Greg and Ciro

Marcelo Guimarães Lima, Double Phoenix - Allegory of time pencil, color pencil and digital, 2021


A brief chronicle of friction between liberals

As I have traveled through spaces and social environments that are different from those of the last two most serious years of the pandemic, I feel divided. As if he lived in fractured realities. Upon finishing watching the allegedly polarized debate between the humorist Gregório and the character Ciro, this impression is reinforced. There is a dissonance between the animus of social networks, that permanently convulsive power of combat and debate, whose substrates change every week or day and the unfolding of the streets and real life.

In the end, Ciro and Gregório are very similar, politically and ideologically. Not least, the comedian relies on the safe tree of a “former voter” who communicates his current dissatisfaction with the candidate for abandoning the “anti-fascist fight”. In terms of spectrum, both transit through layers of liberalism and are defenders of liberal democracy.

Ciro, by misfortune and personality trait, has already sambaed with the liberal left, center and right.

Gregório, still young, only ventured into the meanders of the center, masterfully playing the role of conscientious left-wing adviser. Their tragicomic and impotent calls at the end of all greg news, through internet campaigns and “politicized” scavenger hunts are the face of the liberal left: a performance structure, simulation of struggle, dissimulation of the aversion to questioning the order of which they are privileged.

They consider themselves, inside and outside this innocuous debate, builders and enthusiasts of dreams and utopias, which, coherently with their complete lack of imagination and revolutionary perspective, are all muzzled and hide the real contradiction of our society: the social division into classes. Talk of the past, late, anachronistic, of course, for those who make a living exploring its consequences and dodging its causes.

While two defenders of salaried labor exploitation, albeit with palliatives and welfare ointments, simulate a knife fight, provide food for the hunger for performance on social networks, the reality of the mass in the current dystopia of capital is extremely serious and deteriorates.

It reminded me of my walks to work. Across that paved island of consumption, self-exaltation, and ostentation, I pass past the retreaded faces and the cashmere scarves from Rua Oscar Freire. Oblivious and impassive to the events of the real, a few meters from its dimension of Nordic HDI, protected by the arms of the State, walk the dondocas and the moneyed rascals as if they were walking in New York or Paris.

Cowardly outside their environment, there they are pampered and treated like sponge cake, served by a mass of brown and black intermediaries, by their nannies in beige robes carrying Zara prams, while they observe the shop windows polished just before by cafuzos. The Brazilian social mosaic bends to serve the illustrious São Paulo bourgeoisie, for whom inflation and unemployment, the bone queue and misery are as fictitious as what they see in their series of kings and queens.

Eventually, barbarism touches their feet, materialized in the figure of a beggar driving a supermarket cart in which he holds 5 or 7 caramel dogs and where 5 or 6 more puppies squirm, protecting themselves as best they can from the cold. This scene, in any case, might even touch those hearts stoned by wealth a little more (thanks to the dogs, of course) than an elderly woman eating leftovers, warming herself in front of an improvised bonfire, in which she heats up, inside from an old can of canned peaches, dark, cloudy cooking water.

People who think it's a good idea to grant human rations are not easily moved. The craft that located her where she is is based on dehumanization. It is this strain that lives at the pinnacle of a social order whose inevitable consequences are these scenes, all real, by the way.

Capitalist accumulation and its antagonistic character, misery as a consequence and the basis of opulence, are the fruits of liberalism, no matter what fictions of gradual improvement are proposed as a solution.

See this debate between “dreamers”, with the caudillo and his “national development project” orphaned from an independent bourgeoisie on one side and, on the other, the Leblon comedian and his quixotic (and ridiculous) fight against fascism (sic) at the polls, it sounds like a walk on the streets of the Oscar Freire region.

This one, indigestible and in bad taste, which I only do out of obligation. In the first case, because I am a proletarian and wage earner, in the second, because I know that I am. Faced with the highest inflation in 27 years, the deterioration of life, indebtedness, hunger, widespread unemployment, the utopia of change has never been so far from worker expectations.

All the figures of, for the time being, “relevant” politics hinder the possibility of the pawn finding himself in history. To see yourself as a pawn. To see oneself as a class enemy of the bosses and to understand that every change in history was the work of a class in struggle, conscious and victorious against its oppressing class. A class in possession of a program and an organization. A class that understands that this is their time to fight and build a new world.

If today in Brazil, instead of wanting to be a boss, every Brazilian hated all his bosses and their system of sucking and stealing wealth generated by working people, we would have an absolutely opposite reality. Then the doors of utopia, with their imaginative colors and their transforming flame, would be on the horizon, not as empty words, but as practical acts.

However, since today we can defend what interests the worker, such as, for example, that, with 12% inflation and 15% unemployment, wages would be readjusted automatically according to inflation and the workday would be reduced and all hours of work would be distributed, it's heresy, we live in the age of the ideology of all kinds of liberals. Our “utopian” ceiling is that “the poor have three meals a day”, while the banks will continue to break profit records on the back of the debt and the work of the peon.

Class consciousness and class organization. Without these two characters, the stage of the class struggle moves from the genre of utopia to that of farce and tragedy. And there is no shortage of actors of dubious quality to act.

* André Bof He holds a degree in social sciences from USP.


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