Does Curitiba have the germ of fascism?

Image: Leonardo Dourado

By Pedro Benedito Maciel Neto*

The long history of the capital of Paraná with right-wing thinking and authoritarianism

“Curitiba spawned Bolsonaro. Curitiba has the germ of fascism. Including all the practices they develop. Surrelf and atypical investigations”

Gilmar Mendes

Recently Gilmar Mendes again criticized Sergio Moro as a judge of Operation Lava Jato in Curitiba. In his participation in the program Roda Viva, on TV Cultura, he related the performance of the members of the task force in Curitiba with the rise of the extreme right in the country.

I agree with Gilmar, but there are those who don't, so I did some research.

I found out that in 1955 Curitiba gave more votes to Plínio Salgado, emblematic figure of integralism in Brazil, than to Juscelino Kubitschek in the presidential election, that's right, integralism won JK in the capital of the araucarias.

A little of history.

In the 1930s, Brazil was the scene of one of the most significant far-right political movements in the country: the Brazilian Integralist Action, whose emergence can be related to the set of social, economic, political and cultural factors of the period.

The combination of the global economic crisis – with repercussions on Brazil -, the discredit of liberal democracy, the rise of the popular classes, simultaneously with the emergence of radical or revolutionary political movements and the strengthening of authoritarian ideals – with Nazism and fascism as the main representatives of the period – made the terrain of the history of the period to become fertile for a movement that proposed to build a “new society”, whose pillars would be social harmony, spiritual renewal in the face of capitalism, discipline, hierarchy and the strengthening of the State, of building the old society of “disorder”, of unbridled liberalism, selfish individualism and weak political power along liberal lines.

But who was Plinio Salgado and what was the integralism that seduced Curitiba?

Plinio Salgado was an ultraconservative politician, who founded and led the “Ação Integralista Brasileira”, a self-styled “Catholic nationalist” party, inspired by the principles of the Italian fascist movement.

The founder of the Brazilian integralist party was also a supporter of the Vargas dictatorship, but, accused of subversion, he was arrested by Vargas and went into exile in Portugal, leaning on Salazar, another fascist, having supported the 1964 dictatorship.

Jorge Amado, political and ideological opponent of Plinio Salgado, as well as a member of the PCB, commented on Plínio Salgado’s literary work in O Cavaleiro da Esperança, a biography of Prestes, saying that: “Never in the whole world, including Marinetti’s futurism in the Italian fascio, including the Aryan theories of German Nazism, has so much idiocy, so much superstition, been written in so much bad literature, as integralism has done in Brazil. It was a moment in which dishonesty was greater than ridicule. Plinio Salgado, “fuhrer of operetta”, cheap theater messiah, had the microbe of bad literature….”[I].Heavy criticism, I can't agree or disagree because I haven't read any of Salgado's literary works.

What about integralism?

The Brazilian Integralist Action, was an ultranationalist, corporatist, conservative, far-right political movement inspired by Italian fascism and the social doctrine of the Catholic Church of the early 1932th century, founded by Plinio Salgado in XNUMX.

The relationship between integralism and fascism is evident and undeniable.

Integralism is the Brazilian manifestation of fascist thought, which had strong appeal in the 1930s. Although most of its members deny the relationship with Nazism, there were integralists who defended anti-Semitic ideals. Integralist Gustavo Barroso, for example, responsible for anti-Semitic movements, made a notable contribution to extreme right-wing ideology with the translation and defense of the book The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a text that influenced Nazism and remains in circulation until the present day.

The integralist ideology fights both communism and economic liberalism, as it understands that these two ideological positions are similar due to their “unit of theoretical roots”, units of values ​​and unity of ends, forming, for him, two equally materialistic doctrines.

For the integralist ideology, historical materialism, that is, the search for understanding the relationship between work and the production of material goods throughout history or, considering the human being exclusively under its economic and material aspects, would be the basis of what is called "bourgeois civilization” and is the great influence for the formation of both economic liberalism and communism.

Quite silly, isn't it?

Well, for Plínio Salgado, the so-called “bourgeoisie” is not a social or economic class, but a state of mind, and, in the words of Miguel Reale, father of the jurist who signed Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment petition: “Since Marxism became the critique of capitalist society and (...) a comfortable method of studying bourgeois society, many accessory ideas came to be united with the fundamental thesis of the limitation of individual property or its suppression. Nowadays it is no longer possible to separate them. Atheism, the abolition of the family, the internationalism of peoples, materialism in all senses of life, everything is so intertwined with the socialist ideal that we are faced with a great paradox: You need to have a strictly bourgeois spirit to embrace communism.”[ii]

Yes, it's very silly.

In summary, Integralism is an import of authoritarian European thought of the Nazi-Fascist type, it is an expression of the Brazilian authoritarian ideology that uses European thought nationally, filling it with local content. The importation of ideas occurs because it is an authoritarian thought, since it is part of the authoritarian logic to find a “knowledge” that has already been realized, avoiding the risk of developing knowledge and fearing the new and the unprecedented. Thus, the theoretical weakness and the need to import already established ideas become clear.

That is, Curitiba in 1955 gave an enthusiast of fascism and Nazism, an anti-Semite and racist, victory in the race for the presidency of the republic.

And in the capital of the araucarias, something even more pathetic will be born at the end of August 2023, a so-called “Foro de Curitiba”, whose objective is “to face the communist ideology, tracing a path that extends from the School of Frankfurt and Antonio Gramsci to the Forum of São Paulo”[iii].

The “Foro de Curitiba” was not even born yet, but it already repeats the integralist and lavajatist cantilena, saying that it has “its roots firmly planted in ethical, moral values ​​and Christian principles”, reinforcing the inalienable right of all citizens to freedom.

And, so that there are no doubts about which side Curitibans are on in that forum, they support Bolsonaro and plead for his amnesty, in addition to thanking the “patriots” who participated in camps in front of the barracks and who took to the streets for “freedom and democracy” (this is how they call the barbarism of 12/12, 24/12 and 8/1).

In summary, Gilmar Mendes is right, Curitiba spawned Bolsonaro and has the germ of fascism.

These are the reflections.

*Pedro Benedito Maciel Neto He is a lawyer and holds a master's degree in civil procedure from PUC SP. author of Reflections on the study of law (ed. Komedi).


[I] Beloved, George. The Knight of Hope. Rio de Janeiro: Record, 34th edition. 1987. pp. 270. 378 pages.

[ii] Really, Miguel. The Modern State. Rio de Janeiro: José Olympio Bookstore, 1934


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