new book by Alan Woods is a polemic against a well-known (in Latin American
terms) intellectual Heinz Dieterich. Dieterich claims to have invented a new
"Socialism of the 21st Century" and much else into the bargain. He offers a
great deal of advice to those involved in the Venezuelan Revolution dressed up
in all manner of revolutionary rhetoric. However, when you clear away all the
verbiage that surrounds his "new" socialist philosophy, there remains
nothing new at all, simply a rehash of stale petty-bourgeois ideas of the past.
author of "Reformism or Revolution" seeks to answer Dieterich’s extravagant
claims and in doing so defends the real ideas of Marxism on a whole host of
questions and in particular the way forward for the Venezuelan and world revolution.
"We have no alternative but to answer him point-by-point, page-by-page,
galaxy-by-galaxy, and millennium-by-millennium", states the author.
to the ‘new and original’ ideas of the 21st Century I will say only this: that
to this day, despite all the noise and fuss, among all the vast literary
production of the Dieterichs of this world, I have yet to read a single
solitary genuinely new idea. What I have found is many old and antiquated
notions that have been fished out of the dustbin of history – unscientific and
utopian ideas that were long ago answered by Marx, Engels and Lenin, ideas that
belong to the prehistory of the workers’ movement. These old and tired ideas of
pre-Marxian, utopian socialism have been dusted down and presented as 21st Century
Socialism. And there are even some simple souls who take this seriously."
this chattering about "entirely new and original ideas" seems
superficially attractive. However, for our part, we do not believe there is any
need to reinvent socialism, just as we do not need to reinvent the wheel. Of
course, it will be necessary to introduce this or that modification, but what
is really remarkable is how few adjustments we have to make to the ideas that
were worked out by Marx and Engels in the 19th century and developed and
enriched by Lenin and Trotsky in the 20th century. We may make this or that
change, but in all the fundamentals the basic ideas retain all their vigour and
actuality. It is, of course, very good to debate the ideas of socialism and we
will participate in this debate with the greatest enthusiasm. What is not so
good is that Heinz Dieterich and others claim the right to a monopoly of the
interpretation of 21st century socialism. What is even worse, as we shall see,
is that this interpretation of "socialism" turns out to be exactly
the same as… capitalism.
Dieterich appears on the international stage as a friend of the Bolivarian
Revolution. But there are friends and friends. The unfortunate Job in the Bible
had cause to regret the consolation offered to him by his friends in his
moments of greatest need. And we have no doubt that the revolutionaries of
Venezuela will have even greater cause to regret it if they accept as good coin
the advice given to them so generously by their friends like Heinz Dieterich.
book should serve to disabuse them of these notions and is offered as a weapon
in the fight for a successful socialist revolution in Venezuela and
throughout the world.
Order your copy now!
£12 post free
From Wellred Books, PO BOX 50525, Poplar, London E14 6WG (cheques
made payable to Wellred) or order online
- Alan Woods’ speaking tour in Venezuela:
- Venezuela: More than 800 people attend meetings of Alan Woods in Barinas by CMR (July 7, 2008)
- Alan Woods invited by president Chavez to a caravan with the revolutionary people in Nueva Esparta by CMR (July 4, 2008)
- Adán Chavez: “These are the ideas the Bolivarian revolution must be based upon” by CMR (July 3, 2008)
- “The PSUV is a mighty force and with the ideas and programme of Marxism it will be invincible” by CMR (July 2, 2008)
- “Alan gives voice to what peasants and workers think” – enthusiastic meeting in Táchira (Venezuela) by CMR (July 1, 2008)
- “Yes we can!” – great enthusiasm for the ideas of Marxism in Zulia (Venezuela) by CMR (June 30, 2008)