Lula's phrase

Palestinian child in the Gaza Strip / Reproduction Telegram
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By HENRY BURNETT*

The great victory of Nazism was not to exterminate Jews, blacks, disabled people and gays, but to reduce them to a sub-human condition. And in many ways Nazi-fascism won and continues to win

Like many people in Brazil and around the world, I was initially shocked by Lula's statement about Israeli action and its similarity to Nazi action. The predictable reaction came immediately, especially through the so-called mainstream press – as far as I could read, it was mostly opposed to the president's statement, as was to be expected. How much time would they have to think? Some important analyses, without a doubt, but they are still not the objects of this comment. I want to focus on another point, which seems simply unknown, although present in an ostensible way. I refer, paraphrasing Giorgio Agamben, to “what remains of Auschwitz”.

Like many students and teachers in Brazil, especially in the field of philosophy, I spent the last 30 years reading and writing about Nazi-fascism, often to the detriment of reading about slavery, for example. For this reason, when Bolsonarism was taking its first steps, I was one of those who hesitated to point out fascist characteristics in the domestic authoritarian movement.

I feared the trivialization of a term dear to the history of humanity, at the same time that I did not want to lend Brazilian extremism greater airs than it actually had, or that I doubted that it had, that is, I hesitated in the hope that I was wrong, that deep down I wanted to that several colleagues who never hesitated in their diagnosis were wrong, I chickened out for two years after taking office, until I completely changed my understanding of that historical moment.

All the elements that led to the rise of Nazi-fascism were clearly given during the strengthening of Bolsonarism, to name a few: patriotism, religion, economy, family, morals, national symbolism, values, property, anti-fascism. -intellectualism, hatred for the arts, repulsion towards sexual enjoyment, censorship of books, the resurgence of the “medieval” vision of the Earth, scientific denial, but, above all, the deep hatred for the other, for the unknown.

Black bodies, gays, artists, trans, fat, deformed, old people, any and all human types that clash precisely with the idealization of the family as it is constituted in modern times: in the central figure of the authoritarian father, the submissive mother and of obedient children. This is why it seems trite to “religious” and “patriotic” people that every vulnerable body could simply disappear; In this sense, the pandemic and Bolsonarism came together in a fraternal alliance. The more dead the better, but not just any dead, especially those who did not “love Brazil”, or, to use the racist example, those who would never enter the family circle because “education” persevered there.

If killing deviant and inadequate bodies was always one of the most effective actions of the Empire and the Republic (slavery, Canudos War, Military Dictatorship...), the pandemic did it at no cost. Not that the lethality of the State gave any respite. The security forces continued their path, exterminating especially young black people, in a whitening program that was theoretically defended at the turn of the 19th century and which today remains under the mantle of defending security, with the acquiescence and protection of the State. and applause from elites, Bolsonaro supporters or not.

We do not need an updated concept of genocide, we need to admit that we are silent in the face of its programmatic efficiency, as there are various forms of deliberate extermination in activity in different places around the world, racial, political, ethnic, partial or total of different groups and/or individuals.

Why replace all of this, facts that are also widely known and studied in the human sciences, to defend Lula? No. To remember that the great victory of Nazism was not to exterminate Jews, blacks, disabled people and gays, but to reduce them to a sub-human condition, indiscernible from any philosophical delimitation, transforming them into “Muslims”, as we learned with Primo Levi; men and women incapable of eating, thinking, reacting, or even dying – therefore, many forms of genocide in progress today go straight to the point, although the racial background and extreme violence remain, even without the laboratory and experimental “nuances” of SS. Who should die? All those who do not adapt or who impede the uncontrollable advance of immoral capitalist progress, which leads the world in the apparently irreversible direction of its self-suppression.

I remember all this with shameful brevity because the timing require. We must not forget that the permanence of the Nazi ideal is not only manifested in renewed extermination camps, illegal prisons based on “democratic” states of exception, physical elimination of opponents, international neglect of the underprivileged, but in any and all actions that seek to eliminate by force those who prevent the total triumph of those who intend to write history.

In many ways, Nazi-fascism won and continues to win, to the extent that its forms of action still serve today as a paradigm for the oppressors, who must always win, whoever they are.

*Henry Burnett is a professor of philosophy at Unifesp. Author, among other books, of Musical mirror of the world (Phi publisher).


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