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There’s Nothing to Celebrate

There’s Nothing to Celebrate / Miriam Celaya
Posted on May 4, 2014

MAY DAY – Even Karl Marx would be surprised at the only parade of slave
workers

HAVANA, Cuba – All the official media is in a raging fanfare summoning
to “the united people’s great mobilization which will take place in
squares and avenues” this May 1st. Cymbals and trumpets are pleased with
the wild benefits achieved by the Cuban working class.

Among the expected events collateral to “the party” was a lackluster
celebration that took place on the 144th anniversary of Lenin’s birth on
the hill bearing his name in the Havana municipality of Regla, while
during the week, acts have taken place throughout, awarding certificates
to union leaders. This year, there will be a “superior parade”, because
during the closing ceremony of the XX Congress of the Cuban Workers
Syndicate (CTC), the General-President called for an “earth-shaking” event.
And it really is amazing to see how much weight this land can sustain!
The Cuban reality is increasingly incoherent. Only in Cuba is it
possible to celebrate a trade union congress without any unions or
syndicates, or to reward leaders of an organization whose most important
contributions in recent times have been to announce and support–as if it
were a preview–the government’s plan for the layoffs of 25% of the
country’s labor force; to approve, undauntedly and without blushing, the
Labor Code proposed by the supreme exploiter of the work force this past
December 20th, unpublished as of yet, and to convene a parade of workers
to support the same political system that strips them of such basic
rights as the free participation in economic reforms that are being
forged at the offices of the olive green caste, that is, on the back of
those same workers.

But Mr. Luis Manuel Castañedo, secretary general of the CTC, made an
announcement this week in the capital that “this year’s march will be
combative, massive, disciplined and compact, to uphold socialism, unity
about the historical direction of the revolution, implementation of
Guidelines and the support for the liberation of the antiterrorist
Heroes, who remain unjustly imprisoned in the US.”

Thus, all mixed like in a Cuban stew, he rattled off his handful of
stale and empty phrases, absolutely devoid of the least meaning for most
of the people marching in the parade, and probably for himself.

Thus, for the short time it will take around the Plaza Cívica, Cuban
marchers will postpone all illegal activities, such as robbing the
State, smuggling, dealing in stolen goods, administrative corruption,
etc., in order to march as obediently as frauds before the “crispy rice”
monument, just before the statue of that foremost Cuban, who was never
unionized and who, in addition, rejected socialism for considering it
“future slavery”. One cannot conceive greater absurdity and hypocrisy.
Just in case, and taking into account that the layoffs, “desertions” and
constant emigration have decimated the ranks of the ever heroic Cuban
workers , the CTC will make sure that the CDR (Committee for the Defense
of the Revolution), the FMC (Federation of Cuban Women), the Combatants
Association, students and the UJC (Young Communist Union) will be in
attendance. We need to fill in, whenever possible, the obvious blanks
that have been appearing of late among the ranks of the faithful in the
processions.

When the tumultuous pantomime finally ends next Thursday, nobody will
know for sure what the working class might really be celebrating, so
many industry and job shutdowns, the tax increases, the insufficiency of
wages, the breaches of the sugar harvest and agricultural plans, market
price increases, the denial of the right of free contract or any other
of many similar achievements that have come hand-in-hand from the
Guidelines, the apex of the late-Castro fruit. Whatever. This is about a
matter of pure form and not content, not necessarily of being, but of
pretending. Not standing out.

If it were not so sad it would be laughable. Chances are that even Karl
Marx himself would be surprised if he could witness the parade of
workers held in slavery. And, on the record, all without the need for
lashes or overseers. Some rascals, those who are always joking around,
say that the General President has a hidden card to ensure attendance:
whoever completes the parade’s circuit will be stimulated with a glass
of milk. Now they tell us!

Translated by Norma Whiting

1 May 2014

Source: There’s Nothing to Celebrate / Miriam Celaya | Translating Cuba
- http://translatingcuba.com/theres-nothing-to-celebrate-miriam-celaya/

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