The anti-neoliberal wave



Neoliberalism is a way of life. The arrangement to face the disputes of the global market affects both the corporate structure and the atomized emotional dispositions

Globalization implied a horizon based on the primacy of the market, with the State as manager to guarantee individual freedoms, which were confused with the freedoms of trade and movement of goods. The brake on state intervention, supported by the Washington Consensus (1989) and disseminated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), contained the promise never fulfilled anywhere for the presentification of the future.

In Brazil, misgovernment obeys the failed primer. Fit only in advertising, official economic policy is visible at traffic lights and in the millions who suffer from food insecurity. That is, hunger, which the nameless claims does not exist. Now, to the cognitive denialism (of science and knowledge), affective denialism (of the lack of empathy for the vulnerable) and political denialism (of the democratic rule of law) to impose an illiberal regime, the ill-fated representative of death adds the cynical denial of reality and statistics, tout court.

In the 1990s, the French press named unique thought the supremacy that, since then, has expanded and moved from an economic model to a model of civilization that (ops) extols “inequality” to configure The new raison du monde (La Découverte), interpreted by Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval. The mutations brought about by neoliberalism, in the form of social selfishness stimulated by competition at all levels and hyper-individualism reinforced by disunionization, contributed to the structuring of subjective conditions for the “new right”.

Colonialism (racism) and patriarchy (sexism) serve as foundations for capitalism, just as conservatism (in morals and customs) and neo-fascism (authoritarian and totalitarian) serve as supports for neoliberalism. It is symptomatic that the first laboratory of the Chicago Boys, guided by Milton Friedman, took place in Chile under the civil-military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Minister Paulo Guedes boasts of having collaborated with the accident, and vice versa. Equals attract.

At the same time, liberals reject the term “neoliberal” used by the founders of the Société du Mont-Pèlerin (1947), given the pejorative connotation it assumed over time. The same with regard to the classification of “paleoliberal”, recalling the laissez-faire manchester style in the beginnings of capitalism, described by Friedrich Engels, at the age of 24, in A situation of the working class in England (1845). Semantics aside, the set of ideas that opposed the Welfare State in post-war Europe sought governance with “less Marx, more Mises”.

Winston Ling, pioneer in soybean plantation (Santa Rosa-RS), in a Mises Institute post since deleted, speculated: “The activities of talented individuals trigger economic and technological changes that drive long-term growth and create opportunities for average people ( mediocre) to enter the circle of the elites”. He concluded that “the country needs more inequalities”. The fallacious reasoning of those who include in their curriculum the presentation of the allegorical Posto Ipiranga to Jair Messias, elides the capitalist logic that pressures the minimum wage below the indispensable to replace the energies expended in work, and promotes pauperism. For the rest, the patience preached by the businessman to enjoy the innovations of technology is an adventure that is always unsuccessful for the poor, although full of emotions. The “democratization of consumption” displaces the coveted object of desire of the “elites”; it does not erase the huge gap between social classes.

Neoliberalism is a way of life. It started with cost reduction goals, management reengineering and flexibility of work tasks. It resulted in competition between employees who, every day, must prove the added value to maintain employability and tight wages. The radical arrangement to face the disputes of the global market affects both the business structure and the atomized emotional dispositions. Accounting evaluation criteria are also used in the self-evaluation of individuals, in the domestic space. In the name of profitability and productivity, the Psi offices are crowded. Mindless walks of petty-bourgeoisie zombies, ditto. Some to cure themselves of resentment and others to exercise militia hatred, vandalize tributes to Marielle Franco and attack the Federal Supreme Court (STF).

Distinct from the productive subject of Fordism, the successful neo-subject in the urban jungle is characterized by a possessive individuality, which is disguised as “meritocracy”. This is the persona who aspires to wealth, rises in the stock market, consumes luxury goods and skips the queue at the buffet lines when the occasion arises. the character of yuppie, portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in the film The wolf of Wall Street (2013), expresses the hegemonic dramaturgy. On the side of the “pobretariat”, to cross the troubled sea of ​​finances, it is necessary to turn immersion in unemployment and informality – from precarious occupations – into a lifeboat for desperate “entrepreneurs”. It's what's left of the shipwreck, in which the classic meaning of work no longer confers a class identity on super-exploited workers, converted into fighters for subsistence, without union organization. The expectation is to rebuild the bonds of sociability in a collective, with a formal contract.

Nobel laureate in economics, James Tobin (1918-2002), a supporter of “a liberalism with a human face” that does not go back to the past, but to a post-neoliberal future, proposed a 0,1% tax on international transactions in the “casino”. financial". According to calculations, it would be enough to end hunger on the planet. Needless to add, he died without seeing his humanitarian proposition come to fruition. He did not sensitize the system, which only moves to maximize profits. The idea circulated with sympathy in the inaugural editions of the World Social Forum (WSF), in Porto Alegre. At the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, the doors remained closed. Neither the economic crisis of 2007-2008, which started in the United States and was soon exported to both hemispheres, nor the pandemic health crisis caused by the coronavirus that has plagued the last three years and led to the closure of companies and jobs, managed to sensitize the “owners of the power".

The paradigm, synthesized in the “fiscal balance”, blocks solidarity and critical thinking in the media. It is as if the systemic logic, despite the erosion of the absolute hegemony it enjoyed, continued without public opposition. The dominant monetarist conception in the economic field subtracts opponents, removing their legitimacy. The media shield acts as a protection against awareness of the meager results produced by free market policies, with the reduction of the regulatory functions of the State. The gag aims to deconstruct the causal link to preserve intact the remedy recommended by the IMF. Therefore, the Globo and Bandeirantes Network spared the “court jester” uncomfortable questions in contradiction with the dogmas shared by the right, which knows how to use cutlery, and the extreme right, which eats with dirty hands: both loyal to the dull Ministry of Economy in current debates on elections.

For the corporate media, “everything must change so that everything stays as it is”, as is taught in the masterpiece by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, The Leopard. The candidate for re-election and the supposed “third way” share the project of an excluding nation in a simulacrum of the Republic. The “liberals”, faced with the fusion of the public and private spheres, surrender to the cliché – “there is no alternative, the totalitarianism of the market is unavoidable”. Pseudo indignation, defeatism or apathy do not change the pieces of the board. Keep the game undefined. One understands the lament of Pope Francis: “Our time suffers from the loss of love and compassion”. The counter-hegemonic movements and the political-electoral articulation led by Lula da Silva translate the words of the Pontiff into a platform of action, with strategies in the game of chess to overcome the unequal order and extend to all and all the “right to have rights ”. Checkmate comes from the ballot box.

In this context, of updating the old metaphor about the “big house” and the “slave quarters”, with the vertiginous increase in social polarization between the privileged 1% and the 99% forgotten on the side of the road of progress, the Judiciary often skids on the curve of iniquities and parks in the garage of the powerful. The illegalities of Lava Jato are the most recent proof of the slippage.

“Justice, politicized, fragmented and lost the prerogative of being the last instance. With no one else able to arbitrate interests and resolve disagreements, divergence settled between friends, families and throughout society. The civilizing nerve was broken”, accuses Carlos Melo, in the article entitled “Brazilian march towards insensatez” (in: Democracy at risk, Companhia das Letras). Big mistakes have consequences. Filmmaker José Padilha, director of the apologética series the mechanism (2018), who praised former judge Sergio Moro in the judicial operation in Curitiba, portrayed himself with a mea culpa: “I was naive, naive. A lot of people were deluded.”

However, another rationality emerges, based on cooperation in defense of the common good in society and nature. Utopia is necessary to awaken the political will (virtue) and modify the socioeconomic, cultural and environmental fabric. If utopia did not exist, we would certainly need to invent it. It is the active engine of criticism, dissent and democracy. The Constitutions have this corrective role by signaling how things should be, and not how they are presented in tradition. Its revolutionary importance comes from the humanist goals explained to illuminate the efforts to improve republican institutions, to guarantee the maximum of equality and freedom.

The formation of a large Latin American anti-neoliberal wave cannot be excluded. See the victories of progressive forces in Latin America. The caravan of hope crosses Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Chile and Colombia, with an undeniable accumulation of popular energy in Uruguay, Ecuador, Paraguay and Brazil, which is preparing to inflict in October a resounding defeat to the support bases of neoliberalism – neoconservatism and neofascism. Gradually, the spectrum of the left leaves behind the “failure of imagination”, which marked the period of reflux.

The opening of the political program of the “Frente Juntos Pelo Brasil”, for civil society to list contributions, themes and proposals, showed creativity, humility and generosity. Immediately, around 1968 non-members of the consortium of parties organized with the PT responded to the call. The very creation of “party federations” makes it possible to carry out one of the banners of the symbolic movement of May XNUMX, paving the way for “imagination to power”. As pointed out by Dardot and Laval (op.cit.): “The principle of the common that emanates today from movements, struggles and experiences refers to a system of practices directly contrary to neoliberal rationality and capable of revolutionizing the set of social relations”.

The negationist necropolitics and the perverse levels of inhumanity still cause thousands of preventable deaths. But the Brazilian people did not win. Another reason the world is possible!

* Luiz Marques is a professor of political science at UFRGS. He was Rio Grande do Sul's state secretary of culture in the Olívio Dutra government.


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