the gates of hell

Image: Elyeser Szturm

By Tarso Genro*

Minister Dias Toffoli, in interview granted to the old Estadão in the last week (30/10/2019), he made a statement that in the end became a dangerous apology for what is happening today in a Brazil without direction and permeated by hatred. He clearly stated that the “political elite of the country”, considered here as a prepared group (in the parties) with the capacity for political and institutional management of the State, failed. That is why the bureaucracy emerged as the leading force in national politics.

The Minister made this statement as if the “elites” failed for the same reasons and also had identical political purposes. This fact would have awakened in the high state bureaucracy, thus, a lucid saving will to take care of public morals and reforms, as if it – high bureaucracy – also always had common purposes and had the capacity to grasp, by itself, the virtues of the republic.

This is a brutal and elementary mistake, since if there is a lack of direction in the “country's (traditional) political elite” it is precisely because the majority of what is designated as “bureaucracy” (read high bureaucracy of the State) was politically co-opted through a coup media-parliamentary, by an extreme right-wing group, linked to the worst of our “non-party” policy which, as is known today, has deep relations with the religions of money and organized crime.

This is, in fact, the de facto coalition that made room for the elimination of the influences of the traditional elites on the liberal-democratic political game, which, far from being perfect, constituted – in the correlation of forces such as those of the present – ​​the only known process, until today, of the purification of democracy and of institutional democratic reformism.

Max Weber, in parliamentarism and government he says at one point: “This writer, who comes from a civil service family, would be the last to allow this tradition to be sullied. But what interests us here are non-bureaucratic political achievements, and the facts themselves provoke the recognition that no one can really deny: that the bureaucracy failed completely whenever it had to deal with political problems. Weber already smelled the political and institutional chaos that demanded political solutions that, if left unanswered, would transform Nazi criminals into Heads of State.

The latest events involving the political quality of democracy already show the harsh pornographic consequences of the forms of exception, procedurally established in the country and in the world: from the defense of torture to the defense of militia executions; from the invitation to assassinate opponents to the open consecration of the return to dictatorship; from the indecipherable invitations to romantic relationships to the promises to take dissidents to be executed “at Ponta da praia” – between one insanity and another – indicating that the country navigates a sea of ​​madness, sociopathies, medieval ignorance and poverty of spirit.

This would not be possible without the coup against Lula and Dilma, this would not be possible without the naturalization of madness in power, provided by the oligopolized media; this would not be possible without ruling classes nostalgic for slavery; without the lack of generosity, compassion and lack of consideration for human life of a large part of the Brazilian middle classes.

The context of this crisis of political morality and the radicalization of class violence is well exposed in Hybrid war against Brazil, by Ilton Freitas (Liquidbook, 2019) which shows that the planned sharing of fake news, videos, apparently innocent information promoted by the Empire that convinced – in joint action with the oligopolized media – that Brazil would be reborn by removing Dilma Rousseff from the presidency and demonizing all leftist forces, including those that consciously integrated themselves into the coup d’état, because they thought they were doing the best for the country.

I don't know of people who sympathize with any political party, consciously defending the representative democratic regime, who support something like the “right to corruption”. I also don't know of any political party that, having reached the government – ​​with more or less power – does not suffer to some extent, for a certain percentage of its members, the temptations to corrupt itself.

The temptations begin with the doubts of political agents who are more (or less) aware of their prerogatives, about what are the limits between the “public” and the “private” and reach the point of not knowing what the political limits of the legitimate government are – for the application of its “party program” – without invading the rights of the opposition. In the current government, it is not a question of “doubts” or lack of “knowledge”, but of deliberate policies to liquidate democracy based on new power relations.

Rights in liberal democracy are inscribed – with the same chisel of legitimacy – in the Constitutional Charter. They ensure that any opposition can become the Government, but they are rights that built only an ideal-formal framework – of norms and fundamentals – do not configure the concrete reality of modern political life, idealized in the democratic constitution.

Engendered in the history of the French Revolution, the foundations of the Revolution were artificially (and positively) built on the philosophies of Equality and Justice, to be the foundations of a new order. This, however, abhorred slavery at the dawn of modern industry, because it needed to allow economic necessity to build – as a moral imperative – the freedom of the worker, the premise of the salaried work regime.

Buying free labor power through the salaried relationship dispensed with ownership of the person's body by the owner of the industry, but made it possible to appropriate his labor power as a commodity, to generate wealth and make it circulate. It was the opening of a cycle that created the ideology of the “necessary identity” between democracy and capitalism (which is now at an end), opening the epoch in which democracy and capitalism would harmonize, contract and dissent, opening the tracks for the takeoff of the State Social, good memory and short duration.

The Social State is, therefore, an essentially “political” state – artificial and fragile – because it opposes the maximum exploitation that is in the genesis of capitalism. Gramsci, in the first volume of prison letters said that “Hegel cannot be thought of without the French Revolution and without Napoleon and his wars, that is, without the vital and immediate experiences of a very intense historical period of struggles, in which the outside world crushes the individual and makes him touch the earth. ”

It is the moments when concepts are forced to put their feet on the ground – as now – when the flowers of doubt appear to emerge with force: but the doubt is no longer whether democracy, as a regime of political majorities, is really compatible with the capitalism, but whether capitalism manages to survive – within a true democracy – without the permanent manipulation of the oligopolistic means of communication and without militia violence organized on the fringes of the State.

In these moments of volcanic emergence of a new era, a new “spirit of the times” is already taking shape, which proposes to appear – due to the proximity of the military dictatorship – as a “past still too present” which, if it challenges true statesmen, puts in broad daylight the backwardness, sociopathy or simple mediocrity of those in power. These are the radical moments of crisis in which human beings across the political spectrum expel the best or worst of their moral conscience and their human dimension.

José Bonifácio – a constitutional monarchist – said about the miseries of slavery, during the Constituent Assembly of 1823, that “civil society is based first on justice and finally on the happiness of men. But what justice has a man to rob another man's freedom, and what is worse, this man's children and these children's children?” Here Bonifácio rises above his time and enunciates modern humanism for Brazil, which rejects seeing man as a thing and an object and places himself as a luminary statesman.

Let's move on to a more immediate time. In Behemoth's word (Ed. Trotta), Ramón Campdrerrich talks about the legal and political consolidation of Nazism and reports: “in a few months, the activity of the Nazi party and its conservative allies had swept away from the German institutional reality, all the elements that could characterize a state of right,” from fundamental rights to political freedoms, through a “skillful combination of manipulation of public opinion (…) with the terrorist violence of paramilitary organizations.”

Are we closer to José Bonifácio or Behemoth? Has Brazilian society lost the ability to reflect – for the most part – composite solutions for emergencies, which keep us away from the definitive gates of hell? At the time of the global dominance of financial capitalism and the market, as aggregating forces of hearts and minds – in which work itself dissolves as identity – only human subjectivity fully focused on politics can open new scenarios with more democracy.

Unity today must be promoted to close the gates of hell. It has been said that fascism was “elegance in power”. It would be right to say, however, that it is crime transformed into State policy, which no bureaucracy or “iron laws of the economy” will be able to block.

If we are not definitively defeated, it will be because we will manage to awaken the best in every human being. Because fascism, when it won, was because it knew how to awaken in everyone, in the poor and the rich, what they have – also as victims of our millennial history – that is most cruel and animal. Time for historical culture, as Benedetto Croce said: it “has the aim of keeping alive the consciousness that human society has of the past, or rather of its present, or rather of itself.”

*Tarsus-in-law was Governor of the State of Rio Grande do Sul, Mayor of Porto Alegre, Minister of Justice

Originally published on the website Major Card

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