The programmed slowdown of civil rubble

Image: Luiz Armando Bagolin


Procedural priority of neofascist necropolitics under a neoliberal north: testing the limits of institutional and democratic tolerance capital.


On the eve of the first pandemic Christmas in the last 100 years, the Government of the State of São Paulo and the City Hall of the metropolis announced a joint action to revoke the right of the elderly to a “free pass” in public urban mobility systems. The measure, dated 23/12, largely harmed the age group of 60 to 64 years in Greater São Paulo.

The complexity of socioeconomic development has raised urban mobility to a multidimensional axis of work, relationship and leisure life. This scenario of possibilities is currently at the heart of countless activities and expectations, beyond mere displacement. Any burden on this mobility easily affects different and scattered sectors of the population's daily life, not just the age group affected.

The humanist and indignant reading, legitimately smeared with pragmatic moralism, hangs, with perplexity, the decision of the two main executive instances of São Paulo on the books of evil. The undisturbed strategic reading, scalded without astonishment in the aberrations of history, reminds us, however, that it is purely about politics, in the ultraliberal, dry and objective way, of someone else's eye piercing, without fault.

The restrictive measure rides on (and patents) the progressive and legal dismantling of social rights from within the State itself.

Unsurprisingly, neo-fascism exercises opportunistic politics: it institutionally benefits from circumstances to undertake advances. The guillotine decision has him taking advantage of the current atmosphere of anti-pandemic fear. It does not depend on whether the hatching period was Christmas. Neofascist conveniences include fables and mass festivities only if they serve their own tales of occluded terror.

If there is a calculation for disposal (and not just at a small cost), neo-fascism will even shoot at those who should receive favors of protection from everyone (not only from it), either by legal determination against omission, or by moral imperatives of solidarity. In many cases, neo-fascism attacks citizens who voted for it in the last election.


The São Paulo and anti-Christmas shot in an age group as delicate as the elderly requires expertise against specific policy, even if it only tones circulating lights on the subject. (The hope of democracy as a universal value requires continuous vigilance in its favor – a collective effort that, we see today, is of interest only to a certain portion of the population.)

Symbolic state aggression, the shot, for its serious material consequences, is, as said, an emblem of the regular, legal and populist functioning of neo-fascism.

The necropolitical progress of the demolition of social rights in Brazil, if it is not linear, neither is it liquid and guaranteed, despite the march. Rejecting a barrier, convinced and representative by organized civil society, neo-fascism, mimicking a drenched feline, tames its tail between its legs and, simulating a bowed head, retreats in the face of setbacks and setbacks. This theatricality, convincing for the reckless and credulous, does not expose weaknesses. Rather, neo-fascist necropolitics exploits, with this procedure, its own potency, refines its strength, measures chances, calculates successes, softens defeats, plans to revive – and erupts again. Of course, it can keep coffin gurus as sources of historical inspiration. However, he follows self-taught principles in everything. It is pragmatic: balanced, with management patience, teachings extracted from its own raw political experience, dug, sometimes, in programmed failures, later compensated by stitching and sequential gains.

Under such a phlegm, the well-known goal of neo-fascist necropolitics is the neoliberal destruction of all public policies for the successful fight against socioeconomic inequalities – state reparation considered “communist”, “socialist” and similar fetishes. The national disservice of scorched earth extends until there is no geographic piece left without encrustation of some kind of private profitable activity. The effectiveness of this social desertion matches the highest possible annual peak of financialization and the maximum economic weakness of the State as an investor, administrator and negotiator of goods and production results, capable of extensive job creation.


Ostensibly groping, neo-fascist necropolitics tests, mocking in plain sight or in an occluded manner, the institutional limits of existing formal democracy, that is, constitutionally recognized and established, historic gold of liberal-republican consciousness, a fundamental step and extraordinary advance in the agenda of defense of social, political, civil, labor and social security rights – but not yet the ideal and desired democracy, with concrete and deep roots in everyday life. The strategic sinister of testing lashes out at the tolerance capital of organized civil instances and plays with the patience of the silent suffering of the impoverished population. It accomplishes this a little each time, sometimes with leaps and “accidents”, sometimes with some progression. It seeks, therefore, to acculturate mentalities in the habituation of ideas and proposals that ruin the public patrimony crossed by interests of social movements; and, beyond the rehearsal balloons, he molds the common perception in the intricacies of his worldview. His expectation is that one day testing acts will become so commonplace that, in a vain dream of devastation, the resistance of organized civil society will go into a hangover and abandon the agenda, opening the way for immediate reception, under active or pass without fuss. O telos of testing as a State procedure is its validity as a trivial and invisible policy.

Neofascist necropolitics repeats, and repeats, and repeats once more, as if echoing a recent funeral chapter of ancient bloody papyri. Acts like you have your whole life ahead of you. It is sure to have resurfaced to stay officially for a long time.


Obviously, the eventual cancellation of any proposal through strategic withdrawal is never absolute. In general, neo-fascist necropolitics does not waste a ticket. It preserves goals by intensifying by granting encouragement to the controlled pace: repetition is – and always will be – the fulcrum of its original strain. It does not practice reiteration of the literal Same. The recipe always receives a handful of deteriorated pepper: it seeks the Same reheated, with foreseen modulations, accommodating adjustments of retreat. In other words – and unless surprise by failure of better judgment –, the hardening of neo-fascism does not need to resort to the traditional method of military imposition down the throats of supposed vassals. If the coup-like instrumentalization of the State's repressive apparatus is the fast track to military protection of civil spaces, the methodical repetition of testing attacks on society intends to achieve an identical result over time.

The tuning fork of this passage dissolves in relativity. The strategic slowness of the dismantling progress is evident to observers who follow it from day to day, especially in a time when, soaking up more ink, events of yesterday end up, many times, not mattering much when the whole society has already moved to the agony of the present. trends last. The same slowness, however, will appear “ultra-fast” when apprehended under the prism of the long temporalities of history. This prism shows, in fact, how much the political relationship with speed as a strategic resource – sometimes assumed as total readiness, sometimes taken as a calculated wait – constitutes a fundamental beam of the populist success of neo-fascism and its necropolitics. In the history of humanity, speed served authoritarian and totalitarian regimes as docile soil, without resistance, to invaders.

The tentative and groping model of administration trains, in advance, high performance in the next elections, until one day it succeeds in swallowing them in a long-desired feast, of close-time in the open, in the shadow of extensive civil support pusillanimity, relatively doped in the charismatic swamp of the “good” (and opaque) intentionality of the suitors.


The fundamental and tireless task of the center-left democratic forces – in the area of ​​conventional politics as well as in the universe of culture and the arts, in education as in the sciences and technological innovation, and so on – is to intercept and stop, at the core, with the greatest possible counterspeed, this populist process of naturalization of necropolitical iniquity. Without the decisive liveliness of the streets and windows – including social networks as one of its most important flows of historical renewal – no necropolitics will, however, be neutralized, let alone extirpated, whether from the slow universe of legislation and morals, or above all where this slowness drags pleasure for permanence, in discreet spaces, on this side of public squares.

* Eugene Trivinho is professor of the Graduate Studies Program in Communication and Semiotics at the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo (PUC-SP).


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