Caetano Veloso and Contardo Calligaris

Pedro Moraleida Bernardes, Untitled - Couple With Crustaceans
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By BERNARDO BORIS VARGAFTIG*

Caetano Veloso revealed in a friendly and modest way, his, I would almost say, conversion to a form of socialism, conveyed by Domenico Losurdo, which displeased Calligaris

In a joking tone, Contardo Calligaris takes an interest in the ongoing debate about Caetano Veloso's misnamed "conversion" to socialism (Folha de S. Paul, 17/11/2020), during his meeting with Jones Manoel, a young member of the PCB, who recommended that he read the works of writer Domenico Losurdo.

The confusing character of the article is not surprising. The good friend of Caetano Veloso that Calligaris claims to be, maintains a familiar, mild tone, a little saddened by the singer's supposedly negative evolution. In fact, Caetano Veloso revealed in a friendly and modest way, his, I would almost say, conversion to a form of socialism, conveyed by Domenico Losurdo, which displeased Calligaris.

A strange fate is that of Domenico Losurdo, an Italian communist writer and politician, to whom the merit of this adherence to socialism is attributed.

Losurdo wrote some very interesting books on XNUMXth century liberalism, Bonapartism and colonialism, little read in Italy, where analytical Marxist literature flourishes.

He embarked on a harmful path towards the objective he proclaimed, socialism.

He defended Stalinism (the so-called “real” socialism), attributing to it the immense advance that was the establishment of the state economy at the time, which allowed, as in China, to transform semi-feudal countries into advanced economy countries, even if socially deformed by the dominant bureaucracies.

Stalinism was a counter-revolutionary tendency, responsible for essential defeats of the international left and, ultimately, for the return to capitalism of the USSR, of the countries of its zone of influence and of China.

This was the logical conclusion of the degeneracy of the Soviet workers' state and not its merit.

It is extraordinary to observe that the epigones of allegedly renewed Stalinism defend transformations that, in the 1930s, were precisely opposed by opponents of Stalinism, the Trotskyists and associates, who would pay a high price for opposing the retrograde transformations imposed by Stalin and his clique.

Losurdo became a promoter of an old-new tendency of the left, neo-Stalinism, having prepared for such a role with hysterical anti-Trotskyism.

He tried to understand the crisis of Stalinism without recognizing the trend that most vigorously opposed him, that of Trotskyism, which he slandered as best he could.

It is not a question of defending only one political tendency, but of revealing that, when it was midnight in the century, as Victor Serge said, there were militants who sought to denounce the lie and thus safeguard the ideas of revolutionary Marxism for tomorrow, that is, for today.

In this situation, informed and comforted intellectuals appear in the reigning capitalist system, explaining that deep down, the best thing is to leave it as it is to see how it turns out.

This is the case of Contardo Calligaris and Pablo Ortellado.

Callagaris claims that the liberals were irreducible anti-fascists, facing “totalitarianism”, a comfortable concept that includes both fascists and Marxists.

To this end, Calligaris read one of Losurdo's books, on the false consciousness of liberalism – a book that unmasks slave-owning liberals, but Calligaris, in an attempt to be amusing, compares them to Engels, whose capitalist income financed Marx's work.

Losurdo is right to denounce the complicity of the elegant liberals of the XNUMXth century, who trafficked with slavery in secret, and Calligaris is wrong when, in order to minimize the reactionary role of the classic liberals, he compares them to Engels, who would have participated in the exploitation of the hand of workers' work, which allowed him to help his political and intellectual companion, Karl Marx.

Engels had inherited the property, married one of the workers, and thus ensured that humanity benefited from Marx's labors.
This leads Calligaris to attribute to the so-called socialists the concept that there would be a beneficial violence, the one that, for example, ensured the liberation of slaves in Haiti, and a malefic one, the colonial one.

Violence stems from the struggle for class power, such as the Parisian bourgeoisie killing the Parisian communards of 1871 by sticking the end of their elegant umbrellas in their eyes, or the King of Belgium, who personally took possession of vast Congolese lands, cut off the two hands of the Congolese rebels (the Belgian parliament has just resumed the work of its commission to clarify this situation. It took a long time to do so and nothing guarantees its sincerity and continuity).

The history of class society is full of these horrors, whose victims often took revenge and sometimes on innocent victims.

As Calligaris knows, the atomic bomb and American bombings in Vietnam killed hundreds of thousands of people, and it was those who bizarre American linguistic folklore calls “liberals,” who have nothing in the usual liberal sense, who violently opposed this brutal colonial conflict. .

Unconvincing, Calligaris when discussing the reactive violence in Haiti, living in a country that massacred a huge part of the original peoples.

Same thing with regard to institutionalized violence in our days, which kills young black people on the periphery on a daily basis, to ensure the perpetuity of capitalism and the “good disposition” of foremen, poor people who compensate for their frustration by killing other poor people.

Calligaris uses the term “real socialism” without the slightest criticism, equating it with Stalinism, thus promoting it as a realistic alternative.

Now, Stalinism has an origin, a history, a development and will have its death.

It is not by chance that Calligaris, who is devoted to historical interpretation without knowing it, does not quote Trotsky, who he certainly has not read.

He made unparalleled analyzes of the social and political conditions that led to the emergence and strengthening of the caste that managed, in well-defined historical circumstances, to seize the power that the Russian working class had conquered, while maintaining social ownership of the means of production.

This contradiction justified the definition of the USSR as a degenerated workers' state, which, in the dialectic process that was necessarily unstable, could only swing towards socialism or towards the reconversion to capitalism, which took place.

The primary cause, evidently followed by others, of this degeneration of the so-called workers' state, as opposed to the bourgeois state favored by the liberals, was the isolation of the Russian revolution and the failure of revolutions in the rest of Europe, starting with the three German revolutions of 1919. , 1921 and 1923.

They were crushed by the so-called Frankish corps (the militias of these people), groups of soldiers released in space and time by military defeat and maneuvered by the extreme right and future Nazis, with the approval of the liberals, who thought they could contain them after having served the killer service.

The Frankish bodies were supported by the association of the defeated militarist leadership, which, as usual, accused the civilians of having betrayed them, with the landowners and the leadership of the social democrats, who did everything, and succeeded, so that the movement Spartakist Rosa de Luxemburg and Liebknecht were massacred, including the murder of both.

The rest was of a logical continuity.

A coalition of liberals and right-wing social-democrats was installed in the so-called Weimar Republic, which led in circumstances that are not discussed here, to the victory of the Nazis in January 1933 – with the support of liberals and the whole of the European bourgeoisie. .

It was not by chance that the French conservative liberals said: “Plutôt Hitler que le Front Populaire”, “Better Hitler than the Popular Front”, an impotent coalition between socialists and communists and the so-called “radicals”, who had nothing to do with that, being the right wing of the heteroclite coalition that governed France between 1936 and 1938.

When the bourgeoisie felt it was no longer useful, they fired her – as they did with Dilma, despite her conciliatory efforts, such as her approval of the anti-terrorism law.

Trotsky and others showed that Stalinism did not express socialism, even “real” one, but the ideology of a bureaucratic caste, which embraced power by building concepts generated by a mythological pseudo-Marxism.

This explanation, obviously debatable, offers new subsidies for understanding the world crisis of Stalinism which did not result, contrary to what many of us predicted, in a homogeneous and radical revolutionary movement.

The final part of Calligaris' rubric fully shows his misunderstanding of class struggle dynamics.

It mixes a concept like “totalitarianism” with integralism, a Brazilian variant of pre-war fascism, without explaining its reasons, if any.

And his expressed desire to associate himself with a libertarian matrix of liberalism, “organized by the fear of individual freedom” marks his psychological position, not to mention the explanations related to the psychology of fascism, from Fromm, Reich, Adorno, etc.

Finally, the dogs bark and the caravan passes.

The mental refuges of Calligaris have long since been overcome, anti-Trotskyist slurs and the concealment of his mere existence, to avoid polemicizing himself, cannot hide the facts.

A more detailed analysis of Losurdo's work by Mário Maestri ("Domenico Losurdo, a faker in the country of parrots” Editora FCM, Porto Alegre, 2020) deserves to be read, as well as documents ordered by Jean-Jacques Marie in “Les cahiers du mouvement ouvrier”, 82, 84-98 – second quarter of 2019.

The youth attracted by the PCB, eventually and unfortunately by reading Losurdo instead of Marx, Lenin and Trotsky, forms an important revolutionary capital, which needs to be respected through the application of Lenin's precept that says "only the truth is revolutionary".

*Bernardo Boris Vargaftig is a retired full professor at the Institute of Biomedical Sciences at USP.

Originally published on the website Viomundo.

 

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