A reply to: “Venezuela: Firmness and Participation Needed to Deepen Transition to Socialism”, Venezuelanalysis of July 23rd 2009 – the editorial of Marea Socialista, issue 20, July 12th 2009.
This remarkable article shows clearly that the Bolivarian Revolution has the same problems which were faced by all other social revolutions beginning with the 1870 Paris Commune – and, sadly, proclaims once again the nebulous „battle of ideas“ and gives no new practical solutions.
The only positive development was hinted at with the words: „the development of the National Bolivarian Militia”, which is rather overdue. The people – and first and foremost the Tupamaros – should be armed to protect the Revolution, whereas the personnel of all private security companies, as well as the corrupt and criminal municipal police should be disarmed and disbanded. The present practice of sending Columbian paramilitaries home instead of publicly executing them is nothing but inviting them to come back. The hired guns of US imperialism must know that they will be definitely finished off; this is the only way to make their services prohibitively expensive.
The enemies of Revolution should have no hope of easy victory like one which was given to Pinochet by the President Salvador Allende of Chile who cherished the illusions of legalism and peaceful coexistence with the counterrevolutionary elite. “Poder popular” without people being armed and trained in street-, antitank- and antiaircraft combat is just a cruel, sadistic joke. Maybe Lenin and Trotzki made many mistakes, but they were perfectly right when they created the Red Army from the scratch, to fight off the counterrevolution.
Strangely enough, the attempts of political forces of the old corrupt regime to split Venezuela by misusing the federal system of government were not mentioned at all in the Editorial. It is obvious that the federalism is hopelessly outdated, because it was useful only till the end of 19th century, as there were no efficient means of telecommunication. Preserving this antiquated bureaucratic dinosaur in the 21st century is a sheer madness, because now it is nothing else but an obstacle for the efficient administration of the country. The old corrupt elite knows this and therefore tries to abuse the federal structures in order to split the country and thus provoke civil unrest. Certainly, their subversive activities are a far cry from genuine separatist movements based on a broad popular support – such as, e.g., the movements of Basque and Catalan separatists in Spain. On the contrary, it is a cynical, antipatriotic abuse of power by „oppositional“ province governors destroying Venezuela for the benefit of their US imperialist masters. The federal system of government was used by the imperialism as a pretext to split many countries: Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia; therefore it would be of great benefit for Venezuela to abolish it completely.
The whole world lives in the shadow of the imperial dictatorship of global capitalist gang. Therefore any faint-hearted „socialism“ is just a puppet of this imperialist monster which hides behind the mask of „democracy“. A genuine socialism should use all opportunities to actively attack the soft belly of the monster and should pay it in kind – i.e. be unforgiving, merciless and resolute in dealing with all lackeys and mercenaries of imperialism.
Now, all aforemenioned is pretty obvious. A really difficult question (and the crucial question of all social revolutions) is: how to keep the pace of revolutionary transformation fast and how to prevent the emergence of a new so-called “revolutionary” – but in practice purely counterrevolutionary – elite? How to prevent the degeneration and corruption of Revolution?
It should be reminded here that both liberalism and socialism are the offspring of the 18th-century rationalism which self-righteously proclaimed that human beings are rational. Supposedly, if a man is properly “enlightened”, so that his “conscience” (or “consciousness”, if you prefer this word) is filled with proper ideas, values and principles, he will behave and act in the way which is most beneficial both for him personally and for the society as a whole. This belief proved to be wrong far too many times to be considered as anything more than an Ersatz-religion. Hence both the “democracy” of liberal moralists and, sadly, the so-called “class conscience” of Marxism are nothing but figments of imagination, systematically misused by hypocrites.
Therefore those at “Marea Socialista” who prescribe “the Battle of Ideas” should first oblige me by explaining me (a 50-years-old Russian as I am) why the overwhelming majority of the peoples of Soviet Union and Eastern Europe – despite being subjected to marxist indoctrination from kindergarten to the grave – embraced capitalism in 1989; they should also create an ideology which would make Messrs. Gorbachev, Putin & Co (former communist party bosses and marxist ideologists as they are) to repent and to come back into the fold of socialism and communism, before I concede that some very fortunate ideology really works.
Well, if ideological indoctrination does not work, what does work, then?
Let me explain it on a recent example of successful social manipulation and transformation. The capitalist transformation of Russia and Eastern Europe involved a massive destruction of productive workplaces in industry. Those fired had no choice to earn their living but by starting their own pathetic, non-productive “businesses” as petty traders and street vendors. To survive in this new situation, they were compelled to practice daily the purely capitalist antisocial patterns of behavior: sucker-punching and “bugger-thy-neighbour”. It means that not the “conscience”, but the “way of life”, i.e. the everyday routine, the habits, the patterns of social behaviour of millions of people was radically changed. By the way, it was the reversal of the “elimination of the bourgeoisie as a social class” which was accomplished in the Soviet Union by Stalin in 1937. This reversal was done, certainly, not by the “liberal reformers”, who are just silly wind-bags busy with stuffing their pockets with dollars, but by the real, very dangerous force of “creative destruction” behind them – the US PSYOPS.
The forces of counter-revolution do not try to change the “conscience” of their prey; they change the patterns of social life: then you have the choice either to play their game and maybe win, or to go straight down the drain. It is the old good principle of “stick and carrot”, or, as it is called by behaviorists, the principle of operant conditioning. The scientific theory of this technology of social manipulation was developed mainly in the USA in the mid-20th century by Burrhus F. Skinner and is called “Radical Behaviorism”.
When I try to explain to leftist intellectuals the essence of behaviorism and its enormous potential value as the instrument of implementing the socialist transformation of society, it looks sometimes as an attempt to explain what colours are – to blind people. Far too many leftists are negatively prejudiced against behaviorism and even reject the chance of being adequately informed – simply because of the malicious anti-behaviorist slander, implanted in their heads by the gurus of dominant idealist pseudo-science of cognivist psychology. And I regret very much that Dr. Noam Chomsky still remains in the ranks of the bashers of behaviorism.
The only way people can expose and resist manipulation is by learning how it works. This means studying radical behaviorism (in its pure form, not mutilated by later cognitivist perversions). Analyzing operant contingencies of reinforcement which form the backbone of the everyday life of a given society is the inevitable first step on the way towards purposeful transformation of this society. Therefore I am convinced that the behaviorist technology of social transformation should be widely applied for the creation of truly free, humane, solidary and egalitarian socialist society – the genuine Poder Popular, which should destruct and replace the global imperialist system of inequality, exploitation, mass manipulation and the priviliges for the very few. Interested readers, especially PSUV members, are very welcome to learn more about it at my site http://behaviorist-socialist.blogspot.com/