niversity of Los Andes (ULA) professor Franz J. T. Lee writes: As from May 18 till June 3, 2005, here in Merida, Venezuela, we are organizing various activities, to celebrate the golden jubilee of Bandung, within the context of the Seminar and Forum “Dialogue South-South: From Bandung Till Today,” underlining the relevance of the Bolivarian Revolution.
Within this practical and theoretical framework, with great interest we have read Joel Pozarnik’s article, with reference to the “historical process that will give Chavez’ new Venezuelan socialism a concrete form.”
Beyond doubt, this is true, especially within the context of ideological confusion with regard to the social contents of the revolutionary policy of a “New Socialism for the 21st Century,” this commentary is enlightening, informative and concrete; it clarifies many political illusions. At least, we get an idea of what future socialism, another version of “socialism,” in Venezuela could be like, would consist of.
Definitely, when one becomes scientific, innovative, original and authentic, one begins to invent, and many “trial and error” experiments necessarily have to enter the socio-historical scene, consequently, many can go wrong, can fail.
Thus … never mind the ebb or high tides … the acceleration and deceleration of revolutionary momentum and forces, the equal, unequal and combined dialectical, socialist development of global, trans-historical transformations, in Venezuela, in Latin America, only the audacious, tenacious, radical and permanent revolutionary waves, that is, the daily socialist … the truly anti-capitalist, really anti-imperialist … práxis and theory of a vigilant vanguard of the Bolivarian Revolution will eventually survive, will sweep from history, from Bolivar’s America, this current, scandalous, criminal plague of Global Fascism, eradicating its historical roots and seeds by all self-determinate and self-defensive means necessary for human survival on this planet.
- In any case, the Yankees, the Marines, the Green Berets, the Death Squads, the Contras, all are coming, are already here.
Hence, no matter what we do or say, this will not coincide with Washington’s understanding of “democracy.” We will not escape the slandering campaigns and character assassinations of the international mass media, of being included in the “axis of evil,” of being defined as “Castro Communists,” “tyrants” and “dictators.”
Hence, we can just as well discuss socialism … in a scientific and philosophic, that is, in a Marxist manner, by using precise socialist language, and introducing radical socialist measures. All these we can enrich with our own words, terms, tactics, strategies, acts and actions. In this sense, at least, we will know why we are being attacked, and that it is worth the trouble. However, we should not be surprised, when suddenly the attacks will vanish into oblivion.
To call somebody a “communist” when in reality s/he is a true, loyal, capitalist “democrat,” is something different … even for bourgeois ideology … from calling a real communist a true communist, by scientifically informing the world public … for example, in the Washington Post, in Fox News or CNN … what communism is really all about.
As long as capitalism exists this will never happen.
Surely, if we act like socialists, the “opposition” and the “Bush clique” will be very happy … but we, too … at last, we are getting down to concrete socialist transformation, tackling the real capitalist, imperialist problems … exploitation, domination, discrimination, militarization and alienation … at their very radix, at the private property of the means of production and communication in Venezuela and Latin America.
This is the only valid password for Socialism and Global Emancipation.
Hence, this commentary is directed mainly toward our comrades who form the historical heart-beat of the global Bolivarian Revolution, that in militant, optimistic audacity is marching everywhere across the planet.
Now, regressing to Joel Pozarnik’s excellent article: Over the last five years, in Venezuela, certainly we encountered quite a few “new” dimensions of processes towards scientific and philosophic socialism … a historic product of the French and Industrial Revolutions, as Negation of Capitalism … which really are innovative, but logically, in their contradictory appearance and existential forms, are mixed up with all sorts of things, with religion, ideology, bureaucracy or corruption, with some disturbing factors.
Let us quote extensively some of these revolutionary processes and attributes that will construct this “new socialism” in future. We will also directly make critical, constructive remarks.
Before we commence, let us get something elemental very straight. We need not legitimize our social revolution in the eyes of the world, of the “Left” or anyone for that matter.
- We obey no time-table, as to when, how and why we should develop any ideology or practice, or even a socialist práxis or theory.
We make and think, live and die, our own revolution.
Who wants to participate, fine, but on our revolutionary terms. Who wants to make another revolution, another type of socialist revolution, also fine; well, please, just do it, preferably, in Washington D.C., in Paris, in Berlin, in London, in Beijing, in Moscow or Madrid, and then, let us co-operate!
Nobody can force us to develop a revolutionary práxis and theory, unless we ourselves have arrived at this decision, at this point of self-determination of our own future. We need no formal logical labels, and least of all, a capitalist or socialist one. In fact and in spite of our conceptual necessities, we should not be forced to develop any “ideology”, any “-ism” whatsoever, and we are no “-ists”. In this spirit, we are talking about revolution, práxis, theory or emancipation here.
We require some space and time, to move from ideology to theory; we acquire certain objective, subjective and “transjective” conditions, in order to be able to pass scientifically from “third way” practice to “socialist” práxis; and, finally, we aspire philosophically, to transcend from Waterloo to Dien Bien Phu, from Bandung to Caracas; to surpass the bloody Massacre of a million Indonesian communists, also the “47 Hours of Venezuelan Fascist Dictatorship”, from continental Revolution to global Emancipation.
Joel Pozarnik assures us that the “historical process will give Chavez’ new Venezuelan socialism concrete form”. In many things, that can be verified in our previous VHeadline contributions, we agree with him; nevertheless, it is our sacred duty to warn about certain counter-revolutionary, capitalist and imperialist elements and evitable dangers that openly lurk within the new socialist project, as described by him. Below, we will just point our the most outstanding ones.
Joel writes: “President Hugo Chavez has recently admitted that if he once had been attracted by the British concept of the ‘Third Way’ as an alternative between socialism and capitalism, he now believes that ‘only socialism can be a substitute to capitalism’.”
In our scientific and philosophic opinion, socialism can never be a formal logical global “substitute” for anything, less for capitalism. Historically, dialectically, socialism was born as the direct opposite, as Negation of Capitalism. It will not substitute Capitalism, on the contrary, in the emancipatory transition to other modes or forms of human or post-human existences, it will perish with its matrix, with Capitalism itself.
As Joel correctly warns, such confusion arises, when we do not think with our brains, but in or with words, with inefficient language tools: ” … the word ‘socialism’ is used to describe different realities.”
Stalin used it to beautify gulags and Workuta, corrupt, bureaucratic “socialism”; Hitler used it as “national socialism” to launch racism, terror, violence, Auschwitz, the Jewish “Holocaust.” Precisely this is the breeding ground for distortion, lies and confusion, for ruling class ideology.
Bush is already using the concept “global, democratic revolution” to justify Fallujah, and to portray himself as a “liberator” of Iraq. Now just imagine, Bolivar and Bush, both described by the same word as “liberators”. This is why, in revolutionary endeavors, we have to be very careful and always use scientific concepts and precise theories.
In this context, as a political strategy for the period 2004-2006, the Bolivarian “Leap Forward” is being explained with revolutionary excellence by Pozarnik. However, it is not quite clear who really is the Venezuelan opposition … which social classes it represents … also, we do not know much about the real popular base of Social Democracy (AD, MAS), Christian Democracy (COPEI), and Liberal Democracy (PRIMERO JUSTICIA); about their historic relevance in the 21st century, whether they have anything in common … except that Chávez should go, and that, at best, we need a “Chavismo without Chávez” … and whether they have any ideology at all. Scientifically, this is very difficult to determine; in fact, we know very little about the various political turn-coats, now operating outside and within the Bolivarian movement, who call themselves democrats, revolutionaries, and now even socialists.
However, it seems that from their point of view, the “opposition” knows perfectly well what is “socialism”, what is a “communist regime”. Concerning these concepts, not even Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky had formulated them with philosophic precision; as late as in 1917, all of them still called themselves “Social Democrats”, in fact, then, this was a generalized synonym for “socialists”, “communists”, and even “Marxists”.
Hence, unless they have a flowing, ever-flowing, over-flowing intellectual and theoretical content, words like socialism, ideology, democracy or revolution, are empty in themselves, they say nothing; that is why mass media ideology and ruling class practices so easily can fill them with anything they please, can indoctrinate and manipulate billions. Words, dictionaries or newspapers do not think for us, we use them as very ineffective tools to express natural and social relations. There is no “substitute” for thinking, in order to emancipate ourselves, we have to act and think all of, by and for ourselves.
The concept socialism came into being long before the birth of Marx; three scholars explain to us their definitions of this concept:
- Noam Chomsky: “Mastery over production by the producers is the essence of socialism” (The Soviet Union Versus Socialism)
- Vladimir Lenin: “Socialism is nothing but state capitalist monopoly made to benefit the whole people”.
- Michael Parenti: “… Public ownership of all the major means of production and public ownership of the wealth, the moneyed power itself…” (Democracy for the Few)
How confusing definitions and ideology could be, is demonstrated by the very example that Joel Pozarnik gives us: although, according to a recent Datanalisis pool, “opposition leaders tend to argue that they were right when, a few years ago, they announced that President Chavez wanted to organize a Cuban-type regime in Venezuela: socialism would only be a stage toward communism”; yet: “54.8% think that President Chavez has no intention to follow the Cuban model.”
According to Pozarnik, Heinz Dieterich maintains that scientific and philosophic socialism is still a valid historic endeavor for humanity, hence, that we have to “invent” a “new socialism” of and for the XXI century.
The only real scientific and true philosophic socialism that we know, is the Negation of Capitalism, as described by Marx and Engels in the Communist Manifesto and in Capital … also in other works, especially the contributions of Marxists like Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg, Hilferding, Bucharin, Trotsky, Mandel, etc. We fully respect, we do not disqualify or treat with contempt any other definitions; here, we are just identifying the origins and dialectical flow of our ever-changing concrete and theoretical concepts of capitalism, socialism, imperialism, class struggle, revolution, emancipation, etc.
In this spirit, we note the following severe contradictions as they unfold themselves in Pozarnik´s commentary with regard to Dieterich’s conception:
“Latin America will only blossom if it gets rid of North American Imperialism, organizes itself as a Regional Block of Power, and implements the ‘new socialism’.” According to Dieterich, ” this ‘new socialism’ is a ‘New Historical Project’ of universal dimensions aimed at forming a participative post capitalist democracy as an alternative to the neoliberal globalization.”
This implies that our project, our “new socialism,” contains as its telos, its quo vadis, its guideline, the construction of a “participative post capitalist democracy.”
But, what do we have to understand by “post-capitalist democracy”?
A new mode of production, of human labor, a new production process of history?
Is this really something completely new, different from anything that we have experienced until now?
Or is it simply yet another “model” or form of the already existing, bourgeois-democratic, capitalist society?
And, if it will be “of universal dimensions,” does it really touch “neoliberal globalization” and global neoliberalization for that matter?
Furthermore, can this be achieved without class struggle, without class war, without social, political and economic violence? What will be our weapons with which we will concretely “reject neoliberalism and US imperialism”?
In the economic field, in constructing a new socialism in Venezuela, the project has some general principles, inter alia, “values an economy serving communities’ needs, collective property (cooperatives) of production means, joint management between labor and capital, endogen and sustainable development. Respects market and private property. Rejects oppression of workers and exclusive state property of production means.”
Now, if we are talking about Socialism in a serious sense, how on earth are we going to reconcile essentially antagonistic elements such as respect for “market and private property”, communal “collective property (cooperatives) of production means”, and even “joint management between labor and capital”?
Of course, private property is being understood as private property of the means of production and communication, as guaranteed in our 1999 Bolivarian Constitution. Furthermore, how are we going to accomplish the following within this project: “To respect class differences,” and at the same time, “to reject class oppression”?
With a proper, scientific, Marxist analysis, the above social, political and economic contradictions permit us to clearly differentiate between socialist revolution and capitalist reformism.
Correctly the author concludes: “New socialism would only be possible in a context of high level of education, ethics and organization of productive forces … it is a long term project.”
The problem is that we do not have much time left anymore. Iraq and Afghanistan demonstrate that for the USA the time is running out to grab our natural oil and gas, to capture our biodiversity, water and oxygen. If it doesn’t, then its competitors, Europe, China, Russia, etc., will grab these right in front of its nose. We are living in a global, capitalist, imperialist world, where the above is custom since centuries.
- This means that our New Socialism has to be accelerated, has to be armed much better than with 100,000 Russian made rifles … we need the same quantity that the US citizens legally and democratically possess.
Before our oil income diminishes, we really and truly have to sow our black gold, and reap its fruits, to create the conditions for socialist struggle. Also and before exercising our critique of arms, we need to arm ourselves theoretically in order to exercise our arms of critique.
Whether we like it or not, we urgently have to study all forms of socialism, in the first place, scientific and philosophic socialism.
- Our projects and missions, our educational and social efforts, should really reach the Sovereign, the Citizen Power.
We have to declare an eternal battle, day and night, every second and every millimeter, against all forms of bribery, corruption, clientilism, sabotage and counter-revolution, that today, more than ever, threaten the Bolivarian revolution from within and darken its transhistoric path towards real, true socialism.
Only as such, our Socialism can become a historical reality … can become a paradigm for revolutionary práxis and emancipatory theory.