[Marxism] Cuba: the litmus test?

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Wed Nov 28 10:45:37 MST 2007

Capitalist elections, the ones most of us on this list are mostly
used to mostly consist of promises which the candidates say they
will carry out if and when they are elected. Most of the time we
know such promises aren't kept. Cuba's elections prior to Cuba's
Revolution had that same character: promises made and not kept.

The idea of Cuban elections, as much as I understand them, is 
that in order to break with that kind of tradition, candidates
are nominated and run (actually "stand" would be a better way of
understanding what they do than "run") for office based on their
personal qualifications and participation in the revolutionary
process. At the local and municipal level one might have an idea
of who the candidate is and be able to make a choice based on 
what one has heard or one might know about the candidate. At the

At the national level, National Assembly seats are filled in two
ways: some (I don't know the per centage) are selected by Cuba's
mass organizations, like the CTC, FMC, and so on. Other candidates
are elected by the public. And the central government - that is,
the Council of State and Council of Ministers, is elected by the
National Assembly.

Candidates for the approximately 500 seats
What is the *substance* of the National Assembly election "campaigns".
I use ironic quotes here for a reason. Cuba is unique among workers states 
that they even had elections where:

1. More than one candidate can run for office for a given seat in the 
Assembly and
2. A candidate does not have to be a member of the Communist Party to run

Having stated that, the campaigns, as I've seen the descriptions, and 
reproductions of bio-posters, almost rests entirely on a candidates 
biography, not on politics..."Politics"...*politics* that is: the 
critique and advocacy of positions and program. In other words, my 
impression is that the elections are a-political to an extreme...and 
therefore would impress few beyond Cuba's own national boundries as to 
the Assembly's ability to really tackle tough issue and *steer* the 
nation, let alone be a convincing "socialist" institution.

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