Prédicas para débiles mentales (I) / Oswaldo Barreto

Sermons for Mental Weaklings (I)

These catechization campaigns for “21st century socialism” that the government feverishly deploys have the unquestionable virtue of taking us back in time, at least for those of us Venezuelans who were educated in eras of pre-Chavista regimes, to the sermons the Spanish conquerors preached when they decided to take control of the newly discovered continent. Sermons that, in good or bad faith, were spoken by human beings who possessed an absolutely true knowledge to impart to other beings of diminished humanity, both in their stature as well as in the functions of their bodies and intellectual capacities. Sermons for mental weaklings.

This regression to five centuries ago, to the era of the conquest and colonization of Indians by Spanish soldiers, merchants and missionaries can be glimpsed when we venture to read the long interview with Mr. Juan Carlos Monedero in yesterday’s Sunday El Universal, which announced in its front page headline: “Food and basic services should be in the hands of the people.” In that text, J.C. Monedero, who leads the supreme commission in charge of “defining the path of the process of transition towards 21st century socialism,” teaches us what capitalism and socialism should be, have been and will be as modes of living in society, contradicting everything we Venezuelans thought we knew in our reasoning on such matters. Thus, we are taught that “there are goods that are public: electricity, water, food, health, a basic education, banks. I think those are public goods that don’t need to be understood as merchandise. That is nonsense planted by capitalism.” Oh shit, Marx was so mistaken when he thought, precisely, that capitalism emerges in a society from the specific moment when its members produce merchandise and, what’s more, when everything they produce becomes merchandise! (Capital, Volume I) And, exactly in contradiction to the nonsense Monedero preaches (whether it’s because he takes his interlocutors for mental weaklings or because, in good or bad faith, he assumes such a condition for himself), Marx demonstrated in those, his most famous economic-philosophical pages, that if it is true that all goods can become merchandise it is because all goods are susceptible to possessing two different values, a use value and an exchange value.

{ Oswaldo Barreto, Tal Cual, 1 October 2007 }

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