Alternatives to neoliberal fascism

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By JORGE WHITE*

The protest movements against neo-fascism and neoliberalism, although episodically defeated, became a reference for a willingness to build a counter-flow movement

September 4, 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Salvador Allende's victory in the 1970 Chilean presidential elections. This victory was confirmed, in the second round, on October 24 of the same year. For the first time in Latin America, a candidate and a left-wing program were elected by popular vote. This process would only be repeated on the Continent decades later, in the 2002st century, with the victories of some popular and progressive candidates such as Lula in XNUMX.

Three years after the election, on September 11, 1973, a coup led by a criminal and corrupt overthrew the Popular Unity government and assassinated Salvador Allende in the very seat of government, La Moneda Palace.

After these five decades, the protagonist of the coup, General Augusto Pinochet, has his memory kept inside a black bag in the world of memory known as the “garbage can of history”, very well systematized and represented by Roberto Schwarz. In this can, the memory of Pinochet lives perpetually with the memories of other genocidaires, torturers, corrupt and criminals.

On the contrary, Allende, dead as an individual, lives on as a symbol of good hope in the memory of the generous ideas of freedom, democracy and equality. Allende, when he was assassinated by Pinochet's order, just as Getúlio Vargas sentenced about himself in his “Carta Testament”, left his life to enter history. Pinochet and his family did not imagine that those bombs in La Moneda, in that 1973, removed Allende from life to place him in history.

This is a dilemma that haunts humanity, especially modern humanity. A dilemma that abstractly seems simple to dissolve, but which in the harsh relations of the economy, war, ethics, politics and utopias proves to be complex and tortuous. So tortuous that, in not rare cases, the elites abdicate the virtuous path of civilizing progress to choose the path of imposing segregation, exploitation, violence, hierarchy and inequality. This is how, in this political process, Nazi-fascism was created in Europe, colonialism in Africa, dictatorships in Latin America.

Brazil has been immersed in this dilemma since the rise of reactionaryism that led to the victory of Jair Bolsonaro in the 2018 elections. This victory organized the reactionary bloc that restored a policy of racial segregation, exploitation of work, hatred as content. A symbiosis between radicalized and authoritarian neoliberalism and a neofascism that restores backwardness.

This emergence of the extreme right and neoliberalism has not gone unchallenged, however. Bolsonaro's victory in the elections gave life to the hierarchy of the XNUMXth century in Brazil, but the defense of a democratic country exists, is organized, resists.

All these movements to contest neo-fascism and neoliberalism, even if they were periodically defeated, became a reference for a willingness to build a movement against the flow. The movement against Dilma’s impeachment coup, the “ele não” – women’s movement to challenge Bolsonaro during the elections -, the unmasking of the frame carried out by “Lava Jato”; if they seemed to be punches on the edge of a knife at some point, today they are episodes of a larger and continuous process of building a possible turnaround in the country.

These municipal elections are beginning to give signs that they could become another episode of this tortuous dilemma. Candidates anchored in Bolsonarism will be presented and, with them, the defense of the most authoritarian and reactionary values ​​that we could not imagine were alive in this century, such as racial discrimination, the objectification of women, the hyper exploitation of the worker, de-democratization and war of all against all in a radicalized individualism where the victor is already established, the very rich of rentier capital. On the other hand, strong anti-fascist and anti-neoliberal candidacies are starting to emerge, responding to the best achievements made in this country since the defeat of the Authoritarian Regime in 1964.

The dilemma is therefore there. As an expression of neoliberal domination and hegemony, large portions of the country's poor workers are still the support base for conservative and retrograde, denialist, anti-enlightenment explanations. The constancy and existence of alternatives, however, can erode this support.

The left-wing, democratic and civilizing candidacies, which appear especially in the capitals, have a great role to play. These alternatives will make it possible to compare projects between the past and the future. Between the affirmation of a hierarchical and authoritarian society and the egalitarian ideology.

Social contestation demonstrates that the neoliberal axiom of the end of history is just wishful thinking, ideological propaganda. The story is ongoing. Some of its protagonists will be alongside Allende, others in the same place as Pinochet.

*Jorge Branco is a doctoral student in Political Science at UFRGS.

 

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