MAN AS THE WOLF TO MAN
By Manuel E. Yepe
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Some time ago I found on the Internet a comment entitled “El closet más profundo [The Deepest Closet]”, which had been published by El Nuevo Herald, a Miami newspaper that usually represents the views of extreme right-wing Hispanic groups –especially of Cuban origin– which reside in that US city. The comment deals with “bourgeois-phobia, a disease that has spread all over our region,” the newspaper said.
The author remarked –as if surprised– how difficult it used to be to “come out of the closet”, that is, to publicly declare oneself gay or lesbian, to lead an open homosexual life and to live with the negative social effects that this still entails in the midst of homophobic cultures like the ones in Latin America. Currently, the article said, there are thousands of people who daily proclaim their sexual orientation without any shame.
However –continues the article– in Latin America there is “an even deeper closet… worse than being gay is to be bourgeois … The shame of being described as bourgeois is becoming even more widespread in the continent.”
The article regrets that today, “for a Latin American it is easier to confess that he dreams of a neighbor of his own sex than to have a business of his own.”
It admits that there is a long bourgeois-phobic tradition, i.e., rejection of capitalism and the bourgeoisie. “The poor envy the bourgeoisie rising from poverty and improving their status. The riches of the bourgeoisie seem to be work magic and perhaps that is why it is easy to accuse it of becoming rich without working, that is, by stealing from others.”
The commentary called upon Latin American bourgeoisie to publicly show their bourgeois pride and fight against bourgeois-phobia, but acknowledged that “it will be difficult to come out of so deep a closet …”
One might suppose that after so many years of subjugation to the pervasive influence of the ideology of consumerism disseminated through the media, culture, education, entertainment and recreation controlled by the big corporations, the Latin American peoples would have developed behavior patterns that eulogize the bourgeois way life and not the opposite.
Interestingly, it is very revealing that the article recognizes that a continent subjected for so long to the propaganda on the benefits of the “American way-of-life” and the neoliberal globalization, the peoples reject the patterns that have been imposed on them.
In defense of the capitalist order of society, the El Nuevo Herald commentary argued that what causes envy about the bourgeoisie is its great “upward social mobility”, something that no other systems have.
It should be noted that the “social mobility” of the bourgeoisie that the article identifies as the main virtue of that social class is perhaps the most compelling reason for its popular rejection.
The great social mobility of capitalism is the result of the fierce competition it promotes between individuals, turning men into wolves toward other men, in pursuit of a promotion that will inevitably be followed by another movement, but downward, within the whole of the bourgeoisie.
In the race for success that capitalism stimulates for every new bourgeois who joins its ranks –or moves upward in its ladder of values– there are many who are swept aside to the edge of the road. That race in which “anything goes” never ceases; and often the most unscrupulous are the ones who have the best chances for success.
The peoples come to feel overburdened by the competitiveness in which they are forced to live under capitalism.
In those Latin American countries where the phenomenon of capitalist social mobility has become a factor in the widening of the
wealth-poverty gap and the worsening of social injustice, many methods directly related to competition have contributed to the rise of vices like embezzlement, corruption and other forms of dishonesty.
Upward social mobility can and should be a goal of all society, one which is attainable through cooperation, solidarity and the common struggle for a better and fairer world.
The bourgeois order has amply demonstrated that its model is not compatible with humankind’s need to advance towards a fairer, less cruel and more humane world. Its lifecycle has expired and it needs to be replaced, but this should not lead to the hasty conclusion that the mercantile model has no space in the sub-continent or in the rest of theworld.
The bourgeoisie –especially the petty and mid-sized– will surely survive a long an inevitable process of economic and social change that will show diverse characteristics in different countries and regions.
1st November, 2015