Against generic fascism

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By JOÃO CARLOS SALLES*

In the face of the absurd, any neutrality is abominable

 

1.

Those who flirt with fascism and accept its possibility have already given themselves over to it body and soul. The historical lesson is hard and unequivocal, but it also applies to confronting postures similar to fascism, to generic fascism. In other words, examples of a pusillanimous and complicit morality are indifference in the face of environmental crimes or racist manifestations, silence in the face of attacks on knowledge, the arts or culture, and omission in the face of threats or disrespect for life. In the face of the absurd, any neutrality is abominable, and attitudes that naturalize evil cannot be interpreted as technical dexterity or political acumen.

It is true that the term 'fascism' is neither sufficient nor accurate to describe what has been happening in our country. Contexts and traits of historical fascism are different from current authoritarian manifestations. However, what we have been facing (threats to institutions, conservatism, violence) is no less repugnant than the fascism that once also converted crowds and even won elections. The historical situation differs, it would be analytical indigence to use the same concept for distant historical contexts, but it would be even more obtuse and pure academic preciosity not to identify a disturbing family resemblance.

The public servant must always act competently and, in the common interest, must be able to deal with anyone. There is nothing to brag about here, as it is an institutional obligation, enshrined, incidentally, in the codes of conduct of public administration. It is necessary, after all, to separate the conduct of the civil servant from the affiliation of the politician. One cannot, however, make a virtue of this necessity, nor suppress, because of this, the even greater duty to react with all strength and dignity against manifestations of authoritarianism, rudeness, prejudice, ignorance.

ACM Neto's posture in saying that he will govern well with any president, whether he presents it as neutrality or as a sign of competence, ends up meaning collusion with the absurdity of having an authoritarian and obscurantist president. It is a grave mistake as a position, beyond mere political cleverness or pragmatic calculation. Such silence is equivalent to a technocratic posture of low stature, and such “neutrality” is even more serious when the country is faced with the election of our lives. It is not surprising, however, as this gesture became generalized as one more symptom of the degradation of our party system, reduced to a large extent to aggregates without the slightest ideological unity, with interests above everything and values ​​below anything else. .

 

2.

During the counting of votes for the first round, I received an enthusiastic message from a friend from another state. He claimed that Bahia would save Brazil.

The message bodes well and I hope it will live up to your best expectations. To do so, however, Bahia needs to confirm that, in our land, there really isn't room for tyrants of any size or of any hue. In addition to votes, many votes, we need to say even more and better in this election. We need to programmatically show that we do not share measures that today make rulers so similar that they should be at opposite extremes, but are equally inclined to privatizing measures and the defense of conservative and neoliberal values, so that, in the end, they are unified in the idea that good governance is measured by a set of achievements.

Current rulers boast of results, as past governments did, and end up competing in numbers and not in values. Everything seems to be able to be reduced to the condition of instrument in public management, which would be worth in proportion to its deliveries. Thus, the amount of works, roads, polyclinics, jobs is boasted. Meanwhile, for example, an image of culture greatly reduced to the interest of the tourism economy, a militarized vision of security or an education oriented above all to the immediate interests of the market is accepted. And these, I want to insist, are not secondary issues, as they affect far-reaching choices.

Therefore, there is a lack of civility and an excess of rudeness in the foundation of many discourses, so that the ideological marks of a retrograde, exclusionary and authoritarian Bahia are still pervasive and resistant. Our progressive rulers must, therefore, offer more than that, as they are not measured or differentiated only by their results, but by representing democratic principles and egalitarian hopes.

 

3.

Outcomes certainly matter and, of course, often trump any principles at the ballot box. However, beyond any pragmatism, it is our duty to keep a utopian truth, namely, that it is possible to have even better and more lasting results if we have a radically democratic nation as our horizon. There is, after all, something strange and very uncomfortable when everyone speaks the same language of progress and shares the same criteria for the success of a management.

A vote is always a bet on the future. At this point, however, it is much more than a simple bet. Voting for Lula is a matter of survival as a nation and expresses the best reaction to the threat of pure and simple barbarism. That is, we don't want Lula just because he will do more. It certainly will. But we want Lula above all because he will do it differently. And we want Jerônimo on Lula's side because we hope that others will be the principles, the methods and, therefore, in essence, the benefits for our people.

By declaring my vote for Jerônimo, I believe that for him the pragmatic rule that “it doesn’t matter” should not apply. Having another life experience, we must believe that he will know how to decide with the pride that Bahia needs, even in the face of questions for which I don't know if he has already presented a clear position, but to which, I believe, he will respond in accordance with progressive values, making then validate their answers, when they are finally supported by the legitimacy that the ballot boxes (and only the ballot boxes) confer.

Thus, owing reverence solely to the interest of the common people, the future governor will clearly face very delicate issues. As a progressive, he must know, for example, that it is not enough to bring water and guarantee sanitation to all regions, as it does matter, and a lot, how this will be done. Water is not a commodity, but a right. And Jerome must not conceal his position in this regard, nor must he shy away from a clear answer. Yes, he must, in all letters, affirm his commitment to reverse everything that has already been done with a view to privatizing Embasa.

A progressive ruler also has a huge and even greater commitment to the security of our community. This, however, can only mean another understanding of public security, one that does not victimize our people and is not a perverse instrument of oppression or discrimination. A progressive posture must speak louder than the views that prefer to solve the serious security problems in our state only with more police and not with public policies.

After all, it is unacceptable that, in our land, extermination procedures are still praised or excused, which cannot be corrected with a mere increase in resources or personnel, but with another vision of the links between security and the fight against hunger, unemployment, prejudice, exclusion.

A progressive ruler cannot neglect science either. Bahia is a place of culture, art, scientific research – and this must be an essential part of the management of our state, against the current of obscurantism that has threatened us in recent years and that we must now overcome. Our next governor cannot fail to invest in knowledge.

It is time, therefore, to clearly state and guarantee that article 5 of Law 7.888/2001, which created FAPESB, will be complied with, in which it is stated: “The State will allocate, annually, resources to FAPESB corresponding to 1% (one percent) of its net tax revenue”. Fulfilling this goal certainly contributes to shaping a lasting Enlightenment belt, which strengthens the production of knowledge in our state and also supports all areas of knowledge. There is, after all, no truly progressive government that neglects the sciences, cultures, historical heritage and the arts.

Education, too, needs to count on your lofty word. In that case, speak with pride who knows how to listen. Haughtiness is not arrogance, but willingness and strength to deepen and multiply dialogues. For conservatives, the exercise of representation replaces the represented community. Those who, on the contrary, have a democratic spirit, know that authentic representation expands the presence of the people and creates conditions for the people to be, in short, the true protagonist of their history. In this sense, it is important to listen, welcome, create conditions for institutional partnerships of a public nature.

It is therefore important to have a clear and explicit commitment by the governor to respect the autonomy of the Universities, to value dialogue with the associations that represent the categories of workers, to contribute to the well-being and respect of the civil service, to guarantee that the rights of education are not subtracted by budget restrictions, since civilizing projects can never be the object of austerity policies.

And dialogue is also an authentic partnership, such as the one that must be maintained with public, state and federal institutions of higher education, since cooperation between public institutions, if taken seriously, cannot be a figure of speech, perhaps abandoned in the first hour for some convenience, especially in areas of knowledge production and citizen training.

 

4.

It's just a few points. Others can be listed, as a contribution to a candidacy that will unite in Bahia, along with Lula, all those who wish to fight barbarism. Authentic democratic leaders, we know well, are not managers, they do not merely calculate interests; and the hard game of politics will not take away their tenderness and respect. Jerônimo needs to pay full attention to points like these, correcting mistakes, but also reaffirming the virtues of a state government that, in turn, deepened important public policies and showed firmness and courage, resisting denialist and authoritarian excesses from the federal government.

Jerônimo must thus show, unequivocally, commitment to a basic civilizing agenda, knowing how to distance conservative, privatizing, authoritarian practices, with the integrity of a complete progressive leader, as Bahia needs and deserves. Jerônimo, after all, has preparation, history and talent; it has not matured in carbide. I am sure that the blessing of the polls will also bring him the necessary strength and autonomy, which will make his neck thick as an independent leader, capable of deciding and, finally, of doing what is best and right for our people, having on the horizon a radically democratic society.

Thus I enunciate principles, express my opinion, declare my vote. My explanation of vote, by the way, is already on the networks and I reiterate it here. I would certainly be happy if our candidate manifests himself on these points, but I understand well that, just like words, silence can also be meaningful. After all, the word marks with ink, while silence marks with fire.

The meaning of what we will do, of our future, is open to question. Now, we're in a hurry. It is time to roll up our sleeves and not be paralyzed by the fairness of “considerations” and fears, perhaps shared by other comrades. Let's go together, in Bahia, center of the universe, to combat reactionary and opportunistic forces; let us face together generic fascism, present in various forms of obscurantism and authoritarianism. And we are going to win, yes, with Lula and Jerônimo!

*Joao Carlos Salles Professor of Philosophy at UFBA. Author, among other books, of Ernst Cassirer and Nazism (ed. noir).

 

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