Thursday, January 12, 2012

Translation: PCC Conference document (3)

This chapter of the draft PCC National Conference document includes several paragraphs that are worth drawing attention to. 

Paragraph 34 is an example of what Temas magazine editor Rafael Hernandez pointed out in his radio interview that I translated: the political implications of the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines, one of which is that the decentralisation of economic management towards the state enterprises and the municipalities permits, and at the same time necessitates, a political revitalisation of the People's Power local governments. 

Point 45 about the need to combat prejudices against the "non-state" (i.e. small-scale private and cooperative) sector is aimed primarily at those within the PCC who think that opening the door to small-scale private and cooperative enterprise is incompatible with socialist construction, a dogmatic misconception that flows from decades of socialist state ownership and centralised management of almost the entire economy.  

Hence the importance of paragraph 60, which calls for opening up spaces for debate on Marxism-Leninism to clarify what it is and isn't, and paragraph 62, which specifies the need to "work in particular on the conceptualisation of the theoretical foundations of the Cuban economic model". In December, Marino Murillo, chair of the permanent government commission charged with coordinating the implementation of the Guidelines, told the National Assembly that progress had made on the elaboration of such a document.

Also noteworthy is paragraph 54 on combating prejudices of various kinds. This is the first time a PCC document of this kind makes an explicit reference to the need to combat prejudice in the area of sexual orientation. Paragraph 65 takes up the need to reflect "the Cuban reality in all its diversity" on TV and in film. Again, sexual orientation is specified. See my translation of a recent interview with Mariela Castro for more on this.

First National Conference of the Cuban Communist P

Draft basic document

Translation: Marce Cameron (Part 3 of translation)

Chapter 2: Political and ideological work

37. Strengthen national unity around the Party and the Revolution to preserve the Cuban nation and the socio-economic achievements of these years, on the basis that the homeland, the Revolution and socialism are indissolubly fused.

38. Stimulate the conscious participation of the people in the implementation of the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines for the Party and the Revolution because the sustainability and preservation of our socialist system depend on their implementation.

39. Enhance the ethical and productive character of work as a means of contributing to society and the satisfaction of personal and family needs.

40. Systematically evaluate the impact of the economic and social measures and draw timely attention to distortions in their implementation that hinder the attainment of the stated objective.

41. Raise awareness of the fact that saving resources of all kinds is one of the principal sources of income for the country.

42. Promote care for goods and resources, the practice of internal monitoring and quality of productive processes and products in enterprises, the budgeted sector and other social and economic entities.

43. Encourage real and effective participation in the execution of projects that stimulate initiative and provide tangible benefits in terms of local development.

44. Promote economic, legal, taxation and ecological awareness among the people. Strive for knowledge of and respect for the law, and for honest and administratively responsible conduct.

45. Improve political attention to those involved in various forms of non-state [i.e. small-scale private or cooperative] economic management and combat the existing prejudices towards them.

46. Carry out political and ideological work in a differentiated, personalised and continuous manner, based on the specifics of each locality, with the use of more diverse and effective methods, forms and means of communication.

47. Perfect political and ideological work among youth in order to fully involve them in the economic and social transformations, using attractive and participatory methods in accordance with their needs, interests and expectations.

48. Develop strategies aimed at preventing and dealing with the enemy’s [i.e. US imperialism’s] campaigns and actions, open or covert, that attempt to undermine revolutionary ideology, exacerbate selfishness and erode values, identity and national culture.

49. Make the most of the advantages of information and communications technologies as tools for the development of knowledge, the economy and ideological activity. Convey Cuba’s image and its reality, as well as combating subversive [propagandistic] actions against our country.

50. Combat energetically every manifestation of corruption, indiscipline[1] and unethical or illegal action. Strengthen popular control and collective action in the face of any manifestation of impunity.

51. Promote an attitude and conduct consistent with the values espoused by the Revolution, on the basis of achieving greater coherence between the contributions of the family, the educational and cultural institutions, the community and the mass media.

52. Better instruct parents and reinforce the paramount role of the family in childhood education. Cultivate dignified and solidaristic attitudes. Confront gender violence, violence within the family and in the community.

53. Reaffirm that the educational institutions are centres for the cultivation of ethical values and of respect for institutionalism and the law, where the example set by the teaching personnel is decisive. Promote love for work as one of the fundamental values, as well as civic, moral and aesthetic education.

54. Confront racial, gender, religious, sexual orientation and other prejudices that may give rise to any form of discrimination or limit the exercise of people’s rights, among them those with public positions and those who participate in the political and mass organisations[2] and in the defence of the country.

55. Consolidate the Revolution’s cultural policy, defined by Fidel from since his 1961 “Words to the Intellectuals”[3] and characterised by the democratisation of access to culture, the defence of identity and heritage, and the active participation of intellectuals and artists in a climate of unity and freedom [of expression].

56. Ensure that cultural projects, aimed at the spiritual enrichment of our people, exclude commercialism and other approaches of a different kind that depart from cultural policy.

57. Promote f
rank and open artistic and literary criticism, with an emphasis on the weakness and virtues of the cultural work, so that criticism contributes to achieving the quality that is aspired to and preserves our identity and respect for traditions. 

58. Work in conjunction with the cultural institutions, the mass media, programme directors and audiences and artists and intellectuals to avoid cultural expressions that offend the dignity of people or the sensibilities of our population. Taking into account their aesthetic tastes, influence them so as to promote, on a massive scale, the capacity for artistic and literary appreciation, as well as to cultivate ethical and aesthetic values.

59. Stress the ethical, humanistic and anti-imperialist legacy of Jose Martí as an essential foundation of revolutionary practice.

60. Adapt the teaching of Marxism-Leninism to the present conjuncture and to the requirements of the various levels of education; promote spaces for debate on Marxism-Leninism.

61. Perfect the teaching of and the diffusion of understanding about Cuban history, in the strategic interests of strengthening national unity and promoting awareness of the origin and development of the nation; an in the interests of the consolidation of the Cuban intellectual tradition, guided by the notion of justice and the patriotic, solidaristic and internationalist tradition of our people.

62. Develop and make greater use of social research and socio-political and opinion studies in every sphere and sector of national life. Work in particular on the conceptualisation of the theoretical foundations of the Cuban economic model.

63. Transform the current system of training and political information for PCC cadres and militants, workers and the population. Ensure content relevant to the needs of the different social sectors or groups, in accordance with current social conditions.

64. Confront manifestations of formalism, lack of creativity and obsolete criteria in the fields of journalism and propaganda. Give particular attention to the diversity of audiences.

65. Reflect, in audio-visual media [e.g. TV, cinema], the Cuban reality in all its diversity with regard to the economic, work and social situation and that of gender, race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation and ethnicity.

66. Communicate in an opportune, objective, systematic and transparent manner the Party’s policy on advancing the revolutionary project and the difficulties, weaknesses and adversities that we must face up to, doing away with the harmful expressions of secrecy.

67. Encourage the mass media to be an effective stage for culture and debate, to open the doors to knowledge and to offer analysis and the permanent expression of opinion. Cultivate a journalism that is objective and investigative and that stamps out self-censorship, mediocrity, bureaucratic and saccharine language, facileness, rhetoric, triumphalism and banality. 

[Translation to be continued]
Translator's footnotes:

[1] Presumably in an
 institutional context 

[2] In official discourse, “the political organisations” refers to the PCC and the UJC. “Mass organisations” refers to sectoral organisations such as the trade unions, the Federation of Cuban Women, the National Association of Small Agriculturalists, and so on.

[3] A reference to a well-known speech in which Fidel Castro summarised the Revolution’s cultural policy as follows: “Within the Revolution, everything; against the Revolution, nothing”. This was interpreted rather narrowly in the 1970s during the height of Soviet influence, when there was heavy state censorship. Today,  intellectuals and artists enjoy greater freedom of expression than ever before in revolutionary Cuba.

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