The current face of fascism

Image: Isaac Taylor


The emergence of Benito Mussolini and Jair Bolsonaro in the scenario of liberal democracy holds essential identities

Brazil had, with the end of the military regime, one of the most chivalrous transitions to democracy, compared to the transitions of our sister countries in Latin America. The military regime that would be exhausted with the dubious Amnesty Law – with all the dictatorial characteristics it contained, supported by a vast part of civil society and a solid business bloc, allowed, after crushing the revolutionary dissent that had sprouted in different ways, a transition traded.

This leads to a derived Constituent Assembly which, although it opened the curtains to political democracy, did not eliminate the possibility of military tutelage over the State. Therefore, it did not even allow the military extreme right that formed part of its power structure to assume its responsibilities before the judicial courts of history itself.

It is this extreme right that returns, therefore, empowered and “legitimate” to be hegemonic in the government of Jair Bolsonaro. How much does history repeat itself and how much can the experiences of the struggle for emancipation and democracy be used in other times? Not everything, almost nothing. Fascist movements, which proliferated after the First World War, and the subsequent defeat of Nazi-fascism had an influence on the formation of liberal democratic regimes in the western world, especially after the first half of the last century. Will history repeat itself? Yes, but neither as farce nor tragedy, certainly as mimesis and caricature: more outspoken, more reactionary, more cynical and pretentiously more violent.

What is happening in the world today is – certainly – more tragic than what happened in the years that preceded that hecatomb of humanity, and it will also happen as an even more complex situation. It will be more difficult to overcome and defeat state and societal fascism that is cumulatively embedded in the state and civil society. This was renewed, with the new high tech informational, but democracy has been paralyzed by the fear of violence that it exudes. And society today is more suited to the proliferation of hatred among the unequal, since it is in the capacity for sumptuary consumption that differences and identities are established in the dialectic of domination, no longer almost exclusively by belonging to visible classes in political strife, which always who wanted to be able to sit in places suitable for negotiation.

Classes are not the same and both their expressions of hatred and utopias withered. The health of the planet declines more than the gray roses that were born from the industrial chimneys of the past and the infinite deaths can proliferate as in a “clean” game of the geopolitical video game with its alienated populations giving their negationist collaboration to their own moral mutilations, in various parts of the world. Yesterday's fascism is not the same as today's. Especially because today's – for being more manipulative and convincing in the entrails of the market – can be illusoryly easier to win, which is just a dream of political liberalism. But it is not. This article aims to reflect on this for the 50 days of Lula's third government.

In the Italian summer of 1929, the tenth anniversary of the foundation, by Benito Mussolini, of the “Fasci di Combattimento”. It was the vast organized network that, from 1919 onwards, composed of rioters, ex-combatants, outcasts massacred by misery, petty bourgeois desperate with the post-war crisis – unemployed of all stripes -, religious traditionalists, all endowed with a holy fury against their miserable destiny, which would form in 1921 the battalions that would become the hard core of the newly founded National Fascist Party.

The emergence of the Party fought against the inefficiency of the ill-born liberal-bourgeois order through violence, it was tearing up what was left of its coherence, chipping away at the empty promises of liberalism and supplanting the announcements of the new world of equality that originated from the voices at the your left. The proletarian squares – trade unions, republican and socialist illuminists – who were unable to fight the good fight, did not see the “revolution” that came from their right flank: stunned by hopes suffocated by fear, tired of the lazy politeness of liberal-democratic alliances , the masses opted for the destruction of representative democracy.

In the second volume of The Man of Providence, by Antonio Scurati, the novelist-historian again follows the historical figure of Benito Mussolini and clarifies the foundations of the defeat of reason: “After the Great War, millions of Italians stopped waiting for change and began to feel threatened by it. The corner of the squares strangled in a scream. A cry that no longer implored the future to finally redeem the present, but urged that the future remain uncreated. No longer a prayer, but an exorcism”.

In October 1927, writing a letter about the military-colonial occupation of Libya, Mussolini reveals to Luigi Federzoni – his Minister of the Colonies – the spirit of the movement marginal to democracy, which would pass to the total appropriation of the State, in a revolutionary way: “I say that a black shirt should be enough to maintain the respect of Libya's rarefied Arab population”. Class hatred, imperial colonial spirit and superiority of “homo fascio” are contained in the construction of this historic message.

In 1999, in the program open chamber, Jair Bolsonaro says about the 1964 coup: “Some 30 should have been shot, starting with President Fernando Henrique Cardoso”, to say later, in 2008 – at the Military Club –, against the Amnesty law: “the big mistake it was torturing, not killing.” The empire of the will as barbarism is the center of the revolutionary subjectivity of fascism and its objective is to tie human beings to their natural essentiality, in the struggle for survival with the wild force of total authority.

Although in different historical situations, the appearance of Benito Mussolini and Jair Bolsonaro in the scenario of liberal democracy keeps essential identities. The wide range of classes of both political movements, the substitution of irrational hatred for an opposing group or groups for argument, the broad popular participation in the emergence of both leaderships, the irrelevance of political "affections" to democracy, all combined with the deliberate choice of business leaders and a large part of the popular classes and middle sectors, vibrant to live with or support barbarism. Everything closes the material fence of this magnificent and apocalyptic will.

The creation of a new specific national identity, which moves from the “national-popular identity” – based on social classes – (which negotiate and can harmonize) to the creation of a “mythical identity”, of social cohesion based on values ancestral or traditional – which would have existed remotely in a society close to perfection – would be the political amalgam of Jair Bolsonaro’s new order, if he managed to implement his coup assault.

What he lacked, however, was not the mythical will, but the explicit support of our Armed Forces and the organizational capacity for his “Combat Fasci”, with few ideological convictions and fueled by state subsidies against hunger. But in the Bolsonarist imaginary, countless lapidary phrases had a social scope and a surprising universality, which still resonate through various verbal forms in the ears of the people. One of them: “we have to go back to the time when the maids had breakfast with us”.

All his formulas sought to make life simpler and more sensible. As long as each one accepted their place in society and conditioned their ambition to “get ahead in life”, at any cost, to the space allowed by the leader and thus remain isolated in the restricted circles of their corporations. As long as women “accepted their role”, blacks resigned themselves to their subalternity, native peoples passively accepted their extinction and men selectively became “unbroachable”. And increasingly armed to "protect" their families from communism and the dissolution of the customs that made them "good" people. Fascist subjectivity is an archetype consciously constructed to order the domination relations that come from the “nature of things”.

Other attitudes towards the construction of “values” in Bolsonarist politics, such as prestige for summary execution groups “of bandits” (license to kill indiscriminately); right of people to arm themselves to defend themselves (only “good people” to protect themselves); opposition to the liberalization of light drug use (combined with the practical liberation of hard drugs in high social spheres); and the criticism of the heavy costs and excessive bureaucracy for contracting salaried work (especially for small service companies and traditional industrial production), are still in the popular imagination, fueling the fantasies of fascism justice. It is on this that we must in the short term compose a strategy

The absence of a bold proposal for social protection and labor protection from the new world of work, already in the majority, will always be a visible fault at the beginning of any democratic government and it will add to other key issues that a government like Lula's should address as soon as possible: a strongly progressive income tax, structural, fiscal and financial protection for small services and commerce businesses, a non-monopolistic economic space where authoritarian thought groups are formed to combat the criminality that affects them. ravages, the taxes and fees that suffocate them, objectively subsidizing the empire of banks and monopolies.

The formation of experienced, innovative and creative managers, who will operate in the short space of freedom allowed for the financial management of the State, in countries “outside” the organic center of the capital system, must be promoted quickly. Traditional methods of social-democratic thought, based on face-to-face ritualism – when not integrated into virtual systems of information, communication, control and political participation – founded on new informational technologies, will soon be irrelevant. We are in the most serious political crisis of the world-system, which, incidentally, the brilliance of our foreign policy is rapidly realizing.

It is the historical period of more pragmatism, amorality and perversity in the global policies of the rich capitalist countries, in which the traditional values ​​of political democracy and republicanism become mere instruments for the formation of military alliances with a view to the next geopolitical battles. In the opposite direction of this strategic battle between the richest countries, however, is that a country like Brazil, with its immense natural resources – averse to wars of conquest and imperial exercise –, can be the great democratic novelty of this first half of the century, to lend dignity to the lives of his people and to help defeat the now revived demon of fascism on a universal scale. Brazil will belong to the world as it belongs to America and itself, with its redeemed suffering people.

*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. Author, among other books, of possible utopia (Arts & Crafts).

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