El “socialismo” / Pompeyo Márquez


You’ll have to forgive me for writing about this topic in the first person. I embraced the cause of socialism in 1937. I was an activist in a cell until I became its Secretary General in hiding, during Pérez Jiménez’s military dictatorship. When I traveled secretly to Moscow in 1956, I thought my aspirations had been attained. “The City of Man,” wrote one of my dearest teachers, Carlos Augusto León, in a poem. I attended the 20th Congress of the CPSU in February of that year. I encountered “Khrushchev’s Secret Speech,” which denounced the crimes of Stalin, the gulags – veritable concentration camps –, the number of people killed by firing squads, the number of people tortured. A complete horror that was confirmed by the collapse of the “socialist world” and Gorbachev’s affirmation that socialism never existed in the USSR, but rather a bureaucratic-military-police apparatus that ruled for 70 years in the name of the “dictatorship of the proletariat.”

I broke my relations with the PCV, with dogmatism, in December of 1970. The Soviet invasions of Hungary and Czechoslovakia had occurred and Teodoro [Petkoff] was courageous enough to propose “socialism as a problem.” When someone tells me that this is what I taught, I answer: “You’ve come up short. You haven’t read what I’ve been highlighting for 37 years: democracy, plurality, the role of minorities, of dissidence, the role and character of foreign investments (and there’s my book Por una Patria Libre), the polemic with Fidel, along with the mistake of the insurrectionist stance and the damage we caused to the democratic process inaugurated in 1958.” [José Vicente] Rangel called for us to rectify, and I mistakenly replied: “Rectify what?”

Today, drunk with power, this character wants to present himself as the great leader from the 60s. In 1971 I helped found the MAS political party, with an accent on democracy within socialism. I had been educated in the “immediate collapse of capitalism” and what collapsed was the “socialist world.” From that point until today my thinking has continued to evolve until reaching the conclusion of social democracy, as a synthesis of the aspirations of the great popular masses to which I’ve dedicated my life from the time I was 14 years old until my 85 years today.

I write this extremely tight synthesis in order to cite another one of my teachers and a close friend, Doctor Maza Zavala, who I met in 1942. In an interview with Tal Cual, he explained his vision of “21st Century Socialism”: “None, because I don’t know what it consists of… Socialism is not autocracy.” We are headed towards an autocracy, of course we are. The cult of personality, militarism, caudillismo, exacerbated centralization, single thought, etc. Just like the old USSR and in Cuba today, I affirm.

{ Pompeyo Márquez, Tal Cual, 17 August 2007 }

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