Crítica de la ilusión pura / Colette Capriles

Critique of Pure Illusion

Socialism is the kingdom of necessity, or better said, of necessities.

The inefficiency displayed by socialism in the production and distribution of wealth is not a secondary effect but rather the result of a deliberate artificial creation of scarcity. The resulting penury is not only material (sharper each time precisely because of the exacerbation of not being able to find necessities): among the scarce goods are liberty (there is only liberty for a few, for the members of the nomenclatura, for the beneficiaries of power's lottery) and the truth (power's privilege; the masses don't deserve the truth; the majority, as Benedetto Croce denounces, "find the un-truth and the mistake convenient").

The agitation of the last few months is different from other paroxysms the government has also provoked, because the macabre announcement of the adoption of socialism is in itself an ideological operation of great significance. Let us examine the roundest metaphor, not too sophisticated, that circulates in the communicational galaxy of the regime: the image of a locomotive that traverses emblematic natural landscapes, or small towns that would represent the deepest Venezuela, under the inclements of the most brutal developmentism, "bound toward socialism" (which is no longer even of the XXI century).

A locomotive composed of a thread of "missions" (that always evade the classification of public politics and maintain the military and militant rhetoric) that plunges into the infinite. Double message: on one hand, the tranquilizer: the "missions" are already themselves the expression of the socialist project (in other words: socialism is nothing different from what you know, nation); on the other, the threat: the impetus of this force takes us to "another" reality, toward the unthought or the unimagined. Socialism is in this way alpha and omega, beginning and end of illusion.

Present, but also inevitable future.

If ambitions for governing once existed, little is left of them.

We have entered the very field of ideological battle, that is, the universe of the representations of reality, and it no longer matters much what the government might do or not do. None want to harvest votes anymore, but wills instead, and this quantum leap supposes the paroxyst development of a double message, fundamentally through a propaganda apparatus whose dimensions seem nearly impossible to quantify. Its purpose, to mask the actual miseries by superimposing on top of them gigantic simulacra of successes: reality is superceded by another reality, a hyperreality that shrinks daily experience and engages in continuing conflicts against it. We will thus be forced to choose between believing what the ideological apparatuses of the State show us or living in perpetual dissonance with them, which requires an uncommon psychological nature.

The locomotive is running and will continue to run outside the central framework: socialism is not being discussed here but instead the most rancid manuals of the Soviet Academy are being dusted off to complete the primer that functionaries repeat, in a postmodern way, in the most servile ignorance as to what they are saying, as is demonstrated by the lamentable intervention by the Minister of the Environment trying to explain the idea of collective property with which she tried to praise, or drastically humiliate, the angered indigenous groups last October 12th.

Or perhaps it wasn't lamentable since it contributes to the general confusion that offers the government such good results.

Reducing political discourse to the mere interpretation of the Great Oracle and his premonitions, trying to decipher what the street vendor's shout of socialism "actually" means, in this manner society's capacity for articulating clear messages is also reduced. There is not a truth in all of this, but instead an infernal kaleidoscope of truths manufactured in the government's situational rooms.

The pre-revocatory outline repeats itself: as soon as the opposition builds an answer less incoherent than usual, the confounding artillery is released, ranging from pinching the ass of property (taking numerous surfaces from it) to the recent episode of the morochas [twin parties], on which they count for disassembling the opposition's electoral strategy and to provoke fissures in the fragile unity accord, consolidating the perception that there is no other future than the one designed by power and once again oxygenating the immature voices of their most fervent allies, those apostles of antipolitics.

{ Colette Capriles*, El Nacional, 20 October 2005 }

* Alma Guillermoprieto discusses Colette Capriles's book La Revolución como espectáculo (Random House Mondadori, 2004) in a recent two-part essay for the New York Review of Books: "Don't Cry for Me, Venezuela" and "The Gambler."

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