Conservative consciousness in Brazil

Image: Fidan Nazim qizi


Considerations on the classic study of Paulo Mercadante

“The impression that society, the people, social groups, people represented little or nothing was negated by the control and repression measures that the government put in place. In the face of social forces not represented in the power bloc, in the face of latent or open rebellion against the interests of slave owners, on sugar mills and coffee farms, monarchical power acted in an increasingly repressive manner. The strength, systematics and pre-eminence of the interests of the dominant groups and strata represented in the state apparatus were such that some intellectuals and politicians imagined that society was amorphous and the state organized; as if it could exist by itself. They didn't notice the protest of the slave, the dissatisfaction of the poor white man in rural areas, the demands of craftsmen, employees and officials in the city. Without knowing it – perhaps – they wrote the chronicle of the victors” (Octavio Ianni, The cycle of the bourgeois revolution, P. 13.).

Paulo de Freitas Mercadante, born in 1923, is the author of one of the classics of Brazilian conservatism, the 1965 book, Conservative consciousness in Brazil.[1] His work never had the repercussions of other historical conservatives, such as Oliveira Viana, however, it fulfilled the important role of systematizing the conception of the history of the organic intellectuality that had in the Brazilian Institute of Philosophy (IBF) its apparatus of philosophical hegemony.[2]

Ibeef intellectuals, mostly bachelors and lawyers, sought to establish an intellectual tradition in Brazil: the so-called “culturalism”, which, although these legal philosophers hail it as a legitimate “national thought”, is fundamentally the symbol of German culturalism. Mercadante has a very interesting trajectory, which began in the Brazilian Communist Party (PCB), with which he ended up breaking in 1956 together with other intellectuals (Antonio Paim, Osvaldo Peralva, Porto Ferraz, Inácio Rangel) who, in his point of view, formed the group “most active in the field of ideas”[3] of the PCB. From the rupture, the rapprochement with the historical conservative, theorist of integralism, founder and leader of the IBF, Miguel Reale, begins.

Em Conservative consciousness in Brazil, Mercadante analyzes the history of Brazil from the perspective of class “conciliation”, which has become a concept of great value to Ibeef intellectuals, as it denies class struggle. This interpretation can be constructed because there is a deliberate concealment of the social struggles that permeated the history of Brazil in the XNUMXth century. Mercadante's work, with four editions[4] and almost 50 years of history, it has good name among several organic intellectuals of the bourgeoisie. For Olavo de Carvalho[5], the work is “a classic of the 'history of mentalities'”[6]. Roberto Campos stated: “Paulo Mercadante, whose lessons in Brazilian history and sociology opened new paths for me”[7]. João Alfredo de Souza Montenegro commends him for his “bold, innovative approach to the mentality insistently underlying the Brazilian socio-cultural evolution, to the point that, in moments of crisis, of impasse for the Nation, it rises up in exacerbated protagonisms, forcing retreats, trimming progressive edges , and planting gradualism with pretensions to absorb social conflicts, viewed as demonic impertinences from the perspective of the dominant ethics”[8]. For Luís Washington Vita, it is a “model” work[9]. Antonio Olinto said in 1965: “At last the book by Paulo Mercadante, Conservative consciousness in Brazil, which represents a dense and calm measurement of the Brazilian situation of yesterday and, to a certain extent, of today”[10].

Nelson Mello e Souza, preface to the fourth edition of Conservative consciousness in Brazil, says that Mercadante's “conciliation” is the discovery of “historical immantation”, of the meaning of Brazil's history; which would be characterized by the fact that the subaltern classes would have accepted their social condition by their own will. Brazilian conservatism would be “averse to revolutions, distrustful of the strong State, prone to guaranteeing individual freedoms against authoritarianism, inclined to accept the gradualist logic of history and the slow evolution of the base of values; conservatism 'in' Brazil took on a conciliatory profile”[11]. Souza says that Mercadante would have unveiled the “dialectic of conciliation” in the history of Brazil.

Paulo Mercadante is the author of a work whose main characteristic is not scientific rigor. It is an elaborate ideological construction that even seeks the historical argument, but which, when confronted with reality, proves to have no historical support. However, it is not a work of pure forgery as, for example, Southern populations of Brazil, by Oliveira Viana. But the supposed “conciliation” of classes does not explain a society whose history is marked by exploitation and violence whose levels today are those of a war. Conservative consciousness in Brazil it is one of the greatest intellectual expressions of the reaction that culminated in the 1964 coup and the lead years of the Dictatorship; it is also the author's reckoning with his past of militancy in the PCB, it is the denial of the class struggle, it is the acceptance of the prism imposed by the ruling class.


The history of Brazil from the perspective of Paulo Mercadante

Paulo Mercadante seeks the historical foundation in the work of the “ultra-reactionary Oliveira Viana”, as José Honório Rodrigues said. According to this interpretation, the Brazilian ruling class, which was formed during the colonial period, would be made up of “men with opulent assets, these leaders are also men who have the best qualities of character. Of perfect moral integrity, […] for dignity, for loyalty, for probity […]. Descending from the flowers of the peninsular nobility to be transplanted here, they are all medaled for the medieval type of gentleman, full of hombrity and pride”[12]. This is Oliveira Viana's argument for a supposed racial superiority of the ruling class which, in Mercadante's work, appears as characteristics of the colonizers' nature, characterized as benevolent people – in everything different from the dominated ethnicities and classes. These men are seen here as members of an elite rather than a ruling class.

It is interesting to note that regarding the interpretations of PCB intellectuals, Nelson Werneck Sodré, according to whom there was feudalism in Brazil, and Caio Prado Júnior, who saw colonization under the aegis of mercantile capitalism, Mercadante proposes an opposite interpretation. For him, there was a “conciliation” marked by the compromise between nobility and mercantilism that would have formed the ruling class by individuals who were nobles, but also businessmen – and even industrialists! – making the owner an “original character”[13]. For the author, these factors would have far-reaching cultural implications, which would be projected in the history of Brazil, would even be the background of the country's contemporaneity. Mercadante makes a clean slate of the issue of slavery and any other social relationship marked by struggle. This is a historic error, but this error has its origin in the social practice of a class that, at the time the work was written, denied having installed an autocratic regime in the country and that still denies being the master of all exploitation, oppression and the repression.

For Mercadante, this distinguished class of “noble businessmen” had a modus operandi equivalent to your modus vivendi, that is, the “noble businessman” was also a homo politicicus, whose actions would be marked by the moderation and conciliation of the political factions that marked the history of the Empire. According to Mercadante, since Independence, the “centre, moderate and opportunist tendency”[14] it had been the hallmark of ruling-class politics. This is the richest and densest part of Mercadante's work; according to him, this policy was the reaffirmation of the “big landowner, a kind of gentleman of a territorial nature”, which, in turn:

He is economically and mentally duplicitous: he lives on a slave farm with a whip in his hand while he is carried away by the liberal ideas current in European countries already freed from feudalism; revolutionary, when it analyzes its production relations with the external market, and conservative, when it reacts to any abolition ideas. Its path is necessarily the compromise between slavery and economic liberalism.[15]

For Mercadante, there is no contradiction between liberalism, which was on the lips of the tribunes of the Empire, and slavery, the basis of society at that time. On the contrary, in this perspective you are the product of this amalgamation. It is, of course, a gross exaggeration to say that conservatives were also revolutionaries; but this exaggeration is of a practical nature, as the author makes the same use of the word as the 1964 coup leaders used when they appropriated the word “revolution”. In Mercadante’s apologetics, the “medium term” policy was the “ballast of wise prudence”[16], as it would have prevented the slave revolution, as had occurred in 1804, in Haiti: “The fear of revolution would have been one of the mainstays of the movement for independence. […] Everyone would end up agreeing with the form of political arrangement, through which the movement would operate, and likewise resigned to the absence of popular participation. The people had been warned [...] that their role in important events could always result in a painful tragedy”[17].

One more obvious exaggeration, because in Brazil the slaves did not have access to Jacobin thought as the Haitian slaves had, nor did they have the necessary organization for a revolution; what moved the property-owning classes in the provinces of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais was the evident fear of recolonization. But, for the author, a revolution ─ which, incidentally, was never about to occur ─ would have fractured Brazil, as unity would be the exclusive merit of slavery and moderation.

The historical moment of the preventive counter-revolution carried out by the bourgeois autocracy from 1964 onwards is latent in Mercadante's interpretation, hence the recurrence of inaccuracies of practical origin. His work is marked by “panic fear”[18] of the active movement of the popular masses, so characteristic of the ruling classes, and in relation to Independence, he concludes: “May everything come slowly, smoothly, without the reckless Jacobin participation”[19].

This latency of the lived present is so characteristic in his work that, according to the author, the major modification of the constitution approved after the coup d. Pedro I is the fact that the armed forces could be used internally[20], or as he says elsewhere: “in lands where those habits of order and legality are not widespread in all classes of society, it is necessary to start introducing them and subject these tests to a certain guardianship”[21]. “Order” and “legality”, which the coup leaders said they sought to “re-establish” when the reformist national government of João Goulart was overthrown, were terms used to legitimize the coup and confuse public opinion.

If at first Conservative consciousness in Brazil seems to be based on the interpretation of social issues, Mercadante soon starts with a metaphysical analysis, since one of his concerns is the settling of accounts with his past in the PCB and the fight against Marxism.

In general, the manorial class […] adopts a pragmatic attitude arising from a tendency towards concord and balance. A marked moderating inclination to transfer political ideas, doctrine and political life, literary romanticism and the mockery of philosophy coloring events with the tones of the shy ideology of conciliation. […] eclecticism emerged among us, firstly as a trend, empirically outlined, to meet the demands of our society, and then, over the course of the century, embodying itself in ideas, in an integration with the spirit of the time.[22]

The “spirit of time” is defined by the author as follows: “Hegel's contradictory spirit is the very spirit of time. His convictions oscillate between those of an adept of enlightenment and a prophet of absolutism. He is, however, a believer in the middle ground”[23]. Thus, we see that Mercadante promotes the conservative reform of Hegelianism, which is essential for any apparatus of philosophical hegemony, since this is how the Marxist dialectic is fought.

Conservative consciousness in Brazil it is also characterized by apology for the dominant classes, which is a fundamental characteristic of any conservative work. In this sense, the large rural landowners appear not only as the main social class, but also as the only one worth noting, as can also be seen in the following fragment, original from another work by Mercadante: “Almost the entire population, approximately ninety percent lived in the domains, and of that mass only the lords formed a definite, albeit restricted, social group. The other residents of the large estates resented the lack of homogeneity. Slaves, mostly backward and ignorant people, violently torn from their environment and with minimal conditions to organize themselves socially. Instability also affected other layers of rural residents. The households of the farms and mills, the farmers, small landowners with their primitive gadgets, all linked to secondary products of the agricultural economy – due to their dependence on the lords of the domain, and due to their dispersion, did not constitute stable social groupings. […] In the enormous area of ​​agricultural landholdings, only the great rural lords exist. Outside of them, everything is rudimentary, formless and fragmentary”. [24]

Mercadante ends up disqualifying enslaved workers as “backward and ignorant” people, in order to persuade, to induce a deviation from the real problem: exploitation and the absurd living conditions of enslaved people; as well as concealing the role of popular social classes in the historical process. For the author, it was up to the ruling class to combat excess, and “excess was threats to the servile institution”[25]. In this light, slavery appears as a factor of national unity: “Were it not for the objectivity of regressive men, the unity of Brazil would be definitively compromised. The issue of slavery was decisive [...]”[26]. This is one of the most cherished theses of Brazilian historical conservatism, slavery would have guaranteed territorial unity, but this is implausible, as many of the revolts of the first reign and the regency period were led by slaveholders and in none of the revolts did slavery was abolished. Furthermore, in no independence pamphlet was the argument of slavery used to strengthen territorial unity.[27].

The excerpts from Mercadante's work are varied ─ and why not say the whole work? ─ marked by persistent apologetics to the dominant classes, which makes d'Consciousness conservative in Brazil a “chronicle of the victors”[28]. In this sense, the author argues: “If there was a need for improvements, pacts and concessions to the new circumstances, it would be better for the conservative spirit to direct it” [29].

Paulo Mercadante states that with the moderating conciliation he inaugurated a unique period in the history of Brazil, which no one would define better than Justiniano José da Rocha: “And what was this social movement that all the politicians sensed, which they obeyed, which made them abandon the their positions as winners, if not the result of the country's intimate conviction that all passions were extinguished, all past struggles were over? And what about this extinction of passions, this forgetting of hatred, and what then are the obvious symptoms that society has reached that happy period of calm and reflection that can and should be used for the great work of transaction?” [30]

It is in this period, then, that moderation would have materialized in the League party, founded by Joaquim Nabuco, led by moderate conservatives, and from 1862 to the end of the monarchy, considers the author: “the spirit of the League would hover over the institutions”[31] driving conservation undercover in the just milieu. The conciliation movement, the evolution of moderation, says Mercadante, would have its historical theory elaborated by JJ Rocha, and, in this conception, would constitute a premise of universal value that does not require demonstration – an axiom: “In the struggle of authority with freedom , there were periods of action, reaction and, finally, transaction. In the latter, the progress of the spirit takes place, and the conquest of civilization is established”.

The application of the thesis to our conditions would lead the journalist [JJ Rocha] to divide the History of Brazil into different periods: the first, the action, in its struggle and in its triumph, covering the period that goes from Independence to 1836; the other two, corresponding to the reaction phase that reached the first years of the 50s with its monarchical triumph; and finally the last, called the transition, which begins with Paraná at the time he writes his pamphlet.

The moment had now arrived when reaction could no longer progress, when revolutionary action had faltered, and it was up to the wisdom of rulers to discover the means of bringing “into a just balance the principles and elements that had fought”. The phase of the transaction was the one that required the most prudence. “more discernment, more devotion in statesmen who are entrusted with governmental strength and the high management of public affairs; because if they don't know it or want to recognize it, if they don't want or don't know how to facilitate it, if they even more contradict it, they cause a calamity that afterwards there is no wisdom that can help”.[32]

We would thus have the axiom of moderation; constituted in the tracing of the dialectic of history (the triptych of action-reaction-transaction), in which the perversion of the dialectic of history is defined intellectually – and not historically. The theory of the triptych aims to establish the rules and the outcome of history in advance on the field of struggle, always having the transaction as the last term, distorting history into a mutilated Hegelianism proper to the passive revolution[33], with a view to infinite conservation. From JJ Rocha's axiomatic considerations, Mercadante insinuates his theory of just environment moderator: “The right balance would be the conciliation of opposites, of radicalism, active and dynamic, with the reaction that sought to stop its progress, establishing the principle of authority. If it is necessary to contain the avalanche of the revolution, it is also essential to stop the reactor process. This is the policy of the middle ground, of balance […].

It was necessary for power to spontaneously disarm itself, forgetting past struggles, renouncing arbitrariness and adopting the ideas that adverse liberalism expounded on its innovation platform, after selecting them according to the criteria of true public needs. The reforms had to be carried out without prejudice to their origins, because, on the contrary, they would remain exclusively in radical and demagogic programs, and conservatives would have to defend order and authority against the exaggerations of a new democratic and Jacobin surge”.[34]

Thus, it would be up to the conservatives to take the oppositionist projects and flags for themselves and select them, making a reasoned choice, both to carry out the demands stripped of their most radical meaning, and to anticipate the radicalization of historical processes, to under its action contain any possibility of rupture. In this consists the theory and practice of the conservative moderantism outlined by Mercadante. In this sense, the author brings a very doctrinaire vision, which is not limited to history, but certainly also refers to the present.

For the author, the issue of abolition was neither ethical nor religious, but with practical implications: “It was necessary to examine the problem with an objective and realistic spirit”[35]; here, popular demands appear as moral, ethical and religious demands, detached from reality, from “practice” – see the following fragment: “Here the humanitarian idea of ​​emancipation never found hardened opponents, never had to face the opposition of a broken. […]

It was necessary, first of all, to examine the problem from the point of view of our special conditions. It was a complex fact: [...] involving all sorts of relationships, whether legal or social. Slavery was essentially linked to farming and on its foundations rested the rights expressly enshrined in the Magna Carta and in private laws. The interests of agriculture were, for that society of rural lords, the interests of the whole society because “it cannot have other more important ones, because all its vitality is there. Let's not disturb them. At the slightest shock, a beautiful building can collapse into ruins”, warned one of the representatives of the São Paulo plantation. […]

In the domain of abstract ideas, it would be very easy to solve the problem [...].

However, it was necessary to be realistic, to respect, first of all, acquired rights and the right to property”.[36]

Mercadante builds an apology for the slave regime. In this conception, it was up to, first of all, to respect the right to property – even if it was the possession of someone else.

Another problem raised by Paulo Mercadante is the issue of Moderating Power, which, according to him, is intertwined with Brazilian culture, giving rise to the interpretation that historically the ruling class imputes to the Armed Forces as the Moderating Power of the Republic. According to the author, the Moderating Power and the emperor were imbued with eclecticism: “The ideological tendency of balance spread over everything. Thus, the super-individual reality of our culture began to be characterized by shades that eclecticism sought to illustrate through an ingenious formula for reconciling different philosophical schools. The language of the dominant group imbued the collectivity almost entirely with quiet words and meanings. […] The culture inspired by eclecticism became transcendent, predominating in institutions, in society, and began to act on individuals, on the prince, becoming immanent to men themselves, especially the emperor. The culture of eclecticism, we would say, retransia [penetrated to the very depths] the individual, installed itself in his physiology, in his centers of sensitivity, conditioning everything, reflexes and behavior. The emperor was born in Brazil, independent through a formula of political adjustment. He was destined, above all because of his nationality, to play a role in appeasing troubled spirits. […] He was reserved for an important role to play in the history of the country, and his masters [José Bonifácio and Itanhaém] imbued him with appropriate habits, cold manners, and there he was sovereign without sentimental turmoil, which would give him the necessary balance to the policy of moderation”.[37]

For Mercadante, eclecticism and moderation intoxicated everyone and everything, they even penetrated the subjects physiologically, in other words, they constituted themselves in a metaphysical spirit, superior to historical-social questions, to men, to classes; but a hierarchical superiority that was imposed on everything and everyone. And, in this sense, moderation would be on another level, untouchable, embodied in D. Pedro II, materialized in the Moderating Power: “everything had fallen asleep in the shadow of the happy prince’s mantle”[38]. Here we find the erasure of social struggles, in this conception this historical period appears as the reign of peace.

The dissemination of eclecticism would have started with Silvestre Pinheiro Ferreira, who arrived a little after D. João VI, and started a philosophy course at the Court in 1813. According to Mercadante, “his ideas, set out in 1821, expressed a half- term, far removed from absolutism and democratic Jacobinism”[39]. At the end of the 1830s, Ferreira would have met Cousin. Eclecticism would have another great disseminator in Gonçalves de Magalhães, author of Facts of the Human Spirit (Paris, 1858). In philosophy, says Mercadante, as well as in moderation, the path would also be to avoid the effects of the French Revolution[40].

Paulo Mercadante, at the conclusion of his work, says that conservation itself does not have any theoretical predisposition, of systematization, since it would start from “a pragmatics that it is not necessary to digress about the situations in which men are naturally adjusted”[41], and from this would come “a state of mind devoid of concerns”[42]. In this sense, he says, conservatism “starts from the principle that everything that exists has a nominal and positive value due to its slow and gradual existence”[43]. The reforms, continues the author, must be carried out to conserve[44].

According to Paulo Mercadante, the following maxims guided the “conservative eminences”[45]: “The school of authority is the only legitimate one; because it is the only feasible one; a government born of revolt cannot march a single day by virtue of its principle, and it expires if it does not fight it.”[46] and “Let us do in government what they demand in opposition, they said, the conservatives”[47].



“Toussaint L'Ouverture is not linked to Fidel Castro just because they both led revolutions in the West Indies. Nor is this tie a convenient or journalistic demarcation of a historical period. What had happened in French Santo Domingo between 1792 and 1804 was repeated in Cuba in 1958. […] the people of Cuba are still fighting, using the same efforts.” (CLR James).[48]

Karl Marx, in a comparison between bourgeois and proletarian revolutions, says that the former used to carry out the “resurrection of the dead”. It was common in the English (1640) and French (1789) revolutions to relive the past, with the aim of glorifying the new struggles, of enlarging the imagination, of finding the spirit of the revolution. But the proletarian revolution, says Marx, on the contrary “cannot draw its poetry from the past, but from the future. It cannot begin its task until it has stripped itself of all superstitious veneration of the past. Previous revolutions had to make use of the reminiscences of universal history in order to deceive themselves about their own content", while the revolution of the proletariat must "let the dead bury their dead. Before the sentence surpassed the content, now it is the content that surpasses the sentence”[49].

Conservative consciousness in Brazil does not aim to revive the struggles of the past, as noted by José Honório Rodrigues, or the bourgeoisie described by Marx in The 18th Brumaire. Mercadante, on the contrary, seeks to erase the social struggles of the 1959th century. It tries to build the fetish that Brazil lived a settled peace on the conciliation of classes, while the Spanish colonization was crumbling into “republiquetas”, and while in the French colony of Haiti the people erupted with the Jacobin leadership Toussaint L'Ouverture. For Mercadante, the “spirit” of “conciliation” and “moderation” hovers over Brazil, warning of the revolutions of the present, especially the Cuban one (XNUMX).

It is not the first time that conservatives resort to these expedients, General Ferdinando de Carvalho had already published in 1951 the book which had the following message as its title: “-Remember 1935!”. The struggle for memory, the struggle for the past and history also make up the larger picture of the class struggle. For Mercadante, in his fetishist conception of history that hides the class struggle, Brazil should continue to be the bastion of the supposed and publicized conciliation of classes – ideological expression of a class that sought to hide that it was in the midst of revolution-restoration[50] of “active, militant and aggressive self-defence”[51]. His work is truly a political manifesto and we understand it when we refer to the context of its publication. In this sense, if Paulo Mercadante makes a digression to the Brazilian Empire, his book is impregnated with the preventive counter-revolution, the 1964 restoration-revolution. But the argument is not historical, but metaphysical. It is a work whose main characteristic is the latency of the 1960s, marked by the coup and bourgeois autocracy.

For several reasons it can be said that Mercadante seeks a reckoning with his past in the PCB. Belonging to the Communist Party left indelible marks on his career[52]. And, for that very reason, settling accounts with the left was something necessary for a man who aligned himself with the right in the 1950s. The adjustment came in the form of a work whose scope was the concealment of class struggle in the history of Brazil. Mercadante's “conciliation” is a clear response to progressive intellectuals, such as José Honório Rodrigues, and left-wing intellectuals, mainly Nelson Werneck Sodré. For José Honório, a conciliation was desirable as an alternative to the secular violence and intransigence once again demonstrated by the ruling class in 1964[53].

For Nelson Werneck, at the time the most articulate interlocutor of the PCB among the intelligentsia, the “conciliation” was truly a political project, a strategic alliance between the “national” bourgeoisie and the proletariat aimed at projecting an autonomous capitalism with a national-popular base. , built from the dismantling of imperialism and its interests in the country that would materialize in the agro-export latifundia, whose land concentration would be structured in a “feudal” model[54]. Mercadante responds to these theses by saying that our history would already be marked by a conciliation politically developed during the monarchy between conservatives, liberals and the Moderating Power, whose social base would be the slave-owning landowner – in fact, contradicting the thesis of the communist intellectual that landowners are the great usurpers of the Brazilian people, but on the contrary, reaffirming their supposed protagonist role in the formation of the nation.

If it were true that conciliatory acts govern social relations since colonial times, all the repressive and hegemonic apparatus of the ruling class would be unnecessary, in the past and in the present. Therefore, the “conciliation” does not aim at explaining and understanding the historical reality, but at justifying the present (1965) marked by the ostensive and aggressive reaction of the ruling class. The “conciliation” of classes that Mercadante talks about is something that in the text is only possible between quotation marks and, in reality, only exists when the stick meets the back. Mercadante's work is a “chronicle of the victors” (Octavio Ianni)[55]; it is worth questioning this author with some of the Questions of a worker who reads (Bertold Brecht): “The great Rome / Is full of triumphal arches. / Who raised them?” – definitely, it was not the property-owning class that built Brazil, despite the fact that, in the class struggle, it largely defined its contours.

*Rodrigo Jurucê Mattos Gonçalves is a teacher of the Graduate Program in History at the State University of Goiás (UEG). Author of The Conservative Restoration of Philosophy: The Brazilian Institute of Philosophy and Bourgeois Autocracy in Brazil (1949-1964) (Gargoyle).

Originally published in the magazine History and Class Struggle, year 9, no 16.



[1] MERCHANT, Paul. Conservative consciousness in Brazil: contribution to the study of Brazilian formation. 4 ed. Rio de Janeiro: Topbooks, 2003. There is an interesting analysis available on the internet by Maria Bernadete Oliveira de Carvalho, be conservative (Espaço Acadêmico magazine, nº 50, July 2005, year V).

[2] According to the conceptualization developed by Christine Buci-Glucksmann in Gramsci and the State: for a materialist theory of philosophy. 2 ed. Rio de Janeiro: Peace and Land, 1990.

[3] SOARES, Jorge Coelho. Marcuse in Brazil: interviews with philosophers. Londrina: CEFIL, 1999. p.131.

[4] The editions are: 1st ed., Rio de Janeiro: Saga, 1965; 2nd ed., Rio de Janeiro: Brazilian Civilization, 1972; 3rd ed., Rio de Janeiro: Nova Fronteira, 1980; 4th ed., Rio de Janeiro: Topbooks, 2003.

[5] Carvalho is the editor and preface of Mercadante's work The coherence of uncertainties: symbols and myths in Luso-Brazilian historical phenomenology (São Paulo: Editora É Realizações, 2001); Carvalho is known for his controversial attacks on the left.

[6] See CARVALHO, Olavo de. Paulo Mercadante and the Brazilian soul. This text is the preface d'The coherence of uncertainties and is available at:>, captured on 11/06/08.

[7] See back cover by MERCADANTE, Paulo. Graciliano Ramos: the manifesto of the tragic. Rio de Janeiro: Topbooks, 1994.

[8] MONTENEGRO, Joao Alfredo de Souza. Review of “Military & Civilian: Ethics and commitment". Brazilian Journal of Philosophy, São Paulo, volume XXVIII, issue 110, p. 234, April-June 1978.

[9] See back cover of the 4th edition ofConservative consciousness in Brazil.

[10] See back cover by MERCADANTE, Paulo. From the barracks to the newsroom: the era of turmoil. Rio de Janeiro: UniverCidade Editora, 2004.

[11] MERCHANT, Paul. Conservative consciousness in Brazil…, P. 40.

[12] Same, p. 72, citing VIANNA, Oliveira. Southern populations of Brazil, v.1, p. 115. No location, no publisher, no date.

[13] Ditto, p. 91.

[14] Ditto, p. 96.

[15] Ditto, p. 105.

[16] Ditto, p. 98.

[17] Same, p. 107-8.

[18] GRAMSCI, Antonio. prison notebooks. 4th ed. Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 2006. p. 291

[19] MERCHANT, Paul. Conservative consciousness in Brazil…, P. 100.

[20] Same, p. 121-126.

[21] Ditto, p. 166.

[22] Same, p. 143 [emphasis added].

[23] MERCHANT, Paul. military & civilian…, P. 33.

[24] Ditto, p. 35.

[25] MERCHANT, Paul. Conservative consciousness in Brazil…, P. 158.

[26] Ditto, p. 159.

[27] See CARVALHO, José Murilo (Coord.). The national construction 1830-1889, volume 2. Rio de Janeiro: objective, 2012. p. 25-6.

[28] IANNI, Octavio. The cycle of the bourgeois revolution. Petrópolis: Voices, 1984. p. 13.

[29] MERCHANT, Paul. Conservative consciousness in Brazil…, P. 191.

[30] Same, p. 193-4, apud. ROCHA, Justiniano José da. Action, Reaction, Transaction. In: MAGALHÃES, R. Three pamphleteers of the Second Reign. S/D, S/L, p. 216.

[31] Ditto, p. 196.

[32] Same, p. 197-8, apoud. ROCHA, JJ Action, Reaction, Transaction... p. 163-4.

[33] According to the conceptualization developed by Antonio Gramsci, the passive revolution it consists of changes characterized by social reforms and the updating of the State in processes marked by (i) the passiveness of the working class induced by the ruling class and (ii) by the co-option and corruption of antagonistic leaderships. The whole process is marked by the preservation of the economic and social order and by the strengthening and perpetuation of power. Gramsci deals with the concept, also known as revolution-restoration, especially in the 5th volume of the prison notebooks (vol. 5. Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 2002.).

[34] MERCHANT, Paul. Conservative consciousness in Brazil…, P. 198.

[35] Ditto, p. 203.

[36] Same, p. 203-4-5, apud. SILVA, Rodrigo da. Separate vote. In: Elemento Servil, Opinion and Bill presented to the Chamber of Deputies, session of August 16, 1870, p. 106-7 – our emphasis.

[37] Same, p. 248-51.

[38] Same, p. 259, apud. ROMERO, Silvio. Indispensable explanations. In: BARRETO, Tobias. Various Writings. No Location, No Publisher, No Date. P. XXVI-II.

[39] Ditto, p. 262.

[40] See Ditto, p. 271.

[41] Same, p. 273 – emphasis added.

[42] Ditto, p. 273.

[43] Ditto, p. 274.

[44] See Ditto, p. 275.

[45] Ditto, p. 290.

[46] Same, p. 290, referring to Cafefique, without citing the work.

[47] Ditto, p. 291.

[48] JAMES, CLR The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the revolution of Santo Domingo. São Paulo: Boitempo, 2007.

[49] MARX, Carl. The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. São Paulo: Centauro, 2003. p. 17-8.

[50] Gramsci called the passive revolution the restoration-revolution.

[51] FERNANDES, Florestan. The bourgeois revolution in Brazil: essay on sociological interpretation. 5th ed. São Paulo: Globo, 2006. p. 393.

[52] See, for example, the article by Denis de Moraes, Carlos Marighella, 90 years old (2001), available at: .

[53] RODRIGUES, José Honório. Conciliation and reform in Brazil: a historical-cultural challenge. 2 ed. Rio de Janeiro: Nova Fronteira, 1982. Originally published in 1965.

[54] SODRÉ, Nelson Werneck. Historical formation of Brazil. 14th ed. Rio de Janeiro: Graphia, 2002. Originally published in 1962; his fundamental theses had already been developed in a course at the ISEB (Instituto Superior de Estudos Brasileiros) in the late 1950s.

[55] IANNI, Octavio. Op. cit.

See this link for all articles


  • About artificial ignoranceEugenio Bucci 15/06/2024 By EUGÊNIO BUCCI: Today, ignorance is not an uninhabited house, devoid of ideas, but a building full of disjointed nonsense, a goo of heavy density that occupies every space
  • Franz Kafka, libertarian spiritFranz Kafka, libertarian spirit 13/06/2024 By MICHAEL LÖWY: Notes on the occasion of the centenary of the death of the Czech writer
  • The society of dead historyclassroom similar to the one in usp history 16/06/2024 By ANTONIO SIMPLICIO DE ALMEIDA NETO: The subject of history was inserted into a generic area called Applied Human and Social Sciences and, finally, disappeared into the curricular drain
  • Letter to the presidentSquid 59mk,g 18/06/2024 By FRANCISCO ALVES, JOÃO DOS REIS SILVA JÚNIOR & VALDEMAR SGUISSARDI: “We completely agree with Your Excellency. when he states and reaffirms that 'Education is an investment, not an expense'”
  • A look at the 2024 federal strikelula haddad 20/06/2024 By IAEL DE SOUZA: A few months into government, Lula's electoral fraud was proven, accompanied by his “faithful henchman”, the Minister of Finance, Fernando Haddad
  • Strengthen PROIFESclassroom 54mf 15/06/2024 By GIL VICENTE REIS DE FIGUEIREDO: The attempt to cancel PROIFES and, at the same time, turn a blind eye to the errors of ANDES management is a disservice to the construction of a new representation scenario
  • PEC-65: independence or patrimonialism in the Central Bank?Campos Neto Trojan Horse 17/06/2024 By PEDRO PAULO ZAHLUTH BASTOS: What Roberto Campos Neto proposes is the constitutional amendment of free lunch for the future elite of the Central Bank
  • Chico Buarque, 80 years oldchico 19/06/2024 By ROGÉRIO RUFINO DE OLIVEIRA: The class struggle, universal, is particularized in the refinement of constructive intention, in the tone of proletarian proparoxytones
  • Volodymyr Zelensky's trapstar wars 15/06/2024 By HUGO DIONÍSIO: Whether Zelensky gets his glass full – the US entry into the war – or his glass half full – Europe’s entry into the war – either solution is devastating for our lives
  • The melancholic end of Estadãoabandoned cars 17/06/2024 By JULIAN RODRIGUES: Bad news: the almost sesquicentennial daily newspaper in São Paulo (and the best Brazilian newspaper) is rapidly declining