Franz J.T. Lee, June, 2005
The subjective factor and class consciousness in the Bolivarian Revolution
Ever since the bourgeois, democratic, capitalist French Revolution (1789), globally, all attempted social revolutions of the radical intelligentsia, pauperized peasants and exploited workers have experienced certain common problems, with regard to cultivating class consciousness and nurturing social subjectivity, that is, to creating original scientific praxis and new philosophic theory.
In fact, as far as revolutionary education and class conscientization of the leadership, of the vanguard and of the Bolivarian masses are concerned ... in spite of the huge social gains, of many successful alphabetization campaigns and of the many really well-intentioned educational missions and intelligently planned social projects ... presently, the creation of a revolutionary subjective factor, the unconditional social will to deepen the revolution, to purify it, has become a vital, political life and death issue in Venezuela.
Within the context of the latest attacks against Venezuela, and against her President, this is becoming a crucial matter about trust, loyalty and state security.
Like the huge amounts of money approved to directly fight poverty, presently, the subjective factor, revolutionary subjectivity, does not reach those who have to convert it into self-defensive arms of citizen power.
Also, the creation of a new type of political party, to guide the revolution, to keep it consistent and at a constant velocity and momentum, defending it against bureaucracy, corruption, lies, murder and theft, did not really bear the desired fruits until now.
Over the past year, a careful study of the works of Lenin, Trotsky and Rosa Luxemburg with reference to party politics would have avoided the falling of some of us into dangerous bureaucratic pot-holes. In fact, if we are not careful, Western "civilized democracy" itself will strangle the social revolution in Venezuela, by driving it off its serpentine, socialist path, towards reformist "social democracy", straight towards "Chavismo without Chávez", towards the imperialist fangs of fascist Washington D.C. These "chavistas" within the Bolivarian Revolution do everything to destroy the germination of any revolutionary subjectivity.
It is not just a matter of puntofijismo, of clientilism, bureaucracy, sabotage and corruption, that surely take their daily counter-revolutionary toll. However, the problem goes much deeper, has more profound superstructural, social roots, control mechanisms and alienating factors.
Feudalist religion and obsolete Ideology are fatal stumbling blocks for the development of any true revolutionary subjective factor against world capitalism.
In this brief commentary, we can just spotlight some of them.
To us, real, true revolutionaries, because Simon Bolivar and Francisco Miranda themselves were fascinated by it, the very French Revolution, its class struggles, its social praxis and theory and historic objectives are really informative, truly educative.
The economic and political roots of original capital accumulation can be found in Ancient Greece already. Lydia coined the money for exchange values, the Oracle of Delphi acted as "Central Bank", also as a kind of ancient "Bank of Ambrosia". Philosophically, Thales of Miletus saw to it that this exchange value materially and materialistically was at best expressed as hyle, as hydor, as water.
Plato, Aristotle and Ptolemy prepared the fundamental idealist world outlook, the metaphysical, theological, absolutist, religious, formal logical, ideological superstructure of the future feudalist agrarian mode of production. In his work, Das Kapital, Karl Marx, in detail, has explained the corresponding economic process of capital accumulation and expansion.
What concerns us here is, that the then (1789) newly born mode of production, capitalism, had developed itself across aristocratic and democratic slave societies, and that it took more than two millennia to come into existence, as dominant mode of production to finally triumph over ancient slave society and feudalism.
Now already, we may get a faint clue of how long, and how much, it will take to get rid of this global, globalized monstrosity.
However, it was capitalism that invented its mighty weapon, the revolution, rivoluzzione, rivoltura. Its social thinkers ... Maquiavelli, Rousseau, Hobbes, Voltaire, Montesquieu, Owen, John Stuart Mill, Adam Smith, etc., explained theoretically that social revolutions have to be thought, have to be desired, need objective scientific and subjective philosophical dialectical factors, that they need a historical class consciousness, that is, original natural praxis and new social theory. This heritage was passed on to the Negation, to the radical democrats within the very French Revolution, to Marxism, to scientific and philosophical socialism.
What should we note here?
Firstly, to make a real, true social revolution within the global labor world, everything should be original, authentic and new. Officially, in Europe, with very few "terrorist" exceptions, everything of historic significance that occurred between Thales of Miletus (624 BC - 547 BC) and Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543), was explained and disseminated within the framework of formal logics, idealism and geocentricism. In fact, the whole absolutist, Roman Catholic, religious ideological superstructure was determined by this obsolete slave-holding cosmovision. The whole Holy Bible is formal logical, geocentrist, absolutist and idealist. Ancient Greek and mediaeval "classic" works were written within the limited framework of a formal logical, static, flat world. Many of us still act and think within these geocentrist parameters.
Especially in Latin America, till today, this idealist, formal logical, geocentrist, absolutist world outlook is playing havoc with any serious endeavors of intra-systemic, endogenous capitalist reformism, or even with real revolutionary praxis and theory, with the growth of true class consciousness, with the class struggle.
The emergent bourgeois, capitalist classes in Europe, while accumulating capital, organizing the economic revolution, paving the road for industrialization, also prepared their philosophical, theoretical and political onslaught against their class enemies, the nobility and clergy.
To be invincible, they necessitated a social, superstructural, cultural revolution, that became known as Renaissance, Reformation, Age of Reason, Age of Enlightenment, etc. In other words, the new upcoming social classes, apart from acting economically , of making business, had to reflect, to think anew, to think everything over and over again. In a different fashion, like nobody had thought before.
Here enters the element of the New, the Original, the Authentic. This is the innovative terrain of a "New Man", of a "New Socialism".
Within this context the subjective factor in the Bolivarian Revolution gains priority.
12 guerrillas, partially wounded, entered the Sierra Maestra, with clear evolutionary ideas, with the necessary subjective factor for a socialist vanguard, however, qualitatively to disseminate this class consciousness to millions of Cubans is completely another story.
At the eve of the October Revolution, in the whole of Russia, where the sun did not set in the Empire, only about 1,000 Bolsheviki stormed Czarism and the Winter Palace. To inter-relate their revolutionary class consciousness to a hundred million Russians was well-nigh impossible. In 1918, Lenin and Trotsky warned that if the socialist revolution would not spread to the metropolitan countries, to Western Europe, to become permanent and global, then their own socialist revolution was doomed to failure. History verified their revolutionary fears.
Similarly, overnight, from a handful of true comrades, of valiant Bolivarians, we cannot create a class consciousness, a subjective factor, in the hearts and minds of millions. In fact, without offending anyone, over the last years, the majority of our "chavistas" did not have an idea what revolution and socialism are all about.
Also, in a classical or orthodox, Marxist sense, the "Caracazo" of 1989 and the popular and military defense of the revolution between April 11 and 14, 2002, had very little to do with conscious class struggle, with a revolutionary subjective factor, with proletarian or peasant class consciousness.
Desperately we are trying to develop an "ideology" for the Bolivarian Revolution, to organize forums, study groups, work-shops and classes, to heighten the social consciousness of the compatriots, of the masses. Nobody really knows what we should do, where we should begin. Many have an awful fear to pick up the works of Lenin, Trotsky, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Vo Nguyen Giap, Amilcar Cabral, Che, Castro, etc., to see what they did, how they did it, and why they failed to topple world capitalism in revolutionary deed and emancipatory word.
However, let us see what our arch-enemies, the capitalist classes, did to accomplish a victorious revolution, and even to globalize it successfully. Perhaps they could teach us what to do, to think, to surpass, how to annihilate world imperialism.
To become socially invincible, with the aid of Arab and African Aristotelian materialist philosophy, the Italian upcoming bourgeoisie, the new revolutionary homo faber, theoretically launched its Renaissance across the works of Father Peter Gassendi Marsiglio Ficino, Telesio, Patrizzi, Campanella, Pomponazzi, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, Giordano Bruno, etc. Scientifically, together with Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, etc., the heliocentrist vision of Galileo, Newton, Kepler, in fact, bourgeois, atheist, mechanical materialism, detonated the feudalist, absolutist doctrines and dogmas and blew the State by God's Grace and the Church by Dominican Inquisition Order to blazes. Formal Logics was reduced to ideological, metaphysical debris; Kant and Hegel, later Marxism, launched Dialectics as the new revolutionary method of action and thought, of praxis and theory.
Similarly, in tendency, exploitation of manual labor forces was directed towards that of intellectual labor forces; the social, political and cultural institutions were altered, the energetic base of European production was changed; the class structure experienced new transformations. Capitalism, in spite of its age-old exploitative, dominating, discriminating, militarist and alienating birth marks, vis-a-vis obsolete feudalism, to the Old and New World it appeared new, novel and innovative. For the slaves, serfs and wage-laborers nothing really changed.
Even till today, in spite of Bush's global fascism, many Latin American "revolutionaries", although they claim to be "anti-imperialist", are still fascinated by Capitalism.
Originally, it had a tremendous revolutionary impact that produced such enthusiasm and hopes across the globe.
The historic truth is that from the "good capitalism" of Adam Smith, that is, competitive liberalism, it developed to corporate imperialism, neo-liberalism, global fascism.
The above should be sufficient to explain what our tasks should be to bring about Global Emancipation against Globalization of the French Revolution, of Capitalism as Corporate Imperialism.
We do not have the necessary time, centuries, at our disposal to develop a New Science and New Philosophy, a "New Man", and a "New Socialism", to triumph over world capitalism within the current, intra-systemic, productive, destructive framework.
No matter how many schools and universities we are going to build, how many missions and educational projects we are going to launch, if we do not have sufficient true Bolivarians to carry on the revolution, everything will turn out to be Sisyphus work.
Why did similar projects fail in the Soviet Union, China, Yugoslavia, East Germany, Vietnam, Mozambique, etc.? Why is it so difficult to introduce new conceptions, new revolutionary views, a new modus operandi and vivendi?
For the new, like in the case of the French Revolution, all the new objective, subjective and "transjective" factors, all the historic conditions had to be produced, be present, to launch the new dominant mode of production, capitalism. This also implies that the old, obsolete mode of agricultural production did not have the productive forces, the productive energy, the historic relations, to defend itself against the powerful, rising, industrial, technological, new world order. Furthermore, it was obvious that capitalism could only become invincible as global, globalized imperialism.
The Achilles Heel of world capitalism is its own dialectical Negation, its internal self-destruction, Socialism. Permanently, to "develop", it has to reproduce its own opposite, its Negation, its own Annihilation.
For the time being, Socialism, as explained above, remains as the only real possibility left for us to transcend this capitalist vale of woe, tears and misery. However, a conditio sine qua non is that the revolutionary struggle for Socialism has to be global, be globalized, be more dominant and powerful than its Affirmation, Capitalism itself.
Socialism in one country, on an island, in a region, could be an excellent, temporal paradigm, be very valiant, but, in the long run, however, it will have no chance of survival whatsoever against world, fascist, belligerent imperialism. These international objective, subjective and transjective factors, these dynamics of permanent world revolution, of the Bolivarian revolution, need urgent attention, especially because of the virulent, puntofijista cancer that is currently growing within the movement itself.
Socialism ... like scientific and philosophic atheism, directed against patriarchal, monotheistic, alienating world religions ... as Negation can only be victorious, when it passes from a personal or individual level to a social dimension, to a human, humane and humanist necessity, that creates the conditions for socialist emancipation.
This possible social, socialist "Man", the Negation of bourgeois "Homo Faber", will be the "New individual"; this New Individual, as the Human Species itself, logically will be Socialist Society. Having achieved this, only then, we could transcend Capitalism and Socialism, could we create a New Man, who will be neither a slave nor a master. Only then, could we have a minimal chance of realizing the New, that is, what will be neither Capitalism nor Socialism, but real, true History, Humanity, Human Emancipation.