Enrique Ubieta, editor of the journals Cuba Socialista and La Calle del medio, talked with Cubadebate about political centrism, neo-annexation, and the permanent clash between socialism and capitalism, as conflicting systems – all important issues in the ideological struggle underway around the world today.
Is it possible for centrism to represent the best of both capitalism and socialism?
Capitalism is not the sum of its negative and positive components, of elements that can be saved or discarded. It is a system, that at one point was revolutionary and today is not. It engulfs and links everything: advanced technology, the most sophisticated wealth, and the most absolute poverty. The elements that contribute to greater productivity are the same ones that alienate human labor. Those that generate wealth for a few, produce poverty for the majority, on the national and international level. Establishing such a goal seems fallacious to me. The “best of capitalism” doesn’t exist, as if it could be cleaned up, as if a good capitalism were feasible. There are very bad versions, like fascism and neoliberalism, but I am not aware of any good version. Capitalism is always savage.
On the other hand, socialism, as opposed to capitalism, is not an organic total, a reality already constructed, but rather a path that cannot, all at once, leave behind the system it is trying to replace. We try this and that, we adopt new structures, advance and retreat, eliminate what doesn’t work, correct errors over and over again – a path to another world, in the middle of the jungle, because capitalism is a hegemonic system. What characterizes it is its expressed, conscious intention, to replace capitalism.
Does a center exist? On what principles is it founded? In the capitalist electoral system, a left and a right supposedly exist, but this left – with social democracy as its ideological framework, which was Marxist in its origins, and sought to reform capitalism until it gradually disappeared – functions today within the system and has rejected Marxism. This left differentiates itself from conservative parties with its social policies and its non-prejudiced understanding of diversity. The centrist formula functions within the capitalist system as an electoral option. The voter is managed like a customer since elections function like a market, and are full of right wing parties and left wing parties that alternate in office, but implement similar policies, and thus the system constructs a false “third way…”