steel cage

Image: João Nitsche


As long as attention is focused on fixing the system, there will be no emancipation

The union between bourgeois, proletarians, peasants and popular masses formed, in 1789, the “Third Estate” that made the French Revolution victorious. Subsequently, these classes installed the National Constituent Assembly and proceeded to draft new laws, guaranteeing the implementation of the principles of equality, freedom and fraternity; common interest of the left and the right, forces that defend capitalism and the organization of the State, structured and represented by the three powers: executive, legislative and judiciary.

With the laws approved and placed above all, the “Democratic State of Law” came into force in the capitalist mode of production, as an official order. In this way, exploiters and exploited alike were guaranteed the rights and expectations of claiming economic progress, social development and the fulfillment of individual aspirations. However, this bourgeois and proletarian revolutionary victory, if on the one hand came to represent a bond of economic and political dependence between the two classes, on the other hand, it implemented the institution of a “steel cage” as well conceptualized by the German Max Weber , in your work The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.

Being in favor of capitalist and democratic economic totalitarianism at the same time is at the origin of the formation of the bourgeois and proletarian classes, as well as the common sense of the popular masses. This positivist, liberal and religious premise governs social and production relations, ordering them by moral norms and the bars of Positive Law, legal expression of coercion inside the steel cage, responsible for framing any citizen considered disorderly. Outside of it, we have the feeling of being in danger, so we rush to include ourselves and become the main defenders of progress, job creation and the good functioning of the State.

Inserted in the exploitation system and in the coercive order, we behave like animals in a cage: we eat on one side, sleep on another and defecate in some corner. During the day we wander around connecting these geographic points and get angry if someone threatens to interfere in this established order, either with a coup or some disastrous intervention, because we no longer know how to live without it and we can't even imagine other forms of coexistence. Just like animals that don't know how to distinguish the handler from the one responsible for caging them, we fear the security forces, but we despair if we don't see them on street corners; we reject the bosses, but we rush to please them when they threaten us with dismissals; we criticize the unjust rulers and laws, but we continue to affirm representative democracy, giving the immense minority the conditions to deny the rights and benefits of the majority.

We want human emancipation, but we delay it, because, for a part of the workers, the sale of the workforce is so bad that it is barely possible to make demands and, for the other, more impoverished part, there is no longer any offer. And, even with our heads down, we are encouraged by the electoral promises of those who propose to lubricate the hinges of the door of this filthy and decaying cage, so that it squeaks less every time it closes. They direct us to the sanctity of capital, so that we prostrate ourselves before it, with folded hands holding the offering of the vow. We want the winners of representative democracy to serve us with grace, aid, a purse, or even a boneless bone, because, we understand, meat must be sent to the supreme god of the foreign market.

We know that the origin of submission lies in the genuine alliance that formed the “Third Estate”, put into effect in France for the triumph of the 1789 Revolution. , with the expansion of speculative and destructive capital, has already collapsed. This volatile capital associated with political banditry, inhabiting the most remote places like the British Virgin Islands, has infiltrated the State and acts to “liquidify” the wealth of nations. These parasitic forces, instead of the democratic order, spread terror, insecurity and fear; and they put in tow, with the exception of destructive agribusiness, the bourgeois sectors of production that desperately seek to return to the lost place in the control of politics.

Therefore, if in the past these productive bourgeois sectors were able to unify the various forces in the “Third State”, they are currently at a disadvantage, not only because of the political mistakes committed, but also because of the loss of power to speculative and parasitic forms of government. capital. This explains the reason for the frequent instabilities of the order and the immediate desire to rebuild the old alliance, proposing a “third way”. If we accept this maneuver, we will recognize at the lowest level that the purposes of the historic bourgeoisie remain valid and, no matter how hard we try, we will only relive the tragedy repeated a thousand times when, faced with danger, the slave dies to save his master. The surviving bourgeoisies from the exploitation of the workforce, to a greater or lesser degree, according to where they are in the world, have been losing control of politics and control over the State. As strange as it may seem, in the transitory conjuncture, “we are their gravediggers” and not their saviors.

There is no doubt that we keep at the bottom of the proletarian conscience a conflicting contradiction, between giving vent to revolutionary energies and accepting the desires of submission. Freud, in the corporal and sexual scope, called this movement “life drive” and “death drive”. In this sense, it is no exaggeration to recognize that speculative and parasitic capital, coupled with political banditry, unproductive, violent and destructive, have become the physical, psychological, economic, political, moral, environmental disorders, etc., of civilization. As much as one thinks to govern and control order in the aged cage, inside it circulates that uncontrollable and instinctual energy of the volatilization of capital. To control it, it is necessary first of all to imprison and dominate its agents, destroying all its mediations that pulsate towards death.

In this sense, however much we try to delay the confrontation with the destructive forces of civilization, it will be inevitable. As subjects of a libertarian process, workers and popular masses in general, we must, instead of leading conciliation, propose to throw the cage and its order into the air, or at least, as a first step, push the speculators out of it. , rentiers, devotees of tax havens; the arsonists of the forests and the robbers of public wealth. For this, we need to avoid the temptation to believe that a “steel cage” that is a little cleaner and more airy, even with a part of the population with their legs outside the bars, is all that can be proposed. If we think so, we immortalize the words of Karl Marx when he warned us that the defenders of parliament and, we add, of representative democracy, do everything to “Delude others and deceive themselves by deceiving them”.

As long as attention is focused on fixing the system, there will be no emancipation. The solutions to drive social transformations, although they come from within, are outside this decayed order. To look outside is to risk losing all beliefs, in capital, in the State and in professionalized politics and, as atheists, to establish the bases of new beliefs, with opposite principles to what until now made the steel cage work.

Marx and Engels gave us the indication, as old advisers we should listen to them. They ruled at the time of 1848, in the midst of the turbulence of the liberal revolutions in Europe, that “the communists do not hide their opinions and their objectives”, which seems to us enough to be sincere with one another, because, according to them, it is we need to make the ruling class feel threatened by the “violent destruction of the entire social order”, and not contemplated by our political platform. Mainly because, “the working class will lose nothing with it, except its arrest.” May this prison be reserved for genocides and the devotees of speculation.

*Ademar Bogo He holds a PhD in philosophy from UFBA and is a university professor.


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