An Affective Picture of Chavismo Part XIV: Bad Faith

Reinaldo Iturriza

In the first installment of this series, I advanced that it seemed to me a fallacy that, in order to have a global view of Venezuelan reality, it was inevitable to renounce the possibility of speaking from that partiality that is Chavismo, to place oneself outside of it.

It proposed that it was not only possible, but necessary to build a global view based on Chavismo, from the position of a political subject that historically erupted as the people outside who, in addition to jeopardizing the inside of elite politics, also managed to reformulate the rules of the political game.

For those who hold this fallacy from “left” positions, there is even some indignity in that effort to speak from Chavismo, while still at this point.

This imposture has much of what, as Jean Paul Sartre put it, José Romero Losacco identified as bad faith: “Sartre understood by bad faith the denial of individual freedom that occurs when the subject objectifies his actions by treating them as determined by the actions of others. It is the typical justification of our actions by objectifying our own responsibility through their transfer”.

The “individualizing transference of one’s own responsibility” is equivalent to the “exercise of reification of the individual as a totality”, which allows the individual to “objectify himself from a reality of which he is a part”, thus saving himself from his responsibility.

It is much less complicated than it might seem: it is not that it is necessary to be located outside Chavismo to have a global view, it is that the pretext of the imperious need for a global view is invoked to justify the political decision to be located outside Chavismo.

Only the reified individual is capable of a “totalizing” or global gaze, and this gaze is only possible by objectifying oneself with respect to Chavism or, because this word may be too unbearable, of the Bolivarian revolution.

It is a way, if you like, to be elegant, ambitious and fallacious, like any imposture, of denying Chavism, discharging individual responsibility on others.

Understand: it is perfectly understandable that an individual decides to distance himself from Chavismo or the Bolivarian revolution, for whatever reason. But a little intellectual honesty and a minimum of political wisdom would force him to take charge of his acts or omissions. In other words, to proceed without bad faith.

The detail is that bad faith opens doors in the academic or intellectual world, as well as in a certain “progressive” press. Now that Venezuela, Chavismo and the Bolivarian revolution are too toxic for such aseptic environments and sensibilities, it is too steep a climb, an almost shameful anathema to portray oneself in such a place, together with such an identity or experience, at risk of contagion.

Historical circumstances would demand a certain sobriety, equidistance, equanimity, objectivity is the word. Views and voices capable of transcending “polarizing” schemes.

There is a lot of fear of being left out of the spaces where it can be received, in reciprocal recognition and prestige. To remain inside demands a certain discipline that is not always compatible with the militant spirit, to use another terrible word.

In addition, from these same academic or intellectual spaces a career can be made by writing about the “failure” of Chavismo or of the Bolivarian revolution, often using, as Romero Losacco writes, “neologisms that explain nothing, but that serve to show themselves with a new face and thereby avoid the mea culpa, to say to the world: It was not us, it was them who did not understand! There is not the slightest humility, they do not think that the problem was that they did not know how to explain themselves, much less that they are co-responsible for what is happening now”.

It is fair to say: it will not be the first time that the left-wing intelligentsia has exposed its miseries. Nor will it be the last. More than once, dazzled by the revolutionary glow of the people, it had taken sides and got involved in politics, and when the fire subsided it rushed out the back door, with the boards on its head, and raced to occupy what it considers its true place.

Such impostures must, of course, be accounted for, especially in order to identify what cannot be done, under any circumstances, because it is acting in bad faith. But the fundamental thing is to understand that in order to rekindle the revolutionary fire there is a great need for political and intellectual rigour, which in no way has to be at odds with militancy. Learning from our mistakes is the right thing to do. Accepting our responsibility.