Ideología revolucionaria o técnica del golpe de Estado / Elizabeth Burgos

Revolutionary Ideology or Technique of the Coup d’Etat

When he published his famous treatise Technique of the Coup d’Etat (1931), Curzio Malaparte’s goal was to demonstrate that forces adverse to the values of liberty and democracy, from the extreme right or the extreme left, can shelter themselves in a modern State and hinder those values, and that in order to defend the rule of law from that danger, it is necessary to know the modern technique of the coup d’état and the fundamental rules that guide it. Malaparte’s demonstration begins with the deconstruction of the process that led to the October Revolution of 1917. The strategist of the revolution was Lenin, but the tactician was Trotsky. From which Malaparte concludes that it is not Lenin’s strategy that modern states should fear, but rather Trotsky’s tactics. The Leninist strategy cannot be understood, nor is it applicable, outside the context of Czarist Russia. On the other hand, the absence of favorable circumstances does not impede the employment of Trotskyite tactics, because what counts is the insurrectional tactic, the technique of the coup d’état. For Lenin, one must count on the revolutionary surge of the masses. Trotsky, on the other hand, thought the masses were too much for an insurrection; what one needs is “a small, cold, violent troop, trained for insurrectional tactics.”

Malaparte also analyzes the variable in the example of the 18th Brumaire, Bonaparte’s coup d’état: this makes use of the army as a legal instrument in the conquest of the State, which would be a means of reconciling the use of violence while maintaining legality, in order to accomplish a parliamentary revolution. This would be the novelty contributed by Bonaparte to the technique of the coup d’état, which makes his the first modern coup d’état. The Parliament accepts the consummated act and formally legalizes the coup d’état, thus decreeing its own end. This same preoccupation with maintaining one’s own legality is also present in the enterprises of Pilsudzki in Poland, Kapp in Germany and Primo de Rivera in Spain. But it is in the meticulous story of the tactics employed by Mussolini during the three bloody years it took for fascism to take over the State that Malaparte displays his keen observer’s vision of insurrectional processes and an intimate knowledge of fascism. His antipathy towards Hitler is profound, and he considers that Hitler’s assault troops do not constitute an army of the national revolution, but are rather the “blind instrument of the leader’s ambitions.” His disdain for Hitler leads him to consider him a “truly feminine spirit,” who hides within brutality in order to mask his weaknesses. One of the characteristics of dictators is envy: “Dictatorship is not only a means of governing, but rather, it is the most polished form of envy, in all its forms: intellectual, moral, political.”

Perhaps the title of the book acted as a dissuasive element among those for whom it was intended and, on the contrary, the celebrated classic has been a source of inspiration, a theoretical guide, for the idolaters of the centralized, authoritarian, anti-liberal, anti-democratic State. It has been a reference for Fidel Castro, and thus also for the coup-plotting generation that emerges in Venezuela in 1992, camouflaged under the epithet of Bolivarians.

Up until now, analysts have paid little attention to the technical aspect of Chavismo, camouflaged under the façade of Bolivarianism. Intellectuals aligned with the regime, as well as those who are opposed to it, have centered their efforts on, for the former, searching for a theoretical legitimacy to the proposal of so-called “XXI century socialism,” while the latter have focused on ideological debate and on denouncing the failure of XX century socialism. Neither group has noticed that what has been occurring in Venezuela under the mask of a debate of ideas, is the deployment of a technique in the service of an insurrectional tactic that has as its primary goal to shelter itself within the State, in order to then preserve that status for life.

The ample experience developed by Chavismo in the technique of the permanent coup d’état it has been developing for eight years now, in its effort to control the combined body of the State in a legal manner, is a contribution to the technique of the coup d’état. At its core, it is the sum of the diverse experiences analyzed by Malaparte in his work, which the Bolivarians have known how to assimilate, synthesizing them as a whole.

Having fully practiced the insurrectional technique, the Chavista State that emerged from that experience will not defend itself with simple legal or police measures if it sees itself under assault by a rebellion, as a democratic State would. Instead, as the president’s own chief of staff declared just recently, it would defend itself with the militias that have already been set up, for the purpose of confronting any rebellion that might emerge from within the Armed Forces.

After having practiced the access to power by means of a knowledge of the Trotskyite technique for the decisive assault, now it is Chavismo’s turn to defend its power over the State in the way that Stalin did against Trotsky. The preservation of power is dissimulated behind debates about doctrine.

{ Elizabeth Burgos, webarticulista.net, 16 February 2007 }

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