By: Álvaro García Linera/ Source: Cuba Debate / The Dawn News / June 27, 2017
This is the second part of a three part article. The next and last part will be published next week on The Dawn News. You can read the first part here.
This is a summarized version. Read the full article on its original language here.
The fragilities of the decade. Five immediate tasks
In some important and decisive countries of the continent, there is a return to the archaic ideals of the right and in others, the threat of power taking by some recycled groups of the right.
Down below, I will point out five limits or contradictions that have made present and have flowered in this virtuous continental decade and which are being utilized by the counter revolutionary force to retake the immediate political initiative. I will not name them by importance but by logical order.
- Growth and economical stability: the material base of justice and political strength.
When a popular bloc has acquired the power of the State, the importance of economy’s material force is even more decisive and visible, since the State, in revolutionary times, must play a productive, organizer and proprietor role of the national production.
If a revolutionary process does not achieve this, it is highly likely that an increment of the social unrest and a loss in the support of the progressive and revolutionary government presents itself, and that the conservative political proposals in the interior of the social classes are strengthened.
So, a first weakness that some of the progressive and revolutionary governments have to face is the economical administration. There is no chance of revolutionary continuity if the economic conditions and problems of the working people are not solved.
Revolutions present themselves as waves with ebbs and flows (Marx), with exceptional moments of universality in the collective action and moments of corporatism, of demovilied cotidianity.
No kind of economic revolutionary policy can leave behind the popular campus, since when justice, redistribution and popular objectives, at short and long term, are no longer the orientating north of the governmental actions and “growth” is only prioritized, the process is perverts itself and it is certain that those who benefitted from growth without justice nor redistribution will eventually find proper government which will do the same in a much more quick and reliable way.
But the new revolutionary political power must be escorted with the economic power from the State and from the social bloc it represents. If it is in another way, the next duality will present itself: on one hand, the political power in the hands of the workers, and on the other hand, the economical power in the hands of the businessmen.
- A permanent Cultural revolution
A decisive element in the conquest of political power, by the social revolutionary bloc, was the victory previous to the great social combats, the great marches and uprisings that defined the victorious destiny of the revolution, in the ambit of force-idea, in the struggle for the common sense of an era.
While handling the government administration, we sometimes prioritize political action against opposition forces, administrative management or even the search for economical success in the process. But if this is achieved without a cultural battle, a social politicization or a thrust of a logical and moral signification of the world that is being built, the correct political, administrative or even economical management will traduce itself into a government weakening, a distance from the popular fields and a growth in the conservative resignification in the global explanations, in the popular perception.
Precisely, this is one of the most important problems through which the progressive and revolutionary governments have gone: redistribution of wealth without social politicization. What does this mean? That most of the measures implemented benefit the subordinate classes, but the common sense that comes with this redistribution does not carry the mark of political events, of revolutionary political conquest, of rights gained through struggle.
How do we retake the initiative of this decisive battlefield? Prioritizing the ideological/symbolical struggle as the most important of the political fights the revolutionary process, already in government, has to face.
But, sometimes, it is more important to be a neighbourhood, university or a grass root social leader, a radio commentator or a TV host, a writer or a social organizator, than a public authority or official, because in that daily work with the social roots, in the neighbourhoods, factories, radios and TV channels, in the cultural representations is where we build the construction of the new common sense.
So, it is possible for us to have a good minister or parliamentary, but at the cost of a great cultural setback. And this is a very sensitive theme regarding the tasks distribution in a revolutionary process.
The will to power of a popular bloc that is building the State cannot deposit all its energy, resources and its best political leaders in the government management.
This would be to forget that the process got where it got because (cultural and political) power was built from the society, and that the way to guarantee the control of the State’s own power is to guarantee the construction of power from the society, in society itself: in the media, in the workers’ and farmers’ syndicates, in the neighbourhoods, in the culture. While the revolutionary or progressive process is management of the government, a great revolutionary student, syndicate or neighbourhood leader is as important as a good minister or parliamentarian, because there is where the vitality of the revolutionary process lies.
- A moral reform and incorruptibility
The third weakness that the progressive and revolutionary governments are presenting is a weak moral reform. Clearly, corruption is a cancer that has always corroded society.
Neoliberalism is a clear example of institutionalized corruption, since it has monopolized the public resources accumulated by two generations transforming them to private resources. Privatization is the most scandalous, immoral, indecent and obscene example of generalized corruption.
Society rebelled against it, being the first work of the progressive and revolutionary governments, in some cases with a bigger intensity, the recovery of privatized resources to extend society’s patrimony of common resources through nationalization. But that was not enough.
As important as restituting the public resources as everyone’s resources is, it is also important, in the individual, personal field, that every companion who is exercising a public charge does never abandon humility, simplicity, austerity, transparency and incorruptibility in their daily behaviour, in their way of being.
A revolution is a general will aimed to construct a new society which will overcome all the ills that torment the actual, among them corruption. This is why, every leader and representative authority must show in their daily lives the substantial difference with the characters of the old regime which in the past have enriched themselves at the expend of the public purse.
Today, more than ever, it is necessary to work in the capacity to prove with our bodies, behaviours and in our daily life, what we thrust. We cannot separate the thought from the action, what we are from what we say.
Before the hypocrite moralism of the rightist media, we must fight, once and again, for a revolutionary moral of dignification of the public management through a transparent sacrifice for the common, delivering and detaching ourselves to serve the others.
- The continuance of the historical leaderships
A fourth element that complicates the process is the democratic continuity of the leaderships in revolutionary regimes.
How do we solve the matter of the leadership continuity? Which true revolution does not personificate the spirit of the era in physical persons? If it was up to the institutions and their mundane rules and procedures, it would no longer be a revolution. Revolutions are not built by institutions, but by people, subjectivities, social classes, individuals, and against the asphyxiation product of some institutions and some privileged collectives.
So, a revolution, which is a collective event, is product of flesh and bone subjectivities, of people who overcome the rules and routines, who find in the value of the flesh and bone subject the space of their historical creativity.
When the subjectivity of the people and the force of the personalities are the ones that define the faith of a country, we are before true revolution processes. And, in general, this powerful event of history, which reconfigures the faith of the peoples, is personified in individuals whose character and speech emblematizes the great collective work.
The historical leader does not substitute the collective action as supreme creditor of the social life, but it is the identificatory and cohesive avatar. And so, how does a process gets its continuity taking into account that there are constitutional limits for the exercise of a leader, of an individual?
Some may argue that it is not wise to have strong leaders whose substitution, in governmental administration and in electoral candidacies, provokes political setbacks. But that is not up to the leaders or to the academics. Given the case, it would be a an objective fact of the collective reality that it is not possible to foresee in advance, because it depends on how the subordinate classes will internalize its struggling experience and how the achievements of their revolutionary action will be represented.
Maybe the importance lays on promoting and working on collective leaderships that allow bigger possibilities of election, in the democratic order, for the continuity of the processes. But even that may not be sufficient. This is one of the matters that must be solved in the political debate. How to provide the revolutionary leaderships with subjective continuity without limiting or truncating them and while have continuity in a historical perspective?
- Plurinational continental State
Finally, a fifth weakness that it is necessary to mention in an self-critical but pro positive way, is the weak continental economic integration. In the last ten years, the continent has advanced at an extraordinary rhythm on its political articulation.
We, the Bolivians, are the first to thank the solidarity of Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, Cuba, when we had to face political problems in the name of our democratic continuity; this continental solidarity was the one that helped contain coups and preserve the democratic continuance in our States.
However, in relation with the economical integration, there has been no substantial advance. There have been great initiatives as the one in Sucre, the creation of continental multinational companies and the articulation of national enterprises to jointly assume presence on other markets, but little has been achieved in those initiatives, and, at the end, they are being left behind.
The construction of economic integration ends up being much more difficult because every government contextualizes their vision on their own geographical region, economy, market, but the ideal is to see the other markets, economies and geographical regions. Here is where the limitations of the society’s mentalities arise.
There are proposals, but when purchases, balances, inversions and technology need review, things slow down and every official follows the immediate national rules, interests and rentability. That is the problem.
Every official must get out of the national scheme and think in continental key. Also, the world is changing, it is a world where every nation, by itself, is irrelevant and has no force to change the actual course of world interdependence -with the exception of two or three nations-continent. In fact, in a context of globalization, every nation is daily shredded by regional blocs or continental States and mega business corporations.
In the XXI century, Latin America will only become the owner of its destiny if it achieves to constitute itself as a plurinational continental State, that respects the national structures, but that also, through that respect of the local and cultural structures of each country, has a second tier of continental institutions in the financial, legal, cultural, political and commercial areas, capable of influencing and re directioning the course of the economic mundialization.
Latin America has over 450 million people, fact that in terms of demography and market is, by itself, a relevant and decisive fact in the world context. To that we must add that the continent has one of the biggests reserves of strategic minerals, fresh water and biodiversity (the most valuable treasures of this century), of lithium, gas and petroleum; and it is also one of the biggest farming zones of the world.
It is a region with a huge young population, with an incrementing professional education, that is entering the field of technology fabrication and knowledge generation. A continent that if it acts as an political and economical unity, may curve the world’s space/time and influence and redirect the course of the mundialized economy for its own benefit.