Cooperatives seem poised to multiply, expand their range of activities and play a critical role in the new Cuban socialist-oriented economic model that is emerging. Cooperatives are nothing new in revolutionary Cuba, but with the exception of the urban agricultural sector they have been an almost exclusively rural phenomenon.
Though the scope of cooperative activity is not laid down in the Guidelines — it can only take shape organically through a process of experimentation adapted to local conditions — there is a clear intention to establish urban cooperatives in many small-scale production and service entities, as then Minister for Economy and Planning Marino Murillo explained to the National Assembly in December. Here, Cuba can learn from the Venezuelan experience as well as that of cooperatives in capitalist societies. Under capitalism cooperatives are destined to remain marginal. In Cuba's post-capitalist economy they have the potential to flourish. As Juventud Rebelde columnist Ricardo Ronquillo reminded Cubans in November, Lenin put it with characteristic succinctness: socialism is none other than "the regime of cultured cooperativists".
Here is Part 4 of my translation of the booklet Information on the results of the Debate on the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines for the Party and the Revolution, an explanatory document that has been published together with the final version of the Guidelines adopted by the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) Congress in April.
The format is as follows: number and text of the draft guideline, followed by the text and number of the corresponding guideline approved by the Communist Party Congress, followed by the drafting commission's explanation for the change. You'll find it easiest to read on my blog where the amended guidelines are in bold.
25. Are based on the free association of the workers who comprise it. These may be owners or lessees of means of production or may utilise them in permanent usufruct [i.e. lease them indefinitely from the socialist state rent-free, as in the leasing of state-owned farmland under Raul Castro's presidency — translator's note].
First-grade cooperatives are created as a socialist form of collective property in different sectors, constituting an economic organisation that is a legal entity with its own property. Cooperative members associate with the aim of producing goods or providing services that are useful to society, and cooperatives cover their expenses with their incomes. (25)
Clarifies and specifies the concept of first-grade cooperatives, 1,130 doubts across the country. Adds that the cooperative is a socialist form of collective property, 29 opinions in 9 provinces.
26. The General Regulations of Cooperatives will ensure that cooperative property cannot be sold, leased or rented to other cooperatives or non-state forms of production.
The legal framework for cooperatives must ensure that cooperatives, as social property, cannot be sold nor their ownership transferred to other cooperatives, non-state forms of management or to individuals. (26)
"General Regulations" is changed to "juridical norm" to allow greater flexibility in the elaboration of the necessary document.
27. Cooperatives maintain contractual relationships with other cooperatives, enterprises, budgeted entities and with other non-state forms, and sell [goods and services] directly to the population in accordance with their approved social purpose.
Cooperatives maintain contractual relationships with other cooperatives, enterprises, budgeted entities and with other non-state forms. After fulfilling their commitments to the state they may sell freely, without intermediaries, in accordance with their authorised economic activity. (27)
Includes the possibility of sales without intermediaries and improves the wording. Responds to 483 opinions in 14 provinces.
28. Cooperatives, on the basis of what is established in the General Regulations, define the incomes of the workers [i.e. cooperative members] and the distribution of the profits, and pay taxes and contributions according to what is established.
Cooperatives, on the basis of what is established in the corresponding juridical norms, determine the incomes of the workers and the distribution of the profits after the payment of the established taxes and contributions. (28)
Substitutes the word "define" for "determine" to adapt the wording to the content of what is necessary.
29. First-grade cooperatives may voluntarily agree to constitute second-grade cooperatives, as legal entities with their own property, with the objective of organising common processes (of production and services), purchases and sales with a view to achieving greater efficiency.
Second-grade cooperatives will be created, whose members are first-grade cooperatives, as legal entities with their own property that are formed for the purpose of organising complementary activities that are related or that add value to the products and services of their members (production, services and commercialisation), or to carry out joint purchases and sales with a view to achieving greater efficiency. (29)
Clarifies the concept of second-grade cooperatives, 993 doubts across the country.