Franz J.T. Lee, August, 2007
Venezuela's Bolivarian Socialism: Union, Union, Workers of the World, Unite!
Here in Venezuela, before we send out our intellectual reconnaissance battalions to search for socialist militants let's ponder logistically about the ontic barricades which are hindering us to follow certain complex, logical thought processes. Already the Communist Manifesto, even Napoleon, had warned us about the infiltrating ideologues and their counter-revolutionary practices of destabilization.
Here we will continue the VHeadline.com educational series concerning the transcendental relation between the Communist Manifesto and Bolivarian socialism.
In accordance with the theory of permanent revolution of Leon Trotsky, (which dialectically is based on the theories of the Communist Manifesto) by means of the scientific principle of equal, unequal and combined historical developments, contemporary Venezuela finds itself in Globalization, but as a result of colonial and neocolonial mechanisms, it still has to complete certain French revolutionary, bourgeois democratic tasks, for example, to develop a new logic, science and philosophy, to foster industrialization, modern technology and agrarian reform, and to complete the separation of medieval, obsolete Church and modern revolutionary State. For all these reasons, the Communist Manifesto, which is a historical product of the epoch of Simon Bolivar and Simon Rodriguez, of the development from nowhere existent, utopian to real, earthly scientific and philosophic socialism, is an urgent conditio sine qua non, as creative emancipatory guideline for Venezuelan, Bolivarian, democratic revolutionaries.
If we would ignore the evergreen discoveries of the Communist Manifesto and of Marx' Capital, then certainly It will be impossible for us to make any modern social revolution.
This is what Lenin meant by stating: Without theory, no revolution.
This is not an ideological phrase, a communist joke, it is a very serious matter of life and death!
In an easily understandable manner it is very difficult to describe the intellectual ferment in Europe in the wake of the 1848 revolutions.
However, we have no alternative, we need an urgent cultural revolution, that must deepen the very Bolivarian Revolution itself. Its socialist core necessitates popular education, participation and formulation of a scientific praxis and philosophic theory. This is a prime lesson of the very bourgeois, democratic, capitalist, global revolution.
Beyond any doubt nearly all of us do not belong to the 'cultured few,' to the haute bourgeoisie of Altamira or Plaza Francia, who have received a thorough, fundamental economic, humanistic, historic, philosophic, political and social 'education' in the Sorbonne, Frankfurt, Edinburgh, Oxford, Cambridge or Harvard. However, exactly our 'ignorance,' our 'backwardness,' our ostracism from the flesh pots of Europe, from fierce technological manipulation and indoctrination of global mass media, like CNN or RCTV, from its violent, exploitative life style, has made us immune to its cancerous, ideological germs of the specific genre: haute vulgarization, that is, haute alienation. In spite of severe religious indoctrination and a dangerous corporate mental holocaust, namely, the 'war of ideas' or full spectrum dominance, by and large, we in Venezuela still have preserved our bodily health and mental sanity.
This we demonstrated in April and December, 2002, by foiling a barbarian military coup within 47 hours, and by countering a gigantic oil sabotage, orchestrated by Washington D.C. within two months.
Around 1848, the democratic ideologues of upsurging capitalism were thinking very precisely, to confirm this, we just need to study their dialectics and heliocentrist physics and philosophy, the major works of Galileo, Kepler, Kant or Hegel. Thus, the revolutionary antagonists of Marx and Engels, of the proletariat, of communism, were merciless in their attacks, their thoughts and critique were sharp as razor blades.
Yet, as BBC polls of the 21st century verify, as philosopher, Marx beats them all, and some 'comrades' even daydream that Marx has become obsolete. We should suggest that these Miami geniuses or genii, that the 'think tanks' around Bush & Co. instead of formulating projects for a "New American Century,' should write for us the scientific, philosophic and creative 'Emancipatory Manifesto' of the third millennium.
Power-drunk the bourgeois philosophers of the Enlightenment aimed their mighty rational weapons at the medieval 'seat of knowledge,' at the feudal 'intellectus,' and all over France, the absolutist heads, who were ruling by the grace of God, were rolling like useless, dry bushes in the scorching god forlorn desert air.
Venezuela, this is what social revolution in capitalism is all about.
Without grasping capitalism at its very violent roots, at its politico-economic radix, that is, without becoming radical, becoming Marxist, we cannot lead a contemporary socialist world revolution to global human emancipation.
As described in the Communist Manifesto, because we have to tackle the gist of liberation, to get rid of all genres of private property class relations. We should not mix up things, we have to return all the micro-, meso- and macrocosmic means of production to their earthly owners, to the workers of the world. We have to transform them into creative, creating, emancipatory means of humanity.
On the other hand, before the birth of Marx and Engels, already in 1808, the German poet, dramatist and philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, in some well known passages of his 'Faust,' has predicted the progressive degeneration of 'human rights' in the coming bloody forward march of globalized capitalist army boots:
"Laws and rights move through the ages Like an unending slow disgrace. They hobble through the generations, And softly steal from place to place.
What clever was grows into nonsense And benefice becomes a plight. Unlucky grandson, you be pitied, Nobody offers you your right."
(All Quotations and translations are taken from: Dirk J. Struik, BIRTH OF THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO, International Publishers, New York, 1975. )
However, in 1829, as stated in a previous article, at a time when Marx (born 1818) and Engels (1820) were still playing 'cops and crooks,' French thinkers like Saint-Armand Bazard (a utopian socialist who founded a secret society) and Barthelemy-Prosper Enfantin (a social, political, and economic theorist) were more emphatic about coming capitalist reality, they criticized and mentioned it's "evident" labor core: private property of the means of production.
We have historical evidence that indicates that Simon Rodriguez, the teacher of Simon Bolivar, when he was visiting Europe, had contact with such secret (utopian socialist) societies. This means that Bolivarian resistance against colonialism very early came into contact with non-Marxist utopian socialist ideas.
As stated before, Marxism, socialism or communism are earthly historical products of 19th century revolutionary reality. The Communist Manifesto is a revolutionary document that expresses the emancipatory core of all the rebellions, revolts and resistance of exploited labor forces, ever since the original accumulation of capital in Miletus, six centuries before the birth of Jesus Christ.
Marxist dialectics has taught us that one thing is an egg, another thing is a chicken, but something completely different is a hen which again can lay fresh, fertile eggs. Christian socialist seeds or utopian socialist plants are not identical with delicious, fresh, scientific, philosophic, socialist, exotic and erotic tropical fruits. Capitalism is a dominant mode of global production, is based on private property of the means of production; of our modern mode of production, socialism is its other side, is its exact opposite, is its contemporary negation, is Marxism.
Of course, one is free to modernize the concept 'socialism,' could fill it with Christian values and principles, with a theology of liberation, all this is excellent. However, this is not historical, scientific and philosophic socialism, is not the contradiction between Capital and Labor, between private property ownership of the means of production and "social or socialized property"; the latter concerns property-less physical and/or intellectual labor forces, to be sold as unequal exchange on the global labor market to the highest bidder or at legally regulated market prices.
With due loyal respect for all other forms of liberation, for all heroic endeavors to free Venezuela, this kind of 'mixed' or mixed-up socialism is not the negation of Venezuelan or world capitalism, as expressed in the Communist Manifesto as 'class struggle'. If we are not very careful, capitalism in white sheep clothing may soon devour all our true Bolivarian socialist forces.
Two decades before, in 1829, like a fata morgana reflecting a coming Marxist future, the utopians Bazard and Enfantin described socialist society:
"If sympathy proclaims that the exploitation of man by man must disappear completely; if it is true that mankind is moving toward a state of things in which all men, without distinction of birth, will receive from society according to their merits and be remunerated according to their work; then it is evident that the constitution of property must be changed." (See: The Birth of the Communist Manifesto, Australian Marxist Review, No. 39, February 1998)
One thing is sure, as explained in the Communist Manifesto and in later works, a real social revolution liberates new productive forces, which are not strangled by obsolete property relations. In spite of the economic sabotage, precisely this is currently happening in Venezuela, the economy is sky-rocketing, thanks to favorable oil prices. However, the corresponding intellectual ferment still begs to see the light, that is, the Bolivarian socialist 'moral y luces.'
Differently, between 1789 and 1848, we could witness a real 'Periclean Age' in revolutionary Europe; a rejuvenating intellectual ferment which probably would never ever dawn in the "Old World" again. In literature, arts, music, mathematics, science, philosophy and even religion, all over, overnight, genii, geniuses, and even expert jenny-asses, were sprouting like mushrooms out of the cold, pale, somber European soil. With pomp and glory, capitalism was ushered in. With high class it affirmed itself, with low class, it negated itself, attacked socialism and communism.
All over liberal, competitive capitalism, bourgeois production and reproduction lit up Dark Age Europe. Long before the birth of Marxism, famous French historians like Jacques Nicolas Augustin Thierry (1795-1856), Adolphe Thiers (1797-1877) and François Pierre Guillaume Guizot (1787-1874) already interpreted history as 'a struggle of social classes.'
History, as continued "class struggles" was in the revolutionary air, but this 'wind of change' is barely touching the stormy coasts of modern Venezuela. The last thing that socialists talk about here is 'class struggle.'
In the 19th century, long before Ernst Bloch or Ernesto Che Guevara, already confronted by the militant bourgeois revolutionaries, Friedrich Schiller (1759 – 1805), the German poet, philosopher, historian and dramatist had to address the 'New Man,' the homo faber, as follows:
"Alle Menschen werden Brueder!" (All Men Will Be Brothers!)
Of course, it was not quite clear whether all 'men' included all women, sisters, gypsies or Jews. As we know, because we have to study them at university level, all over Europe Keats, Goethe, Heine, Shelley, Dickens and Balzac dramatized artistically the new bourgeois heroism, epic majesty and revolutionary grandeur. Similarly, in the fields of social theory, Voltaire, Rousseau, Bentham, Montesquieu, Owen, Smith, Ricardo, Malthus and many others formulated theories of the State, political and economic theories.
For example, in his "Philosophy of History," Hegel, the philosophic tutor of Marx, differentiated the "wheat" from the "straw," like Marx, as racist, he called a spade a spade; a 'nigger' a 'nigger' (we dealt with this racist issue in a previous VHeadline commentary).
Furthermore, like most intellectuals of his time, Hegel celebrated the scientific and philosophic victories of the bourgeois, democratic, capitalist French Revolution as follows:
"It was a splendid sunshine, all thinking human beings have participated in celebrating this epoch."
Well, "all thinking human beings" were still European, were bourgeois, democratic and revolutionary.
However, long before Marx and Engels, utopian socialists and communists began to criticize the "natural order of capitalism"; William Godwin (1756 -1836) , the father of anarchism, demanded "political justice"; he considered the new capitalist state as the "root of all evil." Later another anarchist Joseph Proudhon would identify this evil as property, as plain robbery.
Earlier, Gracchus Babeuf (1760-1797), founder of the "Conspiracy Of The Equals," had already introduced 'conspiracy theory,' 'terrorism,' clandestine 'guerrilla warfare' into 'modern' globalized politics.
In Italy, Philippe Buonarotti (1761-1837) introduced French Babouvist conspiracy tactics to the "Illuminati." The utopian socialist efforts of Saint-Simon (1760-1825), Charles Fourier (1772-1837) and Robert Owen (1771-1850) are well-known; they radically influenced the socialist theories expressed in the "Communist Manifesto."
All these transhistoric developments, human endeavors and revolutionary efforts were made to avoid what is taking shape today, a nuclear conflagration of mankind, planned by a metropolitan power hungry megalomaniac ruling class.
Today still, trying to stop this apocalyptic global crash, in the fiery transhistoric speeches of President Hugo Chavez, addressing huge crowds in the streets of Caracas and elsewhere on the globe, the socialist war drums of the Communist Manifesto of Marx and Engels, of the French communards that stormed the heavens, can be heard reverberating with powerful staccatos across the globe: Union, Union, Workers of the World, Unite!