Franz J.T. Lee, October, 2007
Bolivarian Socialism: the fertile womb for a coming working class consciousness
Since nearly a decade of radical social change, all over Venezuela, in nearly all our political addresses, lectures and debates, stubbornly many of us were (and are still) sticking to worn-out political concepts like 'ideology' and 'practice.'
In reality, urgently we need to revolutionize our actions and thoughts, to develop new concepts to describe our 'new man,' our new socialism, our revolutionary workers' praxis and theory.
Sad to say, leaving the erudite experts in such issues aside, most of us do not have the foggiest notion about the origin of the 'idea of the the idea' (Plato), of the 'logos' or 'nous' (Anaxagoras) or even of 'ideology' (Francis Bacon) itself.
Did we know that in Plato's 'Republic' philosophic hierarchical master-slave relations and apartheid royal-worker social structures were decreed?
Did we note that till this day these are being preserved by a sophisticated ruling class idealist ideology?
As expounded in the third section of the Republic on education, this is where we are being informed that State censorship is allowed, and that therewith all categories of half-truths, black and white lies, which form the sacred birthright of all ruling class politicians, are religiously being consecrated.
In the epoch of the original accumulation of capital in Ancient Greece, this is the birth of ruling class ideology in political philosophy, in Plato's doctrine of ideas, in his intelligible topos ouranios, in his aristocratic summum bonum, in the polis. Whenever we talk about socialist ideology we should remember this dubious transhistoric origin of the idea, of the logos, of ideology. However, let us focus on other relevant aspects of this controversial concept.
Without indulging in sophistry or semantics, of being a know-it-all, for revolutionary reasons, it is pertinent to clarify the concept of ideology.
Globally ideology is becoming the irrational defense of the capitalist status quo, of Bush's Forth Empire, it generates absolute 'common sense' and religious truths, causes contagious intellectual stagnation, breeds conspiracy and hypocrisy, safeguards eternal repetitive practices. To crown it all, global ruling class ideology is permanently trampling with its bloody army boots on the creating, creative seeds and plants of the real new, on dawning proletarian class consciousness. Progressively, consumer newspeak (Orwell) is catching many of us in its ideological, genocidal clutches, very tacitly a myopic actionism swallows us, and in our very inner self sows a hatred towards intellectual reflection, thinking, thought and theory.
As such, we become anti-social, anti-socialist, anti-Marxist, that is, innocent victims of a surreptitious, global, globalized, corporate mind and thought control machinery, of current ruling class ideology. This ideological attitude impedes the growing of workers' consciousness, of class consciousness here in Venezuela and elsewhere.
The least what the reborn old political castes are discussing in the whole process of constitutional reform and of the founding of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) is the scientific and philosophic relations and revolutionary truths of socialist praxis and theory.
However, what all the infiltrated turn-coats and CIA agents defend, what all they are talking about, is future ideology, future clandestine practices, power, posts, fat salaries, future expensive cars, women and imported whiskey. Against this new political class President Chavez and the true Bolivarian revolutionaries have declared total war. They need our full support, our emancipatory solidarity.
Now, taking on a more theoretical view. In the concept of ideology, formal logics 'A is equal to A' triumphs; everything is and becomes 'A,' the establishment, status quo, world order, the idea of the idea, that is, capitalism. Yes, ideology is ideology, it will always be ideology, be the ruling ideas of all ruling classes.
Measured by the global magnitude from where this concept is being launched today, and what it is generating, It seems that ideology is manna falling from heaven; ideology is en vogue, even socialist ideology is the talk of the town, just about everybody is fascinated by it and is defending his or her own ideology. This is exactly what those who funnel ideology and religion into our brains have in mind.
Very few people try to propagate praxis, theory, philosophy or emancipation for the Bolivarian Revolution. Why is this so?
It seems that all social classes produce ideology, all revolutions produce ideology. Also, ideology is a good thing, we need an ideology, a revolutionary ideology, our own ideology.
Why did Lenin underline: without theory, no revolution?
He did not say: without ideology, no revolution. And, he was talking about the socialist revolution. Or is revolutionary theory, like the 'class struggle,' like Marxism itself, already totally obsolete? Are globalization, neo-liberalism and ideology novelties, on the order of the day?
Lenin definitely was not an ivory-tower philosopher! He did not take imported vodka on the battlefront.
All ideology ends up in deforming class reality, in falsifying the ideas and acts of class opponents, psychologically it is negating the real class struggle. Although the workers of Venezuela permanently are participating in class struggle, especially in 2002, who is explaining to them what is class struggle, what precisely they are doing, what they are thinking? Is this not what a socialist party is supposed to do? And, can this be done with an ideology that distorts the class struggle?
Certainly, official sociologists will tell us that our only problem is 'social conflict,' is that our Venezuelan 'society is at risk,' that the war in the Middle East is a clash of civilizations, the clash of religions, of ideologies. Perhaps this is the reason why here in Venezuela the Marxist 'ideology' is not compatible with our Christian socialism. We should really seriously re-think our views within the context of our modern Bolivarian Revolution.
What is explained before also concerns concepts like 'democracy,' 'revolution' and 'socialism.' It is clear that the 'speaking tools,' the workers, the poor, can not eat and drink ideology. Except controlling, indoctrinating and manipulating their minds, it produces nothing for their well-being, for their class interests. In fact, as we could witness in our discussions here in the 'battalion' of San Onofre, the masses are sick and tired of the bamboozling ideology that was produced by the previous ruling classes, also of the traditional political parties.
Thus, it is not strange that no ideology, serves to protect the class interests of global emancipation. Surely, we can continue with all our beloved ideologies, with ideological schooling, give them whatever content we please, however, we should first study consciously and conscientiously our age old, formal and dialectical logics, thereafter to see, to realize what is ideology, how it operates and which class interests does it serve; furthermore, it is time to develop new global emancipatory logics, which should include all types of thinking, also those which are neither theological, nor formal, nor dialectical, nor Marxist. Only as such we could transcend the dangers of ideological stagnation and its corresponding repetitive practices, and create a new science and philosophy that surpass current 'newspeak' (Orwell) and its growing 'mental holocaust.'
In other writings we have dealt with the above issues, here we will just summarize the early Marxian concept of ideology, to aid us, the Bolivarian socialists, to develop creating, scientific incision and creative, philosophic precision in our daily tasks.
As we have noted already, definitely, the concept ideology is one of the most controversial terms which are reflected by the world market, namely, as expressed in the class superstructure of world capitalism. However, for us, for the global working classes who philosophically never ever were allowed to participate in the formulation of any ideology, this word has a very negative connotation. Especially during the epoch of colonial conquest, it became an effective and efficient ruling class instrument of mind and thought control, of racist discrimination, of a continuous mental holocaust that lasts till this very day.
Currently, as can be witnessed by the fierce ideological attacks on the Venezuelan democratic government, ruling class ideology, disseminated by all the major means of mass communication, is generating global and globalized mental barbarism; it aims at total control, it tries to eliminate every critical revolutionary spark that ever has existed in the concept ideology. For example, modern 'newspeak' especially does not like the current Venezuelan paradigm of participative democracy. Now, let us see who also prefers to talk about revolutionary praxis and theory, and who knows what is ideology.
On Friday night, July 1, 2005, between 10 and 12 a.m., I was listening to and looking at a most informative live interview with President Fidel Castro Ruz, directed by Walter Martinez in his 'Dossier' program of Venezolana de Television (VTV). The discussion itself concerned current world events, religion and socialist revolution.
It was a real pleasure to listen to a modern world leader who called a spade a spade, in a talk that lasted two hours, in which Fidel did not use the concept 'ideology' once to confuse it with scientific and philosophic praxis and theory. Similarly, he did not distort Marxism, did not make a caricature of the negation of capitalism, by calling it Stalinist 'real, existent socialism' or ideology. This is really an extraordinary revolutionary exception, which testifies that in Latin America Fidel has studied Marxism very diligently, learned tremendously from it and that he is applying it scientifically to contemporary global reality, to human emancipation.
On the other hand, on dozens of occasions he used the term 'theory,' where usually others would prefer the slippery concept 'ideology.' A few times the word 'ideology' did fall in the interview; but it came from Walter Martinez.
Surely, to know socialism a sine qua non is to know capitalism, furthermore, to know reformist ideology is to know revolutionary theory, Marxism. Who has not studied Marxism, who knows very little about scientific and philosophic socialism, can not call himself a Marxist, can not even criticize Marxism, or declare it obsolete. Self-chosen ignorance, mental inertia to study over 50 volumes of Marx' writings (or at least half of them) and ideological opium or religious prozac surely will not help us to create a new man, new liberatory logics, an innovative natural science and a novel socialist philosophy, will not blaze the dangerous bloody trail in Venezuela and the Americas towards human emancipation.
Although distorted by capitalist ideology, like never before, in current Venezuela the social and class contradictions are deepening. As depicted by the 'opposition' in its local, national and international mass media, more and more, the very term 'ideology' is unveiling its real, addling essence which night and day spews ruling class hatred, confusion, distortion, stultification and segregation, consequently, towards the outside world progressively it is blurring Venezuelan reality. Its bare-faced lies are repeated in the world press so often till they become intrinsic parts of superstructural fascist ideology, namely, until the liars themselves begin to believe in their very own diatribal lies, reports and 'news,' and to see themselves as whitewashed democratic angels. They lose the critical mental capacity to differentiate between virtuality and actuality, between fantastic delirium and concrete reality, between master and servant. In reality they lose the diferencia specifica of mankind: rational thinking.
By means of ideology they distort themselves, disfigure the truth.
In the end, sitting in Miami, they just see themselves as the watch-dogs of the world order, as the Gestapo or stormtroopers of corporate imperialism, of Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Microsoft, etc. These brain-laundered staunch believers do not see Chavez, do not see the Bolivarian revolutionaries and socialists, they just see a specter that haunts the globe, Arab infidels, 'Nigger' outcasts, 'Castro-communist' parasites, Jews, inferior women, gypsies and pariahs.
All across the ages, this was the intellectual end product of ruling class ideology.
Concerning ideology and criticism of ideology, we can learn much from Marx and true Marxism. This is why ideology bedevils scientific and philosophic socialism, the negation of capitalism. In 'The German Ideology,' Marx has explained with dialectical precision what is ideology, what is the so-called 'science of ideas':
"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."
For centuries, this was valid (and still is true) for Venezuela, and for all countries on the globe. This is the reality of slavery, feudalism, capitalism, fascism and 'real, existing socialism,' that is, Stalinism: the master thinks, plans and controls his slaves; the slave works, toils and defends his master and private property with his very life. The modern wage slave does not form part of the 'progressive' material forces of society, he does not possess the means of production as private property, thus he does not participate in 'democracy,' in the production of ideas, of thought, of thinking, of ideology. He participates in human toil, in blind physical activism, he is being taught to hate thinking and thought, theory and philosophy.
The poor of Venezuela, 85% of the total population of 24 millions, in 1998 were living in critical poverty and dire need, when the Bolivarian Revolution was launched nearly a decade ago.
Who produced capitalist ideology, who controlled culture, religion, education and socialization were not the working masses but a small elitist ruling class which, together with foreign corporate imperialist forces, was plundering the wealth of the people, of the country. The Bolivarian Revolution launched a full scale program to promote proper housing, health care and popular education.
Till this day, the working masses are thankful and loyal to President Chavez, millions are supporting him, they simply love their comandante Chavez, they love their revolution. All these in popular thanksgiving to a president (thanks to the oil boom) who is doing something concrete for them. What we think about the above, what the world press or Washington say, is irrelevant for the working masses.
At this moment, what the Venezuelan poor workers feel and think, precisely this is not ideology, it is the fertile soil for germinating seeds to grow, it is the womb of a coming class consciousness, about which Marx has taught us.
Marx elaborated the capitalist capital crime as follows:
"The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas; hence of the relationships which make the one class the ruling one, therefore, the ideas of its dominance." (ibid.)
Hence, in capitalist society, what is the precondition to produce ruling ideas, to coin, to print ideology?
Among other things, necessary is the existence of a ruling class, whose members can think, are allowed to think and who have or can acquire a ruling class consciousness.
It is evident that something like socialist ideology could not have developed in Venezuela. The task of socialism is not to create middle or upper ruling classes. Socialism is approximates Cuba, but it never conquered world power. It is still very far from achieving its historic goal in Venezuela. Also, the past ruling classes were everything else than scientific and philosophic socialists, that is, they were not Marxists. Whether our Bolivarian socialists need a revolutionary ideology or not, whether we need an emancipatory philosophy, revolutionary praxis and theory, instead of an ideology, the future direction of the Bolivarian Revolution and the class struggles in the Americas will decide. Socialism involves all the social contradictions and relations in capitalist society, in the first place, those of the exploited, dominated and discriminated workers. Their class struggle is decisive. Machines and computers are goods of consumption, they do not produce surplus value, the physical and intellectual labor forces of workers around the globe still produce profits, capital, wealth and power.
Furthermore, because the global ruling classes not only produce ideology, they also produce and nurture ideologues and think tanks, who knows, they probably already clone innocent thinkers as intellectual Frankenstein monsters, as machines with a human interface.
In schools, universities and other educational institutes the process of dehumanization continues, as Marx emphasized: "it is self-evident that they do this in its whole range, hence among other things rule also as thinkers, as producers of ideas, and regulate the production and distribution of the ideas of their age: thus their ideas are the ruling ideas of the epoch." (ibid.)
Our extremely limited possibilities to publish true facts about our Venezuelan reality are but just a few drops on the ideological lava of the empire of Murdoch, and of other international press agencies. To stop these international ideological bull-dozers urgently we need material help, from everywhere, including from our Bolivarian government, we need theoretical arms of mass defense, of global emancipation, we need the necessary education, formation, authentic journalists, financial resources and the corresponding regular funds.
It is not a personal issue, it concerns a huge war against a mental holocaust which was predicted by George Orwell, and which is devouring us one by one, second after second everywhere. A few newspapers, a handful of electronic news websites, a minimum of TV or radio coverage, a few computers or megaphones, some smoke signals and messenger doves are heroic, loyal endeavors, but this is no guarantee that Venezuela, that Bolivarian socialism will triumph in the current, ferocious, global 'war of ideas,' against electromagnetic weapons of mind control and destruction, against Yankee 'full spectrum dominance,' against 'military humanism,' that is, against global, fascist terrorism.
It is time that the Bolivarian Revolution does something against world imperialist ideology, against its Achilles Heel.
No matter how we try permanently to unveil the fascist essence of ruling class ideas, by publishing the truth about Venezuela, defending her democracy, first impressions (divulged by the disinformation moguls on a world scale) are lasting impressions. It is extremely difficult to explain to billions that President Chavez of Venezuela is no Pinochet, Batista, Idi Amin or Mobutu. Our information media reach just an infinitesimal fraction of the world public, in a few languages.
All over Europe there is a total blanket of silence, a blackout with reference to true information about Venezuela. A strict censorship is being kept about any 'positive' news coming from Venezuela. Obviously, any lies about Chavez as dictator, tyrant or international terrorist have top priority, hit international headlines. In this case, Chavez even beats Bush in favoritism as far as metropolitan Newspeak (Orwell) is concerned.
This is ideology, this is how it works.
As long as the ruling ideas remain the ideas of the world ruling classes, Fidel and Chavez, victims of ideology, will have to wait for the victory of global proletarian class struggles to absolve them as 'international terrorists.' Current history can not achieve this miracle, because it is still the process of exploited labor, the capitalist process of production, is still made by great gods, great ideas, great men, by great ideology which is being made by great races, which preferably are composed of white, blue-eyed, blond, European beauties.
To see how dangerous ideology is, ever since 1979, I asked my Venezuelan students in my classes to formulate a single idea, a single thought, which is really new, is original, is their own: that is, a thought that nobody has formulated before, that is a real, true reflection of their current reality. Some really tried hard, but in the end they had to throw the towel into the arena of ruling class ideology. Great Bolivarians, chavistas, governors, mayors and ambassadors have passed through my lectures and seminars, till today most of them still owe me a new, authentic, original revolutionary thought. Let us hope that by now, enriched and motivated by the Bolivarian Revolution, that they have surpassed their intellectual theoretical barriers, that soon they will give birth to the new socialist man.
However, some bright students, in despair returned the question to me.
I lectured to them about words and ideas that are absent in the official dictionaries, in our daily vocabulary: like "exvolution, exformation, trialogics, trifferences," transhistoric sparks, human essence, human existence and human transcendence, the creative human trinity, the mental holocaust and much, much more.
In fact, I told them what I am telling my students all the time, since decades. In any case, it is the same what I lecture about or publish all over the wide world web.
This is what we need in order to counter fascist ideology.
This is revolutionary praxis and theory, concepts that President Chavez also uses now and then in his speeches to the nation.