Too Young for the Party and Too Old for the Communist Youth / Cubanet,
Luis Cino Alvarez
Cubanet, Luis Cino Alvarez, Havana, 9 February 2017 — Try as I might—to
avoid being a bore and accused of holding a grudge against the boy—I
cannot leave Harold Cárdenas, the ineffable blogger at La Joven Cuba, in
peace, I just can't. And the fault is his own, because the narrative he
makes out of his adventures defending his beloved Castro regime, and his
loyal candor, strikes one as a kind of masochism worse than that of
Anastasia Steele, the yielding girl in Fifty Shades of Grey.
In a post on 19 January, Harold Cardenas complained of the terrible
limbo, for a communist, in which he finds himself (not to mention that
it would be the envy of many militants who accepted the red card because
they had no other option): Harold, being past the requisite age, was
removed from the Union of Young Communists (UJC), but he is not accepted
into the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) because, they explain, he is
still too young.
His situation reminds me of a 1976 song by the British rock band Jethro
Tull (which Harold probably doesn't know, because of his age, and
because I can't imagine him listening to any music other than that of
Silvio, Buena Fe and Calle 13). The song tells the story of the
disconsolate and hairy motorcyclist and failed suicide, Ray, who was
"too old to rock and roll, too young to die."
Harold Cárdenas rightly intuits, given the entrenchment recently being
displayed by the regime, that he has been given the boot—or the bat, as
his contemporaries say—from both organizations because of his
publications "in other media." And so he knocks himself out with
explanations, challenges his punishers to find one counterrevolutionary
line in his writings, "but without taking a line or a post out of its
context—conducting a serious search through the totality of the content."
As if these guys needed to go to so much trouble to suspect someone and
consider him an enemy!
The blogger, with his foolish sincerity and wild innocence (Ay, Julio
Iglesias!) has annoyed the stony big shots and their subordinate
"hard-core" little shots—always so unsympathetic towards those who, even
while remaining within the Revolution, dare to think with their own
heads and give too many opinions. This is why they consider him
undisciplined, hypercritical, and irresponsible, why they don't want him
in the UJC nor the PCC.
Overall, he came out all right, because in other times, not too long
ago, who knows what the punishment might have been…
Harold Cárdenas, with his faith intact through it all, assures us that
he does not have a single complaint about the Party, although, as he
says, it hurts him "how some dogmatists detract from the collective
intelligence of the organization."
As far as Harold is concerned, his punishers do not answer to an
official policy, but rather are dogmatic extremists who think themselves
more leftist than Stalin. He warns: "We must take care not to confuse
sectarian procedures with State or Party politics, even if they try to
disguise themselves as such. The individuals who apply them, although
they might try to justify their actions as being taken in the name of
the Revolution or some institution, are doing it for themselves. They
are trying to preserve the status quo of the known, motivated by fear,
ignorance or other interests."
Harold Cárdenas, who seems to believe himself the reincarnation of Julio
Antonio Mella (who, by the way, seems to have been assassinated by order
of his comrades and not the dictator Machado, due to his Trotskyite
connections) believes that what is happening is a "tactical struggle
among revolutionary sectors" of which he has been a victim. But he does
not despair. With the patience of a red Job, having been warned that "it
is very difficult to fight for a better society outside of the movement
that must lead the construction," Cárdenas says that he will join the
Party when he will not have to "subordinate the political struggle to a
vertical discipline… when they give me a way, there will be a will."
And one, faced with such resigned masochism, does not know whether to
pity Harold in his wait for the blessed little red card, or give him up
as incorrigible, and let him continue to self-flagellate. May Lenin Be
Author's email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison
Source: Too Young for the Party and Too Old for the Communist Youth /
Cubanet, Luis Cino Alvarez – Translating Cuba -