Venezuela: Alienation and Emancipation
Date: Saturday, August 14 @ 03:58:21 UTC
Topic: Venezuela and Chavez
By Franz J. T. Lee:
What is really behind the mass manipulation of the huge mass media in Venezuela? The pathological effects go far beyond the attempts of the "opposition" and of the Bush government to oust President Hugo Chavez Frias from political power. Its indoctrination serves the interests of global fascism in the making, it serves "Newspeak", mind and thought control, the eternalization of the current world order.
Briefly, let us look at the psychological and philosophic, historic essence of the social functions of the "four storm-troopers of the apocalypse" (Chavez) in Venezuela ... that is, how they are trying to dissocialize, to denaturalize the Venezuelan population, in one word, alienating it.
Alienation itself is a very old notion with religious origins. The German philosopher, G. F. W. Hegel took over this concept from his predecessors and gave it a new ideological content. In the revolutionary process of change, like the one taking place currently in Venezuela, dialectically, everything has an antithetical nature, a unity and contradiction of opposites, it is both itself and becoming something else, its "other.“ But this "other“ is simply a development of the "itself“; the implicit becomes explicit, the possible becomes real.
Concerning this process, Chavez always cites Marx's expression of the "counter-revolution" of the "opposition" as being the "whip" of the Bolivarian Revolution. According to Hegel, all these involve "Entfremdung“ (estrangement) from the original form and the realization of the essence in a higher form of existence.
In Venezuela, like elsewhere, the worker is alienated because labour is alienated. Now let us underline the social relation of slaving for the multinationals and human need in Venezuela and Latin America.
The Dialectics of Need and Labor
Here, where 80% of the population live in dire poverty, human needs are always one step ahead of the available economic resources. It is impossible to fulfill human needs, because under "neocolonial" capitalism the goal to equalize human needs with the organization of resources can scarcely be attained. To try to alleviate this social problem, the Bolivarian Revolution aims at a more equitative and just distribution of national income.
The crux of the matter, already Hegel, the idealist, has explained. By producing something, we separate ourselves from the product of our labor. Thus our idea does not continue to live in our mind, we project it out of our body.
It is even worse, we labor and the boss thinks, gives orders.
Such then essentially is the anthropological definition of Hegel of alienated labor. The manual laborer is condemned forever to become separated, alienated, from the products of his labor. The products of his labor, of his" labor force" (Marx), impoverish him and enrich the transnationals. Philosophically, in a religious sense, this idea Ludwig Feuerbach deepened even more.
* In 1844, in his Parisian Manuscripts, Marx explained why revolutionary efforts, like those introduced here in Venezuela, could improve the living standards of a people.
He stated that humanity is not condemned to live "by the sweat of its brow,“ under alienated conditions forever. Humanity can become free, its labor can become free, under specific historic conditions.
Marx criticized Hegel for having neglected the aspect of labor in a class society, the alienation of real man who produces capitalist commodities and surplus value.
Concerning that what is human, humanist and ethical, concerning the "Moral Power" in Venezuela, the young Marx was fascinated by Feuerbach’s anthropological humanism. He showed us how to analyze capitalist relations, showing what dehumanizes and what is truly human.
Concerning rudimentary alienation in "primitive," "pre-civilized" societies, by European scholars arrogantly called "barbarism“ and "savagery,“ alienation had very much to do with ignorance and fear. The still low degree of social consciousness of indigenous peoples across the globe did not enable them to penetrate scientifically the natural environment deeply or to understand the forces or laws of Nature. However, this was not really a serious historic problem, not in the Orinoco Delta, not in the Amazon Basin.
The real disaster of alienation originated with the "discovery," the "Christianization," with "missionary education," with "religious socialization," with the Conquest, with the introduction of slave labor, with industrial labor in America and elsewhere. The mental holocaust of millions began with this massive indoctrination of strange beliefs, rites, customs and traditions. This is the origin of the current oligarchic impregnation of "psychotic disassociation" in the minds of the Venezuelan people.
Now, suddenly outside his/her authentic field of knowledge, an immense colonial area of enigmatic and un-mastered phenomena was explained by a mass of strange rituals and alienating conceptions, commonly known as "religion," "ideology," "education" and "civilization."
* Thus the rulers, ruling class man, began to assume supernatural powers, which had to be counteracted, neutralized or won over. Many imaginary powers were fabricated, religious ones, economic ones, invisible hands of the economy, etc.
As our African forefathers had demanded a good harvest from the God of Rain, later under European colonialism, and still in the era of "globalization" the Black descendant, the "civilized savage“ was taught to beg: "Give us this day our daily bread.“
Meanwhile on the world market, during the over-production of the Depression of 1929, grain was being destroyed to keep prices high, and millions of children (till today) have no bread to eat.
And, should somebody, in a true Christian spirit, try to materialize hungry prayers, then, like Chavez, s/he is condemned by the oligarchic and corporate mass media as a "tyrant," a "dictator".
Over five centuries of colonialism, with the development of agriculture, craftsmanship and stock-breeding, higher forms of alienation were engendered. The now “civilized“ colonized man began to control Nature increasingly, but he also began to lose control over the social process of production. He lost his land, his stock, his knowledge. After the social division of labor, goods became converted into commodities and were exchanged on the market. The laws of the market began to rule the producers and later the manual laborers, toiling for the multinationals, themselves became commodities that could be bought and sold, be prostituted. In this sense, in our latitudes, historically, slavery was the first organized system of alienated labor; wage labor will be the last.
What happened here in Venezuela over the last four decades, under oligarchic rule, under Puntofijismo?
What does it mean when a Venezuelan worker sells his labor power -- not labor -- to the Cisneros, Mendozas, Capriles -- to a boss of a factory or a company? He sells his labor power, part of his life energy, part of his life-time, to another, to the capitalist, to live on like a parasite.
The worker loses control over a large part of his waking hours, for example, in Caracas, going to work (usually up to 2 hours), 8 hours at work, going home (up to 2 hours), thus 12 hours, half-a-day of his daily life. The time which has been sold to the employer belongs to him, not to the worker. He dictates what the worker will or will not do during that time. He dictates what the worker will produce, how he will do it, and where he will do it. He is master over the worker's activity. The boss thinks, the worker only acts -- here the modern mental holocaust begins, this is the quintessence of contemporary alienation in Venezuela; this is really what the huge mass media disseminate. To be victorious, this is what the Bolivarian Revolution has to annihilate.
In the final analysis, capitalism constantly extends the needs of the consumers. Up to a certain limit, real human needs, like healthy feeding, proper housing and necessary clothing, can be fulfilled. This is what the projects of the Bolivarian Revolution try to realize.
However, capitalism -- CANTV, Telcel, Movilnet, etc. -- must forever create new, artificial needs, has to commercialize everything, love, death, lies, leisure, etc. All kinds of gadgets are sold, cell-phones, a chess-computer with which one can compete, a computer for washing dishes, dolls which speak to the baby, stifling her creative imagination, etc.
Thus alienation becomes social and psychological in nature. Human needs are extended beyond what is rational, permanent dissatisfactions are being created. Of course, corporate capitalism would cease to exist when all human needs were to be fulfilled -- thus "wear-and-tear“ has to be built into the commodities, they have to last only for a while -- all rubbish which cannot be sold in the metropolis either is obsolete or is being dumped into Venezuela, Latin America, the "Third World“ at exorbitant prices ... thus the pathology of social alienation spreads across the globe.
Thus human relations become „thing-relations“, money-relations. About this tendency towards "Verdinglichung“ (reification), in Capital, Marx warned already. Bourgeois economic relations have completely pervaded human relations. Man-Woman relations have become money-relations; friendship flourishes on thing-relations; pure human qualities like politeness, sincerity, respect, consideration, helpfulness, beauty, love, truth, become the exploitative field of touts, crooks and corruption.
Everything one urgently needs or wants to do, can only be achieved over the money-nexus -- this has already become a modus vivendi in most "Third World“ countries. Peoples are being "dehumanized"; progressively they acquire a bourgeois or middle class mentality, in reality, without possessing a cent of their own. All this occurred here in Venezuela across the last decades.
Dis-alienation and Revolutionary Praxis-Theory
To say that Venezuela, like the whole of humanity, has the choice between Emancipation and Barbarism, between the Bolivarian Revolution and US global fascism, is the same as saying, that it has the choice between the ALBA and the ALCA, between inexorable creative emancipatory, dis-alienation and inevitable, savage alienation in global capitalism.
Alienation, like capitalism itself, is not God-made ... is not Devil-made ... it is a historically produced, man-made, class-made evil, neither rooted in physical nature nor in human nature.
Thus, here in Venezuela, in Latin America, alienation and capitalism can be unmade by man, by the real, true species man, by emancipatory man proudly walking in upright gait, with human worth, and not forever bowing and genuflecting, sprawled at the feet of Mammon, kissing the filth and slime of the oligarchic "devils". This is an intrinsic part of the praxis-theory of the current Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela.
On August 15, 2004, ¡Hasta la Victoria Siempre!