Carousel of political affections

Image: lil artsy


Affects of solidarity and empathy with the pain of individuals and communities are numbed by the laws of the State

At the beginning of the 1990s, Pierre Bourdieu published the research The misery of the world. The hardcover brochure, so that the sign of misery would not become the misery of the sign, became bestseller with 80 thousand copies sold. It unravels the “misery of condition” of subalterns in capitalism and the “misery of position”, the specific place of social actors in the subspace of belonging. “To establish great misery as the exclusive measure of all miseries is to prohibit oneself from perceiving and understanding the sufferings characteristic of the social order and the development of all forms of small misery, where the elements that helped in the formation of each personality are found” . So it is.

The sociologist from the Collège de France advances the mechanisms of individualization resulting from the experience of suffering with a methodology, a “spiritual exercise” that seeks the intersection of psychoanalytic sociology with sociological psychoanalysis. A new cognitive horizon emerges. Jessé Souza, in The Brazilian rabble, follows the late master. “I tried to use the same procedure to explain the existence of marginalized classes, among us, and escape the naivety of empirics”.

Christian Dunker follows a similar path, in Reinventing intimacy: Politics of everyday suffering. “Suffering is something that depends on three conditions: the narrative in which it is inserted; the acts of recognition that fix its cause and the transitivity that makes it a collective and indeterminate experience. The way we count, justify and share our suffering is subject to power dynamics.” On the couch, the victims of suffering expose their torture and the heavy structures of social domination. It means that politics circulates between the public and the private. It is impossible for sensitivity to distinguish the divide that separates psychological suffering from sociological suffering.

Suffering is no longer purely individual, as it exposes the various social symptoms. In this carousel, the existential anguish of the 1968 generation faced with the probability of losing their jobs to robotics, in France, was sublimated into a fight against the entertainment company and the commodity paradigm. While resentment and hatred of the condition of subalternity are now converted into support for proto-fascist governments that propagate aporophobia and exclusion in both hemispheres.

Winters and disenchantment

The USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) increased the affection of suspicion. Nobel Prize winner Alexander Solzhenitsyn, author of Gulag Archipelago, was sentenced without trial to eight years in prison and a further four years in exile in a remote village. The reason: a letter sent to a friend in January 1945, when he was serving as an artillery captain in the Red Army in the front from Koenigsberg, Kant's hometown. The letter criticized the privileges in the Army and Stalin's conduct in World War II. His accusations anticipated Khrushchev's. He was only rehabilitated winters and disenchantments later. Without the persecutory atmosphere of Stalinism, history would be different.

Today, the declining imperialism of the United States spreads the affection of hyper-individualism and anti-state sentiment in favor of a free market, without commitment to social inclusion and labor prerogatives. Furthermore: the purposes of corporations with revenues much higher than those of countries endorse the spurious instruments of the lawfare, to attack the reputation of nationalist rulers reticent to predatory capital, in Latin America: Fernando Lugo / PY, Rafael Correa / EC, Evo Morales / BO, José Mujica / UY, Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro / VE, Cristina Kirchner and Alberto Fernández / AR, Dilma Rousseff and Lula da Silva / BR. The pantomime hides the underlying interests.

Affects of solidarity and empathy with the pain of individuals and communities are numbed by the laws of the State (see Outsourcing). The film by brothers Joel and Ethan Coen, Where the weak have no place, is a metaphor for contemporary dystopia that unites arrogant e resentful against the democratic rule of law. The trophy for “most realistic psychopath” given to actor Javier Bardem should be extended to Hayek, Mises and Friedman. To know the name of the yellow-green genocide, in the pandemic, just listen to the dead. The continuous campaign to demoralize vaccines and the criminal delay in purchasing vaccines has taken away dreams. Hundreds of thousands of deaths still call for justice. 

Neocolonialism explores ethnic, religious, eugenic racism – and the nanoracism of stigmatizing jokes that arouse laughter from the descendants of the “big house”. Hence the affects of the pseudo-colonialist superiority of whites over blacks, indigenous people and emigrants from peripheral regions. The patriarchal affluent contributes to sexism in linguistic and physical violence against women, Gay Boys and trans. No nation crossed over unscathed by supremacism coming with the caravels of old Europe.

Western civilization, shaped by centuries of expropriating governments, was unable to solve the main problems to which its existence gave rise, mimicry and virality. According to Contardo Calligaris, in Hello, Brazil!, “every Brazilian has a bit of colonizer and settler”. It is up to the left to solve the equation, reinterpret the ruins of the original peoples and rediscover themselves.

An animal with 7 heads

Representations to legitimize suffering are included in the lexicon of the ruling classes, with three ideological arguments: (a) proprietorist – I am the owner; (b) entrepreneur – I’m awesome and; (c) meritocratic – I am the best. This is the narcissistic basis of the myth that “modern inequality is fair, it results from a freely chosen process in which everyone has the same opportunities to access the market and property, and benefits from the accumulation of the rich, considered the most entrepreneurial. , more deserving and more useful”, quips Thomas Piketty, in Capital and ideology.

Without the framework of justification, anti-systemic critiques would implode the pillars of oppression. The dialectic of pain is simple: greater concentration of property, more imbalance; greater attachment to entrepreneurship, more precarious work; greater belief in meritocracy, more inequity.

Social, racial, gender inequalities and the lack of equitable guidelines are not dysfunctions of the system, but the essence of the political program of the “elites”. The wealth of the world's top five billionaires has doubled since 2020; but for 60% of the population (5 billion inhabitants) it has decreased, says the Oxfam report.

Discriminatory regimes accentuate the complementarity of classes and hide the mechanisms of super-exploitation in discourses of false collaboration. Neoliberal hegemony spreads deindustrialization, hunger, death. Surplus value shows the savage determination in the market’s totalitarian constraints. The polarization imposed on the logic of barbarism requires the urgent definition of concepts. One thing is the chaff of authoritarian demagoguery, another is the wheat of a solidary democracy.

In the country, neoliberals support regressive measures to protect the environment in Congress to “pass the herd”. At the state and municipal level, little environmental care gives way to deregulations.

In Rio Grande do Sul, power facilitates devastating floods. Fakers wearing Civil Defense vests, on TV, act as if the registry office was not to blame for the destruction. The governor of Rio Grande do Sul (a setback in environmental legislation) and the mayor of Porto Alegre (pier gates, dikes and water pumps without maintenance) are responsible for policies of hostile and denialist affections for climate catastrophes, without investment in prevention. Survivors, in mourning, point their fingers upwards: “You made an animal with 7 heads / There is no heart that forgets”.

President Lula's federal government is present with concrete initiatives for the reconstruction of victimized cities, which has repercussions on the mobilization and militant spirit of volunteering, despite the Piratini Palace's gratitude to billionaire Elon Musk on social media. Rain doesn't cure the mutt complex.

However, dignity requires the rights of the population to organize resilience. Courage rescues republican communion with the scars of common people. Citizenship records the air in memory blasé of finance and agribusiness which, after ten days, adds to the stream of aid to RS with, amazingly, 460 food baskets for emergency kitchens.

The number gives the exact dimension of indifference, compared to the contributions of the Movement of the Landless, the Homeless, Small Farmers, and those Affected by Dams. The German said well that “the emancipation of workers will be the work of the workers themselves” – with the affections of work.

* Luiz Marques is a professor of political science at UFRGS. He was Rio Grande do Sul's state secretary of culture in the Olívio Dutra government.

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