The hour of the helpless

John Wells, "Profiles", 1949.


These elections will be decided by the mass of destitute

“Grief and pleasure go so closely together that both the sad person who despairs and the happy person who trusts are bewildered” (Cervantes).

State violence at times or stages of exception not only generates fear or neuroses in the daily life of the alienated masses, but also promotes historical impulses. Vast portions of society, sometimes they go to the supposed moments of joy and relaxation in the market of consumerist illusions, sometimes they connect to the spaces of organized crime, already monopolized as power in the (authoritarian) State – or connecting (in a network), by the digital militias.

In these paranoid militias, militants can support concentration camps, the earth can be flat and Bolsonaro can be revealed as the redeemer of a fictitious nation: his fascism in jam – without theory and without project – cannot rise to a political plane minimally coherent, expands through hatred which, lacking to be a philosophy of action, becomes pure criminal action without a party.

the e-book 100 years crowd psychology (Jaqueline de Oliveira Moreira, Ana Carolina Dias da Silva, organizers, Ed CRV) brings a qualified set of texts on life and politics in contemporary democracy, from an angle that, although not unusual, is not the usual one, not even in narratives of the political struggle, nor in the debates and critique of democratic emancipation.

The book is a vast panel: psychoanalysis, psychology of the masses, training and control of the “spirit” of the dominated, traces of political philosophy, links between domination and liberation of minds, the false right of “everyone to own” – in the plot that everyone levels for merchandise – composes the main meaning of the collective book. It contains the excellent text “Remember, repeat and…repeat -the masses and authoritarianisms of yesterday and today” (by researcher Domingos Barroso da Silva), on which I rely for the present considerations on our democratic crisis.

In the reigning “hyperi-individualism”, combined with “the resurrection and progressive strengthening” of a fascist posture – of leaders like Trump and Bolsonaro – comes the “crushing of the public dimension by private things”, which is followed by the discredit of democratic institutions and the “a fertile environment for the development of new forms of tyranny”. These new forms of tyranny now spread the culture of “equality” (false), through the market, with the reforms that would be necessary so that “one day everyone there will be happy”.

The new forms of tyranny are expressed in a new world ideological context horizontally integrated – at the base – from a group of isolated individuals. They act alone, or in small groups, in networks that do not necessarily respond to their “class instincts”: their movements also mimic a set of vertical stimuli, “from outside” their original classes, which are manufactured in series by global bandits. like Steve Bannon.

The difficulties of communication, both on the left – which is always more solidly democratic – and on the traditional non-fascist right, which has mainly contingent relations with democracy, are therefore based on this dilemma: their leading nuclei continue to formulate their political commands composed of narratives long, but everyday life takes over history every day, with short times, serial impulses, provisional moralities, rapidly spreading famines and evanescent affections.

These communication difficulties to exercise political command, in the current stage of the crisis, are faced differently by the two main national political leaders: one representing the rubble of the Enlightenment unconscious precariously acquired in our short democratic periods; another representing the maximum social-democratic awareness acquired in the same period of political democracy.

Life is provisional and the drive of the market is permanent, like the crisis itself, sometimes fused in the inherited poverty of deformed social democracy, sometimes in the coldness of the impotent republic. Therefore, when Bolsonaro cruelly imitates the shortness of breath of those who are preparing to die, Lula speaks of the endemic hunger that spreads in the present time; when Bolsonaro snarls that torturing is necessary, Lula speaks of compassion and celebrates the light with the waste collectors that the market marginalizes; when Bolsonaro celebrates the present, as if the perpetuation of hatred was guaranteed, Lula speaks of the social cohesion of the past through the three meals of the day.

In the part of the article where the author addresses “Insecurity, precariousness and fear, the subject reduced to an individual and welcomed by the masses”, the author makes an important point: the profoundly human meaning of “cohesion based on shared fears, hatreds and resentments (through which) affectively united (they) manage to confer some stability to existence, which they feel is evaporating due to a freedom that, imposed according to the neoliberal primer, is more equivalent to helplessness”.

Perhaps when the left as a whole understands that these elections will be decided by the mass of the helpless – treated like cattle in the pandemic that still awaits us – we will be able to compose a unit, not only in resistance, but to govern, responding to the strong and short messages of those who do not breathe, either because of the virus or because of hunger. Let's remember that Bolsonaro, with all his insanity, vocation for lies and hate messages, is still heard by 40% of the population. Most of them “helpless” he created himself, helped by the “gentlemen” of the difficult choice.

*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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