Heinz Dieterich 26.3.2005
The World Revolution Advances Through Hugo Chavez
(2nd in a series of three essays)
Translation from Spanish, John Manning
Spanish original in: www.rebelion.org, la pagina de Dieterich,
1. Towards XXI Century Socialism, with the help of the World Spirit
In an audacious commando operation, Hugo Chavez, on February 27, 2005, established his “beachhead” of world vanguard in the ideological battlefield with the bourgeoisie, in proclaiming the necessity of “inventing socialism of the XXI century” and “to continue to distance ourselves from capitalism”. Following this, the Commander consolidated his position with two indestructible armoured divisions when he emphasized that Venezuela’s socialism would be democratic and participative in character, “in accord with the original ideas of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.
This democratic and open convocation is very well suited to the task because the New Philosophy of Praxis of the oppressed requires the concurrence of the best forces and intellects of humanity, given that it is a question of no less than constructing a “New Historic Project” (NHP) for the liberation of mankind. In its rational o cognitive kernel the NHP must resolve three complex strategic dimensions of human evolution: the scientific-critical, the ethical, and the esthetic.
Unfortunately there is no Karl Marx or Friedrich Engels in sight who would have the genius to conceive in hardly three months the critical route to postcapitalist society, as they did in the “Communist Manifesto”, in 1847. Neither is there an Albert Einstein, who in the same space of time in 1905 established the foundations of the postnewtonian world, with his papers on quantum theory (march) and on the theory of relativity (june).
Lacking these extraordinary thinkers, who in a time of record management resolved unknown fundamentals of a virtual reality ---the anti-system future--- which the rest of the scientists had not even posed, we the mortals, have to lay our hands on the World Spirit, Hegel´ s famous creature. We are not, of course, speaking of theologized or esoteric phantoms, but of the Collective Spirit of Humanity in its empiric concreteness.
But how do we use the recourse to the World Spirit in practice? How do we “lay hands on it”? And what is the functional scientific equivalent of the mystical divine communications of the Catholics’ prayer and the Eucharist, in this mission of evolving the socialist theory of the XXI century? Marx said that humanity only poses tasks which are in a condition to be solved. This affirmation is correct, because “hidden” in the conscience or pre-conscience which permits the question, we will find the answer.
The secular solution of the XXI century is this: since we do not have access to the supercomputers, trademark Marx, Engels or Einstein, we have to substitute for them –until new ones appear– with networks of personal computers, whose joint capacity of data processing resembles that of the supercomputers, hoping, furthermore, that at some moment they will produce the transition of phase (qualitative leap) of the process toward the new paradigms of postcapitalist civilization.
This solution or method of potentiating the power of the individual through his/her work in coordinated networks is known in the information world as internet-based Distributed Computing projects. This concept means: that a complex task is resolved through the voluntary participation of owners of personal computers who for x-motive decide to allot computational time and work to the resolution of a task without asking for monetary retributions or material gratifications.
The most successful program of this type is the SETI of the University of California at Berkeley, which, since its conception in 1999 has counted with the collaboration of more than five million participants, who in total have contributed more than two million years (sic) of aggregate computer time to the project. It constitutes the most powerful computer network of all time.
To put this “World Spirit” at the service of humanity through its gratuitous contribution and solidarity in the New Historic Project (NHP) of the Socialism of the XXI century will be relatively easy. There are millions of engineers, economists, mathematicians, activists and social fighters in India, Europe, the United States, Latin America and other latitudes who have computer capacity and unused time who, without doubt, would be disposed to collaborate in solidarity with the construction of the next phase of human evolution. It is simply a question of activating them with an ethical political project which will give them a sense of transcendence in life, which present capitalism lacks completely.
This access to the resources of humanity is feasible, as much for the strategic phase of the struggle as for the transitional phase in Latin America, the Bolivarian integration of Latin America and the Caribbean. A single example for the transitional phase. With a hundred thousand dollars, the Venezuelan government could obtain in six months all the knowledge (the expertise), which is needed for the economic integration of Latin America. If it launched an international contest over internet on, let us say, eight problems of economic integration --the monetary unit of reference, a Central Bank, high tech-development centers, comparative advantages in the global economy, etc.– and offered prizes of ten thousand dollars in each heading, it would have in six months an avalanche of proposals from the whole world which would dynamize extraordinarily the formation of the Regional Latinamerican Power Block (RLPB).
4. The scientific theory of XXI century socialism
Undoubtedly Hugo Chavez can be optimistic about his vanguard initiative. A considerable part of the road has been traveled, as much in the field of material or non-formal ethics as in the construction of the scientific nucleus of contemporary revolutionary theory. In this sense, rather than a task of “inventing” the theory, it is a matter now of divulging it and building on it.
Apart from many individuals, two schools of thought have independently advanced the reasoning about the “socialism of the XXI century”: the so-called “Scottish School”, with the computational expert, Paul Cockshott and the economist Allin Cottrell; and that denominated the “School of Bremen”, in turn, of the universal genius, Arno Peters, the mathematician Carsten Stahmer, the Cuban physicist, Raimundo Franco, and myself.
The emphasis of analysis of both schools varies. To put it simply. The principal work of Cockshott/Allin, Towards a New Socialism, is a brilliant and profound discussion centered primarily on the technological and economic aspects of a new and viable non-capitalist project. On the other hand, the works of the Bremen School, for example, The end of Global Capitalism, The New Historic Project; Computer Socialism, (Arno Peters), and XXI Century Socialism and Participative Democracy, (Heinz Dieterich), prioritize a more evolutionary and institutional focus which discusses, in addition the problem of the phase of transition towards a new socialism in Latin America.
The amazing result, nevertheless, is that both theories, developed independently and from different angles, arrive at the same general inferences (conclusions) on the principal institutions which will substitute the bourgeois institutions in the new postbourgeois and postcapitalist civilization. These coincidences on the new socialist institutionalism of the XXI century, undoubtedly constitute a relevant methodological indicator of the validity of the results obtained, in an independent manner, by both groups.