An Anachronistic May Day / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 30 March 2015 – A compendium of bows to the official discourse has served the Secretariat of the Cuban National Workers Center (CTC) to tailor its now traditional Call for the May Day celebration. Under the central motto “United in the Construction of Socialism” a call has gone out to fulfill production commitments, to implement the Party’s Sixth Congress Guidelines, to replace imports, achieve savings, make plans for exports, and all the interests of the State boss, along with a vast anthology of Revolutionary slogans and verses.

The tribute to martyrs and heroes is not lacking, nor is solidarity with Venezuela, nor greetings to the World Federation of Trade Unions on its 70th years of life, nor evocation of the memorable definition of the concept of Revolution, expressed by Fidel Castro fifteen years ago during a celebration on International Workers Day.

An entire paragraph is dedicated to the present “international political concept,” emphasizing the maintenance of the “genocidal economic, commercial and financial blockade; the unjust inclusion on the list of countries sponsoring terrorism, and the occupation of the territory where the naval base sits in Guantanamo.” Curiously, the issue of the reestablishment and presumably normalization of relations between the two countries is restricted to “a new approach of the United States Government toward Cuba,” as if the Cuban side had played a passive role in this process and lacked a new approach in its strategy.

Absent from the message was any idea that could be interpreted as a claim, a demand for improvements in working class wages, living standards and working conditions. Not one word about the thousands of self-employed workers and entrepreneurs who today lack any kind of autonomous organization, no allusion to the double exploitation suffered by those who work for joint ventures or foreign firms, much less to the extortion suffered by Cuban collaborators abroad.

At the end of the day, the Call is an almost unnecessary formality. Through the country’s plazas, streets, villages and bateyes hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of Cubans will march waving their officially-permitted flags and placards. Not a single detail will deviate from the established script. Order, discipline and even enthusiasm will reign in the parade.