Political culture and culture of doing politics. By Gustavo Roberto Dolz
Among the most important theoretical contributions that are part of the substantial ideas that, verified in practice, have accompanied the Cuban Revolution since its inception, is what Armando Hart classified as “the culture of doing politics”, placing José Martí and Fidel Castro as its most prominent and relevant exponents, pointing to both as representatives of “that purest and most useful fruit in the history of Cuban ideas.”
It is not about political culture, which is, of course, the essential source from which the immense wisdom of both was nurtured, but about the practical forms of its materialization and the ways to overcome, successfully, the obstacles that arise before all transcendent and change project.
Let us follow Marti’s definition of politics, as «the art of inventing a resource for each new resource of opposites, of turning setbacks into fortune, of adapting to the present moment, without the adaptation costing the sacrifice, or the reduction of the ideal that it is pursued; to give up to make a push, to fall on the enemy, before he has his armies lined up and his battle-ready.
It is, therefore, a category of practice that must wisely combine radicalism with harmony and be governed by ethical principles. This is how it is expressed in the Cuban national identity, having at its core the political and educational culture present in our intellectual tradition.
Cuban pedagogical and philosophical ideas, from Caballero, Varela, and Luz to the present day, already have two centuries of history and have been linked to the constant aspirations and popular needs. Science and culture never contradicted divine beliefs.
There is, therefore, a vast culture to share and disseminate that, embraced by the new generations of Cubans, may continue to exercise a political, philosophical, and cultural influence of profound and far-reaching repercussions in the future.
As Hart reiterated to us on more than one occasion, it is necessary to know how to differentiate, and at the same time relate ideology – understood as the production of ideas – with science, ethics and politics. In other parts of the world, these categories were confused or failed to relate.
Capitalism, pragmatic and perverse in its way of segmenting reality, cannot do it, and only a dialectical, materialistic thought can do it: differentiate and relate the concrete achievements of the human being. For this, intelligence, sensitivity, knowledge, and culture are also necessary, integrating the generalized effort of the people to tackle this immense challenge.
For the Cuban Revolution, throughout more than a century and a half of uninterrupted struggles, the key idea has been to banish the disastrous slogan of “divide and conquer”, practiced by empires, and to exalt the democratic, popular and just principle. to “unite to win”, together with the fulfillment of Marti’s sentence that “the power to associate is the secret of the human.”
It is, in current times, a humanism that relates culture and development, and allows us to assume with science and ethics the confusing globalized world – and also digitized – of the present and of the future.
On the basis of the best tradition and Marti’s teachings, Fidel Castro developed, in the past century, and up to the present, the revolutionary idea of ”uniting to win”, overcoming, in Cuban conditions, the old reactionary motto of “divide and you will conquer ”, emerged from the bosom of feudal society throughout the history of the so-called dominant Western civilization.
As was the Cuban Revolutionary Party of Martí for the organization and the restart of the war of independence, this time it was the culmination of a long and difficult path, where what Hart called «fidelista culture was revealed in an extraordinary way. of doing politics”, that is, catalyzing and harmonizing power, humanistic sense, shunning and avoiding exclusions; “Neither tolerant nor implacable”, was the invariable course and the seed sown, being harvested until the present time.
When Fidel affirmed, in his memorable words from the lecture hall of the Central University of Venezuela, that “every revolution is the daughter of culture and ideas,” he placed both components as the highest priority on the political scene, he placed himself at the forefront ideological world and put culture – genuine human creation – at the center of politics and the struggle of ideas. Life shows us this constantly.
In the Cuban case, the best tradition of two centuries of ideas integrated into the cultural heritage of the nation represents our strength and cohesion, and presents us to the world with our own and very defined features as a society and as a country.
Coming to this day, “the culture of doing politics” is reiterated as the most original and useful fruit of Cuban ideas, reaching in the practical ways of making it a unique contribution to the history of universal political ideas, thinking as a country.
Closely related to the above, President Miguel Díaz-Canel told the National Assembly: «The political and mass organizations are called to be more proactive and inclusive. Never neglect the important social component in your political-ideological work and work with everyone, not only with the convinced but also with the apathetic, in whose indifference we have a share of responsibility that we have not been able to add … ».
José Martí’s contribution to political ideas was based on illuminating and clarifying, with his immense culture and multiple erudition, the practical ways of doing politics.
Based on the tradition of Marti’s teachings –in the second half of the 20th century–, Fidel forged the unity of the Cuban people to make the Revolution, defend it, develop it, and overcome all obstacles placed in its advance.
This legacy, as a whole, constitutes the culture of doing politics, conceived as a category of practice that, fundamentally, consists of defeating the divide and conquer and establishing the revolutionary idea of uniting to win, on ethical foundations that incorporate the vast majority of the population.
At a time fraught with dangers, but also with enormous possibilities for the fight in favor of the better world to which millions of beings all over the planet aspire, it is necessary, as never before, to research, study and promote this principle. martiano and fidelista.
Political culture – important in itself – may be insufficient or incomplete to achieve the highest goals if “the culture of doing politics” does not accompany it. Life and history have shown enough examples in this regard, and continue to do so.