Franz J.T. Lee, August, 2007
Bolivarian Socialism: Historical perspective of the living Communist Manifesto
Marxism, like the Bolivarian Revolution itself, did not fall like imported manna from the blue royal heavens, it is simply historical, a historical product of the current mode of production and destruction, of capitalism. It is its real dialectical negation, is an intrinsic part of natural and human history itself, of workers' revolutionary self-defense.
Anything historical, in dialectical process, which is contradictory, alive, can never become obsolete, can never land in the rubbish heap of history.
Hence, a brainless, myopic condemnation of Marxism to ideological obsolescence, at first, is calling for barbarism, for the blind destruction of capitalism, then of living history and finally for the global extirpation of mankind itself.
Is it not strange that Stalinism, Fascism, Nazism, Apartheid, Zionism, Capitalism, Imperialism, Neo-Liberalism, Bourgeois Democracy and the Church hierarchy are all anti-communist, anti-Marxist. Should we really follow their anti-workers hatred too? Thus, for all these reasons, as liberators, we have to be very careful, very precise in what we say, in what we do and in what we disseminate on a global scale.
Within the current theoretical discussion of the future socialist 'militantes' in Venezuela with reference to the foundation of a new 'United Socialist Party of Venezuela' (PSUV), also to a necessary constitutional reform and especially to what should be the political essence of Bolivarian Socialism, progressively it is becoming pertinent to formulate our governmental projects, policies and operational concepts very carefully; that is, with the necessary scientific incision and philosophic precision.
A lackadaisical repetitive practice accompanied by a corresponding ossified ideology, learned by rote, which generally uses obsolete, absolute and absolutist fixed ideas based on ancient oppressive beliefs, inherited from the Pleistocene epoch of master-slave relations, certainly will jeopardize Bolivarian socialism in its life and death struggle against metropolitan global fascism.
In the current apocalyptic world of globalization, in which metropolitan corporate imperialism has already developed and planned the use of mortal occult technology and deadly arms of mass destruction against obsolete labor forces, very few of us are really cognizant of the great danger in which humanity currently finds itself.
Billions of the 'the wretched of the earth' do not have the foggiest idea about past war-mongering projects like 'Manhattan', 'Paper-Clip', 'Philadelphia I and II', 'Phoenix I, II & III', 'Mkultra', the 'Manchurian Candidate', 'Yellowcake' or 'Rainbow.'
Even less we know about the corresponding logical sophisticated successor projects.
Ignorance is really bliss.
Concerning HAARP, the Roswell incident, the 'Crop Circles' of England, the 'Pentagon Aliens,' Scramjets and the UFOs that pass Pico Bolivar nearly monthly, Murdoch and Co., Cisneros and consorts leave us in total obscurantism.
Really, in the third millennium here on planet earth, the real level of 'information' and the true degree of 'education' about anything past, present or future that concerns the emancipation of the toiling masses is scanty, is woeful. About socialism, Marxism and the history of the class struggles of all working classes, in schools and universities, such themes have been expelled from modern socialization processes.
In the major global mass media, the eternal global avalanche of deliberately fabricated dis-information campaigns and of blatant big lies about Venezuela has already reached pathetic and criminal levels.
The war of ideas is fierce ... and we are not armed for the current ferocious battle, that precedes violent invasions.
Hence it is important to refresh our transhistoric memory again or at least for the very first time to think, to grasp, to study for ourselves the revolutionary praxis and theory of past liberators like Simon Bolivar, Jose Marti, Patrice Lumumba, Walter Rodney or Ho Chi Minh.
If we are interested in realizing socialism and emancipation on a world scale, a conditio sine qua non is to study the anti-capitalist acts and ideas of the living fathers of scientific and philosophic socialism, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, especially their 'Communist Manifesto', the first scientific and philosophic proletarian theory of globalization, its inherent dialectical contradiction, its bourgeois affirmation and its proletarian negation.
Of course, unlike Plato or Jesus Christ, who lived millennia ago, many of us think that Marx and Engels, who were still alive in 1883 and 1897, are 'obsolete' and that they do not merit the current headlines of global breaking news. This ideological phraseology is very far from the burning truth. Marxist scientific and philosophic socialism was never so up to date as today.
In fact, in his speech of August 25, 2007, concerning constitutional reform, twice President Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias scientifically used a central Marxist concept 'praxis' (the original German concept that Marx used). We know that in his social class analysis Aristotle used it to differentiate the 'speaking tool' from the 'zoon politikon', from the polis citizen. However, more and more, instead of ideological "practice," Marxist theoretical 'praxis' is gaining ground in Venezuela.
Erudite socialist scholars know that the 'Communist Manifesto,' written nearly 160 years ago by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (at the eve of the 1848 revolutions in Europe) is the most powerful political document ever written and it still remains one of the most popular pamphlets. In fact, "according to the Guinness Book of Records it remains second only to the Bible as the highest selling book ever. Last year when a new pocket sized edition was produced in Britain the publishers were amazed that over 60,000 copies were sold."
Nowadays Karl Marx still makes global headlines.
For example, two years ago, according to the British 'Sunday Times' of June 19, 2005, in an article "Karl Marx takes lead in BBC poll of philosophers," reporting about a philosophic poll, we learn that :even "Melvyn Bragg, presenter of 'In Our Time,' is puzzled by Marx’ lead. He said he would vote for Kant, an 18th-century German who is championed in the poll by A C Grayling, reader in philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London."
Yes, Karl Marx won BBC Radio 4’s poll of 2005 as the “greatest philosopher." The 'Times' confirmed this, with the following headline: "Wotsisname, the world’s No 1 genius -- He has been voted the greatest intellectual, but few know who he is."
This is precisely the problem.
The truth about Marxism is being wiped out of the memory of revolutionary humanity by the corporate masters of the universe. We should not play their reactionary ideological tune, their murderous game, we should not participate in their exploitative practice.
This is why Venezuelan socialism has to be introduced to real living contemporary Marxism, and vice versa, starting with the 'Communist Manifesto' itself, which we will introduce in a series of simple popular articles, to underline its current relevance for the Bolivarian Revolution.
True to historic truth, we emphasize that Marx was not only the "greatest philosopher" or "No 1 genius," together with his socialist comrade Friedrich Engels, they developed the first scientific economic explanation of the operation of the tendential developmental laws of the mode of production of capitalism. They formulated the first theory of globalization. Among other things, in his articles concerning the Far East, Marx foresaw the coming into being of a type of International Monetary Fund or World Bank. Above all, together they developed revolutionary praxis and theory for the world proletariat, which are prerequisites for the introduction of modern scientific and philosophic socialism.
Capitalism has globalized itself, but it has not left the philosophic limits of Marxist analysis, for example, those described in Capital, it has to transcend the "Socialism or Barbarism" Rubicon of Rosa Luxemburg in order to become obsolete. As the philosopher Kant explained, things are becoming fully recognizable, in this sense, socialism is approximating its heyday too.
Hence, what is the historical context of the Communist Manifesto, of the specter that haunts capitalism to this very day? Why the fear about Castro-Communism?
Why does international capital hate President Chavez with such international abomination?
From the cradle to the grave, all over in centers of official, bourgeois, capitalist education, Marxism became a taboo, was witch-hunted, was surreptitiously eliminated from the curricula of the schools and universities. What is worse, a century of bloody "socialist revolutions" against subjugation, made in the name of "Marxism-Leninism," were prematurely aborted by imperialist terror and Marx was declared obsolete. To crown it all, many revolutionaries swallowed all this anti-Marxism hook and sinker.
Merely seeing who all hate Marxism, that is, identifying the very same ones who plunder the world, is enough reason for a proletarian to begin studies in Marxism, in socialism. However, it is not a matter of just picking up a pamphlet, published in millions and millions of copies, in nearly all the major languages of the world, and then to cast it aside, because the only understandable thing is the opening sentence: "A specter is haunting Europe -- the specter of Communism."
The Miami reactionary 'gusanos' (anti-socialist worms in 'exile') immediately would lament 'Castro-communism'; the red 'Chavistas without Chavez' suddenly would begin to self deny their humble original Christian roots, and would fear that President Chavez will definitely nationalize their private property, their boxes filled with imported whiskey.
As such, nobody will ever know what Marxism is all about.
Before we could talk about a possible obsolescence, to understand and apply the transhistoric praxical and theoretical weapons of Marxist proletarian world emancipation, at first, certain factors have to be taken into urgent scientific consideration.
We have to understand that the authors of this transcendental document only became "Marxists" around 1843, only a few years before the 1848 revolutions. In fact, Engels became a "Marxist" even before Marx himself. This indicates that the qualitative leap from utopian to scientific socialism was already in the revolutionary air of revolutionary Europe. Marx and Engels were just active secretaries of the proletarian "world spirit." In the 'Communist Manifesto,' they were formulating the transhistoric abc of future global socialist, communist and emancipatory workers struggles against capitalism as a mode of destruction. .
However, especially for the current Bolivarian Revolution, to fully understand this document, which is surpassed only by the "Holy Bible" certain educational steps, which we cannot elaborate in a single article are indispensable. In future contributions, directly reflecting their relevance for the Bolivarian Revolution, we will continue with this important revolutionary task.
To understand scientific and philosophic socialism, that is, Marxism, to comprehend why socialist parties cannot be introduced from above, by decree or directive, necessitates a well organized and planned educational 'mission,' within the context of a wider cultural revolution. Surely, in the epoch of globalization, without socialist praxis and theory, without proletarian grassroots and without a thorough knowledge of the following historic realities, out of ignorance, to anybody in Venezuela Marxism would appear as being 'obsolete' since ages already:
a) The historical background of the Communist Manifesto.
b) The intellectual ferment in Europe around 1848.
c) The development from national to international political economy.
d) The development from German classical idealist philosophy to bourgeois mechanical materialism, to international proletarian historical, dialectical materialism.
e) The master, slave, labor and alienation relations in modern capitalist industrial society.
f) The birth of Marxism as negation within the French and Industrial Revolutions in Europe and elsewhere.
g) The political praxical-theoretical essence of the Communist Manifesto and its relevance for any anti-capitalist revolution in Venezuela, Latin America or anywhere else.
h) In the 21st Century the emancipatory dialectics between living Marxism and the Bolivarian Revolution, in the battle 'socialism or barbarism.'
Obviously all these we cannot treat extensively in a few commentaries, on the contrary they merit a series of workshops and intensive popular participation and real field work; in reality, as stated before, we urgently need a "Mission Marx," better even, a Socialist People's University. The latter in embryo already exists in Merida.
In Venezuela, over the last quarter of a century, as political science and philosophy professor of the University of The Andes, I was teaching precisely the above. Many leading Bolivarians in strategic political positions have received Marxist training in my graduate and post-graduate lectures, classes and seminars, have also read my books on the above topics. However, more than ever, within the Bolivarian Revolution a critical, constructive renaissance of revolutionary Marxism is indispensable, is inevitable.
Currently, in our local study circles of the future Bolivarian socialist 'militantes' this praxical training continues in the discussions of the foundation of people's socialist universities, political parties and the debate on constitutional reform, for example, the Marxist concept of private property of the means of production, as differentiated from simple wares on the market, like a car or toothbrush.
In future commentaries we will elaborate the important themes with reference to the Communist Manifesto and Bolivarian socialism as delineated above. In the global struggle against metropolitan modern fascism to ignore the transhistoric arms of real Marxist science and true philosophy, is simply bordering on reckless "adventures," is to program a series of genocidal and suicidal disasters right from the very start.
More international caricatures of Marxism, like those of Stalinism or National Socialism, we cannot tolerate, they would shed rivers of international innocent blood; for example, like the horrible agony of the massacred scores of millions of victims of the heinous intra-imperialist Second World War, a direct result of an over-productive capitalism in severe economic crisis, and not of the so much glorified, noble Democracy fighting 'national socialist' fascism.