Progreso Weekly, August 9, 2007
Address by the president of Cuba's National Assembly of the People's Power during the panel 'Democracy and 21st-Century Socialism,' at the Sixth Social Summit for Latin American and Caribbean Unity, Aug. 1, 2007, in Caracas, Venezuela.
Alla Glinchikova, of the Russian Institute for Studies on Globalization and Social Movements, referred to -- in this forum -- to the enemy's use of language. We have to learn that language and also the enemy's ideas.
I agree that in the 21st Century there will be not just one socialism but several socialisms that will take off from the previous experiences, and I agree that we should study them in depth, no doubt about it. But it is not enough that the leftists, socialists, revolutionaries and those of us who think like them delve deep and meditate just among ourselves.
To understand what happened in the Soviet Union, we must read, for example, Margaret Thatcher's memoirs -- "The Path to Power" and "The Downing Street Years" -- which are rarely quoted in leftist circles, yet they speak directly in the language of the enemy.
Mrs. Thatcher explains how decisive was the strategy agreed to by her and Reagan, which gave a turn to the Cold War and the arms race with the so-called War of the Galaxies. They inflicted a mortal wound on the USSR. They forced the Soviet society, which wanted to be socialist, to invest uncontrollably in defense.
What else could the USSR do, if it saw itself threatened by a war from outer space? [Thatcher and Reagan] identified the lacunae in society and discovered that they had to force the Soviets to waste their resources and intelligence on objectives that were not socialist.
Mrs. Thatcher says that the War of the Galaxies at first seemed to her to be madness, but later understood that it was the main objective to put an end to Soviet socialism and the Cold War. And so it was.
What do I mean by this? That it is not only useful to look at ourselves from within ourselves but also to study what the adversary does and says at the same time. This poses another problem -- and on occasion a huge challenge -- for all of us. Sometimes we must wait decades to read key documents that explain what the enemy was doing what it is doing right now.
When we analyze the world today, I like to turn to a document produced by the Central Intelligence Agency. As imaginative as we revolutionaries are, it's good to see how the CIA looks at the world and the future.
In an analysis published by the Agency, titled "Global Trends 2010" (which in 2000 the CIA updated to 2015, or "Global Trends 2015") the Agency projected four scenarios of the world's likely evolution, bearing in mind all the factors: economic, political, technological, etc.
These four scenarios, with different possibilities of development of a worldwide neoliberal capitalism, lead to the same conclusion: the influence of the United States of America will continue to decline.
In the opinion of the CIA analysts, who took into account the information from very diverse scientific sources worldwide, before the famous attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the world already witnessed the decline of U.S. power and saw different scenarios in the future, all with that common characteristic.
I am sure that the report was read by U.S. conservatives, the same who drew up the policies of an administration that sometimes is judged rather rudely of being irresponsible, adventurous, etc. No, they are accomplishing a mission: to try to halt that decline they know to be irreversible, and revert -- let's use an old-fashioned term -- "the march of time."
Self-Criticism of the end of history
Let us return to the language of the enemy, and let us quote people who are not of our own ideological bent. I wish to mention Francis Fukuyama, perhaps the most-quoted man in the last decade of the 20th Century. Everybody talks about him. Not everybody has read his most famous book but everyone knows his fundamental theory.
How many of you have read the studies he wrote after his celebrated "The End of History"? Fukuyama published that essay in 1992, but it didn't take long before he made a serious self-criticism and criticized neoconservative thinking by pointing out that the world could not be governed.
It took that American bureaucrat 10 years to recognize the error, the serious consequences of that policy. He then admitted that, despite the fact that it emerged victorious and as the only superpower, the United States cannot govern itself, as he himself believed in the early 1990s.
Another researcher who is not usually mentioned in leftist circles is Mr. Joseph Schumpeter, an Austrian-American who in 1942 published a book, "Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy," where he formulated a theory that earned him brickbats from his academic colleagues. They still haven't forgiven his disconcerting statement: "One form of socialism will inevitably emerge from the also-inevitable decomposition of capitalism."
My only disagreement with Schumpeter's famous prognostication is over the number of forms of socialism that will emerge. Rather, I tend to believe that not one but many forms of socialism will emerge.
He foresaw the present situation: the final victory of capitalism on a global scale; its inevitable decomposition when reaching that phase; and the inevitable expression of a form of socialism.
One of the great ironies of the 20th Century is that the East-West confrontation, the great battle embodied by the Cold War (which never exploded but kept the world in constant alarm) was won by U.S. imperialism, yet the moment it won, it entered its defeat phase.
For reasons that have been mentioned here, we in Latin America are going through a stage that not only allows us to advance with forms that are independent from socialism, but also makes us a point of reference for others who realize that the victory of capitalism was not real and that history did not come to an abrupt end, as Fukuyama said.
Julio Antonio Mella
If we delve deeper into our history, we find that in our region we have the most authentic expressions of socialism, with a creative, antidogmatic vision that existed in the early days of that model in Europe.
I was very impressed by an article written after Lenin's death by Julio Antonio Mella, the principal leader and founder of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Cuba. He published it in February 1924 in the journal of the Communist Party of Cuba, under the title "Lenin crowned."
Nobody in our country, at that moment, paid so many tributes and homages to Lenin as Mella did. He talked about a figure he undoubtedly respected and loved, but warned that he did not hope to reproduce the Bolshevik experience in Cuba.
He said he didn't want [Cuban] communists to follow the line of some other party; he said his party wanted to have thinking human beings, people who would not be directed, domesticated or disciplined by others. Instead, he said, we should be "always thinking with our heads," we should be "thinking beings, not led beings; people, not animals."
This young man -- he wasn't yet 21 -- said Cuba wanted a socialist revolution, but a Cuban-style revolution.
In addition to this figure, we must remember the paradigm of Latin American revolutionaries, Jose Carlos Marietegui, who also expressed something similar decades ago: that socialism in America will not be a carbon copy but a heroic creation. If it is a creation, it cannot be just one; it has to be diverse, it has to found (with heroism) one socialism here; another, there.
That's what we're living through, as President Rafael Correa stated: "It is not an era of change but a change of era," an era that has to do with this declining phase of U.S. imperialism.
We need a theory for the current phase of worldwide neoliberal capitalism, which is trying to halt its fall and regain its control of the world.
Why does the United States today spend more on military resources than all the countries on earth combined, more so than during the Cold War? Why the incessant production of new and newer instruments of death and war? To attack the Soviet Union? To attack the Axis of Evil?
Of course not. On one hand, it is a reflection of a sick economy in a sick society. Mrs. Thatcher knew that an irrational arms race would hasten the destruction of the USSR, while bringing more profits to the monopolies and weapons industries in the United States and Britain.
On the other hand, the reason for these violent offensives that copy from fascism and reproduce the mechanisms of the Cold War is that the two countries are on the defensive, surrounded by the advancing peoples.
Undoubtedly, we need a theory for the phase of neoliberal capitalism that attempts to halt its fall. We live in a world that offers us many possibilities but that also poses major risks, as illustrated by infinite evidences in the case of the current U.S. regime.
I don't know what will happen in the next [U.S.] elections, who will be in the future nomenklaturas. But I have not the slightest doubt that the man who occupies the White House today did not get there by happenstance. He is the result of the action of power groups that exist in the United States whose mentality should cause anxiety and great preoccupation (at the very least) to every human being with the slightest sense of responsibility.
Where is Luis Posada Carriles?
Latin America is witness of how these people are capable of resorting to anything in order to avoid a fall. I would commit an unpardonable mistake if I didn't explain why I say this. Whenever journalists ask me the usual questions -- "how is Fidel?" "when will he return to power?" -- I ask in turn, "where is Luis Posada Carriles?"
That's what they should ask and, in passing, they should report that, for more than two years, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has asked for that man's extradition so he can be brought back to trial.
Faced with two possibilities -- he either extradites [Posada] to Venezuela or puts him on trial immediately in the United States, as obliged by international accords -- Bush discovered a better formula: he ignores the issue, he pays no attention. Someday, we may read some documents written in the language of the enemy where these gentlemen explain how they plotted in the dark to save Posada Carriles.
What does that mean in practice? Simply to tell Cuba, to Venezuela and the other countries in the region that the man who tortured, murdered and ordered the slaughter of so many innocent people will continue to enjoy the favor of the United States.
At the same time, [Bush] shows us the other side of the coin: the situation of the five Cubans, sentenced to four life terms and 75 years' imprisonment for revealing the plans of the Posada Carriles [the Americans] protect, who are practicing terrorism against our countries.
Last week, The New York Times published the statements of the U.S. Department of Justice about Leandro Aragocillo, a Philippines-born American charged with espionage. In his possession they found no less than 733 secret documents from the White House, the Pentagon, the Defense Department and other places. They sentenced him to 10 years' imprisonment.
Some of my compatriots have been sentenced to four life terms even though not a single compromising piece of paper was found on them. They were sentenced without proof; worse yet, after the court heard testimony from witnesses who said the case did not involve espionage.
The moral of the story: if you keep an eye on Posada Carriles, you get life in prison. If you really practice espionage, even in the White House, you get 10 years in prison.
The Justice Department added a statement that shocked me, honestly: 10 years is the maximum sentence. If the Filipino shows good behavior while in prison he can be released much earlier.
Our five comrades are teachers in their prisons: they teach English, mathematics, Spanish. They work in the prison offices with exemplary discipline. They have never been criticized for bad behavior. But they will be behind bars for four life terms and 75 years only because they fought terrorism.
What is the message for our people? A regime has been imposed in the United States that is capable of resorting to anything. They are not all-powerful but are strong enough to destroy the earth and all of us on it.
That is why, as revolutionary aspirations blossom in Latin America, at a moment of great possibilities and enormous challenges, we need to engage in much thinking, much reflection and - above all - much unity.