Cuba is at the point where left socialists fumble the ball and think in the hard duality of capitalism and communism. Marx warned against premature constructs, that was in the nineteenth century. Now, however, the time has come to design viable systems as the American system falls apart. This modeling tool has dozens of variants. The model instance here is structurally basic but needs a new idea of an International, and an eco-socialist content. We have a lot posts on our DMNC model which is tailor made for Cuba ‘as is’ if everyone can stop listening to the capitalist hyenas ready to pounce with development bait. We can apply this to the US in the discussion of Cuba.
Cuba has a golden opportunity in fact: it has gone through the expropriation process and can in principle design a version of our ‘democratic market neo-communism’ which can be adapted to just about any variant of capitalism, pseudo-democracy, pseudo-socialism, etc,…
In our failsafed definitions (terms are connected in the DMNC tetrad), Cuba’s ‘communism’ might be ‘Bolshevik communism’ but it is not really communism which in our neo- version is designed around ‘socialist markets’ which are run by managers/ex-capitalists who license resources from a Commons (not state ownership) which is a legally defined entity of common ownership in the context of economic and legal rights. The little guy has a legal entitlement to access the Commons. The system thus has relatively free markets responsible to the public inside a system of larger planning, Free markets thus and large-scale planning can thus coexist.
Cuba has lost a huge amount of time due to the muddle bad socialist thinking created from the beginning. It needs a democratic system, a socialist market economy, a Commons, etc.. Perhaps we can propose a variant of DMNC and start with a new version of democracy: (there are many variants and this one is a bit odd, you can just use a multiparty system instead) in what we can call a four party state to dispense with the one party state that always emerges from legacy communism: a Congress of elected reps with three dialectical parties, a third to bridge in reality to a multiparty system in principle but fixed inside a third party dialectical resolution process. (Look at how this would save the current America’s classic faction deadlock). There is then a ‘fourth’ party of the Presidential system with checks and balances but inside the party of the former revolutionaries who remain as guardians of the Commons, but with power ceded to the larger democracy.
We want democracy but that is an abstraction and in reality is or should be a dualism of freedom/authority. The above can balance the system and move in both directions.
In most versions of the DMNC there is a lower threshold level left to itself more or less and in general this kind of system is a museum of multiple social DNA’s: democracy, authority, three party Congress, vestigial fourth party of guardians of the Commons, a balance of anarchism and strong authority. Small businesses can experiment with new ideas and become a part of the larger system if they cross the lower threshold. Etc… The key is the reality of high level expropriation to a Commons from which socialist markets can be resourced.
We always use one word abstractions: democracy, socialism, etc…Viable systems need to be complex systems of at least four general or more system concepts, here democracy, markets, planned economies, a Commons. The failure of socialisms in the past was the fixation on a single term in abstraction resulting inexorably in a transition to Stalinism. This kind of system can be a no-brainer: the US Congress could simply expropriate private Capital above a certain level and the simplest version of DMNC is a done job. But…expropriation is still too much in America. But the reality is sinking in that corporations like Exxon-Mobil are super-dangerous and threaten a whole planet. Cuba is already past this nightmare, in principle. The early socialists and (early) Marx warned at the beginning: expropriate ‘capital’ at once, and at the start. As we pass the point of no return, their warnings were ominous and prescient.
The above kinds of systems have checks and balances, a lot of them, and yet a flexibility to create a vibrant socialist market economy. Cuba is in a position to do this where the US is crystallized in a hopeless mess. It has over twenty million businesses and this would make it hard to rescue the system short of the coming collapse.
Cuba has a golden opportunity here because it already has an expropriation process more or less a fait accompli. The Cubans should never let the Yankee hyenas talk them out of this asset, however flawed at present. That is not yet a Commons, but it is a start. They can either plan or allow spontaneous socialist markets to start bootstrapping into a world historical first as a successful socialist economic system. The mighty US system doesn’t work and is foundering. Cuba can experiment with a new path to the future.
Many other issues remain, ecological socialism added into the DMNC, the relationship of socialism in one country (we should approve of this once rejected notion) to a new International. Some would argue a larger Commons should exist as a global reality.
Resources and trade issues should be carefully considered but the standard reality of capitalist domination via an invasion of external capital offering development and loans needs to be bypassed. The resolution is simple: you can borrow money to create a socialist market corporation, but with full control inside the Commons.
The communist party in Cuba would be a perfect candidate for a presidential sector (electoral, finally) inside a fourth party guarding the Commons, but moving slightly to the background behind the electoral presidential system.
Such models have many variants. But Cuba in transition is going to have a rare opportunity to in fact surpass the US in state formation as capitalism tears the US apart.
We have said nothing about a working class, but this construct could useful here. In any case, at this point, where labor requires an international in the complexity of globalization, we can simply speak of a Universal Class and the working classes as any number of subsets: here we might also consider that the ‘working class’ is defined in terms of wage labor, and/or of all those who are passive inside a system of capitalist domination. This means just about everybody including managers in capitalist corporations, in a complex tapestry of classes inside the Universal class.
Cuba is facing a new set of challenges as a post-Castro leadership confronts the pandemic and its economic fallout. But Cuban socialism has repeatedly shown its capacity for survival and adaptation since the revolution of 1959.