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Re: <nettime> Choking Fidel and Us [3x]
nettime's cuban middle class on Sun, 20 Jun 2004 15:44:22 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> Choking Fidel and Us [3x]




Table of Contents:

   Re: <nettime> Choking Fidel and Us                                              
     "porculus" <porculus {AT} wanadoo.fr>                                                

   Re: <nettime> Choking Fidel and Us                                              
     Craig Brozefsky <craig {AT} red-bean.com>                                            

   Re: <nettime> Choking Fidel and Us                                              
     Ian Dickson <ian {AT} iand.demon.co.uk>                                              


------------------------------

Date: Sat, 19 Jun 2004 15:50:10 +0200
From: "porculus" <porculus {AT} wanadoo.fr>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Choking Fidel and Us

> History shows that economic sanctions do not hurt the leaders, only the 
> ordinary people.

ok 

> If you want to bring stable democracy to a country , the best thing 
> seems to be to encourage the growth of a solid middle class.

ok

> So, it would be really good if people made a point of going to Cuba, 
> trading with Cuba in all areas, but try to stay entirely in the private 
> sector when doing so (esp small family companies - guest houses, 
> drivers, tradespeople) so that your money goes to the people not to the 
> dictatorship.

unstopable

> Friends of mine have been to Cuba. Their advice, (and note that they 
> spoke reasonable Spanish) - avoid the resorts, (unless you really do 
> want a hermetically sealed beach holiday), go independent with a car, 
> pick up hitchhikers, and have some very interesting meetings.
> 
> I'd like to think that some Cubans would read this, but I gather that 
> Internet access is a tad limited there as the gvt isn't too keen on the 
> subversive possibilities that it offers.
> 
> So - give Solidarity to Cubans, not Castro. Spend your money wisely.

'Whatever we conceive well we express clearly, and words flow with ease'


------------------------------

Date: Sat, 19 Jun 2004 11:51:27 -0500
From: Craig Brozefsky <craig {AT} red-bean.com>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Choking Fidel and Us

Ian Dickson <ian {AT} iand.demon.co.uk> writes:

> In message <200406172138.i5HLcBF13113 {AT} bbs.thing.net>, John Young 
> <jya {AT} pipeline.com> writes
>>
>>The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control has issued for
>>public comment new restrictions on travel to Cuba with increased penalties
>>for violations. The proclaimed intent is to harm Cuba's economy by
>>reducing income from tourism and educational travel.
>>
>
> If you want to bring stable democracy to a country , the best thing 
> seems to be to encourage the growth of a solid middle class.

To evaluate this, we must understand what a "middle class" is.

The "middle-class" are more economically stable and have sufficient
income to support a level of consumption higher than another group,
the poor.  So the best thing for Cuban democracy is introducing a
level of economic disparity similiar to what the U.S. and other
"stable democracies" with a "middle-class" have?

This seems at odds with my understanding of democracy being founded
upon political and economic equity.  Perhaps you do not see economic
equity as an essential part of a stable democracy?  To quote Lee
Perry, "as long as rich and poor, they still exist, there will be no
peace."  I think this applies to nations as well.  As long as there
are poor, especially if the gap between rich and poor is huge, and the
number of poor massive in relation to the rich, there will be no
domestic peace.  That means no stable democracy.

It is also seems at odds which what is happening in the "stable
democracies", where the "middle class" is being destroyed.  At least
that is what is happening in the U.S. with a replacement of what used
to be "middle class" jobs with McJobs.  As a result, the US
middle-class level of consumption, is supported by a the growth of
private debt.  That is not sustainable, and is a real threat to any
remnant of democracy one might think exists in the US.

I also think the real conditions of the cuban economy, depending upon
imports, with few natural resources to exploit, preclude a "middle
class" with any stability.  I imagine the stability of the
middle-class is essential to the stability of the democracy.

I agree with your intention of solidarity with the people of Cuba.
However, I think that you should check your own attempt to solve their
problem by promoting more economic disparity in their society.  It
seems to me an attempt to reproduce in their culture, that which you
know, a middle class existence.  That is not a strong basis for real
solidarity.

- -- 
Sincerely, Craig Brozefsky <craig {AT} red-bean.com>
Kontact -- http://www.red-bean.com/kontact/wiki.cgi


------------------------------

Date: Sat, 19 Jun 2004 19:39:54 +0100
From: Ian Dickson <ian {AT} iand.demon.co.uk>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Choking Fidel and Us

In message <87659n4hkg.fsf {AT} piracy.red-bean.com>, Craig Brozefsky 
<craig {AT} red-bean.com> writes
>>
>> If you want to bring stable democracy to a country , the best thing
>> seems to be to encourage the growth of a solid middle class.
>
>To evaluate this, we must understand what a "middle class" is.

Since from previous experience I know that the mods don't like long to 
and fro arguments, I'll make this my only response, in the hope that 
they let it through.

A "solid middle class" is a significant proportion of the population who 
feel that there is stability and rule of law sufficient for them to take 
the risk of investing effort in the future. (Effort can be time, money, 
education etc).

If you look at the history most countries democracies you finds that the 
drive for democracy tends to come from those who are generally "middle 
class". Whether this is right or wrong I am not here to judge, but if 
you take an empirical view, it certainly seems that if a stable 
democracy is your long term aim, a solid middle class is a good thing to 
create as it helps you get there.

Don't let the best be the enemy of the good.

>
>The "middle-class" are more economically stable and have sufficient
>income to support a level of consumption higher than another group,
>the poor.  So the best thing for Cuban democracy is introducing a
>level of economic disparity similiar to what the U.S. and other
>"stable democracies" with a "middle-class" have?

Cuba - has plenty of economic disparity already. People have plenty of 
paper rights but unless you have a dollar income, (or personal 
connections with power) you can forget about most of them.

A solid middle class does not accrue wealth at the expense of the poor, 
it tends to arise from the poor, and is more threatened by the powerful 
than any other group. (Because power allows for kleptocracy and 
corruption on a massive scale, the first victims of which are the middle 
classes, since they have the property).

>
>This seems at odds with my understanding of democracy being founded
>upon political and economic equity.  Perhaps you do not see economic
>equity as an essential part of a stable democracy?

Economic equity of outcome? No. (Communism? Been there, done that, 
didn't work. My wife is Lithuanian and I have friends still trying to 
survive in Belarus).

What is needed is a widely shared belief that the system is relatively 
fair such that a people have autonomy, and that the rascals WILL leave 
office when told to.

I think the rest of the discussion goes somewhat beyond the case of 
Cuba:-)
>To quote Lee
>Perry, "as long as rich and poor, they still exist, there will be no
>peace."  I think this applies to nations as well.  As long as there
>are poor, especially if the gap between rich and poor is huge, and the
>number of poor massive in relation to the rich, there will be no
>domestic peace.  That means no stable democracy.
There will always be rich and poor. People are people, you can't control 
them, you can only work with the way that they are. Doctrines of 
perfection are doctrines of despair. How do you propose to prevent 
disparities of economy or power between people within any society? At 
the point of a gun? (I see a power disparity there between the gun 
holder and the other).
>
>It is also seems at odds which what is happening in the "stable
>democracies", where the "middle class" is being destroyed.  At least
>that is what is happening in the U.S. with a replacement of what used
>to be "middle class" jobs with McJobs.  As a result, the US
>middle-class level of consumption, is supported by a the growth of
>private debt.  That is not sustainable, and is a real threat to any
>remnant of democracy one might think exists in the US.
Personally I think that the US is living in economic cloud cuckoo land - 
too much debt, silly protectionism etc, but that is probably partly 
BECAUSE they are a democracy. One in which most voters are so satisfied 
that they can't be bothered to vote, and certainly seem deaf to the 
wailing of the left. In all democracies the freedom NOT to participate 
is a right not to be belittled.
>
>I also think the real conditions of the cuban economy, depending upon
>imports, with few natural resources to exploit, preclude a "middle
>class" with any stability.  I imagine the stability of the
>middle-class is essential to the stability of the democracy.

Actually having lots of natural resources seems to be a serious barrier 
to a country becoming democratic, since the power cliques tend to be 
much more willing to go to arms for control of said resources. Natural 
Resources are, by definition, concentrated and require only a small 
group of people to exploit.

>
>I agree with your intention of solidarity with the people of Cuba.
>However, I think that you should check your own attempt to solve their
>problem by promoting more economic disparity in their society.  It
>seems to me an attempt to reproduce in their culture, that which you
>know, a middle class existence.  That is not a strong basis for real
>solidarity.
>
So, if someone is planning a trip to Cuba, how do you think they should 
best spend their money?

Spend, where possible, in the small scale private sector and help 
Cubans?
Spend with the State Sector and help mainly Castro and some Cubans lucky 
enough to have State sector jobs?
Don't go to Cuba, help no Cubans at all, (and thus be seen to be 
supporting the USA by your actions if not your philosophy?).

Life is full of least worst choices. Which do you suggest, to someone 
thinking about going to Cuba?

Cheers
- -- 
ian dickson                                  www.commkit.com
phone +44 (0) 1452 862637                    fax +44 (0) 1452 862670
PO Box 240, Gloucester, GL3 4YE, England

           "for building communities that work"



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