Open the treasure chest

Image: Deva Darshan


The first temptation for the winner is to go back to the old repertoire, revaluing works and institutions of proven usefulness in the past.

We have been following, imprecisely since the 1930s, two parallel lines in our development process, that of modernization and that of the modern, as suggested by Raymundo Faoro in his penetrating essay “The unfinished republic”, lines that reveal an unequivocal prevalence of the former over the former. of the modern that presents itself in weak traces throughout the period and, in general, as an unwanted side effect of the modernization process, but which in the JK government and until 1964 experienced an affirmative surge.

Still according to Raymundo Faoro, by modernization processes one should understand those that derive from the actions of political elites that try to lead backward societies, through the autocratic control of political power, in the sense of accelerating their economic expansion and intervene in the sense of strengthening them. them in terms of international competition for control of markets, as in the classic cases of Germany, Italy and Japan. It originates, therefore, in political processes that operate above society among its elites, and, as such, impose artificial paths of development for a society that only suffers from its effects.

Under the Bolsonaro government, we experienced a double denial, both of the ways of modernization that for decades found its main support in the military corporations, and those of the modern that had been finding loopholes to infiltrate, of course due to its authoritarian nature, and we were exposed to the vacuity of the neoliberalism advocated by its Minister of Finance Paulo Guedes, staunch opponent of both, dominated by his passions over the virtues of a market entrusted to its own logic. With this orientation, strictly followed, an attempt was made to surgically separate the country from its past and its traditions.

The electoral process, with the victory of the Lula-Alkmin candidacy, cut the possibility of further radicalizing this rupture, although the damage already done is difficult to repair, including because the defeated field not only lost by a small number of votes, but, above all, for maintaining a strong presence in the legislative chambers and in important states of the federation, including São Paulo.

In the four years of systematic destruction of institutions and the political culture that took root under the democratic regime in which the Bolsonaro government committed itself, degrading the memory of the work and undertakings that served as a guide, as in the case of Paulo Freire, who became paradigmatic , among many others, leaving a void in the place they occupied in the imagination of Brazilians on how to think and act in their circumstances.

The victorious electoral campaign that defeated fascism, possibly due to calculations that proved to be correct, circumvented the agenda of political-cultural issues without providing answers to the destructive rage of the Bolsonaro government in this field, focusing on issues of inequality, and then on issues of poverty, of women subjected to a secular patriarchy, and of underprivileged regions in Brazilian capitalism, such as the Northeast, an agenda that paved the way for success, although it promised a rocky terrain.

The first temptation for the winner is to go back to the old repertoire, revaluing works and institutions of proven usefulness in the past. But Christmas has changed, the widespread belief that, despite the misfortunes, society was animated by a continuous, albeit slow, movement in a progressive direction towards a less uneven development in social terms and more affluent in the economy, is in frank dissipation. The old parties that supported such beliefs no longer exist, buried by a flood of soulless and merely physiological organizations, apart from the survivors like the PT and a few and minorities like the PSol, Rede and Cidadania, all with low organic representation in the political sectors. underlings.

On the other hand, intellectuals, previously inclined to participate in public life, find themselves confined to their specialized niches and lacking in social support, and only a few renowned artists sporadically break through isolation from the public. Cognition desertifies at a time when it is more than ever necessary in this moment of fashion for dystopian conceptions.

In unlucky times like these, when the doors of the future seem to be closed, it is convenient to open the chests of the past with their hidden treasures from which inspiration can come to resume the creative impulse that updates us in acting in the present moment, there are the our elders to whom we must give life back, resuming the links present in their creations. With them and from them to extract advantages of what our modernization was without losing sight of the fact that what we want is modern.

*Luiz Werneck Vianna is a professor at the Department of Social Sciences at PUC-Rio. Author, among other books, of The Passive Revolution: Iberism and Americanism in Brazil (Revan).


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