Florestan Fernandes – the theory of the bourgeois revolution

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By JALDES MENESES*

Commentary on the theses and reception of the sociologist's classic book

“If ever there was a 'bourgeois paradise', it exists in Brazil, at least after 1968” (Florestan Fernandes, The bourgeois revolution in Brazil).

“The great event in the history of Brazil has not yet happened” (Nelson Werneck Sodré)

Introduction

A socially respected university professor and left-wing activist, at the time, with no defined party, an intransigent opponent of the 1964 military dictatorship, ten years after the dictatorship was established (1974), Florestan Fernandes (whose centenary of birth was celebrated on 22/07/2020 ), brushed the final touches on the typewriter of an ambitious book – “which reflects the knowledge accumulated throughout an entire career” (Fernandes, 2005, p. 425) – entitled The bourgeois revolution in Brazil - essay of sociological interpretation (hereinafter, the term will be written by the acronym RBB), whose forty-five years of the first edition are also celebrated in this year of 2020.

The author culminated in a conscientious reflection that lasted for many years, within the umbrella of the collective research project 'Economy and Society in Brazil' (1962), on the enigmas of a Brazil in transformation, written by Florestan himself, and the addition of a amendment by Fernando Henrique Cardoso (hereinafter FHC). Then came the blow. From then on, ten years of difficulties followed, during which Professor Florestan, compulsorily retired from USP in 1969, had to go on pilgrimage to stays such as Visiting Scholar at Columbia University (New York, 1965/66) and Full Professor in Toronto (Canada, 1969/72). He circulated at Yale (1977) and, in the meantime, at the invitation of Dom Paulo Evaristo Arns, he was hired as a Full Professor at PUC-SP, in 1978, where he taught seminal courses. The real character Florestan forced to subvert the path of Wilhelm Meister (Goethe's classic character), who wandered in his formative years and settled down in maturity (Goethe, 2006). Formed whole body and soul in the intellectual environment of São Paulo, Florestan was forced to go on a pilgrimage when he was close to turning 50, carrying a exile of mature suffering – he left his family in São Paulo and took nostalgia in his suitcase – and never adapted to living fully in the universe of tinktanks outside.

The idea of ​​the book owes a lot, on the most intimate level, to the encouragement of her daughter, Heloísa Fernandes, to transform systematic notes, rigorously prepared, into oral courses in the continuity of a publication. “The course was called at the beginning 'Formation and development of Brazilian society', then 'The bourgeois revolution in process', and, finally, The Bourgeois Revolution in Brazil which, published for the first time in 1975, consisted of a review of class notes from 1966, and a long third part, 'Revolution Bourgeois and Dependent Capitalism' – which Florestan wrote especially for the book, in 1973” (Fernandes , 2006, p. 4).

The ambitious and complex book was born a classic. He covered and interpreted the entire history of Brazil (Colony, Independence, Empire, Republic and Dictatorship). In addition to the long temporal duration, its structure is complex. From a methodological point of view, it is divided into two parts, provided with questions and supports of Weberian types and positive Durkheian concepts, plus a final third part of a predominant, frankly radical and revolutionary Marxist bias. Initially, the first version of the manuscript, composed of chapter notes on the Colony, Independence and fragments from the part of the Empire – in the final edition called 'The origins of the Bourgeois Revolution' and 'The formation of the competitive social order (fragment) ' -, was received with reticence by his team of researchers, certainly not only due to methodological precautions, but also due to the political conclusions to which the logic of the theme and the text led.

Florestan called the closest team from the 'Economy and Society in Brazil' research group the 'strategic core' of intellectual work in Sociology in São Paulo (Fernandes, 2006a, p. 21), eager to seek a new standard, with the intention of international scientific excellence, for the Brazilian university. The author notes, in the book's “Explanatory Note”: “I started writing this book in 1966. The first part was written in the first half of that year; and the fragment of the second part at the end of the same year. Several colleagues and friends read the first part, some accepting my views, others fighting them. That discouraged me…” (Fernandes, 2005, p. 25). In the time interval between the blow and the Opus Magnum, the author, always very prolific, worked hard and published two important books of essays that must be considered preparatory to the third part of RBBespecially with regard to the explicitness of the categories of dependency and total imperialism -, Class society and underdevelopment (1968) and Dependent capitalism and social classes in Latin America (1973). 

The work aroused, from an early age, a vigorous academic debate abroad, among Brazilianists, impossible to surface freely in Brazilian universities during a dictatorship. Already in 1976, the University of Texas of Austin held a Colloquium coordinated by professors Carlos Guilherme Mota (USP) and Fred P. Ellison (Austin), with written contributions from Emília Viotti da Costa, Paulo Silveira, Juarez Brandão Lopes, Bernardo Berdiehewsky and a response to the interventions, written by the author himself ( Several authors, 1978, p. 176-207).

It also aroused the interest of another world - even more important in relation to the objectives of the book -, the persecuted and heroic revolutionary and clandestine left. According to Anita Leocádia Prestes, the reading of Florestan was one of the sources of his father, Luiz Carlos Prestes, Secretary General of the PCB (Brazilian Communist Party), in questioning the dominant line in the “party”, which he himself helped to consolidate . Although renewing the mass line of more strategic alliance with labor, the famous Declaration of March 1958 and the resolutions of the V Congress (1960), subscribed by Prestes, accepted, despite internal contradictions in the forwarding of the line, a line of peaceful path and strategic alliance with the 'national bourgeoisie' in the first stage of the national and democratic revolution. The military coup of 1964 ended this possibility. As a result, the PCB plunged into an internal and identity crisis at the VI Congress (1967). The “party” split (Carone, 1982a, p. 176-195; 1982b, p. 15-27; Gorender, 1987a, p. 25-32); until that date, the most influential party on the Brazilian left, entered an irremediable mode. The national and democratic strategy and the beneficent corollary of the conquest of an autonomous capitalism in Brazil, through an anti-imperialist and anti-landlord alliance between the workers and the national bourgeoisie (later better defined class, for lack of an autonomous national project, as internal bourgeoisie or Brazilian), of achieving a strategic stage of long-term polyclass alliances, was defeated by the 1964 coup. to a certain extent, it justified the efforts of Prestes and other comrades).

However, the eventual and relative adherence to the reality of the stage line was exhausted in the 1970s due to the conclusion of the process of “capitalist transformations” (Fernandes, 2005, p. 337-424) guided by the dictatorship – “if there ever was, ever , a 'bourgeois paradise', this exists in Brazil, at least after 1968” (Fernandes, 1987, p. 359). Exiled in the Soviet Union, the old secretary and column military leader resumed his self-critical study of the Brazilian reality: “this reading effort is evidenced by the numerous reading sheets and notes (…) both of works by the classics of Marxism and by contemporary Brazilian authors , including the writings of the sociologist Florestan Fernandes” (Prestes, 2012, p. 190). Also within the scope of PCB left-wing intellectuals, authors such as José Paulo Netto (1991; 2004, p. 203-222) and Antônio Carlos Mazzeo (2015), among others, incorporated and overtook in their interpretations of Brazil the concept, totally foreign to the dominant line in the PCB, of “bourgeois autocracy”.

Example of persistence of the traditional line of replicating here a “classic” bourgeois national revolution, derived especially from the Marseilles echoes of Jacobin France, in this case the postulation of a relatively long strategic alliance stage between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, in the same conjuncture of the book de Florestan, the great communist intellectual, Nelson Werneck Sodré, wrote: “as for the necessity of 'previously, of the bourgeois revolution' (…) preview' of the bourgeois revolution in Brazil; it is about verifying it” (Sodré, 1985, p. 749). Prestes himself, in a statement at the Cajamar Institute of the PT, peremptorily stated: “in 1945, the documents of our party said that, while imperialist domination, feudalism and large estates did not end, capitalism would not develop in the country. We subjectively denied capitalism in 1945, when the federal government was already building the large steel plant in Volta Redonda. What enlightened us were the works of the sociologists I have already referred to but published only much later. It is the case of Dependent Capitalism and Social Classes in Latin America, The Bourgeois Revolution in Brazil, in which Florestan Fernandes shows how the imperialist penetration in our country took place, preserving previous relations (…)” (Prestes, 1988, p. 233). The contrast in the vision of Brazil by the two great authors, Florestan and Nelson, relative to a bourgeois revolution strategy, is irreducible.   

In that same year of 1974, when Editora Zahar prepared the originals of RBB, Gal Ernesto Geisel assumed the Presidency of the Republic, with plans to make a controlled and conservative political transition from the dictatorship to a civilian regime. There was no internal consensus within government forces. Underground actions of insubordination by the hardliners, denizens of the underworld of the armed forces, sabotaged the process and eroded the strength of the ongoing controlled transition strategy. In opposition, it was time to start over, to gather strength.

For Florestan, that conjuncture of restart, on the other hand, opened the opportunity for a “reflux in the counterrevolution” and the possibility of a regrouping of “socialist forces” (Fernandes, 1980, p. 1). Therefore, a gap opened up, in addition to a solitary theoretical work, of a revolutionary left publicist. It should be noted that the forces of socialism were dispersed by the successive defeats imposed by repression - especially by the physical elimination of cadres of the revolutionary parties -, while, in dealing with the democratic forces (in spite of cassation, torture and deaths, more rarefied, also in this field), there was yet another combination of control and repression, always with a trace of consented political action within the framework of the MDB. So much so that, to the surprise of many, the MDB was the major outlet for the surprising defeat of Arena, the electoral party of the dictatorship, in the parliamentary elections of 1974. This signaled the exhaustion of the regime.

In Brazil, most of the bourgeois-democratic forces, regrouped in the MDB, were, for the most part, not Jacobin or radical enough. There were, here and there, politicians with this profile, such as Chico Pinto (BA) or Lysâneas Maciel (RJ), exceptions that prove the rule. Florestan cites France and even neighboring Argentina as countries that formed political currents of “bourgeois radicalism”, absent in the Brazilian context of transition to dictatorship. It must be recognized that the selective cutting of the dictatorship's ax in the genealogical trees of the emerging bourgeois and proletarian radicalism, especially in the Brizolist current of the PTB, in the nationalist groups of the armed forces and in the revolutionary Marxist left, was not an impromptu action, but an action planned policy. Once the possibility of directing the Brazilian process by the “political content and the Jacobin temperament” – as Gramsci (2002, p. 86) wrote regarding the historical process of the Risorgimento Italian (1815-1870) -, it became feasible to produce a “political opening”, controlled, yes, but also agreed upon by the social forces present. For the hegemonic forces of the opposition, the model to follow was that of a kind of Spanish Pact of Moncloa (even more liberal and on the right), which surpassed the Francoist regime, never the Portuguese Carnation Revolution. For all of this, in short, the leaders of the dictatorship could question, without fear of a Jacobin relapse, “civil society” (the time registers the pacts built by Petrônio Portella, capable Minister of Justice under Geisel, and entities such as OAB, CNBB and API).

In summary, Florestan repeated many times, the majority opposition that existed and survived the dictatorship, therefore, in majority terms, tended more to 'conciliation', to seek a slow and gradual 'transition' that would also involve the most airy heads of the current regime than the firm resolution of the 'democratic revolution'. Anticipating issues that will be returned to in this article later, in the same year of publication of RBB1975 -, the most recognized of Florestan's disciples in academic sociology, FHC, nicknamed the “prince of sociologists”, published in 1975 the important book on political analysis of burning issues, Authoritarianism and democratization (1975), who proposed a democratization without a democratic revolution. It is, without a doubt, a different theoretical, programmatic, tactical and strategic path. It was not by chance that the works of the National Constituent Assembly, in 1987, caught Florestan in the PT, at the time the party contesting order within the order, and FHC in the PMDB, the opposition and conciliation party within the order.

Aiming to forward the transacted transition, Geisel put a brake on the hard line of the military, insistent on perpetuating the dictatorial order, and dismissed without appeal from his Ministry, Gal Sílvio Frota. However, although he adopted relentless strategies of escape forward (that is, the strategy of developing the productive forces by postponing without resolving the structural contradictions of the social formation), the regime was running water both in the front both economically and geopolitically (the United States was no longer interested in perpetuating open dictatorships in Latin America). At the front economic, the escape forward it consisted of betting on an exit from the “Oil Shocks” crisis of 1972 and 1974 based on external credits and a daring program of public and private investments, especially the II PND (National Development Plan), which aimed to complete in the country the matrix of the Second Industrial Revolution.

Geisel's strategy made historical sense at the crossroads of the time. Others forward escapes worked in micro-crisis situations in the past. But now it was different, because something bigger than just another micro-crisis appeared on the scene.

At some point, the spell turns against the sorcerer. To the run forward, developing the economy in a concentrating mode, but also generating the consequence of densifying civil society, the military involuntarily manufactured the potentials of a new radicalism, in the form of a new Fordist and peripheral labor movement, concentrated in São Paulo, and of the historical protagonism of middle class of the student movement. In turn, as is well known, international capitalism entered a phase of uncertainty, which it strictly has not left until today. One of the first combined results of crisis and escape forward, as the overviews of different authors such as José Luís Fiori (2003) and Luiz Carlos Bresser-Pereira (1992) show, is that, this time, the crisis microcycle did not stop, and the developmentalist State, shaped from the events of 1930, structurally broke. More than a structural breakdown of the State, as a kind of dance of the “last of the lieutenants” – Geisel began to participate in politics and conspiracy in the barracks as a member of the “tenentes” (D'Araújo&Castro, 1997; Gaspari, 2014) –, by irony of fate, exactly in his government, the requiem of the historic national-developmentalist bourgeois bloc (transformistically turned developmentalist-dependent from 1964 onwards) followed.

It was at stake in the context of the “reflux of the counterrevolution”, therefore, much more than the transaction of a new place for the military corporation in the composition of the new bloc in democratized power. Although the military did not give up a discreet guardianship over the powers (as Article 142 of the new Constitution made clear), more than that, it was the funeral comparison itself of the historic block of 1930, with its miseries and greatness, that passed away, becoming a crazy and Drummonian “portrait on the wall”.

Thus, the realization of the bourgeois revolution process by the “1930s generation”, in the book and in reality, finally parked in the dead harbor of the illusion of the promised development. There, in the fullness of the “capitalist transformation of the autocratic-bourgeois model”, a “platypus” was given birth – which would become wide open two decades later –. A platypus, a species that stopped evolution and became a hybrid, the only existing oviparous mammal, a metaphor for the fate of Brazilian developmentalism, which, after a certain hour, found itself in front of the mirror with the following dilemma: phoenix or extinction ? (Oliveira, 2003a, p. 121-150; 2003, p. 109-116). Florestan's analysis is radical. He certainly, if alive, would remember that the “platypus” is a point of arrival whose DNA was already inscribed in the starting point, not by circularity, but by history. Early on, our author observed that the Brazilian ruling classes are not only resistant to social change, but also develop resistances – pay attention to the word 'sociopathic' – to change. Therefore, interpretations are problematic – like the preface by José de Souza Martins to the fifth edition (Martins, 2005, p. 9-23) – eager to imprison RBB in a domesticated and bipolar scheme of contrast between modernity and backwardness, rural and urban , authoritarianism and democracy, etc. That is, the fate of the Brazilian transitions change without overcoming, but paradoxically preserving “sociopathy” (Fernandes, 2006b, p. 191).

Great works leave great questions. Therefore, it is a major intellectual task to scrutinize the recent Brazilian evolution in the light of the concepts and questions unleashed by RBB: would we have completed the cycle of the bourgeois revolution among us with the assumption, especially after the edition of the Real Plan (1994), to a new phase of dependency piloted by a dependent-rentier State? Would the alliance between workers and businessmen, stamped in the so-called “Lula era”, be politically viable as a long-term strategy? Would the conquest of political democracy, removing the military from power, have healthily equated the Brazilian political culture and internalized the values ​​of democracy and republicanism, extinguishing the possibilities of reproducing the “bourgeois autocracy”? The constraints of economic dependence – inheritance of the “colonial road” or the “colonial-Prussian road” that typified the historical formation of Brazil – really restrict to what extent the possibilities of capitalist development? Is a long-term coexistence possible, beyond cycles of conjuncture, between democracy and associated economic development? Only the socialist regime, and nothing else, allows the autonomous development of Brazil, or is the autonomy of capitalism or a mixed regime based on a regional bloc of geopolitically independent nations possible?

“Well-Tempered Eclecticism” and Revolutionary Marxism

Reflecting on Florestan is extremely current, a mixture of homage and a sign of political contemporaneity. University professor and left-wing militant, it cannot be said that Florestan is a forgotten author. Unanimously remembered in the gallery of a generation of essayists or social scientists at the top of Caio Prado Jr., Sérgio Buarque de Holanda, Gilberto Freyre, Nelson Werneck Sodré, Raymundo Faoro, Darcy Ribeiro, Celso Furtado, Ignácio Rangel, Alberto Passos Guimarães, Jacob Gorender , Francisco de Oliveira, Carlos Nelson Coutinho, Ruy Mauro Marini, among others – authors who managed to formulate influential original interpretations of Brazil -, bequeathed to Brazilian social thought a dense work of more or less fifty titles, of which, certainly, the most important is RBB. It is worth noting, however, that although Florestan is not a forgotten author, it cannot be said that his interpretation of Brazil is fully known and debated, as there are many paths that are still unexplored, misunderstood and challenging of his thought.

The stored content in nuce the explosive and radical work that came to light in 1975 also meant the conclusion of a turning point in Florestan's thinking. From that moment on, although not without tensions, the militant radicalized by the works of the dictatorship definitely abandoned the comfortable skin and the periphrases of an influential sociologist – a paradoxical cultivator of a “well-tempered eclecticism, not simply relativizing or atomizing analytical procedures” (Cohn, 1987, p. 50). Already influential and recognized, master of several famous intellectual disciples in academia (FHC, Octávio Ianni, José de Souza Martins, Maria Sylvia de Carvalho Franco, Luiz Pereira, etc.), our author takes off his protective covers and sets out to fight chest open to dictatorship with the weapons of Marxist theory. However, pay attention, not the Marxism of the salons – which survives from the citation of the French author in fashion in the Left Bank. but a marxism revolutionary, based mainly on authors of the stature of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky, Rosa Luxemburgo, José Martí, José Carlos Mariátegui, Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, etc.; as well as the excellent Marxist political economy and political theory of the 1960s/70s, Ernest Mandel, Harry Magdoff, Ralph Miliband, Nicos Poulantzas, among others.

A first parameter to be based on a necessary accurate review of Florestan's critical fortune today: among all the classical interpreters in Brazil, drawn from the cultural effervescence of the period of the historical block from 1930-1974/84, still active in the transition from dictatorship, the intellectual paulista was certainly the most radicalized in thought. Due to the theoretical-political radicalism, concepts of underestimated critical power in the recent historical period of post-dictatorship democratization, such as “bourgeois autocracy“, as well as the Florestian critique of the liberal content implicit in the concept of “authoritarianism”, remain perennial and urgently need to be addressed. revisited in this Brazil in the trance of Bolsonaro times.

For a long time, Florestan was a sociologist dedicated heart and soul to contributing original methodological solutions to the epistemological challenges of the rigorous scientific-academic craft in empirical sociological research. There was a clear and productive onto-existential fragmentation in this toil, as he scrupulously separated two moments of his spirit, his revolutionary vocation and his scientific work. Our author writes: “I was like a person divided in half, between the sociologist and the socialist” (Fernandes, 2006a, 31). A complex personality, he never gave up his socialist roots, which came from his youthful militancy in the Trotskyist group led by Hermínio Sacchetta, the Socialist Revolutionary Party (PSR), the Brazilian section of the IV International in the 40s and 50s, in which he was active between 1942 and later. 1952 or so. He gave up militancy with the party's acquiescence and even encouragement, as he clarifies in several testimonies, due to an emerging intellectual-academic project. A project with a political dimension, but mediated: the ambition to develop in São Paulo a critical sociological school with a high scientific standard.

It should be noted, in favor of this project, that he undertook, above all, to privilege, as objects of research, the so-called excluded from history, the Indians, the blacks, the immigrants, the workers, etc. To reconstruct, in the form of scientific knowledge, the hardships of all those excluded from history, ethical commitment was essential, but insufficient. It would be necessary to know these objects in depth, to use and instrumentally innovate methods and theories drawn from the sociological academic tradition, but especially to aspire, through a rigorous reading, to master, still thin in the bachelor's tradition of Brazilian humanities, the classics of the canon of the discipline. Acting in the shadows, such a project made sense at that moment in the country shaped by the 1930s historical block, of institutional modernization and consolidation of Brazilian capitalism. Other efforts at the time that took place in São Paulo, such as the introduction of a systematic philosophical culture through the apprehension of the French monographic methods of the History of Philosophy, although different, are similar to the efforts of sociologists (Arantes, 1994). None of this means to say, let it be clarified, that we didn't have great intellectuals in Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Sul, Minas Gerais and the Northeast, nor that São Paulo is the zero point of research in social sciences, two simple ideas that escape to the scope of the article to enter.

It is very important to observe that, in the effort to develop a scientific school in sociology in the province of São Paulo, Florestan never walked through the trap of operating an eclectic synthesis of thinkers such as Marx, Weber and Durkheim: “the study I did of Marx and Engels led I came to the conclusion that thoughts that are opposites could not be merged. It would be much more fruitful to look for the reason for their specific difference. Thus, I began to face the question of knowing what the specific theoretical contribution of Durkheim, Marx, Max Weber, etc. was, and I tried to discover the answers” ​​(Fernandes, 2006a, p. 17). According to Antonio Candido, in a beautiful image, “Marxism was a kind of 'underground river', underneath the academic road on which it walked, critically incorporating Durkheim, Weber, Manheim, etc. At a certain moment, Marxism emerged on the road and all that training converged to form Florestan's extremely personal thought in its mature phase” (Candido, 1998, p. 44).

His “well-tempered eclecticism” is systemic, as will be seen below. “Well-tempered eclecticism” is a very particular, unusual and not unreasonable way of producing an original dialectical synthesis. Marx arrived at the dialectic through Hegel's supersession, but other ways are possible, before and after this remarkable case, of arriving at it. For this reason, as correctly written by Gabriel Cohn (1986, p. 125-148; 1987, p. 48-53), in the search for empirical foundations – and not simply pure theory – in the reconstruction of an object of knowledge, Florestan used of types, among the main ones, the Weberian (ideal type), the Durkheimian (average type) and the Marxist (extreme type). Our author always works hard in his workshop with the maximum empirical material collected, sewing from the inside and in a tense way (Florestan is an author of tense language), a researched elucidation – for lack of a more adequate term – of a materialist tone.

But would it be dialectical? Gramsci rightly wrote that every great research creates its own method – “every scientific research creates for itself an adequate method, its own logic” (Gramsci, 1999, p. 234-235). Fernandes' original procedure, although far from the temptation of merging apples with apples, on the other hand resulted in coexistence with tensions and twists of language until reaching the precise category of goldsmithing, already saturated with research into social reality. For example, regarding the Brazilian bourgeoisie, Florestan defined, for some time, that our bourgeoisie had a “heteronymic” historical and structural character, not least because the Brazilian soil reality itself is heteronymic. Undoubtedly, the Brazilian bourgeoisie is heteronymous, but perhaps this trait is not the most appropriate term to describe the saturation of the determinations of reality from a certain point on. This is certainly why, after much empirical and theoretical research, our author came to prefer the term “dependent bourgeoisie” to describe the Brazilian transition from competitive capitalism to emerging monopoly capitalism after 1930 and the post-war period. In its own way, the Bourgeois Revolution in Brazil is a type, but not a Weberian ideal type, as some Florestan scholars sometimes classify it, but a totality reconstructed from the abstract to the concrete, among other heuristic resources, through three types. The most important thing is that, distinct from, for example, the Weberian ideal type – which is always an ideal reconstruction of reality moved by the subjectivity of the subject of knowledge (the researcher) – the Florestian reconstruction intends to be materialist.

Take the example of the always complex discussion about the concept of social classes. As there are many difficulties in explaining the concept of classes as an explanatory key to the structure of colonial society, Florestan preferred to designate our first dominant social groups as “estates”. EP Thompson (1989, p. 13-61), in another theoretical key, suggested the possibility, in the experience of the formation of the English working class, of a “class struggle without classes”. In Brazil, elaborating at his own risk, Florestan adopted the terminology of transition to a “competitive social order” (that is, the process of transition from a slave-owning order to a capitalist society) in order not to lose sight of the particularities of slave-owning relations and patriarchal traditions that flourished here. In the meantime, it is worth noting the original way in which Florestan detected the emergence of citizenship, civil society and liberal institutions in the Empire. If in Europe the bourgeois revolutions universalized the social status of civil citizenship, here the metamorphosis of the slave owner and patrimonialist into lord-citizen. Here, in the absence of the presence of the Third Estate in the constitution of the social contract, limited to Casa Grande and the Sobrados, civil society and dominant social classes became the same thing, “not only the bulk of the population was excluded from civil society. This was also differentiated according to gradations that responded to the composition of the estate order, racially, socially and economically constructed in the colony” (Fernandes, 1987, p. 59).

Detecting all this native estrangement at the origin of citizenship and civil society was possible because, of all the original concepts created by the author, one of the most heterodoxly creative is that of “social order”. By the way, writes Heloísa Fernandes, in an old email to the author of this article: “... I used to argue with my father about eclecticism, but today I think that Florestan's 'well-tempered eclecticism' allowed him to invent the concept of a social order – I know it is a Weberian one, but it is Florestan’s invention, because, for Weber, the capitalist order, defined by the market, is an economic order, while the social order is more properly that of estates and castes, which is defined by way of life. In any case, I say, this concept of social order is the richest thing in Florestan because, thanks to it, as I write (…), 'the sociologist remained attentive to the exclusion of the majority from full citizenship, and the socialism has not been submerged in a teleological narrative of social classes'”. In this way, the native concepts of citizenship and civil society, from the beginning, as in Hegel and Gramsci, are not restricted to a mere unfolding of mercantile reality, it is not just civil-bourgeois society.

For me, it is even more: understanding the origins of Brazilian capitalism in terms of the “social order” makes it possible to integrate into the analysis – more or less in the manner of the concept of “historical block” in Gramsci, – relatively long temporal blocks amalgamating economy, culture and political, integrating structure and superstructure in mutual incidence to the social totality (Buci-Glucksmann, 1990, p. 351). For all these reasons, it seems to me that Fernandes' theoretical and existential option for Marxism was processed one by one in a very personal way. is original. The peculiar Marxism of Fernandes, even in its most mature, openly revolutionary phase, has its own and inimitable diction, as a dialectical language game in which the terminology of “well-tempered eclecticism” appears in “revolutionary Marxism”, as well as, many times, , in the past, the diction of “revolutionary Marxism” surprises in “well-tempered eclecticism”. Interestingly – Brazilian? -, the diction of Florestan's writing is always permeated with the content presence of Marxism, expressions drawn from American functionalist anthropology, structuralist sociology of the Chicago School, Karl Mannheim's sociology of culture, etc. However, although the exposition is permeated with the nomenclature drawn from canonical sociology and anthropology, the investigation is carried out under the auspices of a dialectical method of analysis, in which lies this inimitable and very particular “well-tempered eclecticism”.

Thus, in Florestan there was a kind of disjunction: in the strictly political sphere, Fernandes was always on the left and professed Marxism, but, in the conceptual sphere, the transition to Marxism took place over a long period of time and with tensions in his thinking, revealed by the functionalist residue in the exhibition planIn a statement dated 1980, Florestan tells us: “(…) for some time, I ran the risk of treading the path (…) of pulverizing the sciences and seeking a false autonomy of the sciences. I would have gone in the wrong way. What saved me was the Marxist impregnation of my ethical relationship with the problems of Brazilian society” (Fernandes, 1995, p. 15). The question of the method of investigation and exposition in Florestan, by the way, is a theme that needs to be more seriously researched.

The bourgeois revolution in the key of underdeveloped and dependent capitalism

One of the most important effects of this very personal Marxism – which only elevates the author's genius – is that problems, categories and concepts for a long time tiled within the framework of the Marxist tradition finally return with vigorous heuristic force in RBB, in a degree without parameter in the previous work itself. by Florestan. It is a living and creative work, not just one of full application or transposition. Florestan departed from reality to the concept, rather than from the concept to reality, aware (he repeated this Hegelian lesson many times) that it is necessary not only for reality to tend to the concept, but also for the concept to tend to reality. The reception of this storehouse of authors, categories and concepts from the Marxist tradition should be seen more as incorporating the “state of the arts” of theory, to be, as he liked to say, 'saturated' with empirical research, a research with potential for correct, deviate or deny a dogmatic A Priore, come from the authority that comes. All of Florestan's work, including the most overtly Marxist part, thus escapes a pale interplay of influences from important authors and the application of external categories. Therefore, it is devoid of fidelity to the author's method of investigation to dogmatically affiliate him to a Marxist current, be it Luxembourgism, dependency theory or Trotskyism.

Examples of this are the way in which Florestan approaches classic themes of Marxism and development. He rescues Lenin, for example, on the question of the formation of the internal market in an economy of peripheral capitalism and on the control of the most backward regions by the most advanced ones, one of the most important themes in the discussion of development by a bias, recalling Francisco de Oliveira, from a “critique of dualistic reason” (2003b). Lenin was being universal in dealing with the village, so Florestan considers The development of capitalism in Russia (1982) “(…) his greatest work of scientific investigation” (Fernandes, 2012a, p. 252). He also considers Lenin in the issue of the expansive vortex of contemporary imperialism, studied by this author in Imperialism, supreme stage of capitalism (1982b). These are two books that appear, not by chance, especially cited in RBB in the section titled by Florestan himself as 'Reference Bibliography' (Fernandes, 2005, p. 426). It should also be noted, by the way, the mention of Rosa Luxemburgo in The accumulation of capital (1985), made in the same section “reference bibliography” (Fernandes, 2005, p. 426). Lenin and Rosa are important (Lenin more than Rosa), but he doesn't repeat, he processes them in his own way and draws his own conclusions. According to Florestan, although Rosa was a pioneer in perceiving the expansive and military content of capitalism towards the colonial occupation of the periphery, aiming to apply the surplus capital generated in the center, even so, despite the genius of an inaugural analysis of merit, “ one realizes that it is not interested in the mechanisms that occur in the periphery”, whereas the Leninist theory of imperialism would be more general and inclusive. By highlighting the theory of imperialism, Florestan does not think “that the dependency theory is a new theory. It is a development of the theory of imperialism” (Fernandes, 2006a, p. 41).

Another key parameter of the classics of Marxism in Florestan's analyzes of the Brazilian social formation would be, in the opinion of Osvaldo Coggiola (1995, p. 9), the historical notion of uneven and combined development of capitalism considered on a world level, developed by Trotsky. In Trotskyist youth, as Coggiola rightly observes (such evidence is sometimes forgotten or hidden in academic studies), our author got to know Trotsky's classic elaborations. For sure, Florestan held Trotsky and his theories in high regard, as can be deduced from reading his short article 'Trotsky and the revolution' (Fernandes, 1994, p. 187-192). However, in the section of the book where he takes care to reveal his “reference bibliography”, Florestan cites a single work by Trotsky, Revolution and counterrevolution in Germany (1979), an extraordinary selection of texts combating the rise of Nazi-fascism and criticizing the dominant line in the Communist International of “class against class”. Trotsky's book is a work of Marxist political theory, but it has nothing to do, or only in a second half does it have to do with questions of the political economy of world imperialism. Apparently, it cries out for the lack in the RBB “reference bibliography” of books and articles in which Trotsky deals primarily with uneven and combined development. But it's not like that. These readings have already been assimilated organically, they make up our author's theoretical-political, and not just memoiristic, baggage. In RBB, Florestan radicalizes the concept of 'essay of sociological interpretation' – which was already the subtitle of The integration of black people into class society -, in the sense of an exposition of many hidden references, duly synthesized, and few direct quotations.

With regard to the authors of dependency theory, in the Marxist vein, two are cited in the 'Reference Bibliography' section in the section on Latin America: Andre Gunder Frank and Rui Mauro Marini. On the other spectrum of dependency, more Weberian, his former student FHC, the Santa Claus of the associated dependency theory, appears with all his publications. On other occasions, noting the importance of Marini in understanding the dynamics of Latin American and Brazilian capitalism, Florestan however made reservations about the treatment of the agrarian question in Brazil by separating the backwardness of the latifundia from the bourgeoisie, “when in fact the most reactionary sector of the Brazilian bourgeoisie is the latifundia. It was the sector that took the fastest leap from an aristocratic to a bourgeois condition” (Fernandes, 1980, p. 30). As it could not fail to appear in a balance sheet on the RBB, practically all the relevant authors and books from ECLAC and ISEB, fundamental in the field of national-developmentalism, are included in the bibliography. Curiously, Florestan does not mention Lenin (already cited in the previous section of this article, along with Rosa Luxemburg, as polar references), the very important, for the study of heterodox types and non-classical ways of bourgeois revolution, Agrarian Program (1980), where the issue of the “Prussian way” of resolving the agrarian question emerges.

I think that the question of dependency, in Florestan's original approach, constitutes one of the main bases of the interpretation from our author on the RBB process. Without the magnifying glass of this focus, the narrative of the RBB process, in its fine warp, becomes incomprehensible. It is worth noting that, despite its relevance – the 'third part' of RBB called 'Bourgeois Revolution and Dependent Capitalism' (2005, p. 235-424) -, in the often ciphered dialogue between Florestan and dependentistas, he approached the issue of dependency from his own angle. He scrutinized reality from the empirical and bibliographic knowledge accumulated over the years of in-depth research on Brazil, saturating with thoughtful content what he called the “bourgeois social order”, while the dependentistas, in the Marxist vein, addressed the same order based on questions posed by a new political economy, such as the transfer of value and the overexploitation of the workforce. Gramsci coined the notion of 'translation' and 'translatability' of scientific and social languages, that is, the possibility of a scientific language finding a translation in another (Gramsci, 1999, p. 185-190). It seems to be the case of the relations between Florestan and the Marxist Theory of Dependency.

Brazil is not Uganda, Afghanistan, Haiti or Puerto Rico, but neither is the United States (classic revolution in the germs of competitive capitalism), Japan or Germany (non-colonial late capitalisms). Our bourgeoisie, in the transition to monopoly capitalism, is not simply a “comprasing bourgeoisie”: “contrary to the current cliché, the bourgeoisies are not, under dependent and underdeveloped capitalism, mere 'comprasing bourgeoisies' (typical of colonial and neo-colonial situations , in a specific sense). They hold strong economic, social and political power, with a national base and scope” (Fernandes, 1987, p. 296). To understand this definition, we have to delve into the history of the country.

Contrary to much of the literature originating in São Paulo, which highlighted the previous accumulation of the surplus of the coffee merchant bourgeoisie in the Empire - that is, the continuity of the insertion process of Brazil in competitive capitalism -, than the Vargas command capitalism towards monopoly capitalism , Florestan valued the original process of 1930 – true that in a very particular opening, out of line with the dominant traditions at the time between labor and communists, after all, the ISEB and the PCB are the two main objects of the author's respectful criticism.

The beginnings of a slow bourgeois revolution in the late capitalism regime came before 1930. However, the situation created there opened a political breach: the possibility of ideally betting on an autonomous development project of Brazilian capitalism. This autonomist project, revolutionary for some, reformist for others, played the last symphonic chords, needless to repeat, in 1964. Afterwards, it became an elegy. According to our author, “the old regime does not enter into a final crisis when slavery disappears: this only happens in 1930 (…) This does not mean, however, the disappearance of the oligarchy, with its intellectual obscurantism and its reactionary tendency. But, anyway, the old regime, which was supposed to collapse with the abolition and proclamation of the Republic, finally entered into agony and lost the material basis of its precarious social and political balance” (Fernandes, 2006a, p. 26- 27).

Undoubtedly, Brazil experienced, after 1930, certainly based on the previous process of transition from slave labor to free labor, a period of great economic development. Strictly speaking, we had an igniting process of social change; we moved from an agrarian-exporting economic-social formation and the dominance of various pre-capitalist social relations (linked to the context of the international division of labor of the so-called “classical imperialism”) to the capitalism that Florestan, along with many other good people, called synthesis of dependent and underdeveloped capitalism. That is to say, a vigorous internal process of industrialization and modernization, but in a context of amalgamation, forming a dual structure, between the external monopoly capital, the fractions of the Brazilian bourgeoisie and the persistence in the national territory, in the countryside, but also in the cities, of pre- and sub-capitalist social relations.

For all these reasons, it is not possible to fantasize about this period. Undoubtedly, there was a process of economic development, industrial growth, urbanization and strengthening of the broader civil society, but not enough to skip over the vicissitudes and constraints of the process of uneven and combined development of world capitalism, in which Brazil is situated in the dependent sphere of the globe. This is the weak point of our modernization process: it did not occur among the most viable Latin American countries (Brazil, Mexico and Argentina), which jumped from the periphery to the semi-periphery of capitalism during the duration of the long expansive wave of 1945-1972, an organic industrialization process, an autonomization of dependency. The reason for the tied industrialization and the reverberation of dependency is related to the way sui-generis How did the RBB process take place?In Brazil, “the 'bourgeois revolution' in Brazil did not take place by the national bourgeoisie, but by monopoly capital. It is imperialism that has the hegemonic role and performs the roles of the Prussians or the Meiji dynasty” (Fernandes, 1989, p. 136).

This is very important. For Florestan, there was, in fact, and not, as an absence, simulacrum, or nostalgia for a future of the past that did not exist, the materiality of an RBB. The title of the book is not a graceful metaphor. In this perception, it makes a difference with the studies of conservative modernization, from authors such as Barrington Moore Jr. (1975), for whom the last bourgeois revolution was the US, and therefore societies that did not make the agrarian revolution were unable to transition to the political regime of democratic liberalism. The point is that the bourgeois revolution, rather than a limited “conservative modernization”, is exactly the process that Florestan calls “capitalist transformation” at the time and through dependent capitalism under the aegis of monopoly capitalism.

So, when using the expression bourgeois revolution to designate the process of modernization of the productive and social structures of Brazil, Florestan is not using the concept in the mold of identity with the classic bourgeois revolutions, such as, mainly, the French and North American ones. Here is a heterodox use of the concept of bourgeois revolution, referring to a long-term process: the slow Brazilian process of transition to capitalism. The heterodoxy of this concept of bourgeois revolution aims to capture not only the revolutionary characteristics of a revolution, but also the counterrevolutionary ones, in particular the reinforcement by foreign monopoly capital of internal pre- and sub-capitalist relations.

Note that this heterodox usage of the concept of revolution provoked objections, among them, one written by Jacob Gorender, for whom Florestan coined “his” individual concept of bourgeois revolution, unfolded over a long period of time: “the bourgeois revolution is a historical process concentrated in a few years or a few decades, through which the bourgeoisie seizes state power, becomes the dominant class and transforms the juridical political regime in favor of the untrammeled expansion of capitalist production relations (…) [É] inapplicable to Brazil the concept of bourgeois revolution. In our country, abolition and the Republic took the place of the bourgeois revolution” (Gorender, 1987b, p. 250-259).

There is an important element of 'universal history' – in the Hegelian sense, filtered by Marx of a “universal humanity” – in Florestan's thought, undetected by Gorender, which legitimizes the heterodox use of the concept of bourgeois revolution. Florestan has in mind the historical reality that the classic bourgeois revolutions were few and concentrated at the end of the XNUMXth century and in the first half of the XNUMXth century. That verdict delivered by Marx and Engels in the assessment of the failure of the so-called revolutions of 1848 in France and the rest of Europe is certainly taken into account by Fernandes. From that date onwards, the bourgeoisie made a definitive restorative and conservative historical turn, it continued until recently progressive/progressive (after the RBB process as 'universal history', not even that), in the sense of being a social class interested in the development of forces productive, but became radically counterrevolutionary. It is from this universal history element of the process of bourgeois revolution that an author like Gramsci, in tour de force Parallel to Florestan's, for example, he extracts the concept of passive revolution. With distinct nomenclature and foci – a theme that Carlos Nelson Coutinho (2011, p. 221-240) addresses suggestively - Florestan's bourgeois revolution has more elective affinities with the theme of passive revolution in Gramsci than with Barrington's conservative modernizations Moore Jr (1975).

Marx, taking stock of the outcome of all bourgeois revolutions, in the political and literary masterpiece The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, stated“all [bourgeois] revolutions perfected this machine [the State] instead of destroying it” (Marx, 1979, p. 273). What does that mean? That the bourgeoisie can only unleash its progressivism (the development of the forces of production) by privileging social change conducted from above, that is, from the State apparatus, and that the democratic forms of classical revolutions – according to the bourgeois prism – they were definitely buried or reified. In short, the RBB process directly addresses the problem of non-classical, passive objectification of capitalism in Brazil.

The protracted bourgeois revolution germinated in these lands a bourgeoisie incapable of autonomously leading the capitalist transformation – therefore, of internally reconciling the processes of hegemony of the classical revolutions. In summary, in a complex formula: there was a bourgeois revolution, but not a national, popular and democratic revolution. It took the monopoly capitalism of the central countries and the external bourgeoisies to carry out the transformation. But, not for that reason, and perhaps because of that, our bourgeoisie has never failed, throughout the process of capitalist transformation, to occupy and control the reins with fire and iron, directly or through frontmen, the economic, social power and politics of Brazilian society. From the point of view of culture - this question deserves separate studies -, because our RBB did not lead to a historical process of hegemony (or a truncated hegemony, of bourgeois autocracy), the dominance and consensus of the popular classes processed it. if through the individual route of integration through the cultural industry, and not through the national-popular organic route.

However, although it was initiated with the objective of giving internal access to foreign monopoly capital, there was no direct occupation of the Brazilian State by foreign puppets. Brazil did not maintain the same relations of neocolonial forces as in Cuba before the revolution. The RBB was politically directed by the Brazilian bourgeoisie, the political leadership he did not relinquish and for a long time. On the other hand, contrary to the non-classical capitalist transformation of late capitalisms, for example, from Germany, the Brazilian support point did not come only from the aristocratic strata of the internal civil and military state bureaucracy, strongly nationalist. This national deficiency had to be replaced by the participation, in the internal historical bloc itself, of the interests of the hegemonic capitalist nations.

The situation had an immediate political reverberation: maintaining the status quo of international relations in the post-war period, neither economic development nor industrialization was forbidden to Brazil, as long as it is a dependent development and a technically underdeveloped industrialization. That was Florestan's conclusion when assessing, in general terms, Brazilian capitalismnoting that, even without breaking the historical-structural ties of dependence, the development of the periphery was possible, “as long as it remains, what takes place is a capitalist development dependent  and, whatever the pattern to which it tends, unable to saturate all the economic, socio-cultural and political functions it should fulfill in the corresponding stage of capitalism. It is clear that capitalist growth takes place by accelerating capital accumulation or institutional modernity, but always maintaining external capitalist expropriation and relative underdevelopment as ineluctable conditions and effects” (Fernandes 1987, p. 291).

The promotion of this development model, which reproduced external domination and relative underdevelopment, was what the Brazilian bourgeoisie proposed politically, and the execution of this task was the content of the Brazilian bourgeois revolution that codifies and conditions Brazil.

*Jaldes Meneses He is a professor at the Department of History and the Graduate Program in Social Work at UFPB.

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