Franz J.T. Lee, April, 2006
Venezuela's future society will be neither capitalist nor socialist
Concerning my article, "Venezuela: without theory, no political party, no vanguard of the revolution! ," published on April 6, 2006, in the current volatile situation, more and more it becomes clear that at this stage of our historic process the Bolivarian Revolution urgently necessitates a workers' political vanguard party, intimately linked to a global workers international.
Many comrades have written to us, phoned us and have expressed their desire to learn more about the construction of a workers' vanguard party for the Bolivarian Revolution.
Of course, in this brief analysis very generally we can just touch on some of the major issues of revolutionary relevance.
First, we have to be very clear what we have in mind with regard to "protagonic," participative democracy, the "process," the "revolution within the revolution" within capitalism, also, with regard to "deepening" the revolution in a reformist habitat and in the inherited bourgeois structures of a neocolonial state apparatus.
Moreover, scientifically and philosophically, there is only one way of understanding modern socialism; it is precisely the opposite of capitalism ... of economic exploitation, political domination, social discrimination, genocidal militarization and inhuman alienation. In other words, it is the dialectical Negation of Capitalism.
As a minimum, anything that is in process, that exists in our universal world, has two sides, an affirmation and a negation. We have two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, two brain chambers, precisely to think, to reason, to see both sides of a thing, to get away from the programmed, unilateral, uniform, university, universality.
To get rid of the evils of capitalism, we have to get rid of both, of reformist evolution (affirmation) and of socialist revolution (negation); we need an extra-systemic exodus, to cross the Rubicon, to enter the realm of creative emancipation (excellence).
Second, we in Venezuela, in the Bolivarian Revolution, at this degree of historic development have no choice, no alternative; logically we have to formulate our own precise revolutionary praxis and incisive philosophic theory.
Or should the Europeans do it again for us?
Beyond doubt, we are sovereign, are free to develop our own concepts, contents, ideology, practice, tactics and strategy but they should be based in real scientific knowledge, true philosophic consciousness. As revolutionary vanguard, this should be directed by a militant, optimistic logic. Furthermore, all these need original ideas, stringent organizational forms and class conscious leaderships, that is, the building of a new workers' vanguard "party," a transitional workers' program and a clear emancipatory objective.
Only within the context of such theoretical considerations can we really talk about a "new socialism of the 21st century," about new revolutionaries, about a new Bolivarian Revolution. The sporadic historic seeds and grass roots of socialism form one side of this phenomenon, but socialism as a modern militant revolutionary weapon against aggressive, savage imperialism is a completely different story. In this specific case, it forms the dialectical negation of a world capitalist system in transition, in death agony.
Whether we are socialists or not, whether we say it or not, whether we deny Marxism thrice before the cock crows twice, Washington D.C. will still come to get us, to get our oil, gas and other natural resources. Hence, let us talk straight about Marxism, straightforward about socialism in a scientific and philosophic manner.
Let us make world news about socialism, even if it has already disappeared from the academic curriculae, from the news headlines. Where are the good olden days when a specter was still haunting Europe, the specter of communism?
Third, at this moment of total imperialist savagery against Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran, against the Bolivarian Revolution, definitely not "Christian socialism" or "liberation theology" are at stake but "Castro-Communism," that is, Marxism, the continuation of the revolutionary socialist efforts, ever since the revolutions of 1848 and the Paris Commune of 1870, especially those since the October Revolution of 1917.
What is decisive for us, here and now, in the whole "Third World," is not to bury Marxism in the 19th century, not to accept that all "Bolshevists" are blood thirsty "terrorists," not to hide scientific philosophic socialism behind "computer socialism" or Christian religious iron curtains. On the contrary, as Che said, our revolutionary duty is openly to complete the French Revolution, to drive it towards its own negation, towards socialism, towards global workers' victory.
At the turn of the 20th century In a relatively very short period of time (from 1905 to 1917), in Russia practically three different revolutions took place. After the February Revolution of 1917 the decisive factor for Lenin and Trotsky was how to organize the vanguard of the workers and peasants, was to create a new type of political party to direct the revolution towards proletarian victory. Without this vanguard party, which had to be based in a class conscious sector of workers, the October Revolution never would have been successful.
It is well known that in Russia revolutionary quality and not mass quantity was decisive: six months before the October Revolution, in the whole empire where the sun never was setting, only about 1000 Bolsheviks were active, formed the organized vanguard of conscious workers.
In this case, comparatively, less than 1000 real, true Bolivarians could really set the whole Latin American prairie on revolutionary fire; they could swim like fish in the Orinoco and Amazon river basins, fighting the Yankee paramilitary forces that are being training there.
However, we should not forget the real socialist quality of the handful of guerrillas of Fidel and Che who successfully launched the Cuban Revolution in the Sierra Maestra.
Compared to all this, also to Iraq, and the popular resistance raging there, we have sufficient natural resources and human forces, that is, enough revolutionaries to fight imperialism. Nonetheless, in the ferocious internal battle against petit-bourgeois and middle class high treason, urgently we have to improve our social quality, our revolutionary class consciousness. What follows shows what could be done.
To demonstrate the power of a proletarian revolutionary party, historically, only after the infamous "Moscow Trials," after having murdered nearly all of the leaders of the original vanguard of the Bolshevik Party, including Leon Trotsky, could Stalinism triumph in the Soviet Union.
Stalin witch-hunted the Bolsheviks like Bush's CIA blood hounds today haunt "terrorists."
Fourth, if we want to make a socialist revolution, that is, an anti-capitalist revolution, we have to be fully aware of what we are doing and thinking, and what dangers we are inviting to come and massacre us. As true revolutionaries, we are changing current world history, we are reshaping and planning it for future emancipatory realities.
As President Hugo Chavez Frias has underlined so often, this planned future society will be neither capitalist nor socialist: hence logically it has to be a classless society, to be the end result of fierce global class struggles. To achieve this the Bolivarian Revolution must have a very high level of "praxical" activity, a huge degree of theoretical self-organization of the whole population.
Certainly, much has been done partially to achieve precisely this over the last seven years.
What happened during the military coup and oil sabotage in Venezuela ... between April 11-13, 2002 and December 2002 and January 2003 ... has very little to do with a spontaneous socialist revolution. By its very class nature, its class struggle, the negation of capitalism, a socialist revolution, can not be commandeered from above, cannot be ordered by a religious messiah, a self-appointed party hierarchy or an elitist political oligarchy.
Fifth, of course, here in Venezuela, and in Latin America, we need not be intellectual genii or scientific geniuses to know who or what are toiling workers, who are being exploited, dominated, discriminated, murdered and alienated. For us, all these form the Latin American and Venezuelan suffering, pauperized, working classes.
Questions like whether the working class is still an instrument for revolutionary change in globalization, whether the workers are already totally integrated in the wonderful world of capitalism, whether the whole bunch has already acquired a middle class consciousness or that such things like social classes and the class struggle do not exist anymore, I leave to the academia in the ivory towers of the Sorbonne, Oxford or Harvard to solve by writing excellent world best sellers.
What I see all over in the streets of Calcutta, in the mountains of Caracas and Rio de Janeiro, all these suffering "miserables" teach me authentic lessons about revolution and socialism in the 21st century. Today to know what is still a worker, a slave, what is a master, what is class struggle, I need not necessarily read Marx's "Capital" or Lenin's "What is to be done?."
Sixth, whether Bush invades us or not, what do we really need for a socialist revolution in Venezuela? Consciously or even subconsciously, when will the Bolivarian Revolution necessarily become "negative," that is, become contradictory and dialectical? Logically, when will it negate capitalism in its totality. In brief, when will we inexorably become scientifically and philosophically socialist?
The answer is very simple: All this will happen when we here, together with others on a global scale, have amplified our revolutionary class consciousness, our anti-imperialist self-consciousness to a maximum degree and when this will be related directly to workers self-creativity and self-organization. This revolutionary dialectical social contradiction creates the conditio sine qua non for the construction of a proletarian vanguard party, for a workers emancipatory international.
The above is not 19th century Marxist dogma or 20th century orthodoxy, it is a healthy, sane lesson derived from the equal, unequal and combined development of the capitalist world market, of globalization, of the closed labor process, of universal history. To really study this one needs not be a Marxist, one only needs a still functioning brain.
Seventh, all over among workers, in their daily struggles, we find various fragments and relics of elementary class consciousness, of revolutionary subjectivity, but these are not constant, not permanent, now and then they flicker up, succumb, and vanish again. However, to fight for immediate gains, this is necessary, otherwise across the globe the toiling working classes would become totally demoralized.
Our daily struggles, even against the nasty attacks of the "opposition," against savage military coups and brutal oil sabotage, do not convert us automatically into socialists, do not transform our democratic social reform into socialist revolution, into total negation of capitalism, imperialism and corporatism.
Eighth, yes, ever since 1905, for a whole century, scarcely a year passed without social unrest, social revolt and social revolutions of the working classes having occurred somewhere on the globe.
For example, in two decades, alone between 1960 and 1980, even in metropolitan countries like Belgium, France, Italy Portugal and Spain, and even in Poland, more than 45 million workers actively have participated in class struggles. Lately we have experienced more workers struggles in France. In the USA, apart from the huge demonstrations against the war in the Mideast, even retired generals now begin to attack the fascist regime of Bush and his elitist consorts.
Well, many rightist "think tanks" or even leftist " seven wise men" are convinced that the days of Marxism, of class struggle, are gone with the wind and that the future of mankind, directed by Bush walking and talking with God, now begins south of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, that is, South of Eden.
Over the last seven years in support of the Bolivarian Revolution we could witness many working class acts in Venezuela. In fact, millions have performed precisely what is to be understood by revolutionary praxis in class struggle. Hence the question arises, do we really need a revolutionary party, revolutionary theory?
Ninth, yes we do. Working class struggles are not permanent, they are cyclical, they have their ups and downs, depending on many factors, among them, on workers victories or losses, brutal massacres or democratic gains. They also depend on the development of capitalism itself, from democracy to fascism, from economic boom to global recession, from John Maynard Keynes to Milton Friedman, from the ALCA to the ALBA.
Until now the high class militancy of workers do not necessarily correspond to their class consciousness. In fact, in many cases of radical militancy, class consciousness could be totally absent. A classical example is precisely what happened here in April 2002.
For the coming class struggles in Venezuela precisely this contradictory relation between workers militancy and class consciousness makes popular vanguard organization, a revolutionary workers party necessary.
Proletarian revolutionary class struggle is the liberatory "work" of the workers themselves. It can never be directed from above, neither by a bourgeois nor by a "people's" State. A political, revolutionary vanguard party is exclusively the creation of workers themselves, of, by and for their own class interests. All States within the framework of capitalism, imperialism and globalization, who guarantee the "democratic" existence of classes, by means of the existence of private property of the means of production and communication, in the final analysis, logically have to defend upper class interests, have to generate social inequalities, class privileges, corruption, bureaucracy and social inequality. Some less, some more, true to their specific social function.
Ruling class structures, especially the State, are very adamant die-hards.
Lenin said it plain and straight: Democracy in class society is always the dictatorship of the few over the many. This can be verified all over the show today.
Tenth, what is a vanguard political party, how is it born? How can the Bolivarian Revolution create its politically self-organized, workers vanguard?
In Venezuela legally we have all the basic organizations to accomplish this historic necessity, from the popular base till the popular parliament, till the national assembly in the streets. As a workers creation this process will take some time. Unless it is recognized by a large number of workers, unless it has working class acceptance and following, a vanguard self-organization is complete nonsense. In Venezuela, it must be recognized as the political vanguard by the "buhoneros," "tin-collectors," unemployed, sub-employed, peasants, existing workers, oil workers, factory workers, mine workers, revolutionary youth, revolutionary students, revolutionary women, revolutionary resident foreigners, by all of them as their vanguard political party. Anything else, in the old Accion Democratica or Copeyano style will not serve as a workers' political revolutionary party.
A vanguard party is not born in an ideology workshop, is not the result of conscientization, of bourgeois education or socialization, it is the creation of praxico-theoretical class struggle.
Eleventh, what is the relation between the vanguard political party and the socialist revolution?
When did Lenin's Bolshevik Party become a political vanguard of the workers and peasants of Russia? One thing is sure, it must have been before the October Revolution, before capturing State power, before the revolutionaries demolished the ancien regime of feudal Czarism.
In reality the question should be: at what level of the class struggle of the workers and peasants against feudalism did the revolutionary qualitative fusion in real life take place between the workers vanguard organization and the real Bolshevik leaders of the real struggles of workers in the factories and peasants toiling on the land?
By studying the "Russian Revolution" written by Leon Trotsky and the works of Isaac Deutscher, we will come to the scientific conclusion that this happened in Russia only as late as 1913. Hence, in the Russian Social Democratic Party, it took a whole decade for the Bolsheviks to reach working class revolutionary vanguard status, and four more years to conquer political power.
Hence, the Bolivarian Revolution has still much to do, so little done. At least it has already conquered political power, and partially the economic base.
Twelfth, what is to be understood by self-organization of the workers as a revolutionary conscious class? Elementary class self-organization we can witness throughout Venezuela over the last seven years, including self-defense of the Bolivarian president, by the lower classes and the popular army, and the rapid restoration of the economic heart-beat of Venezuela in 2002. Within the necessary legal democratic framework, the coming into existence of the new Bolivarian trade unions is another example of popular self-organization; also the workers’ cooperatives, nuclei of endogenous development, the people’s councils and other local grassroots popular committees.
Thirteenth, as little as socialism in one bloc, in one country, on one single island could ever be realized, so little one vanguard revolutionary party in one country, in one region could topple current globalized world fascism of the Mussolini, Hitler and Bush varieties.
Thus we need a global project, a global revolutionary program, a global international, proletarian internationalism and international proletarianism to fight global, globalized fascism. We have no alternative, either we revive the Fourth International under new world historic conditions, or we found the Fifth and Last international.
However, before we do that, we have to study very carefully the history of the workers struggles across the planet, to identify the errors committed, and to avoid to commit them again in the final decisive battle of the human species itself.
So-called history, the labor process, is on the side of current world fascism, but creation and emancipation are on our side.
Furthermore, we have to study why four internationals did not topple capitalism, why a series of social revolutions in the 20th century could not accomplish this task either.
Above all we should study our own Bolivarian Revolution, its inherent weakness and obvious victories, its practice and ideology, its possible future praxis and theory, its formal logical limits and religious universality.
Fourteenth and final, there is a "trialogical" emancipatory relation between the workers' vanguard organizations, the real class struggle and the proletarian revolutionary party in the construction of global socialism.
Apart from the current threatening global apocalypse, only as such, with the above scientific knowledge, we can still develop a new revolutionary science and philosophy, a new praxis and theory, new creativity and emancipation, the real, true, socialist wo/man.