There is something amazing to see that french fascism’s romantism was analyzed and understood by a man who was far away, in Peru, paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair.
The peruvian José Carlos Mariategui (1894-1930) has seen some things that was not understand, or at least not enough, in Europe at that time: the dimension of the entire epoch.
Mariategui has seen that, as the socialist revolution touches the deepest in the human beings, it produces values, values that have to be carried and raise as a new flag.
He saw that fascism pretended to carry a « new way of life », and he analyzed its pretentions, showing an understanding for the will of puting away the old order of things, but demonstrating the vacuity of fascism’s romantism, as it was merely anarchonistic at the epoch of the socialist revolution.
But there is something more amazing: how Mariategui expressed its point of view, or better said which theoretical weapons he used.
It is well known that in the communist movement, the question of culture was raised from a process beginning in the 1920-1930′s (with for example Brecht and Gorki, culminating in socialist realism in the fields of art) and finishing with the Great Cultural Proletarian Revolution in Popular China and the lessons of Mao Zedong on the ideological and cultural fields.
How did Mariategui understand these points already in the 1920′s?
The same question can be raised with his understanding of how the fascists were putting forward the subjective aspect and violence as a necessary tool.
It is well known that the communist movement had to wait Mao Zedong and his theory of people’s war, and the experiences of the people’s wars around the world, in the 1960-1980′s.
Again we must ask: how did Mariategui understand these points already in the 1920′s?
The answer is: Mariategui could not alreay understand it scientifically in a perfect manner, so he used theoretical tools that were not marxist, but he changed their significance.
He used Bergson and Sorel, two french thinkers belonging to the idealist schools and whose thoughts are clearly pre-fascist, and they had a big role in the foundation of the theoretical constructions of fascism.
Sorel became anti-marxist, because he thought that Karl Marx’s views on revolution were not deep enough: he wanted that the proletarian revolution have a spirituel aspect. And because of this, Sorel wanted that class struggle develop powerful myths, to mobilize the masses.
Mariategui was marxist and knew the teachings of Lenin; his analysis of Peru was totally scientific. But he saw that he needed more concepts, so he used Sorel’s thesis to explain the need of the socialist revolution to have, let’s say a « revolutionary romantism. »
Mariategui did not say that the socialist revolution needed myths – he was materialist. But he stressed that the socialist revolution must be as « powerful » ideologically as the religion.
In the same way, he used Bergson’s idealist thesis about intuition to put forward the new « feelings » of the revolutionary. A revolutionary romantism that will be seen not before the 1960′s…
The lessons of Mariategui here are amazing: he studied the french monarchists of l’Action française, he studied the positions of Drieu La Rochelle, maybe the major writer of the 1920-1930′s, who understood that the choice was between fascism and communism (but who chose fascism).
He touched a dimension that was not seen at that time in France – and this was clearly a bad thing against fascism. In this sense, when we read Drieu La Rochelle’s « Feu follet », we can only think: Drieu La Rochelle should have becomen a communist, and not a fascist!
In this sense, Mariategui’s thesis help us also a lot to understand the Communist Party of Peru and Gonzalo’s thesis.
Gonzalo’s documents are full of revolutionary passion and of images. It is easy to recognize a lot of images of the bible, that Gonzalo transformed in a literary way in revolutionary ideological weapons.
Gonzalo stressed, in the same way, the necessary of feeling an individual committment that was absolute, corresponding to the revolutionary epoch. That is why he stressed the duty of raising the banner of revolutionary optimism.
The same happens on the question of violence: Gonzalo stressed, like in fact all the revolutionary leaders of the 1960′s-1980′s who understood Engels and Mao Zedong’s lessons, the role of violence in history, as violence means, for the broad masses, liberation of theirs chains.
Mariategui « felt » all of this, but could not express in a scientific manner, so he used theoretical weapons that were not revolutionary nor proletarians; Gonzalo stressed the same aspects, but in a scientific manner.
And we must understand here why, when Gonzalo was arrested, the Communist Party of Peru faced a temporary setback, the famous « bend in the road. »
The opportunists used the same form, but changed the revolutionary content. The false letters of Gonzalo, produced by the counter-revolution (Fujimori and the CIA) used the same revolutionary romantic form, but produced what was not scientific, but merely a myth: the revolution was stopped but would begins again in exactly 70 years, there would be revolutionary cycles, etc.
This shows two things: the first thing that romantic phenomenons must be studied by the revolutionaries, so to understand how they are the products of the crisis of imperialism. The band Nirvana and Grunge are for example interesting phenomenons, combining romantic criticism of capitalism and petty-bourgeois pessimism.
The second thing is that the scientific aspect must be always kept in mind. Prachanda’s revisionnism for example, combined a revolutionary form, but on the scientific level, the errors of content could be seen very early, already in 2005.
In this sense: let’s understand fascism’s romantism in dialectical way, and let’s raise higher the revolutionary flag of our epoch, full of revolutionary optimism!