Franz J.T. Lee, November, 2005
Venezuela between Jesus Christ and Karl Marx...
Concerning my recent VHeadline article, "Venezuela: How to arm ourselves physically and mentally to become invincible," we have received quite a number of letters and personal comments. Some readers even asked for urgent Spanish translations of such highly informative articles. Instead of replying individually to all the questions raised in many letters, briefly I will just explain the key issues pertaining to class consciousness, religious critique and socialism today.
Catching the bull by its horns, one of our VHeadline readers, supporting the Bolivarian Revolution, from Canada commented as follows:
"Hi Franz, another much needed piece to orient the struggle. Not sure it would resonate outside the intellectual classes all on its own -- but well-received here, nonetheless. So let's get down to the task of adding real, Marxist socialist content to the too-abstract category of '21st Century Socialism'."
He also immediately moved from "too-abstract" emancipatory theory towards concrete revolutionary praxis: "PS: A new email List to discuss this very issue has just been set up this week (because such discussion was being discouraged on another List)."
A serious discussion about Marxism today is timely and welcome. Nationally and internationally, as can be witnessed currently in Mar del Plata, Argentina, and elsewhere, wherever President Chavez appears or gives an address or a press conference, the Bolivarian Revolution inspires, grasps the emancipatory imagination of the oppressed world.
However, capitalism is a very specific, complex, powerful, global, historical reality. From the active and theoretical point of view of annihilating its exploitative essence, of eradicating it from the face of the earth, only a specific science and philosophy has studied its historical process, its laws, its dialectics, its parasitic character and internationally how to eliminate it by means of scientific praxis and philosophic theory, by global workers' class struggle and world revolution. This living science and philosophy is socialism or Marxism. It replaced and excelled religious ideology of passively changing the world "peacefully" by means of the "grace of god."
Although nobody has come back as yet, to give us a report of living conditions in Heaven, nonetheless, no staunch Christian would ever doubt the "theory" of going to Heaven some day after death. Similarly, Marxism will only be disproved theoretically when all of us together will sing "Nearer my God to thee" in Heaven, and not in our universe, not in our solar system, not on planet Earth.
Naturally, Marxism has become the measuring-rod, to know who or what is really revolutionary, truly wants to emancipate the downtrodden billions on Earth. The global Christian "meek and humble" love Chavez, in the final showdown, they necessarily will have to love Marx also; in the end to be invincible, they will have to love the truth itself even more.
The Bolivarian Revolution, the Bolivarians, in our mass media, speak the whole day about "socialism," we should urgently take note of this simple coming truth.
All the 20th century revolutions that lost their original socialist essence and momentum during the class struggle, for various reasons, eventually degenerated either into caricatures or they became tragic paradigms of neocolonial, imperialist outposts. This is a lesson worth learning.
Here, let us just spotlight a complex problem with regard to Marxist education, to class consciousness in a still "Third World" colonial-capitalist country, and with reference to current socialist studies within the Bolivarian Revolution. In future commentaries we will discuss other urgent immediate aspects in more detail.
President Chavez' government, here in Venezuela and abroad, has achieved a lot concerning informative enlightenment about capitalist and imperialist issues, their overt and covert operations and dominating, belligerent machinations, however, concerning real Marxist and true socialist education in schools and universities very much is still to be done.
Here, lecturing about Marxism for already a quarter of a century at the University of The Andes, Merida, in my graduate and post-graduate political science classes, one of the basic social problems of the Bolivarian Revolution has become self-evident. Many of my ex-students are Bolivarians in key government positions across Venezuela; all of them experience similar problems with regard to revolutionary education and socialist conscientiz-ation of the comrades, of the compatriots, of the sovereign, of citizen power.
On a continental dimension, as far as Latin American integration is concerned, as reflected in the current summit conferences in Argentina, the very same problems are magnified and are yearning for immediate scientific and theoretical solutions.
Does it make sense to organize summit conferences against North American fascism and not mention socialism, Marxism, the class struggle and the abolition of private property of the means of production and communication?
Will we handle such urgent issues from the open veins of Latin America, from the open grave of humanity? In a revolutionary, emancipatory sense, are our mammoth international conferences really successful, really emancipatory?
In my classes, across the last decades, I observed a strange super-structural phenomenon that always repeated itself. I noticed that I could easily explain to my students the exploitative character of the physical, colonial conquest and its abominable, torturing, horror-terror crimes. In general, they would totally agree with me.
However, at the very moment when I begin scientifically to touch and unveil the colonial, spiritual, mental holocaust, the merciless European, religious mind pillage and current North American messianic vandalism ... that ever since the barbaric Inquisition till today still lingers on in our churches, kindergarten, schools and institutions of higher learning ... then suddenly a mental blockade sets in.
This intellectual inertia, this mental resistance can also be detected in such grandiose freedom efforts like the "theology of liberation." Generally, seemingly out of nowhere, a whole colonial pandemic unio mystica, a programmed master-slave mentality arises to immediately attack "materialism," Marxism. Like all over in capitalism, mostly this anti-Marxist aggression is accompanied by primitive, ideological arguments, that favor a "master race," and also by religious views of a "chosen people" with a messianic mission; all these are intermingled with a metropolitan social and race hatred directed against "Third World" pagans, "commies," "camel drivers," "niggers" and "terrorists." This alienating pathology has affected large sectors of all social class layers, and found its way right into the alma mater.
The more we introduce and study Marxist praxis and theory, the more we set fire to ruling class lies, defamation campaigns, moral assassination and academic ostracism, but also to the endless religious adoration of all earthly and heavenly lords and warlords (sometimes, even of Hitler, praising his German military grandeur and today even that of Bush). This religious, ideological "mother of all bombs" is configured to disfigure any sincere, scientific, socialist, dis-alienating endeavors, leaving behind just perverse, virtual shadows of their possible existence and liberatory energy. This is not a specific Venezuelan phenomenon, it is a global social plague.
Over the years, for example, at the very moment when I began to apply the basics of scientific socialism, that is, when I commenced to explain the matrix of social critique, of academic, religious and ideology criticism, then immediately the devil broke loose in the classroom. Like most compatriots, who fear to be identified as "Castro-communists" or "atheists," the bulk of my students, with all necessary intellectual means, even with long red nails and sharp, white teeth, desperately were defending their "spirituality" against Marxist "materialism," were rescuing their slender life-thread, their beloved, feudal beliefs, their implanted galaxy of holy, white angels, of saints, immaculate virgins and infallible popes; their St. Nicholas, his Coca-Cola flying colors, the Christmas trees, their "pesebres," the "Nino Jesus," the "Virgin Mary" and the three "kings" ... yes, nobody could dare to touch these "sacred cows"!
What would Venezuela be without these traditional colonial customs and religious beliefs? Well, the oil sabotage of the capitalist creme de la creme in December, 2002, stole all these Christmas niceties and has taught us in the long queues day after day that Venezuela could survive, could live with other delicacies, with revolutionary praxis and theory, according to new, until then, still unknown socialist measures. Months before, in April 2002, in a ferocious class struggle, we already have pulled ourselves by our own hair out of the capitalist bottomless pit of puntofijista golpismo.
Hence, Yankees, beware!
In other world religions, the very same things happen to billions of wage-slaves, to nearly 90% of the global population, to humanity in its entirety. All over, also in Venezuela, Marxism is not a favored subject on the oficial curriculum of schools and universities, it is not even treated as a special discipline of international relevance.
This is what I call a real global Mental Holocaust"!
This is the bourgeois fear of Marxism, ideologically transmitted to all of us, it is a serious stumbling block on the serpentine road towards human dis-alienation, is something that very few people, very few revolutionaries notice, that does not concern the huge international mass media, the United Nations programs, or the myriad of NGOs, the "New Tribes" missionaries in Amazonia or the dozens of annual world conferences.
The real intellectual damage, the magnitude of total alienation ... ironically, of "thinking" Man, now already living in the "Information Age," in the era of "intellectual property rights," in the "Third Millennium" ...the possible destruction of a whole species, by capitalism and imperialism, and now by "globalization" and in future by "post-capitalism" or "computer socialism," is beyond any possible spiritual measure, is beyond repair or material, financial reparation.
Alone for Africa, any real, true reparation expressed in a financial or money relation for the African victims of the transatlantic slave trade would surpass thousands of trillions of dollars, in fact, would cost all the accumulated wealth of the ruling classes on earth. The only reason why all this happened is because none of the rulers ever believed in their own superstitious and religious divine fabrications. Furthermore, one does not pay reparation to "speaking tools," to "niggers"; the German nazis and their current successors knew and know this "national socialist" truth very well:
Better dead than red or black!
Explaining all these things to most of my students, who are all convinced that they belong to the "middle class," I learned many a revolutionary psychological truth; in fact, I began to understand, to feel like Plato being thrown on the slave market, like Socrates who had to take the revolutionary hemlock, like Anaxagoras who said that the goddess Selena, the moon, was simply a piece of rock, and was therefore ostracized, driven out of Athens.
Furthermore, as the revolutionary quality of our classes was deepening, over the last years, approximating the 21st century, seeing the fascist renaissance of Bush's Herrenvolk religion in the USA, his patriotic Apartheid laws, and later experiencing their brutal "messianic" reality in Afghanistan and Iraq, I felt like the "atheist" philosopher Giordano Bruno, who when he was already burning on the stake, turned his glowing face away from the bloody cross, and told his murderers of the Dominican Order, of the Roman Catholic Inquisition, that they feared him more than he ever could fear them,
In other words, he told them, that eventually "history would absolve him," as it did to Galileo Galilei and to Fidel Castro already. Finally, nowadays I am beginning to feel like my philosophy teacher, Ernst Bloch, who like Socrates, was accused in "communist" East Germany of seducing the youth, with his philosophic principle of hope.
It was n this historic tradition, that my very much concerned but still confused students in Germany, Nigeria, Venezuela and elsewhere desperately were screaming:
"Prof, we agree with all your capitalist and imperialist social critique, however, as educated Christian socialists, as staunch socialist Christians, please, understand, just leave our Popes, our Saints, our Religion in peace!"
How will we be able to eradicate this alienation impregnated across five centuries?
We will have to create the emancipatory conditions, a world that does not need this huge, holy aureole, this fantastic virtuality, this vale of human tears, this heart of a heartless world, these sighs of billions of oppressed peoples. The immensity of religious dissemination and alienation precisely indicates the high degree of capitalist exploitation and imperialist domination and racism.
Of course, no official religious ideology will really help us to clear up this obscurantist, academic skies that nurtures all kinds of counter-revolutionaries and dangerous traitors, that sabotage the very "deepening" of the revolution within the revolution.
Yes, Catholicism converted us into our very opposites, we have not to re-vert, but rather have to counter-vert ourselves, to conscientize, more precisely, to create, to emancipate ourselves, and for this, we need the very opposite of what is known until now as "education" or "socialization."
A revolutionary mission that uses the same old colonial, missionary methods and neocolonial contents is doomed to failure, is destined to cultivating more "escúalidos." more "chavistas without chavez."
The problem is that our emancipating, creative era is running out -- we have only a few years left to eradicate pretty fast what has been sown for centuries already.
To crown it all, similarly, the very same thing happens when we want to explain the quintessence of exploitative, dominating discriminating capitalism to most of our comrades and to the world.
Also in this case, everything is fine, as long as we do not identify the only method that could analyze capitalism as dialectics, and do not explain to our students or readers that the only real science and true philosophy that could still reveal the quintessence of socialism, the negation of capitalism, is a very carefully nurtured, cultivated, curing and protected Marxism, and surely not its dozens of bourgeois, corrupt, revisionist, reformist and Stalinist caricatures.
Hence, teaching our own philosophy, accompanied by a Marxism that is a direct transhistorical product of capitalism itself, is its "No-A," its "Non-Capitallism," and which has globalized itself, as the negation of globalization, as a kind of emancipatory ALBA, as a new dawn on the human horizon, this is one of the most pertinent revolutionary tasks of Bolivarians in Latin America.
However, in doing this, in the classrooms, in public lectures, on internet, suddenly there appear the not seriously reflected "Devil," the automated Cold War fascist "anti-communist" slogans, ideological old straw and religious chimeras, that is, phenomena like "christian socialism." "socialist christianity" or the "theology of liberation." They immediately tune in on the propaganda waves of the global belligerent symphony of Goering and Goebbels against that what millions and millions of pauperized wage-slaves, dispossessed, peasant pariahs and outcast helots have defended with their very sacred blood in the name of Marxism across the globe since 150 years already.
In valiant efforts, by means of all kinds of revolutionary ostracism and emancipatory exorcism, millions of downtrodden, alone in Indonesia, a million communists gave their very lives in defense of Marxism, all were massacred as victims of Christian civilization.
Bolivarians, perhaps we are too early or, worse even, too late. But, la lutta continua!