Leandro Narloch

Image: Andrés Sandoval / Jornal de Resenhas
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By RONALDO TADEU DE SOUZA*

The falsification of history in the service of the Brazilian white ruling class

Leandro Narloch recently wrote an article for the Folha de São Paulo in which he sustains the benefits of the enslavement process, one of the forms of capitalism to put itself in the historical matter, for Brazilian blacks. Particularly, for black women, who, in a way, achieved social mobility in relation to their social-racial group. I want to comment on just three points from Narloch's dense, suggestive, and original essay. It is already necessary to say and acknowledge; the historian's literary qualities are remarkable - fine writing, unusual erudition, elegant prose, meandering text in the best sense. Narloch is undoubtedly one of the last representatives of historical-cultural essayism and customs; Michel de Montaigne and Vico would subscribe to his undisputed heir.

However, even the big ones make “mistakes”. And in the case in question, a mistake intended by a self-conscious mind that clearly expresses the position of the one who enunciates it. In first place, Leandro Narloch is a sycophant who provides services to the Brazilian white ruling class. He gained notoriety, and still maintains it today, with the reorganization of the dirty, unscrupulous, vile, cowardly, murderous, rotten, disgusting, sick, petty, scoundrel and infamous Brazilian right. The one that wanted (and wants) its citizens, the dark majority, to be thrown to work in the face of a deadly virus such as Covid-19 and the pandemic it unleashed, and which it now imposes on those who no longer serve its petty interests of capital accumulation: no more than a deep precipice, with minimal hopes of getting out of it. Its services were and are very well used, by the same people who "defend" the extermination of black youth, who "want" the maintenance of black women's domestic work, who "seek" the violent and cruel exploitation of the workforce of black arms , who “want” us to spend hours and hours in queues at butcher shops collecting skins and bones – as if they were animals. Narloch is one of those “jesters” “paid” to provide “distractions” while class structures move, with the daily crushing of millions of people, and particularly people of color and black skin. It is not to be regretted, things are what they are and should be named – Leandro Narloch is a (white and racist) employee of the capital and his writing fulfills the historical role destined for him; until the day we give life and existence to the true State of exception (Walter Benjamin).

Em second place, the text in question is a piece tailored to try to (re)reorganize the political group to which Narloch provides services. With a country project that at its core is the crushing of subordinates, either by withdrawing rights, the few that were conquered in sweat and a lot of blood (“nothing” was delivered by the dominant white elite or by any consensual agreement in the history of Brazil ), either by predatory economic arrangements, or by moral humiliation, or by the practice of everyday police violence (without which the project is not possible to be carried out), and these circumstances have worsened strongly with the coronavirus pandemic, it was more than It is natural for the sectors most affected by this state of affairs to mobilize. The consequence is an almost uninterrupted erosion of “the” President of Narloch and the group and set of ideals they represent. Intransigent conservatism, violent racism across the board, wild free markets only for the fittest, cynical moralism and narrow-minded nationalism – these are constitutive elements of the Brazilian white right that have come to be questioned since the mid-2020s, and will tend to continue. . And here it matters little whether or not there is a rational-conscious design of the process. What Narloch wants with his play is to launch, “again”, the seductive web for those who are no longer convinced of their racist “foolishness”. And that plunged the country into hunger, despair, chronic unemployment and the lack of minimum horizons of a “decent” society. Now, what is the point of commenting that women became part of the Brazilian elite in the XNUMXst century? What does this mean in the context of the historical struggle of black men and women against the cruel reproduction of what Florestan Fernandes called a slave society? What is the importance of this type of argument for thousands of black women who are on the streets working day and night to feed their families and who are outraged by the power of transformation of a country that has always planned poverty, lack of recognition, prisons and cemeteries for their spouses and offspring? Narloch, with his text, is afraid of these women's arms wielding the banner of social emancipation, which is why he wants to throw dust in our eyes – he won't be able to. He wants to rebalance the balance that no longer leans completely towards the dominant white class to which he provides his services as a scribe.

Em third place, Leandro Narloch's textual statements are devoid of any logic of historical and social interpretation. Here he is not alone: ​​as we well know. Even though he is not a professional historian, which matters little to us, Narloch follows certain trends in contemporary historiography, of course in the Narlochian way of doing things. Indeed; it is the quest to take the grain of sand for the immanent set of social relations; in other words, it is to transform – superficially – a one-sided aspect of certain social forms into dominant categories.[*](Marx). It is not a matter of explaining society as a whole by one of its parts; Rather, it is a question of adapting the unity of the diverse (“the determinations of existence”[†]) to one of the points of contradiction of historical development. And in the case of Brazil, this formulation is even more problematic – given the characteristics of our social matter (slave and dependent). The very fact that slavery was a production mechanism in which one of its elements of formation was linked to its physical-natural conformation, that is, having a productive function inherently associated with its organic-corporal disposition, made possible the occasional dismissal of some of those and those once no longer physically needed for violently manual labor. (The social and historical conditions for the quantum of work, minimal as it may be, socially required for the workforce; in addition to the fragile evolution of the technique that made it difficult the relative from that one.) Thus, and therefore, it was evident that those who no longer had their body, and physical strength fully fit for the physical-corporal-manual services of capital (slaver) had to somehow survive once put on the street. Hence, in a context of currency circulation at the beginning of Brazilian commercial-industrial capitalism, it could be, contradictory and randomly, mobilized for survival, even for those violently thrown to their own fate. What Narloch and his group need to answer is whether the grain of sand became a social structure reproduced throughout Brazilian history. Eventually, of course, the answer is a restatement of what has to be explained, namely, that the "culture of capitalism" creates the conditions for individual wealth, that slavery had some benefit for certain more able blacks. It was enough to be the fittest, the most disciplined, the most rational, etc. and etc. The consciousness of the white ruling class elsewhere, and especially here, has never been accustomed to the dialectic, said old George Lukács back in the History and Class Consciousness – its historical horizon was and still is limited to its class interests as expressed by the Narlochs. On our part; what a pity that Narloch's text was only written in 2021. Now it's a little late – because whether he wants it or not, the non-sinhás of Bahia, if there were any sinhás told by him, wish one day to bring down the system, white society and elite that the right-wing and racist Narloch is “paid” to defend.

*Ronaldo Tadeu de Souza is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Political Science at USP.

Notes


[*] See about it Karl Marx. Introduction to the Critique of Political Economy. São Paulo, Abril Cultural, 1974, p. 122 to 127.

[†] See Ibidem.

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