The Mountain of Class Struggle

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By ANDRÉ BOF*

The limits of the left in Brazil

For most of my still brief conscious political life I lived in a rare epoch. In fact, it was during its duration that I formed myself politically, psychologically and, of course, morally. That time, although relatively frequent in the central countries of our capitalist planet, was never very familiar in the lands from which I write.

When Marx writes about the “industrial cycles”, unfolding in phases of prosperity followed by crises of overproduction causing misery, already foreseen for a duration, variable, of course, of about ten years, he was talking about the only nation in which capitalist relations of production had fully dominated all spheres of material production: England.

In Brazil, over the last, perhaps, two centuries of its imperial, republican and dictatorial history, it has experienced some of these cyclical oscillations, with only one fundamental difference: in a few, in the phases of material prosperity (commonly, accelerated capital accumulation), there was the political line of allowing the granting of a larger part of the “pie”, in the form of concessions, however small they were, as a way of preventively appeasing the rage of the exploited.

Here, the mark made by fire by peripheral Capitalism is demonstrated in the unbridled super-exploitation of the workers, in a make-up civil war imposed on the poor by the state of the bosses and by the structural payment of wages far below the value of the labor force (here is an average wage of 1500 reais, while a minimum for survival, calculated by DIEESE, should be 5000 reais).

My training took place in one of those times when, despite not altering these fundamental characteristics of Brazilian capitalism, small concessions were made, considered, by the miserable and secular reality of dispossession, as enormous contributions to the life and hope of the poor and workers.

The PT's years in power brought, in the wake of the enormous boost sustained by the consumption of commodities Chinese (those things like soybeans, ores and meat, the flagship of Brazilian paper in world production chains), measures whose objective was, in addition to sustaining the party in power, to fulfill a calming role, to guide hopes, anxieties and desires " through the rails and margins of democracy” – bourgeois, of course.

People want. This is a fact. And to those who lack the most, desire comes in the most varied forms and intensities. The ruling class of our times, the bosses, know this. Effectively, realizing your reason for living, accumulating more capital, depends on your ability to explore, create and guide these desires. There is profit only where there is desire and purchase.

The step of all those with money, at all times when the oppressed class awakens and understands the centuries of its exploitation and its potential strength when united, was to seek to lead hopes along the tracks, domesticated and controlled, of its political regime, its institutions , its laws and its deadlines that never come.

In exchange for family grants, access to university, some increase in the minimum wage (always far below the minimum wage), the PT managed to immobilize movements and raise expectations for the State: everything depended on knowing how to wait for the “political talent” of this or that parliamentarian bring “improvements by drops”.

The discussion about how ephemeral and provisional these concessions were and could be is exhaustive. Since 2015, they have all been wiped off the map. The history of the class struggle demonstrates that all minimally serious and lasting improvements can only come as a by-product of a revolutionary struggle, that is, a change in the correlation of forces between the pawns and the bosses.

The levels of the working day, wages, housing conditions, social rights, all were conquered by a fight against the exploitation of work, that is, by questioning the capitalist relations of production. Evidently, in each of these combats, which form part of a permanent civil war between workers and exploiters, a certain degree of consciousness and class organization by the oppressed is assumed.

Although this issue has not been resolved among organizations that consider themselves “revolutionary”, it is evident that a profound setback in these two assumptions has been imposed, since this absorption of the fight for conciliation of the PT, taking a dip with the impeachment of Dilma and the establishment of a government supervised by the military, with Bolsonaro as a figurehead.

In the midst of this desolate scenario, here I find myself, faced with a generalized confusion and domestication by bourgeois laws and property, not only by the average conscience of the common worker, but by groups of the socialist left. Sunken in the quagmire of the elections, they continue to conduct the numerous and serious demands of the exploited, at most, for a bill, a parliamentary petition or a strike plastered by a cowardly union practice before the courts.

Unusual that, faced with the call of their reason for being, with the uncontrolled proliferation of hunger, unemployment, moral misery, obscurantism, our socialists do not attend the meeting of history. Without contributing any example in terms of propaganda, direct action, resistance and defensive struggles capable of teaching and leading the organization to new generations of pawns, against all these attacks and the abysmal worsening of life, our socialists have become the most tragicomedy of the bourgeois spectacle: the ombudsman of capitalist exploitation.

There is no serious reference to socialist and revolutionary ideas or figures by workers. Thus, they become more feedback in their sects, with their own vocabularies and common sterility, all floating amidst the sea of ​​small disputes of small powers and small privileges of small figures.

Lost in actions oriented by digital marketing interests, skating in the laceration of the middle class and, fundamentally, oriented as a support platform for the careers of social climbers, selfish explorers of social niches and accommodated parliamentarians and trade unionists, our socialist left is liberalizing at the speed of light in this crisis. It becomes the expected opposition… and harmless.

Its next step is to meddle in the affairs of liberal democracy and, selling the sweetened lie of the idealized past, become the guarantor of the newest formula for saving the Brazilian nation, this machine for killing blacks and sucking up pawns:

Lula's redemptive candidacy and…. Alckmin!

For reasons of dignity, I refuse to list the inventory of evil done by that gentleman, the massacrer of Pinheirinho. Its obvious function is to tutor the PT managers and Lula so that they "walk in line" and abandon any slight intention of making concessions again or retreating from attacks, such as the labor reform.

It is enough to state this as the most likely reality to return to power to clarify the vision of the size of our crisis. Ahead there is a mountain, with each escarpment filled with alienation, delay, high cost of living, fragmentation, division and unprecedented precariousness of labor relations, long and intense journeys, queues of bone, territorial portions taken over by crime and churches associated with the State, needs to resume unions and create others, in short, a mountain to climb to open the eyes and raise the hands of the workers.

However, our yellowish socialists – and even some more reddish variables – seem to resign themselves to an oscillating role, sometimes as an ombudsman, sometimes as a candidate for “human manager” of a capitalism that, for nothing, for profit, certainly took millions of workers Brazilians to death in an epidemic.

This reality is only possible thanks to a chronic disease from which our left, once socialist, increasingly liberal, suffers: its composition and infection by the interests and upstart hunger of the privileged layers of the middle class and the petty bourgeoisie, without any serious interest or capacity. to break with life under capitalism.

I had difficulty perceiving the limits of this left. In the days of my formation, the rhythms were slow. Under the protection of the good living conditions and relative social peace of the PT governments, it was possible for even the most skinny of today to sustain a red and radical speech. There was no assessment, as today, of anything or self-criticism of anything. All leaderships assigned themselves the role of guardians of the keys to socialism.

Today, bewitched by the perfume of social prestige, figures like these, throw their past, already shy, of criticism into a trunk and support the deviation of just popular indignation, from the revolutionary paths to the paths of “citizenship”, assistentialism and stifling of the conscience of class.

What a pity to climb this mountain almost barefoot! But what a gift to be able to live in times when words are tested to the point of quickly making the masks of the so-called “friends” of the people drop.

* André Bof he is an unemployed worker, a former subway worker and holds a bachelor's degree in social sciences from USP.

 

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