Libro sobre la Teología y la Filosofía de la Liberación latinoamericana, crítica materialista (Eliseo Rabadán)

Guatemala y Rigoberta Menchú

imagesmenchu

El Catoblepas 7. Sección Diablo Hispano. Eliseo Rabadán Fernández

Centroamérica y las estrategias imperiales
Reflexiones en torno a las acusaciones de un antropólogo norteamericano a la india guatemalteca Rigoberta Menchú, Nobel de la Paz en 1992, año del Qunto Centenario del Descubrimiento de América

Introducción{1}

Para hacer un análisis crítico de la situación de Guatemala durante la época histórica a la que se refiere el libro de David Stoll hay que precisar algunos hechos que el propio Stoll no menciona o si lo hace, nos parece insuficiente la información que aporta. Si leemos con atención algo sobre la Historia de Guatemala en el siglo XX, nos daremos cuenta de que las luchas indígenas son algo mucho más complejo que una mera movilización interesada y manipulada por parte de movimientos guerrilleros.
Vamos a tomar algunos datos sobre ello del libro América latina:Historia de medio siglo{2}. Citemos literalmente un fragmento del ensayo de Edelberto Torres, para que los lectores vayan tomando conciencia del papel que los EEUU han venido jugando en las llamadas repúblicas bananeras de Centroamérica:
METER «La elección de Ubico [el 14 de febrero de 1931; general, el último de los militares liberales] fue el resultado plausible de la política exterior norteamericana. Por aquellas fechas, el artífice de la intervención imperialista en Nicaragua, Stimson, reconocía que ‘…hasta hoy, Centroamérica ha comprendido que ningún régimen que no tenga nuestro reconocimiento puede mantenerse en el poder y… aquellos que no reconozcamos caerán’. No se sabe bien si Ubico devino un dictador como producto de la crisis económica, o por un objetivo previamente establecido por las necesidades geopolíticas del imperialismo. Ubico recibió el reconocimiento diplomático tres veces consecutivas y sólo cayó, catorce años después, bajo los golpes de una extendida insurrección popular.»
Se vivía en Centroamérica una serie de tensiones internas que agravó con la crisis económica derivada de la Gran Depresión del 29. Todavía el eco de la Revolución Mexicana se escuchaba en estas tierras y las luchas del general Sandino que combatía desde Las Segovias en Nicaragua contra la intervención de los marinos yankis avivaron el nacionalismo en Centroamérica. De la dictadura medieval de Ubico, como algunos la han denominado, se llegó a la rebelión popular de 1944. Los indígenas eran obligados a trabajo forzoso en las grandes fincas cafetaleras de los terratenientes o a trabajar en la construcción de caminos, mediante una Ley llamada Ley contra la vagancia. El largo periodo dictatorial sirvió para acumular 11 y medio millones de dólares que sirvieron para que el dictador saldara la deuda centenaria con Inglaterra, pago que hizo efectivo unas horas antes de su renuncia forzada por el pueblo guatemalteco. Ese ahorro se logró a costa del hambre de los millones de campesinos pobres. El periodo que va desde la caída de Ubico en 1944 hasta el derrocamiento de Arbenz en 1954 supone cambios importantes en la situación social guatemalteca que inciden en las relaciones de clase. Como explica Edelberto Torres:
METER «Cualquier análisis retrospectivo sobre la experiencia política de este período tiene que contabilizar el tremendo atraso cultural de la sociedad guatemalteca. No nos referimos con ello al indicador más visible, el porcentaje de analfabetos, porque atrás de la estadística hay una realidad aún más pavorosa de miseria material, hambre física y degradación biológica de una ancha mayoría de la población indígena. Cuando la explotación económica se realiza en este contexto es también sometimiento político total, ausencia de derechos cívicos y de posibilidades objetivas de ejercitarlos, casi una situación prepolítica cuya inercia marca adversamente el destino del intento democratizador.»
En las primeras elecciones limpias celebradas en Guatemala, tras la renuncia de Ubico, el presidente electo en su discurso del 15 de marzo de 1945, el profesor y pedagogo Juan José Arévalo, se proponía la defensa de los trabajadores, campesinos, ancianos, niños. Estas eran algunas de las ideas de Arévalo:{3}
METER «El Gobierno de Guatemala padecía de ciertos prejuicios de orden social. Los obreros, los campesinos, los humildes eran vistos con desconfianza, quizás hasta con desprecio . Los mismos capitalistas, los finqueros, los jefes, se veían inhibidos para hacer algo a favor de los necesitados, porque cualquier intento de legislación o de protección era mal visto por el gobierno. Había una fundamental falta de simpatía por los trabajadores, y el menor reclamo de justicia era eludido y castigado, como si se tratara de aplastar el brote de una epidemia. Vamos ahora a instaurar el período de simpatía por el hombre que trabaja en los campos, en los talleres, en los cuarteles, en el comercio. Vamos a equiparar al hombre con el hombre. Vamos a despojarnos del miedo culpable a las ideas generosas. Vamos a agregar la justicia y la felicidad al orden, porque de nada nos sirve el orden a base de injusticias y de humillaciones.»
Hemos querido extendernos en esta introducción para mostrar cómo los problemas sociales y políticos de Guatemala no son producto de la casualidad o brotan de la nada. Queremos mostrar cómo la intervención de los Estados Unidos son parte de los problemas que han asolado a esta y otras repúblicas iberoamericanas desde la Independencia. Quizá sea interesante para ver cómo la guerrilla guatemalteca no es la causa de los males de los indígenas, como se podría pensar al leer el libro de Stoll.
Es imprescindible, a mi juicio, que se destaque el proceso que llevó al derrocamiento de Arbenz y el papel de la CIA y por supuesto del Gobierno de los EEUU en el mismo, porque las consecuencias de esa intervención fueron causa implícita evidente de los problemas que enfrenta Guatemala desde 1950. Y no sólo Guatemala, sino todos los Estados centroamericanos, como es bien sabido. No podemos aceptar que en nombre de la cientificidad de la Antropología, se pretenda dejar a un lado la Historia. Como si los hechos, los materiales con que trabaja el antropólogo, pudieran estudiarse científicamente al margen de las relaciones políticas de esos mismos actores del campo antropológico.
En junio de 1954 se logra la renuncia de Arbenz, en lo que se conoce como el guatemalazo, gestado mediante un mecanismo similar a otros en la región y hoy día conocido el papel de la CIA en el mismo. Una banda de mercenarios con sus cuarteles en Honduras invadía Guatemala bajo las órdenes del coronel Carlos Castillo Armas. Uno de los mayores pecados de este presidente fue la expropiación de 495.843 hectáreas de tierra ociosa, entre las que se incluyeron poco más de 150.000 hectáreas de la United Fruit Company. En el proceso de socavamiento de Arbenz no deja de intervenir la jerarquía católica, que estimuló la eficaz campaña anticomunista que lograba confundir a amplios sectores de la opinión pública, campaña en la que coopera con las fuerzas de la derecha. El embajador norteamericano jugó un papel crucial, con la ayuda financiera de fondos de la CIA que compraron lealtades de altos cargos militares. No cesó en su empeño el embajador yanki Perifoy hasta que logró que Castillo Armas encabezara el triunvirato militar que sustituiría a Arbenz.
El proceso histórico que siguió al derrocamiento de Arbenz ha sido un continuo enfrentamiento por el poder entre facciones militares. La primera guerrilla surge de un grupo de unos 20 oficiales jóvenes que se unieron al descontento general contra el dictador Ydígoras, de dicho grupo surgió el MR-13, Movimiento Revolucionario 13 de noviembre. El movimiento guerrillero fracasó por la falta de un programa político organizado, según explica detalladamente Edelberto Torres, y lo que ocurre tras el nuevo golpe militar contra la posible celebración de elecciones libres que el mismo Ydígoras quiso pero los militares no aceptaron, y la dictadura que va desde 1963 hasta 1966 fue que hubo un ascenso en la lucha popular, pero a partir de la dictadura que impuso un estado de sitio de veinte meses durante los mil días (marzo de 1963-marzo de 1966) que duró, en palabras de E. Torres «la represión fue más sistemática como parte de un operativo de contrainsurgencia, planeada por el estado mayor norteamericano y ejecutada por el guatemalteco».
En este ambiente de luchas políticas las guerrillas se hacen procastristas y el PGT (Partido Guatemalteco del Trabajo) resulta ser el único partido capaz de resistir la represión, aunque sin lograr rescatar su influencia en las masas. El periodo entre 1966-1970 supone un cambio en la estrategia política, implantada desde fuera, pues se quita el poder al militar Peralta Azurdia y se le hace entregarlo al ex decano de la Escuela de Leyes, el abogado Julio César Méndez. En estos años se aplica eficazmente el experimento Guatemala, de contrainsurgencia y éste se corresponde con una guerrilla cuya actividad se desarrolla con mayor intensidad, pero hay que recordar que entre 1964 y 1970 fueron asesinados más de diez mil guatemaltecos, en un auténtico genocidio, del que muy recientemente se está tratando de hacer el balance y las solicitudes de justicia y responsabilidades de los causantes del mismo. En este contexto, creo, debiera empezar a verse el papel de Rigoberta Menchú y lo que ella representa como símbolo de las comunidades indígenas pobres. Otra cosa es, como veremos, el asunto de las mentiras que Stoll desenmascara en el libro citado.
Nos queda un detalle interesante que mencionar, antes de continuar con esta apretada introducción histórica. Cuando el presidente Jacobo Arbenz expropió algunas de las tierras de la United Fruit Co., se hizo una gran campaña anticomunista en los EEUU contra ese gobierno y el de su antecesor Arévalo. Lo interesante y no es mera anécdota de la Historia es que John Foster Dulles era entonces secretario de Estado de los EEUU y además accionista y abogado de la empresa a la que se expropiaron terrenos (no todos, sino los ociosos, que la United mantenía como reserva). Desde su evidentemente influyente posición política presionó a la OEA para que se condenara la política agraria del presidente de Guatemala. En cuanto a su hermano Allen Dulles, ex presidente de la propia compañía y director de la CIA, fue quien organizó la invasión a Guatemala lanzada desde Honduras en 1954. Cuando se logró el objetivo de derrocar a Arbenz, la compañía recupero inmediatamente sus tierras y también cambió de nombre para llamarse United Brands. Uno puede encontrar sin demasiado esfuerzo similitudes interesantes con lo que sucediera en el Chile de Allende y el papel de la CIA y del entonces secretario de Estado Kissinger y el apoyo de las dos compañías yankis, ITT y Anaconda. Por cierto, una anécdota más, la ITT pasó a denominarse después del golpe de Pinochet, ATT. Debe ser una simple cuestión de imagen, me refiero a lo del cambio de nombre, aunque no debemos ser tan mal pensados como para creer que se trata de cuestión surgida de hechos políticos.
La cuestión en que nos interesa detenernos es en la siguiente: de las cuatro elecciones, 1970, 1974, 1978 y 1982 , todas fueron fraudulentas y favorecieron al estamento militar. Y es en este ambiente en el que se desarrollan los movimientos guerrilleros guatemaltecos. En 1962 las FAR (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias), en 1975 el EGP (Ejército Guerrillero de los Pobres) y en 1979 la ORPA (Organización del Pueblo en Armas). En 1982 surge la URNG (Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca) compuesta por las tres anteriores y el PGT (Partido Guatemalteco de los Trabajadores).
En marzo de 1982 llega al poder, tras elecciones fraudulentas y la correspondiente asonada militar el general Efraín González Montt. La agresiva dictadura este ex católico, hermano de un obispo guatemalteco, convertido a la secta del Verbo Divino, logró en el año y medio en que tuvo el poder, el récord genocida en Guatemala, provocando 15 mil asesinatos, 70 mil refugiados en México y centenares de poblaciones rurales devastadas por el ejército, además de obligar a huir a las montañas a cerca de 500 mil guatemaltecos. Su agresividad fue tal que la propia CIA intervino en agosto de 1983 para colocar en su lugar a otro militar, mientras se preparaban nuevamente elecciones que llevaran a esta República a la democracia. Hasta 1996 no se logra un acuerdo entre el gobierno guatemalteco y la URNG para firmar unos acuerdos que logran terminar con la larga guerra civil en Guatemala.{4}
No podemos olvidar que Centroamérica entera forma una Biocenosis{5} en la que Honduras es convertida de república bananera en enclave militar yanki, Nicaragua es objetivo prioritario de la política de roll-back (recuperación de lo que se ha perdido) durante la llamada guerra de baja intensidad.La complicada situación que se le presenta al gobierno imperial de EEUU con la firma de los tratados sobre la salida de la zona del Canal de Panamá, &c.

1. La polémica que suscita el libro de David Stoll
1.1 La cuestión de las guerrillas y el papel del ejército guatemalteco. El contexto político de la Guerra Fría y la estrategia de EEUU en Centroamérica.
El libro de David Stoll fue publicado en inglés en los EEUU en 1998 y el influyente diario New York Times le daba amplio espacio a través de una reseña que habría de tener un eco importante tanto, en los EE.UU. como en Iberoamérica . El artículo se publicaba a fines de 1998 y todo el año 1999 estuvo animado por debates sobre las afirmaciones de Stoll acerca de las graves mentiras que el libro de Elizabeth Burgos sobre Menchú contenía{6}. En la polémica, vista desde The New York Review of Books, vemos cómo se ha producido un interesante enfrentamiento directo entre Stoll y algunos lectores de su libro. (Ver http://www.nybooks.com/articles/353).
En Iberoamérica encontramos una respuesta del célebre Eduardo Galeano; el artículo de Galeano{7} merece la pena de ser leído porque contiene algunas de las ideas que queremos exponer en este artículo, y porque nos parece que expresa el modo de pensar que tiene mucha gente en Iberoamérica al respecto de lo que ha sucedido en Guatemala. Una de las críticas que plantea Galeano al libro de Stoll y a la enorme difusión que el NYT hace del mismo insiste en la falta de información sobre la actuación de los militares en el contexto de la guerra civil guatemalteca, por ejemplo. Citando al escritor Dante Liano, comenta Galeano que Stoll no ha consultado los archivos de los militares guatemaltecos. Se pregunta Dante Liano: En su libro invoca [Stoll] testigos y archivos.¿Qué archivos hay sobre la guerra reciente?¿Le abrió sus archivos el ejército? Y reflexiona sobre estas preguntas Galeano sugiriendo estas referencias: Hace poco tiempo, el diputado Barrios Klee intentó consultar esos archivos, y apareció con un tiro en la cabeza. El obispo Juan Gerardi, que también lo había intentado, terminó con el cráneo partido a golpes de piedra.
El influyente medio de televisión y noticias internacionales CNN, parte del grupo mediático que incluye a AOL y Time Warner{8}, ofrece un debate abierto a los internautas en la página oficial, desde su sección book news (noticias sobre libros) bajo el atractivo titular Writer challenges story of hardship that led to a Nobel prize (un escritor cuestiona la historia de infortunio que dio lugar a un premio Nobel). El reportaje citado de CNN hace referencia al artículo de NYT (New York Times) pero se explicita que ha sido enviado por la agencia alemana Reuters. Se trata de un artículo donde toda la razón se le da sin mayores análisis a Stoll. En este sentido, parece que merece la pena prestar atención al analista Noam Chomsky cuando habla de un modelo de propaganda gestado para ayudar a mantener el control social dentro de los EEUU y fuera ,mediante la compleja maquinaria que incluye no sólo medios de comunicación sino universidades y la elaboración de lo que se conoce como opinión pública, mediante lo que sería una especie de ministerio de la verdad al estilo del que Orwell imaginara en su novela 1984. Este ministerio de la verdad trata de adaptar los hechos históricos a los intereses de quienes dirigen la política y sus aliados, utilizando permanentemente el doble lenguaje y la demagogia organizada sistemáticamente.{9}
En España la revista Lateral publicó un artículo de Stoll y otro de Elizabeth Burgos (ver http://www.lateral-ed.es/revista/ultimo/stoll.html). La autora del libro sobre Rigoberta explica su posición sobre la polémica y da algunos interesantes detalles acerca la relación que ha mantenido con la premio Nobel de la paz. Stoll explica su versión sobre la relación entre los quichés y los ixiles con lo que llama la violencia revolucionaria . Según el antropólogo la figura de Rigoberta debe ser estudiada desde dos niveles: un nivel mítico y un nivel factual. En este artículo de Lateral, nos ha parecido encontrar en las palabras de Stoll una crítica implícita a los informes que preparan las llamadas comisiones de la verdad, tanto de la ONU como de la Iglesia católica en Guatemala. Stoll se preocupaba en ese artículo de que los que elaboran estos informes deberían escuchar no sólo a uno u otro de los bandos de la guerra civil, sino también a los campesinos que no estaban ni en los movimientos guerrilleros ni en el ejército. A este respecto, algunos de los que han participado en este debate comentan que un problema en estas investigaciones sobre los genocidios es que los muertos ya no están ahí para hablar y dar la versión de lo sucedido.
He encontrado otras tres referencias sobre el libro de Stoll que tienen interés para apreciar el grado de los enfrentamientos producidos. La de Sam Pawlett, un artículo de 5 folios en que critica a Stoll y lo llama directamente Liar (mentiroso), puede leerse en http://csf.colorado.edu/pen-1/aug99/msg03132.html Según Pawlett, Stoll argumenta en su libro que las sectas han triunfado donde la izquierda fracasó. Por otra parte, sus críticas a Stoll plantean que sus ataques no están relacionados con Rigoberta Menchú, sino que el objetivo de las mismas es la izquierda guatemalteca. Lo que persigue es minar la lucha de clases. Pretende también el libro del antropólogo y académico Stoll ayudar a escapar a la izquierda del guevarismo .No está de acuerdo el crítico Sam Pawlett con la tesis de Stoll según la cual se da una versión falsa de la guerrilla guatemalteca .Esta falsa versión busca precisamente atacar la guerrilla por haber dejado que se impusieran en su estrategia la ideología de Marx y Lenin, que sería una de las causas de su fracaso y alejamiento de los campesinos a los que pretendía ayudar. Pawlett tampoco cree que la afirmación de Stoll de que antes de la revolución había en el campo guatemalteco una situación pacífica en la que no existía lucha de clases. En todo caso, lo que existía no era esa lucha sino una situación provocada por la opresión que engendraba la etnicidad: ladinos blancos contra indígenas. Por cierto y dicho sea de paso, esta etnicidad conflictiva sería un producto de la época colonial española, con lo cual las raíces del conflicto estarán en la Leyenda Negra que, como es bien sabido, es una creación anglosajona y francesa .
Otra tesis central del libro de Stoll es que el guerrillismo es un modelo muy peligroso y condenado al fracaso ya antes de los años 80. Además, es dirigido por ladinos y nunca se pone a indígenas al frente del mismo. Una de las cosas importantes que no menciona Stoll es que el general Ríos Montt siguió utilizando, precisamente cuando Rigoberta Menchú se entrevistaba en París con Elizabeth Burgos, los escuadrones de la muerte y asesinatos políticos extra judiciales. Sobre Ríos Montt hablaremos con algún detalle más adelante. Es bastante factible que Rigoberta no diera datos de personas con exactitud para evitar posibles asesinatos a gente que estaba en Guatemala bajo la persecución de este asesino. Una de las interesantes aportaciones de esta reseña crítica de Sam Pawlett , nos parece, consiste en mostrar que el método utilizado por Stoll para desacreditar a las guerrillas , y que según afirma, no es nada novedoso, pues se puede encontrar en toda la literatura contra insurgente, es dividir, establecer una dicotomía: campesinos/guerrillas y reducir así, la lucha de clases a lucha armada. La tesis que Sam Pawlett defiende, frente a la propuesta de Stoll, es que lucha de clases y lucha armada están vinculadas.
Otro error que señala Pawlett en la obra de Stoll lo encuentra en el hecho de que el antropólogo data la primera aparición del EGP (Ejército Guerrillero de los Pobres) en El Quiché en abril de 1979. Utilizando datos del libro Garrison Guatemala, de G. Black, N. Chinchela y M. Jamail, se advierte que oficialmente El Quiché estaba en estado de sitio desde 1976. El programa estratégico de aldeas del ejército estaba ya en marcha desde 1966. Huehuetenango estaba ocupado por los militares cuando los sindicatos locales fueron a la huelga en la mina de Tum. En mayo de 1978 fueron masacrados más de 100 indios Kekchi por el ejército en Panzos en una protesta por derechos sobre la tierra. No vamos a seguir dando más datos de los que aporta este crítico de Stoll, pero sí podemos pensar que la tesis de que los guerrilleros son los que provocaron las desgracias de los indígenas es al menos dudosa. Además nos parece excesivo que un ejército reaccione tan brutalmente como lo hizo en Uspantán por la muerte de dos ladinos a manos de los indígenas. Para terminar, respecto de las críticas de Stoll acerca de la incapacidad de las guerrillas para ofrecer una alternativa en el ámbito de la economía política, le sugiere que lea el libro de su mentor en la universidad de Princeton, Timoty Wickham-Crowley titulado Guerrillas and Revolution in Latin America (Princeton U.P;1992), en el cual encontramos estos datos:
METER «Los porcentajes de pobres propietarios de tierra y de sin tierra entre el campesinado son casi seguramente responsables de los niveles per capita que están cayendo de consumo de alimentos entre ese campesinado…utilizando el referente mínimo de 2,236 calorías por día de las Naciones Unidas, el 45% de la población de Guatemala estaba por debajo del nivel de subsistencia en 1965, una proporción que ha aumentado ampliamente en el periodo en consideración: al 70 % por debajo del mínimo en 1975 a 80 % en 1980.»
Claro que el apoyo a los guerrilleros les llevó a mayores niveles de explotación, pero por parte de los terratenientes y el ejército, aquí es donde puede encontrarse alguna otra explicación para la violencia contra los campesinos.
La revista Z Magazine (ver http://www.lol.shareworld.com/ZMag/articles/menchu2.htm) ofrece otra de las reseñas interesantes, a mi juicio, del libro Rigoberta Menchú y la historia de todos los guatemaltecos pobres.
Y para terminar las referencias a reseñas sobre el libro y entrar a el análisis crítico que vamos a proponer, haremos referencia a un artículo especial que le dedica a Stoll y su libro la revista norteamericana NACLA, especializada en temas de Iberoamérica . El número de marzo/abril de 1999 publica una entrevista a Menchú: Truth-Telling and Memory in Postwar Guatemala (Relatar la verdad en la Guatemala de posguerra) y otra a Stoll: David Stoll on Rigoberta, Guerrillas and Academics (David Stoll acerca de Rigoberta, las Guerrillas y los Académicos). También contiene un artículo publicado en la sección Documentos titulado Findings of the UN Comision for Historial Clarification (Hallazgos de la Comisión de Naciones Unidas para la Clarificación Histórica).
Acerca del modo de actuar del ejército de Guatemala en el conflicto a lo largo de los años 1966 hasta 1995 se pude utilizar material de los archivos de seguridad nacional de los EEUU desclasificados, en los que hay informes secretos de la CIA , la DIA o el Departamento de Estado, los llamados documentos top secret o classified ( alto secreto o censurado ), emitidos por determinadas fuentes o muchos de ellos por los correspondientes embajadores de EEUU en Guatemala u otros países de Centroamérica. Por su alguien opina que podemos estar obsesionados con la participación de EEUU en estos países, considero de interés hacer referencia a uno de estos resúmenes a los que he tenido acceso en este sitio web http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSABBB/NSAEBB32/vol2_espanol.html
En el documento 46 de fecha 1 de febrero de 1995, mensaje secreto de la DIA (la Agencia de Inteligencia de Defensa de EEUU), que es una «reseña sobre el coronel Julio Roberto Alpírez» leemos lo siguiente, que por su interés copio en su totalidad:
METER «Una fuente discute si el Coronel Julio Roberto Alpírez fue responsable de la tortura y ejecución del guerrillero Efraín Bámaca Velásquez. La fuente asegura que el Coronel Alpírez era totalmente capaz de llevar a cabo estas acciones, pero que él probablemente habría delegado la responsabilidad final de eliminar a Bámaca a un oficial de bajo rango o a un especialista de su confianza. La fuente también cree que el ejército no va a entregar a uno de los suyos a fin de reducir la presión internacional sobre el caso, y agrega que cualquiera que desee dar información al respecto tendría mucho que perder si el coronel abre la boca. Alpírez fue un agente a sueldo de la CIA hasta 1995,cuando el ex congresista Robert Toricelli reveló su papel en el encubrimiento del asesinato del estadounidense Michael De Vine en 1990, y la tortura y muerte de Bámaca en 1992.»
El triunfo de los sandinistas en Nicaragua en 1979 supone una preocupación seria para los intereses de los EEUU en Centroamérica. La represión que renace con la mayor violencia en la Guatemala de Ríos Montt poco después y ya dentro de la batalla orquestada contra el modelo político sandinista no parecen ser asuntos disociables, si analizamos los fenómenos desde la estrategia de un Estado imperial como es EE.UU. Además, es curioso el hecho de que coinciden, en tanto personajes clave de la Historia, el presidente Reagan y el nuevo líder del Estado Vaticano. El anticomunismo puede ser considerado el vínculo que puede unir estratégicamente a ambos. Y Nicaragua es un peligrosísimo núcleo del Reino del Mal. El Informe de Santa Fe I (de 1980) se refería (propuesta nº 3) al movimiento llamado Teología de la Liberación como uno de los objetivos de la política exterior de EEUU, «para lo que debe empezarse a contrarrestar (no a actuar en contra de) la teología de la liberación tal como ésta es utilizada en América latina por los clérigos de la teología de la liberación.»
La estrategia del Papa Juan PabloII contra la teología de la liberación fue muy efectiva, ya que consiguió a través, especialmente, del Cardenal Ratzinger, neutralizar el movimiento a lo largo de la década de los 80. El modo en que los EEUU llevaron a cabo su estrategia es más interesante, a mi juicio, porque logró colocar a un presidente y nada menos que hermano de un arzobispo guatemalteco en el poder. Se trata del asesino Ríos Montt, que hoy en día es nada menos que diputado en Guatemala. De Ríos Montt hay asuntos interesantes que merecen la pena ser considerados y de su relación con las sectas e iglesias protestantes tradicionales, que han sido la principal arma de EEUU para atacar, no sólo a la teología de la liberación sino a la propia Iglesia Católica. Tal como nos sugiere Chomsky en su libro La quinta libertad{10}, sugerimos a David Stoll que se entreviste alguno de los miles de guatemaltecos que buscaron refugio en México. Por cierto, algunas entrevistas a que hace referencia Chomsky, fueron realizadas a antropólogos jesuitas.

Centroamérica en el Nuevo Orden Mundial :
Las transformaciones de los antiguos movimientos guerrilleros han sido analizados con detalle por analistas como James Petras. La edición mexicana del mensual francés Le Monde Diplomatique publicaba en un artículo del sociólogo y economista Petras analizando tanto el papel del que Stoll llama guevarismo como sus errores y las posteriores transformaciones de las luchas revolucionarias en Iberoamérica{11}.
Tras el derrumbe del sistema comunista al desaparecer la URSS, los EEUU se han visto obligados a buscar nuevas coartadas para seguir ejerciendo el control político y económico de los países Iberoamericanos. Un coartada que les ha venido funcionando muy bien es la de la llamada narco guerrilla. La lucha contra el tráfico, producción y consumo de droga es aducida por EEUU siempre que se trata de justificar sus intervenciones en la política interna de países como México, Colombia, Bolivia, Perú,&
El interesante libro Democracias bajo el fuego. (Drogas y poder en América Latina){12} nos será de utilidad para tratar de ver un panorama de cuál es el horizonte político de Iberoamérica en el siglo que comienza. Aunque fue publicado antes del 11 de septiembre de 2001, ello no impide que las líneas maestras de los análisis allí escritos nos sea como he dicho , de cierta utilidad. Nos centraremos en la situación de Guatemala. El Departamento de Estado de EEUU ha emitido un informe publicado en marzo de 1998 en el cual se comenta que Centroamérica es una importante zona de tránsito de droga hacia los EEUU y Guatemala uno de los más importantes por el hecho de tener acceso a los dos océanos . Como señala Mario Maldonado en su artículo “Centroamérica: guerra después de la guerra”: Guatemala se perfila como puente preferido para el narcotráfico, lo que se suma a los demás elementos que configuran una situación de inestabilidad social, que tiene como trasfondo la remilitarización del país.{13}
Acerca de las sectas, leemos un interesante artículo firmado por Laura E. Asturias, publicado en la revista Tertulia de Guatemala en agosto del 2002 bajo el título Guerreros de Cristo{14}. La autora relata su experiencia como asistente a una ceremonia de líderes evangélicos en Guatemala, y no es de extrañar su temor al escuchar a uno de los jóvenes participantes lo siguiente: ¡vamos a ser los kaibiles de Cristooooooooo! Esa reunión se celebraba tras un retiro espiritual donde los jóvenes habían recibido un cursillo para predicar su mensaje divino. Los kaibilies son un grupo de elite de las fuerzas militares que son célebres por su crueldad delirante en todas las matanzas en que intervinieron.
El panorama no se presenta demasiado favorable para una transición a la democracia en Guatemala. En junio de este año 2002 la organización clandestina guatemalteca de ultraderecha autodenominada Guatemaltecos de Verdad amenazaba a 10 activistas de los derechos humanos en Guatemala. Y el propio presidente del país reconocía que existen grupos ultras en el interior de las fuerzas militares y policiales que se mueven sin control. Los asesores de Bush hijo para dar los últimos retoques a su supersecretaría antiterrorista para lidiar contra las fuerzas del mal son gente experta y muy capaz, sin duda. Entre ellos se encuentran –nos dice el analista político Carlos Fazio en el diario La Jornada– el conocido John D.Negroponte, actual embajador de EEUU en la ONU y Otto Reich.

Notas
{1} El presente artículo ha sido motivado en parte por la aparición en la red (preparada por nódulo materialista y disponible en la web http://www.nodulo.org ), de la primera edición en lengua española del libro del antropólogo norteamericano David Stoll , que lleva el título Rigoberta Menchú y la historia de todos los guatemaltecos pobres. La revista El Catoblepas aporta en el número seis un artículo y reseña de Gustavo Bueno Sánchez («De la leyenda negra a la leyenda indígena») cuyo interés resulta muy actual, al relacionar los problemas planteados por Stoll con la canonización del indio mexicano Juan Diego por el Papa Juan Pablo II en julio de este año 2002 y la figura de la Virgen de Guadalupe como el más efectivo freno a las sectas yankis. Otro comentario sobre el libro de David Stoll en ese número de El Catoblepas, escrito por Francisco Díaz de Otazu («Rigoberta Menchú: el fraude antihispano»), resulta de interés par una reflexión acerca de la lucha entre el catolicismo hasta ahora dominante en Guatemala y Centroamérica y en toda Iberoamérica y el creciente influjo social de las llamadas sectas.
{2} Pablo González Casanova (coordinador), América Latina: Historia de medio siglo. Vol. 2: Centroamérica, México y El Caribe, Siglo XXI, 7ªed., México 1993. Utilizamos expresamente el capítulo titulado «Guatemala: medio siglo de Historia política. Un ensayo de interpretación sociológica», de Edelberto Torres Rivas
{3} Estas referencias las hemos tomado del libro de Gregorio Selser titulado Cronología de las intervenciones extranjeras en América latina, Tomo III, 1999-1945, Coedición de la UNAM y la Universidad Obrera de México, México 2001.
{4} Para quien esté interesado en conocer más datos sobre el desarrollo histórico, podemos recomendar la Guía del Mundo 1997/98 editada por el Instituto del Tercer Mundo, edición de 1997, Montevideo: http://www.chasque.net
{5} Recomendamos la lectura de dos interesantes documentos, cuyo análisis crítico esta hecho por Gregorio Selser en las ediciones que siguen: Los Docuentos de santa Fe I y II, Ed. Universidad Obrera de México, México 1990; y Informe Kissinger contra Centroamérica, El Día en libros, México 1984.
{6} La edición que hemos manejado es de Seix Barral (Barcelona 1992), a partir de la primera edición de 1983. El título Me llamo Rigoberta Menchú y así me nació la conciencia.
{7} Fue publicado también en el diario mexicano La Jornada del 16 de enero de 1999. http://www.patriagrande.net/uruguay/eduardo.galeano/escritos/disparen.sobre.rogoberta.htm
{8} Quien esté interesado en conocer más detalles críticos acerca de CNN, puede leer el libro de Edward S. Herman y Robert W. McChesney, Los medios globales (los nuevos misioneros del capitalismo corporativo), Cátedra, Madrid 1999.
{9} Cfr. N. Chomsky, Ilusiones necesarias (control del pensamiento en las sociedades democráticas), Libertarias/Prodhufi, Madrid 1992 y N. Chomsky y E.S.Herman, Los guardianes de la libertad (propaganda, desinformación y consenso en los medios de comunicación de masas), Crítica, Barcelona 1990.
{10} N. Chomsky, La quinta libertad (la intervención de los Estados Unidos en América Central y la lucha por la paz), Crítica, Barcelona 1999. En inglés bajo el título Turning the tide, Sound End Press, Boston 1985. A mi juicio, este libro es esencial para estudiar la reciente Historia de Centroamérica de un modo no servil.
{11} James Petras, «El Che Guevara y los movimientos revolucionarios actuales», en Le Monde Diplomatique
{12} Martín Jelsma y Theo Roncken, coords., Democracias bajo el fuego, coedición de Transnational Institute, Eds. De Brecha y Acción Andina, Montevideo, Uruguay 1998.
{13} Cfr. el libro citado en nota 12.
{14} Se puede leer en la web de la revista La Insignia, en http://www.lainsignia.org/2002/agosto/soc_004.htm

Visión de los vencidos ( relaciones de los indígenas de la Conquista Española), visto desde el siglo XXI

La distorsión histórica de la Leyenda Negra contra España

Pedro Insua, profesor de filosofía , ha publicado el libro 1942. España contra sus fantasmas

http://www.cope.es/audios/tarde/pedro-insua-leyenda-negra-una-distorsion-que-produce-por-intereses-politicos-ideologicos-sobre-campo-historico_502831
orozcolaconquistaespanola-750x365

Crítica filosófica de la Liberación latinoamericana

Este libro ofrece un estudio crítico, desde coordenadas filosófico materialistas, de los movimientos conocidos como Teología ( y Filosofía) de la Liberación Latinoamericana y su impacto en las políticas vaticanas y estadounidenses.

Kolakowski ,filósofo polaco , variando posiciones…y la implantación política de la Filosofía ( y de la ideología )

Lucha de clases y dialéctica de Estados


El siguiente artículo sobre la obra filosófica del polaco Lsek Kolakowski nos parece de mucho interés por tratar de exponer la trayectoria del filósofo en el contexto de los años anteriores a la época nazi y rusa comunista en el ámbito tanto polaco como de Occidente, incluyendo su paso por la Universidad de California donde en ese tiempo Marcuse era un referente de los estudiantes desencantados con el sistema o el stablishment occidental yanki, lo que expone bastante bien a mi parecer, el articulista de The Nation, John Connelly. Otros temas interesantes de la exposición de Connelly nos remiten a la problemática del papel de la religión católica y la Idea de Dios en general , y la implantación política de esa cuestión angular, por utilizar un término que es planteado desde el Materialismo Filosófico. Ver el artículo de Gustavo Bueno en que se polemiza con el profesor Juan Bautista Fuentes Ortega respecto del asunto de las concepciones marxistas sobre la cuestión de la lucha de clases y el Estado… http://www.filosofia.org/rev/bas/bas23008.htm

FUENTE http://www.thenation.com/article/176016/jester-and-priest-leszek-kolakowski?page=full#axzz2eFQQCnKR

Jester and Priest: On Leszek Kolakowski

How the great Polish philosopher went from being an anticlerical scourge to an apostle of John Paul II.
John Connelly
September 3, 2013 | This article appeared in the September 23, 2013 edition of The Nation.

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Almost a quarter-century after the collapse of communism, and four years after his own death at the age of 81, the Polish philosopher Leszek Kolakowski remains a prisoner of the Cold War. He has been lionized in the West for Main Currents of Marxism, the indispensable three-volume history of Marxist ideas first published in Paris (in Polish) in 1976, and also for the essays he wrote a decade earlier that inspired advocates of “socialism with a human face.” Yet travel across the old Iron Curtain to Warsaw or Wroclaw, and one will encounter a different Kolakowski: not the Marxologist or dissident socialist, but the religious thinker and elusive cultural critic who found wisdom and solace in the works of Spinoza, Erasmus, the Dutch heretics and the Catholic skeptic Blaise Pascal. Highly esteemed in Polish Catholic circles, Kolakowski was a frequent guest of John Paul II’s at Castel Gandolfo, the papal summer residence. But even in Poland, opinion about this other Kolakowski is mixed. Marek Edelman, a leader of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto uprising, was among the mourners at his graveside in July 2009, and upon hearing the blessings being spoken as the casket was lowered into the pit, he whispered audibly, “Why are you making a Catholic out of him, that man was a decent atheist!”

Is God Happy?
Selected Essays.
By Leszek Kołakowski.
Translated by Agnieszka Kołakowska.
Buy this book

Kosciol w krainie wolnosci
O Janie Pawle II, Kosciele i chrzescijanstwie.
[The Church in the Land of Freedom: On John Paul II, the Church and Christianity]
By Leszek Kołakowski.
Znak. 123 pp. zł 29.90.

Czas ciekawy, czas niespokojny
[An Interesting Time, an Unsettled Time]
Leszek Kołakowski, in conversation with Zbigniew Mentzel.
2 vols. Znak. 474 pp. zł 74.
About the Author
John Connelly
John Connelly teaches history at the University of California, Berkeley. His most recent book is From Enemy to Brother…
Also by the Author
Letters

Swank Filer, where are you? (reprise); Poland in wartime; four-letter words.
Our Readers, John Connelly and Eric Alterman
The Noble and the Base: Poland and the Holocaust (Books & Arts, Racism and Discrimination, War and Peace, Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing, History)

Can the two central images of Poland during World War II—a country of heroes and a country of collaborators—ever be combined?
John Connelly

Was Kolakowski a socialist, a Catholic, an atheist or something else entirely? In the early 1950s, he was the communist state’s most prominent critic of Christianity; in 1956, along with most of Poland’s intellectual elite, he broke with Stalinism and began floating ideas for reform. By the 1970s, his certainty about God’s nonexistence had waned, and he took to calling himself an “inconsistent atheist.” Late in life, he playfully labeled himself a “conservative-liberal-socialist.” To the question of whether he believed in God, he answered that only God knew.

Yet Poles, whatever their politics and opinions about religion, do not want to disown Kolakowski. Looking past his complexities and caginess, they are proud of a countryman who was born in the humble provincial town of Radom in 1927 and became world famous. As a professor at Warsaw University for more than a decade and at Oxford for nearly four, Kolakowski garnered countless awards and honorary doctorates, but the near-universal esteem he enjoys in his homeland is perhaps his greatest laurel.

With Is God Happy?, Kolakowski’s daughter Agnieszka has collected (and partly translated) twenty-seven of her father’s essays that together span half a century. (Ten of them are appearing in English for the first time.) The book is a valuable introduction to Kolakowski’s extraordinary intellectual versatility: here are his reflections on the heritage of socialism, Erasmus, the “death of God,” relativism, the “future of truth” and much else. Still, Is God Happy? gives a partial view of the philosopher. Kolakowska has omitted from it the body of work that Kolakowski wrote before 1956, so this collection alone cannot help us answer an essential question: How did a communist devoted to demystifying religion in Poland become a vocal apostle of a reactionary Polish pope?

* * *

There was nothing mysterious about the young Kolakowski joining the Polish Communist Party in 1945. Many of the best and the brightest young Poles—the most idealistic and self-sacrificing—streamed into the party because it promised an end to years of impoverishment, exploitation, fascism and genocide. Yet many Poles knew that Stalin had betrayed them during the war. In 1940, the NKVD massacred some 15,000 Polish officers in the Katyn Forest, and in 1944 the Red Army stood by while the Nazis crushed the Warsaw uprising; Soviet forces then hunted down and arrested the Polish soldiers who had survived the onslaught. When pressed on such matters six decades later, Kolakowski claimed not to have known any victims of the Soviet secret police. The Russians he recalled meeting in 1945 were liberators.

Kolakowski’s upbringing left him sympathetic to Soviet messages of internationalism. His father was an educator, born in fin de siècle St. Petersburg, who had traveled in the marginal, leftist free-thinking circles of interwar Poland. A critic of Polish nationalism and intensely anticlerical, he refused to have his son baptized, effectively separating the boy from some 95 percent of ethnic Poles. When the family moved to Lódz in 1935, 8-year-old Leszek scandalized a teacher with the news that he belonged to no church. “Even the Jews have religion,” the teacher exclaimed, “yet this young philosopher claims he has no confession!”

In 1939, Polish children suddenly had very little in the way of education. The Nazis, intent on turning Poland into a nation of half-literates, prohibited school past grade six. Kolakowski escaped that fate by spending the early years of the occupation in the country house of distant relatives, a home well-stocked with books. He read “an immense amount,” including fiction and drama, but also texts on psychiatry, psychology, philosophy and political economy. Later, in Warsaw, his father secured for him access to a closed socialist lending library. The young autodidact pored over volumes on sociology and the religions of India, and learned ancient Greek through careful study of the New Testament. Aside from having time to read, Kolakowski was also relieved to have escaped a “standard Polish education,” with its rote learning and chauvinistic version of history. At war’s end, Kolakowski did what he could to bury the old regime and its philistine ways by joining the party; he also fell in with a radical youth group known as the Dzierzynskiites, named after the first head of the Soviet secret police.

During the war, communist partisans had rebuffed Kolakowski’s efforts to join their ranks, arguing that intellectuals must survive to help build socialism; in the immediate postwar period, the party did all it could to promote its young star, and he soon advanced to graduate work in Warsaw. His studies weren’t limited to books and lectures; they also involved class struggle. In March 1950, Kolakowski was chosen by his party cell to stand up in class and read a letter informing Warsaw’s eminent “bourgeois” philosopher, Wladyslaw Tatarkiewicz, that it condemned his toleration of statements “hostile to socialist Poland.” The cell denounced as ”reactionary” one of Tatarkiewicz’s students—Bronislaw Dembowski, later a bishop—and praised the principle of freedom of speech in communist Poland; without it, Dembowski would likely have landed in prison. That same year, perhaps in connection with this criticism, Tatarkiewicz was forced into retirement, his freedom of speech effectively curtailed.

Before assuming a professorship in 1955, Kolakowski worked as an instructor at the Institute of Social Sciences, an elite body of the Communist Party Central Committee dedicated to training politically correct scholars. Like much of Polish socialism, which grudgingly tolerated an independent peasantry, a strong Catholic Church and relatively open borders, the ISS defied Western stereotypes of a Sovietized country. Its students read the world press with few restrictions; they debated ideas openly and even argued with the director, a self-important Soviet-trained philosopher who imagined the ISS as a college on the British model, supporting intensive tutorials and serious research. The ISS was communist Poland’s intellectual forcing house, and in the post-Stalin era some of its graduates would become dissenting thinkers who clashed with the Communist regime.

It was at the ISS, with the blessings of the Central Committee, that Kolakowski deepened his knowledge of Christianity, studying and committing to memory long passages from the writings of Jerome, Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. The immediate fruits of his efforts were standard: he exposed the Catholic Church as a force backing regimes of economic and political exploitation, and described belief in God as consolation for supporting a system of repression. Christian thought, Kolakowski wrote, “objectively aided imperialism”; as for the Almighty, he was the “intellectually mediocre author of a supposed autobiography known as the Holy Bible.”

His students at Warsaw University recalled him sketching a more complex picture of Christian thought. In the classroom he was an ascetic Marxist, often dressing entirely in black; some students mistook him for a defrocked cleric, and genuine clerics envied him his knowledge of Latin and Greek. He lectured without notes, splicing differences of opinion among long-forgotten scholastics while effortlessly citing passages from Scripture and the writings of church fathers. When the borders to the West opened in 1955, Kolakowski traveled to Rome, seeking serious conversation with the French neo-Thomists Étienne Gilson and Jacques Maritain. At the same time, he mockingly lamented his insight into religious matters. “Faith is solely the work of God’s grace,” but Kolakowski had yet to “experience the beneficent powers of Jehovah in his own person.”

* * *

Not long after Stalin’s death in March 1953, Col. Józef Swiatlo, a top official in the Polish ministry charged with overseeing the party, defected to West Berlin under fear of arrest. The following year, Swiatlo dissected Stalinism in reports broadcast by Radio Free Europe. His account was encyclopedic, detailing the luxurious lifestyles of the working-class avant-garde; the corruption, pettiness and power of secret police agents, even over the party; the use of torture against political prisoners and the humiliation of top Polish leaders; and countless instances of direct Soviet meddling. The revelations transfixed Poles, especially those in the party, many of whom realized they had been serving a lie.

Kolakowski’s own awakening was gradual and started in 1950, during a three-month visit to Moscow with seven other Polish Marxist scholars. The group hoped to tap wisdom at its spring by attending the special lectures of prominent Soviet social scientists and philosophers. The visitors’ immediate impression was shock. Decades later, Kolakowski recalled that the Soviets were an “assemblage of ignoramuses. They knew no foreign languages, nothing about so-called bourgeois philosophy, nothing about philosophy at all except what they read in Lenin and Stalin and sometimes Marx but more often Engels. Even though we were not specially schooled, their ignorance was stunning.” One “ignoramus” attempted to lecture on some “bourgeois philosopher named Grusel.” (He meant Husserl.) Perhaps the collapse of the Soviet bloc can be dated to these awkward encounters. How was it that not just critical thought, but thought itself, had shriveled at the heart of the new order? As word about the lectures got round, Muscovites visiting Warsaw with ex cathedra pronouncements about philosophy were received politely but taken seriously by no one.

After Nikita Khrushchev’s 1956 speech to the Twentieth Party Congress about Stalin’s crimes, including the purges of the late 1930s, Kolakowski wrote a stream of bitterly critical essays that captured the growing outrage in Polish society over Soviet communism. Several essays were so indignant that censors banned them from the press, but Poles ended up reading them in samizdat. One of them, “The Death of Gods,” appears for the first time in English in Agnieszka Kolakowska’s translation, and in it Kolakowski announced a key discovery: state socialism called itself scientific but in reality was based on myth. Yet unlike other young communists standing in the shadow of the gods that failed, Kolakowski did not blame the older generation for this feat of mystification. He and his friends had “deliberately blinded” themselves to reality. Lack of courage was no excuse, nor was deception: “we are responsible for everything we do,” he insisted—an extraordinary statement from someone who had been taught to delegate responsibility to the party.

A mystery lies at the heart of the essay. Kolakowski argued that instead of eradicating inequality, state socialism had created new social classes and its own forms of privilege, as well as a system of central planning far more debilitating for social initiatives than any bourgeois democracy, and new forms of the religious mystification of social relations. Yet he also explained that the knowledge of socialism’s gross imperfections had not broken his generation’s faith in Soviet communism, even though he described those flaws more extensively than Khrushchev, who blamed Stalin alone for the perversions of communist doctrine during his rule, thereby absolving anyone else of responsibility for the crimes of Stalinism. What, then, had caused Kolakowski’s crisis of faith if not the knowledge of those deformations?

The deeper problem—and for anyone trying to make sense of Kolakowski’s life, the deeper explanation—was that faith was never supposed to have been an issue. In the early 1950s, Kolakowski must have felt supreme confidence assailing the fanciful world of religion from the bedrock of science. Yet in 1956, whether out of moral duty or intellectual honesty, he admitted that scientific socialism was another kind of faith; even worse, the hypocrisy of myth masquerading as science had made the distortions of Stalinism inevitable. The idea that nationalization of the means of production would “automatically eradicate all social inequalities” could not be grounded in reason, and required instead a dictatorship of those in command, operating through a system of illusions, coercion and lies.

What would proper socialism look like? Kolakowski could not say. “The Death of Gods” offers three sentences of prognosis—and they are vague, stating that the political work of resuscitating a workers’ movement must begin anew, and that Poles needed to “analyse contemporary society” in order to “create a new revolutionary humanism.” There are no appeals to Marx. In those heady days, Kolakowski also wrote a shorter piece entitled “What Is Socialism?”, which, like Luther, he posted publicly (at Warsaw University) and which, like Pope Pius IX, he structured as a syllabus of errors. But whereas Pius IX, in 1864, had listed eighty ways of being un-Catholic, Kolakowski enumerated eighty-one ways of being unsocialist, such as creating a society that is “very sad,” or a “state where slave labor exists,” or a “state that thinks it has always been right.” As to the question of what socialism is, he offered an answer of five words: “just a really wonderful thing.”

* * *

For Poles, October 1956 seemed a wonderful time. The Soviet Union permitted the party leadership to elect the “national communist” Wladyslaw Gomulka, who had raised hackles in 1948 for resisting Stalin’s notion that Poland should become a miniature Soviet Union. (He was arrested in 1951 by Józef Swiatlo.) Poland could now go its own way. The energies Kolakowski had devoted to demolishing Christianity he now dedicated to dismantling state socialism. They turned out to be similar tasks. Marxism, he wrote, like all modern philosophy, returned to questions originally theological, such as eschatology, the belief that all contradictions approach a final resolution, and theodicy, whether an individual’s suffering is vindicated by a universal and benign historical rationality. Like the medieval church, Marxism produced priests, or defenders of the catechism, and jesters, who “expose as doubtful what seems most unshakable.” Kolakowski reckoned himself among the latter, a skeptic “vigilant against any absolute” who valued inconsistency because it was less dangerous than certainty. His hero was Erasmus, a Catholic who often sided with Luther and whose cause was tolerance, which, as Kolakowski later wrote, was the one value not susceptible to ideological deformation.

Kolakowski discovered Erasmus through research he was doing at the time on the early Dutch mystic heretics, who stood apart from the Catholic and Protestant churches, affirming a religion of grace against the religion of law. They were ostracized for rejecting all hierarchy, dogma, formulaic creeds and religious rituals. Kolakowski began to wonder if those who really experienced God even needed a church. Inspired by the Romanian philosopher Mircea Eliade, Kolakowski came to understand mysticism as the truest form of faith, “religiosity in relatively pure form.” Later he wrote that experiences of “mystical union” with God were the “core of religious life.” Though impossible to convey fully to others, this sensation was “decisive in keeping mankind’s religious legacy alive.”

In “Jesus Christ, Prophet and Reformer,”a lecture given in Warsaw in 1965, Kolakowski argued that the religious legacy remained crucial for the “European tradition as a whole.” To recover it, he reread the Gospels shorn of all doctrine and commentary, which, he claimed, revealed what can be known about Christ’s message “for sure.” But he also cautioned his audience that because the revolutionary roots of Christianity were buried so deep in Europe’s various cultures, the Gospel messages could often seem banal. For example, Kolakowski argued, when we reject violence in human relations, or live not merely by bread, or recognize that love has a higher value than law, we are living according to the ideas of Jesus of Nazareth, whether we know it or not. If we take for granted that some values “are not reducible to physical needs and material satisfaction,” it was “thanks to him that it has become so.”

Kolakowski the freethinker was not simply reiterating the words of Christ. He had embraced a Christian teaching that was not necessarily woven into European culture: that humans were wretched creatures, inescapably touched by sinfulness and in need of redemption. Just ten years earlier, he had ridiculed this idea. He was deserting the Marxist (and humanist) faith in the ability of humans to improve themselves and their lot in life.

Kolakowski began his critique of Marxism by unmasking its hidden mythology. But in his writings on religion, rather than rejecting myth in favor of reason, he grew to appreciate its powers for ordering human relations. The price of his newfound appreciation of myth was his earlier allegiance to socialism. When was Kolakowski no longer a Marxist? (As far as I can tell, he wrote his last piece from within the Marxist tradition in 1962.)

In January 1989, the journalist Zbigniew Mentzel wanted to ask Kolakowski this question and many others, but the philosopher refused, saying he was “afraid” to address them. Eighteen years later he relented, and the two sat down for hours of open-ended conversation, on the condition that Mentzel would not ask about “who slept with whom.” More than sixty years after the fact, 1956 was still the decisive threshold for Kolakowski. He recalled visiting Budapest that fall and being disappointed that the philosopher Georg Lukács still “believed” in the possibility of “building true socialism.” Kolakowski and his friends supposedly understood that communist ideology was a “road to nowhere.” Yet they chose not to leave the party because it provided the only arena for legal political activity.

In October 1966, students at Warsaw University, including a future dissident named Adam Michnik, invited Kolakowski to give a speech commemorating the tenth anniversary of the Polish revolution against Stalinism. The philosopher told his “comrades” there was nothing to celebrate. Rather than lead Poland down a new path, Gomulka had stranded the country in a political landscape barren of hope and freedom. In retribution, the party struck Kolakowski from its rolls. Polish writers launched a campaign to have him reinstated—he also appealed the decision—but the expulsion was upheld on review. (Two years later, Kolakowski’s name would be added to Poland’s index of forbidden writers.) His friends staged a “Ball of the Hanged” in his honor: guests deposited their party cards at the door, and Kolakowski took their fingerprints. That same year, the philosopher offered a toast at an eightieth-birthday party for Professor Tatarkiewicz, and he also sought out Bronislaw Dembowski, apologizing for having read that “terrible letter” in 1950. Dembowski understood the act to be one of expiation.

By the late 1960s, the heretic had become a cult figure lecturing to packed rooms. The draw was his gift for quickly encapsulating a writer’s signature insight, but also the opportunity to be—and be seen—in the presence of the “guru” known to young dissidents as “King Leszek I.” He was ousted from his position at Warsaw University in 1968 for defending students in a campaign launched by the party against intellectuals and “Zionists.” With the political climate becoming treacherous, Kolakowski, along with the cream of the critical intelligentsia and most remaining Polish Jews, sought refuge and employment outside Poland. He landed at McGill University in Montreal before moving on to the University of California, Berkeley.

* * *

When Kolakowski turned up in North America, his essays from the late 1950s were appearing for the first time in English, French and German translations, leaving Westerners to conclude that he was a Marxist revisionist. Yet his revisionism had since been eclipsed by skepticism, and his tenuous connection to Marxism was about to snap. His sojourn in Berkeley, where he taught as a visiting professor from 1969 to ‘70, was especially traumatic, and his contempt for campus radicals was as fierce as Governor Ronald Reagan’s. Kolakowski told Mentzel that all the people he met considered themselves Marxists, although their knowledge of Marx was often scant. Students fancied themselves the most oppressed class on earth and sought liberation “from everything.” They told him there wasn’t “the least difference between the conditions of life in a Californian university town and one of Hitler’s or Stalin’s concentration camps.” Their ideology was a self-serving “conglomerate of incoherent slogans.” Berkeley in 1970 was more debased than Moscow in 1950: never before had Kolakowski waded into such an intellectual swamp. Aggression was the only product of the revolution in Berkeley, he concluded, and he thought it apt that Herbert Marcuse, with his idea of “repressive tolerance,” was the students’ spokesman. In Main Currents of Marxism, Kolakowski would denounce Marcuse for propagating a “totalitarian utopia.”

Still, the break was not complete. In the fall of 1970, Kolakowski took refuge from the revolution at All Souls College at Oxford, where he was a research professor, with no requirement to teach students (though he did hold graduate seminars). Two years later he was a socialist no longer, partly because he realized that in the West he lacked genuine equals. Western Marxists knew little and cared less about the East and “really existing socialism.” The British communist and historian E.P. Thompson asked Kolakowski to clarify his stance. In an “Open Letter” published in the Socialist Register in 1973, Thompson asked if the much-esteemed Polish comrade was still engaged in the struggle to transcend capitalism, so that humans could emerge from the kingdom of need into a kingdom of freedom, where “social consciousness might begin to determine social being?”

The answer was no. Kolakowski saw in Thompson an egregious case of Western blindness. As he explained in “My Correct Views on Everything,” for the likes of Thompson the Soviet system was tolerable as long as it did not kill its own leaders. ”I simply refuse to join people whose hearts are bleeding to death when they hear about any big or minor (and rightly condemnable) injustice in the US,” he wrote, “and suddenly become wise historiosophists or cool rationalists when told about worse horrors of the new alternative society.” Though he had abandoned the party a decade before Kolakowski, Thompson was withholding judgment on the Soviet Union, explaining how, “to a historian, fifty years is too short a time in which to judge a new social system.” Indeed, he maintained, there were times when “communism has shown a most human face, between 1917 and the early 1920s, and again from the battle of Stalingrad to 1946.”

Kolakowski wondered what Thompson could have possibly meant. Was it “human” to attempt to “rule the entire economy by police and army, resulting in mass hunger with uncountable victims, in several hundred peasants’ revolts, all drowned in blood?” What did Thompson make of “the armed invasion of seven non-Russian countries which had formed their independent governments, some socialist, some not”? Socialism, Kolakowski explained, not only reproduced the problems of the capitalist system, such as “exploitation, imperialism, pollution, misery, economic waste, national hatred and national oppression,” but added “a series of disasters of its own: inefficiency, lack of economic incentives and, above all, the unrestricted role of the omnipotent bureaucracy, a concentration of power never known before in human history.”

Kolakowski recalled for Thompson an encounter of his with a Latin American revolutionary who complained about torture in Brazil. Kolakowski asked what was wrong with torture. “What do you mean? Do you suggest it is all right?” responded the revolutionary. No, said Kolakowski, he simply wanted an admission that torture—including its use in Cuba—was a “morally inadmissible monstrosity.” Cuba was different, replied the revolutionary: it was a “small country under the constant threat of American imperialists. They have to use all means of self-defence, however regrettable.” Such conversations repelled both sides. Kolakowski had come to understand that, far from being sought out by their Western counterparts for their direct knowledge of communism, East European émigrés in London or New York were regarded as provincials, “narrow empiricists and egoists [who] extrapolate a poor few decades of their petty personal experience (logically inadmissible as you rightly notice) and find in it pretexts to cast doubt on the radiant socialist future.” For Kolakowski, an insurmountable moral gulf separated the two camps.

* * *

Now calling his positions conservative, Kolakowski forged a new social critique in a lecture in Geneva called “The Revenge of the Sacred in Secular Culture” (it is not included in Is God Happy?). What he abhorred about secularism was not so much its negation as its universalization of the sacred, a development that affected even the church. Liberal Catholics blessed all forms of worldly life, creating a mode of Christian belief lacking a concept of evil—that is, the understanding that evil is not the absence or subversion of virtue but an irredeemable fact—and leaving the church no reason or means to stand against the secular. The dissolution of the sacred from within and without had observable effects on the culture as a whole, contributing to a growing amorphousness and laxity in making distinctions. This was dangerous, Kolakowski argued, because the sacred gave to social structure its “forms and systems of divisions,” whether between death and life, man and woman, work and art, youth and age. He advocated no mythology in particular, and would admit only that a tension between development and structure was inherent in all human societies. Yet it was clear that certain developments troubled him deeply, and if the liberation movements unleashed in the 1960s continued, he feared the outcome would be “mass suicide.”

Kolakowski was equally apprehensive about the opening to the world that the church had inaugurated at the Second Vatican Council in 1962 to ‘65. In his Geneva lecture, he maintained that John XXIII’s agenda of aggiornamento, bringing “the church up to date,” was a contradiction in terms, combining “two ideas that are not only different, but, in some interpretations, mutually contradictory…. One [side] says that the Church must embrace as its own the cause of the poor and oppressed; the other implies that the church may not oppose the dominant forms of culture…and be on the side of the strong and the victorious.” But Kolakowski gets the options facing the church during the aggiornamento exactly wrong: the conservative bishops from Southern Europe and parts of South America opposed a church active in the world; they supported the governing order and had little concern for the oppressed. “Progressive” bishops from North America and Northern Europe stood with the poor. Kolakowski conflated his emerging Polish anti-left perspective with the position of the universal church.

Kolakowski had moved in the opposite direction from being the anticlerical scourge of Polish culture in the early 1950s. Now he supplied Catholics with arguments against urgent challenges to faith, such as why an all-loving God permits suffering and evil. “People ask: where was God in Auschwitz?” he wrote in “Anxiety About God in an Ostensibly Godless Age,” from 1981.

Why did He do nothing? But this is the wrong question. Leaving aside the fact people have done monstrous things to one another down the centuries, that genocide, bloodbaths and torture have always occurred, and that evil—the evil in us—has never ceased its work, putting the question this way smuggles in an idea of God as a being whose duty it is to protect the human race, through miracles, from the evil it does and to ensure its happiness despite its self-inflicted wounds. But this God—a God who functions as a magical power in the service of our immediate needs—was never the God of the Christian faith, nor of any other great faith, despite His frequent appearances in folk religion.

By now, Kolakowski’s intellectual sympathies for atheism were irrelevant. He acknowledged that “God can of course be rejected as morally dangerous, denied as unacceptable to reason, cursed as the enemy of humanity,” yet he countered that without the Absolute, there was no basis for morality and law. Human reason is finite and can provide no path to such principles. He called in an unlikely witness for his bitter theism: “If we reject the principle that the end justifies the means, we can only appeal to higher, politically irrelevant moral criteria; and this, [Leon] Trotsky says, amounts to believing in God.”

Such thinking appealed to leading church authorities in Poland. Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, the primate of Poland, cited Kolakowski’s long essay from 1965 about the teaching of Jesus considered from a secular point of view, and Krakow’s Archbishop Karol Wojtyla included it among the readings assigned in a spiritual retreat that he organized for Pope Paul VI. Wojtyla became Pope John Paul II on October 16, 1978, and from that day until his own death, Kolakowski—the erstwhile critic of authoritarianism—was one of the papacy’s most stalwart defenders. The Holy Ghost was somehow active during the conclave that elected Wojtyla, Kolakowski later told Zbigniew Mentzel. The German cardinals had proposed Wyszynski, “but he refused, saying he did not know enough about international affairs, and suggested Wojtyla…. This was an extraordinary event, that shook up the entire Church. Wojtyla turned out to be an excellent pope. For a quarter century! A quarter century!”

* * *

John Paul II was charismatic, if not messianic, in his very personal approach to promoting spirituality, more so than any Catholic leader in memory. He seemed to enjoy a “mystical union” with God in the terms Kolakowski celebrated as foundational in his studies of mythology. Even atheists who heard him praying said he seemed to be talking to God. In trips that crisscrossed the globe, the Polish pope took messages of courage and faith to millions, especially his fellow Poles. Without his 1979 pilgrimage to his homeland, the trade union Solidarity would not have emerged the following summer, and without Solidarity, it’s hard to imagine the sequence of events leading to the fall of the Berlin Wall nine years later.

Yet John Paul II’s “management” style was authoritarian. The Second Vatican Council had enshrined a stronger role for the laity—the “people of God”—as well as “collegiality” for bishops, but ideas from below never rose to John Paul II. For twenty-five years, he used his powers of appointment to pack the ranks of the episcopate with men who never wavered in supporting his own positions on controversial issues like birth control (sinful), celibacy in the clergy (essential) and ordaining women (impossible). His “reconsolidation” of authority also had the effect of placing child abusers and their protectors beyond scrutiny. The religious orders he disciplined were ones that harbored dissent: particularly painful was his imposing an interim head of the Jesuit order in 1981, in defiance of its constitution. Sniffing Marxism, he silenced the advocates of liberation theology in Latin America. Advocates of social justice found themselves, in John Allen’s words, consumed by “self-censorship in order to ward off a new round of scrutiny.” In 1995, the pope even prohibited the clergy from speaking about the theological possibility of women’s priesthood. This was fatuous because, as theologians have argued, the question of female clergy is a matter not of Catholic theology but of church tradition.

Kolakowski the faithful Marxist would have found much to satirize in John Paul II’s repressive intolerance, but instead the reluctant fundamentalist mocked the pope’s Western critics, claiming they would never be satisfied until the pope said “there is no God, there is no salvation, abortion is fine, as is homosexual marriage, and the Church is a leftwing political party.” Readers of Polish can take the full measure of Kolakowski’s thoughts on Catholicism in Kosciol w krainie wolnosci (The Church in the Land of Freedom), a thin hardcover adorned in papal white; some may hear in his conservative defense of a reactionary posture strong echoes of the “good advice” offered by Western leftists to those trapped behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War. Like Kolakowski the non-Catholic, such outsiders did not have to endure the regimes they extolled. Did Kolakowski ever have to explain to young girls why the church condemned them to second-class status for life? Or comfort divorced people denied the sacraments? Or explain to people in AIDS-ravaged Africa why the use of condoms is immoral?

As a scholar, Kolakowski overreached in his writings about the contemporary church. His defense of the pope’s moral intransigence was as theologically threadbare as it was heartless. He justified the ban on women priests by saying that to lift it would mean departing from “the injunction by St. Paul [in 1 Corinthians]: let the women be silent in church.” Yet leading theologians agree that these words are not Paul’s, but were inserted by a later author, perhaps a transcriber. They directly contradict Paul’s words earlier in this letter, according to which women should publicly pray and prophesy. Paul believed in the equality of men and women, and in a striking departure from the practices of his day, insisted that women be admitted to worship and not be segregated from men. As Garry Wills writes, Paul “gives every kind of honor to women he works with—as emissaries, as prophets, as attendants (diakonoi).” Even scholars who do believe the words of the injunction are Paul’s say that they apply to the situation in Corinth, and were not meant to be a general rule for the church.

Kolakowski’s defense of the church’s prohibition on birth control is no less obtuse. He writes that “one may not define the meanings of sexuality purely in terms of pleasure.” But critics in the church do not claim sex involves only pleasure; and even the Vatican (after Vatican II) has not said that sex should serve procreation alone. Rather, for the church, human sexuality has the dual purpose of expressing love between partners in marriage and fostering procreation. Theologians differ on whether every single act must be open to procreation; the overwhelming majority say it does not.

* * *

John Paul II, without whom the Cold War would not have ended, led a cold war against modernity into the heart of the church, reviving reactionary currents and leaving Catholics so deeply divided that, just as they did before 1989, Poles still conjure “the West” as a different political and cultural world. In his critical Marxist phase, Kolakowski might have noticed the parallels between the Polish pope’s Vatican and the Polish communist bureaucracy. But in the calm of All Souls, Kolakowski managed to overlook the malaise gripping Catholics across Europe, the intensity of which can be traced to John Paul II and his stubborn disregard of critical voices.

For all his youthful anticlericalism and criticism of Polish chauvinism, it seems that Kolakowski could never escape the gravitational hold of traditional Polish culture. When John Paul II visited Poland, his appearances could have been mistaken for a stadium show of the Second Coming: the charismatic man in white, adored by millions, some screaming in ecstasy, on a stage with dozens of flags, Polish and papal, with his homeland blanketed by posters, books, videos, shrines and altar decorations. Not surprisingly, criticism of this “son of the Polish nation” is socially unacceptable, and iconoclasts are quickly ostracized. Before a late papal visit, the Jesuit Stanislaw Obirek made the obvious point that the pope had become a “golden calf.” For this, he was silenced by his order and later denied all contact with students. (He is now a lay scholar.) Other critics eke out an existence on the tiny anticlerical margins that call themselves—as Kolakowski’s father once did—freethinking. Even Poland’s leading secular newspaper, Gazeta Wyborcza, edited by Poland’s leading secular intellectual, Adam Michnik, features a website devoted to the Polish pope, including the latest news on his canonization and updates on the arrival of various papal relics, such as a vial of John Paul II’s blood recently secured by a church in Krakow. News of the vial was met with a gale of sarcasm. One disaffected reader, noting that Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz had ordered placing the relics of St. Stanislaw on a church tower to stanch the floods threatening Krakow, recommended lending the Polish pope’s relics to Australia to prevent flooding there.

Yet there was more to Kolakowski’s unordained priesthood than defending a deified countryman from liberal critics. If his words resonate differently in East and West, they also differ according to whether or not one adheres to the strictures of religious belief. Kolakowski strove to impress upon readers the desperation of existence without God, yet instead of praising the believer, he ridiculed the skeptic: as Michnik has noted, Poles may not fault their clergy, but they can fault God.

In a remarkable essay written toward the end of his life, Kolakowski wondered whether God could be happy. Because humans can experience the sacred and the profane, he dared to judge God in human terms. To be human is to participate in the pain and joy of others, to “feel compassion.” Only those ignorant of suffering, such as small children with “no experience of great pain or death among those close to them,” can therefore know true happiness, if only for a time. The same must apply to God: “If He is not indifferent, but subject to emotion like us, He must live in a constant state of sorrow when He witnesses human suffering.” Jesus Christ—for Christians, the son of God—“was not happy in any recognizable sense. He was embodied and suffered pain, he shared the suffering of his fellow men, and he died on the cross.”

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The religious may accuse Kolakowski of impiety, of presuming to know the designs of God, but the issue is more complicated. For decades, Kolakowski had been writing that all human lives end in failure or tragedy. When he looked to the Poles of his generation, he saw many with gifts like his own whose lives had been cut short. The cream of the Polish intelligentsia died in Warsaw in 1943 and ‘44, and if Kolakowski had been spared this fate, it was due to the good advice of communist partisans. One always enjoys fortune (szczescie) adumbrated by others’ misfortune (nieszczescie). To the extent that we are fully human, our sense of fortune is always partial, compromised, unsatisfying—everything true happiness, however fleeting, is not supposed to be. Thus he wonders: If God is at all like us (we are created in His image), can He be happy? Kolakowski’s answer, again perhaps impiously, is yes—but only if the universe is one in which everybody is saved, and hell and purgatory do not exist, and there is bliss for all. We can imagine such a situation, but “it has never been seen. It has never been seen.”

Such bleak theism is hardly the opiate that Kolakowski once equated with religion. But the idea of a world abandoned by God, one where History is simply “history,” a series of accidents whose meaning cannot be ascertained, was even more unsettling than a meager faith to Kolakowski, who once helped to build utopia, and witnessed genocide and totalitarianism firsthand. We have put the “cosy world of Enlightenment atheism” far behind us, he writes, and have seen modern thinkers and politicians who acted as “unconstrained legislators on questions of good and evil” transform the world into a “place of endless anxiety and suffering.” For Kolakowski, the failures of the dictatorship of idealism he once served proved that no political or intellectual system could explain or soften the bitter complexity and contradictions of human experience. In such a world, the problems of the modern papacy faded into insignificance for the old jester, and the church remained above all a bulwark against nihilistic viciousness. And yet we remain haunted by ultimate questions, Kolakowski insists, “intensely aware of God’s absence.” The “Absolute can never be forgotten,” for God is “present even in our rejection of Him.” If anything is certain about Kolakowski, it is that the life he devoted to critically examining elementary truths turned his thought into just the sort of unnerving intellectual paradox that he could accept on faith, but never bring himself to explain.
John Connelly
September 3, 2013 | This article appeared in the September 23, 2013 edition of The Nation.

segundo video clase de Carlos Fazio sobre religiosidad y laicismo en América Latina

http://livestre.am/17E9b