Franz J.T. Lee, November, 2008
Chavez ... as 'New Men' we have to bury world capitalism!
In Venezuela very often we are talking about the creation of a "hombre nuevo," about the 'New Man' as portrayed and described by the glorious revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara. In his latest speeches, President Hugo Chavez Frias always refers to the creation of a new man, of a novel humanity within the context of the Bolivarian Revolution. He underlined that capitalism as a world order has failed and demanded that we as 'New Men' should "enterrar" (bury) its corpse.
However, as Bolivarian revolutionaries, firstly, what/who is Man? Secondly, what is New? Consequently, in the current darkness of this awful, fleeting, historic moment, what is humanly still new, still unworn, still authentic; what is a New Man? Why is s/he today more necessary than ever before?
Ever since the dawn of conscious , thinking (wo)mankind on this azure planet, at least once in a life time some person was forced to ponder about such quintessential questions of cosmic existence. In Venezuela, in 2002, in very critical and dangerous moments, how often we have asked ourselves the following fundamental questions? Who am I? Do I know myself? Why do we become? Quo vadis?
Today, as the result of a dangerous tumbling capitalism we have to reflect them again, to think seriously about the continuation of human life on this planet, about revolution and socialism.
Worldwide across the last millennia, based on the actual level of endless ruling class religious and ideological mind and thought control, based on the fatal degree of manipulation of the poor autochthonous peoples, and based on the reckless indoctrination of the slaves, serfs, peasants and wage workers ... original, authentic, natural and social thinking and thought progressively were and still are fading away. True, popular, revolutionary acts and theories which in self-defense were launched against the oppressive system, against the dying bourgeois culture, the decrepit world order, were simply misrepresented and distorted.
Nowadays, in a global terrorist campaign to save itself, at the eve of massive belligerent capitalist crusades against any new, emancipatory, creative or creating endeavor, the very rebelling human spirit itself is in danger. By means of patriot and anti-terrorist laws any anti-capitalist critique is being demonized, is being asphyxiated; the USA and Europe are competing in the fabrication of inhuman projects and electro-magnetic weapons to quench all future threatening, revolutionary, juvenile flames, to obliterate working class dissension forever. In the metropolitan countries, the political lulling, the nefarious results of this intellectual Moloch can now be witnessed everywhere.
the globe more than ever billions are becoming innocent victims of
the transhistoric accumulative capitalist mental holocaust. During
the previous decades a million Arab lives were sacrificed in Iraq and
Afghanistan in an effort to halt the coming energetic disaster. In
the name of 'progress', 'democracy' and 'world peace', against modern
'terrorism' and obsolete 'communism', in schools and universities,
millions of promising, youthful student minds are being neutralized,
are being mesmerized, are being taught what is 'new', en vogue, the
latest in fashion, what is 'in' and 'cool'. With the aid of all kinds
of drugs, many of them are being sacrificed and devoured on the
insatiable altar of Moloch, of the imperialist Leviathan
This is the current global corporate crusade against the youth, the future, the new, the new emancipated man.
The New implies the temporal death of the Old, Eros signifies the burial of Thanatos, of the Obsolete, which by hook and by crook the rotting status quo, the Establishment, armed to the teeth is defending.
All workers' daydreams about a better world, about constructing a new world, all proletarian emancipatory anticipation, nearly all popular revolutions were brutally drowned in blood, were shattered on the capitalist and imperialist boulders of "discovering new worlds" (Star Trek), of permanently producing an "Oceania" at war with "Eurasia" (Orwell) and of violently "discovering" and establishing "Brave New Worlds" (Columbus and Huxley).
Let us take a quick glance at some serious but also stereotypical, euphemistic answers to the above key questions.
Once more, what is a Man? Who is Man? Leaving aside the excellent exceptions which prove the golden rule, what did the Great Men, ... especially those who confirm European and North American capitalism, colonialism and imperialism ... officially and without scruples taught and still teach us about global humanity?
* Surely, till today for millions in Latin America and elsewhere, for Christians and theologians of liberation, basically any man, any human being, any Christian, embedded in hundreds of absurd dogmas, dating back to the Dark Ages, is a "Child of God" (Holy Bible).
* Our religious studies and catechisms have taught us that man is the "Crown of Creation" (Genesis: 1-3). Yes, it is an irrefutable fact that genetically, according to his divine genesis, man really is a royal class contradiction; biologically he is 96% a pig and 98% a chimpanzee. Scientifically, long ago in his "Ascent of Man" (1871), the atheist materialist Charles Robert Darwin already knew all this.
* In fact, bourgeois man needed this scientific knowledge and class consciousness to topple all feudal things constructed "by the grace of God" and to launch the new homo faber (man the terrestrial producer, the planetary maker).
* Furthermore, is Man a "homo mensura" (Protagoras' Man the Measure of All Things)? Can his possibilities surpass all capitalist or divine measures? Is capitalist man, Big Brother, the measure of our happiness? Has the European, Christian God been created according to a northern Teutonic or Anglo-Saxon image,that is, white, blond and blue-eyed?
* As ruling class man can the 'Old Man' still transcend the current global crisis?
* At this eleventh hour, still burning the midnight oil, is the creation of the new, of a new man still possible?
So many essential questions, so few transcendental answers!
Let us, from the South, ask some pertinent questions!
* Is the African Man a "paragon of animals" (Shakespeare)?
* Is the Asian Man a "homo faber" (Max Frisch's Man the Smith, the Maker)?
* Comrade Engels (and also Comrade Marx), we living in the South, in the "barbarian and semi-barbarian countries"(Manifesto of the Communist Party), do we also belong to the 'Highest Blossom of Nature' (Friedrich Engels, Dialectics of Nature)?
*Are the inhabitants of the Congo and Amazon Basins also "noble savages" (Rousseau)?
* Are only Men like Bush or Pinochet devils, that is, members of the species "homo homini lupus"?
* What about the rest, the hundred thousands of global statesmen, republicans, democrats, aristocrats, kleptocrats, bureaucrats and technocrats, who are celebrating every hour their pecuniary spoils of war with imported whiskey and caviar on the sinking, capitalist, Platonic ship of state?
* Is the "white" man a homo sapiens sapiens (Man the Wisest)?
* Are all "blacks" (including Malcolm X, Miriam Makeba, Nelson Mandela, Walter Rodney, Patrice Lumumba or Barack Obama) not humans; do they have "impure hearts"; are they "soulless" (Montesquieu), not fit "for the use and abuse of philosophy" (Voltaire); do they simply form part of a divine curse; are they black descendants of Ham and therefore form the transhistoric "white man's burden"(Rudyard Kipling); are they condemned to become eternal "hewers of wood and drawers of water" for their arrogant parasitic white masters?
Are they "Men" at all? Old Men or New Men? In Apartheid South Africa they were simply considered to have been truculent "Kaffirs", black monkeys and baboons. That one of them is becoming the president of a great metropolitan super power indicates the apocalyptic state of global affairs.
Now we know what and who is a Man. Now we also know why in Venezuela and in the rest of the world, the praxical identification, the theoretical existence and the philosophic transcendence of an emancipatory New Man is highly necessary.
In reality, with reference to our humanness, as real revolutionary socialist vanguard, as true emancipators, there is no big secret about us, there is nothing corrupt, childish, divine, royal or paradigmatic about us, we have no wolfish nature or savage traits, our authenticity and originality daily we nurture untiringly within the real struggle for life; for human beauty, truth and love; qualitatively, we have no price, no prize, no measurement.
What is New? A New Man? Humanly New?
There are many connotations of the new, of that which is fresh, unworn and novel. However to grasp the praxico-theoretical, the scientific-philosophic meaning of the New, of the emancipatory, creative, creating New Man we need to activate all our neurons to cruising speed, especially to awake those dormant and till now unused intellectual faculties and their corresponding acts and deeds.
This we cannot present in a simple electronic analysis, this would surpass the limits of a general commentary. However, let us just highlight a few aspects of a possible New Man.
In capitalism not all that glitters is gold, that which is being imported from the north is not necessarily new, especially when it concerns material and spiritual wares, exchange values. Daily hundreds of human beings are being dehumanized, alienated, ossified, and are being converted into bull-dozers, cannon fodder or human bombs. The mental holocaust mentioned before has this objective: to destroy the thinking mind, the generator of the new, of something totally different, even "trifferent".
Thus, like with the terms "ideology and practice", we have to be extremely cautious in the usage of the concept "the new", lo nuevo. The dialectical logical difference between a "man", the "new", a "new man" and the "humanly new" is obvious, these concepts are intimately related but they are not identical.
Two years ago, in my graduate class at the University of The Andes ... while discussing political psychology and global fascism, ... in Spanish I wrote on the blackboard: "little boy" and "fat man" and asked my brilliant students ad hoc what they associate with these words.
They mentioned all kinds of things. They explained that all boys are not grown ups, hence the term "little" is redundant, is tautology. I agreed. I asked whether "new" is redundant for man, or if "man" needs the addendum "the new", because per se he could be the real, authentic new. However, they could not tell. At least some stated that not all men and women are fat, and that pigs and chimpanzees can also be fattened. With that, fatness and leanness were eliminated in the quintessential traits of man and the new.
I began to tell my students that a Great Man Winston Churchill was relatively fat and round, and that the atomic bomb that was thrown on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, had the codename "Fat Man". "Little Boy" was dropped on Hiroshima three days later. With that the terrorist wolfish nature of ruling class man was imprinted in the very Japanese genes.
I explained further that like today, then in the 1940s humanity was experiencing a severe imperialist crisis and that within the global system, within fascism everything authentically new was attacked and destroyed. There is nothing that world fascism fears more, it has an infinite fear of the truth, of the authentic new.
A few days ago, while studying Lenin's State and Revolution, in a speech to the nation and to the world, President Hugo Chavez Frias of Venezuela came to the conclusion that capitalism as a whole has no future. It has nothing novel anymore, hence, he appealed to all of us to "enterrar", to bury this corpse, to get rid of world capitalism, and to create the New Man, something truly New.
This is much easier said than done, but this is no stumble block for true praxical, theoretical emancipation. If man is really all that what we mentioned before, then we really find ourselves on the Rubicon, on the same radical transcendental transvolution, which transformed hominids, ape-men and men-apes into the human species. The really and truly novum, the authentic metamorphosis of the hominid was the New, was something that never existed before, and which will not repeat itself again, was the galactic possibility of the creation of the New Man on Planet Earth.
Just as capitalism never allowed its real negation, socialism, to flourish, to create the conditions for the birth of New Man, in the same manner, it never allowed billions of human beings freely to create the objective, subjective and "transjective" conditions, to surpass internal revolution and to venture beyond, towards the outskirts of the starry horizons, to extra-systemic emancipation.
In the current dark fleeting moments of gigantic changes on our small planet, the philosopher of hope, Ernst Bloch warned that we are sitting at the foot of the watch-tower; this is why we cannot see the light, we are sitting on the tumbling rocks of world capitalism and imperialism. At the end of his three volumes, which comprise "Das Prinzip Hoffnung" (The Principle of Hope), he describes the New as "the place in which nobody ever has been, at Home."