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Good Living: a comprehensive conception of development, democracy, rights

Good Living: a comprehensive conception of development, democracy, rights

By Isabel Rauber

By nourishing them, the proposals, concepts and views that I hold are inscribed in a conception that seeks to contribute to an updated vision of the world system ruled by capital in times of globalization of its hegemony [globe-colonization, according to Frei Beto]. And this has to do as much with the analytical critique of the world in the present, as with the reflections about the possibility of overcoming capitalism in favor of life.

The crisis and global decline of current capitalism does not respond to a coincidence, nor is it the consequence of “errors” or deficiencies in the application of the neoliberal model of market operation: it is what neoliberalism sought and sowed; It is what is in its nature, it is the perversion of the system governed by the growing and inexhaustible voracity of the large financial corporations, which express themselves through world banking and today mark the escalation of a new looting for a new cycle of accumulation and colonization of capital on a planetary scale. A predator of nature and human beings, capitalism lacks possibilities to solve the problem it generates, on the contrary, it can only aggravate it.

The forces to resist the onslaught of capital and its overwhelming single thought that seeks to affirm (impose) that this is the only possible world, emerge from the resistance, alternative creations and constructions of the peoples. In their daily practices they seek and create new ways of producing and reproducing life, anticipating elements of what one day will be - integrally? a new civilization, anchored in good living and coexistence among all, living in community in reencounter with nature, in order to make reality –emancipation of the market through ?, the collective and individual plenitude and happiness of humanity.

The expression Good Living or Living Well, typical of the original peoples of Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru ... means, first of all, "Living well among ourselves." It advocates a community coexistence with interculturality and without power asymmetries. As Evo Morales stated: "You cannot Live Well if others live badly." And this expression condenses the core of the solidarity approach: It is about living as part of the community, protecting it and protecting it, in harmony with nature. "Live in balance with what surrounds us" and also "well with you and me"; it is different from the individualistic ‘well-being’ promoted by the market, erected on its back or against “others”, and separated from nature which it considers its “object”.

Good Living includes affectivity, recognition and social prestige; it corresponds to an integral conception of society that articulates development and democratization, on which development and democracy are based and project a civilizing option in which the possibility of life beats strongly.

Good Living summarizes and projects key principles for the construction of the new civilization anchored in solidarity, balance and complementarity of differences, respect for nature as a source of human identity, which relocates life as an indivisible gift of the be in nature and society. It is not a compendium of dogmas to be followed; It is not a new type of fundamentalism, but a source of civilizing energy that has its axis in life, it is due to it, it defends it and around it projects its development. Therefore, it is a proposal open to the creativity of human generations.

An integral conception of development, democracy, rights ...

Respect for human and collective rights, a sense of belonging, security, respect for forms of social organization, and the rights of minorities and majorities constitute part of the central nucleus of Good Living. These reasons, among others, make the development debate a political, social, cultural and ethical debate, as well as an economic one, a conception that -in our lands- is directly articulated with the debate on poverty and wealth, on the ownership of resources. energy, access to services, the enjoyment of rights, that is, with democracy. [one]

Addressing all these problems, seeking stable solutions for them, is to underpin development processes that are, at the same time, intercultural democratization, and vice versa. Development, democracy, interculturality and decolonization keep in this conception of the world a direct biunivocal relationship, incompatible with capitalist schizophrenia that opposes economy and society, society and politics, humanity and nature, the public and the private, the macro and the micro. The old paradigms on civilization, development, welfare and social progress based on consumerism, waste and the abusive use of nature, are revealed today more than ever before in their irrationality and are unsustainable.


Nature at the center of life

The mercantile-quantitative conception of development considers nature as an object that humanity can and must conquer, dominate and exploit for the sake of its “well-being”. Capitalism transformed nature into a “commodity-object”, into a territory that, through its private subdivision and appropriation, can be sold, bought, expropriated, plundered, emptied, bombed, alienated, and so on. Nature was considered a kind of bottomless barrel without the capacity to react until it gave clear signs to the contrary: the growing hole in the ozone layer, tsunamis and earthquakes, the depletion of energy resources, droughts or floods, pollutions ... have been part of nature's language and message.

Today it is clear (and it is recognized) that the biosphere is not only a source of life and energy resources, but also a regulator of the global balance of the system. And this fully coincides with what the Andean peoples have called, for centuries, the Pachamama (Mother earth, mother water, mother jungle). From this perspective, nature is not only seen as a source of resources and raw materials, but also as responsible for important balances that are essential to maintain the biodiversity heritage for future generations.

In this ecological dimension of reality, human beings recognize ourselves as an intrinsic and indivisible part of nature. Such is the cosmo-centric perspective that makes it possible to think about the human future with a different sense and conception of progress and well-being. This can be summed up in Living Well, fundamentally defender-promoter of the human in harmony with nature. In this sense, it is clear that ecological or nature-related issues cannot be analyzed in isolation, as well as those related to poverty, development, democracy ... A comprehensive systemic approach is essential (economy, politics, culture, way of life …) Of life in social realities at all times.

Shaking off the cultural blinders of the past

Shaking off the cultural blinders of other times and developing the capacities to face new realities, situations and problems, is also part of the heart of the political transformations of the democratization and social justice processes that are taking place in Latin American countries.

In this sense, the central problem does not arise - as Laclau (2004) says? - with the values ​​of liberal democracy: Liberty, equality, fraternity, but with the power system that redefines and limits the operation of these at all times. values. For this reason, in times of power disputes as occurs today in the processes of Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador ... the struggles of peoples flourish: in communes and communal councils, in indigenous communities, peasants and in various interested social sectors in participating fully in democracy, that is, expanding it, fighting to extend the principles of equality and freedom in their social, economic, cultural and political relationships.

It is about a root transformation of democracy that intends to deepen-change the tools that it offers in order to put an end to the power relations established by the exclusive and elitist democracy of capital, entering into processes of construction? From below? of another democracy, another power, another State, another State-society-citizenship relationship, another hegemony: that of the peoples in defense of life. We must be careful to avoid the trap of the neoliberal paradigm that considers democracy (and the State) as an abstract sphere, a land devoid of conflicts, a neutral space of competition of interests.

The construction from below of a new hegemony, of a new power, of a new State for Good Living and Coexistence, requires a type of political organization and leadership that is radically different from the modalities and methods of work, organization and management. , particularly in the public sphere. It is a logic that seeks to articulate and build collective leadership and consciousness as a substrate of popular power, based on solidarity and encounter, on the recognition and acceptance of differences without attempting their elimination, understanding them as enriching factors and not as “ default". This logic cannot be based on antagonization? And exclusion? of the different, but in the search for spaces where diversity is increasingly naturally incorporated, fostering inter-articulated, intercultural work of diversity.

Recover the systemic dimension of the category "mode of production"

Debates about development, democratization, citizen participation, education, jurisprudence, ecology, etc., are part of the current processes of search, creation and construction of civilizational alternatives (practical and epistemological) that surpass capitalist civilization. . In them, a new rearticulating principle of civilization stands out: the indivisible nature-society interrelation, part of the keys to the integral defense of life.

This epistemological-cosmovision anchor is fundamental, since it summarizes the conceptual bases of departure for the creation of a new mode of production and reproduction of social life, that is, of a new way of life, anchored in the indivisibility of human life and life. nature. In this sense, this cosmovision principle constitutes part of the new civilizational horizon. Marx discovered this by analyzing the genealogy of capital and the social keys to its reproduction:

The way of producing the means of life of men depends, first of all, on the very nature of the means of life with which they find and which must be reproduced.

This mode of production should not be considered only in the sense of the reproduction of the physical existence of individuals. It is already, rather, a certain mode of activity of these individuals, a certain mode of manifesting their life, a certain mode of life. What they are, therefore, coincides with their production, both with what they produce and with the way in which they produce. What individuals are depends, therefore, on the material conditions of their production. [2] [Engels, F. and Marx, C., 1976 (I): 16] (Italics by the authors. Bold from IR)

In his critique of capitalism, Marx articulated economic production with social reproduction and revealed that the conditions of production constitute at the same time those of reproduction. As long as social reproduction is part of economic reproduction, does it guarantee? In capitalism? the extended reiteration of its own social class system, strengthening-deepening in each cycle the salable condition of labor and also of nature (transformed by the market into an object, raw material, etc.), and expanding the material-spiritual action of market mechanisms (hegemony).

Vendibility and sale, keys to the hegemony of capital

Late capitalism generated a perverse system anchored in death. It sows endless wars as a mechanism for the domination of states - nations, transforming them into ungovernable. At the same time, it promotes unbridled consumerism, anxiety about objects, the objectification of joy and happiness, the objectification of all life ... This indicates that the capitalist market has achieved a high power of naturalization of what was originally coercion: the marketability of human beings in the market converted into "labor power", into merchandise. Thus, the fragmented and alienated humanity reduced its condition of "human being" to the function of its salability. For this reason, to delve into the mechanisms of capital hegemony, the salability category is key.

Vendibility is the ability to transform any entity into a salable object. And this is the logic of the market: to transform everything that exists into salable objects, into merchandise. What cannot be bought and sold does not exist for the market, it is meaningless and, worse, it does not deserve to exist.

The concept of salability is in the analysis of the fundamental keys of the structuring of capital, and has a high value for current studies about the logic of the dominance of capital in the world. Capital, Marx defined, is not only an economic form of existence, it encompasses all spheres and dimensions of social, collective and individual life.

Neither money nor commodities are in themselves capital, just as neither are the means of production nor articles of consumption. They need to become capital. And for this, a series of concrete circumstances must concur, which can be summarized as follows: two classes have to confront and come into contact, very different possessors of merchandise; On the one hand, the owners of money, means of production and consumer goods, eager to make the most of the value of their property through the purchase of other people's labor power; on the other hand, free workers, sellers of their own labor power and, therefore, of their labor. [Marx, 1973: 655 Italics of the author. Blacks of mine.]

In feudalism, the serf could not sell anything without the consent of the lord, and the bourgeois could not trade without the permission of the king. The supreme ideal of that time was that everyone could freely alienate what belonged to them, including oneself in the offer. Obviously, first, the conditions for that marketability had to be created - explicitly -: the expulsion of the peasants' lands, the persecution and punishment of begging, the obligation to be employed (in exchange for coins) or to be exposed to death . Thus, the marketability of the workforce went hand in hand with the availability of the bourgeois to hire "freely." Everything regulated by the market: hunger, expulsion from the land, the conversion of the slave into a "free" citizen, forced by terror to alienate himself in the merchandise "labor power", to sell himself on the labor market or die. The mode of production changed, from feudal to bourgeois, but the private character of the means of production did not change. Thus, in summary, the salability, alienation and self-alienation of labor are tied into a nucleus: the capitalist market. Such is the exalted mystification of the freedom of the bourgeois.

The identification between alienation and reification (reification), is part of the process of formation of the capitalist market, the constituent foundation of capitalist society.

The center of the functioning mechanism of capital lies in the fact that human beings are reified through the market, that is, converted into objects, into things. Once converted into things, they are salable, where? On the market. In what capacity? As a workforce. That first.

The marketability knows no limits or barriers. Over the centuries the market has been perfecting the conditions for human reification and its salability: in the era of the globalization of the capitalist market, everything is feasible to be sold and to be bought. The transformation of the subject into an object that lives for the market is part of the global hegemony process of capital. Such is the destructive and dehumanizing dimension of the civilization of capital. And such are the material, ideological and cultural keys to take into account to find ways to overcome it in favor of life.

The dispute of subjectivity

In the political debate about the alternatives of our time, the dispute over subjectivity is key, as it leads to the construction of subjectivities outside the destructive hegemony of the market, that is, alter-hegemonic subjectivities.

In the realm of subjectivity is consciousness. Consciousness is not only the rational conscious, it is everything that makes one have a certain conception of the world and their place in the world. That is why trying to change the subjectivity built by the capitalist market is not "wasting time" with nonsense, or confusing (again) subjectivity with "the subjective".

The subjectivity debate is above all the fight against the objectification and salability of the subjects, giving the ideological and cultural battle so that the popular sectors discover in their realities, in their ways of life, how capital is transforming them more and more in objects that live for the market, convincing them that happiness lies in consumption.

In this sense, we must once again discuss the revolution, the re-construction of the subject, the construction of popular power in pursuit of liberation.

The universal extension of marketability, that is, the transformation of all things (and human beings) into commodities, implies the reification of human relationships. For this reason, according to Marx, the market reifies in mercantile relations what it has built from alienated and reified human relations. The fragmentation of the social body into isolated individuals who pursue particular objectives delivered by the servitude of selfish necessity, makes a virtue of that selfishness in the cult of private (selfish) life.

From this it follows that if someone tries to free himself from only one side of the opposition, his solution will be fictitious and alienated. And this, of course, applies to both sides taken separately. The simple abolition of the 'private' is as artificial and alienated as the 'fragmentation', 'atomization', 'privatization' of the 'public'. The absolutization of either side means either that man is deprived of his individuality and turned into an abstract public producer, or that, deprived of his sociability, he is transformed into an equally abstract ‘private consumer’. Both are ‘commodity men’, with the difference that while one defines his own essence as a ‘commodity producer’, the other finds his self-confirmation in being a self-contained ‘commodity consumer’. [Mészáros, 1978: 172-173]

The salability in reality what is expressed is how alienation occurs in capitalism, how the transformation of subjects into objects occurs, how the act of reification occurs, the conversion of human beings into things for the market and the market . Because the market, insofar as it decides who can eat and who cannot, becomes the determinant of life. That has been its objective, that has been its achievement, the key to its hegemony. And we must go there in critical analytics in search of ways to overcome alienation.

In this sense, the concept of salability is unavoidable to understand the world in its objective-subjective integrality; a fundamental materialist dialectical approach that has been practically hidden or denied by the mechanistic Marxist dogmatism that, unable to grasp the dialectical nature of the social movement, pretended to be "scientific" by separating the objective from the subjective. Thus, his "social science" constructed confronting realities: an "objective reality" and a "subjective reality", as if they were different, parallel worlds. By virtue of this, he considered? And still considers ?, that in society there exist –separately- “objective conditions” and “subjective conditions”. There is an overwhelming Marxist literature of the twentieth century, where theses can be read about the existence of "mature objective conditions" faced with "immature subjective conditions" or lagging behind, which, to summarize, was identified as "subjective factor" or the state of the social awareness. The worst outcome of this Marxist-Kantian assumption occurred when the self-proclaimed political vanguards considered that they were the only ones who had full (true) awareness of the objective conditions, differentiating themselves from the workers and the entire people, whom they considered "alienated" by capitalism and, therefore, "retarded" in the development of their consciousness.

Overcoming the civilization of capital implies changing its mode of pro ...

The overcoming of the civilization marked by capital implies changing the root of its existential aspect: its mode of production and reproduction of social life and of interrelation with nature. There will be no new civilization, no liberation, and no possible life, if changes are limited to replacing the bosses of the centers of command power of capital, but leave intact their functioning mechanisms, which are those of their production and reproduction.

This hypothesis outlines one of the great cultural, economic, political and social challenges of the process of substitution-overcoming of capitalism: to transform the economic-social mode of production at its roots. And this entails a historical-cultural process of creation-learning of humanity, oriented in its work towards a new historical horizon, anchored in the principles of good living and coexistence with each other and with nature. Therefore, it is not comparable with temporary projects that, for example, intend to change the “productive matrix”. Despite good intentions, these changes underpin the modernization of the capitalist mode of production.

Taking charge of this historical-cultural challenge implies a commitment to fully develop, from below, the productive-reproductive economic capacity of the peoples, the only ones capable of seeking, creating and building a social metabolism that surpasses the currently known one, inspired by the principles of good living. and coexist, that is, it is not subject to the regulation of market mechanisms.

But as President Nicolás Maduro recently pointed out [3]: The socialist project is advanced politically, socially, but lagged economically. That is: subject to the capitalist market and its predatory, hierarchical, subordinating and excluding logic of operation. And this constitutes one of the greatest limitations and challenges for the flourishing of renewed socialist alternatives.

Strongly face the search and construction of alternatives for a new mode of production and reproduction, the foundation for a way of life that surpasses that imposed by capitalism, thus becomes among the first political and cultural tasks of the socialist civilizational project of emancipation. And in Latin America, it constitutes one of the aspects of the practical theoretical debate that today is being carried out by peoples, in their communes and communities, in their fields, in their neighborhoods, in universities ...

We live in a time of search, creation and birth of the new. This speaks of a time of transition, a transition that characterizes the current decolonizing revolutionary processes taking place in the lands of Our America.

Cultural change (social, economic, political) is underway. With the protagonism of historically discriminated and marginalized sectors, today (self) vindicated as full citizens, a new mentality, a new world is emerging? From practices ?, a new mentality is emerging.

There are no guarantees of success, but it is clear that hope beats in the stubbornness of the peoples who, without giving in, dare to create the new and to experience the winding - and not infrequently painful - paths of their search.

The centrality of the subjects

The social transformation supposes - like everything social? an open path, full of uncertainties and obstacles, but it has a key trench to advance for the sake of the new civilization: the permanent (self) construction of the collective revolutionary political subject.

If it is a question of overcoming the roots of power - colonial knowledge, all construction - appropriation of power by popular sectors is mediated by the destruction / overcoming of the old power - colonial knowledge of capital and its hegemonic tentacles, simultaneously with the construction of a power new, popular, radically different, revolutionary, decolonized and intercultural. This opens channels to collective empowerment processes (and at the same time particularized) of the socio-political actors.

The transformation of the pre-existing hegemonic relations and the construction of the new revolutionary popular hegemony is key. This is so because in the anti-colonial dispute there is a constant dialectical interpenetration between pre-existing power, appropriate power, and newly constructed power of its own. In that sense, I affirm that what is built is taken. Because it is not a matter of “taking the power” that exists, but of occupying it temporarily to transform it from the roots. In this lies, precisely, one of the great challenges of the current governments that promote democratic-revolutionary processes in Latin America.

The interdiallectic self-constructed power - appropriate power is liberating and pays the way of liberation if it is the result and synthesis of the full (multifaceted) and protagonist empowerment of the social and political actors that build it. It implies the formation of a complex collective social, cultural, ideological and political process, articulated and oriented to overcoming the colonial system of capital and its institutions, on the basis of a (new) ethic and a (new) logic of social metabolism constructed from below by the various actors articulated at each moment in accordance with the tasks and demands on the basis of decolonization and interculturality that also –like the transformative revolutionary process ?, will develop historically.

This is so because the ideology of change? Like its strategic definitions ?, are part of the living social process, of its dynamics and contradictions. It is not a dogma established from outside the struggles of the peoples for the vanguard of some left party, which "the others" would only have to "assimilate."

Ideology, which is part of political consciousness, is forged and grows in the processes of resistance, struggle and the construction of alternatives on the part of the subjects. Definitions, such as strategic directions and objectives, are being built (and modified) by the subjects based on their ways of life and their experiences of struggle and survival, which are diverse in each society, in each community.

In the political time opened by popular governments, the strategic debate is open. And it manifests itself particularly in the political-social struggles led by the subjects of change, who organize and build alternatives seeking to advance in the definitions, implementation, refinement or deepening of the changes achieved in each process. This, while simultaneously building paths that comprehensively question the current world system and redesign it determined to go "beyond the domain of capital" [Mészáros].

In this endeavor, it is central to articulate the processes of construction of popular power from below with the political-pedagogical processes contained in the daily practices of the subjects in their territories. They are democratizing and decolonizing and constitute a fundamental pillar of the formation / strengthening of the social and political force of liberation.

They are the pedagogies of hope. Those with which the oppressed individuals transform their realities of exclusion and discrimination day by day, contributing to the collective process of construction of the key intercultural interstices to transform today's society, creating and advancing in their practices elements of the new civilization, strengthening bonds of solidarity, Equity relations between diverse ethnic groups, genders and classes in search of their equality in the only universally full qualifier: the “human race”.

In this sense, pedagogies of hope are all those that nurture and cultivate collective consciousness and creativity, those that are built and strengthened from the trust in the epistemological, political and cultural vitality of the peoples, with the will and faith that It is possible to change the world by opening it up to justice, equity, coexistence in solidarity in diversity, complementarity, harmony, peace and happiness.

What is central, the Gordian knot of the new civilization and the vitality and strategic projection that struggles and collective creations can achieve in the present, resides in the men and women of the people. They resist the attacks of capital and are creating the new. And by making changes come true, they become subjects of their history.

En revolución, los pueblos construyen su democracia cotidianamente, la democracia del pan, de la vivienda, del trabajo, de la educación y la cultura, de la igualdad, de la justicia, de la solidaridad y el reencuentro con la naturaleza, en resumen, del Buen Vivir.

Educación y Economía


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