Quarantine (VII): The Restless Neoliberal Dream

Reinaldo Iturriza López
https://elotrosaberypoder.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/metamorfosis-portada-edicional-original-2.jpg?w=768Neoliberalism from below

In a very schematic way, I would say that the contribution of Veronica Gago in her extraordinary work La razón neoliberal, involves:

  • the recovery of the concepts of governmentality and biopolitics (Foucault) as a starting point for thinking about the question of neoliberalism;
  • the problematization of the concept of neoliberalism, and the construction of the concept of neoliberalism from below, as a response from below to the dispossessing effects of neoliberalism;
  • to carry out a non-moral and victimistic reading of the popular in general and of the migrant in particular, claiming a pragmatic popular vitalist, making use of Paolo Virno’s concept of “mass opportunism” and the Spinozian concept of “conatus”;
  • proposing a concept of progress outside of neoliberal rationality;
  • to work with a concept of calculation beyond the logic of profit, located between the aspiration to progress and obedience.

Veronica Gago begins her essay by giving an account of what we commonly identify as neoliberalism: “privatizations, reduction of social protections, financial deregulation, labour flexibilization, etc.”. Since the 1970s, Latin America “has been a place of experimentation for these modifications promoted “from above” by international financial organizations, corporations and governments. Neoliberalism can be defined as “a regime of social existence and a mode of political command installed regionally by dictatorships, namely with the state and para-statal massacre of popular and armed insurgency, consolidated in the following decades by gross structural reforms, according to the logic of global policy adjustment” (1).

Towards the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century, neoliberalism has been massively opposed in Latin America: “The revolts during the 2001 crisis in Argentina marked the breakdown of the political legitimacy of neoliberalism “from above”. These revolts are part of a continental sequence: Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador (and a new sequence of mobilizations such as those in Chile and Brazil more recently)”. The magnitude, and in some cases even the radicalness of the response, is causing the concept of “post-neoliberalism” to begin to gain ground (2).

Nevertheless, Gago states, post-neoliberalism “does not indicate either transition or mere overcoming. Rather, it indicates the crisis of its legitimacy as a state-institutional policy as a result of recent social upheavals, the mutations that have taken place in world capitalism as a result of its global crisis, and certain institutional policies in countries whose governments have been characterized as “progressive””. While this is happening, it is possible to confirm “the persistence of neoliberalism as a condition and the incorporation or immanentization of some of its fundamental premises in the popular collective action that has challenged it” (3).

In order to be able to verify this persistence of neoliberalism, and this is Gago’s most important methodological and conceptual specification, we must start from the fact that neoliberalism is not only a set of policies promoted by governments and the multilaterals, but an entire rationale. It is necessary “to think of neoliberalism as a mutation of the “art of governing “, as Foucault proposed with the term “governmentality”, which implies “to understand neoliberalism as a set of knowledge, technologies and practices that deploy a new type of rationality that cannot be thought of only as driven “from above””. Neo-liberal governmentality implies “a sophisticated, new and complex way of threading, in an intimate and institutional way, a series of technologies, procedures and affections that promote free initiative, self-entrepreneurship, self-management and, also, responsibility over oneself” (4).

Thus, neoliberal rationality operates at the macro-political level, but is also “brought into play through the subjectivities and tactics of everyday life”, expressing itself “as a variety of ways of doing, feeling and thinking that organize the calculations and affects of the social machinery”. In this sense, “neoliberalism becomes an immanent dynamic: it unfolds at the level of territories, modulates subjectivities and is provoked without the first need of a transcendent and external structure” (5).

On the one hand, “neoliberalism cannot be understood without taking into account how it has captured, aroused and interpreted the forms of life, the arts of doing, the tactics of resistance and the popular ways of living that have combated it, transformed it, taken advantage of it and suffered from it” (6). (6) On the other hand, it is also true that there is little understanding if the fact that neoliberalism is permanently resisted and fought against from below is not emphasized.

Gago proposes the concept of “neoliberalism from below” to refer to the “set of conditions that become concrete beyond the will of a government, of its legitimacy or not, but that become conditions on which a network of practices and knowledge operates, which assumes calculation as the primordial subjective matrix and which functions as the engine of a powerful popular economy that combines self-managing community knowledge and intimacy with know-how in the crisis as technology of a mass entrepreneurship” (7).

(7) Taken for granted and endured, but above all resisted and combated, this neoliberalism from below supposes a “pragmatic vitalism”. For Gago, this concept “allows us to think about the fabric of power that emerges from below”. Appealing to Spinoza’s concept of “conatus”, he states that “the neoliberal dynamic is combined and problematic and effective with this persevering vitalism that always clings to the expansion of freedoms, of joys and affections” (9). (9) In neo-liberalism from below, these “conatus” are located beyond “the cold and restricted idea of liberal calculation, giving rise to figures of individual/collective biopolitical subjectivity, that is, in charge of diverse life tactics”. In synthesis, “to speak of neoliberalism from below is a way of accounting for the dynamics that resist exploitation and dispossession and that at the same time unfold in (and assume) that anthropological space of calculation” (11).

To recapitulate, the concept of neo-liberalism from below calls into question the commonly accepted idea that “neo-liberalism is only a set of macro-policies designed by imperialist centres”, “of a rationality that is the responsibility of large political and economic actors, be they transnational, regional or local”, and that, therefore, “its overcoming… depends basically… on macro-state policies carried out by actors of the same stature” (12). Conceived in this way, we leave aside, for example, “the social dynamics of actors who are usually seen more as victims of neoliberalism than as decisive articulators of a social heterogeneity that is increasingly rapid, overwhelming and unintelligible in terms of a classic political geometry” (13).

Gago proposes that we must take seriously this articulation between neoliberalism and popular subjectivities, recreate new concepts that allow us to “understand the complex dynamics that reach the political when it is capable of gathering in itself all the layers of the real”, which means being attentive to “Marx’s warning: “the real is multiply determined” (14). For this reason, he resorts to Foucault’s analysis, “insofar as it allows us to think of governmentality in terms of the expansion of freedoms and therefore to analyze the productive and multiscale assembly that current neoliberalism implies as a mode of government and of production of reality that also overflows that government”, being necessary, likewise, “to discuss the modes of domination that this new “free” way of governing imposes” (15).

Referring to the dynamics of neoliberalism, he affirms that the challenge is “to find a political vocabulary that unfolds in this problematic immanence without smoothing out contradictions and ambivalences”, also giving an account of the dynamics “of productive forces that all the time go beyond the neoliberal scheme and anticipate possibilities that are no longer the state socialists”, constituting “a mode of social cooperation that reorganizes the horizon of work and exploitation, integration and progress, good life and good government” (16).

Gago focuses his analysis on the La Salada fair in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where the migrant worker of Bolivian origin is predominant, and on the way this relates to the village, the clandestine textile workshop and the festival. In this regard, she states: “while we observe forms of exploitation and subordination linked to migrant labor, which capital situates at the “bottom” and exhibits as exemplary situations of obedience, we also discover a resistant and democratic face of invention”. Next, she emphasizes two key points: “On the one hand, the possibility of escaping from the purely victimistic image of those who face a migratory trajectory. On the other hand, to go beyond the strictly business definition of human capital formation, without abandoning the idea of progress. Is it possible to consider the desire for progress outside the neoliberal regime defined as the matrix of an individualistic rationality ordered by profit? Is it possible to make a claim for calculation beyond profit? Is it possible that the “mass opportunism” of which Paolo Virno speaks is a social dynamism that, however, is not usually attributed to the popular sectors? (17).

On the one hand, Gago assumes “a clear strategy opposed to the victimization of the popular sectors”, which eventually is expressed as “moralization and judicialization” of the popular world (18). (18) On the other hand, he starts from the hypothesis that the migrant worker exhibits “a vital impulse that deploys a calculation in which a neoliberal rationality is superimposed with a repertoire of community practices producing as an effect what we call neoliberalism from below” (19); according to Virno, “this vitalist pragmatism is related to the idea of a “mass opportunism”, which is to say, the permanent calculation of opportunities as a way of collective being” (20).

This is the central point of Veronica Gago’s approach, which she summarizes in the first chapter of La razón neoliberal, and which she develops in the following chapters.

One or several “progressisms”?

Veronica Gago expressly intends to discuss with Latin American “progressives”, what she considers to be the inherent limits of their way of conceiving politics. In her opinion, the very idea of “post-neoliberalism” is based on “the vindication of the dual state vs. market”, and on the belief in a supposed autonomy of the political. Nevertheless, she points out: “Neoliberalism is not the kingdom of the economy suppressing that of politics, but the creation of a political world (regime of governmentality) that emerges as a projection of the rules and requirements of the competitive market” (21). Then, she warns: “When appealing to the recovery of the state, the intention is to abstractly separate the sequences “liberalism-market-economy” from “development-status-politics”, and to suppose, step by step, that the second can in itself correct and replace the first. But this way of approaching things entails the risk of an immediate and general repositioning of a “political” neoliberalism, for lack of any critical reflection on the modes of articulation between institution and competition (between liberalism and neoliberalism). The renunciation of singularity in the diagnosis brings as a correlate policies without any singularity with respect to the current challenge” (22).

She then explicitly explains the theoretical and political commitment of La razón neoliberal: “In a certain sense, the same problem is at stake throughout the continent: can the replacement of the state and the new anti-liberal leaderships overcome neoliberalism? We defend the thesis that only the unfolding contained in the movements and revolts of the last decades in the continent anticipate new subjects and rationalities that time and again are fought from the reintroduction of a properly liberal rationality from the “recovery of the state”” (23). Undoubtedly, a controversial and audacious approach.

I consider it essential, as proposed by Gago, to claim the need for singularity in the diagnosis, which also involves recognizing the limits of the idea of “progressivism”. In the specific case of Venezuela, although a set of programmatic, tactical and even strategic affinities with “progressive” governments can be identified without major drawbacks, there is no doubt that their differences, which can be very significant, must be highlighted.

Claudio Katz (24), for example, referring to the Latin American context during the “progressive cycle”, distinguishes between right-wing governments (which ironically tend to be left out of the analysis), centre-left governments and radical ones. While they obviously failed to do so, only the latter really made “a frontal break with neoliberalism”. Therefore, if we are talking about “post-liberalism”, that condition “would only correspond to that radical segment and not to the whole of South America”.

Katz discusses with those who defend what he calls the “post-liberal thesis” and with those who propose the idea of a “Commodity Consensus”. In the case of the former, the problem derives “from a confused use of the very concept of post-liberalism. It is applied in so many ways, to allude to such a diversity of situations, that it ends up navigating in indetermination. It is not known whether it defines governments, stages or patterns of accumulation. Nor does the notion clarify the economic policies in vogue… In the most common sense, post-liberalism defines a period that surpasses the Washington Consensus. But it emphasizes the political turn towards autonomy, omitting the persistence of the economic pattern developed during the previous phase”. In the second case, the “predominance of extractivism in the region, endorsed by governments of different political persuasions, which replaced financial valorization with submission to mining, oil, and soy. In contrast to the post-liberal perspective, it relativizes political changes and emphasizes conservative economic convergences”.

According to Katz, both perspectives make the mistake of ignoring “the strong divergences that separate right-wing, center-left and radical governments in all areas outside of basic export specialization”. He goes on to warn: “The main difficulty arises when explaining the sovereign positions or social reforms adopted by a radical political axis based on primary mono-export. Venezuela has not managed to eradicate the pre-eminence of oil, Bolivia has not freed itself from the centrality of mining or gas, and Cuba has increased its attachment to nickel or tourism. But has this dependence turned Chávez, Evo or Fidel into presidents akin to Fox, Uribe or Alan García? Confusions in this area lead to characterizations that mechanically identify the gravitation of agro-mining with increased political dependence or neocolonial reversion. In the most extreme cases, Evo Morales is presented as a ‘neoliberal extractivist’ and Correa as an ‘agent of transnational capital’. Extractivism is a suitable concept to illustrate certain features of the Latin American economy. These characteristics condition the pattern of reproduction, but do not define the character of a political regime or the nature of a government.

Katz’s proposal is to “integrate the two dimensions”, overcoming, among other things, the obstacle of not being able to distinguish between “progressive” governments: “The political transformations in the region appeared in a framework of continuous primary-export specialization. There is greater diversity of governments and a greater predominance of the same pattern of reproduction”. At least in part, what is at stake is how to analyze this contradiction. While it is true that “the pattern of reproduction reflects the productive structure and international insertion of each economy”, it is no less true that “governments must be characterized by other instruments. They emerge from the historical and political tradition of each country, in correspondence with the needs of the dominant classes and the outcomes of social struggle”.

Integrating the two dimensions implies recognizing that both “are very related and the mutations of one plane directly affect the other”. However, these mutations “are not processed at the same pace, nor in the same direction”. Thus, a right-wing government “completely conforms to the neoliberal pillar”, a centre-left one “faces conflicts” and a radical one “clashes with those foundations”: “In one case harmony prevails, in another coexistence and in a third opposition”. In summary: “The popular triumphs against neoliberalism do not determine a post-liberal landscape and the continued primary-export specialization does not dilute a status common to all governments”.

To conclude, Katz refers to the “dualities” present in Latin America, related to the dynamics of popular uprisings “that were not defeated, but neither did they result in triumphant anti-capitalist revolutions. It is important to note that this was written in January 2013, when the “progressive cycle”had not been closed (a fact that places Macri’s triumph in Argentina, in 2015, after the defeats in Honduras, Paraguay and Brazil), and the “conservative restoration” had not taken place, which, as soon as 2019, entered into crisis, with the popular mobilizations in Ecuador, Chile, Colombia, Haiti and Puerto Rico, as Katz himself has recently stated. (25) At that time, he said that talking about “dualities” does not mean “indefinition”. He foresaw that “the tendencies in struggle will have to be settled”. In the specific case of radical governments, such as Venezuela’s, he argued that “they can only achieve progressive goals if they radicalize, confront the ruling classes, and begin to eradicate the primary-exporting pattern”. Of course, Katz was not suggesting that this is an easy task, quite the contrary, nor was he proposing magic formulas. But he pointed out what he considered one of the keys:

“The master key to this turnaround lies in the revolutionary transformation of the state. If this turn is delayed, the rulers will have time to induce the decline of radical experiences and force their overthrow or neutralization”.

Certainly, as Gago warns, the “replacement” of the State, even if the political leadership raises the flags of “anti-liberalism”, is no guarantee of anything, much less if the starting point is the alleged political autonomy, and even less if neoliberalism is not understood as governmentality. It is true that this can lead to a relegitimization of neoliberalism by the state. But the latter is far from being a fatality (which Gago certainly does not suggest). Moreover, as Katz rightly points out, the analysis is in error if it does not distinguish between the various “progressive” governments, even if none has been able to alter the pattern of reproduction.

Based on this distinction between “progressive” governments, highlighting the uniqueness of the different processes, it is possible to shift the analysis from the issue of “replacement” to that of state transformation. In fact, in the specific case of Venezuela, when we take stock of the experience of the Bolivarian revolution, this permanent tension between replacement and transformation becomes quite clear.

A “Politics of Suffering”

Dealing with this tension between replacement and transformation of the state in the case of the Bolivarian revolution, of course, involves assessing the place of the popular subject. A text by Didier Fassin, The Pathetization of the World, offers some clues as to how to approach the issue.

Fassin identifies a mutation in the way inequalities are represented, first of all, in the richest countries of the planet, a process that he places in the last decade of the 20th century. A medical doctor, but also a sociologist and anthropologist, Fassin is a student of what he calls “the government of life”, which refers to “the application of the political to the biological”, inspired by the work of Michel Foucault, and specifically by his concept of biopower. In his opinion, to understand what happens in this “government of life” it becomes “necessary to approach the question from the processes of subjectivation… through which the social world is represented, and social inequalities are shown in a caricatural way” (26).

In this sense, he describes the trajectory that goes from a “politics of piety”, an expression that he takes from Hanna Arendt, to a “politics of suffering”. Very schematically, the “politics of piety” would have its origin in the concern for “the profound and violent inequalities that characterize the modern, industrialized and urbanized world”, the so-called “social question”, which has been gaining strength since the French Revolution, and which gives rise to “a specific form of political consciousness that differentiates society between the rich who can achieve happiness and the poor who survive in misery”. This concern for the social, and the “political consciousness” that derives from it, has its correlation in policies (of public health, for example), and at the same time it is translated into very specific forms of the representation of the popular: “poor masses that suffer in their bodies the domination and exploitation of capitalism” (27). In fact, according to Fassin, this “politics of piety” would have two characteristics:

  • “The first refers to the body, that is, to the physical deterioration related to poverty, domination and exploitation”
  • “The second concerns undifferentiated groups, the poor, the proletarians, the masses, that is, a faceless collectivity” (28)

Fassin identifies this passage from a “politics of piety” to a “politics of suffering” precisely in that register: “on the one hand, a psychic suffering, a moral pain, not so much concerning the body, but the mind; and, on the other hand, a vision of the individual as a suffering being”. This inflection is very significant, and has profound political implications: “The first is something not defined clearly and therefore not measurable, which implies that it is not represented in terms of social inequality, but of subjective experience; the second is not an indistinct collective reality, but rather of an entity incorporated in a person of flesh and blood who suffers in his psychic intimacy and his moral identity. This double movement of psychologization and individuation corresponds to what can be qualified as a pathos of the world, that is to say, a pathetic representation of social inequalities and the introduction of pathos into the political” (29).

When and where is this “politics of suffering” expressed? Fassin clearly identifies it in the political and academic rhetoric of France in the 1990s, but also in the United States and Latin America, and illustrates it, for example, by the near disappearance of the word “inequality” and its replacement by the term “exclusion”. In other words, “the poor became excluded”. Fassin warns: “This change in vocabulary is not anecdotal. On the contrary, it reveals a new representation of social space, a new symbolic topography of society”. But who are the excluded? Although the core is represented by the ‘new poor’, especially the ‘long-term unemployed’, it also includes all those who, for one reason or another, find themselves breaking the ‘social bond’, to use the miraculous expression under which all other categories of people with social difficulties are now integrated: immigrants, the handicapped, the elderly, AIDS sufferers, etc. (30). It could almost be summarized: the “victims” of neoliberalism.

Two features characterize this notion of exclusion, according to Fassin: “a psychological approach, often mixed with a cultural dimension, and an individualization of the excluded”. This “psychologization” of inequality eventually leads to a “reproach of the victims”, as is often the case in the United States, for example, in the case of “single black women with children” or “black parents designated as irresponsible”. On the issue of “individualization,” Fassin notes that “social rhetoric insists that every story is unique. The excluded are also society’s “losers”: “It may be the story of the unskilled proletarian woman who gets divorced and finds herself without resources or a roof over her head, but it may also be the story of the executive who loses his job and falls into extreme poverty. The many television programmes on the subject show the diversity, the uniqueness of the paths that lead to exclusion’ (31).

This “policy of suffering” operates through the “victimization and singling out of the excluded”. And this double movement “defines a new form of subjectivation of social inequalities”. Fassin summarizes: “Exclusion, as a representation of social space, and suffering, as a representation of the human condition, corresponds today, as poverty and pity did before”. What Fassin defines as “humanitarian reason”, as we will see later, progressively replaces, although without displacing it completely, this “classical humanitarian ideology”, associated with the “politics of piety”: “There are sectors of resistance to these representations of the social world. However, the change is marked, fast and decisive” (32).

Once again, the replacement of the word “inequality” by that of “exclusion” is not a simple rhetorical slip, but the correlation in the political, scientific, and also economic vocabulary of a rationality according to which it is “practically impossible to fight against inequalities”, in any case “against their most visible consequences”. Thus, for example, if this rationality is installed in common sense, the very specific forms that exploitation takes under the neo-liberal regime, such as “precarisation and reduction of employment, are increasingly accepted” (33).

This neoliberal governmentality has, of course, its institutional correlation. Fassin uses the example of the “listening places” created in France during the 1990s, which were “the result of a national reflection on the issues linked to the growing pauperisation of certain sectors of the population, the development of urban violence and deviant behaviour”. Managed by private organizations with public funding, they were originally conceived so that “young wanderers” or “drug users” (according to the official vocabulary) could go, stay for a while, share among themselves or, if necessary, be “heard” by a psychologist or social worker. However, one study concluded that very few of these young people wanted to be “listened to”, and in fact most of those who attended were from “popular sectors rather than excluded sectors”. Nevertheless, these places allowed “both local and state power to show the population that they are doing something against the deterioration of life, urban violence and youthful misconduct. But beyond all this, what institutions of this nature reveal is the rationality inherent in the “politics of suffering”: “Rather than considering the poor as victims of situations of domination, exploitation and discrimination (when they were of foreign origin), they are perceived as suffering beings who must be listened to and recognized as human beings in order to restore their dignity, and who cannot propose an improvement in their objective conditions of existence” (34).

Fassin states that this “politics of suffering” has a global reach. But it is not expressed in the same way everywhere. The recent wars in Yugoslavia, Somalia and Rwanda show clearly how humanitarian action can replace politics. The legitimacy of the suffering being ultimately becomes the political criterion, or rather, the confessable political criterion, because simultaneously, some economic and strategic interests, much less confessable, remain untouched. But if the legitimacy of the suffering being and the politics of suffering that derive from it correspond to global realities, we must also add that in the contemporary world they are very different realities. The subjectivation of social inequalities is, in itself, extraordinarily unequal”. One thing is “the suffering of the American pilot publicly humiliated by the enemy army” and quite another “the suffering of the tens of thousands of Iraqi military personnel who died under the bombing of their country”. In both cases they are victims who suffer, but judging by the Western media coverage, it seems that some are either a greater victim or are suffering more than others. In short, some are more humane than others: “The translation of this difference in sensitivity is cynically statistical. If one refers to the level of accuracy of the accounting of the dead, one finds that the life of one man from the allied forces had more existence than the life of any other person on Iraqi territory. And if one judges by the differential treatment of the two lives, it would seem that they did not belong to the same scale of values, nor did they belong to the same humanity” (35).

In relation to the latter, in an article entitled The irresistible rise of the right to life, Fassin has formulated the concept of “biolegitimacy” or “legitimacy of life” (36). (36) He has done so, once again, on the basis of Foucault’s thesis “according to which the political modernity of Western societies would be characterized by the passage, towards the eighteenth century, from sovereign power to biopower, in other words, from the ‘old power to give death’ to the ‘power to make life’. According to him, while sovereignty consisted ultimately of the right to kill, biopower intrudes, through knowledge and action, into the interstices of life, which it erects into the very object of politics. But, in reality, and “contrary to what is generally inferred from the very etymology of the word, the French philosopher has taken little interest in life” (37), warns Fassin.

What can be deduced from this warning, and from the very concept of “biolegitimacy”, among other things, is that some lives are more legitimate than others, that in the name of the right to life what predominates is a differential treatment of human life. Thus, Fassin states, “biolegitimacy, understood as the value attributed to life as a supreme good, constitutes a dominant, but not uniformly accepted, feature in the construction of what could be considered an international ethical community constituted around human rights and also a humanitarian rationale. In this regard, the fact that, for some years now, the United Nations has considered the right to intervene to safeguard populations in distress as a principle superior to that of sovereignty, inherited from the Treaty of Westphalia in the seventeenth century, well illustrates the strategic importance and political significance of this humanitarian reason, now invoked even to justify wars. The issue at the heart of the humanitarian argument thus developed – its ultimate raison d’être – is to save lives – the physical lives of people under threat” (38). This applies in the extreme case of a warlike conflict. However, appealing to so-called “humanitarian reason” not only means the annihilation of entire populations. Moreover, in the name of life, populations are often legitimately “murdered”.

Moreover, while the right to life is assumed to be “an absolute moral imperative”, it happens that “economic and social rights are relegated to a secondary plane” (39). Therefore, the predominance of this “humanitarian rationale”, of this “pathetic world” which brings with it the “politics of suffering”, itself characteristic of neo-liberal governance, has as its political effect the concealment of inequality, as well as the production of new inequalities.

The inclusion/participation tension

Among other things, Fassin’s valuable contribution is an opportunity to insist on the importance of Veronica Gago’s work, which can be interpreted as a notable effort to expel the pathos of the political, carrying out an analysis of the neoliberal governmentality that not only dispenses with, but also rejects outright the representations of the social world that appeal to the victimization and singularization of the “excluded”.

In a beautiful passage from La razón neoliberal, Gago points out: “Against the victimizing interpretation of popular economies, which only sees them as forms of exclusion, the informalization of the economy emerges, above all, from a force of the unemployed and women that can be understood as a response “from below” to the dispossessing effects of neoliberalism. We can summarize a passage: from the father provider (the figure of the wage earner, head of the family, and his counterpart: the provider state) to feminized figures (unemployed, women, youth and migrants) who go out to explore and occupy the street as a space for survival and, in that search, express the emergence of other vital logics. In this passage, simultaneously, a new politicization is produced: they are actors who occupy the street as an everyday public and domestic space at the same time, breaking with the classic topographical division of the public and private spaces. Their street presence causes the landscape to mutate” (40).

Related to the above, and taking up again the problem that it introduced, to leave it in suspense, at the beginning of the previous section, it is not possible to address the issue of the tension between replacement and transformation of the State, leaving aside the popular subject, and its singular “vitalism” in the context of the Bolivarian revolution.

A working hypothesis: the tension between what Fassin calls “classical humanitarian ideology” and “humanitarian reason” has been present in the Bolivarian revolutionary attempt since its beginning. In fact, it was very present in the 1990s, the “virtuous decade of Venezuelan politics” (41), as it was the moment of the forging of Chavism as a popular movement, despite the fact that, as in almost all Latin America, it was a “lost decade” in economic terms, as a consequence of the application of the neoliberal prescription, in accordance with the dictates of the Washington Consensus. The gravitation between one and the other rationality will determine the greater or lesser emphasis placed on the transformation of the State.

Given the current state of discussions about the Bolivarian revolution, it is clear that not enough emphasis has been placed on the “theoretical revolution” that was the force-idea of participatory and protagonist democracy. Chávez referred to it as an “epistemological rupture”, as “the ‘bridge’ that allows for the transition from democracy to revolution” or that “allows for the transition from democracy to revolution” (42). Present in the founding documents of the Movimiento Bolivariano Revolucionario Doscientos (MBR-200), it is an idea-force that will contribute to the definition of the movement’s successive programmatic proposals, but also, and this is what is decisive, will determine the relationship with the popular majorities. At least the most lucid part of the Bolivarian leadership will stop conceiving of the Venezuelan people as a passive subject, as a “victim” of neoliberalism, and will begin to understand it as a protagonist subject, but above all as an “equal”. Elsewhere I have called this “politics of the commons”: “the relationship between revolutionary militants and the people results in a politics of the commons, which in turn implies both a re-politicization of militancy (which is forced to unlearn the old political culture, tributary to the logic of representation), and a popular politicization in a protagonist key” (43).

Without weighing up the implications of this “theoretical revolution”, the significant effects that it will have on the political culture of the popular majorities, without taking into account this historical starting point, with all that it implies in terms of a break with a political rationality based on the logic of representation (which does not in any way detract from the persistence of lines of continuity), there is simply no way of understanding the process of popular subjectivation that leads, in the first place, to the emergence of Chavism, and then to Chávez’s electoral victory in 1998, the election of a National Constituent Assembly, the drafting of a new Constitution and its approval by popular referendum in 1999, the popular counter-coup of April 2002, the popular resistance to the oil strike-sabotage and corporate lockout of the end of that year and the beginning of 2003, the victory in the 2004 referendum (the continuity of Chávez in the Presidency being at stake), and in general the popular mobilizations that defeated each and every one of the attempts to remove Chavism from office during the first years of the revolution. The radical nature of the Bolivarian revolution gravitates around this idea-force of participatory and leading democracy.

It was in this climate of intense popular mobilization and protagonism that Chávez called for a Constituent Assembly and in 2001 approved, by way of enabling legislation, the first laws aimed at recovering economic sovereignty, such as the Organic Law on Hydrocarbons and the Law on Land and Agrarian Development; And, once control of the oil industry was achieved, which functioned as “a State within the State”, he began a process aimed at settling the “social debt”, as he would repeatedly call it, fundamentally through the creation of “Missions”, a sort of parallel and eventually alternative institutionality to the State, the germ of a “new institutionality” that would allow the emerging Democratic and Social State of Law and Justice to guarantee the free exercise of the economic, social and cultural rights of the entire population.

With the creation of the “Missions”, as an institutional correlate of democratization in the distribution of income there begins what will undoubtedly be the “decade won” by the popular majorities. But if it is true that, beyond the leadership of Chavez and the efforts of the civil service, its existence would have been inconceivable without popular protagonism, it is equally true that, in a progressive manner, the tension between the protagonist people and the “excluded” people, the latter perceived as simple “beneficiaries”, as the recipients of state “assistance”, became evident.

In El chavismo salvaje (44) I recorded some of the very different forms this tension takes. Indeed, it was from that analysis that I turned to the concept of “governmentality” (45), convinced that we should construct a new theoretical instrument that would allow us to confront the challenge of the transformation of the State. It was also from the analysis of this tension between protagonism and exclusion that concepts such as “officialism” (46) emerged, which can be understood as the subject who, instead of joining the task of transforming the State, is satisfied with administering the state of things, paying tribute to the logic of representation, is uncomfortable dealing with the protagonist people, is unwilling to renounce the privileges that their role as administrator and distributor of income entails, favouring, for such purposes, the traditional clientelist and welfare practices. Likewise, there is the concept of “political management” (47), which is what happens when the officialdom exercises politics, emptying it of all transformative popular content, expropriating popular sovereignty, taking refuge in the very institutionality that needs to be transformed.

Then I suggested that the turning point could be located at around 2007 (48), when this double phenomenon of growing protagonism of “officialism” and the tendency to the “gestionalization of politics” begins to manifest itself clearly. History, of course, is not linear, and what at that time could be identified as a trend could not, however, be evaluated at all as something irreversible. Thus, for example, around the same time, Chávez guided the creation of the communal councils, conceived as spaces of popular self-government, and shortly afterwards encouraged the creation of Communes. Later, in 2011, in an effort to re-launch the “Missions”, he created the Gran Misión Vivienda Venezuela, whose fundamental ideological pillar was popular self-management. In each case, the fundamental discussion was always the same: how to transform the State, how to give free rein to popular protagonism in the exercise of government, and the obstacles that inevitably arise when an enterprise of such magnitude is underway.

A lucid work by Rebeca Gregson and José Romero-Losacco emphasizes this “inclusion/participation” tension (49). They state: “After the 2006 presidential elections, the re-election of Hugo Chávez and the creation of the new party, a turning point was observed. The non-harmonic relationship between inclusion and participation was becoming increasingly evident, as the honeymoon between the state and movements came to an end. What was once a marriage between policies of participation and policies of inclusion began to lean more and more towards the side of the latter over the former. Although participation never made its way beyond statements, inclusion has played a predominant role in the order of discourse, a development whose condition of possibility was led by the rise in oil prices”. Later on, they add: “From the combination of moderate prices first and then high prices, the period 2006-2013 saw the consolidation of the discursive order of inclusion. The detail is that every discursive order requires a subject and an object of enunciation. The subject of enunciation is the agent who addresses the object and thematizes it, orders it, constructs it as an object, thus the excluded subject is invented as the object of inclusion policies”.

The subject of enunciation would become the “officialism” portrayed in El Chavismo salvaje. The object is the “excluded”. Romero-Losacco writes: “The excluded was invented, just as the pagan, barbarian, underdeveloped and/or poor was invented. The excluded is the new discovery/invention of those who, inhabiting the house of being, can define which is inside and which is outside. The discourse of inclusion implies the construction of the excluded as outside of the place where the being inhabits, who includes has the power to do so and has the power to say who is outside. The one who includes constructs the image of who is included and imposes on them how they should think of themselves as excluded” (50).

This “rhetoric of inclusion” analysed by Gregson and Romero-Losacco is entirely consistent with what Fassin defines as “humanitarian reason”. Proceeding according to this rationality, the officialdom conceives “popular power” as the “addressee” of these policies of inclusion, and not as a protagonist; in other words, they are seen “as a submissive, passive subject, bought by state welfare and its great oil apparatus, becoming one more number within the achievements of the revolution and not a key agent to bring about the changes that it required”. Nevertheless, it is necessary to insist, “this perspective has coexisted with a growing process of politicization of the Venezuelan people, who have taken the reins of building popular power by trying co-management processes with the State, but also, in many other cases, self-management experiences that are in clear dispute with the State”.

After enumerating different initiatives, such as the communal councils (participation understood as “political action linked to decision making about space and life in common”), the Communes and the Direct Communal Social Property Companies, among others, Gregson and Romero-Losacco highlight the importance of the “coup de résistance”, as Hugo Chávez’s speech at the Council of Ministers on October 20, 2012 is popularly known, a sort of political will: “clamoring to give centrality to the Communes as agents of construction and decision, he urged a turn towards the deepening of popular power through the communal commitment. A change that demanded the application of policies of participation and not of inclusion. A scheme where those who are excluded do not include themselves, but from the conscience of non-being, they assume themselves within their own system of beliefs and practices. This reflects the intention to produce a displacement from inclusion policies, placing the focus again on participation for the construction of community, all this at a time when the current economic and social circumstances in which the country finds itself begin to be prefigured”.

Although in 2013, during the first year of Nicolás Maduro’s government, there was an upturn in the creation of Communes, between 2014 and 2017, and within a context of worsening economic crisis, the government responded with “an intensification in the application of inclusion policies”, particularly in the areas of education, housing and food. In this context, in 2016, the Local Committees for Supply and Production (CLAP) were created, which use “the organic accumulation sustained through participation to facilitate access to basic food needs at low cost”. In the opinion of Gregson and Romero-Losacco, “participation as action and policy is blurred, as well as popular power as an actor in the construction of society, and its role as a facilitator of the State’s assistance policy is radicalised”. But while the CLAPs may “represent an obstacle to the qualitative advancement of some experiences of popular power,” it is no less true that autonomous “productive and food distribution proposals” have also emerged, as well as popular organizations that “have been able to find greater interest in the community to participate in self-managed productive proposals, and with greater possibilities of positioning their products, given the reduction in the supply of certain products that satisfy existing demand.

In fact, by 2016 it was possible to identify a new turning point. In stark contrast to the previous one (which took place a decade earlier), this one took place in a context of severe income contraction. From then on, the word “protection” would colonize the official rhetoric. Thus, the set of social policies would be conceived as a way to “protect” the “victim” population from the “economic war”. In other words, there was an enthronement of “humanitarian reason”.

Anti-Chavism and “humanitarian reason”

Anti-Chavism, meanwhile, has always been at odds with what Fassin we might call “classical humanitarian ideology”. Recognizing some legitimacy in it meant, by way of facts, dealing with a government and, above all, with a popular subject that it considered to be, on the whole, illegitimate. Ultimately, recognizing not only the legitimacy but even the existence of the Chavista people meant conceding that this had been the historical result of the prevailing inequality in Venezuelan society, an inequality that had been “savagely” politicized. That is why, as Claudio Katz pointed out, they opted for total “opposition”.

It is not by chance that this dynamic of “opposition” acquired a more moderate character just when the first turning point of the Bolivarian revolution occurred, making the tension between inclusion and participation clear. Thus, anti-Chavism appealed to a more “inclusive” rhetoric, trying to establish some kind of dialogue with popular discontent. It showed interest in the fate of the “poor” and, without digging too deep, in the inequalities that persist as a result of government “inefficiency”. Years later, after successive defeats, and as the economic crisis became more acute, especially after 2015, the rhetoric of “humanitarian reason” becomes their own. This leads to the “humanitarization” of politics (51).

Following Carl Schmitt, Daniel Bensaïd referred to the “dissolution of politics in the humanitarian sphere” and its dangerous implications: “For Schmitt, elevating humanity to the status of the supreme instance of law is the logical complement to ethical individualism. Ordinary politics instrumentalizes its abstract universality by means of a “universal imposture”. This gives rise to “the possibility of terrifying expansion and murderous imperialism”. This is what the vindication of humanitarian interference (where duty – morality – surreptitiously replaces legal “right”) and the proclamation of an ethical war presented as a crusade achieve before our eyes: “When a State fights its political enemy in the name of humanity, it is not a war of humanity” that we witness, but a reversal of the concept of the universal. The invocation of humanity as the supreme legislator proves to be “a particularly useful ideological instrument for imperialist expansions”. Under its ethical and humanitarian form, war becomes “a vehicle of economic imperialism” which “denies the enemy their human condition”, declares them “outside the law and humanity” and extends their own logic “to the limits of the inhuman”. It is not surprising that this enemy, excluded from the species, is regularly the object of a discourse of bestiality and various secret activities. By a sinister game of mirrors, the depoliticization of the conflict produces in return a depoliticization of the “humanitarian victim”. Denied as a political actor, he or she is reduced to the passive nakedness of suffering and martyred bodies” (52).

In the case of anti-Chavism, the “humanitarianization” of politics is total, and is expressed in multiple forms, the most evident being the appeal to the existence of a “humanitarian crisis” that would legitimize both “humanitarian assistance” and “humanitarian intervention” (53). In such cases, the applicability of Fassin’s analysis of “biolegitimacy” is clear: in the name of the right to life, and in response to the suffering of the “humanitarian victim”, it is intended to legitimize not only war, but also numerous unilateral coercive measures which cause enormous harm to the population, exposing, once again, the cynical differential treatment of human life. Moreover, in the extreme cases of the waves of virulent anti-Chávez violence of 2014 and 2017, this differential treatment of life reaches the limit of inhumanity, paraphrasing Schmitt, bestializing the Chavista people, more or less in the same way that it had done during the first years of the revolution, except now lynching and setting fire to people “suspected” of being Chavistas, making them suffer and martyring the same “humanitarian victims” that they claim to defend (54).

This “humanitarianization” of politics is directly proportional to the worsening of the economic crisis: to the extent that the state sees its capacity to guarantee the free exercise of rights exceeded (producing a de facto de-citizenization, that is, loss of rights or increasing difficulty in their full exercise and enjoyment, particularly of economic rights) (55), the depoliticization of the conflict advances and with it the depoliticization of “humanitarian life” to which Bensaïd referred. Its media correlate is the proliferation of “exploitation journalism” (56), dedicated to narrating the tragedy of the “humanitarian victims”, with the journalist assuming the role of “witness” (57). Seen through the prism of “humanitarian reason”, a story is constructed about the migratory phenomenon that turns migrants, automatically, into “refugees”, applying, once again, a differential treatment: the “refugee” in Colombia, Ecuador or Peru will not be the same as the “refugee” in the United States or Spain, and a Venezuelan “refugee” in Spain will not be equivalent to the migrant of African origin, in the same way that the Venezuelan “refugee” in the United States will not be equivalent to the migrant of Central American origin. Another index of “humanitarianization” is the multiplication of organizations of diverse nature that act as managers of the suffering, giving food to people in the street or collecting medicines for health centers, among other initiatives of identical character (58).

The “humanitarian” rhetoric, which impregnates the political, journalistic and academic vocabulary, is particularly notorious in the economic sphere: not only are there numerous references to a reality that is considered almost unspeakable, because of its tragedy, frequently appealing to a language that borders on the eschatological, but on no other occasion, during the last twenty years, have the ideas associated with the neo-liberal vulgate circulated so naturally. Indeed, the naturalization of these ideas, the ground they have been gaining in the sense of the “new” and “old”, is a very important step in this direction.

Thus, for example, from this perspective, in brief, the current severe economic crisis would have as its origin the “model” that made possible the “decade won”, which will be translated as a moment in which the “waste” of income reigned, which not only imposed controls that constrained and curtailed economic freedoms, but also nationalized and expropriated right and left companies and goods that were then managed, the former, inefficiently, and the latter, usufructed or abandoned.

Downstream, where the de-citizenized and depoliticized population “survives,” this common sense would take the form of a rootless distrust of the State (no longer far away, but at the antipodes of any transformative will), the veneration of the “successful” business community, the longing for the “good life, the idealization of competition, the standardization of the calculation subordinated to the logic of the benefit of oneself and the smallest environment, the nostalgia for nationality taken away, the desire to be tough on crime, the aspiration to become an “entrepreneur”, namely a person who owns or is responsible for oneself; in short, the kind of subjectivity that the neoliberal governmentality arouses.

A turn of the screw

This neoliberal vulgate, when it circulates in small academic and political spaces, the latter being very careful not to publicly expose its true purposes and convictions, is not only practically innocuous, but also an object of mockery. This is what happened in Venezuela until relatively recently. In fact, it was common practice to refer to it in a pedagogical way, to illustrate the opposite of what Chavism succeeded in cementing as a political culture.

But when it is the state that decides to “withdraw” from the market, partly forced by very adverse circumstances indeed, but also because a part of the Chavista political class is convinced that there is no alternative, either through pragmatism or ideological conviction, then this neo-liberal vulgate becomes a real threat.

What matters is that, as I have tried to argue, neoliberal economic rhetoric is only one dimension of a whole rationality that runs through the social body, which has its correlates in the political and cultural spheres, which gives rise to a very specific type of subjectivity, which pays tribute to global and local, monopolistic or oligopolistic, factual economic powers. When this phenomenon of “humanitarization” of politics occurs, when this “humanitarian reason” begins to prevail, what has happened is that this rationality associated with the neoliberal governmentality has become transparent. As Gago points out, this rationality has an immanent dynamic, in the sense that, where the forces that make it a counterweight “retreat”, these factual economic powers, through a series of mechanisms of power and knowledge, act at will.

Again, certainly in very adverse circumstances, by 2016 the State decided to “withdraw” from the market, relaxing or progressively lifting controls in the economic field, which coincided with the moment when the second turning point referred to above occurred, and the discourse of “protection” began to predominate. Given their implications, and even if they are valued as inevitable, it must be conceded that these were regressive movements in the strategic field, even if they helped to guarantee permanence in power.

Understanding that the State is an instrument of class domination, and that the class struggle is expressed inside the Venezuelan State, without forgetting the fact that part of the strategy of the US imperial sovereign is to make its functioning unviable (59), but at the same time understanding that the State is “the mobile effect of a regime of multiple governmentalities” (60) that tension it (inclusion/participation), and neoliberalism, more than a set of economic recipes, is governmentality, which has been taking place in Venezuela, in particular since 2016, is a turn of the screw that tends to “reposition” and to postpone the task of transforming the State.

Far from any fatalism, the challenge is to build an analytical instrument that will allow us to understand the problem, to develop concepts that will allow us to pose the problem correctly. I believe that the contribution of the authors of this analysis points in that direction.

Regarding the turn of the screw that has taken place in 2016, a couple of additional comments. Certainly, control of the market is not something that can be decreed, since the real capacity of control is directly dependent on the correlation of forces. But the option cannot be to “liberalize” it, relying on its “self-regulation”. In fact, we should start by questioning this rhetoric that has become so naturalized, and which is unequivocally neoliberal: it is not really a question of “controlling the market”, but of democratizing it, keeping at bay the monopolistic or oligopolistic capitalist forces, which are the ones that exert de facto control the “liberalized” market. And to do this, it is necessary to regulate its functioning, guaranteeing access for all economic forces, starting with the popular majorities. Any tactical decision to the contrary cannot compromise the strategic, and it must not only be sufficiently informed and explained, but above all discussed and analysed by and with society as a whole. The political dialogue with the popular majorities cannot disappear. Their intelligence cannot be underestimated, which is what happens, incidentally, when we are scrupulously careful with rhetoric, which, if misused, can sow confusion and discouragement.

As for “protection”, we must begin by recognizing its conservative imprint. The mere fact of verifying its relationship of familiarity with “humanitarian reason” should be enough to eradicate it from political discourse, which implies not so much that it disappears from rhetoric, but from the exercise of politics. As it is conceived, given the rationality with which it is associated, it can only contribute to de-citizenization and depoliticization. Starting from the idea of “victims”, passive subjects, susceptible to “inclusion” and “protection”, whose transformative potential and willingness to play a leading role are unknown, it is simply impossible to make revolutionary politics for the popular majority.

Therefore, it is necessary to identify and combat all manifestations of “humanitarian reason” in Chavism. In the current phase of the “battle of ideas,” there are few more important fronts. Thus, for example, this idea of “protecting” the lives of “victims” as an indisputable moral imperative, but one that really implies that economic and social rights should take second place, since it is considered impossible to claim them, namely to guarantee their effective exercise and enjoyment. What in principle can be considered as absolutely reasonable may well end up legitimizing the fact that it is considered preferable to guarantee the availability of food or the quality of services, rather than their accessibility. In this way, the criterion of social justice disappears from the equation, inequality is masked, and the conditions are in fact created for social inequality to increase. This has already happened with food. It can happen with public services. It is not a question of having to choose between availability or quality and accessibility. The point is that this is a false dilemma, just as it is to have to choose between the right to life or economic and social rights, life or social justice.

This is just the kind of false dilemma that capitalist economic agents constantly pose, through an infinite number of ways and forms. The problem arises when they begin to be posed, with a naturalness that can be astonishing, by not a few bureaucrats and by a considerable part of the population.

A process of mutation is underway in Venezuelan society, in its governmental system, which affects our materiality, and also our feelings and ways of thinking. The effects of this process sometimes explode in front of our eyes, other times, perhaps the most, go unnoticed. There is open and frontal struggle, other times silent and bloodless struggle. Peace has prevailed, but war is undoubtedly being waged. There are certainties, but there is also confusion. There is hope, but also discouragement. Sometimes nightmares, usually a restless sleep. And this restlessness has to do with the fact that a metamorphosis is underway, we are forced to acknowledge it. To do otherwise is to run the risk of waking up one morning and discovering that we have become, as Gregorio Sansa did, something monstrous.

Reality surpasses fiction: recently, a spokesman for the capital declared, joyfully: “We did not manage to change the government, but we did manage to make the government change” (61). But reality is even more stubborn, and the last word will be spoken by the people and their “vitalism of life” (62), so alien to neoliberal rationality.

References

(1) Veronica Gago. The neoliberal reason. Baroque economies and popular pragmatics. Dream traffickers. Madrid, Spain. 2015. Page 21.

(2) Veronica Gago. The neoliberal reason. P. 23.

(3) Veronica Gago. The neoliberal reason. Pages 23-24.

(4) Veronica Gago. The neoliberal reason. Pages 21-22.

(5) Veronica Gago. The neoliberal reason. Pages 22.

(6) Veronica Gago. The neoliberal reason. P. 22.

(7) Veronica Gago. The neoliberal reason. P. 25.

(8) Veronica Gago. The neoliberal reason. P. 25.

(9) Veronica Gago. The neoliberal reason. Pages 25-26.

(10) Veronica Gago. The neoliberal reason. Pages 25-26.

(11) Veronica Gago. The neoliberal reason. Pg. 26.

(12) Veronica Gago. The neoliberal reason. Pages 27-28.

(13) Veronica Gago. The neoliberal reason. Pages 27.

(14) Veronica Gago. The neoliberal reason. P. 28.

(15) Veronica Gago. The neoliberal reason. P. 29.

(16) Veronica Gago. The neoliberal reason. P. 30.

(17) Veronica Gago. The neoliberal reason. P. 35.

(18) Veronica Gago. The neoliberal reason. P. 37.

(19) Veronica Gago. The Neoliberal Reason. P. 37.

(20) Veronica Gago. The Neoliberal Reason. P. 37.

(21) Veronica Gago. The Neoliberal Reason. P. 219.

(22) Veronica Gago. The Neoliberal Reason. P. 220.

(23) Veronica Gago. The Neoliberal Reason. P. 220.

(24) Claudio Katz. Dualities of Latin America III. Rebellions and projects. January 25, 2013.

(25) María Fernanda Barreto. Claudio Katz: “What we have experienced this year in Latin America is the crisis of the conservative restoration”. Latin American Summary, January 15, 2020.

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(28) Didier Fassin. The Pathologization of the World. P. 33.

(29) Didier Fassin. The Pathologization of the World. P. 33.

(30) Didier Fassin. The pathetic world. P. 34.

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(32) Didier Fassin. The Pathologizing of the World. Pages 35-36.

(33) Didier Fassin. The Pathologization of the World. P. 36.

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(38) Didier Fassin. The irresistible rise of the right to life. P. 201.

(39) Didier Fassin. The irresistible rise of the right to life. P. 193.

(40) Veronica Gago. The Neoliberal Reason. Pages 73-74.

(41) Reinaldo Iturriza López. The mirror. Notes on the new culture. September 11, 2015.

(42) Ignacio Ramonet. Hugo Chávez. My first life. Vadell Brothers Editors. Caracas, Venezuela. 2013. P. 637.

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(44) Reinaldo Iturriza López. El chavismo salvaje (Wild chavism). Editorial Trinchera. Caracas, Venezuela. 2016.

(45) Reinaldo Iturriza López. Quarantine (VI): On the socialist art of governing. 9 December 2019.

(46) Reinaldo Iturriza López. What is officialdom, en: Wild Chavism. Pages 183-192.

(47) Reinaldo Iturriza López. Since the arrival of socialism, in: El chavismo salvaje. Pages 112-116.

(48) Reinaldo Iturriza López. Chávez is a tuki, in: El chavismo salvaje. Pages 44-53.

(49) Rebeca Gregson and José Romero-Losacco. La Revolución Bolivariana y la cárcel épistemico-existencial: La tensión inclusión/participación desde un horizonte descolonial. 2018.

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(51) Reinaldo Iturriza López. Sentimental radiography of Chavism (V): The human tragedy. June 16, 2019.

(52) Daniel Bensaïd. In praise of profane politics. Peninsula. Barcelona, España. 2009. Pages 81-82, 84.

(53) Reinaldo Iturriza López. Venezuela and “disaster capitalism”. February 2, 2019.

(54) Reinaldo Iturriza López. Constituent, rebellion and state of exception. 30 May 2017. Also: Reinaldo Iturriza López. Sentimental radiography of Chavismo (VI): Conversos. June 20, 2019.

(55) Reinaldo Iturriza López. Constituent, rebellion and state of exception.

(56) Reinaldo Iturriza López. Radiografía sentimental del chavismo (V): La tragedia humana (Human tragedy).

(57) Didier Fassin. A subjectivity without subject. The metamorphosis of the witness figure, in: The humanitarian reason. A moral history of the present time. Prometheus Books. Buenos Aires, Argentina. 2016. Pages 293-324.

(58) Reinaldo Iturriza López. Art, spectacle and politics in Venezuela: good and bad influences. May 20th, 2017.

(59) Reinaldo Iturriza López. Venezuela: forming ranks against disciplinary neoliberalism. 13 February 2019.

(60) Reinaldo Iturriza López. Quarantine (VI): Sobre el arte socialista de gobernar (On the socialist art of governing).

(61) Guillermo D. Olmo. Venezuela: what is behind the “prosperity of the dollar” and the apparent economic upturn of the country (and how long it can last). BBC, 27 December 2019.

(62) Veronica Gago. The neoliberal reason. P. 234.

Translation by Internationalist 360º