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A proud member of the reality based commentosphere since 2000. You can find my two Eurocent mainly at liberal and centrist discussion threads, but also at some other surprising places. Also tweeting now, as user "graygoods".

Friday, September 10, 2010

Cuba, Reforms, and Communism in General

A Rawstory report about recent critical statements about communism by none other than Fidel Castro himself inevitably led to many comments about the practical value of communism in the modern world. One commenter, LeftyDude, voiced an opinion that is common among many left wingers:
"There is no good reason communism can't thrive, in principle."

Well, as Radio Yerevan would say: "In principle, yes. However, some small problems have turned up in adjusting the human nature to the demands of the theory. But these will certainly be corrected by the next five year plan!" So, sure, in theory, there is also no good reason people can't be totally unselfish and willing to subordinate their own wishes to the larger interests of society. In practice, those people don't exist (or, at least, they are seldom exceptions of the rule). And that's why communism is a nice theory, but not a system that works in the real world. As countless examples have proven, each and every time communism failed because the power ambitions and the greed of people tore the thin fabric of solidarity apart, resulting in a state where some were more equal than others and where the unfulfilled wishes of the majority constantly provided a centrifugal force that had to be held in reign with overbearing "security" forces. In short, with real life people, communism simply isn't a stable base for a nation!

But still, among all those unsatisfying and often horrible precedents, Cuba probably is the most positive one. And the achievements of the revolution, measurable in countless statistics that show the Cubans in several important areas ahead of their more capitalist neighbors, should not be belittled. Under the constraints of their system, it's impressive what those people on their small island without any natural resources of high value have achieved! Especially when you consider how difficult it must have been to be the target of an unfair blockade by the US for decades. Here's hoping that the Cubans will manage to carefully reform their nation into a socialist democracy that allows more enterprise and entrepreneurship without giving away the levers of power to big money. It will be a balancing act, for sure, and the Chinese example shows that "reforms" can easily result in combining only the worst aspects of communism and capitalism. But if anyone can manage to successfully accomplish this difficult synthesis, it's certainly the people on that small island in the Caribbean. !Viva Cuba Libre!

(based on a comment at Rawstory)

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