Cuba: What Would Marx Have Thought?
March 1, 2014
HAVANA TIMES — Two teenagers were talking at a bus stop. With the
habitual idioms that characterize the parlance of a good many Cubans
these days, one of them was showing off his IPhone 5, saying to the
other: “Bro, this thing’s off the chart. Look at the cell my old man got
me, it’s smokin’. It’s a got a ton of killer apps, but you can’t use
many of them here.”
I recalled that, some days before, I had read an article from Russia
Today titled “Marx Knew it All Along”, which mentioned the five systemic
characteristics of contemporary capitalism presaged by the theories of
the German philosopher 150 years ago.
The article didn’t only enumerate these characteristics but also
described them as chronic and noxious aspects of the capitalist system
itself. Repeating the phrase “unlike socialism”, it referred to the
illusory needs Karl Marx had predicted over a hundred years ago as one
of the features of today’s system.
Marx had defined the creation of false needs among people as an inherent
tendency of the capitalist system, explaining that this system makes
consumers long for high priced products that have very little use for,
ultimately turning them (and I quote) into “the slaves of inhuman,
refined, anti-natural and imaginary whims.”
He predicted the situation in currently existing States, which enjoy
high standards of living and nevertheless look for new means of
distraction, making people feel a constant impulse to buy more and more
things, when they actually have no need to do so, owning similar
appliances that work perfectly well.
When the socialist bloc collapsed, Cuba remained as a kind of
museum-piece, as one of the few countries still set on maintaining the
postulates of the socialist system as Marx understood them. I say this
bearing in mind that China’s socialist praxis is rather sui generis and
the “socialism of the 21st” century allegedly practiced in some Latin
American countries does not proclaim itself Marxist.
This day and age, Cuba continues to close its Party congresses with the
International and continues to carry the torch of an egalitarian society
that will one day give birth to the “New Man” (after many miscarriages).
Since 1959, the Cuban State has eliminated all vestiges of the so-called
bourgeoisie. Cuban men and women, like their revolutionary leaders, were
called on to say no to the ideological weakness promoted by
advertisement, consumerism and the puerile nature of the media.
Something, somewhere, went wrong. The passage of time, technological
breakthroughs, the inadequacy of certain theories and hard everyday life
have turned Cuba into a society that is more and more susceptible to
those “sensationalist ills” Karl Marx railed against.
Most of our young people today are only interested in brand clothing,
foreign fashions, videogames and the last, showy manifestations of
technology: Iphones, Blackberrys, IPods and 3D plasma TVs.
What happened? Weren’t socialists supposed to be immune to such
contagious ills? What would Marx have thought?
Source: Cuba: What Would Marx Have Thought? – Havana Times.org –