HAVANA TIMES — Some adversaries of socialism are now boasting that with the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the Socialism of the 21st Century movement has been orphaned and they are predicting — as much as yearning — its accelerated demise.
They don’t know, and they don’t care to know, that under the name of “Socialism of the 21st Century” there exist and intersect a number of non-capitalist theories and practices that have been gaining strength since the collapse of the “socialist” camp.
These depart from the old and obsolete dogmas of Stalinism and their variants. Instead, they take as their starting point reality and the original ideas of Marxism on the social revolution as a process of the democratization of the economic, social and political lives of people through their own active participation in changing production relations.
Chavez was one of the most important representatives of one of the variants identified in this current, but not the only one, just as his party isn’t the only group on the Latin American or global scale that ascribes to this form of thought, which includes various points views and actions, with nuances that are not always shared by all of them.
Likewise, there are movements, organizations and governments that in their own ways are working to advance the general ideas of that socialism that are not new, yet these are distinct from the other approach that resorts to authoritarianism, paternalism, imposition, the “dictatorship of the proletariat,” the State as lord and master, and the single party while maintaining wage-labor exploitation.
Some of these emphasize equivalent exchange. Others focus on the active, democratic an inclusive participation of citizens in decision-making and participatory budgeting at all levels.
There are those that prioritize the development of new forms of non-wage-labor production, such as cooperatives and self-managed workplaces. There are those who promote somewhat integral visions of a new society that incorporate all of this.
But they all point towards “de-alienation” of human beings, toward people’s full emancipation from varying forms of exploitation, towards more active participation of all citizens — without exception — in matters that affect them, with all of this based on full democracy, non-violence and people’s harmonious integration with nature – rather than its destruction, which is threatened through forms of exploitation that prioritize greed and profit.
Though having differences in approaches and national particularities, socialism of the 21st century has also been promoted in Ecuador under the leadership of President Raphael Correa and his Alianza Pais Party, and in Bolivia by Evo Morales and MAS.
Several other Latin American governments and social movements, without openly identifying themselves with this current, in practice are advancing democratic policies for greater popular participation in decision making and are supporting the development of self-employed labor, cooperatives and the self-management of enterprises by workers, as seen in Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, Nicaragua and other countries.
In the Dominican Republic, under the guidance of the historic revolutionary leader and communist Narciso Isa Conde, the Caamañista Movement is engaging in extensive work to spread the ideas of socialism of the 21st century and is working for the unification of the revolutionary and socialist movement under democratic flags.
Movements of various magnitudes are found in Germany with Heinz Dietrich, who published the first book on Socialism of the 21st Century and brought those ideas to Venezuela and other Latin American countries.
In Spain, where there are entire regions with the remarkable presence of supporters of socialism with these features, there are theoreticians such as Inaki Gil de Saint Vicent. Even in the United States itself, there’s a strong cooperative movement and a party that promotes the establishment of a cooperative society.
In Cuba there’s a significant movement — a broad democratic left inside and outside the Communist Party — calling for the democratization of the state-centric model, the further development of cooperatives and self-employed work.
A general program for participatory and democratic socialism has even been presented to the Cuban people and workers by a group of democratic socialists, who despite all the obstacles and barriers erected by the bureaucracy are sustaining open combat in all possible areas for the extension of these ideas.
The list of supporters and movements throughout the world is endless. They are fighting for democratic socialism in the Marxist sense, different from though not an enemy of social democracy – which with some people mistakenly try to identify us.
We are fighting to overcome wage-labor exploitation and advocating the full liberation of human beings through democratic and non-violent approaches – in accordance with the democratic, pacifist and humanist aims of the new society.
We do not have nor do we claim to have a common program or a general line established by any center of the old-style Communist International. This is a group of people and movements that share essential ideas about socialism, which must continue to develop peacefully and democratically in this new century.
Those who speak of socialism of 21st century as orphaned are totally clueless. They have no idea of ??the general importance and significance of this movement, which is diverse yet united by intangibles bonds.
This has nothing to do with being orphaned. Though without making a lot of noise, the Socialism of the 21st Century Movement (S-21) is continuing its slow advance across the planet…and always with greater strength.
To contact Pedro Campos, write: [email protected]