Franz J.T. Lee, August, 2007
Venezuela's sovereign people will decide if Marxism is obsolete or not!
Before we reflect politically on the historic relevance of Marxism in the 21st century, especially for the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela, let's first ask: Who is man?
Is he really the Shakespearian "paragon of animals" or is he simply a Hobbesian werewolf?
Before we condemn Marx of discriminating the Mexicans, Jews, Indians and Chinese, let's recollect some typical ideological racist views about exploited and dominated mankind.
We love Marx, we love Simon Bolivar, we love Chavez ... but the TRUTH we love even more.
Already in prehistoric times, in the Old Testament, in the Holy Scriptures, that is, in Joshua, Chapter 9, we are told that the "chosen people," the Israelites officially enslaved the Gibeonites and made them "hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation":
"JOSHUA 9:21 And the princes said unto them, Let them live; but let them be hewers of wood and drawers of water unto all the congregation; ... 9:23 Now therefore ye are cursed, and there shall none of you be freed from being bondmen, and hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God."
In modern times, during the euphemistically called ages of European enlightenment and reason, as ideological reflection of the emergence of the discriminatory capitalist world market of exploitative "unequal exchange," social discrimination, race prejudice and crude racism were rife.
Practically nobody was immune to the omnipresent racism, could escape the lethal ideological tentacles of European inhuman, social and religious arrogance. Over the last centuries within Western Christian Culture in all walks of life the situation became worse, and the white, blue-eyed, blond macho was declared the "crown of creation." Thanks to a marvelous European education and religious socialization, racism infiltrated all the fibers, capillaries and chromosomes of capitalist society.
Hitler was right: If you want to control a people, control its education.
In fact, we should just add: also "control its religion."
Even great revolutionaries fell prey to the massive onslaught of the new master-slave relations, to the racist indoctrination that segregated women and children of all colors, that downgraded the native peoples of Asia, Africa, America, the Caribbean and Oceania to primitive pack animals, to cannon fodder, to the biblical "drawers of water and hewers of wood," to the children of Ham, to creatures that were placed in European zoological gardens as exotic apes, to be ridiculed by middle class tourists.
In 1848, parallel to the publication of the Communist Manifesto of Marx and Engels, the French aristocrat and writer Count Joseph-Arthur de Gobineau (1816-82) published his own race manifesto, his own racist theory in the "Essai sur l'inegalite des races," which probably affected such great thinkers as Marx and Engels too.
We all are victims of the limits and barriers of our specific time, but this is not a valid excuse not to rectify racist error in times. Today still racists want to become presidents in Venezuela.
In that epoch, in the middle of the 19th century, whosoever dialectically affirmed any aspect or fragment of the new victorious exploitative and dominating capitalism logically supported raw racism. Who dialectically negated exploitative and discriminatory racism, for example, the indigenous resistance against colonialism, was a priori already defending the human tenets of up-surging socialism.
At the latest, after writing the "Grundrisse," by studying the phenomenon of "alienation," while publishing "Capital," Marx must have noticed how his inherited racist ideas were coming into conflict with socialist, human emancipation. In his later letters and publications, we found no arrogant racist remarks anymore. Others, like the young Mussolini or Hitler, in their youth started off as "socialists" and eventually ended up as radical fascists and racists.
However, as stated before, racism was not a "sin of youth" of only Marx, after a profound study of all our founding fathers, in Asia, Africa or Latin America, we would be surprised who all were victims of this Apartheid and Zionist plague, were caught in the dangerous fangs and pangs of capitalist racism.
It is important to know who and what scientific and philosophic socialism, that is, Marxism, intended or intends to emancipate on a world scale. Marx did not want to emancipate the bourgeoisie or any middle class, his praxis and theory are weapons in the hands and brains of the exploited, dominated and discriminated workers.
The revolutionary slogan is: Workers of the World Unite!
If this is obsolete today, well then we are not talking about Marxism.
who really is a human being, is man?
has human "rights"?
Who is supposed to be liberated on this planet.
As we in Venezuela already noticed, seen from the point of view of Northern metropolitan racism, all "niggers," "slaves," "camel drivers," "aliens," "kaffirs," "coolies," "slit eyes" and "Latinos" -- over 95% of "humanity," that is, of nearly 7 billion people -- never really belonged (and still do not belong) to the sonorous epithet: civilized, Christian humanity. Whether we of the "Third World," of the South, like it or not, believe it or not, know it or not, what is quoted below is simply the "gospel truth" of our racist, capitalist, imperialist, globalized world, of our earthly, corporate, militarized reality.
Over the centuries, many erudite ideologues have written "classics" on this topic, have confirmed the socially discriminating character of our master-slave relations, of our labor hell. Here are some examples of this capitalist racism.
Living Marxism, in tons of writings, has described that the slaves of Ancient Greece, toiling in the silver mines of Athens, or those who were rowing the merchant ships in the Mediterranean Sea, serving the original accumulation of capital, were not cataloged under the category "zoon politikon."
Even for Aristotle, they were just barbaric, banausic "speaking tools."
And, what else are the millions of "lumpen-proletarians" in the "cerros" and "favelas" of Caracas and Rio de Janeiro for Bush & Co., for Ratzinger & Co.?
Is it different, more civilized, more Christian today?
This tradition of dehumanizing the pauperized exploited labor forces historically can be found in the ruling class views of the great thinkers of the "Enlightenment," of the founding fathers of the Church, of bourgeois capitalist, democratic society. More than ever, its perversion is evident in current international relations, in globalization.
In the Middle East today it epitomizes in the genocidal butchery of a million Arabs and Palestinians, who at whim and caprice are being segregated as stinking, oily fundamentalist infidels, as "international terrorists," living in the realm of the "axis of evil" in Iraq, in Iran. In front of the mesmerized eyes of myopic industrialized labor forces, of the official journalists, already bamboozled by the endless ideological salvos of Murdoch, of a highly sophisticated fascist machinery, anything apocalyptic could happen, and it would be blamed on Bin Laden or on Hugo Chavez Frias..
The latter stated over and over again that he has not studied Marxism, that he is not a Marxist. No problem whatsoever with this. All of us were not born as Marxists. However, if the Venezuelan working masses, if the current "speaking tools," if our "parasites" (Manuel Rosales) ever would speak about Marxism, then we better should follow their socialist traces in the galactic sands, not to become obsolete like the "adecos" and "copeyanos" of 'yestermillennium.'
Three years before publishing the Communist Manifesto, in 1845, in the German Ideology, Marx explained the role of ruling class "think tanks" who are formulating the ideology of a specific epoch, i.e. the ruling ideas of the respective Weltgeist:
"The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. "
Nowadays this statement, which negates social discrimination and racism, coming from the formulation of a new method, science and philosophy for the world proletariat is more true than ever. The physical and intellectual workers scarcely have launched, let alone, barely have discovered their formidable weapon against global capitalism.
Hence how could Marxism be obsolete?
In 1937, at the advent of Nazism in Europe, within the revolutionary tenets of Marxist philosophy, in his well known writing, "Leading Principles of Marxism: A Restatement," Karl Korsch has already explained to us what a class conscious proletariat nationally and internationally should be capable of in the struggle against world capitalism. As yet, we have just begun with this theorico-praxical task of world revolution against global fascism. The workers have not yet launched their real global NO, their true revolutionary Negation of capitalism, viz World Socialism.
The Venezuelan people, the working masses have no experience about Marxism, they never were taught anything about Marxism. They will not forgive us for this educational negligence.
We should inform the masses about Marxism, by means of a Mission Marx, and let the people, the sovereign decide whether Marxism is obsolete for Venezuela or not!
From Moscow came directives and decrees that played havoc with Marxism, with proletarian internationalism. This should never happen here. Also the Bolivarian Revolution can not tolerate any authoritarian and totalitarian "Chavistas without Chavez."
The 20th century Marxist Karl Korsch explained all this very well:
"The proletarian class guided by the Marxist theory is therefore not only, as Friedrich Engels put it, ‘the inheritor of German classical philosophy,’ it also is the inheritor of classical political economy and social research. As such it has transformed the traditional classical theory in accordance with the changes in historical conditions."
Precisely this has to be done, to be thought, to be transcended in Venezuela and on a world scale, that is, wherever a proletarian physical and/or intellectual laborer is toiling for a pittance, for a minimum salary.
As important part of the globalized world proletariat, in the epoch of genetic engineering, cloning, nano-technology and space militarization, while negating neo-liberalism and reformism, we have to inherit modern and modernized Marxist dialectics, materialist science and philosophic materialism that explain the quintessence of contemporary capitalism, of globalization, revolution, socialism and emancipation, that is, explaining the current god forlorn world out of, by and for itself, for us.
Hence, our emancipatory duty is not to declare Marxism "obsolete," "deterministic" or even "economistic," on the contrary, we have to "transform the traditional classical Marxist theory in accordance with the changes in the current historical conditions of globalization." Any thing else we leave to the corporate capitalists and imperialists, they have a serious problem with "Castro Communism."
As long as Marxist principles exist, which reflect the real active negation of capitalism in its totality, so long it will not be necessary to renew its basic concepts every year. In this sense, Marxism will only become obsolete when capitalism itself will be fading into oblivion.
Ever since a decade or more ago, practically unnoticed a northern Orwellian present was unraveling itself by "Leaps & Bounds." With the eternal blessing of the Vatican and with the loyal military aid of Israel, in its global drive to capture rich oil fields and to assure and extend its strategic geopolitical hegemony, the NATO military forces simply massacre left and right innocent Arab men, women and children as if they were "mad cows" or stray dogs affected with mortal rabies.
Now, what did the founding fathers of Bush's current "Empire" had to say to the question of inalienable "human rights" and the "pursuit of happiness" in the Middle East?
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Declaration of Independence, 1776.
But, what did the State philosopher, the objectivist idealist teacher of dialectics, G. W. F. Hegel, in his Lectures on the Philosophy of History, had to tell us about his racist "Weltgeist"?
We will quote him extensively below, to show what is not being taught in Western universities about Hegel.
"Characteristic of the Negro (of Africa) is , that his world outlook didn't reach any definite objectivity as yet, e.g., God, Law, which would reflect a human will, and in which he could experience his essence. ...
The Negro represents the natural human being still in a state of total savageness and wildness...
The Negro displays a total disrespect, a contempt towards humanity...
For him, humanity is worthless, this takes on incredible forms; for him, tyranny is not injustice, and a generally accepted and sanctioned custom is to devour human flesh...
Another characteristic of Negroes is slavery. ... On their own continent the Negroes experience a slavery worse than European enslavement of Negroes. ... The fundamental expression of slavery is precisely that man is not yet conscious of his freedom, hence he degenerates into a thing, into something without any human value...
We leave Africa, not to mention it anymore, because it is not a historic continent, because it lacks motion and development ... it is just appearing vaguely on the dark threshold of world history."
[Excerpts from: G. W. F. Hegel, LECTURES ON THE PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY. (My free translation, exhibiting the "racist" arrogance of such titanic European philosophers.)]
Other famous political philosophers of the Enlightenment, like Montesquieu or Voltaire ... who even fascinated liberators and revolutionaries like Simon Bolivar, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels ... not only participated in the African slave trade, they were also racists to the bone, and discriminated peoples of Africa, Asia and the Americas at all possible opportunities.
What did the great Montesquieu tell us in Africa about ourselves?
"It is almost unthinkable that God, who is all goodness itself, could have determined to place a soul -- let alone a good soul -- in a body as black and repulsive as that of a Negro."
(Montesquieu, "Esprit des Lois," Livre XV, Chapter 5. Our free translation. This is a book that Simon Bolivar and Karl Marx also read, but as far as we know neither one of them ever commented on such racist remarks about the subjugated peoples of the "colonial" world.)
And what did Voltaire tell us?
"The Negro race is a species of men as different from ours as the breed of spaniels is from that of greyhounds ... if their understanding is not of a different nature from ours, it is at least greatly inferior. They are not capable of any great application or association of ideas, and seem formed neither for the advantages nor the abuses of philosophy."
(Free translation out of Voltaire, Works.)
Finally, what did the French Revolution, the victorious bourgeois class declare as the "rights of man" in 1789?
"Every political association has as its goal the preservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of men. These rights are liberty, property, security and resistance to oppression."
Art. 11, Declaration of Rights of Man and the Citizen, 1789.
Within this historic context, as children of their epoch, even Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, the fathers of scientific and philosophical socialism spoke about "barbarian and semi-barbarian countries dependent on the civilized ones."
We also know that Marx himself found a subject of derision in Ferdinand LaSalle's" Negroid" features, calling him a "Jewish nigger," who always "conceals his woolly hair with all kinds of hair-oil and make-up," and that "it is perfectly obvious, from the shape of his head and the way his hair grows, that he is descended from Negroes."
Well, well, these are our beloved revolutionaries, let us make it better!
The best defense of Marxism is self-criticism, is telling the truth, is constructing truthful socialism on a world scale. Only by knowing the truth, shall we emancipate ourselves.
Painting our sacred revolutionary leaders in white will not remedy any white lie, will not light up our dark future. They were and are not gods, that is why we love them exactly as they were and are, as victims of racism and capitalism, who wanted to leave a better socialist planet behind them.
Across the 19th and a great part of the 20th century, we could find all kinds of racist remarks coming from the pen of great revolutionary heroes. Evergreen Marxism teaches us that capitalism breeds racism, and that racism nurtures capitalism. Who does not totally negate capitalism can not liberate herself or himself from all forms of racism.
The revolutionary value of the Communist Manifesto does not lie in the racist remarks of Marx and Engels, but in the formulation of the first theory of globalization of capitalism, and as the revolutionary theory of the world proletariat to topple economic exploitation, political domination, and, of course, social discrimination, that is generated by the master-slave relations in all capitalist factories of the world, including those of Latin America and Venezuela.