permanent counterrevolution

Marcelo Guimarães Lima, Double Phoenix - Allegory of time pencil, color pencil and digital, 2021
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By JOSÉ RAIMUNDO TRINDADE*

The coups d'état in Brazil are part of a permanent counterrevolution

Brazilian history could be compared to an accordion, that musical instrument from the Northeast. Most of the time the "accordion player" uses a few less serious musical notes, but from time to time he flexes the instrument as much as possible to accommodate the highest notes. The Brazilian bourgeoisie seems like an accordion: it is often incapable of handling the “lowest notes” and requires its “Bonapartes” on duty, obviously the most frequent note is the olive green tone, military force always necessary to impose order. republican.

At each set of intervals, somewhat regular, we have new coups d'état, this chronology seems to follow a strange rhythm linked to US interests and the worsening of the national and international economic crises, something that says a lot about the institutional fragility and the degree of subordination from the Brazilian bourgeoisie to US imperialism.

Based on the idea of ​​“prolonged counterrevolution” coined by Florestan Fernandes and developed by Otávio Ianni, we deal with the various historical phenomena of coups d'état in Brazil, whether in 1964 or in 2016. Much has already been written about the relations between groups and social classes and how historical changes are the result of power blocs, but we will deal here from an unusual thesis: the Coups are integrated, as they are specific moments of bourgeois counterrevolution, which would establish a broader concept than Florestan's, which would be that of permanent counterrevolution.

The Protracted Counterrevolution

In April 1964, the economic and social interests that came together to define the contemporary Brazilian historical trajectory had a central inflection point. Two classic national authors have already deeply analyzed that phenomenon, however much we are today susceptible to historical revisionism, but both Florestan and Ianni had a common point of view: the 1964 coup constituted a prolonged counterrevolution.

The Brazilian bourgeoisie results from a patchwork of the agrarian aristocracy. The three central phenomena that ended up composing the Brazilian bourgeoisie are elements that define the type of national dependent capitalism: colonial-slavery defining structural racism as part of a society with a sense of racial discrimination as a perennial mark; the latifundium as a patrimonialist condition, a strong aspect of both a conservative “agrarian” culture, marked by the idea that there is no room for small production; finally, patriarchy as the essence of masculine power over the feminine.

These elements become something so preponderant in the current cycle of “agribusiness”, even if they sell the ideology of “agro is pop”, but the large farm is the space for imported machinery. Florestan considered that the early decades of the XNUMXth century matured the Brazilian bourgeoisie, but a class formed in very different conditions from other bourgeoisies, and because of this structural condition, it also establishes a society of a dependent character. The Brazilian bourgeoisie constitutes itself as a historical appendage of the landowning classes.

The interaction between social interests and the very ability to apprehend the international dispute around a territory as broad and comprehensive as Brazil constitutes one of the bases of autocratism and contractual violence of the Brazilian ruling class.

The center of domination and maintenance of this autocratism has been made over the last six decades as a logic of power of the military. The military assumed a permanent condition of Bonapartist power, and its assimilation to this condition also led to a permanent interaction of preparation of military cadres by the interests of the US empire. A key aspect is that this preparation does not imply cognitive and sovereign capacity, but a minimum capacity for social cognition and a maximum of empathy with one's own people. The form of interaction between the military power and the Brazilian population has always been one of maximum oppression.

Counterrevolutions are forms of permanent ruptures. Florestan thought of the notion of prolonged counter-revolution, assuming that any capacity for social organization in Brazil would be interrupted by an opposing force that would annihilate revolutionary or reformist movements in historical time. Five points related to counterrevolution:

i) dependent social formations are constituted by the logic of permanent transfer of wealth to the capitalist center. The central bourgeoisies monitor and control the transfer of wealth and point out transitions and the need for systemic changes.

ii) Wealth transfer takes place in four main ways: 1) natural resources; 2) technologies; 3) financial riches; 4) public debt. It should be noted that all forms of transferred wealth result from the logic of overexploitation of work. The visibility of this is the misery of the Brazilian population.

(iii) social oppression requires a degree of ideological domination whose media apparatuses become a fundamental part of the state apparatus. Rede Globo is not something minor, but fundamental in maintaining a counterrevolutionary process.

(iv) dependent societies that require instruments of local military forces. Thus, the Military Police are not minor parts of an apparatus of power. The occupying forces are internal. The military as a condition of international dispute are minors.

v) organizations contrary to counterrevolutionary powers are ways to be fought permanently, which constitutes the core of the idea of ​​permanent counterrevolution. Leftist political parties are parties to be fought and destroyed. The imperial power of command obliges the local dominant classes to destroy all autonomous forces, hence there are no organized unions, organized parties or any social experiment that differs from the interests and dominant ideology.

Addiction as essence

The capitalist world economy has the character of uneven and combined development, which materializes in an international pattern of division of labor in which the world economy is divided into three large zones of sovereignty and technological, geopolitical and financial control arrangements: the center, the semi-periphery and the periphery, and this division appears functional to guarantee the appropriation of surplus value by the centers and new-centers, allowing the accumulation of economic power in regions of technological, military and financial leadership and underdevelopment ( in conditions of dependence) in regions with less technological progress, geopolitical and financial subordination.

The relations between central and peripheral capitalist economies are maintained by the transfer or net flow of value to the central countries, either through the classic mechanisms of remittance of dividends, interest and wages paid to the directors of the great imperialist companies and the growing debts of the underdeveloped countries, but also by the worsening of unequal exchange, especially established since the growing technological gap consolidated from the 2000s.

Considering, for example, the Brazilian case, we have magnified the sense of maintaining dependence and restricting national sovereignty: in technological terms we have a structural dependence on the US; in the financial case, the Brazilian credit system constitutes a screen of the US system. Visible in the public debt system, which basically functions as a means of transferring national wealth to external or international debt controllers, something around 5% of annual GDP; as for the geopolitical aspects, fully linked to the foreign relations of the North American empire; finally, the aspect of quality of life, where the logic of overexploitation of work imposes precarious living conditions for most of the Brazilian population.

Dependence constitutes the structural essence of capitalism, several nations only exist as forms subordinated to the interests of central capital. These nations exist like a treadmill runner, expending maximum energy but staying in the same place. This kinetic energy produced is not dispersed and harvested. In the natural world it becomes sweat that drips and runs, but in the capitalist world this energy is collected in the form of a gigantic mass of liquid wealth, be it collected interest, be it amortization of public debts, be it payments of the most diverse kind. Dependency imposes itself as a structural need of contemporary capitalism.

Brazil is a vast space for kinetic exploration, the inability of the local ruling class to place limits on exploitation will lead us to an unlimited spoliation of the population and nature. Ultimately, only a radical break with the condition of dependence will establish a sovereign Brazil.

permanent counterrevolution

The logic of dependency integrates central and peripheral capitalism, and there are not several capitalisms, there is only world capitalism that imposes itself in central and peripheral forms. Dependence from the second half of the XNUMXth century would be based on a situation of compromise between the interests that move the internal structures of dependent countries and those of big international capital, which implies a profound internalization of the interests of transnational companies and a new limitation to the degree of autonomy of peripheral economies and societies with regard to the components of sovereignty already mentioned.

What we have now is a new world interaction, and the Brazilian pattern fits without any national resistance in the establishment of a primary-exporter specialization accumulation pattern. The international capitalist order establishes and deepens Brazilian dependence.

The capitalist world economy has the character of uneven and combined development, which materializes in an international pattern of division of labor in which the world economy is divided into three large zones of sovereignty and technological, geopolitical and financial control arrangements: the center, the semiperiphery and the periphery, and this division appears functional to guarantee the appropriation of surplus value by the centers, allowing the accumulation of economic power in regions of technological, military and financial control and underdevelopment (in conditions of dependence ) in regions with less technological progress, geopolitical and financial subordination. The logic of subordination imposes itself as a permanent counterrevolution on the periphery.

The global expansion of capital and the configuration of capitalism as a world-economy is unevenly processed in territorial terms, with no “convergence” as an economic process, but the establishment of different geoeconomic hierarchies, in accordance with the referred dynamics of uneven and combined development. The world economy is established, therefore, as several overlapping and integrated reproductive circuits of capital, and this relationship is what constitutes the imperialist logic, on the one hand, and dependence on the other. What is called national sovereignty must be understood as the greater or lesser degree of national autonomy in relation to four central axes: technological, financial, geopolitical and social reproduction of populations.

Brazil is a central part of the US peripheral spatial configuration, and its sovereignty is limited in terms of four points that constitute or determine national sovereignty:

i) As for the capacity for technological mastery and control over the main segments of the technical reproduction of capital. In this regard, both the dependence on transplanted industrial plants and the fact that technology is not neutral and its reason is anthropocentric, there are a number of negative consequences for Brazil, including the formation of pockets of poverty, unemployment and informality.

ii) The growing smaller influence on the international financial circuit, and how the conditions of national control over its credit system and monetary base are established, component of financial sovereignty. this factor implies the ability, in terms of national currency, to manage both international commercial exchanges based on its national currency, as well as control over capital flows (Direct Foreign Investment) and the consequent transfers of income (profits and interest) to central countries, in the case of Latin America centrally to the US.

(iii) The geopolitical control of the territory and the capacity for extraterritorial intervention. Three elements are integrated here: on the one hand, the autonomous military power that has a greater or lesser capacity to deter offensives by other belligerent States, the autonomous and sovereign use of the territory in accordance with the interests of a national project and, finally, the capacity to discretion and influence in the international multilateral decision-making order. Brazil shows enormous dependence and subordination in this regard, either because of its inability to participate in international multilateral agreements, or because of the management of its territories, largely subject to the intervention of the US imperial power.

(iv) Finally, more central and of great consequence, the factors of social order considering the economic, educational and health quality of the population, the exercise of citizenship as a power of organization and collective coexistence, the power to exercise democratic interaction in State decisions .

Considering the Brazilian sunset, we have magnified the sense of maintaining dependence and restricting national sovereignty: in technological terms we have a structural dependence on the US; in the financial case, the Brazilian credit system constitutes a screen of the US system. Visible in the public debt system, which basically functions as a means of transferring national wealth to external or international debt controllers, something around 5% of annual GDP; as for the geopolitical aspects, fully linked to the foreign relations of the North American empire; finally, the aspect of quality of life, where the logic of overexploitation of work imposes precarious living conditions for most of the Brazilian population.

The relations between central and peripheral capitalist economies are maintained by the transfer or net flow of value (wealth) to the central countries, either through the classic mechanisms of remittance of dividends, interest and wages paid to the directors of the great imperialist companies and the growing debts of the countries underdeveloped countries, but also by the worsening of unequal exchange, especially established since the growing technological gap consolidated from the 2000s.

It should be remembered that dependency from the second half of the twentieth century would be based on a situation of compromise between the interests that move the internal structures of dependent countries and those of big international capital, which implies a profound internalization of the interests of transnational companies and new limitation to the degree of autonomy of peripheral economies and societies with regard to the components of sovereignty.

The coups d'état in Brazil are part of a permanent counter-revolution, as the continuous movements of the Brazilian people are dispersed by the ruling class and the national riches are transferred to the capitalist center. The rupture with this logic will only happen by destroying capitalism.

*Jose Raimundo Trinidad He is a professor at the Graduate Program in Economics at UFPA. Author, among other books, of Criticism of the Political Economy of the Public Debt and the Capitalist Credit System: a Marxist approach (CRV)

References


Florestan Fernandes. The Bourgeois Revolution in Brazil. Publisher Guanabara, 1979.

Octavio Ianni. The Dictatorship of Big Capital. Brazilian Civilization, 1981.

Jose Trinidad. Agenda of debates and theoretical challenges. Paka-armadillo, 2020.

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