[Marxism] Hungarians long for communism.

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Thu Jun 5 09:00:18 MDT 2008

One wonders if there's been a further effort on cultural levels
to communicate with people about these matters and those days.
The film GOOD-BYE, LENIN presented a nuanced image of how life
had been during the period of the GDR, which left the orbit of
capitalism under Soviet occupation following the defeat of the
Nazis during World War II. Similarly, THE LIVES OF OTHERS gave
viewers another, darker side of life during the GDR. The first
wasn't nostalgic at all, though some people seemed to think it
was, but it apparently gave some people some context within
which they could reflect on what they had lost with the fall
of the GDR.

One also wonders about the growth of the political left there
in Hungary and Eastern Europe now that the reality of life in
a capitalist society is becoming clearer to some as it goes
through a second and begins to face a third decade.

Having not had a genuinely indigenous socialist revolution,
and then in the aftermath of the Soviet union's rush in to
prevent capitalism's restoration in 1956, there have to be 
individuals and groupings there who are pondering what would
be needed to develop a functional and sustainable socialism.

Here's what some Germans have been thinking about:

The opportunity to modify the German Democratic Republic 
passed too quickly. 
Dagmar Enkelmann, deputy of the Left Party of Germany, 
tells of her experience during the days of the fall of the 
Berlin wall and the reasons that led to the collapse of s
ocialism in her country.


Walter Lippmann
Los Angeles, California

(OK, so it was done surreptitiously, but it confirms what visitors to the
island have known and told anyone who was interested for years. Cubans do
not seek and aren't interested in changing the system or bring back the
Capitalist system, where there wasn't any political freedom, as it's said
to exist in the United States. Under the Batista dictatorship, elections
which were scheduled were cancelled, and no one in the U.S. government
had any complaints. Indeed, they rushed to endorse the new regime headed
by Batista. Cubans who either remember (a minority of older people, of
course) or those with some political and historical understanding, must
understand these things to one degree or another, and so this report is
confirmation that the revolution's educational system has given Cubans
an understanding that their problems are rooted in a mixture of things:
Washington's blockade and Cubans' own errors. Today, Cubans are in a
better position to begin to address their own problems. My impression 
is very strong that what they want want to keep their system but want it
to function better, to provide more of the material necessities of life,
and consumer goods, as their first priority.)

June 5, 2008
In Rare Study, Cubans Put Money Worries First


MEXICO CITY — A rare study conducted surreptitiously in Cuba found that more
than half of those interviewed considered their economic woes to be their
chief concern while less than 10 percent listed lack of political freedom as
the main problem facing the country.

“Almost every poll you ever see, even those in the U.S., goes to
bread-and-butter issues,” said Alex Sutton, director of Latin American and
Caribbean programs at the International Republican Institute, which
conducted the study. “Everybody everywhere is interested in their purchasing

The institute is a nonprofit democracy-building group affiliated with the
Republican Party that strongly opposes Cuba’s Communist government.

The results showed deep anxiety about the state of the country, with 35
percent of respondents saying things were “so-so” and 47 percent saying they
were going “badly” or “very badly.” As for the government’s ability to turn
things around, Cubans were skeptical, with 70 percent of those interviewed
saying they did not believe that the authorities would resolve the country’s
biggest problem in the next few years.

The study, to be released on Thursday, was conducted from March 14 to April
12, after Raúl Castro officially took over the presidency.

Since taking office, Raúl Castro has rolled out a variety of changes,
lifting longstanding restrictions on the sale of cellphones and consumer
items, access to tourist hotels and renting cars, among other things. 
The survey did not specifically ask Cubans about those changes.

Conducting surveys in Cuba is difficult and the institute did not seek the
required permission from the authorities.

For the study, Latin American interviewers talked to 587 Cuban adults face
to face across all of Cuba’s provinces. A telephone survey was not
considered because large segments of the population do not have phones.

In 2006, the Gallup Organization conducted a survey in Havana and Santiago
that found that more Cubans approved of Fidel Castro’s leadership than
disapproved of it. The previous Gallup poll, in 1994, found that Cubans
considered the revolution that brought Mr. Castro to power more of a success
than a failure. Most Cubans in that survey also attributed their economic
woes to the American trade embargo.

The International Republican Institute conducted its first Cuban study in
October and plans regular interviews with a cross section of Cubans.

The study to be published Thursday found that young people were much more
critical of Raúl Castro’s government than their parents and grandparents
were. Nearly 70 percent of Cubans 18 to 29 said that if given a chance they
would support a democratic system with multiparty elections, freedom of
speech and freedom of expression. Among those 60 or older, support for such
a change dropped to 44 percent.

Cubans of all ages supported an economic overhaul. More than 80 percent said
they backed a market economic system that included the right to own property
and run businesses.

Cuba’s problems were ranked this way: low salaries and high cost of living,
double currency standard, lack of political freedoms, embargo and isolation,
food scarcity, lack of medicines, poor transportation infrastructure and
lack of housing or dilapidated conditions.

Given an opportunity to rate Raúl Castro from zero to 10, with zero being
“very bad” and 10 being “very good,” the average of the Cubans’ responses
was 5.55.

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

     Los Angeles, California
     Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
     "Cuba - Un Paraíso bajo el bloqueo"

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