Death is a party in Bolsonaro's Brazil

Edwin Sanchez. Insertion in ideological circuit #1. Based on the work of the artist Cildo Meireles. The author buys a gun on the black market, records sentences, then sells the gun on the illegal market. photos and documents

Death is a party in Bolsonaro's Brazil


Bolsonaro, as the great fascist that he is, needs the death and extermination of the other as a counterpoint and as a vanishing point of his policy.


Anyone who read Freud thinking about groups knows how the leader, when he is in the place of the “ideal of the ego”, one of the dimensions of the “superego”, has the power to hypnotism about the massive group that dominates. It just means that, with little mediation, the leader speaks the self of his faithful fascist. If the leader in power says exterminate the Jews like cockroaches for not being human, the group will produce gas chambers with him to kill people. If the leader says take an ineffective medicine, which can kill them, the group happily takes chloroquine with adverse effects, which can kill them. If the leader says, don't wear a mask, it means your oppression, the group revolts excitedly against the mask. If the leader says, carry on with the plague as if nothing had happened, your group goes out into the street, to the bar and to the clubs, dancing and drinking until the end of the world over the plague, as if nothing had happened…

Freud is hated by conventional political scientists, who disdain the psychic nature of power, for having shown that fascism is a desiring subjectivation, an irrational human structure of desire for power and submission, a technically and historically managed political modality of sadomasochism. Fascism is the overcoming, by the desire of power concentrated in one more open war against others, of every commitment to rationality in politics. And Freud was the first to say that, and not his disciple Reich, who continued his analysis of the principle of fascism, much highlighted by Deleuze and Guattari, who wanted to surpass Freud, exactly like the one who would have said that fascism was desired. It was Freud who demonstrated that fascism is desire, that it corresponds to unconscious forms of psychic reality. There are psychic forms for fascism, said Freud, which can be triggered historically in certain circumstances, and this immensely increases the sense of the work of civilization and politics in engaging with the radical sense of human work. against violence, in our own formation as subjects.

Bolsonaro, as the great fascist that he is, needs the death and extermination of the other as a counterpoint and as a vanishing point for his politics. If he can't actively kill, like one day said i would and like the Latin American dictator Pinochet that he admires so much, he does so through a decision to absolve the government of responsibility, and of government, in the face of a deadly global pandemic. There is no fascism without a necessary plan of mass murder. What was done in Brazil is that the immense destructive impulses of Bolsonarism, not being able to entirely destroy everything they want – the left, minority representations, universities, artists, civil rights… – overflowed to destroy all of society.

Bolsonaro explicitly ordered people in 2020 not to wear masks, to take fake medicine, and to happily expose themselves to the virus. He carried out an open, public political campaign against the vaccine, understood in its political pathology as a “weapon of the enemy”. And we saw this affirmative policy of destruction of life, through perversion and ignorance, which in this case are one and the same thing, happening in real time in the country. He condemned to death tens of thousands of Brazilians, who, in love with him or unaware of their loving bond with him, carried out the suicidal policy he needs. The death of a people out of love, without thought, for its fascist leader.


There is also another great hypnotist of people, groups and masses who gladly exposed themselves to the virus during the 2020 year-end festivities, and in January and at the 2021 carnival in Brazil. It's about yourself buoyancy of the enchanted life of merchandise and consumption, the inertia of movement and the attachment of desire to a form and way of living, biopolitics reinforced at every second and at every moment – ​​a relationship between men, and between them and the value of the things that are produced between them: the commodity fetishism.

As we have known since Adorno and Horkheimer, every formulation and expression of the industrial world of culture is, at its foundation – its own collective unconscious formed, productive and socially committed to the general logic of accumulation –, a general imaginary of festive celebration and of acceptance of what exists. Anti-critical by nature, the world created by the universal cultural industry has as its essential principle the logic that “everything that exists is good”. And all you want, living like this, is celebrate, celebrate and enjoy what exists, having access to things and their happiness, true or false, it doesn't matter. The principle is that of an affirmative culture, always positive, life leveraged as it is and in favor of all that is, as Marcuse said.

This is what the world of consumption as subjectification is. In this sense, Bolsonaro did not need a lot of work and no special energy to push people to live what, against the part reality of illness and death, they really wanted to live. Between the fascist leader, his cruel neoliberal anti-humanist logic, which wants to take the government out of responsibility for collective and social work, and the common and repetitive order of the continuous enjoyments of the market and the common commodity image in the world, there is also a strong elective continuity. The market that is celebrated in every purchase and every sale of any illusion it's also exactly the same who praises a world without government, without social commitment and with work, or anything that exists beyond merchandise, money and himself.

A cultural homogeneity of masses, and their planned enjoyment, prepare to homogeneity policy; this phrase by Adorno and Horkheimer from the 1940s was the first strong perception of the fascist elements present within the very world of the so-called liberal market, its general system of excitations and circulations of images and its reality show. She pointed to the totalitarian emergence of everyone's lives as exclusive market cultural agents, the neoliberalism to come, from the Chicago school, Guedes and Bolsonaro, as something that was always present in the mass market. In fact, in the great isolation of 2020, many became ill due to the loss of their life practices, the general environment of life in the commodity city. The impressive image of thousands of people, of all ages, entire families, lining up to enter the reopened shopping center, after a period of social isolation for the protection of life, became famous on the internet. They performed a ritual of worshiping their one true god, unspeakable, the thing in the store and the city for things, the shopping center.

People don't want it back any life, as much as they are totally incapable of reflecting in the time of silence and the emptying of their areas general in show business as life. They want back the mall crowded with things and its screaming, shocking cultural vulgarity, the globalized warehouses that give destination to the world production circuit, on a planetary scale. They want back the same order of production, refusal of meanings and the alterity of worlds and environmental reasons, which even generated the pandemic virus, the first universal symptom of the unthinkable crisis of the world of merchandise, Capitalism, of our time.

Before the global economic crisis of 2008, generated, as we know, by the terrorist millionaires of the Wall Street financial market, which disorganized a large part of the world's betting and value production circuits, there was a great young party, excited and excessive, that couldn't stop. It was the “world republic” of the electronic night, with a mecca in Berlin, which summoned the hedonistic youth of the time and the former youth counterculture to the same manic space of permanent agitation and mockery. That action and guys that existed for the conspicuous amusement could not stop neither night nor day. Dancing and enjoying non-stop, she created existential waiting zones as consumption of liberated industrialized pleasure, the new status of music and drugs in the world, which kept young people at the same time celebrating the party of the present time and aesthetically staging their ruin, also omnipresent, as true global boutique punks. Between the lack of jobs, the worldwide offer of images, information and enjoyment of the infinite things generated by the world's time, and the whole of life shifted to the micro-screens of the global personal internet, the solution of social compromise has become celebrate permanently, to be agitated non-stop, to be happy out of compulsion, overcoming the society of tiredness through the pleasure of excess, night and day, day and night. Enjoyment was forced, with the pulsation of electronic music as a device for a body in ecstasy and its synthetic drugs, taken on an industrial scale, to convince us, now colonizing affection and deforming dreams, that the world is good. The world ecstasy of the subjectivation of the electronic ballad found its sociology in the idea of ​​producing non-stop, without silence, intimacy or thought, about the universal ruin of the world of work and the wars of the power of production of the world refugees, which those young people knew well.

As I said elsewhere – in a book that deepens the study of the manic aesthetics of the affirmation of pleasure as an industry, and the performative refusal of terror as a survival strategy, The music of infinite time, (Cosac and Naify, 2014) –, this tendency to occupy desire with the pulsating technical objects of time, electronic music, imaginary mass pulsating on the internet and synthetic and recreational drugs, tended to dissolve the boundaries between day and night – sleep, dream, awakening and thought – in a new statute of subjectivation, of technical trance, continual feast in favor of all that exists. As well as, with another perspective of the same thing, the professor of art and theory at Columbia, Jonathan Crary, showed us, at the same moment, in his 24/7 Late capitalism and the ends of sleep. As is known, one of the effects of social isolation and the historical collection of people at home in 2020 was the immense and widespread sleep. In reverse of the explosive and massive world of permanent agitation, whose world circuits of endless electronic ballads were one of the fields of immanence and presentation, people reestablished during isolation the body's regressive time, personal and unconscious, of sleep and dream. Which presupposes the class privilege of having a house, bed, basic care and free time, without the invasion of production, to be able to sleep, and sleeping, to dream. From the manic turmoil of a world in crisis, which dances over the abyss of its own destruction, men – who have been allowed to by chance of class – retreated to the indefinite and silent time of sleep, of the unconscious spread over the being and the world and the secret agitation of the metaphysics of dreaming – the poetic, narrative, cinematographic realization, immanent to the dream. They slept and dreamed, in order to wake up from a much deeper social nightmare. The dream, which foreshadowed contact with the plague, said Artaud. The plague, which is the world.

Who threw himself into parties, and today dies alone in a cruel way at the doors of an ICU in chaos, could not bear to return to the politics of sleep and dreams, the maintenance of conditions for sleep and the necessary intimacy of the dream, and its necessary secret, or mystery. Like the global merchandise in fever and permanent party, these people also needed to enjoy the exposure of bodies as objects for the other's vision, and the fantasy, proper to capital, that everything that exists in this world, that is produced in this way, needs be celebrated, until the end.


Thus Bolsonaro and his crass common sense about conservative life under late capitalism, this attempt to reaffirm lost illusions of imaginary class power and the common power of the market as all that matters in the world, is simply in favor of what many have internalized. as being the natural truth of world machine, your desire for the world. The leader's hypnotism gains power by confirming everyone's desire that the world does not stop and has not stopped, and that we can continue our commitment to its infinite reproduction, unlimitedly enjoying the general regime of the commodity, which is in fact adored. However, between the love for the leader and the enjoyment of celebrating the spectacular market as human nature itself, there is a special element that Bolsonaro brings into play, for the tragedy of the Brazilian-style genocide, which is practically unique to us. A field of strong and very violent reactionary meanings, of long duration and tradition, which differentiates the social space constituted since the history of Brazil from every order of modern, scientific or critical reading, from a great commotion and social risk as we live.

There is only something similar to what Brazil does as a machine biopolitics exclusive in the United States of Donald Trump's white supremacists. A country that also, like here, condemned hundreds of thousands of Americans to death, due to the objective sadism of a culture in which the right to health is not universal, due to the narcissistic denialist arrogance of its leader, supported by his extreme right groups, whose presumed and capricious power was more important than the lives of his fellow citizens.

The historical strength of the politics of death is the following: it is not by chance that the USA and Brazil were the two great American countries of European colonization – one white, modernized and Protestant, the other white, of a type ancien régime and Catholic – who were formed with and through active colonial slavery, as their own way of producing wealth and society, in their own national territories. However, there, today, not exactly like here, social forces of responsibility, technique, science and collective commitment have organized themselves to combat and overcome its neo-fascist symptom, neo-slavery I would say, constellated in the lying leader and disengaged with everything that is not himself. Here we have many doubts about our political life impulses, those that unite, that add, that recognize the parts and expand the capacity to think about what is common.

In any case, only in a country of slave origin – from the world secular, European colonial order – can a government and an important part of society dispose of another part of the country for its radical contempt of any nature of common law, even the Right to life. Only in a country with a long history of slavery does a small part of society, linked to the middle classes who enjoy their own servitude, money lords who do not recognize any country and a radical culture of authoritarianism, religious and military, a split group of web of common and universal rights and scientific mediation for the global problem, can decree, as a State policy, that the population becomes contaminated, gets sick and dies, in a random but certain way.

Brazilian neo-fascism is unconsciously nourished by the profound reactionary, slave-owning colonial, Portuguese-monarchist tradition, which divided the nation from society, wealth and enslaved labor, to the roots of the country. Bolsonaro, captain of the bush in slave-owning Brazil extended to the now, treated Brazilians exactly as masters and their associates in the imperial XNUMXth century treated work in the country: “you only have instrumental value for the wealth you generate, for others, and not even one more right”. If they die, that is their fate. Slave was made to work, generate wealth for the master, and then die. That is, not to exist or cost anything to his “society”, which does not belong to him in any way, split from all recognition of his rights and his life. “So what?”, exclaims Bolsonaro, laughing excitedly in front of his supporters. corralzinho, in a scene taken from The Red Light Bandit by Rogério Sganzerla (1968), about the planned and desired death of hundreds of thousands of Brazilians.

*Tales Ab'Saber is professor of philosophy of psychoanalysis at Unifesp. Author, among other books, of Dreaming Restored: Forms of Dreaming in Bion, Winnicott and Freud (Ed. 34).


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