I am pleased and honored to write a short post announcing that I have added to the blogroll for this website the Sautié Mederos Felix Blog for “a participatory and democratic socialism (SPD).” The blog has an extensive collection of writings by Pedro Campos, as well as many other programmatic resource documents with democratic socialist ideas of Cubans for Cuba.
The point of recommending the writings of Mr. Campos and the blog is not that I or anyone need agree with all of the ideas of these or any other persons. Democratic socialists appreciate peaceful Socratic interchanges of ideas and information. If Cuba is to provide the light for the world it is capable of providing in a peaceful transition from state monopoly capitalism to democratic socialism, truth and reconciliation will be necessary at all stages of the transition.
In Cuba, I believe it is critical that communists and democratic socialists be able to talk together peacefully and openly and not simply reject what the others are saying. I take inspiration from the fact that the ardent communist poet Pablo Neruda (my favorite poet and a great inspiration of mine, along with the writer George Orwell and the Catholic monk-writer Thomas Merton) became a close advisor to Chile’s socialist President Salvador Allende.
Truth cannot be obtained if persons are harassed into not expressing their honest viewpoints. That goes for Cuba and for the U.S. where I write from (I myself use a pseudonym because the threat of harassment of socialists in the U.S. is very real), and for all around the world. Free speech is vital to making good decisions. So too is a spirit of reconciliation.
I will try to do a detailed post at some point in the future about the writings of the late Father Jean-Yves Calvez, one of the leading Jesuit authorities on faith and justice. He makes the point that our conception of “justice” must sometimes catch up to “love,” which should be our ultimate standard. Then we must revise our laws to make sure that they catch up to our enhanced understanding of justice.
This certainly applies in a governmental transition. Love should underlie the actions of the participants. If we can only harbor hatred for each other, reconciliation becomes impossible. I hope that love will find a way for Cubans to reconcile with each other, and I hope that non-Cubans, including Cuban-Americans (which is one-fourth of my heritage), will not through our own hatreds and score-keeping make reconciliation more difficult for Cubans.
I do not hide the fact that I am a contemplative Christian and that this helps to provide me comfort and an ethical foundation for my activism. In addition to my George Orwell-inspired dedication (see page 71 of Pamphlet No. 1, A Winding Path to Workers’ Gardens: “Every line of serious work that I have written since
1936 June 3, 2013 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I understand it.”), I have two pledges that relate to my activism, one political and one personal. They may vary some from time to time, but here’s the gist:
My political pledge is to try to be an honest and loving democratic socialist on this website and in my writings. Meanwhile, I do not believe that through words alone reconciliation can occur in Cuba, the U.S., or anywhere else on this troubled planet. Therefore, my personal pledge is to leave time for silence. For me, silence can lead to rest by quiet waters of renewal and creative contemplation of a world that, against all odds, can be inclusive, forgiving, loving, and kind for all people. For me the personal and political unite: because I am a socialist, I must couple contemplation with acts of sacrificial love and solidarity for all humankind, but especially the weak, who need my words and my deeds, and yours too.
Peace be with you,