The administrative reform of Guedes and Bolsonaro



An analysis of PEC no. 32/20 as a form of hyper-real subsumption of labor to capital and the State.


For some time now, we have been studying law based on the notion of legal form – which is the one that typifies the capitalist mode of production. In capitalism, unlike other modes of production, the purchase and sale of labor power is its trademark. This alienation takes place through a contract that permeates society in all its dimensions, from ethics to aesthetics, including law. And, like every contractual relationship, we are talking about legal subjects, supposedly equal, free and owners.

After making some analyses, for the beginning of capitalism, from the process of abstraction of work – in which there is a passage from concrete work (which linked workers to the object produced more immediately and in an organic way – see the example of artisans from European Middle Ages) to abstract work (the most indistinct work, in which all workers are treated based on a measure of generalized equality of sold labor forces) -, we have understood that the best way to understand the transformations in the mode of production capitalist is the notion of subsumption in its various modalities.

This text is part of a series of others that deal with the theme in what I understand to be its most important dimensions: (a) its relationship with new technologies (thus, within the scope of productive forces), (b) its perception in the political sphere and (c) its treatment in relation to the state in view of the administrative reform proposed by the Bolsonaro government. Obviously, this article refers to the latter perspective. With regard to the first two, I draw attention, respectively, to the texts “Hyper-real subsumption of labor to capital and new technologies”[1] and “Two years of misgovernment – ​​violence and ideology”[2].

As is well known, in the midst of a pandemic, the Jair Bolsonaro Government proposed the reform of the Brazilian public administration through Proposal for Amendment n. 32. Regarding the subject, we have written and reiterated the following: “As the contractual (or legal) form adapts to changes in the capitalist mode of production, there is a constant resizing in this relationship between the public and the private. The same is true of state apparatus. Two situations have been shown to be historically important for this relationship: 1) as the class struggle intensifies, capitalism strategically uses the distance between the two figures; on the contrary, with the lesser intensity of the class struggle, there is a rapprochement between both (making it even more difficult to discern where the public begins and at what moment one is talking about the private) and 2) in an initial stage of capitalism, a greater distance of the structuring dynamics of the public and the private was fundamental, integrating a set of measures of rigid organization of the purchase and sale of the workforce; at the present time, the approximation of the dynamics of public and private structuring is part of an integrated whole regarding the flexible organization of the purchase and sale of the workforce. In order to understand the proposal for administrative reform brought to Congress by the current government, it is necessary to understand exactly that we are in the second instants of the previous table, that is: a) approximation of public and private due to less intensity of class struggle; b) importation of administrative techniques from the private sector to the public as one of the contents of this moment of flexible organization of the purchase and sale of the workforce”.[3]

We intend here to deepen this importation of techniques from the private sector to the public sector based on the concept we elaborated, the hyper-real subsumption of work to capital. And, in this compass, we will talk about the related issue of the need for resistance from the working class so that the process is stopped. Before dealing with these perspectives, however, we need to make some conceptual incursions.

Exploring the history-concepts of formal subsumption, real subsumption and hyper-real subsumption of labor to capital

For the theoretical analysis of the theme to be explored, we start from the production of material life, in which the surplus produced therefrom has been, in the course of the historical process, expropriated by one class to the detriment of another to obtain advantages. Therefore, when we historically produce our housing, food, clothing and many other products that make it possible for us to live and coexist, we do so through an arrangement of techniques and tools (productive forces) and we are guided by determinations of property relations (relations of production ). For this purpose, we use our workforce, which is expropriated by a class that takes advantage of it for the accumulation that is favorable to it. In capitalism, it is the first time, in the historical process, that a class (the bourgeoisie) extracts for itself surplus value resulting from wages, using a social contract based on the purchase and sale of labor power.

Therefore, the specific form of capitalism is known as legal form (which does not merely correspond to law, since it also includes ethics, aesthetics, etiquette, etc.). In the notion of legal form, immediately derived from the commodity form, we appear as subjects of law: supposedly free, equal and owners. The debates on freedom and equality, which are very common in the legal world, are fundamental, insofar as such notions are presented, in capitalism, as if they were a reality, when, in fact, they do not have the material conditions for the its effective implementation. Therefore, there is only an appearance of freedom and equality, which is reproduced through legal ideology.

By ideology, we understand the interpellation of the individual as subject to the realization of practices already consolidated in a given mode of production. In capitalism, we are asked to reproduce the purchase and sale of the only commodity that really belongs to the worker: the workforce. This is, in short, the legal ideology, which can be identified as the matrix of various ideological discourses (things like gender ideology, ideology of collaboration between worker and employer, ideology of entrepreneurship and others). Here, in a very tight synthesis, we bring together four authors: Karl Marx, Evgeni Pachukanis, Louis Althusser and Bernard Edelman. Starting from them, let us deepen our analysis of the history-concepts (understood as those that can only be extracted from historical materiality in its constant dialectic) necessary for our analysis and of its pertinence to the theme of the state in general.

At the beginning of capitalism, there was a process of formal subsumption of work to capital that gave way, over time, to the real subsumption of work to capital. In this path, what was at stake, in the social division of work, was the material possibility for the working class to have the capacity to avoid the fragmentation of its domain over the technical process of work, in short, over the knowledge of work. Over time, capital began to organize all phases of the knowledge process from a productive perspective and, with the fragmentation of knowledge resulting from it, the submission of male and female workers increased.

As this happens, there is a change in conditions not only in the world of work, but in social relations as a whole. All the pores of life are affected by the subsumption of work to capital – the subsumption taking on proportions that are not only real anymore, but hyper-real, in the sense that, from what some authors tend to call post-modernity, it would have integrated characteristics that intensify violence in the production, requiring, however, a strong ideological load to support it.

The issue of organization seems fundamental here. That is, the real subsumption of work to capital, in our opinion, is closely related to the question of organization, especially of the productive forces (synthetically, the tools, instruments, including work administration, which vary according to the modes of production). . In given historical conditions, especially in those where there is a greater intensity of class struggle, the bourgeoisie organizes the productive forces in order to enable a more expressive composition with the working class. At that moment, the rigid organization model in the purchase and sale of the workforce is adopted. It is a period with an increase in the number of social rights, with greater stability in employment or even with a way of life based on the postulate of security. To the extent that, with the granting of these advantages, there is a cooling of the class struggle, the tendency is that capitalism can change its assault on the organization of the purchase and sale of the workforce, in order to potentiate the extraction of surplus value. value.

Thus, the world begins to witness the advent of “work on demand”, accompanied by manifestations of relations around merchandise in general, also from this perspective: Netflix, HBO or SKY on demand and so on. The first manifestation of this “on demantization” (allowing us a neologism) can occur outside the labor power commodity. However, this is only apparent, as it necessarily affects the most important of all commodities, labor power, since it is from it that the value of the others flows. It is at that moment that subsumption enters a new cycle, since it can be thought of from the maximum flexibility of a whole of society, in which the workforce is the engine.

In this context, technologies such as applications for product delivery on demand should be seen as a fundamental data of the process. Delivery, for example, of a meal to our home is nothing new, although it was carried out by bikers employed by the company itself or by third parties. However, the entry into the field of applications assumes relevance to explain how, for the process of subsumption of work to capital, technologies are fundamental, conceiving possibilities for renewing the process of domination. And here comes a fact that deserves to be highlighted: the role of legal ideology in this path.

Capitalism is the only mode of production, so far, in which there is a need for an ideology that hides, from the materiality of reality, violence in production. This did not happen in other modes of production in which violence directly affected the director producer. The slave suffered violence, while the ideology of the slave mode of production was not used to hide it. At most, it had other functions, which do not deserve to be explored here, since the most important, for the purposes of this analysis, is the violence-ideology relationship in capitalism, with its emphasis on the transformation of the process of subsumption of labor to capital.

In summary, if in order to understand the subject of law, the perception of the passage from concrete to abstract work is sufficient, for the understanding of legal ideology it is essential to verify the change in the role played in the passage from the formal subsumption of work to capital to another known one. as real, and, finally, for a third one that I will call (as a new figure in relation to the previous ones explored by Marx) hyper-real.

In the change from other modes of production to capitalism, the work that was more organic, creating an indivisible whole between the direct producer and what was produced, becomes a category marked by indistinction, in which it becomes easier to value it from of the idea of ​​equality. This is the passage from concrete work (first) to abstract work (second), typical of capitalism in its formation and development. In the process of abstraction, the works come to be considered equal, without any substantial difference – and, therefore, more easily replaceable.

This change that affects the labor force commodity and is present in the advent of the capitalist mode of production is passed on, in legal form, to the subject of law: also considered from the standpoint of equality. It is from there that we can insist that law, as a manifestation of a specific form of capitalism, has nothing to do with justice – that metaphysical concept that is forced upon us day after day in the classrooms of legal faculties -, but rather with the notion of measure (a penalty is a measure, the right to a certain salary is a measure, the weighing of principles is nothing more than an exercise in measurement).

If at the beginning of capitalism, we can analyze it based on the shift from concrete to abstract work and thus better understand the subject of law from the notion of equal measures, for understanding its development the best key of analysis is the passage from the formal subsumption of work to capital to the real subsumption and from this to the hyper-real, in which the abstraction of work takes on increasingly distinct contours in accordance with different historical determinations. And here will be involved the dispute for what is understood as legal ideology. Let's see.

As we have already stated, the formal subsumption was that in which, at the beginning of capitalism, the fragmentation of the work process was still incipient. It took place in circulation, which was, at that moment, more closely linked to production. With the increase in productive forces, capital will increasingly be able to control the production process as a whole, increasing the limits of its dominion over work, which starts to appear as if it were just one more element to be managed by the capitalist. .

In the progressively more effective domain of the total dynamics of the productive process, capital finds itself able to spread the notion, linked to the new conformation of the legal ideology, that work would be “something smaller in the face of something bigger”, understood, as one more mere means-of-production, in the enterprising initiative of the capitalist. For this, in addition to the dominance of the productive forces by the bourgeoisie, there must be an enormous ideological burden “that puts work in its place”, that is, as something insignificant in a totality in which several elements appear as more valuable.

If in formal subsumption this ideological process was still incipient, in real subsumption it takes on a more intense color. Thus, the phenomenon of real subsumption takes place essentially in the sphere of production, with some (still not complete) impact on the existing reproduction in circulation. Although it encompasses a managerial technique for all the elements available to the capitalist in the organization of the means of production or the composition of the productive forces that are also available to him, he does not dispense with the incidence of legal ideology in a subsequent moment. At a certain point, as a necessary data for the preservation of real subsumption, it is essential that the worker himself starts to believe that this organization of production capable of subsuming his work is the only possible one, leaving him no alternatives but to surrender to the genius creative capitalist.

Finally, in the hyper-real subsumption, there will be a new conformation in the relationship between ideology and violence: with the increase in the violence of capitalism in the spheres of production and circulation, in order not to be confused with previous modes of production, a significant alteration is promoted in the role of legal ideology. Let us make the necessary recovery of the historical process in which this took place, only then can we better understand its dynamics.

The legal ideology is a necessary element of the composition of the legal form. Without it, there is no conviction, with strength in reality, that we are equal, free and owners. Stripped of their connection to the land in the transition to capitalism, male and female workers should be compelled to freedom. In this phase known as original accumulation, the violence for workers to assume they were free occurred in different ways in the most diverse countries, and what is most common here is that there was a generalized need to free everyone from their connection to the land, which would provide means of survival.

Hence, the only possible means of survival would become the sale of labor power: only this commodity was available to the working class in formation. “Free” for this alienation, which is a constitutive feature of capitalism, we therefore need to remain in this freedom continuously and this would only be achieved by the concomitant intensification of the notion of equality. The passage to abstract work demands equality as a rule, not only in the quantification of the labor force commodity, but also in the execution of the contracts that will emerge from this moment on. After all, it is the nature of the contract, whether in the social sphere or in the individual sphere, the concept of contracting parties endowed with freedom and equality.

However, and this was already being constructed in philosophy at the same time (see how this happens, for example, in Hegel), there is no freedom without property. Therefore, the subject of law is the free, equal and proprietary man/woman. But if these data are fundamental to conceiving the dynamics of capitalism, it is important to reinforce that there is only one assumption of freedom, equality and property. And this is where legal ideology comes in, since this assumption cannot be presented as such to the legal subject, who must really place himself in the world as the holder of those prerogatives. The role of daily practices (in the field of commodity circulation) is fundamental for us to be questioned in the purchase and sale of labor power as legal subjects, and here we return to the issue of the subsumption of capital to labor.

At the beginning of capitalism, as subsumption was formal, the role of circulation was fundamental; it is in it, that is, in the daily practice of early capitalism, that the idea that capital was superior to work was established in the domain of everyday life. Producing and circulating in an almost automatic way, since we were in a phase prior to the industrialization process, the workforce became, already there, a hostage of its organization by the incipient capital.

With the industrial revolution, with the heavy introduction of machines, there is a process of greater fragmentation of knowledge and a more intense division of labor, with this capital definitively starts to organize the knowledge coming from the practices of the working class. The legal ideology starts to be rearranged, which is more elaborated over the years. Violence needs to be hidden, as, especially at the end of the XNUMXth century and the beginning of the XNUMXth, there is an intensification of the working class struggle. And it is at this moment that the legal ideology, with the use of mechanisms such as social rights, assumes strategic importance for the capitalists.

There is a greater need here for the dynamics of class collaboration, but always embedded in the certainty that only capital is able to organize the productive process as a whole and, within it, work. It is at this moment that the idea of ​​contract security becomes important, in which equality assumes an apparent primacy over freedom. The legal ideology used, in the period, the postulate of equality to fight another equality, more enemy: that of communism.

But, with the conformation of the class struggle to the legal power (which is the one exercised within the limits given by the bourgeoisie, with mechanisms such as the law itself and the consolidation of the legal form as a whole), a new stage emerges and capital, in our understand, is now able to take a new leap: that of the hyper-real subsumption of labor to capital.

First, an observation: we use the term hyper-real subsumption of work to capital from the well-known hyper-realism in the arts, in which painting and sculpture seek to achieve high-resolution effects, in general, similar to that of photography. The hyper-real there is, for example, the painting which, as it constitutes an enlarged view of the painted object, reveals its details in irrefutable minutiae and precision. Yes, an orange taken in an enlarged size is able to show us all its details, which are hidden when the dimension is the real one.

Therefore: a) the formal subsumption, in view of the precariousness of the separation of production and circulation, is still only an unfinished manifestation, but already affected by the need for the action of a legal ideology not endowed with a high degree of sophistication; b) the real subsumption, in view of a greater consolidation of the spheres of circulation and production as their own (although the relationship between them is always dialectical), gives rise to a new mediation typical of capitalism: which is to hide the violence processed by the very subsumption by means of a sophisticated legal ideology and c) the hyper-real subsumption is the phase in which circulation resumes its original role of postulating itself as predominant, trying to completely hide the work of production. Here, violence takes on a role similar to that of formal subsumption, when it was more expressive, but ideology takes on an even more intense dimension than the one it had in real subsumption.

There is a violence that takes up some elements similar to the beginning of capitalism, but there is also the correlative need for a qualified ideology. The violence of capital becomes more intense both in production and in circulation, and, in the same way, ideology must be intensified, assuming new contours to justify the subsumption of work to capital. This period coincides with what is called post-modernity (which, from the perspective of social forms of production, is nothing more than a manifestation of the legal form; although, in the dynamics of the content, it helps us to understand the new historical conformation of that same legal form).

Let us continue our investigation into the ideology-violence relationship in the process of hyper-real subsumption.

If at the beginning of capitalism, the subsumption of work was formal, not yet having a technical sophistication that would imply sufficient knowledge to be organized, it would be enough for capital to assert itself over work even in the perspective of imposing a more present violence and an ideology still in the process of being elaborated, with the real subsumption this changes its figure. From the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, there is still a trace of the present violence, however, this being confronted from the perspective of the class struggle, there is a progressive response to the demands of the working class. To respond to this demand of the class struggle, which has the beginning of the XNUMXth century as its peak, ideology is consolidated as data to hide violence in production. The maximum of this process can be identified with the height of the rigid organization of the purchase and sale of the workforce, which coincides with the advent of the welfare state in Europe.

On the periphery of capitalism, all this presents itself as an even more powerful promise in the figure of legal ideology with some specific data in its composition and coincides with the illusion (with force in reality) of a social state, which will never be realized in practice. . With the apogee of the real subsumption of work to capital, legal ideology focuses its efforts on notions such as the worker-collaborator and many others that start to seek a negotiated solution between capital and work (always emphasizing the inferior role of work in the process ).

It never hurts to remember that, in the logic of capitalism, a collaboration in which the relationship is established on an equal footing with work, which will always be subsumed under capital, as the expression itself indicates, would not make sense. However, with the flexible organization of the purchase and sale of the workforce, which takes on its own features, especially from the 80s and 90s onwards and gains its most definitive conformation at the beginning of the XNUMXst century, the violence/ideology relationship moves to a new level. Here we are faced with what we dare to call hyper-real subsumption. We deepen our analysis.

As the advancement of technology and unprecedented modalities of personnel management become an expression of the pretensions of bourgeoisie domination, new data on the relationship between violence and ideology begin to emerge. In place of the collaborating worker, we move to the figure of the entrepreneurial worker – there is no abandonment of class collaboration, but of the position assumed by the working class in this process. This change in the legal ideology is fundamental and is only possible because the subsumption, through technologies such as artificial intelligence, internet of things and robotics, for example, enables a level never reached before of the domain of knowledge by capital, which also invades absolute way the daily life of the working class.

The universalization of the legal form concurrently witnessed a universalization, for all spheres of social relations, of the process of subsumption of labor to capital. If, in the previous moment, this was essentially concentrated in the production process, now there is a simultaneous invasion of the sphere of circulation again (as it happened in the formal subsumption). However, the difference of hyperreal subsumption, with regard to circulation, is qualitative and not merely quantitative. The sphere of circulation is no longer confused with that of production, as occurred in the formal subsumption, but is now, par excellence, the space for the reproduction of the practices of capitalism. Soon, with the increase of barbarism assumed as the most visible component of capitalism, an unprecedented and more direct violence against the commodity producer, unimaginable in the real subsumption, begins to intensify.

All this, instead of being treated in a non-capitalist way, as if it were a species that generates concomitant original accumulation, actually constitutes an element of capitalism itself, which needs to be treated from the logic of the typical accumulation of capital. All these violent realities are not immune to the official discourse of illegality and the ability to be achieved by the legal form – otherwise, with the predominance of extra economic violence as a practice, we would not be facing capitalism, but another mode of production. Therefore, this violence, which should be seen not as residual, but as a given of capitalism, involving constant surveillance, in its relentless effort to universalize, the subject of law.

Since the repeated practices cannot remain averse to the question so that we can buy and sell the workforce, the ideology, however, takes on another aspect here. It is an ideology marked by coexistence with this new dimension of violence, whose appearance is extra economic, but, in essence, hidden by the new determinations of legal ideology, it is an element of economic violence itself. All this is the result of new historical determinations, coinciding with the flexible organization of the purchase and sale of the workforce, and which are found within the framework of what is known as post-modernity.

The postmodern would be, therefore, different, insofar as, although it should be contemplated in the perspective of the same form of modernity (the legal form), it presents a content in which violence and ideology are related in a different way. The protagonist figure of the collaborating worker leaves the scene, the character of the entrepreneur enters the stage. Class collaboration does not cease to exist, but the idea is that everyone becomes small capitalists (as if that were possible!), becoming directly responsible, in the most active way possible, for the reiteration of reproductive practices typical of the capital. Each worker becomes, at the same time, immediately responsible for the violence against other workers and for the ideology of merit.

Collaboration, in the subsumption of work to capital, in its hyper-real version, thus takes on another level, since the one who collaborates also undertakes. Therefore, hyperreality manages to make us see the violence produced more closely, but, at the same time, makes us, in addition to its victims, its accomplices. And, in this complicity, we started to adopt more and more individualistic solutions (things like #we are all against working with apps, even if we use these same apps in our daily lives! And, when we become “even more aware”, just abandon the use of applications – or at least some, since it would be impossible to use all of them!).

Technology plays a fundamental role in this process, both in enhancing the extraction of surplus value by the bourgeoisie and in intensifying the complicity of the working class. However, it does not just assume a specific role for subsumption with the mastery of techniques and knowledge of work by capital in relation to work, as in real subsumption. Now, in the hyper-real subsumption, this new technology ceases to occupy essentially the production process of the goods itself, becoming also an important element for the domain of all the pores of the daily life of the working class in the reproduction of the legal form . Domination is total: hence the importance for capital of its ultimate realization with the definitive integration between artificial intelligence, robotics and the internet of things.

Some examples may help clarify our conclusions.

See the hypothesis of what is now known as “gamification” – which, among the various applications, has one that most specifically interests us: the one in which it is used as a management technique that creates, based on rudimentary postulates of psychology, incentives and makes the arduous task on the production line or in the circulation of goods something “lighter”, using video dynamics games. Here, the example of a technology company that conceived electronic currency is known, which its workers could, after accumulating a certain amount of them as a reward for good performance, exchange for backpacks of laptops or products from “partner companies”.

Along the same lines, we have the star rating system in the case of meal delivery apps. However, more surreal (and perhaps more significant for what we intend to demonstrate), the solution adopted by Amazon, faced with the boredom of packing the goods purchased on their website (which led to a decrease in the productivity of the packers): to speed up the pace, sensors placed on the workers' uniforms began to capture their movements in real time, simulating games of game from the act of packing, and the winner would receive prizes.

The impact of all these experiences of hyper-real subsumption in the most different dimensions of working-class life is notorious. Trained from a young age to video games, that recreation skill enters the dynamics of jobs for the purpose of obtaining productivity gains through capital. Not only work is captured in this hypothesis, but also the sphere of leisure, which becomes a preparation for a new type of worker, with new skills that will be used against him.

But it doesn't stop there. In the case of apps for delivering meals, this even impacts public transport and health policies, to the extent that, on their motorcycles or bicycles, as if they were characters from their own game (one game desperate, of course), workers put themselves and others at risk.

Finally, we are facing an unprecedented process of subsumption that colonizes work not only in a limited dimension of the immediate knowledge of the working class, but in all stages of the production of knowledge that comes from its action, reaching, in its entirety, its own daily.

The state in the context of the hyper-real subsumption of labor to capital

Pachukanis already explained the essence/appearance relationship around the figure of the state: it is an entity that needs to be presented as neutral, equidistant, impartial, in order to facilitate the circulation of goods in general and labor power in particular. It is a “supposedly disinterested third party” indispensable for, from the perspective of legal ideology, to hide the violence that operates in the extraction of more value in production.

By preventing the capitalist's violence from directly affecting male and female workers, the state is also a form immediately derived from legal and commodity forms, promoting, in circulation, the reproduction of practices of buying and selling labor power. The author having written his great work, The general theory of law and Marxism, in 1924, did not have the opportunity, in view of its extinction by Stalinism in 1934, to follow the historical transformations passed by the state, especially from the dynamics of public policies involving social rights. In fact, when he wrote the book, it must be stressed that we were at a very early stage in the rigid organization of the buying and selling of labor power, and therefore at an early stage in the intensification of the real subsumption of labor under capital.

How, however, should the question of the state be understood from the advent of the flexible organization of the purchase and sale of labor power and, therefore, already in the midst of the hyper-real subsumption of labor to capital? We believe that we can also think about the theme from the perspective of legal ideology and its relationship with violence.

If it is still valid to have the state as a representation of neutrality, in postmodern society, there is a remodeling of the notion of neutrality itself. With its fluidity, the postmodern presents a new conformation of the state-form in which the neutral was absorbed by the logic of the explicit preservation of the reproduction of the purchase and sale of labor power. This is the new neutral state, which will only be so if it translates the crystal clear expression of typical acts of capitalism. Even “market language” often makes a distinction between the political, as what is partial, and the technical, as what is neutral.

The State has, in this dimension, to approach technology in order to assume neutrality. With this discursive emptying (with effect on practices) of the political aspect, it becomes exempt only if it is qualified in the technical dimension (here comes the figure of the statesman-businessman the statesman-manager instead of the statesman-politician. It is a character that will carry out its administration with the same efficiency that it usually manages its private enterprise). Everything connected with the reproduction of the dynamics of buying and selling labor power is technical and neutral, the rest is political – part of the spurious. Neutrality no longer has relations with the common good, but connects to the dynamics that are dictated by capitalism itself.

The supposed emptying of ideology content is actually the choice for an ideology more committed to violence itself. Ideology does not weaken, it just takes on a new dimension: it becomes a supposedly epistemological resource of positivism against Marxism. The vulgar notion of ideology as a vision of the world is, in this “epistemological” sense, victorious: more than ever, its understanding as an interpellation of individuals to the reiteration of the practices of buying and selling the workforce is prohibited. As the conception, rooted in common sense, of a false world view (subjectivist, therefore) gains strength, the very notion of ideology becomes ideologized. And, with that, violence starts, to a certain extent, to be embraced by the capitalist mode of production, all in line with this process of ideologizing the concept of ideology.

It is not without reason, for example, along these lines that, in the hyper-real subsumption, the state has a clearer approach to the private, which is apparent from a functionalist reading that distinguishes state activities into typical and atypical. The first, now exceptional, would be those that could only be exercised by the state, while the second, more common, are those that must be entrusted to the private sector. With the flexible organization, there is a new arrangement including what these typically state activities would be, since, starting from the dimension of providing services, many of them are transferred to the private sphere (just see the examples of health, social security and education ).

What used to be a public policy becomes a provision of services subject to the whims of the market. The distance that, in modernity, was towards the increase of attributions borne by the state and the decrease of those promoted by the private sphere, is inverted and causes the typical state activities to be reduced. The state that most observes this rule, which is the clear expression of the new face of legal ideology, will be neutral.

And here we enter exactly in the perspective of the reform intended by the Bolsonaro government, based on the premises that we initially established: bringing the public sector and the private sector closer together, with the importation of techniques and the management model from the latter to the former.

The administrative reform contained in PEC 32/20 from the perspective of the hyper-real subsumption of work to capital

At this point, we will highlight provisions of PEC 32/30 that operate directly in the dynamics of state management in the context of hyper-real subsumption, namely: a) a neutral state from the implementation of technologies, especially linked to artificial intelligence, in the organization of its internal work and b) the establishment of assumptions for the future implementation of a public service essentially on demand. Both manifestations, which have already invaded the private sector as fundamental instruments for the passage from the real to the hyper-real subsumption of labor to capital, now tend to colonize state management as well.

We even understand that this rite of passage will only be concluded, especially in countries on the periphery of capitalism, when there is a substantial reduction in a state entity capable of performing functions typical of benefits of a social nature. And PEC 32, clearly, ends in this perspective for the consolidation of the “neutral” state previously explained. After analyzing these issues, we will highlight the only possible way out of this process: the resistance of the working class.

From the principles introduced in PEC 32/20, it is already possible to foresee its commitment to what we previously called an “impartial” state: no longer the neutrality of the beginning of the 37th century, but the commitment to typical market goals through a "fine technique". If, in the current text of the Constitution, we have that the “direct and indirect public administration of any of the Powers of the Union, of the States, of the Federal District and of the Municipalities will obey the principles of legality, impersonality, morality, publicity and efficiency” (art. XNUMX, "caput"), this provision will be significantly changed.

The original text of 1988 did not mention the principle of efficiency, added during the Fernando Henrique government (Constitutional Amendment of 19/1998), which indicates, already at that point, the previously explored tendency of a state agent guided by the dynamics of the market . If from the classical logic of liberalism, legality and impersonality are principles that governed the liberal state in its birth and drag on to the present day, efficiency as a principle of public administration performance is the unequivocal admission of the private agenda by the public sector - indicating exactly the absence of any distinction between the two spheres, which, deep down, work together for the fullness of the private notion of property.

If this had already been happening even before the current government, indicating the transport of the structuring dynamics from the private to the public sphere, the phenomenon intensifies with the Reform Proposal No.o. 32. There, in addition to efficiency, the postulates of innovation and good public governance now govern the performance of our administration. It can be seen that it is precisely in this context that the insertion of technological innovations in the public sector (principle of innovation) comes into play. More than just checking the good provision of the public service, this introduction is linked to the dynamics of controlling the results of the service provided and the performance of the servers themselves.

From the same perspective of the private initiative worker, the server tends to be, from entering until leaving the work environment, constantly monitored with the use of artificial intelligence. Surveillance, which spreads throughout the entire dimension of working-class life in the hyper-real subsumption, becomes more intense in the work environment, including public service. And, here, efficiency and good governance are tied to the postulation of results that do not necessarily need to guarantee the good performance of public activity.

Concluding this increasingly integrated character between the public and the private, the principles of unity and coordination appear. In a tight summary, these last two would constitute the prediction of a united action of the public and private sectors, although under state coordination - but not very intense as can be seen from the provisions concerning the contracts to be signed by public authorities from different spheres (art. 37-A of Proposal for Amendment n. 32). As there is no clarity of the totality of the terms, since much of this will be experienced on a daily basis with the very interpretation of the extension to be given to such principles, it is possible to foresee here also a unity of a managerial nature, with the importation of management techniques from the private sector to the public sector.

Therefore, the new principles that are intended to be introduced based on the proposal to reform the public administration of the Bolsonaro government open, even more, the doors to the “modernization of the public sector” from the private managerial dimension. It is not surprising if, in the not too distant future, “gamification”, for example, is introduced, in an intense way, also in the public sector. Add to all this that, with the realization of remote work, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a possibility of intensifying the process: in this case, with work at home, invading the homes of servers, the hyper subsumption -real tends to accelerate, in the public space, its realization.

Another activity management data that, over time, may affect public servants certainly concerns the increasingly on demand (in the same way that it is already disseminated in the private sphere). This fact, which seems distant, as it did in the private sector before spreading with the use of applications, depends only on an initial measure, which has already been adopted by PEC 32/20: the end of the indeterminate term as the main informing clause public hiring of public servants.

In the private sector, the phenomenon was only possible, in addition to the technological advances that made it possible, thanks to the gradual increase in the legal possibilities of fixed-term jobs and the creation of intermittent jobs, which culminated in the disastrous labor reform of the Temer government (Law 13.467/17). If we analyze the Bolsonaro government’s public administration reform proposal, the path taken is exactly the same, especially due to the generic forecast that allows for the hiring of temporary workers and temporary workers. Let's see.

This initiative had already been partially victorious by the government when Constitutional Amendment n. 106/20. It should be noted that the first time the possibility of such hiring was suggested was precisely in terms of granting social security benefits in view of the accumulation of candidates in the Bolsonaro government. Here, in an unprecedented way and through the Notice of April 29, 2020, there was the opening of a “public call and simplified selection process” for positions responsible for serving the public and analyzing social security benefits.

Under the allegation of an imperative need, due to the long queues, it was possible, in a reckless manner, to hire about 2.500 civil servants, with a cost of a few million and dubious effectiveness in terms of the results of the provision of the public service. The contest was even aimed at retired military personnel, which was only possible due to the simplified hiring format. What is surprising is that there was no insurrection (whether in the legal sphere or in the sphere of popular demonstrations) against inappropriate selection involving people who had not even had prior contact with the social security issue (except for the hiring of retired INSS employees).

Here, the deliberate intention of having servers available according to the need for the service is already clear, a preliminary to the “on demantization” process (neologism used above). The hypothesis of temporary hiring of Constitutional Amendment 106/20 did not suffer any resistance from public servants, which means that, absent the confrontation of the working class, the government felt free to propose the expansion in the form of temporary hiring determined in the following hypotheses of art. 39-A, item II, paragraph 2., of PEC 32/20: a) temporary need arising from calamity, emergency, stoppage of essential activities or transitory accumulation of service; b) activities, projects or needs of a temporary or seasonal nature, with an express indication of the duration of the contracts and c) activities or procedures on demand.

See the express hypothesis of activities on demand. All the current logic of work on demand (operated essentially through apps), for example, could be transported, made the necessary adaptations, also to the public sector, which, in the cases above, will have a very simplified selection process. The truth is that the provisions above are part of a set of hypotheses that give rise to precarious hiring, affecting, with this precariousness, not only public servants (who, in this condition, will not achieve several rights), but the service itself.

Add to this the expansion of situations involving outsourcing in the public service, with the support even of jurisprudence, tending to the inclination of its generalization also there for the core activities (typical managerial phenomenon of the private sector that comes, at times, gaining space in the public sphere). In other words, the precarious ways of contracting the private sector will increasingly take over public activities. With that, a cycle would be concluded: the approximation, in both spheres, of the dynamics of flexible organization of the purchase and sale of the workforce.

Here, too, the dividing line between public and private law tends to disappear, since everything, in the end, is revealed as a defense of private property. What we are talking about even confirms the new ideological perception of the neutral state as the one that, by importing management techniques from the private sector, is better able to provide an efficient response.

How to resist all this?

The answer is obvious, although the practice is not the simplest. Only a lot of mobilization of the public sector would be able to stop the Bolsonaro government's pretension of the process of its precariousness. And if this is not done now, certainly, with the approval of this Proposed Constitutional Amendment, it will no longer be possible. The reason is simple. One of the most skillful constructions of PEC 32/20 lies in the attempt to make it impossible, by dividing public servants into positions that can be hired in different ways (see the provision contained in the items of art. 39-A, which in its items provides four types of servants), mobilizations in the public service.

The creation of different types of hiring divides public servants according to pretensions that become distinct according to the specific modality of the position for which they were hired. There would be different rights for the different civil servants in accordance with the hiring regime, which would lead to a lack of unity in the struggle. The fact is aggravated by the natural decrease in commitment, in view of the lack of perspective of permanence in the public sector, for those who are hired for a fixed term.

It should be remembered that only when there was resistance from male and female servants did governments back down (in cases such as the successive social security reforms and their reach to the public service, for example). When this resistance did not exist or proved to be insufficient, not only did measures contrary to the interests of the public service be approved, but there was also almost an authorization for the executive branch to advance in even more perverse proposals. Just look at the examples of hiring temporary workers in Constitutional Amendment n. 106 and even the social security reform promoted by the Bolsonaro government (Constitutional Amendment n. 103).

In the first hypothesis, today we experience the possibility of increasing its chances, certainly due to the absence of resistance to the government's intention. History is there to demonstrate that there is only one way to stop the voracious process of capital accumulation that is hidden in PEC 32/30: the struggle of the working class.

*Marcus Orione Professor at the Department of Labor and Social Security Law at the USP Law School.


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EDELMAN, Bernard. The legalization of the working class. Trans. Marcus Orione (coordination) et alii. Sao Paulo, Boitempo, 2016.

ENGELS, Friedrich; KAUTSKY, Karl. legal socialism. Trans. Lívia Cotrim and Márcio Bilharinho Naves. São Paulo: Boitempo, 2012.

MARX, Carl. Capital: critique of political economy. Book IV II. Trans. Reginaldo Sant'Anna. Rio de Janeiro: Brazilian Civilization, 2008.

NAVES, Marcio Bilharinho. The “illusion” of jurisprudence. In: Social Struggles, no. 7, 2001. Available at .

ORION, Marcus. The Bolsonaro government’s reform proposal: State and legal form, 2020. Association of Professors of the University of São Paulo (ADUSP), São Paulo, 10 Nov. 2020. Available in

ORION, Marcus. “Two years of misgovernment – ​​violence and ideology”, 2021. Website the earth is round, Sao Paulo, 16 Mar. 2021. Available in

ORION, Marcus. Hyper-real subsumption of work to capital and new technologies. In OLIVEIRA, Christiana D'arc Damasceno (Coord. and Org.). Revolution 5.0 and New Technologies. São Paulo: Tirant lo Blanch Brasil, 2021 (Transformations in the World of Work Collection, v. 3), (in press).

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[1] See about ORIONE, Marcus. Hyper-real subsumption of work to capital and new technologies. In OLIVEIRA, Christiana D'arc Damasceno (Coord. and Org.). Revolution 5.0 and New Technologies. São Paulo: Tirant lo Blanch Brasil, 2021 (Transformations in the World of Work Collection, v. 3), (in press). In this article, the concepts explored here are reproduced. Nevertheless, some tables were introduced there that translate well the epistemological approach with which we work.

[2] ORION, Marcus. Two years of misgovernment – ​​violence and ideology, 2021. Site the earth is round, Sao Paulo, 16 Mar. 2021. Available in

[3] ORION, Marcus. The Bolsonaro government’s reform proposal: status and legal form, 2020. Association of Professors of the University of São Paulo (ADUSP), São Paulo, 10 Nov. 2020. Available in

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