Cuba’s Alternative to Privatization
By Marce Cameron
SolidarityEconomy.net via GreenLeft Weekly
March 11, 2012 – 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.
The PCC said total attendance at the 163,000 local debates held in workplaces, study centers and neighborhoods was about 8.9 million, with many people attending more than one.
More than three million interventions were noted and grouped into 781,000 opinions, about half of which were reflected in the final document. A summary detailing each modification and its motivation, and the number of interventions in favour, was published after the congress.
The Guidelines is not a theoretical document. The government commission responsible for overseeing its implementation has been charged with drafting, as Castro put it, “the integral theoretical conceptualization of the Cuban socialist economy”.
Rather, the Guidelines is a set of principles and objectives that point to a new Cuban socialist-oriented economic model.
Yet implicit in them is a reconception of the socialist-oriented society in Cuba’s conditions.
The ultimate objective of the socialist revolution is a global classless society in which technology enables minimal human labour to produce goods and services, allowing these to be freely distributed to satisfy people’s rational needs.
Socially owned, this system of production would free everyone from the compulsion to work for others. It would allow a flowering of the human personality that is stunted by capitalist exploitation and alienation, both of which are embodied in the capitalist market.
What blocks this transition is not a lack of technology, but private ownership of most productive wealth and the class rule of the corporate rich over society.
The transition from capitalism to socialism is marked by tension between planning and the market. Democratic planning to meet social needs first becomes increasingly dominant, then ultimately the sole determinant of economic activity.