Two generations and the same old defense of socialism
In the Generaciones del Diálogo section of the Juventud Rebelde newspaper, an old leader, though an upstart criollo theoretician of Socialism, and a young aspirant to be one, reflect on Socialism.
The former, Armando Hart Dávalos, rages against the so-called 20th-century "real socialism" in Eastern Europe, arguing that "it was not real, because it was not an indigenous Socialism, based on the realities of its time and the peoples in which it prevailed," going on to state that "... but there is no doubt that humanity must move forward to successfully establish a genuine and authentic Socialism."
To sum up his position, this Socialism ought to encompass the ideas of Fidel and Che, together with those of Marx, Engels and Lenin, in addition to those of Mariátegui and José Martí. In reality, a real hodgepodge (a poor variant of the traditional Creole ajiaco stew) that is quite difficult to digest. To include Martí, he invokes his words when Marx passed away: "Marx deserves to be honored because he sided with the poor." What he conveniently forgets is that Martí also stated: "The Socialist idea features two dangers, like many others: that of foreign-induced, confused and incomplete readings of it; and that of the arrogance and hidden rage of the ambitious, who, to rise in the world, to have shoulders upon which to rise, begin by pretending to be fierce defenders of the helpless. "
The young Harold Bertot Triana, meanwhile, writes "There is a misconception, and quite taken frivolously, which identifies socialism with misery, with blackouts, in contrast to the high living standards of some capitalist countries." He goes on to indict the "rampant misery in the world, famine, high infant mortality, violence and wars that cause millions of deaths." All this in a generic way, and as if they were solely attributable to capitalism.
Among other old arguments he brandishes, once again, the relative "youth" of Socialism and its "lack of experience", which have produced "class-based dictatorships” and "political structures," along with other aberrations.
The author writes of how socialism is “cornered" by capitalism, the class struggle, ideological battles and a countless string of similar approaches leading up to the main question: "In the face of so many difficulties, and after the failure of many socialist models, is it worth it, at the end of the day, to struggle for utopia? "
His answer: "For the poor there is no alternative. Their alternative is to undertake the creation of a different alternative. " Aside from the play on words and a repeated manipulation of the poor, as if they formed the majority of the planet, there is nothing new here. At this point he begins to expound upon his ideal: a more democratic, less centralized socialism, featuring a perpetual revolution, and winds up, as could only be expected: "We must be very careful with feigned political disarmament. US foreign policy has not ceased to be imperialistic, nor have they ceased to be imperialists."
Undoubtedly, the failure of Cuban Socialism, the nation's manifest fatigue, and the recent path taken to restore relations with the US, along with the meetings that have taken place between working groups from both countries, have set off alarms in some sectors linked to the regime, who have depended and continue to depend on confrontation, and fear losing their positions. Neither do they seem very convinced of the strength of their principles or the arguments they have wielded for years to uphold them.
It is noteworthy that two representatives from very different generations coincide with similar arguments in defense of a failed system, one in a more subtle way than the other, but both without any power of conviction. All attempts to establish socialism and render it prosperous and efficient in different regions around the world have failed, and the cases of Cuba and North Korea, although their respective governments refuse to recognize it, are also failures, though painfully long-standing, unfortunately for their citizens.
China and Vietnam are actually hybrids of socialism and capitalism: socialists in their politics and capitalists in their economics. And the so-called socialism of the 21st century, and others with like-sounding names, belong to the realm of Latin American magical realism: pure folklore advanced by archaic proponents not even worth analyzing.
It is no secret that capitalism is imperfect, that is spawns injustices, that it does not solve all problems, and still has much room for improvement (though it´s not the same in every country where it is implanted), but thus far it is the only system that has led to, building on what has been achieved in the past, humanity's greatest developments. And its achievements have ultimately benefitted the majority - something that cannot be said of socialism.