complete blindness

Image: Silvia Faustino Saes
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By TADEU VALADARES*

Henceforth we will live the time of hope combined with the time, complementary and opposite, of constant concern

G, dear,

As promised, I respond to your comment, in a way my vision of the political-institutional moment we are going through dialoguing with yours.

I begin by suggesting that, if you have time, read Pétry's article, circulated by the magazine Piaui, rhyme that is not a solution, about coup d'état. Even more opportune reading now, after the note issued on July 7 by the Ministry of Defense and the command of the Armed Forces.

If we start from the idea that reality is a permanent transformation, and that global history is a tense and contradictory totality, a spiral that tends to remain indefinitely, we are immediately obliged to qualify this vision, adding what today is most relevant to it. opposes: the aggression to nature that marks the era of the capitalocene, the aggravated economic and social imbalances, tending to lead to more and more popular uprisings, and the permanent risk of nuclear war, that is to say, that the unthinkable happens.

In any case, while capitalocene, socio-environmental exhaustion, unbridled economic exploitation or nuclear war do not fully realize their potential for destruction, one fact is certain: capitalism is a mode of production that is as contradictory as it is endowed with plasticity. Since the great voyages, it has turned around many times, although, now and for the foreseeable future, turning around will prove to be more difficult to do. Even because there is no longer an escape valve, there are no more exploitable frontiers, except for space.

On the other hand and despite everything, 'contra viento y marea', this way of organizing societies based on the exploitation of the unique commodity that is the salaried workforce is about to celebrate six centuries of existence. The last three, in full force. And that, don't forget, despite 1871, 1917, 1949, 1959 and so on.

Considering this 'general thing' that assumes particular forms and generates or gives way to specific realities, these 'general mines' of which Brazil has been a part since the captaincies, is what allows us to say, after examining our history well, that the ruling class and all of its smaller partners, among them most especially those who exercise the Weberian monopoly on the exercise of armed force, have already demonstrated their ability to accomplish something that, repeated so many times, it is impossible to ignore. The economic elite and more than simply economics, whose absolute majority is extremely conservative, if not reactionary, is not willing to accept a government, let's say, social democratic, if it remains for more than eight years at the head of the executive. Eight is the maximum, twelve is too many. For the elite to achieve this 'tour de force', to tolerate social democratic governments for somewhat long periods, it would have to be different, it would have to cultivate elective behaviors related to a somewhat Enlightenment discourse, a task historically out of reach, save in rhetoric.

Complete blindness, that of those who consider themselves well educated. Blindness, yes, because the 'establishment', in reality, when it loses electorally, only loses the leadership of the state, and even then in a very qualified way. It continues, always, with the control of the congress, of the superior courts, of the high bureaucracy, in special with regard to the careers of the state, which at the same time qualifies and limits the breadth of the victories of the left, when the latter finally 'wins the executive' '. It wins, but not completely. It wins, yes, G., but always threatened by the fully operative fifth column. On top of that, those who embody the 'big permanent interests' have as their tools the corporate media and a large part, if not the largest part, of the intelligentsia. That is, at hand, always, the strength of the 'intelligentsia' between conservative and reactionary, sprinkled with a few liberals with contorted hands. Always at hand, also, the strength of those who, since the war in Paraguay, clearly exercise, from time to time, their tutelary function of imperial origin.

To confirm the thesis, it is enough to stay in the more or less recent period, it is enough to take into account the democratic process that followed the very long transition, negotiated in detail, from 'military power', which was not only military, to 'civil power', which in compensation was not only civil.

This reality of ours, just don't see those who don't want to. Some because they do not know the process and are guided not by the analysis of reality, but by what the heart says. Others because, even knowing how the process was set up, they are unable to face in all its extension and depth what resulted from the hopes generated in the 80s. Instead of the dreamed irreversible democratization, the mutation of the dream into the nightmare that is the domination that is exercised inside our steel cage, whose padlock we were unable to break even when, faithfully obeying the constitutional rules and practices of the liberal democratic regime, we elected presidents of the republic.

This line of analysis of mine, v. G. will say, is somewhat biased. But it has some merit in pointing out that something remains constant in the time of change, and that this constant trait does not come from today, that it is shaped over more than five centuries of transformations that can be summarized in the phrase that says of our eternal crossing of the desert: 'We came from the slaveholding landholdings and arrived at agribusiness”. The formula sums up the tragedy that permeates all changes in the Brazilian world, all changes invariably confirming, after all, what remains immobile in the midst of movement, what has a name. The name of this delusion today is modernization.

Our history, complex and bewildering like the whole history of a people, a nation, a state, an antagonistic society whose way of being is being-in-the-world, that is, history indissolubly inserted in the larger history of the broader capitalist world . We, thus, being part – peripheral and subordinate – of the world at the same time inhospitable as exploitation and seductive as spectacle. Little bread and a lot of circus, the evils of Brazil are. From the world, too.

Viewing our history through these lenses, if we take into account the most recent period, the period 1988-2016 and everything that has followed since then, something becomes evident: if there is no preventive coup, if there is no Bolsonarist electoral jamming, if Lula does not have his CPF canceled (real risk, let's not fool ourselves about it), a very strange dish is being prepared in the cauldron whose water started to heat up since last March 8th. The broth, with each passing week, thickens more; every week it gets closer to the boiling point. The thermometer? The line that the electoral polls as a whole allow us to draw: the indications of who will probably be the future president, the rise, G., of our candidate.

It seems inevitable to me, even because Lula is Lula, that in the core of the strategy focused on the electoral victory next year – the construction of a broad front in which all, saints and sinners, coup victims and coup supporters, will unite to, in theory, recover democracy , and in theory to prevent the republic from perishing – a great and discreet compromise is drawn up between 'those who (casi) siempre mandan' and those who defend the weak reformism dissected by André Singer. Something similar was already done back there. Something like that could be worked out by the middle of next year. This time, if this understanding occurs, the text will be much more discreet. No Letter to the Brazilian People.

Perhaps it is the case to say: what on the surface appears as a certain polarization, that is, as tension generated by two poles that sometimes see each other and sometimes do not see each other as opposites, can, in its moment of 'overcoming' resolution, and with a view to assuring the victory that we so much desire, ending up producing something that, blatantly obvious, true of La Palice, although it does not fully satisfy the interests of 'los que mandan', will certainly hinder, to a significant extent, the yearnings for social justice, for extended public freedoms, for economic developmentalism with participatory democracy, that is, it will result in some weakening of the set of values, demands and practices that in general animates the immense majority of the Brazilian left.

That is our bow of hope, yes, though in our quiver the arrows are few. This is the project that we are taking up and will take up, many with immense enthusiasm, others somewhat reluctantly, to reach the electoral victory that surprisingly begins to be outlined with stunning clarity one year and three months before the first round.

If what I write has anything to do with reality, G., then it is clear that the ultimately superficial polarization hides in the deepest (or articulates with) something that, duly assumed by both parties, essentially prevents an 'exit by the left', that is, any type of exit as a break with neoliberalism. But let us not forget: the limited nature of the thing certainly has a great merit: it will remove from us, compensatory and at least for a while, Bolsonarist neo-fascism. This discreet agreement, which today I only see written in the stars, will certainly allow, in an optimistic record to which I have little access, and if the third Lula administration succeeds, significant improvements for most of the Brazilian population, especially the working class and the populations that inhabit the territories of the widely understood peripheries.

Some agreement will be reached, I intuit, so that the third Lula government can initially flow without much shock. But from the beginning, also, two enormous dangers, at least two, will emerge. Well thought out, G., actually both are already drawing each other.

The first is the risk that the government will “work out”. This could be well defined already in the first half of 2024. If the government 'works out', the Brazilian elite, whose genetic code is a slave trader, which goes a long way towards explaining why we are the second country in terms of income concentration, Brazil losing only to Qatar, it will be in an uproar. The government's success will put on the horizon the possibility that Lula is inaugurating another long cycle of weak reformist governments. Is that acceptable for this very regressive elite? Hard to believe that his representatives have the Florentine capacity to elaborate refined political calculations, if Lula is 'doing the same thing, only much better'. The president's success will probably act as a trigger for 'uncivilized', Pavlovian reactions, all converging on the need to 'stop the thing'. When I got used to having everything over the course of six years, I want to continue to rely on the executive as well. That said, it is trying to fulfill the instinctual desire in whatever way is feasible, without too much vestal itch between what is constitutional and what is more, unconstitutional.

Another danger is the government not working, which we will also know by 2024. And this risk is also great because the 'national' path will be being made while capitalism will most likely still not have overcome the general crisis that started 14 years ago, today turbocharged by the pandemic. The crisis remaining, all the tensions that mark the international scene will tend to become more acute. The difficulties that come from 2007/2008, we all know, G., are much more than difficulties; point to the exhaustion of neoliberalism and to the first steps of an ideal “Aufhebung” that animate the “new economic policy” of the USA, the “reformism of Biden” still without a certain destination. If the Lula government doesn't 'work out', it will even become likely that the elite will launch a new process of reframing the left, whether it is a new type of coup or not.

Until last March we lived through a time of terrible defeat. Since then, we have lived through a time of hope for an electoral victory that is visibly strengthening, but which, once it materializes, will boil down (I know it will boil down is a strong term, G.) to the indispensable recovery of the head of the executive, under penalty of the neo-fascism dominate the country for an indefinite period. Nothing more than that, the indispensable that does not guarantee more than beating Bolsonarism, despite the executive being so strong. Executive, yes, a strong instrument, but not enough to be Archimedes' lever. In a representative democracy like ours, there are other levers, institutional or not, but none of them, explained much earlier, is even remotely the left's road companion.

That's why I think: from now on we will live the time of hope combined with the time, complementary and opposite, of constant concern. Will we suffer another low blow? Now, this year or next, a preventive-reactive coup? The note from the Ministry of Defense and the commanders of the armed forces, one more sign that this is a possible 'way out', the most regressive of all, for examination by 'los que mandan'. Or will we suffer a blow later on, all the more likely as the third Lula government 'does not work out'? Or, even without any blows, but due to the impossibility of the future government redeeming the promises made to 'los de abajo', in 2026 we will experience the end of Lula's short cycle, in the meantime the democratic state of law with still more decayed?

This is a blow, G., a huge risk for us, but also for them. The one in 2016 in part did not work out, the toucan-emedebista political calculation failed. But economic calculus has been spectacularly successful since the launch of Bridge to the Future. Since then, with Meirelles and Guedes, the success that threatens us all has only been confirmed, the strength of the neoliberal poison that has no expiration date, even if we emerge victorious in October – an ideal hypothesis – or November of the coming year.

The correlation of forces, if we think of the structural plan, that of opposing classes, is not favorable to us. In electoral terms, yes, v. You're right, things are different. The polls say that the forces that oppose us, those of Bolsonarism and those of the non-Bolsonarist right with which the PT and allies will try to get along, are losing ground. Bolsonaro seems to continue to weaken throughout this year, but he will hardly be subjected to an 'impeachment' process. In other words, it will arrive next year still strong enough to try to win in the second round. Meanwhile, those of the third way are unable to take off. Will they succeed? If they succeed, I confess, I will be surprised.

But, my essential question: will it be possible, after our electoral victory, to change the balance of forces operating at the structural level? Having asked you the question that puts the elephant in the room, I can't help asking myself: how will this be done from the Planalto Palace? I can't see anything objectively clear about it, save the path of good intentions.

Okay, I could be wrong.

Hug

* Tadeu Valadares is a retired ambassador.

 

 

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