Franz J.T. Lee, December, 2004
Venezuela: Revolutionary praxis and theory?
What is Revolutionary Praxis and Theory? Does the Bolivarian Revolution necessitate a scientific praxis and a philosophic theory? How are they related to the fundamental, dynamic forces of transformation of the whole American continent? What theoretical role can the progressive intellectuals of the world play in this dramatic emancipatory process?
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Workers from all over America and the Caribbean will attend the Second Bolivarian Congress of the Peoples in Venezuela (December 6-9) to defend the unity and sovereignty of the Americas. What, we reflect here, should surely concern this world event.
Among other issues, the following questions are of paramount importance:
What is the theoretical framework of Venezuelan "Participatory Democracy" and "Citizen Power"?
Why over the last decades, despite the seeming consolidation of "electoral democracy," more than ever Latin America is still plagued by dire poverty, social discrimination and magnified corruption?
Within globalization, within the world capitalist, imperialist, closed system, will regional, popular, "participatory citizenship" ... encircled by world, metropolitan fascism in the making ... be powerful enough to create a healthy democracy, a future just society?
When Andres Eloy Leon stated: “We have a lot of work to do; we have to recuperate 500 or so years of oppression”... what does he really mean? Did he try to say that the workers must work still harder, that their labor force has to be exploited even more? That they should produce more surplus value for the State, for their foreign bosses? What should be "recuperated"? Their dignity, their freedom?
To answer these questions, a new, original, authentic world outlook is imperative. In other words, we need our own philosophy ... not blemished from the very onset by such bourgeois, capitalist fabrications like "ideology" or even "democracy." Simply changing terms by adding other appearance forms, by adding oil to the fire, that is, by face-lifting them with adjectives, do not alter their exploitative, dominating profit essence.
Until now, within the global productive process, every new mode of production had its own world outlook, its own philosophy; higher forms had more powerful superstructures. Definitely, the geocentric view, the ideological basis of slavery, absolutism and feudalism, had no chance against scientific, rational, capitalist, heliocentric bourgeoisee. The Stake was crushed by the Guillotine, Intellectus was replaced by Ratio, Geo by Helios, Theology by Natural Science, Hoarding of Goods by Accumulation of Capital, Agriculture by Industry, Aristos by Bourgeois ... all brand new concepts. This was bourgeois, capitalist, theoretical Enlightenment, this was intra-systemic, scientific, practical Revolution.
This huge transformation of productive forces and relations gave birth to its internal opposite, to something New, its Negation. It deepened the Negation within the Revolution itself, launched the Proletarian "Revolution within the Revolution", that is, Workers' Scientific Praxis (against ossifying and ossified, capitalist Practice) and Proletarian Philosophic Theory (against the falsifications and lies of Ideology), in short, it created Marxism.
To understand the philosophic heights of Marxian Theory, just study his momentous work, "Capital" very conscientiously. To grasp the practical roots of workers' historic tasks, of the making of the revolution, of real. true socialism, just live the trans-historic "Communist Manifesto" -- across all continents, millions and millions have launched their social revolutions in its name.
To fathom the social dynamics of the even, uneven and combined development of capitalism and socialism, of the world market, that swept away slavery and feudalism out of current, dominant production, just read Hegel's Phenomenology of the Mind, to see the praxico-theoretical power of living, lively dialectics, of the global motor of permanent revolution, against intra-systemic reconciliation, fascist reformism and nazi barbarism within the reigning world system.
To leave this global corporeal and spiritual holocaust, in our emancipatory efforts, we have to do, to think and to excel much, much better. Our emancipatory task is Exodus, to get out of this vale of labor pain and woe. As "ex-formation" ... not in-formation ... to achieve this, we really need:
A micro-cosmic, galactic outlook, a "transjective" praxis, that atomizes the very material, productive foundation of world imperialism; principally, we have to tumble all the till now worshipped idols and adored European, sacred, Statues and Statutes of Conquest, Colonialism and Imperialism; A transcendental theory that illuminates and eliminates all the ideological flotsam and jetsam that capitalism has produced in its superstructure, has implanted in our minds and very souls, in religion, ethics, culture, tradition, racism, alienation, etc.
This is the trans-historic revolutionary, emancipatory task of current, permanent, world revolution, of the Bolivarian Revolution. This is not only a class issue, it is a human issue. Rich against Poor, changing the relations between Rich and Poor, is just systemic reformism; to eliminate both is revolutionary, is Class Struggle. And, who taught us about dialectical Class Struggle? The very Negation of the Negation within the French Revolution itself.
If we do not revolutionize ourselves in time, the very Bolivarian Revolution will transcend us.
To begin to formulate a Bolivarian Philosophy is to study the philosophic ideas of the epoch of Simon Bolivar ... of Bolivar himself, of which he and his comrades-in-arms were a trans-historic creation ... is to study capitalism, the French Revolution itself.
Because we have to know what we must transcend, what we have to annihilate, what has caused the North American Corporate plague against Central and South America. In other words, we have to know scientifically what is capitalism, philosophically, what is imperialism, what is capitalist, imperialist production in current Venezuela.
How capitalism in Venezuela exploits, dominates, discriminates, assassinates and alienates the workers, the sovereign.
To know what foreign capital, local capital and the oil giants are really doing here in Venezuela is "participatory" Knowledge, is Citizen Power. Anything else, anything less, is pure Ideology. Logically, such revolutionary knowledge will convert itself into scientific praxis and philosophic theory, will create real anti-capitalism and true anti-imperialism ... not just pejorative, empty words, used at whim and caprice ... will show us how to make a revolution, that the world never has seen before, how to transcend revolution towards human, creative emancipation.
Only then we will realize that no form of chameleon democracy will ever emancipate us within the current, global, capitalist, imperialist world order. We already had a fair share, a full dose of "Christian Democracy," "Action Democracy," "Arab Democracy," "Social Democracy," "Socialist Democracy," "Soviet Democracy," "American Democracy," "electoral democracy," "slave democracy," "representative democracy."
How much more "demo-cracy" can we take, can we still tolerate?
As we know, nearly all previous forms ended up in capitalist oligarchy and corrupt kleptocracy.
Let's be theoretically a little bit more original, to discover something worth living for, worth dying for!
Concerning the Congresses of the Intellectuals and the Peoples, allow me to terminate, by asking two decisive questions:
How can Participatory Democracy possibly ever reconcile itself with the current, raging, virulent, violent, Global Class Struggle in Venezuela and Latin America?
Furthermore, what is the Social Class Difference between Citizen Power, Sovereign Power and Workers' Power?