Por favor, utilice el traductor arriba si usted desea leer este blog en español u otro idioma. Es importante incluir a todos nuestros hermanas y hermanos que no hablan Inglés, sobre todo en el tema de este post. Todos estamos juntos en este planeta.
I posted the below comment at Generation Y, English edition, tonight.* [*Actually, I have determined that the comment never went through after multiple tries, for technical reasons I cannot unravel, so this post is where the content is at this point.]
The subject of the comment–an exercise in creating or improving social compacts–is to me extremely important in striving for global stewardship of our soil and other resources to meet everyone’s basic needs. Specifically, I am focused upon how an interesting U.N. document, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), can be used or mined to improve social compacts around the world. Who knows what may happen if humans from different perspectives start focusing on the social compact instead of generations old differences, tragedies, and biases? It never hurts to start thinking like a founding mother or father would want to think.
Social compacts need to provide for both the security that comes with economic justice and the creativity that comes with political democracy and human rights. Constitutions, as the most important embodiment of social compacts, should not be set in stone or viewed as matters of unquestionable tradition or myopic nationalism. They need to be subject to reinterpretation, revision, or even replacement to form “more perfect unions” on national, multinational, and ultimately global levels. Even in the U.S., capitalist scholars are starting to consider this serious concern. As one recently wrote, “Let’s face it: What worked well 224 years ago is no longer the best we can do.” Meanwhile, for socialist scholars going back to Marx, the limitations of democracy-lite, controlled by capitalists to protect their interests and shielding off most of the economy from political control, always have been apparent. (See also Reinhold Niebuhr’s constructive criticism of democracy.)
Please feel free to participate by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org any ideas and to tell anyone else my email address who might be interested. Or better yet, you could forward them the link to this post, as this little mutual aid website could use some traffic.
The various names mentioned below are commenters at Generation Y, English edition, with whom I have come into considerable virtual contact. I am constantly challenging anti-Castro commenters to make their focus democracy and human rights and to reject the counter-productive U.S. focus on forcing Cuba to move to a market economy. I am also constantly reiterating both my opposition to the counter-productive U.S. blockade (and occupation of Guantanamo Bay) and the need for the Cuban leadership to reconsider the PCC position on democracy and human rights and to consider an empowering transition to constitutional democratic socialism. (Please see, e.g., this post.)
The “Dumberto” reference is not meant to be an insult but to be banter back to an anti-Castro commenter who frequently teases me, to put it lightly. “C/P” refers to copy-and-paste, a frequent commenting technique of that commenter. The “fanged brother” reference at the end is an inside joke pertaining to the recent observation of another anti-Castro commenter that I was beginning to expose my fangs and was more or less demonstrating that I am an agent of the Castro regime.
HERE’S THE COMMENT:
Announcement: Formation of Common Ground Committee of the Whole (CGCW). No application necessary. Participation optional. Virtual hot cocoa provided.Hey Dumberto, a little birdie told me you are secretly a Mensa Man. All this CAPITALIZING and C/P is a cover for a deeply intellectual renaissance maniac. Neutral, you are actually down deep a nice person. Trevor, Hank, Nick, Marabu, and Socialist Worker are coworkers at the Reily Coffee Company. (I know I have left some people out who regularly comment here, but all can be a part of this journey too.) I really do not have time for this “Modern Family,” none of us do, but we are all in this together on our one stressed-out planet, and I choose to work with everyone as much as possible–that is the democratic thing to do.I actually will be turning away from this habit-forming geopolitical chat line for a few weeks to catch up on projects, but something sandokan, an economist in an engineer’s body, said about the end of Dumberto’s C/P referencing Dr. Chepe’s essay about the embargo got me thinking. I think that Dr. Chepe was onto something important that could be helpful to the world, not just Cuba. That essay is part of his legacy. He obviously was a deep thinking human being, and regardless of whether one is pro-Castro or anti-Castro, I think that it honors those who have gone before us if we try to use what they have left behind for us that might be helpful.Dr. Chepe pointed out that Cuba has not ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). Cuba’s government has only signed it. Low and behold President Jimmy Carter, one of my favorite underappreciated human beings, signed it on behalf of the U.S., but alas, the U.S. has not ratified it either.I am not interested in the U.N. condemning either country for not ratifying the ICESCR. I would, however, like to see if you disparate folk would not mind looking it over carefully if you get time and dropping me any thoughts you might have about it as a whole or any of its provisions. Since I won’t be able to keep up with these wonderful frequently hateful comments for a few weeks, if any of your comments pertain to the ICESCR, I would greatly appreciate it if you would consider emailing them to me using the C/P technique Dumberto has pioneered at my email address: email@example.com.ICESCR also has an Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: “a side-agreement to the Covenant which allows its parties to recognize the competence of the Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights to consider complaints from individuals.” See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Covenant_on_Economic,_Social_and_Cultural_RightsI think that there is a lot of good stuff in the ICESCR, some of which would potentially be helpful in Cuba and maybe even the U.S. too, and who knows, maybe even Hispaniola, the U.K., Canada, etc. could benefit from some of this too. Anyway, my idea is that we could toss around ideas about what ANY country, be it Cuba or the U.S., etc., might want to include in a social compact.Let’s each as much as possible try to do what John Rawls and Amia Srinivasan say to do which is to try to envision a social compact without knowing where we would each wind up in the pecking order, that is, let’s try to minimize our own positioning bias. See: https://gardenvarietydemocraticsocialist.com/2013/10/22/rejecting-the-nozickian-worldview/.It seems to me like in the U.S., Republican presidents and Congress-people don’t want to have a binding social compact that affirmatively accomplishes much for the needy, except for providing a context for the Nozickian principle of profit and the trickle down theory. I know that the U.S. constitution also has some other detailed things like freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, the private property clause (sandokan’s favorite I am sure), etc. They merely want things like the rights in the ICESCR to be aspirational. I don’t think that people who are hungry can eat aspirations. I think that the social compact has to have constitutional binding status if it is to be worth anything.So, that is my idea. I don’t have time to do anything further on this right now, but I am in good faith tossing this out to the CGCW. I understand that many people read this blog in English who do not make comments. They should feel included too, and I would love to get their emails of ideas, etc. Insults and accusations of me being a Castro apologist are allowed but probably not the best use of our time, but if that is what it takes to get your juices flowing on behalf of humanity, so be it. As a truly lousy U.S. Republican president responsible for hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi people dying said, “Bring ’em on.” If you merely are interested in saying that the U.S. constitution and system of governance and economics is perfect and that Cuba should just emulate that like the racist Jesse Helms idealized, please feel free to say that, but I am hopeful that this could be a good learning exercise for us all to start seeing things fresh by focusing on the ICESCR language to get new ideas that might not have occurred to us in the past about what a social compact might contain.Respectfully submitted,Your fanged brother FranciscoP.S. Although this is starting at Ms. Sanchez’s Generation Y, English edition, please feel free to C/P this comment at other blogs where you think people might be interested in being a part of this process of thinking outside the box. There is no reason that the CGCW should not encompass people who read other blogs.