crime and martyrdom

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By MARIANA LINS COSTA*

120th anniversary of the execution of Leon Czolgosz, assassin of US President William McKinley (1843-1901)

“I was struck by the idea that the killer was a man of great courage. Although the guards were holding him by the arms, the prisoner was able to walk unaided to the chair. Aside from his last words, there was no sound in the death chamber; the prisoner showed not the slightest hint of fear.” (Sheriff Caldwell on his impressions of officially witnessing the execution of Leon Czolgosz[I]).

The present writing is, to a large extent, the result of a long, amateurish and painful reflection on the twelfth thesis of the text About the concept of history by the philosopher Walter Benjamin. Reflection whose point of arrival is the simple understanding that it is important to remember certain names, especially in times like ours, in which we were tied to the chair of witnesses to the rise of an extreme right that, from the height of our knowledge, we had judged as definitely belonging to the past. The present writing is, therefore, a form of posthumous homage to a presidential assassin assassinated by the State without, paradoxically, being, for that reason, an ode to violence. It is just a matter of rescuing a certain historical memory.[ii]

 

1.

On October 29, 1901, Leon Czolgosz was electrocuted at Auburn State Prison, in midwestern New York, with two electroshocks of approximately 1800 volts each. The electrocution process took precisely one minute and five seconds to reach its end. At 7:14 am he was declared dead by the doctors who were then accompanying his execution.[iii] He was only 28 years old. Son of Polish immigrants, until today little is known about his life: there are controversies about which American city he would have been born in (he had no birth certificate, which was common at the time, especially in his class); about whether he was in fact an anarchist as he declared himself (since, as was exhaustively investigated by the police at the time, no one from the anarchist movement, except very occasionally, had established any contact with him); or even whether he was mentally insane or sane when he committed the crime that led to his premature and unnatural death.

What is certain is that Leon Czolgosz was born in 1873 in a context of extreme poverty, belonging to the large portion of American society that could not escape unscathed from the series of economic depressions that marked the United States at the end of the 12th century, with the end of Civil war. It is also certain that he started working as a child, although the age differs in the different accounts of this largely unknown killer: some say he started working in Michigan factories at the age of 1892, others that he was already 1898 years old. six years old worked shining shoes and delivering newspapers. Of all that we were able to know about his life before the crime, the most certain fact, because the only one documented, is that between the years XNUMX and XNUMX, he worked in the Newburg Wire Mills (a metallic yarn factory), in a shift that alternated between ten hours a day on the day shift for two weeks, and twelve hours a day on the night shift, also for two weeks; and whose salary was around 16 to 17 dollars for two weeks of day work and 22 to 24 dollars for two weeks of night work. For health reasons, this was Czolgosz's last work.[iv]Interestingly, he applied for this job under the name Fred Nieman, when Nieman in German means “Nobody”;[v] which if translated freely into Portuguese, we could say that his intention was to clearly designate himself as a “Zé Nobody”.

But behold, this status of “Ze Nobody” was modified and definitively, in a few minutes, precisely at four o'clock and seven minutes in the afternoon of September 6, 1901. From Zé Nobody, Leon Czolgosz became a presidential assassin or, if you prefer, an individual terrorist.[vi] According to the account contained in his brief letter of confession, he learned from the newspapers of the president's trip to the city of Buffalo, in the State of New York, with the objective of visiting the Pan-American Exposition. On the fateful 6th of September, while McKinley was in the theater known as the Temple of Music greeting the public, a somewhat Dionysian Czolgosz approached with a . . He fired twice directly into the president's stomach, until he was restrained by the crowd as he prepared to fire the third shot.[vii]As he reported in his brief statement to the police:

“I came up with the plan to shoot the president 3 or 4 days ago. When I fired, my objective was to kill him and my intention for his assassination is because I […] I felt that I had more courage than ordinary people to kill the president and I was simply willing to put my life on the line in such a way. to do this.”[viii]

Regarding the influence that anarchist ideas had on his decision, his explanation could not be more naive, almost childish, we could even say if it weren't for his implacable determination:

“I heard people talking about the duty to educate the people against the present form of government and that one should [do] everything one can to change the form of government. And I was willing to risk being electrocuted or hanged if I could kill the president.”[ix]

President McKinley died not immediately, but six days later, from a widespread infection from his wounds. About a week after McKinley's death, Czolgosz was put on trial. He stubbornly refused to communicate with the judge and made no effort to hire a lawyer, for which he obviously did not have the financial resources anyway – however, the law ensured that one was provided by the government.[X]His trial lasted, in all, just eight and a half hours. As for his last words, shortly before death by electrocution, the only sound that according to Sheriff Caldwell's testimony was made Word in the death chamber, these were the following: "I killed the president because he was the enemy of good people -of the workers. I am not sorry for my crime. I regret not having been able to see my father sooner.”[xi] It is worth adding that his family was not allowed to receive the body. long before Breaking Bad., the US government poured sulfuric acid over Leon Czolgosz's corpse - which reportedly took as much as 12 hours to dissolve. And even though there is not much writing and research about this murderer, his electrocution is, perhaps not by chance, available on several internet pages; suspicion that a simple “googlada” with his name can raise.

 

2.

It is worth repeating that the purpose of bringing to memory this execution carried out by the US government as a retaliation against an act of individual terrorism is not to endorse any form of direct action that makes use of the association between the extremes of violence and daring. in the political field. Especially because it seems to be an unquestionable conclusion, as if confirmed by history, that the assassination of President McKinley or any other “authority” was never able to make the world effectively fairer. Before, it would even be the case to assume the opposite. On the other hand, it is important to add that here we are not defending the determinist perspective that such violence on the part of a previously peaceful citizen is the exclusive result of his conditions of existence; since, as put by Emma Goldman, one of the few exponents of anarchism at the time who publicly came out in defense of Czolgosz,[xii] this explosion of violence also depends – and depends mainly, we might add – on the interiority, personality or, if you prefer, the nature of the individual in question. After all, Goldman brilliantly formulates: although tens of thousands of people detest tyranny, rarely does one truly appear willing to overthrow a tyrant.[xiii] And although it is even a duty to counter-argue, in the name of reason itself, that McKinley could not technically be considered a tyrant; Goldman anticipates that a “great man” – as was the case with William McKinley, the 25th president of the United States of America –, except in the case of deliberately abandoning this condition of “great man”, could never rise to the top of the world. degree of freedom for those who inexorably “had to pay the penalty for their power”.[xiv]And that this “power”, at most, was as brief as the one and a half month it took for Czolgosz to move from being a nobody to being a trace of a corpse legally dissolved by the State; well, let's be realistic if we want the impossible: depending on the status of the Nobody in question, such torn brevity is part of the penalty itself. At least, since the time of Achilles, this is one of the few truths ever deciphered by humanity - and it should be noted that Achilles was even nothing less than a demigod rather than a miserable man like Czolgosz, self-appointed Fred Nieman.

It is true that the reasoning here proposed is so extremely simple that it may justly be accused of being simplistic. Hence, bringing such a fact to memory can only have the unpretentious objective of raising equally simple questions, including because without an answer, although, perhaps, too forgotten questions; as the question of what leads someone to actually commit this type of crime, whereas, if not the majority, certainly a large number of people spend a good part of their lives wishing (and bragging) to have the courage for it; while a not insignificant number of people resign themselves to a life that is not much more than a slow and tedious process of self-degradation and/or self-destruction without meaning or purpose, whether dampened by vices of the most diverse orders and degrees, or justified in the name of the fight for survival and physical and material dignity; how the question why the sound of a gunshot when directed against an “authority” is still able to horrify crowds as acutely as it did in the United States at the time; at the same time that different sounds of pistol shots or the cracking of metaphorical and real whips are inflicted, daily, against the same crowds, without being able to arouse any indignation that becomes effective – at least if we do not categorize it as “effective” ” the repetitive humanist verbiage that, since then, has become the main “action” strategy of what we today understand as “the left” (a strategy that, it is true, has the double merit of echoing with beautiful words the terrible sounds of shots and whips directed against the crowds, while at the same time ensuring a fairly safe distance from the silence made by Czolgosz in his death chamber, as per the official testimony of Sheriff Caldwell).[xv]

And behold, all our “left” verbiage ends up referring to a certain passage of the small text in which the anarchist Voltairine de Cleyre dedicated to the young assassin of President McKinley – de Cleyre being, therefore, also one of the few exponents of anarchism that came out at the time in his defense. For according to de Cleyre – and this, it is worth emphasizing, still in the early years of the XNUMXth century –, it is no longer a case of disguising or seeking to soften the obviousness that “capitalism has made the world a slaughterhouse”, in which even small children are condemned without any judgment to the condition of the bestiality of starvation, or, if not so much, to a slow death by poisoned, polluted food, water, or air, or, what is even more banal, condemned without judgment or clemency to physical crippling. , intellectual, sexual and/or emotional.[xvi] Children who, to use Dostoevsky's words, didn't even have time to taste the tree of good and evil, who didn't even have time to become, like us, to some extent, morally or politically reprehensible.

Mountains of unhappy children come into the world, and here we use Goldman's words again, "only to be ground to powder by the wheels of capitalism and torn to pieces in trenches and battlefields"[xvii] – be these trenches and battlefields set up in foreign countries, as the United States usually does, or internally, in the case of our sad Brazil, which without going to war manages to guarantee its death statistics for itself.[xviii] It is for all this (and much more) that is being suggested here, if it is not even a case of asking ourselves seriously why the hells of capitalism only so rarely give birth to a desperado with enough strength to commit an equally criminal act like Czolgosz. desperately and desperately against those who at the moment in question occupy the post of official representatives of this hell.[xx]

 

3.

Goldman's response to the motives that lead to this type of murder or act of individual terrorism is at least curious. Since, according to her, it is not, as one might suppose at first sight, for “cruelty, or bloodlust, or for any other criminal tendency”, the motives that, in general, induce an individual “to deal a blow to organized power ” at the cost of his own life.[xx] Rather, she is keen to point out that although it is somewhat obvious that such an act requires a more extreme nature in courage, recklessness and violence, in many cases, the extremism of such a nature is, above all, about sensitivity – the a more extreme nature in sensitivity.[xxx] In a sentence: because it is typical of a “sensitive nature to feel an error more acutely and with greater intensity” than others who are less sensitive – it is that one has the explosion;[xxiii] as if it were (with due pardon for the misplaced word) a kind of orgasm and therefore inexorably brief (when compared to a lifetime), nevertheless, so to speak (for want of another expression), " inverted” in its purpose: since instead of the conception of a new member of the future generation, it leads to the annihilation of a representative member of the old condition in the present; for which, depending on the case, as was that of Czolgosz, self-annihilation is required without any right of clemency. In somewhat Nietzschean terms, one could say that conception is here the same as annihilation.

The frightening thing in all of this perhaps resides in the possibility that the expression of violence can be confused, despite not being a rule, with sensitivity itself and, therefore, with love. At least according to Goldman, it is necessary to consider that although such an act is born out of despair, this same despair is far from being exclusive to a few, rather it concerns the majority; so that it can only take the form of the violence that implies self-annihilation/self-annihilation as despair (we might add); paradoxically, out of “an abundance of love and an overflow of sympathy for all the pain and sorrow around us”; paradoxically, from “a love so strong that it does not falter before any consequence, a love so broad” that it is not able to close its eyes “while thousands perish, a love so absorbing that it cannot calculate, reason, investigate, but only dare at all costs”.[xxiii]

Didactically put: according to the reasoning offered by Goldman, it is the “overflow of sympathy towards all the pain and sadness around us” which often impels us not to waver even in the face of action that requires violence, even in the face of the most severe crime and martyrdom. atrocious or, if not so much, before something unreasonable like sexual passion, like revolutionary compassion. Hence, in her beautiful text on the life and political struggle of Mary Wollstonecraft, she defines the true rebel, precisely as one who is possessed by love and consumed by the fire of compassion and sympathy for all the suffering inflicted against all his comrades; like the one who, due to that very possession and consumption, is faced with the inexorable fate of the impossibility of receiving the love that his rebellious soul yearns for and which, as if by overflow, is giving all the time.[xxv]

That such an overflow (which by definition is unreasonable squandering) leads to complete exhaustion or self-annihilation is the almost inescapable result when calculation is not at stake. The side of history where Goldman is clearly not on the side of the winners, nor is it on the side of those who allowed themselves to be paralyzed by the imminence of defeat. It is in this register, therefore, that one must understand why, in the interview entitled “What is there in anarchy for women?”, from 1897, he chose to define love in a universal way, as agape, that is: as the “ irresistible desire to do good to the person, even in the face of sacrifice of personal desires";[xxiv]or her maxim, elaborated years later – in a critique directed at the feminist movement and the (excessively chaste and rigid) ideal of an emancipated woman of her time: “If love does not know how to give and receive without restrictions, then it is not love, but a commercial transaction”.[xxv]

We cannot forget that, in the present writing, for better or for worse, we are in the company of radicals. Of which the radical Emma Goldman, supported by the psychoanalytic discourse of the time, offers us a key to understanding. For even though she conceptually approaches love in the bourgeois manner of her time – that is, as in the first instance pure sexuality –, given her status as a radical, she took to the extreme the requirement that, in addition to the search for jouissance itself, the sexuality is the source of all socialization, love and creativity; and that also in its most varied plans must be freely exercised. Hence, the revolutionary demand for adequacy between theory and practice was expanded in her, at the same time that it was synthesized in her defense of “free love” – which should trespass from the spheres of private sexual and loving relationships until its full expression in the field social and political; trespassing that in the case of heroic women of the Russian revolution was able to lead them politically to “the most daring deeds” and, to the tragic fate of condemnation to death or exile in Siberia, notwithstanding “with a smile on their lips”.[xxviii] And behold, we have here, a certain explanation for why, in a text in memory of a recently executed young terrorist, Goldman deemed it important to take so long to talk about love, about its disruptive and, therefore, revolutionary power.

Perhaps the lack of understanding and rejection that generally surrounds such a psychology of violence stems, as suggested by Goldman, from the fact that it is too “profound for the superficial crowd to be able to understand”; nevertheless, the explanation of the movement that leads to the necessary coalition is exposed by the anarchist in an absurdly simple way: “the world inside the individual and the world around him are two forces so completely antagonistic that they must, necessarily, collide”.[xxviii] In any case, it is necessary to highlight his intellectual honesty, since in his text in sympathy with Czolgosz, there is no attempt, even surreptitiously, to elevate him, lightly, to the condition of a political ideal for the radicality of his time. And he makes a point of making this clear when, for example, he declares that he does not have enough knowledge to know whether Czolgosz was in fact a man made “of this type of material”. As well as when he highlights not being able to measure to what extent he was or was not an anarchist, as he declared himself to the police; or how far his indifferent behavior at the trial, absolutely prepared for martyrdom, was the result of either full possession of the senses, or of a deeply disturbed psyche.[xxix]

On the other hand, Voltairine de Cleyre makes us consider that in his private life perhaps McKinley himself was really a “good and kind man”; and that it is even “probable that he saw nothing wrong with the terrible actions he ordered”,[xxx] case, for example, of what became known as the genocide of the Filipinos, or the fact that during the intense economic depression that marked the end of the XNUMXth century in the USA, he took a police position against organized labor or that he remained quiet in the event that several black officers were murdered by white supremacists.[xxxii] “Perhaps,” says de Cleyre, “he managed to reconcile his Christian faith […] with the killings he ordered”; perhaps he was able to reconcile the massacre of the Filipinos with the idea that he was “doing them good”; since the “capitalist mind is capable of such contortions”.[xxxi]

But whatever his intentions and blind contradictions, the fact, de Cleyre points out, is that he was then one of the great “representatives of wealth, greed and power”; and in accepting that position, he "he accepted its rewards and its dangers." True that "McKinley's rewards" were apparently much "greater than his risks"; and besides, he didn't need the job of President of the United States to guarantee bread in his children's mouths; even so, without expecting it, this other anarchist stunningly concludes, the truth is that he went with his glorious mandate to meet an absurdly explosive force – this being, “the willpower of a desperate man”. And if, on the one hand, both men died; unlike Czolgosz, it could never be said that McKinley "died a martyr, but a gambler who won a high stake and was brought down by the man who lost the game." In other words, like a “great man” who has been ripped open by a nobody.[xxxii]

 

Final considerations

By way of conclusion, it is worth resuming what was mentioned in the opening remarks of this writing: that this simple tribute to the memory of a man whose great feat was an act of despair was thought of as a form of illustration (and also of homage) to what Walter Benjamin in his XII thesis meant when he said that the enslaved class will only be able to complete the work of its liberation if it assumes itself as the class that will avenge all the generations of defeated people that preceded it. A good conscience of the will to revenge[xxxv]which, as Benjamin makes us suspect, is one of the ingredients that has always scandalized defenders of the ideal of social democracy.

Democracy that, despite granting the working class the role of redeemer of future generations, cut precisely with such an “award” the sinew of its best strength. For according to Benjamin, it was in this school of democracy that the working class unlearned both hatred and the will to sacrifice. And it was cut and unlearned because both, that is, both hatred and the will to sacrifice – the will to sacrifice which, for Goldman, in Slavonic fashion, is confused with the very meaning of love – are nourished, not by the ideal from future freed descendants, but from the perspective of historically enslaved ancestors. Nutrition that, in order to be provided, necessarily invokes the courage recurrently demanded by Nietzsche from his Hyperboreans; as is even attested, and certainly not by chance, in the epigraph chosen by Benjamin for his XII thesis that gave rise precisely to the present writing in memoriam: “We need history, but we need it in another way than the pampered idle walker in the garden of learning.”[xxxiv]

*Mariana Lins Costa is a postdoctoral researcher in philosophy at the Federal University of Sergipe (UFS).

 

Notes


[I] Available from: https://web.archive.org/web/20100817095240/http://ublib.buffalo.edu//libraries/exhibits/panam/law/trial/men-at-execution.pdf

[ii] The first version of this paper was recently presented, in conference format, at the II National Online Congress Philosophy, Life and Death (UFS) on November 18, 2021.

[iii] MACDONALD, Carlos F. The trial, execution, autopsy and mental status of Leon F. Czolgosz, alias Fred Nieman, the assassin of President McKinley. American Journal of Insanity, v. LVIII, no. 3, p. 369-387, Jan. 1902.

[iv] FEDERMAN, Cary. The Life of an Unknown Assassin: Leon Czolgosz and the Death of William McKinley. Crime, Histoire & Sociétés / Crime, History & Societies[Online], v. 14, no. 2, p. 85-106, Dec. 2010.

[v] See in this regard the presentation for the brief letter of confession to the police by Leon Czolgosz prepared by the Shapell Manuscript Foundation. Available from: https://www.shapell.org/manuscript/mckinley-assassin-confession/

[vi] Idem.

[vii] CRIMETHINC. Bullets for McKinley: A Few Words on Political Assassination, May 2018. Available at: https://www.crimethinc.com/2018/05/30/bullets-for-mckinley-a-few-words-on-political-assassination

[viii] Available from: https://www.shapell.org/manuscript/mckinley-assassin-confession/

[ix] Idem.

[X] See in this regard the following passage from the transcript of his trial: “The district attorney said to him: 'Leon Czolgosz, you have been indicted by the grand jury of this county for first-degree murder;' and then read the indictment. 'How do you plead?' The prisoner did not answer. 'Do you understand what I read to you?' he asked once more. 'Do you understand that you are charged with the crime of first degree murder?' 'You can say yes or no.' He was speechless”. It is worth mentioning that the refusal to declare himself innocent or guilty directly harmed him in the trial and, therefore, was the reason that led to the judicial suspicion that he was not in his right mind – a mental condition that is a matter of controversy to this day. Be that as it may, at the time all the specialists in mental illness who, at the request of the judge and lawyers, examined the prisoner came to the unanimous conclusion that he was mentally sound (PARKER, LeRoy. The Trial of the Anarchist Murderer Czolgosz. The Yale Law Journal, v. 11, no. 2, p. 80-94, Dec. 1901)

[xi] MACDONALD, Carlos F. The trial, execution, autopsy and mental status of Leon F. Czolgosz […], op. cit.

[xii] Emma Goldman was even included among the thirteen anarchists who were arrested and kept incarcerated for several weeks on suspicion of alleged links with Czolgosz, even though the authorities did not have any evidence to confirm such suspicion and arbitrary arrests – which, later, led to the release of all thirteen detained anarchists. According to the currently current expression among Americans, it was more than proven that the crime of the young Leon Czolgosz was a lone wolf attack. In general, his crime was execrated not only by the most ordinary public opinion of the time, but also by the radical wing, that is, by trade unionists, socialists and even by most anarchists.

[xiii] GOLDMAN, Emma. The tragedy at Buffalo. free society, out. 1901. Available at: https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/emma-goldman-the-tragedy-at-buffalo

[xiv] Idem.

[xv] The application of this reasoning, in all its ambiguity, to the situation in Brazil today is left to the reader.

[xvi] de CLEYRE, Voltairine. McKinley's Assassination from the Anarchist Standpoint. Mother Earth, v. 2, no. 8, p. 303-306, Oct. 1907.

[xvii] GOLDMAN, Emma. “The social aspects of birth control”. In: About anarchism, sex and marriage. Translation, organization, introduction and notes Mariana Lins Costa. São Paulo: Hedra, 2021.

[xviii] https://jornal.usp.br/atualidades/numeros-da-violencia-no-brasil-ja-equivalem-aos-de-um-pais-em-guerra/

[xx] de CLEYRE, Voltairine. McKinley's Assassination from the Anarchist Standpoint, op. cit.

[xx] GOLDMAN, Emma. The tragedy at Buffalo, op. cit.

[xxx] In addition to the Czolgosz affair (which, according to what was circulated at the time, he even heard one or two of the anarchist's public lectures, including her public defense of the murderer of King Umberto of Italy, the anarchist Gaetano Bresci, a year earlier , in 1900), Goldman had his partner involved in several other attacks, although in none of the cases was sufficient evidence found for his conviction. It is worth mentioning that, in her first years of militancy, she, a young immigrant from the Russian Empire, was the protégé none other than Johann Most, a German immigrant, known in the United States at the time as a kind of incarnation of Satan, since he openly defended violent direct action, precisely the attack he had based on the terrorist principle of propaganda for the deed; and, what is no less radical, considered a Satan for his open militancy of the people's right to manufacture their own explosives in the name of self-defense (for which he produced an evil for the manufacture and use of different types of bombs, published in fascicles in the newspapers radicals of the time). A defense of violent direct action that exerted great influence on the Chicago anarchists and, by extension, on the Haymarket tragedy, when a bomb, attributed by the authorities to the anarchists, was thrown against the police, on the fateful May 4, 1886. The rupture of the pupil with the master took place in a profoundly dramatic way, when, in 1892, Alexander Berkman, his lifelong political companion and, at the time, also his lover, unsuccessfully tried to assassinate the industrialist Henry Clay Frick, as a form of retaliation for the assassination of strikers at his command. Most publicly positioned himself against the attack carried out by Berkman (who would spend 14 years in jail before being extradited to Russia) – even using great malice by insinuating that the motivation for the crime would have actually been to arouse sympathy of public opinion towards Frick. Goldman's indignation at Most reached such a paroxysm that, as he recounts in his biography, living my life, in one of his lectures, after challenging him to explain the accusations against Berkman, publicly whipped him a few times in the face and neck.

[xxiii] GOLDMAN, Emma. The tragedy at Buffalo, op. quote

[xxiii] Idem.

[xxv] GOLDMAN, “Emma. "Mary Wollstonecraft: Tragic Life and Passionate Struggle for Freedom". In: On anarchism, sex and marriage, op. cit.

[xxiv] GOLDMAN, Emma. "What's in anarchy for women?" In: On anarchism, sex and marriage, op. cit.

[xxv] GOLDMAN, Emma. “The tragedy of the emancipated woman”. In: On anarchism, sex and marriage, op. cit.

[xxviii] GOLDMAN, Emma. "Heroic Women of the Russian Revolution". In: On anarchism, sex and marriage, op. cit.

[xxviii] GOLDMAN, Emma. The tragedy at Buffalo, op. quote..

[xxix] Idem.

[xxx] de CLEYRE, Voltairine. McKinley's Assassination from the Anarchist Standpoint, op. cit.

[xxxii] CRIMETHINC. Bullets for McKinley: A Few Words on Political Assassination, op. cit.

[xxxi] de CLEYRE, Voltairine. McKinley's Assassination from the Anarchist Standpoint, op. cit.

[xxxii] As the saying goes, it is important to stress that any similarity (albeit backwards) with reality – as is the case with the recent episode in Brazilian history, popularly known as the “fake stab” – is a mere coincidence.

[xxxv] “Good conscience of the will to revenge” which, although not an expression coined by Benjamin, refers to something that Nietzsche identified as the typical character trait of those self-appointed “the good ones”, who had the power to repay good with good ( gratitude) and evil with evil (revenge) and, what is more important, that really did; the capacity for long revenge and the long gratitude resulting from it is, curiously, according to Nietzsche's Human, all too human, absolutely nerve-racking for the communal feeling, in which men are interconnected, also saw the feeling of retribution – that, at least, with regard to the “soul of the dominant tribes and castes” of the Ancient Age (NIETZSCHE. Human, all too human. Trans. Paulo Cesar de Souza. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2005, § 45).

[xxxiv] LÖWY, M. Walter Benjamin: fire warning: a reading of the theses “On the concept of history”. São Paulo: Boitempo, 2005. (translation by Wanda Nogueira Caldeira Brant; translation of theses by Jeanne Marie Gagnebin and Marcos Lutz Müller).

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