Estado no, estrado sí / Joaquín Marta Sosa

State No, Dais Yes

One of the curiosities of the ideology that we'll refer to, with some anxiety, as being "of the left" is its idolatry of the State. Moreover, this praise is maintained intact today, as if nothing had occurred on our planet; to the point that recently, on the occasion of a debate about the left, the right and third ways, someone affirmed that the essential difference between the authentic left and any type of reforms (all—according to this person—decadent by definition) is the central importance that the authentic left holds as a fundamental piece. A piece without which it would be impossible to embark on any type of change that deserves to be called historic. In other words, the more State we have the more revolution exists.

In this panorama, it is evident that the steps which the supporters of an historic fracture are claiming to embark upon here, these steps don't seem to be disengaged from the most rancid form of ideology from that particular branch of the left. Since in this land as well it is being said that "our first necessity" is more State, more than even the Bolivarian "lights and morals." Regardless, the classics of revolutionary thought have been clear in regards to their understanding of the goals of history: it is about accomplishing the State's disappearance and eventual irrelevance, thanks to the birth of the "new man." Almost all the traditions associated with the aforementioned political movements have coincided in this idea. And the first item that history struggles to reproach us with is that there is no way to make something disappear if one embarks upon the path of strengthening that thing, which obviously holds true for the State. What's more, in all the cases where "leftism" successfully accomplishes its take-over of power, what it ends up favoring is the repressive entity of the State, as well as its subordination to instances of power that eat away at its ideas like parasites. This is the case whether the center becomes the only political party or the great leader, rather than the conjunction of its institutional measures.

The result is that one or another installs himself in a power centralized to an extreme, deforming the State with its police-military arm, which is essentially incapable of being efficient in any other function. This is a situation that is discovered when public funds become scarce and an exhausted and impossible economic model's entire skeleton creaks and falls apart. The Soviet and Chinese experiences are there to corroborate this fact. Neither a new institutionality nor a new society emerged from these two cases. Instead, the results were very predictable and even prematurely aged. Thus, the notion that the strengthening of the State is the mother of all priorities for an "authentic revolutionary" can only result in an insatiable stolidness when it comes time for reading the paths that history has taken.

So then, in Venezuela we have arrived at the second act of the same and aforementioned play. On the one hand, the functions and reaches of the State are amplified to the point of exasperation, including the worst of its roles, arbitrariness, since its essence is the power of fire, intimidation and repression.

And parallel to this situation, what truly fattens is omnipotent power based on the cult of personality of the great leader, through whose hands everything must pass and in whose arms lie any final decisions, whether in relation to trivial or transcendent matters. In this way, a State overburdened with tasks and, while its leader does not act, overburdened by paralysis ends up sinking without remission. That is to say, what we witness in actuality is its pronounced weakening, its dismantling which opens a space for vanity and the "At your command, sir." All of which are tenacious dissolvents of any attempt to build up a State.

So then, where do we stand? If a historical transformation requires a State with unbreakable strengths, why is it that the only thing being raised is the subordination to a cult of personality and servile loyalty? Why is it that, under the slogan "We need plenty of State for as much revolution as the masses want," what is being installed is a State that is so anemic that it serves neither a revolution nor any change whatsoever? Why is it that, instead, this anemic State is at the command of an arbitrary power that has invaded what little was left of the State, while it is cheapened and demolished? Our leaders dance within a paradox that is neither involuntary nor innocent. A dance for those who argue in favor of a powerful State while they unreasonably asphyxiate it within the convoluted infallibility of the great leader. A leader for whom the purpose of the State is reduced to being a dais from which he can pontificate without any moderation whatsoever.

When the curtain falls, Venezuela will be worse off than Spain: Franco's regime at least left behind a solid State. These national mandarins of ours, on the other hand, will leave us with a State so corroded that it won't even have enough money for its own funeral.

{ Joaquín Marta Sosa, El Nacional, 24 February 2005 }

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