Friday, January 23, 2015

Finally, my Masters thesis on Cuba

You can read my thesis by clicking here
Dear readers of Cuba's Socialist Renewal,

After a two-and-a-half year hiatus, I'm pleased to announce that I'll resume posting original translations and commentaries in 2015, beginning with this post.

As explained in my last post in August 2012, I began work on a Masters thesis on Cuba's socialist transition, under the auspices of Sydney University's Department of Political Economy—a thesis that would build on the translations and analyses that I've shared with you via this blog. At the outset, I had no intention of setting aside the blog to write the thesis, but the need to focus intensely on the thesis conspired against my best intentions.

Other life commitments also had to take precedence for a while, and what I had misunderstood to be a one-year time frame for research, writing and coursework was actually a two-year submission deadline. Naturally, I made the most of that extra year to delve deeper, refine the argument and polish the exposition. I was rewarded for this effort with a most unexpected (yet most gratifying) High Distinction grade.

I began the thesis under the supervision of Dr Tim Anderson and completed it under the supervision of Dr Damien Cahill, both from the Political Economy department at Sydney University. I am indebted to them for their encouragement, guidance and patience. The whole process was a steep learning curve for me: I joked with my supervisors that I had to undergo my own 'socialist transition' to academic writing, which differs from blog commentaries in structure, style and rigour.

As you can see from a glance at the references list, I made extensive use of original translations posted to this blog as source material. Those of you inclined to read the thesis itself will find that key themes and threads of argument elaborated here are woven into the thesis. In other words, the thesis is a continuation of the work shared with you here since December 2010. As noted in the thesis Introduction, my thesis is a work of conceptual synthesis, historical analysis and reinterpretation.

While it stands alone as an academic thesis, it was not written in pursuit of an academic career. Rather, its primary purpose is to serve as a contribution to the wider debate—above all among partisans, solidarity activists and sympathisers of the Cuban Revolution—on the past, present and future of Cuba's socialist project. While I had to make certain unavoidable concessions to academic style, it is written with this wider audience in mind—avoiding, I hope, any lapses into unexplained Marxist jargon or into arcane or incomprehensible 'academese'.

I would love to translate this thesis into Spanish, but a golden rule of translation is 'never translate your own work'. Besides, I can translate from Spanish to English reasonably competently, but the other way only crudely. Only a native Spanish speaker with a keen grasp of the Cuban context and of Marxism could do it justice.

That's enough about my thesis, except to say that it's freely accessible here by anyone anywhere; and that I welcome any feedback and constructive criticism you may have via email or, if you like, as comments posted below this post. Please feel free to forward the above link (or the associated PDF file) to anyone who may be interested.

Over the coming months I will resume translations and commentaries on Cuba's socialist renewal, as I see it, and the context in which this renovation process is now unfolding: the beginning of the end of the US blockade signalled by Obama's December 17 statement on US-Cuba relations. In other words, the Cuban Revolution's triumph over half a century of siege and isolation, and the pursuit of US imperialism's historic objectives by other, less confrontational means.

Before concluding this post, I should also mention that I had the honour of being elected president of the Sydney branch of the Australia-Cuba Friendship Society in June. As part of the global Cuba solidarity movement, the Society welcomes the return of all of the Cuban Five to Cuban shores after their long, unjust incarceration in US prisons.

Their stoic and dignified resistance symbolises Cuba's epic struggle.

Happy New Year to you all.

Marce Cameron
Sydney, Australia