The coivara of large-scale capital

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By RONALD ROCHA*

Burning and deforestation are revealed to be reactionary works by the government and capital

Besieged by widespread, multilateral, harsh and persistent criticism – internal and abroad – about deforestation and the fires that occurred in the national territory, concentrated in the Amazon forest covers, in the Mato Grosso savannahs and in the Pantanal biome, Bolsonaro migrated without a threshing floor or on the brink of to each other arguments. He launched braggarts at random, in which the villains also changed according to the circumstances and the very conveniences of the occasion, including in relation to the faces of the audience. Persisting in his ultra-rightist goals – which, by the way, are immovable – he keeps groping his way through each and every one of the justification paths that appear to him to be promising. In fact, he tries out the odd tests of “gluing together” unbelievable versions, pragmatically waiting for some political success to elude his unconfessable responsibility.

Often, he professes pure and simple denialism, consistent with his irrationalist worldview, his disdain for scientific knowledge and his estrangement from objectivity. Anyone interested in political crumbling - disorganized, fragmented, centrifugal, forgetful speeches and alien to everyday realities or activities -, just remember his statements on 11/8/2020, when he participated in the II Presidential Summit in the Leticia Pact for the Amazon, which they speak for themselves. Through a videoconference, he had the courage to say: “there is no fire, not even a quarter of a hectare deforested” – just for the record, he refers to an area corresponding to two futsal fields. As if that were not enough, he concluded without even blushing: “this story that the Amazon burns in fire is a lie”.

In other passages of the pronouncement, paradoxically, he lowered the ball that he had kicked into the air: he tried to minimize the facts and pretend to be receptive to the appeals of a portion of the capitalized latifundium and its worldwide customers. In the same speech to representatives of Amazonian countries, he acknowledged, blatantly denying himself, the devastation, but defended – based on partial data from the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe), which had publicly attacked last year for disclosing information considered uncomfortable – the implausible balance of its reduction. In another sentence, he again lowered his tone and voice, perhaps rendering accounts to nearby sectors – interlocutors in political society and civil society – who expressed discontent: “Our commitment is great, it is enormous in combating fire outbreaks and deforestation .”

On one occasion he fell into the most base climatic determinism, clinging to the observation that south of the equatorial line, where the country is almost entirely located, the driest season runs from July to September, extending at most until October. On 23/8/2020, speaking on the radio-television chain, the proto-fascist leader read his geographic “colas”: “We are in a traditionally hot, dry season with strong winds, in which, unfortunately, fires occur every year in the Amazon region. . In the rainiest years, the fires are less intense. In warmer years, like this (sic.) 2019, they occur more frequently.” Obviously, semi-natural combustion – since the human being interferes with physical and chemical objectivity, transforming it with strong or weak density – also occurs, but secondarily, as an accessory determination.

demons and traps

Attacks on enemies and piranha bulls, tangible or fictitious, could not be missing, multiplying fake news for political purposes. About the preservationists, he preferred to conspire: “So, there may be, yes, there may be, I'm not saying, criminal action by these 'ongueiros' to draw attention against me, against the Government of Brazil.” (23/8/2020) Regarding external judgments, he tried to take hold of national anxieties: “We know how much we are unfairly criticized by many countries in the world. […] This region is very rich […]. After all, Brazil is a powerhouse in agribusiness.” (11/8/2020) About the local people, he posed with gentle authority: “the caboclo and the Indian burn their swiddens in search of their survival in areas already deforested”. (22/9/2020)

Judging by the most recent achievements, the "mangy dogs" that pontificate in Bolsonarian demonology would be to blame for inventing or provoking, in August alone, 29.308 fires illegal in vegetation. The amount represents the highest number in the last decade, mainly clusters in Pará and Amazonas, with 48% only in areas related to the BR-163 Highway. Every day, almost 200 outbreaks occurred in the northern region and XNUMX in the Pantanal. Such figures, indeed cyclopean, unmistakably show how absurd it is to point the finger at others, like a miscreant who, caught in the act, tries to quibble when questioned about the crime. As every lie that intends to go beyond naive everyday slips needs to recover at least a trace of reality to have any credibility, it is urgent to decode the presidential revolving machine gun.

The captain of militias – this is not about those legal troops existing “in the time of the king” or the nine hundred cariocas, in which by the “major’s kindness” the “Sergeant” whose “Memoirs” Manoel Antônio de Almeida placed in the title of his ironic novel, but of these criminal formations of today – tries to justify his policies in the following facts. First, the presence of NGOs that promote a kind of conservative environmentalism and conceive the original populations as autonomous nations and mere particularist identities, outsiders in relation to the national-popular whole. Then, the imperialist interests in the vastness of the Amazon, in defiance of Brazil's sovereign right to the country's territory; Finally, the millennial koybara tupi-guarani, which still persists in indigenous, riverside, quilombola and caiçara populations.

It intends, therefore, by offering poison pills wrapped in thin films of carefully selected reality, to kill several rabbits with just one shot of bodoque. It involves simultaneously carrying out three diversionary maneuvers. Bluff about own responsibility for widespread and indefensible destruction. Blaming the subjects and targets of segments and institutions concerned with protective policies and practices. Trying to put all kinds of opponents in the pool of joining the Lucifers to maintain the oppositional posture or, on the contrary, rejecting them and cooling down the fight against incendiary rage. Embarking on provocation would mean falling into the trapdoor and giving in to deceit. Conversely, deciphering undermines the primary and clumsy artifice, based on the falsification of a totality by highlighting a minuscule particle of objectivity.

Posture in complex contradictions

The social pioneers argue the naturalistic biophilism, which removes from the ecosystemic problem the primacy of the social being – the gesellschaftlichen Seins of Marx –-, even when it translates into national question and class struggles, into universal-concrete humanity. Especially, they disapprove of such a conception of the world when promoted, financed and propagated by monopoly-financial groups and their associated or subordinate institutions. They also reject, with deserved emphasis, the greed or interventions of great powers over Brazilian resources and internal affairs, in the form of governmental submission to Trumpist geopolitics, as is the case now, or political-economic sanctions, as verbalized by Biden. Finally, they refuse any kind of burning without permission – illegal, by the way –, even when carried out by those “from below”.

Such guidelines, not even remotely or for a few seconds, can lead to confusion in the fight against the policies of the Planalto and its acolytes, who promote or celebrate the bonfire, as well as seek to shuffle the deceit and investigations. A passage in the September speech, during the formal opening prayer at the 75th UN General Assembly, deserves special mention, in which the current president cleverly sought to exploit the “contradictions within the people” – to recall a well-known expression by Mao Tsetung, used 27/2/1957 at the State Conference. By adopting a certain understanding pose, like that of a loving father who reproaches his son and reveals his inherent immaturity act to justify it to the point of full support, he corresponded to the expectation of the Phalangist horde, which in social networks celebrated and multiplied the interpretations of the posts palatial.

The phrase referring to the devastation “in the eastern surroundings of the forest” was intended, in a very well thought-out case, to blame the poor sectors of the rural area, represented by the “caboclo” and the “indian”, as Guedes had already done when he declared that “ the worst enemy of the environment is poverty” (21/1/2010). It is known that peasants often use controlled combustion to promote rotational planting and supply the land with ashes rich in micronutrients – potassium, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium, among others. In addition to squatters, leaseholders and small landowners linked to family-oriented agricultural work – with or without supplementary wages and often parental –, there are various strata whose relationships historically precede contemporary piecework and subsist in the economic and social formation, it is worth say, in the pores of capitalism.

The technique, which is based on primeval productive forces, is backward and dangerous for natural resources. In addition to depleting the land, it opens the door to possible fires by accident, and is, therefore, reprehensible, even if involuntary spreading happens sporadically and punctually. In current conditions, however, with the lack of capital or federal, state and municipal support, it remains inherent to the reproduction of popular rural life in places where there is no other viable option. It makes no sense, therefore, to target it with moral invectives or state coercion. It is even necessary to promote an agrarian reform with financial, specialized and organizational assistance, capable of paving the way for new processes and forms of material valuation through human labor force, which transform coivara, from an antediluvian determination, into a chapter of history.

Capital and obsolete techniques

This situation is the reverse of the conduct perpetrated by territorialized capital. Some mega-owners – either monopoly-financial conglomerates, or bourgeoisie farmers, or land grabbers –, eager to expand their pastures or plantations in new and large areas or investments, annihilate pre-existing national wealth on state lands, occupied by squatter families or tribal presences . A massive, extemporaneous and illegal process of primitive accumulation ensues. This is what government propaganda wants to cover up, as it encourages it as a program topic, speech by higher authorities and practice by rural supporters. Fire constitutes the means par excellence of removing green coverings, making room for land speculation, agricultural industrialization, timber smuggling and shallow or underground mining.

There are no, with few exceptions, natural combustion or premeditated peasant behavior. In a statement to BBC News Brasil, climatologist Carlos Nobre reports the standard procedure: “The main dynamic is always like this: the forest is cut before the dry period; it is expected […] to dry for a couple of months”; then fire is set. “And then there is space for […] planting grass and grazing. […] at the beginning of the following year, they start to bring in the cattle.” Here, there is no exclusive reproduction of capital through the extraction of surplus value, complemented by the intrinsic fecundity of the soil – either spontaneously, as self-created use value, or socially, as income for the modern owner. There is, yes, the interdiction of public vastness and conditioned plots – Legal Reserve and Permanent Preservation Area – by private subjects, incorporating them as their patrimony.

A similar process is related to the disputes that divided, on 25/9/2020, the representations of the rural bourgeoisie. The sector linked to the Brazilian Association of Soy Producers (Aprosoja Brasil), claiming that the "interests and objectives" proclaimed in the Coalizão Brasil Clima, Florestas e Agricultura, as well as the influence of NGOs and the demands that go beyond of the Forest Code in force, broke with the mother federation of capitalized latifundia. For its part, the Associação Brasileira do Agronegócio (Abag) regretted the split and declared in a note: “our credibility, action for sustainability, legality and apolitical action of the national Agro, in Brazil and abroad, is historic and needs no comment”. Furthermore, he expressed concerns with the agenda set by the market, such as conversations and actions concerning the environmental issue.

The investigation by the Federal Police – perhaps by sectors without full control of the extreme right – gathered enough elements to indict landowners in Mato Grosso do Sul, who organized themselves to destroy a considerable part of the Pantanal. Similar facts happened in other states, eliminating the hypothesis of a geophysical and meteorological tragedy. Therefore, it is delinquency – repeated crime, but, instead of the more usual legal sense, on a large scale – generalized, conscious, planned, group and finalistic, stimulated by official declarations, measures and omissions. The stance of the proto-Fascist chief is not the success that would have gone to his head or his failure to stop the disaster, as commentators have suggested. It turns out to be a reactionary work, especially the complicit interdiction of policies and bodies dedicated to the inspection and defense of the environment.

*Ronald Rocha is an essayist, sociologist and author of Anatomy of a creed (financial capital and production progressivism).

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