Otra vez la postmodernidad / Eduardo Vásquez

Postmodernity Once Again

In an article published on December 17th, 2006, the economist Emeterio Gómez affirms that XXI Century Socialism has two foundations. The first, very easy to refute, is Marxism. According to Emeterio Gómez, Marx was mistaken in basing himself on a flimsy thesis: “work is the exclusive source of the value of merchandise.” More than twenty years ago already we commented to Emeterio Gómez that Marx does not speak about work, but instead about the force of work. We commented that (according to Marx) the force of work can be measured (the time used to produce) and not work itself. These critical observations appeared in El Universal’s cultural supplement and the article formed part of my book Libertad y enajenación (Monte Ávila Editores, 1987). On the other hand, the force of work as a source of value is not Marx’s idea, it belongs to Adam Smith. In the third manuscript (Property and Work) Marx praises that economist for giving the death-blow to the School of Ricardo, which proposed the rent of land as the source of wealth, when A. Smith proposed “work as the only essence of wealth.” In the same manuscript Marx turns to Smith for having established in multiple ways the unity of work and capital. Among those modes is the notion that “Capital is accumulated work.” The difference between A. Smith and Marx is found in that Marx changes the “work” of A. Smith for the “force of work.”

With the above we do not intend to say that Marx’s theory is still valid. We only demand a correct interpretation of his thought.

Chavismo has nothing to do with Marx. In it there are no proletarians, there are no forces of work (street vendors and the lumpen proletariat are not these): power is found in a single military man. This man has eliminated the base of economic development and of the proletariat’s formation: industry. To call this socialism is to praise Chávez, it is to give him a theoretical and philosophical foundation he absolutely lacks.

The second foundation of Chavismo, according to Emeterio Gómez, is “the death of the subject.” For that reason, he declares that Chavismo is postmodern. Naturally, Emeterio Gómez is in agreement with the death of the subject, of thought, of reason, of liberty. He performed hara-kiri on himself long ago. All those attributes are absent in him: there is only love, plenty of love, like Daniel and Hugo. But the death of the free, rational subject, with rights, is typical of Nazis and fascists. To not think, to not opine, absolute submission, love for the Führer, those were the equivalent values of the Nazis. Their theorists sustained that neither Kant nor Hegel were German because they had made the principles of the French Revolution their own: the universality of human rights, equality, brotherhood, all of these were contrary to the postmodern Nazis. Jews, gypsies, slaves could not be equal to the Aryans nor could they have the same rights. The Nazi’s were postmodern and quite consistent. Not only did they kill their consciences, but they destroyed their bodies. Black, very black (brown shirts) and red, very red (Stalinists). Chávez does not base himself on Marxism. His ideal State looks more like that of Plato, which emerges not as a historical evolution, but through Plato’s thesis of strengthening the State so as to avoid its decadence.

{ Eduardo Vásquez, TalCual, 25 January 2007 }

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