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“Order, Discipline and Exigency”: Cuba’s VIth Party Congress, the Lineamientos (Guidelines) and Structural Change In Education, Sport and Culture?

Presentation made at the21st Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy, Miami, Florida, August 2011.
PowerPoint Presentation Here.  OrderDisciplineExigencyPP7-2011
Paper DOWNLOADABLE HERE. Order, Discipline and Exigency”: Cuba’s VIth Party Congress, the Lineamientos (Guidelines) and Structural Change In Education, Sport and Culture?, in Papers and Proceedings of the Twenty-First Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy (ASCE) 21:148-170 (2011); available http://www.ascecuba.org/publications/proceedings/volume21/pdfs/backer.pdf.

Abstract:  The Lineamientos de la política económica y social del partido y la Revolución approved April 2011 has the potential to significantly alter the social, economic and political organization of the Cuban state. Though they remain true to the fundamentals of the Marxist-Leninist State-Party system, the Lineamientos conceive anew the normative basis of state operation. This essay examines the Social Politics (Política Social) provisions of the Lineamientos. These target the great cultural-political achievements of the Revolution–medical care, education, culture, sport, social security, employment policy and state subsidies. In effect, these serve as the ideological heart, as well as the barometer of changes in the fundamental Party line and its effectuation. The essay starts with a consideration of the Linemamientos provisions of Política Social as they relate to education, health, sport and culture. It will consider these Guidelines in light of those initially proposed and explore the extent of the changes within the framework of the Lineamiento set as a whole. The second part of the essay examines what these changes suggest in terms of the place and character of education, sport and culture within evolving Cuban state policy and suggest what the changes may mean for the future course of the development of Cuban State-Party system.  First, the Lineamientos themselves were developed in response to the recognition that the current economic model was both tied to the economic development needs of the State (as represented in the economic provisions of the Lineamientos themselves) and, like the current economic model, unsustainable in its present form.  Second, Second, it is not clear how effective the State will be in bending education to the needs of Cuban industry.  Third, it suggests that the earlier expenditure on brick and mortar projects—large school buildings and other substantial infrastructure, now has become something of a drag on the ability of the state to deliver education efficiently.  Fourth, Cuba is now wrestling with the consequences of globalization and the technological revolution that made globalization possible. Fifth, the public focus on family involvement as a critical component of education, and education reform, cannot be exaggerated.  Sixth, the Lineamientos reaffirms and continues the long tradition of centralized control of education and the importance of the political education of Cuban citizens in socialism.  And lastly, the emphasis on the connection between education, culture, and sport and revenue generation can have a potentially significant effect on the delivery of these services to the population. More generally I will suggest that the education, sport and culture Lineamientos parallel similar issues facing developed states, including the United States.