Topics Meeting on Self-Employment / Regina Coyula
Regina Coyula, Translator: Unstated
I'm too lazy to get out! But I do not regret having gone to the meeting
yesterday of the last Thursday of each month at the journal Temas
(Topics). The theme was the self-employment. A large audience, including
24 Communications students from a university in southern California.
I expanded my horizons as a housewife. I learned that artists and
religious priests are also "self-employed" workers, and that this
category will soon become 20% of the workforce. I also found a display
on 600 employed persons, which showed that they earn on average six
times more than in their former state job (is the concept of
"exploitation of man by man" falling into disuse?).
There were those who came to the defense of the reviled carretilleros,
walking vendors with their carts, who have received a ton of abuse, as
if they were responsible for the lack of variety and the high price of
Although the panel members still used archaic language (especially the
one "self-employed" panel), they generally spoke of the positive impact
of this emerging sector in the recovery of the value of working and the
need to change social attitudes that see this work as reprehensible — a
form of mild forgetfulness that it is a natural reaction to a half
century of government stigma associated with private and personal
The best part came with the comments. There was a call for a clear
regulatory framework and public statistics about this new line of work;
there was talk of cooperatives in transport, (the oldest will remember
The writer Yoss posed a theoretical problem: If all economic power
generates political power, is the state resigned to the possibility of
losing their power? Then they addressed a legal issue Would it be better
to prohibit early what you can NOT do, rather than approve what you can.
The self-employed comrade on the panel made clear that, contrary to what
we were taught in the manual of political economy, economic changes will
not bring political change, and the party will remain solely and
exclusively in charge. The panel moderator joked about science fiction,
Yoss's favorite genre, but he also must remember, like almost all who
have studied in Cuba, the topic of changes, an exam question.
Someone suggested a revision in the 1960 phone book regarding the
classifications of national products, which are now imported due to the
suppression of private labor. He urged scholars to define what are the
basic means of production, which by law must be in state hands.
The young people, as always, shone a bright light. One talked about
eliminating the fear of the reality of the changes, another asked if it
they import and export, if State services such as SEPSA (security) can
be used, if credit cards work. Another said that the union's role is to
defend the worker, not tell the bad news through a press organ of the
Party. Another young professor explained his experience being
self-employed and advocated that the measures to be regularized before
implementation and not vice versa.
I left there in a better mood. We are neither brutish nor dull. What we
lack is freedom.
June 1 2012