The existential dialectic of the left

Image: Lachlan Ross


The contemporary challenge is to metamorphose the achieved political equality into social, economic and cultural parity.

The outstanding legacy of the French Revolution was the aspiration for equality, which transformed subjects (with duties) into citizens (with rights). The contemporary challenge is to transform the achieved political equality into social, economic and cultural parity. Today, such dimensions express the factual inequalities of society, alongside the formal equalities achieved in the XNUMXth century.

The extreme right's dream is to tattoo discrimination into the very body of legislation, as the Nazis did. The moderate right is satisfied with preserving equity before the laws of the State, arguing that the passage from the legal to the real would empty the forensic content. The sophistry supports the intention to keep the status quo capitalist. Thanks to the discovery of the liberal principles of arrangements that allow the legal status of the freedom of individuals, with representative democracy and constitutionalism, the Hegelian narrative about the end of history is resumed, ending the cycle of changes by decree. Nevertheless, the left continues to fight against oppression and exploitation which, due to the dynamics of the system's operation, marks an enormous distance between social classes.

It is worth noting that the global trend, pointed out by Thomas Piketty in A brief history of inequality, “the era of an expansion towards more equality of status, property, income, gender and race in most regions of the planet”. The upward curve was interrupted in the 1980s, when the hegemony of neoliberalism was consolidated, which together brought the perverse agenda of destruction of the four horsemen of the apocalypse: plague, war, famine and rebellion. It's not little.

Redistributive fiscal and social policies reduce, but do not stop, the process of inequalization, as the return on capital exceeds the increase in wages and technological changes push semi-skilled workers out of jobs. Look at the GPS, it ended the city's knowledgeable taxi drivers in exchange for Uber drivers, who follow the Wave. Not to mention the monopoly concentration of multinational corporations, especially in the segment of big techs. At the domestic level, the machine for excluding labor and manufacturing unemployed people falls on the export sector and banks – points out the Unicamp economist, Fernando Nogueira da Costa, in the article “Inequality and the rise of right-wing populism”. There are heavy clouds on the horizon.

There are several triggers that trigger social, economic and cultural inequalities. None deserves repair on the part of the leader that bets, or on the evolution of the market with rules of impersonality, as if each and everyone had the same resources to supply unsatisfied needs; or in libertarianism which, in addition to defending individual rights, in particular the right to property, incriminates social justice in the name of the moral integrity of freedom.

The sentence to condemn institutional solidarity, and make it a negative predicate, protects the “owners of power” from criticism. To paraphrase George Orwell, in the animal revolution, “all animals are equal, but some are (rather, it is believed) more equal than others”. But what attributes of morality would support the attribution of rights with such an aristocratic air, in a Republic?

The promise of the Welfare State would be illegitimate. It would violate “natural” rights, based on the redistribution of the wealth of those who have resources redistributed to serve third parties. The background is the assertion of Margaret Thatcher, who withdraws from the state apparatus the commitment to fight poverty (a problem only of the poor): “Society does not exist, only individuals and families exist”. The indifference of the defeated mismanagement of Jair Bolsonaro / Paulo Guedes / Silas Malafaia with the social issue is understandable. It is about justifying hyperindividualism.

The last quadrennium in Brasilia attests to the eclipse of empathy in the ideology that mixes neo-fascism (in politics), neoliberalism (in economics) and neoconservatism (in customs), the elements of authoritarian pressure for the State of exception. In Europe, the delay foreshadows an “Ultra-Right International”. the idea was born to the left with the creation of the International Workers' Association in 1864 in London. A far right wears the costume to resignify the theme of the organization.

The xenophobic and anti-Islamic parties approach and strengthen ties: Germany (Alternative), Belgium (Flemish Interest), Spain (Vox), France (National Regroupment), Netherlands (Freedom Party), Hungary (Hungarian Civic Union), Italy (Brothers of Italy), Poland (Law and Justice) and Portugal (Chega), evaluates researcher João Gabriel de Lima, from the Observatory for the Quality of Democracy at the University of Lisbon (Piaui,April 2023). For the Italian political scientist, Riccardo Marchi, author of The new anti-establishment right, the reaction woke up. With the grammar of hate, it shoots against the imaginary “socialist” and “globalist” consensus of “Brussels”, the headquarters of the European Union.

The obvious contrast with the guidelines condensed in social sensitivity, in vogue in the government of President Lula da Silva, occurs because the new governance repels the devices that are perpetuated according to the interests of half a dozen. Incidentally, with an excessive representation in Congress due to influence in the electoral results of economic power, which formats democracy by ordering the rich. Women, blacks, young people, lgbtqia+ groups and environmentalists are under-represented. “100 days: an active government and an empathetic president, the two differences”, celebrated an attentive journalist.

“The right of the individual is not the right to be left free from all interference, but the right to lead a meaningful existence and to have the necessary means to do so, in terms of both legal privileges and material resources. The general thesis is that everyone has the right to material goods, the possession of which is necessary to have the chance of a decent and satisfying life”. Thus, the professor of the University of Sorbonne, Jean-Fabien Spitz, in the text “Conservatism and progressivism”, published inThe oblivion of politics, organized by Adauto Novaes, translates the socialist aphorism: “From each according to his ability; to each according to his needs.” The taxation of great fortunes is an incentive to communion with 99% of humanity, instead of a punishment to the bourgeoisie, moved by resentment. It does not deprive the wealthy of the resources and spaces to continue to enjoy a comfortable life. It reinforces public sociability.

Under the specter of malnutrition that victimizes more than 50 million countrymen, the symbolic synthesis by the current president challenges the right to three meals a day, a house to live in, a school nearby, urban equipment, work, leisure – with the common sense . The guarantee of universalization of the minimum indispensable to human dignity serves as a government guide. In a society that cherishes values ​​of fraternity, individuals will work according to their aptitudes and abilities, and receive according to their fundamental needs. I hope.

The pain derives from adversities, under the civilizational setback that destroyed advances in Brazil and generated an anti-popular and anti-developmental Congress, aligned with financial rentism. This, despite a recent survey by the Ipsos Institute showing that, if 100% of the Monetary Policy Committee (Copom) of the Central Bank (Bacen) considers inflation to be the country's serious problem, only 27% of the population agrees. For 43% the Gordian knot is poverty and inequality; the global average is 31%, 12 points below the national index. At DataFolha, 71% of respondents think the interest rate (13,25%, the highest in the world) is higher than it should be to contain an inflation of 4,65%. Non-voting financiers seize power via an institution, by false presumption, classified as “independent”, blocking the country's development. The goal is to make the reversal, even if partial, of the march of deindustrialization unfeasible. Bacen's authority eagerly went for the booty. Let it leak.

The delight comes from the energy of humanism present in parties, social movements and civil society entities with theoretical-practical praxis in the neoliberal countercurrent. Bertolt Brecht's poem, Praise of the Revolutionary, illustrates the existential dialectic of the left: “When oppression increases / Many become discouraged / But his courage grows. / He organizes the fight / For a penny of salary, for tea water / And for power in the State. / Ask the property: / Where are you from? / Ask the opinions: / Who do you profit?” With a republican spirit, citizens fight to expand participation in democracy, with a government and a president capable of raising hope in a nation free of centuries of injustice and open to utopian social experimentation.

* Luiz Marques is a professor of political science at UFRGS. He was Rio Grande do Sul's state secretary of culture in the Olívio Dutra government.

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