Franz J.T. Lee, May, 2005
Venezuela: Red-capped, reformist capitalism in new socialist clothing?
VHeadline reader Hector Dauphin-Gloire wrote: "This letter is being written in response to the commentary of Mr. Franz Lee regarding his view of the incompatibility of socialism and Christianity and his belief that the Bolivarian Revolution must take a more orthodox Marxist tack."
Furthermore, in the particular statement below, we can detect the real contradistinction, the gaping theoretical contradiction between my political revolutionary views and those of the author. In fact, like the rest of the article, this is a somewhat occult attack against the real, true Negation of the French Revolution, that is, against living Marxism and Socialism in its entirety.
"Specifically ... in contrast to Mr. Lee ... I would argue that for the Revolution to succeed -- and succeed it must, for like the Spanish Republic in the 1930s, all the world's hopes for social justice in the future are riding on Venezuela right now -- Chavez must be careful not to repeat the mistakes of central planning, of fiscally unsustainable government intervention, and of hostility to religion that tarnished the Marxist regimes of the past."
Firstly, regarding his condition as "a North American currently working in rural development in an African village ... a long time ideological supporter of the Bolivarian Revolution and other causes of the Left ... and a frequent letter writer to this journal, VHeadline.com", we have to congratulate the author for his detailed, sincere and well-researched response to my commentary.
If we had more North Americans like him, certainly the American future would be a lot brighter. May the following response and respectful critique serve for the education of both parties, and for the rest of our readership and leadership.
Secondly, any scientific and philosophic critique, no matter the specific level or degree of our individual ideas, thoughts, views or consciousness, is always welcome.
In this special debate, allow me to indicate some, perhaps unintentionally written things, that do not precisely further our common revolutionary endeavors. It concerns conceptual imprecision and a certain way of addressing me, a certain attitude towards a compatriot with a different philosophic opinion.
The theoretical difficulties that arise when trying to comment stringently on the author's letter, are due to its conceptual chaos, with reference to his application of terms like "socialism", "socialists", "nationalization", "cooperatives" and even "corporatism", which, from a true, scientific and socialist perspective, are quite distinct concepts and reflect different processes within the global imperialist expansion of the French Revolution, that is, within Globalization itself.
A study of classical Marxist political economy, dynamically enriched by contemporary data and scientific knowledge, would certainly have helped to resolve the author's conceptual problems immediately.
The following examples will suffice to illustrate the theoretical problem in question.
"Christian socialists played an important role in the Peruvian revolutionary regime."
Who and what is a "Christian socialist"? What exactly is the difference between a Christian, a Socialist, a Christian Socialist, a Democrat, a Social Democrat and a Social Christian Democrat? Do Christian Capitalists exist, too? Then again, what exactly is a Christian at all? What kind of "future society" do they all really dream about?
Furthermore, what exactly is to be understood by a "non-socialist country"? Then, what is a capitalist country? Dialectically, according to "orthodox Marxism", can one be two radical opposite things or processes at the same time, for example, a holy devil, a demonic saint or a fascist Pope?
"Consider the record of overly hasty nationalizations followed by economic stagnation in any number of socialist African countries ... in Tanzania, in Angola, in Mozambique."
Who has informed the author, that we had, or still have, a "number of socialist African countries ... in Tanzania, in Angola, in Mozambique"?
I must confess that, as an African revolutionary, I have never seen or heard of any socialist country in Africa. Africa never ever had the historical conditions to realize true socialism.
And, what "socialist" relations did these African countries have to the following "most successful socialist regimes"?
"The most successful socialist regimes have been those that allowed independent worker's cooperatives to emerge, or that allowed an important role for the free market in the economy -- Hungary after the 1960s, Tito's Yugoslavia, Allende's Chile, Vietnam or China after 1980."
What exactly do we have to understand by "socialist success"?
Is a so-called "egalitarian, just redistribution of capitalist income and wealth", produced by economic exploitation of workers' labor force, a "socialist success"?
If so, what then is to be understood by "capitalist success"? The answer to these questions reveals, what Scientific Socialism is really and truly all about.
If this is an example of Marxist Orthodoxy, then: Long Live Marx!
Why has "socialism" become a cheap bed-fellow of just about everyone, of everything, of Christian Socialism, Arab Socialism, African Socialism, Real Socialism, Soviet Socialism, Orthodox Socialism, Democratic Socialism, Cooperative Socialism, Corporate Socialism and, worst of all, of National Socialism (German Fascism)?
The answer to the above question is, that the term socialism has become ideologized with the clear objective to rid it of its Marxist revolutionary core, that is, to eliminate the notion of social class consciousness and with it, class struggle.
More than ever, its core revolutionary elements are being diluted and thus destroyed by ideological and religious illusions, chimeras and phantasmagorias, are being mercilessly attacked by a galaxy of imperialist demagogues and pseudoscientific "think tanks", and are being dumped into the glowing epicenter of the current Global Mental Holocaust, thus being replaced by a New Orwellian Newspeak!
To verify this and to know what we are talking about, suffice to follow Fox News, CNN, the New York Times, the Miami Herald etc., etc.
This kind of "socialism" surely will not help Latin American Integration or the Bolivarian Revolution to liberate itself from the current, fascist, North American threat, and less even to overcome the perverse, capitalist relations of production that are bleeding our continent to death.
This is why we insist on studying, developing and nurturing the Revolutionary Trinity, Evergreen Socialism: Scientific, Philosophic and Emancipatory Socialism.
In order not to repeat myself too often, not to rewrite what I have said so many times already, in other words, not to produce ideology, here I will just quote some of my very recent comments concerning the issues in question. They will surely spotlight the enigma surrounding the introduction of a new socialism in Venezuela, will also prevent that a "red-capped", reformist capitalism in "new" socialist clothing unnoticeably sneaks up snow-capped Pico Bolivar.
Concerning the independent revolutionary action and political thought of President Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution, we underlined: "Before we commence, let us get something elemental very straight. We need not legitimize our social revolution in the eyes of the world, of the "Left" or anyone for that matter.
Against the possible critique of any true orthodox Marxist, I suggested:
"Who wants to participate, fine, but on our revolutionary terms. Who wants to make another revolution, another type of socialist revolution, also fine; well, please, just do it, preferably, in Washington D.C., in Paris, in Berlin, in London, in Beijing, in Moscow or Madrid, and then, let us co-operate!"
In the same spirit, I stated the following:
"Nobody can force us to develop a revolutionary práxis and theory, unless we ourselves have arrived at this decision, at this point of self-determination of our own future. We need no formal logical labels, and least of all, a capitalist or socialist one. In fact and in spite of our conceptual necessities, we should not be forced to develop any 'ideology', any '-ism' whatsoever, and we are no '-ists'. In this spirit, we are talking about revolution, práxis, theory or emancipation here."
In fact, I went with Marxism beyond Marxism, indicating the creating, creative, "transjective conditions" of emancipation:
"We require some space and time, to move from ideology to theory; we acquire certain objective, subjective and 'transjective' conditions, in order to be able to pass scientifically from 'third way' practice to socialist práxis; and, finally, we aspire philosophically, to transcend from Waterloo to Dien Bien Phu, from Bandung to Caracas; to surpass the bloody Massacre of a million Indonesian communists, also the '47 Hours of Venezuelan Fascist Dictatorship', from continental Revolution to global Emancipation."
In another context, I have warned that we could also fail, could also commit errors with our "new socialism", and I indicated the socio-historic roots of these possible, dangerous equivocations:
"If we ever should lose this historic paradigm of revolutionary emancipation, it will not be because of foreign military invention -- see Dien Bien Phu and current Iraq -- will not be because of the CIA or 'paramilitaries', not because of the 'opposition', but because of our own human, ideological and practical failures ... because of strange, obsolete beliefs and ideologies, of intellectual and theoretical slackness, of egoism, vice, corruption, clientelism, robbery, bureaucracy, lies and avarice ... as we know, all were nurtured and cultivated in the oligarchic 'Fourth Republic', now they threaten to materialize themselves in our very midst, attacking the very essence of our Bolivarian Revolution."
Finally, specifically ... in contrast to Mr. Hector Dauphin-Gloire ... I would argue that for the Bolivarian Revolution to succeed, the following should be the praxical and theoretical context of our analysis:
"Thus ... never mind the ebb or high tides ... the acceleration and deceleration of revolutionary momentum and forces, the equal, unequal and combined dialectical, socialist development of global, trans-historical transformations, in Venezuela, in Latin America, only the audacious, tenacious, radical and permanent revolutionary waves, that is, the daily socialist ... the truly anti-capitalist, really anti-imperialist ... práxis and theory of a vigilant vanguard of the Bolivarian Revolution will eventually survive, will sweep from history, from Bolivar's America, this current, scandalous, criminal plague of Global Fascism, eradicating its historical roots and seeds by all self-determinate and self-defensive means necessary for human survival on this planet."