aimless identities

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By TARSUS GENUS*

The political identities of the left are not even made by the idea of ​​“left” social democratic reforms

I start from the observation, here referring to Eric Hobsbawm’s book, that not only have we left – in the last 30 years – the “era of revolutions”, but we have also entered a long dystopian period in which the political identities of the left are not even made by the idea of ​​social reforms. “left” democrats, but also drifted – without defined coloration – into the restricted field of liberal-democratic utopia.

They did it to hold on to the utopia of Enlightenment reason, a concrete stronghold for the defense of human rights, compensatory social policies and welfare state institutions which, as in our country, still survive harassed by the breath of fascism. Everything is done by guaranteeing a passport-commitment with rentiers, in order to achieve political stability with less scandalous interest rates.

The rich – richest in the world – accumulate identity and money in liberal reforms, but we breathe without revolution and without reforms in the folds of resistance. And so, we sustain a little that the poor become poorer or die, or migrate: the survivors transact their class identities to a generous and fighting identity, but voluntarist and still without hegemonic capacity.

Having said that, I do not think that the socialist idea is dead and that democracy, as an idea of ​​social coexistence, is ending its cycle of political-moral value or that barbarism is inevitable. It, barbarism, is more difficult to be defeated, it is true, because we do not have the Soviet barrier that we had, to face nazi-fascism and we do not have strong working classes, interested in the democratic process and in the objection to fascism by force, with a resistance capable of making them return to their well-paid sewers.

To talk about the South of the Southern Cone, I think that in Brazil, as well as in Chile, Uruguay and Argentina, we have “reserves” of political experience and leadership, for a future offensive aimed at shared democratic sovereignty, with a view to regional integration. If Brazil does not overcome, however, the dominance of financial capital over politics and the State – which comes from within the “magic rooms” of the Central Bank – Latin America will go downhill under the unrestricted imperial domain.

In Brazil, Lula's three great policies, although lacking a more complete strategic vision, show their immediate success: a foreign policy of national dignity and sharing of the great global decisions; an evident policy to fight hunger and social desertion, and more: a fiscal framework, which is a “passage” to a still undetermined place, but which opens a path that can be paved.

What seems to limit this correct movement by the Brazilian State is that without “security”, in a broad sense, these policies can languish, not only because security – any of them – is today a central category of politics, but also because concepts have changed and today it is not it has no roadmap to be followed, for a purely parochial “public security”, seen only as an internal matter of the nation. 

We still lack a safe and complete vision of Public Security, today already intertwined on a continental scale with security for the functioning of Democratic States and for a continental program of National Security, in which the Armed Forces should have a relevant and decisive role : defense of sovereignty, defense of natural assets of biodiversity, resistance to the appropriation of territories by organized crime – national and global – explosion of narco-guerrilla outbreaks in vast areas of the continent.

Regardless of which sectors of the FFAA in Brazil still sympathized with a coup d'état against Lula, it is absolutely relevant that the Armed Forces as a whole did not embark on this adventure, which would lead us to the status of a third-tier banana Republic.

From a poem by Fernando Pessoa came the epigraph of the book Scaffolding by Mario Benedetti: “The place you return to is always another\ the station you return to is another\ it is no longer the same people, nor the same light\ nor the same philosophy”. It is a book back from exile, which builds on scaffolding, with moderate platforms of bitterness, surprising humor and a skepticism contained by the lucidity of a story that has not faded in the corners of failure.

Think of a Uruguayan writer whose country was a kind of South American Switzerland, who went through a period of armed struggle and who, torn apart by a military dictatorship, buried his insurgents or killed them or tortured them or threw them on the death flights. on the Rio de la Plata: knocked out by torture or doped by anesthetics they disappeared into the turbid tombs of its winter waters. But Uruguay's identity did not drain into the fluidity of barbarism, as it elected – as its President – ​​one of its insurgents, Mujica, who emerged strong from the country's medieval dungeons to be the top leader of the recovered nation.  

Bauman in his book Identity, theorizing the “liquid society”, said that fluids have that name because “they cannot keep their shape for a long time (since) they keep changing shape under the influence of even the smallest forces”, but this fluidity – however – related with the conscience of individuals must be apprehended with caution.

Elizabeth Roudinesco reports that, in 1999, Jacques Derrida met Nelson Mandela “already over 80 years old” and was “impressed” with the former prisoner who, from inside prison, not only dialogued with his executioners, but also – outside from bars – he instructed his militants in the relentless struggle against the oppressive government.

At a certain point in the conversation, Mandela asked Derrida “if Sartre was still alive”, bringing up the sacred name of the history of anti-colonialism in Western Europe: Mandela’s identity, in the world society already in liquefaction – kept in the jails of the regime of the apartheid – crossed the continent and rested on the withered figure of Sartre, whom De Gaulle did not arrest because, according to him, “one does not arrest Voltaire”. In liquid society the oppressors remain the same, although their mannerisms and the nature of their violence change on the surface of politics, but in it the oppressed change and dissolve their consciousness in fragments and almost always without returning to their totality. 

Popular dissatisfaction with the prices of life, with the disorganization of public transport, with massive crime in large metropolitan areas, with the insecurity of everyday life, with the few possibilities for leisure (which is census) and with the scarce enjoyment of goods of culture, at the moment when fascism merges with neoliberalism and exploits the fiction of entrepreneurial “freedom” – this gigantic dissatisfaction – is not channeled into the representative liberal democratic order, but towards its destruction.

Liberal democracy, as it stands as an order of absolute privileges, no longer aggregates, but fragments, no longer cohesives, but divides, no longer generates public-facing identities, but turns to promoting hidden personalities in the netherlands. In it “each one is master of his own nose” and life in society is a torment of submission.

That neoliberalism is incapable of sustaining prosperity has been proven since the beginning of its cycle of political and social reproduction, whose leaders, acolytes – small and big bandits of economic theory – managed to suffocate any link between the economy and the situation of “being” ( good or ill-being) of human beings.

They set out from there, therefore, to naturalize the circular discussion of technological modernization without social objectives, of private accumulation through the fiction of money without ballast in production – appropriated by fewer and fewer hands and by increasingly privileged brains – making common – from this point of view rhetorical exercise – the dogmatic ban on discussing the causes of social disparities, increasingly concentrated income and the origins of the criminal impulses of fascism, legitimized by a vast part of society, carved by a network of invisible enemies scourged by misery.

The construction of individual personalities in any democratic society is not and should not be a function of the State, but there will not be a minimally just society if human identities are not forged from the conscious renunciation of nature's instincts. What is the function of the State – from this conception – is to promote a culture of solidarity and the marks for a non-violent coexistence, providing a political order that points out which are the “maximum acceptable inequalities” in a civilized society, as well as which they are the “minimum equalities”, required for social interaction in constant change (today “fluid”) with a minimum of crises and a maximum of consensus.

National identity is created in motion, as a community of destiny, taking into account the awareness that can be acquired in the political process, on the one hand, and the objective conditions of the supposed “brave new world”, where class identities (from below) ) are fragile and the national identities of the oppressors (from above) – as state and force – are strong and destructive.

This is not about a doctrinal “preaching” in defense of socialism or capitalism, today stratified in the financial capital of accumulation without work, but rather the defense of a democratic possibility of blocking rising fascism, which feeds on violence. to promote their "revolution". And it uses, legally and illegally, the fluidity of information and money – in the global economic order – to build its specific forms of oppression, based on another fluidity, the informational one. This not only destroys, but also composes new identities that vertically cross the pyramid of classes and communicate in horizontal networks and communities that worship violence and self-segregation, through which they defend themselves against the outside world, which they consider impure and hostile. 

Individual identities that remained as consciousness – such as Mandela and Benedetti – are fundamental legacies of the last century, but they are no longer sufficient to traverse history, because places, stations and people are always different and the identity of oppressors – by force of money – was strengthened by the conscious coexistence of a large part of the oppressed. They must, therefore, be appropriated as elements of a new conscience of the revolutionary duty in an era of defeats.

Today's utopia – the democratic utopia – may seem like a step backwards compared with the ethical and economic ambitions of vanished socialism. But it can also be considered a civilizing challenge: to combine and integrate democracy and socialism with a “new way of life consciously guided” by popular sovereignty, not by the bureaucratic rooms of the Central Bank: tomb of popular sovereignty and strategic force of rentier accumulation.

*Tarsus in law he was governor of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, mayor of Porto Alegre, Minister of Justice, Minister of Education and Minister of Institutional Relations in Brazil. Author, among other books, of possible utopia (Arts & Crafts).


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