on the economic changes in Cuba, click HERE.]

By Jesús Arboleya Cervera

April 20, 2011 -- Progreso Weekly -- With the enthusiastic support of Fidel Castro, the sixth congress of the Communist Party of Cuba has just ended. Not by happenstance, the date chosen for the meeting coincided with the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the victory of Playa Girón [Bay of Pigs], an event that had enormous repercussions for the Cuban revolutionary process, not only for its military significance but also because it defined the revolution's socialist character and instilled in the masses an awareness of their own strength that translates into the political capital necessary for the preservation of the revolution.

Camila Piñeiro Harnecker: `Cuba needs changes, to take us forward rather than backwards'

Cuban workers march on May Day 2009. Photo by Bill Hackwell/Havana Times.

[For more analysis and discussion on the economic reforms in Cuba, click HERE.]

Translator's introduction

January 15, 2011 -- Cuba's Socialist Renewal -- Alongside and intersecting with the grassroots debates on the Draft Economic and Social Policy Guidelines and the informal debate, there is a rich discussion and debate taking place among Cuban intellectuals and academic specialists from a variety of disciplines and a spectrum of political perspectives within the broad camp of the Cuban Revolution. The Cuban magazine Temas (Themes) is one publication that carries contributions to this debate among Cuba's revolutionary intelligentsia.

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