The post-pandemic left

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By TARSO GENRO*

The hour on the left: now or not for a long time

It is necessary to build within the order the political, economic and moral capillaries that block fascism at its roots and capitalism in its reproduction of common life, where it expands without mercy and without solidarity. It is necessary to block the voice of irrationality with the voice of reason and equality. with fearlessness.

In the Portuguese newspaper Public, on September 5, Boaventura Sousa Santos publishes an article – one of the best I have read to date – on the so-called “post-pandemic” situation. It is the indeterminate political situation – still without time frames and without foreseen end – challenging the firm signs of empirical evidence, summoning our emergency political theory, already in a visibly depressed state. The title of the article is very suggestive and for us it must sound a little desperate: “The time of the left: now or not for a long time.”

Although the text deals with the Portuguese situation, in particular, Boaventura registers three lessons for the forces of the left (and for all those who did not give up on democracy and the republic) that fully fit the Brazilian scenario. It is inevitable that we speak in these lessons to prepare the reverse of fascism, which advances on the State, supported by an unlikely alliance with what is smartest, most corrupt and insensitive, in the field of rentier liberalism. The statements made by Boaventura are universal and therefore adaptable to think about the crisis in any village in this foolish world.

First lesson: citizens in times of crisis are protected by the state, not the market. And they know it. It is not a question of the “bad” morality of the mercantile instances, but of their objective situation. They are there to make a profit, not to provide social protection and if the enterprise does not work in this way, it dies in the competition and, with it, the jobs themselves disappear. On the other hand, if in a situation of health crisis the functioning of the market must be restricted -to avoid contagion- the functioning of the State must be expanded to combat it. The superiority of the State in relation to the market in the crisis is the evident superiority of the Social State over the traditional Rule of Law, in which the right to property is absolute and social issues are only cases for the Police and, in fascism, for the militias .

The second lesson refers to city-country relations, the supply and circulation of food from family farming, healthy, organic and of less doubtful origin than those that are offered “in the abstract” in the traditional oligopolistic market. This lesson also refers to the valuation of nearby stores and fairs – for the supply of these foods – their cooperative marketing and production, personalized home delivery and new relationships of personal trust -between suppliers and buyers- which point to the possibility of construction of “ways of life” and consumption, with greater possibilities of understanding between producers and consumers, which may even influence the typology and behavior of large wholesale businesses.

The MST, Via Campesina and family farmers, around cities of all sizes, have not only demonstrated that commerce, industrialization and the production of healthy foods -outside the big agribusiness circuit- can be both an instrument through which solidarity is encouraged to fight hunger, as it can also change -here and now- a good part of common life. And it does so by advancing examples for the future, which point to a control of capitalism's sociometabolism,
rentier and oligopolistic, which is always for more concentrated income and more diversified misery.

The third example that the tragedy of the Pandemic bequeaths to us concerns labor legislation, whose anarchic flexibility demonstrates that the precariousness that replaces job protection and classic contractual work only creates forms of aggravated vulnerabilities. In concrete terms, instead of financing companies in crisis -especially small and medium-sized ones, which are the biggest job providers- "liberal" Governments finance private Banks, increasingly close to speculation with public money and increasingly distant of companies that produce consumer goods and jobs for the domestic market.

Precariousness, informality and unemployment -in this case- can only be mitigated by emergency aid, which not only increases the public debt, but also feeds the reign of the banks that finance the State, which is permanently indebted. The post-Pandemic world actually only exists today as political science fiction. He will be what we allow him to be, due to the absence of our complacent voice or our political energy, awakened by solidarity in the fight against fascism, denialism and corruption.

Great warnings from the great Bonaventure.

*Tarsus-in-law he was Governor of the State of Rio Grande do Sul, Mayor of Porto Alegre, Minister of Justice, Minister of Education and Minister of Institutional Relations in Brazil.

 

 

 

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