Force against reason

Image: G. Cortez


Nobody fought more for democracy in Brazil than the left

“The best share always fell to those who had more strength, not reason” (Portuguese popular wisdom).

The 2022 electoral dispute has already begun in the commercial media, expressing a fraction of the ruling class that is positioned in defense of a third way, anti-Lula and anti-Bolsonaro, whoever it may be. The main media act, scandalously, as a “party above parties”. The pretext, this time, for the manipulation of the unwary, was the recent elections in Nicaragua, in which Daniel Ortega was re-elected for a fourth term. Countless other times, in recent years, these fake liberals fell silent, in undisguised connivance, when the exasperated hordes of the extreme right took to the streets shouting: “Brazil will not be a Venezuela” and “Go to Cuba”.

They've had more strength, but they've never been right. A campaign is under way to denounce that Lula and the entire left are not committed to democracy. This accusation is a slander, a hoax, and a lie. This political operation is intellectually and historically false, unfair and dishonest.

No one in Brazil, throughout the nation's tragic history, has fought more courageously, selflessly, and unselfishly for freedom than the left. It was like this against the Estado Novo in the thirties, during the twenty years of the military dictatorship, and in recent years against the neo-fascist in the presidency. The left, in all its shades and shades, from the most moderate to the most radical, has always warned that freedom and equality are not irreconcilable, they are indivisible. There is no freedom between unequals.

Before 1991, the argument was the denunciation of the Soviet Union. The mantra of the liberals is recurrent: the conspiracy theory of the “two demons”, that is, the denunciation of the symmetrical danger of left and right authoritarianism. Today, this discourse embraces the defense of “fiscal” responsibility allied to “social sensitivity”, but seeks to hide, cover up and erase that its “third way” candidates, in 2018, associated themselves with Bolsonaro, such as Dória and Sergio Moro.

The anti-imperialist commitment must engage us in defending the national independence of regimes that are threatened by the Triad, led by the United States, that governs the world: even from Iran or North Korea, for example. But, that doesn't mean having any illusions about your destinations. They are not points of support for the transition to socialism, and we should not defend them in the face of the mobilization of their own people. Internationalism cannot be complicity. In that same key, the government of the Ortega couple does not deserve support from the world left. Legitimate popular demonstrations, in recent years, have been brutally repressed and popular leaders arrested. The hopes aroused by the Sandinista revolution in 1979 were completely dashed. But this lamentable political and social degeneration of the Ortegas does not authorize a campaign that makes an amalgamation denouncing the entire left as authoritarian.

The tragic outcome of the socialist struggle in the 1789th century, with the capitalist restoration being led by leading fractions of the Stalinist parties in power, is feeding, even today, a certain shame, even with words that, because they were used and abused, fell into disgrace . Socialism and communism are some of these concepts, nor mention dictatorship of the proletariat. When Marx used it, in the mid-91s, it was “bread and butter” on the French left and fully shared in European socialist circles. After the French Revolution of XNUMX/XNUMX, nobody doubted that, when a workers' government came to conquer power, it would not last two months, if it did not protect itself with a revolutionary dictatorship. The experience of the Paris Commune only reinforced the expectation that the social revolution would awaken the most implacable and furious counter-revolution. The “laboratory of history” confirmed this prognosis.

Marx and Engels' elaboration had, from the beginning, as a central objective to remove socialism from the clouds of desires and to root it in the lessons of history. With Marxism, socialism made a meeting with science and, therefore, a break with utopia. It was no longer a matter of idealizing a future perfect society. But to seek in history the foundations of an anti-capitalist project.

Nevertheless, it is true that the utopian dimension of an egalitarian project should never be minimized, since the political bet will always depend on an engagement that requires facing doubts and risks, without forgetting the dangers and defeats. All the formulas that place the hope of defining a struggle that demands commitment and will “in history” can only help to sow fatalistic illusions or deterministic pessimism. “History” cannot decide anything because it is not a subject, but a process. Everything is struggle.

Socialism has always been understood by Marxism as a project that depends on the ability to mobilize and organize social forces with anti-capitalist interests, that is, in the first place, trust in the working class and the oppressed, and in the presence of political subjects, that is, revolutionary organizations capable of translating these interests into a perspective of power.

But without hope or “faith” in the possibility of these social subjects being victorious, what we could call a class conscience, it would be very difficult to sustain in a continuous way a militancy that demands sacrifices and abnegation. This feeling that has been called, in the past, “robust optimism” in the revolutionary disposition of the proletariat is indispensable to feed a political project, and has an evident utopian dimension.

The problem, however, is that the formula “utopian paradigm” has been used as an alternative to socialism, or even from an anti-capitalist strategic perspective. In a situation like the one we are experiencing, of a crisis of capitalism, but also of crisis and reorganization of the left and, therefore, of great uncertainties, it is not strange that ideological insecurities gain ground.

The new respectability of the concept of “utopian paradigm” is explained, therefore, because, comfortably, it promises to say a lot without committing to anything. And, also, because it allows numerous readings, which in itself reveals the ambiguities of its use. On the one hand, it refers to a rather constrained effort to overcome the “schematism” of campist currents that tirelessly dedicated themselves, for decades, to the unconditional defense of the “achievements” of socialist construction in the USSR and China (or even in Albania). , even though the socioeconomic evidence, among others, contradicted in an increasingly undisguised way that bureaucratic regimes could be anything but a regime in transition to socialism.

On the other hand, it expresses the tremendous pressures that have befallen the mass organizations of the labor movement in the last three decades, with the collapse of the former USSR, and the offensive of neoliberalism: it translates, in this sense, a confused theoretical movement of adaptation to the prevailing anti-socialist discourse, a recycling of European social democracy. But it is also used by outspoken socialists as a formula that seeks to go beyond the deterministic certainties of what was long identified, by former communist parties, as the tenets of "scientific socialism".

Are there margins of uncertainty in the struggle for socialism? Yes. Are the elements of barbarism increasing day by day in the face of the crisis of capitalism? Yes. Does the world revolution through socialism seem like a very difficult historical project today? Yes. It doesn't matter. The struggle for socialism is indivisible from the struggle for freedoms. We have hope. We know it's possible. October proved that it was possible.

*Valério Arcary is a retired professor at IFSP. Author, among other books, of Revolution meets history (Shaman).


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