Venezuela: Now the corporate fox is guarding our electoral democratic chickens
Date: Sunday, August 15 @ 18:29:49 UTC
Topic: Venezuela and Chavez
By Franz J. T. Lee
Today, in Venezuela, as emancipatory paradigm for the world, we are all celebrating internationalism and international proletarianism, the revolutionary praxis-theory of the working classes of the world, of the Bolivarian Revolution on a global scale, especially in Latin America.
However, now, more than ever: "La Lutta Continua!" We have to know what is Revolution, our Revolution!
Ever since the American and French Revolutions, and the British Industrial Revolution, numerous scholars have made serious scientific attempts to explain these momentous historical social changes which took place in Europe and North America during the 18th and 19th centuries ... and in Asia, Africa and Latin America in the 20th century.
* In other writings, we tried to explain the concept "Revolution" in general, and the "Bolivarian Revolution" in Venezuela and Latin America in particular.
The Concept "Revolution"
For the emancipatory tasks, after the electoral Bolivarian victory today, it is imperative to know what is to be done in the immediate future, what to understood by modern social revolution, international proletarianism and workers' emancipation. Hence, here is just a brief summary of the historic origin of revolution. We will underline the pertinent historical ideas and events , under whose ideological influence and guidance Bolivar, Miranda, Rodriguez and Zamora were fighting to launch the revolution, liberation, in Latin America.
Augustin Thierry (1795 - 1856), the French historian and romanticist writer, saw national development as a struggle between two major "races", the invaders and the invaded; Francois Pierre Guillaume Guizot (1787 - 1874) another French historian, who, between 1829 and 1832, wrote the 6-volumed work, General History of Civilization in Modern Europe, like Thierry, interpreted the European social revolutions as struggles of social classes. Louis Adolphe Thiers (1797 - 1877), Premier of France between 1836 and 1840, and President of the Third French Republic, 1871 - 1873, a prominent European historian of his time, like Thierry and Guizot, were among the respected scholars who had inspired Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels to develop their theory of class struggle in the mid-19th century.
From the "Reflection on the French Revolution" of Edmund Burke (1729 - 1797) to the contemporary authors of the "systems theory," "modernization theory" or "dependence theory" there is a direct historic connection of scholars who had attempted to explain the essence and developmental laws of "social change" or "social revolution."
Obviously, we have to study this "process of world revolution," have to understand the historic metropolitan roots of the Bolivarian Revolution. Otherwise, we become nailed to the immediate, to the carpe diem of ideology and reaction, for example, we forget that Jimmy Carter was a president of the USA, that he participated in all kinds of conspiracies and sabotage of possible revolutions in Haiti, Nicaragua, etc.
Now the corporate fox is guarding our electoral democratic chickens.
The various authors, mentioned above, irrespective of their specific political ideology, tried to catch the manifold causes, pre-conditions, strategies, tactics and consequences of "social change" within a sophisticated network of theoretical concepts and categories of the discipline "Social Sciences".
Especially since the failure of the Paris Commune of 1871, numerous radical revolutionary-theoretical works appeared on a global scale. The failure of the First Russian Revolution of 1905 and the success of the Second Russian Revolution of 1917, and later the collapse of all "real existing socialist countries." had elevated the problematic of revolution to a central place within the field of political sociology. The various colonial revolutions of the 1960s had magnified this problem and numerous "theories of social change" were formulated by non-Marxist scholars.
Well-known is the "theory of revolution" of Chalmers Johnson (Revolutionary Change, 1966) which became the prototype of the revolutionary model for the "systems" theory. Contemporary Marxist scholars like the late Ernest Mandel have criticized these "bourgeois" models, which, in the final analysis, intend to maintain the capitalist status quo on a world scale.
Nevertheless, contemporary "official" social science is just as helpless to explain the current social changes or Revolution in Venezuela, as it is hopeless to analyze Bush's "new wars," "terrorism" and the "Twin Towers" event. Yet both forces, revolutions and wars, belong to the major historic phenomena of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Currently, as we can witness in Afghanistan, Iraq and Venezuela, wars, revolutions and counter-revolutions are shaking the contemporary world and yet they are not yet definite subjects of a specific discipline, like Political Science at our universities. Hence, it is urgent that the discipline "Social Revolutions in the 21st Century" must be included in the curriculum of all the Bolivarian Universities in Venezuela and Latin America.
Currently, these are dealt with as sub-ordinates of various "important" subjects like "International Relations," "History of Political Thought" or "Contemporary Political Systems." Very often, studies in this direction, for example, a course in "Revolutionary Praxis-Theory" will be discouraged at most national universities, in the same manner as Theology declared Natural Sciences taboo during the Middle Ages in Europe.
However, concepts like "ideology," "practice," "revolution" or "counter-revolution" are very difficult to determine scientifically, especially when one uses the method of formal logics, which has dominated the world since Aristotle. These phenomena have the essential characteristic of being incomplete, processual and anticipatory -- traits which are not compatible with the norm of generally fixing concepts, giving them absolute meanings: A = A, a machine is a machine forever, no matter which changes will occur. At our institutions of higher learning, here in Venezuela, we have to develop new methods, a New Logic to understand our New Bolivarian Revolution, a Science and Philosophy that transcend Formal and Dialectical Logics.
When true scientific theory tries to explain world processes like revolutions, it again and again verifies the acute shortcomings of the idealist and religious views of history and human life in general. Yet, although already at the beginning of the 19th century over 150 years ago, the German objective idealist philosopher, Georg Friedrich Hegel (1770 - 1831), had discovered the dialectical method of reasoning logically, the majority of modern social science scholars, still today, separate scientific praxis and philosophic theory, in the same way as Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) did it.
The Bolivarian Revolution does not necessitate obsolete ideologies and practices; in the post-Santa Ines Battle, it has to generate its own Science and Philosophy, its own Praxis and Theory, its own Acts and Thoughts. Much has been done in this direction already, but there is still so much to do, so little done.
The genesis of the concept "revolution"
Thus, in Venezuela, and elsewhere, there exist sufficient social reasons to re-consider, re-evaluate and re-define the concept of re-volution. This is not an easy scientific endeavor. Revolution is the central topic of phenomena which became known to us as "socialism", "communism" or "Marxism-Leninism," and these things are not very much loved in the Western capitalist world. They have been painted as Draculas and Frankensteins. The bourgeois scholars of the mid-18th century, Rousseau, Voltaire or Montesquieu, were very well acquainted with feudalism and Roman Catholicism, the then arch-enemies of capitalism in its political and ideological power struggle. This is the reason why the bourgeois class was revolutionary and could be successful historically.
The two so-called "classical" revolutions, the French Revolution of 1789 and the October Revolution of 1917, both which have introduced the beginning stages of new intra-systemic antagonist modes of production, capitalism and socialism respectively, today can only restrictively explain the root causes, social dynamics, historical latencies and tendencies of current world social revolution, whose vanguard is formed in Latin America, by Cuba and Venezuela, and by the heroic workers' struggles in Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, etc.
The concepts and categories won from critical analyses of modern highly developed industrialized societies cannot be applied directly to "developing" countries; similarly, classical Marxist concepts concerning exploitation, classes or imperialism, willy-nilly cannot be used to explain "Third World" realities efficiently.
This was at best demonstrated in the conflict between the Latin American "dependencia" Marxist authors and the "Neo-Marxist" scholars in the 1960s and 1970s. Also, the application of guerrilla warfare tactics and strategies won in China, Vietnam or Cuba to metropolitan revolutionary conditions by the "Red Army Brigades" in Western Europe, this had resulted in disastrous emancipatory situations.
Ever since the 1960s there is a passionate international discussion, especially introduced by Herbert Marcuse, concerning the locality of the present revolutionary subject in the world emancipatory struggle. The problem is all the more serious, because, at least, over the last decades, the proletariat of highly industrialized countries, such as Germany or the United States of America, had not fulfilled its historic revolutionary task, as originally anticipated and hopefully specified by Marxian revolutionary theory -- it has more to lose "than its chains", at least, this it "believes."
Here in Venezuela, the Bolivarians have everything to lose, if global fascism would intervene in Venezuela, and succeed to introduce here the belligerent quagmire of Afghanistan or Iraq.
* "Revolution" like "Democracy" is a bourgeois capitalist invention and a global arm of mass destruction
Now, let us investigate the genesis of the word "revolution" itself. In the late Middle Ages, the word "revolution" appeared in Europe. It was the formation of the noun from the Latin verb, revolvere, meaning to "roll back," for example, to explain the rotation of the moon in a circular orbit. St. Augustine used it in the sense of "reincarnation", in his religious battle against the heathens who believed that the soul repeatedly "rolls" through various "bodies" until it is purified. For Dante, "revolutio" is the changing movement of the sun, stars and planets. Thus, as late as the 15th century, the concept "revolutio" was essentially still a pre-political astronomic concept.
Then came the bourgeois capitalist discoveries of the natural scientists, Copernicus (1473-1543), Galilei Galileo (1564-1642) and Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), which gave the concept a physico-political connotation. The astrologists of the 17th century believed that by means of the positions of the heavenly bodices, by the horoscope, they could prophesy the faith of the feudal princes, who asked them for advice before going to war, This pre-scientific method is still today used in our national and international mass media, in horoscopes, to determine the behavior patterns of wage workers in modern capitalism.
Nevertheless, since the 17th century, people believed that political events were dependent on physical phenomena. They thought that political actions were caught within the magnetic field of the powers of nature. This was clearly a revolutionary step, away from the idealist, religious notion that Providence determines human behavior.
Galileo even believed that the rotations of the earth cause accidents and chances in human life. Ever since, the prefix "re-" did not mean only a simple repetition, but also contained the idea of destruction. Currently, the USA show us what is "revolutionary mass destruction." Revolution now included a new element, which was beyond the reach of human arbitrariness, calculation and planning.
The word "revolution" received its political connotation in the genesis of capitalism itself. It originated in the city-states of northern Italy, were capitalism was developing in embryonic form. Words such as "rivoltura", "rivoluzione" were used to describe serious social revolts or popular unrest. What these words exactly designated, can he compared with the present political understanding of "social turmoil" or "turbulent events" in domestic or foreign affairs. Of course, the current political coup attempts, the economic sabotage and the constitutional conspiracy in Venezuela concern global counter-revolution.
Marxist Revolutionary Theory
Let us very briefly expound the essence of the Marxian workers' revolutionary theory, in order to understand why the Bolivarian Revolution is neither Marxist nor Anti-Marxist.
Marx evolved his theory of revolution in the years 1840-1844, and it was intended to be a program for the bourgeois-democratic revolution, then overdue in Germany, Germany's historical time-lag as compared with her Western-bourgeois neighbors (England and France), offered the German social revolution a unique historical chance, not only to make up for the "political emancipation" that had been brought about by the Jacobinian revolution in France, but even to surpass it in a "human emancipation", which would go so far as to overcome the contradiction between citoyen and bourgeois.
In clarifying the question of the subject of such a revolution, Marx not only crossed the line from radical bourgeois-ideologist to proletarian-theoretician of the socialist revolution, but also from utopian to scientific socialism, which alone is susceptible of crossing the bridge of praxis that must of necessity link the criticism of the present with the concrete utopia of the future, and of actuating the "alliance of thinking and suffering men", that will liberate human society from the shackles of the bourgeois mode of production and hence, from the class system on a world scale.
Two parties are bound to find themselves in a temporary alliance prompted by the revolution, although they differ in their basic political attitude towards that revolution: "a petty-bourgeois one that aims at getting it done and over with, and a proletarian one that keeps pushing it forward until all more or less properties classes have squeezed out of authority, executive power has been wrested from them by the proletariat, and the associations of proletarians not only in one country but in all leading countries of the world are so far advanced (....) that at least the decisive forces of production will be concentrated in the hands of the proletariat". (See: Marx and Engels, "Address of the Central Authority to the League", March 1850.)
This postulation of permanency for the proletarian revolution (an idea which was later further developed by Leon Trotsky in his "theory of the permanent revolution"), was at the time the common political platform of the "League of Communists" and the "Blanquists." Relevant here is, that the Bolivarian Revolution historically is continuing this tradition of Permanent World Revolution.
The "Communist Manifesto," Marx and Engels
In the "Communist Manifesto," Marx and Engels addressed the "proletariat" in the "third person", hence at a little distance. Also, when they addressed the "communists" themselves, they used the appellate for the conclusion of the "manifesto": "Workers of the world, unite!" The Manifesto of Marx and Engels of 1848 directly did not address the proletarians on a world scale, it was formulated for the European proletariat.
For them, revolution had nothing to do with conspiracy, blind activism or Blanquism. It was for them an epoch-making social transformation, which has become world historically necessary, and whose task it was to eradicate the economically based exploitative relations of the bourgeois classes. The possibility of a social revolution has first theoretically to be derived from the objective conditions of the law of accumulation of capital, then scientifically tested, only then could ideas concerning the organization of revolution, be formulated correctly. This means that first a revolutionary theory has to be developed out of the specific conditions, then it must be tested scientifically in revolutionary praxis, by active organization of the working classes. Certainly, we, the Bolivarians, have to study the above lesson very carefully.
The Five Major Postulates of the Marxian Revolutionary Theory.
Social revolutions are only possible, when a historic subject exists, whose concrete needs are so clearly articulated that revolutionary theory appears as the most adequate expression of these needs. Social revolutions are "real" and "total" and they must have an international character.
As far as the German social revolution of the mid-19th century was concerned, it would only be successful, if the "bourgeoisie", in alliance with the State, would accomplish the political revolution; this would, on the one hand, enable the continuation of concentration of capital, and, on the other hand, the pauperization of the developing proletariat; thus the central conflict between the German forces of production and relations of production will eventually reach an acute, critical stage, creating the real historic conditions for the German proletarian social revolution.
Social revolutions can only take place in the face of a universal economic crisis, in which the antagonistic structure of bourgeois class society becomes crystal-clear to every conscious worker. In such a situation the two major classes of capitalist society confront each other openly. The world crisis of 1847 was for Marx and Engels the real economic base of the European "February" and "March" revolutions of 1848; also the period of relative economic prosperity of 1849-50 was the economic basis of the European political reaction at the beginning of the 1850s.
A pre-condition for social revolutions is a highly developed level of the industrial revolution. This creates a highly organized, experienced proletariat, which can revolt in a united and disciplined manner, as a "class for itself" which is able to overcome capitalist class society.
In conclusion, this Marxist concept of revolution only has validity in highly developed capitalist industrialized societies. A prerequisite is a comprehensive theory of social development. This concept maintains that the social proletarian revolution is inevitable on a world historical scale, and how, when or where social revolutions occur cannot be determined abstractly, but on the basis of specific historical, economic, political, social and cultural conditions.
Surely, we, as Bolivarian revolutionaries, should enjoy the above emancipatory food for thought and action. Definitely, Marx was the first scholar who described the essence of fundamental social changes, as the result of the contradiction between the developing forces of production and obsolete relations of production. At a certain stage of development the material social forces of production contradict the existing relations of production, that is, the relations of property, within which they had developed until then. Originally developmental forms of the forces for production, these production relations now become chains of the same. The result is that an epoch of social revolution sets in.
Marx explained that a mode of production never disappears, before all its forces of production are developed. New and higher relations of production never appear before the material conditions of existence, necessary for their coming into being, are not yet already present in embryonic form in the old mode of production. This surely places the ALBA and Mercosur in contemporary global perspective.
Revolution is characterized as a process, as an epoch. Generally, emancipatory violence is necessary to crack the old egg shell, in order to give birth to the new relations of production. But violence is not necessarily a sine qua non for social revolution. Correctly, the Bolivarians speak about the revolutionary "process" in Venezuela.
The concept of revolution as process is confronted with the concept action, with the political revolution. This political act, in the past, has practically not occurred exactly at the point, where the concentration of the new forces of production came into contradiction with the egg shell of the obsolete relations of production. In this sense, the October Revolution was premature and the revolution in the United States is long overdue. In Venezuela, the political revolution has to capture its economic revolution, its material base, PDVSA.
Marx and Engels were of the opinion that the socialist revolution will take place simultaneously in all highly industrialized, "civilized" countries, at least in England, the United States of America, France and Germany. The "uncivilized" world will automatically be forced to accept the socialist mode of production. However, the World Revolution, which began in October 1917, which collapsed with the "Fall of the Berlin Wall," has not taken the course which Marx and Engels had predicted.
* It becomes clear that within the Marxian "theory of revolution" there cannot be a generally valid, paradigmatic model of revolution. Also, "classical" revolutions do not exist.
A common factor of all revolutions is that the exploitative social conditions have become so unbearable for the masses of working people, that the majority of them are prepared to place their lives at stake, in revolt against the rulers, who are not capable anymore to solve the burning social problems. Precisely this happened in Venezuela, the workers' battle against Puntofijismo and "neo-liberalism," that is, against World Fascism.
The only factor which is clear, is that with the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the epoch of social revolution between capitalism and socialism has set in, in other words, the process of the world revolution began, and that now it continues with the Bolivarian Revolution.
This world revolution, which is reflected in the current severe international crises of corporate capitalism on a global scale, has as important elements the scientific technological revolution, the rapid development of the means of production and the forces of production, and the emancipatory struggle of nations on a global scale, who have become socially conscious of the imminent dangers of capitalism to their very existence, and the survival of mankind.
The relevance of the above for the Bolivarian Revolution within the context of World Revolution, Lenin already had underlined when he stated: without revolutionary theory, there is no social revolution. And he did not say: ideology, in spite of the earlier confusion about "socialist" or "proletarian" ideology. The corruption of the best, is always the worst corruption, thus precision of Marxist scientific concepts and our own world outlook in our time becomes very necessary. The same applies to everyday concepts like "socialism", "democracy" and "revolution".
However, there is a major contradiction, which is often forgotten within the political heat and revolutionary dust of the class struggle, the contradiction between Nature and Society. Already the "young" Marx stressed the necessity of the true naturalization of Man and the humanization of Nature. If we do not achieve this, which must be one of the main objectives of the Bolivarian Revolution, then we will never make the dialectical jump, the qualitative transcendence, from the "reign of necessity" to the "reign of freedom", in which homo sapiens sapiens can become himself again, that is, the god in reality, who had for so many thousands of years been projected into the heavens, as a mere sacred human fantasy and utopian daydream.
After August 15, 2004, in Venezuela, Revolution will mean Praxis-Theory, will mean: "La Lutta continua!"