Two years of misrule – the psychosocial and ideological factors

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By RUBENS PINTO LYRA*

Some reasons that made the election of Jair M. Bolsonaro possible and his maintenance in power

“Understanding the reasons for fleeing freedom is a premise for any action aimed at victory over totalitarian forces” (Erich Fromm, The fear of freedom).

“In times of terror, we choose monsters to protect us” (Mia Couto, The drinker of horizons).

Introduction

Many questions persist about the reasons that led the majority of the Brazilian electorate to vote for Jair Messias Bolsonaro for the Presidency of the Republic, related to economic, social and political aspects and, especially, the nature of the psychosocial determinants of such a controversial choice.

The character's manifest emotional imbalance; the virulence of his invectives against his political opponents and human rights defenders; his ultra-conservative stance, notably with regard to morals and family values, were the ingredients used to alert society to the urgent need to overcome the danger of a supposed communist threat, embodied in the Brazilian left.

The election to the Presidency of someone with psychological characteristics of “a scoundrel, in the clinical sense” (DUNKER:2021), visibly unprepared for the exercise of the “First Judiciary of the Nation”, made it initially think that only exceptional circumstances could explain the preference for the candidate defender of proto-fascist theses and practices.

His choice was, without a doubt, strongly conditioned by conjunctural factors, of an economic and political nature, and even random, such as the stabbing he received during the electoral campaign. But it also brought to light a powerful political force, hitherto mostly submerged, authoritarian and conservative, strongly influenced by neoliberalism, notably through the evangelical Theory of Prosperity.

We know that, during the pandemic, right-wing extremists were equally notable for their denialism, expressed in the minimization of Covid-19 (the famous “little flu”) and in their hostility to all protective measures against the spread of this virus, even though these supported by the unanimous opinion of scientific societies and by the vast majority of the academic community.

In this article, we will briefly analyze the psychosocial factors underlying the aforementioned electoral option and the ideological characteristics of the political conceptions associated with it.

Psychosocial motivations and socio-economic conditioning

As we have seen, the Bolsonarist vote was not determined by the personal qualities of the supposed “savior of the homeland”, nor by any programmatic option. A decisive factor in the election of the extremist captain was the “turn to the right” of many workers, fearful of unemployment or already unemployed. And also weakened by being the main victims of public (in)security, they were unable to see a light at the end of the tunnel: “An impoverished proletariat, in rags, a working plebs without any class consciousness, destroyed and fractured”, “is thrown into the arms of the power holders, considered righteous”. (OLESKO: 2020). But not as before, through its “liberal” representatives who usually embodied it, but through a supposed outsiders, Bolsonaro.

Thus, the non-politicized resentment of the subordinate classes, engulfed in disappointment over unfulfilled promises, inhibited their power to act. They behaved like an “army of passive complainers, ready to (re)align with what is worst among conservatives, as a form of bitter and sterile reaction, laden with desires for revenge” (KEHL: 2020). In this dramatic context, “not a few were wrong, directing their anger against the forces that fought against the dominant interests, blaming the beneficiaries of assistance policies and the bearers of rights”.

What motivated Hitler's rise to power in Germany is similar to what was described above in Brazil. William Shirer, one of the most important scholars of the Third Reich, explains that “in their misery and despair, the poorest made the Weimar Republic the scapegoat for all their misfortune” (SHIRER: 1967, p.81).

Also decisive, in these two countries, in the option for authoritarianism, was the disillusionment of the middle classes. In the words of Umberto Eco: “Fascism comes from individual and social frustration. Which explains why one of the characteristics of historical fascism has been the appeal to frustrated middle classes, devalued by some economic crisis, frightened by the pressure of subordinate social groups” (2002: p.16).

Doctrinal aspects and evangelical vow

We understand that the psychological constraints of the vote attributed to Bolsonaro, with regard to evangelicals, are not foreign to the doctrine of the two greatest icons of Protestantism - Martin Luther and João Calvino - similar, in the question under analysis, despite their doctrinal differences.

These theologians emphasize the impotence of the individual in the face of the unfathomable designs of the Lord. For them, only the divine will determines people's lives and all historical events. Calvinists and followers of Luther, but also a significant segment of evangelicals, transferred to the political plane, in the 2020 presidential elections, a feeling of impotence, in a moment of crisis and hopelessness.

Conditioned by this doctrinal influence, they believed in Germany that only a demiurge (in this case, the Leader), endowed with full powers, could avoid economic collapse and social upheaval. In line with the thinking of Luther and Calvin for whom “even the worst tyrant cannot be contested: if he rules, it is because God wants it. God would rather endure the continuation of a government, however bad it may be, than let the rabble rebel, no matter how justified they find themselves to do so” (In: FROMM: 1970, p.74).

This same fatalistic view, in a more accentuated form, is present in Calvin for whom those who go to Heaven do not absolutely do so on their merits, just as those condemned to Hell are there simply because God wanted it that way. Salvation or damnation are predeterminations made before man was born (Cf. CALVINO:1928).

In your book, Dossier of National Socialism, Hofer states that “Lutheranism undoubtedly provoked the submission and docility shown by the Germans, as well as their cult of authority. He is also at the origin of the “German Christians” who, in 1933, sought to establish a specifically German Christianity” (p.387).

Such conceptions, which radically deny the autonomy of the individual, prepared, nolens volens, the path to its submission to secular authorities – holders of state power. These, at the present time, have predominantly based their policies exclusively on the interests of the market. They aim at the deconstruction of the model of the Social Welfare State) and its replacement by the “minimum State”, a mere instrument of the neoliberal policy of the dominant classes.

The aforementioned conceptions are in tune with theologies that consider their best followers to be those who managed to excel in “free enterprise”, or who, in one way or another, achieved material success. This adequacy does not always occur consciously. Even for the religious reformers in question, the idea that man's life would become a means to achieve economic ends would have been unacceptable.

In Fromm’s words “Although his way of looking at economic issues was traditionalist, the emphasis given by Luther to the nullity of the individual contradicted this conception, opening the way for an evolution in which man should not only obey secular authorities but also subordinate his lives to the ends of economic fulfillment” (1970: p.75).

Similarly, the evolution of the Calvinist doctrine highlights the idea that success in secular life is a sign of salvation (1970: p. 80), a theme that deserved Max Weber's attention, as an important link between this doctrine and the spirit of capitalism. The behavior of the evangelical electorate, on the occasion of the election of the Messiah in Brazil, suffered a similar influence.

As Paulo Ghiardelli recalls, pastors of the largest evangelical churches, nicknamed slot machines, are among the greatest fortunes in the country. In his words “The wave of conservative customs in Brazil has to do with the growth of these churches. Bolsonaro is, in large part, the political expression of such churches. The cultural backwardness of this movement is a liquid in which it loves to bathe” (GHIARDELLI: 2019, p.78).

The ideology of Luther and Calvino became hegemonic in several churches, both Pentecostal and Neo-Pentecostal. (PACHECO: 2020). Therefore, the link between the authoritarian aspects of the doctrines of the aforementioned theologians and that of important evangelical sectors, supporters of the reformed captain, who promote the adequacy of the ideology to the needs of the market is revealed.

The limits of individual autonomy

The background that determined the debacle of the democratic candidates was the emergence of a visceral authoritarianism, ingrained in the most hidden layers of the Brazilian social formation, never before manifested as in the 2018 elections.

Feeling helpless, voters abdicated their right to choose a political-electoral alternative consistent with the public policies with which they would identify, and with democratic convictions. He has transferred to a higher authority the resolution of the problems that afflict him and society. This inability to assume its responsibilities as a citizen concerns Social Psychology. His study has to be incorporated into the theoretical tools of political scientists as one of the most relevant aspects for understanding the behavior of the common man in contemporary societies.

It is interesting to observe that even exponents of Marxism recognize that it is not enough to know the “objective conditions” of the class struggle (in this case, in Germany) for the successful elaboration of a revolutionary strategy, as evidenced by the text below, written by Leon Trotsky: “ Without an understanding of such psychology by peasants, craftsmen, servants, petty bureaucrats, etc. – the psychology that derives from the social crisis – it is impossible to work out a correct policy” (2019: p. 79).

Theodor Adorno's analysis of the decisive force achieved by irrational, unconscious and regressive processes that occurred in fascist regimes fits Brazil like a glove. It “was facilitated by the state of mind of all those extracts of the population who suffer frustrations, for them incomprehensible and who, therefore, develop a petty and irrational mentality” (ADORNO, 2018).

This is achieved by propaganda that simply “takes men for what they are – the true children of a standardized culture, largely stripped of autonomy and spontaneity. On the contrary, “it would be necessary to establish goals, the achievement of which would transcend the status quo psychological and social”. And he concludes: “this may explain why the ultra-reactionary mass movements use the psychology of the masses to a much greater degree than those who show a lot of faith in them” (2018).

Brilliant psychoanalyst and social psychologist, Erich Fromm, in his classic The fear of freedom, written in 1941, analyzed the reasons that led the Germans to end up in the Nazi regime. He emphasizes that understanding the propensity of the individual, in times of crisis, to give up freedom is an essential premise to face the danger of democratic societies metamorphosing into totalitarian regimes.

The understanding of this phenomenon goes through the perception that the social dynamic interacts dialectically with the processes that act within the individual. To understand them, it is necessary to appreciate them in the light of the culture that molds them. It is about understanding psychological factors as an active force in social processes and facing the problem of the interaction of psychological, economic and ideological factors in determining these processes.

Many Germans did not imagine that the Leader take to the last consequences what he openly defended. They “took his ideas as mere propaganda, if not extravagant fantasies. No one could believe that ideas, as eccentric and dangerous as those expounded in his book Mein Kampf, would one day be put into practice” (HOFER, s/d, p.14). Something similar happened in Brazil, where many who voted for Bolsonaro believed that his extreme positions were nothing more than bravado, used only as a tactical resource to succeed in the elections.

Addressing the psychological aspects that determine the vote for the Nazis, Erich Fromm expresses himself as follows: “We were compelled to recognize that millions of Germans were willing to give up their freedom, just as their parents were willing to fight for it. ; that instead of desiring freedom they were looking for ways to escape it; that other millions were indifferent and did not consider it worth fighting and dying for freedom” (FROMM:1970, p.14).

This historical fact also applies to generational differences in Brazil regarding political choices. In the XNUMXs, many young people, and with them a large part of the Nation, only conceived of its building based on the values ​​of social justice and democracy. These questions were part of their daily lives. For them, not a few sacrificed their immediate interests, some their lives. Nowadays, the vast majority of young people, as well as a large part of Brazilian citizens, are no longer guided by these values; in practice, they are unaware of them.

But it is possible to add, for the explanation of the vote in this false outsider more recent determinations, also of a psychological nature, typical of capitalist modernity, in favor of democracy. Indeed, the uncertainties derived from the feeling of insecurity, generated by neoliberal policies, in combination with the globalization process, deepened the crisis of representative democracy, increasing the distance between rulers and ruled, favoring the outbreak of resentment, frustration and violence.

Manoel Castells highlights the crisis of representativeness resulting from voters' disillusionment with politicians and institutions, especially political ones, that do not represent their voters: “the individual thus comes to see the politician as someone to be fought vehemently. Thus, within democratic processes, there is a demand for people who are not part of traditional politics, what Castells calls anti-establishment figures. It is curious that we have come to highlight and value, in democratic processes, candidates who claim, paradoxically, that “they are not politicians” (JUNIOR, 2020).

Maria Rita Kehl underlines: “what Brazilian society lacks is no longer a father, placed in a position of authority, of a plantation owner or a messianic leader, but the recognition of republican action by horizontal formations, which I would call fraternal” (KEHL:2020).

However, there is no doubt that we have advanced, in democratic societies, in the conquest of individual freedoms, since under its aegis the State cannot hinder or hinder its exercise. However, this did not mean that individuals achieved, as we have seen, their full autonomy. They tend to conform to the dominant thought, style and way of life, alienating themselves and others, as they are deprived of reasoning and behaving as free subjects to form their wills.

In other words, individualism – stimulated (paradoxically?) in Brazil by influential evangelical churches – works as an envelope, smothering the assertion of the individualism that liberates: that which allows us to be original, to reason freely, and, above all, to externalize without censorship our thought. Indeed, the paradox is apparent. Churches such as Universal do Reino de Deus, among others, function as companies, as instruments for legitimizing neoliberal ideology and psychology: they consider those who prosper individually to be close to God.

Bringing psychoanalyst and USP professor Dunker back to the table: “neoliberalism is also a type of psychology, morality and way of life. It is not enough to consume and produce in a neoliberal way, it is necessary to live in a neoliberal way. This means looking at your life as if it were a company: is it making a profit, is it losing money, is it investing, what is the tax risk, what is the labor risk. They internalized the company's logic in managing their suffering” (2021).

In this regard, the convergence of the “heterodox” Marxist analysis of Eric Fromm with the current ones, which confirm it, such as that of Vladimir Saflate for whom “there were not a few who, in the twentieth century, insisted that the modern individual it is produced by the internalization of deep disciplinary and repressive processes” (SAFATLE: 2012, p.69).

One of the most notable is undoubtedly the power to tame minds, in modern capitalist societies, through a small number of channels, entertainment and spectacle. As Guy Debord explains: “there is no direct relationship between the individual and his world, it is always mediated by the image, an image purposely mediated by others, that is, by the owners of society”. This mediation through the image, which is expressed in the show, is actually “a social relationship between individuals”. Thus, “it is not just the abuse of the visible world: understood in its entirety, it is at the same time the result and the project of the dominant mode of production” (2020). This author's conclusion is that we live in a “commodity democracy, with authoritarian traits”, a conclusion perfectly compatible with the theses of Erich Fromm.

The numbness of critical capacity, derived from different processes of alienation, led citizens to despise voting as an instrument of choice between different projects of society. Despite their subsumption to a conformist view of politics, they were supposed to be guided by their own opinions, when, as a general rule, they follow those imposed from outside. Even when they have them, they prefer not to externalize them because such a procedure can marginalize them, leaving them insecure about the consequences that could result from their manifestation of autonomy.

Thus, they become semi-automata, because “the growth of the base of the ego is stunted, being superimposed on this ego, extrinsic patterns of thinking and feeling” (FROMM:1970, p.201-203 and 209). They exercise what Fromm called “negative freedom”. He stresses that “obedience is not recognized as obedience because it is rationalized as “common sense”, as an acceptance of objective needs” (FROMM, 1965: p.129).

For this reason, social events such as family gatherings, Christmas celebrations, colleagues' meetings and other gatherings of the kind are, in general, marked by superficiality, or even hypocrisy. Its protagonists prefer not to risk the consequences of exercising critical freedom – such as the discussion of their electoral preferences – which could cause ruptures that are difficult to bear. They also avoid frankly expressing opinions about the difficulties in their personal relationships, when only this can lead to the emergence of bonds based on authentic friendship, sincerity and affection.

The victory of freedom, by triumphing over the psychological constraints and behavioral deformations that restrict it, overcoming empty relationships, gives rise to the blossoming of the individual's potential – goal and purpose of social life. The society built on these bases will be made up of healthy, alive, mentally healthy people, in contrast to the current one, made up of individuals numbed by the current mechanisms of social control.

In this new society, people will be able to act autonomously, fully aware of the personal and social realities that surround them. But “when everyone is awake”, concludes Fromm, “there will be no more prophets or revolutionaries, there will only be fully developed human beings” (FROMM: 1965, p. 130).

Similarities between Brazilian proto-fascism and Nazi-fascism

As Umberto Eco points out, proto-fascism “changed the open violence, characteristic of the followers of Hitler and Mussolini, for an aggressive rhetoric” (1998: p. 16). This is what happens in Brazil. This rhetoric, used by Bolsonaro, translates into constant threats, such as “shooting the guns” (VAMOS…2020), which he combines with “normal” action at the institutional level. The military president plays with this dubiousness in order to maintain the loyalty of his militants and, at the same time, ensure political support to govern.

There is also a growing, albeit concealed, presence of representatives of the public security and justice apparatus in actions that reinforce the strategies used by authoritarian leaders of the Federal Executive. According to Carvalho, “the most common is intimidation, distorting legal instruments, with the aim of silencing, destroying the image and emotionally destabilizing those who demonstrate against the proposals and actions of the current administration” (CARVALHO: 2020).

This was the case of the most important digital influencer in the country, Filipe Neto, indicted by a delegate for corruption of minors, on the grounds that he disseminated inappropriate material for these minors. But there has also been a significant increase in threats and violent and sexist attacks, of unacknowledged origin, clearly aimed at members of the left-wing institutional political spectrum, linked to the LGBT movement, all women parliamentarians affiliated with PSOL (IN A WEEK: 2021).

In Brazil, the extreme right does not have organized militias, like the fascists, but virtual militias, true phalanxes that operate on social networks through the marketing religious and political, manipulating the desires and needs of the unwary. It also does not have, like Goebbels, in Germany, the state machine to spread untruths. But she uses the same method as the Nazi leader and the fascists: the massive propagation of lies.

This, in the form of fake news, it happened, on a large scale, in the presidential elections, with the systematic defamation of the candidate Fernando Haddad to, with its exhaustive repetition, try to pass them off as true. The incessant dissemination of these fake news is captained by a militancy engaged and professionalized in the fabrication of lies. This has served to spread multiple expressions of denialism, legitimizing a legally institutionalized power, but destructive, based on misinformation and the falsification of reality (SANTOS, 2019).

Umberto Eco highlights another aspect of the proto-fascist: he is “a conservative of traditional values, military ideals and machismo. He transfers his will to power to sexual matters, which implies disdain for women and an intolerant condemnation of nonconformist sexual habits, such as homosexuality” ECO: 1998, p.17).

In the Brazilian case, the defense of traditional values ​​is particularly relevant, manifesting itself in ridiculous ultra-conservatism, as evidenced by the unbelievable declarations of the new president of FUNARTE, Dante Mantovani. For this leader, terraplanista and student of Olavo de Carvalho: “The rock activates drugs, which activates sex, which activates the abortion industry. This, in turn, feeds something much heavier which is Satanism. John Lennon himself said that he made a pact with the devil” (AZEVEDO, 20020).

The obscurantist ideology of Bolsonaristas, if it does not consider, like the Nazis, a certain inferior race, has a conception close to it. The extreme right journalist, Sérgio Nascimento de Camargo, President of the Palmares Foundation, dedicated to the promotion and rescue of black culture, considers that “slavery was horrible, but beneficial for the descendants of slaves” (CHEFE… 2019). Even more shocking was the statement made by Victor Batista, coordinator for the articulation of quilombola communities. He used social networks to utter the following barbarity: “in the mid-2020th century, the Brazilian slave led the life of an angel, if we compare his luck with that of English workers in the XNUMXth century” (COORDENADOR: XNUMX).

In the fascist state there was no place for individual freedoms and free expression of thought. In Brazil they are still in force, but the Tupiniquin proto-fascists are in a permanent campaign to liquidate them. In this regard, the personal contribution made by Bolsonaro should be highlighted. According to the National Federation of Journalists (FENAJ), the rise of the “Myth” to the presidency increased attacks against journalists and the press in general by 54%, with more than half coming from the current president (FENAJ…2020). In 2020, the number of attacks was 106% higher than in 2019, with Bolsonaro once again being the main culprit (41% of the cases) BRASI: 2021).

Marcelo Zero recalls that “In Germany in the XNUMXs and XNUMXs, the Nazis called the press Lugenpresse (lying press) and Hitler referred to politicians as 'crowing chickens' Any resemblance to Trump and Bolsonaro is not mere coincidence” (2021).

The proto-fascist ideology in Brazil is not associated, as in Nazism and Fascism, with a political party, or based on a supposedly scientific text, as is the case with Nazism, whose Bible was Mein Kampf. Bolsonaro is not even affiliated with a party. Its characteristic trait is the collage of ideas without theoretical consistency, but with rhetoric, intimidating or seductive, as the case may be.

In the words of Jânio de Freitas: “The Bolsonaro government does not have a doctrine to direct it, not even a mockery, that gives it a physiognomy as a raison d’être and purpose. The average level of ignorance among those who inhabit it would not allow dealing with ideas, shallow as they were, nor with notions of a cultural order, simplistic though (FREITAS, 2019).

In fascism, underlines Eco “irrationalism also depends on the cult of action for the sake of action. Action is good in itself. Therefore, it must be performed before and without any reflection” (ECO:1998. p.18). As Mussolini himself said: L'azione ha seppellito la philosophie. “Fascism adopted the solution of a radical pragmatism, using a theory that emasculated theory in general” (KONDER:1977, p. 5). In speech or in action, for him, only the results are of interest.

Bolsonaro's statements about the coronavirus, expressed on national television, refer to the aforementioned concepts. They were classified as “appalling”, “dishonest” and “criminal” by the most representative entities in the health area and by medical societies, for minimizing the importance of this virus, by classifying it as a “little flu”, disdaining the measures adopted by the Ministry of Health. of his own government, such as social isolation (VEJA:2020).

This “radical pragmatism” collided head-on with the scientific evidence that guides the actions of the World Health Organization (WHO). WHO Director Tedros Ghebreyesus, on the same day as Bolsonaro’s unbelievable statement, described the coronavirus as an “enemy of humanity”, making clear its radical mismatch with scientific evidence, unanimously proclaimed by experts in the field (CHEFE, 2020).

True to his denialism, even with Brazil surpassing the mark of two hundred and twenty thousand deaths from Covid-19, Bolsonaro said that the pandemic “may have been manufactured” (FOLHA Uol: 2021). We have already surpassed the 350.000 dead.

The military president behaves, therefore, like the fascists, who extract from their fundamentalism, as Raimundo de Lima recalls, “a sadistic enjoyment of uneasiness among people, sowing confusion among them, making contradiction and paroxysm an undertaking with hypnotic effects” (LIMA, 2013). “The perverse jouissance of the denialist”, emphasizes Bocayuva, “feeds barbarism and intensifies resistance to the record of critical hatred of science and the constitution of republican practices” (2021).

Another manifestation of proto-fascism concerns intolerance and persecution of those who are different, their ways of being, acting and thinking. Fascism sympathizers disqualify those who do not fit their ideological straitjacket. They claim that universities are “a nest of communists”, a source of “hustle”, incompetence and low productivity (MEC: 2019). With the proposal “School without a Party”, they intend to incriminate those they consider to be on the left, encourage denunciation, using police practices, such as recording classes of teachers considered “socialists” and “partisans” (DEPUTADA, 2019). This hostility towards the intellectual world and culture, points out Umberto Eco “has always been a symptom of fascism” (ECO: 2002, p.16).

Bolsonarism, in the wake of Hitler and Mussolini, encourages militarism, disseminating military or militarized schools, supposedly to improve their quality “by ensuring that the teacher can exercise his authority in the classroom” (EXAME, 2019 ). Jânio de Freitas recalls, in this regard, the decisive role played by military schools in Germany, throughout the thirties, for the infiltration of Nazism and the cult of the dictator (FREITAS, 2019).

In February 2021, Messias Bolsonaro edited four decrees, reducing the Army's control over access to firearms and allowing certain categories to purchase more than one weapon for restricted use, placing a true arsenal within reach of those interested. (BOLSONARO… 2021). In an open letter addressed to the Federal Supreme Court, the Minister of Defense and Public Security of the Michel Temer government, Raul Jungmann, unsuspecting of any sympathies towards the left, produced the strongest libel so far directed against the bellicose aspects of Bolsonarism.

For Jungmann “the fact that the arming of citizens for the 'defense of freedom' evokes the terrible scourge of civil war and the massacre of Brazilians by Brazilians is inescapable, as no other motivation for such a nefarious project is yet visible”. And he argues: “Throughout history, the arming of the population has served interests, coups d’état, massacre and elimination of races and ethnic groups, separatisms, genocides and the serpent’s egg of Italian fascism and German Nazism” (POLITICA: 2021) .

In the same vein, there is also concern about the intense ideologization of the rotten part of the military police, the armed and almost murderous rebellion in barracks and the dangerous pressure from the troops. In this context, a very popular TV presenter, said that he “dreams that a general in Brazil would tell all the 'accused' that they have 24 hours to leave the country or they will be shot” (DEMORI:2021).

Proto-fascists are agents of intrigue, of gossip invented to harm supposed opponents and enemies. This is precisely the case of the demiurge emerging from the polls. He always claimed that the stabbing he suffered was the result of a conspiracy from the left, despite the expert report accepted by the judge who examined the case attesting to the insanity of his aggressor.

We cannot fail to emphasize something that seems essential to us: the different aspects in which the ultraconservative ideology of the Bolsonaro government manifests itself are interconnected. They are subsumed under the understanding that the State must sponsor a revolution in the cultural area, in order to free it from the harmful influence of a supposed “cultural Marxism”. This expression has a similar meaning to that of “cultural Bolshevism” coined by Hitler to designate German artistic and cultural production, abhorred by the Nazis who considered it influenced by communists (at the time called Bolsheviks) and by “international Jewry” (HOFER: p 81-82).

In harmony with these conceptions, the then Special Secretary for Culture of the federal government, Roberto Alvim, described Brazilian culture as “sick” and “degenerate”, practically reproducing, in the lines below, Goebbels’ speech, nº 2 of the Nazi regime: “Brazilian art in the next decade will be heroic and national, endowed with the capacity for emotional involvement and will also be imperative, since it is deeply linked to the aspirations of our people”. In his understanding, this “cultural revolution”, translating a State policy, would “imperatively” rescue a conservative view of the family, patriotism and religion, invoking the “deep connection of God” with these supposed pillars of nationality (IN VIDEO :2020).

Marcelo Zero summarizes the common framework that permeates different historical moments in different societies, such as Germany in pre-Hitlerian times and Brazil today, with some of its main components being: “The mobilization of armed militias; the “Goebelian” resource to repeated and systematic lies; the permanent coping strategy; the identification of adversaries as internal enemies to be eliminated; conservative moralism expressed in the fight against corruption; the racism; social darwinism; the cult of anti-politics and, above all, the appreciation of force as an instrument of political action, and even “legal” action (2021).

* Rubens Pinto Lyra He is Professor Emeritus at UFPB. Author, among other books, of Le Parti Communiste Français et l'intégration européenne (Centre Européen Universitaire)

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