Lunatics and charlatans

Red square - Kazimir Malevich

By Ruy Fausto*

Read an excerpt from the recently deceased philosopher's last public conversation

The situation we are in today is a legacy of a succession of collective mistakes: the mistake of those who did not want to choose between Fernando Haddad and Jair Bolsonaro; the mistake of those who insisted on a candidacy that practically did not work out, abandoning their candidate who could have gone further and other things, such as not having attacked Bolsonaro from the outset; others waiting for the 2022 election as if nothing serious could happen until then.

Anyway, we arrive at the current situation, which is that of a country dominated by a “sublunatic” government, so to speak, until we find a term to organize what is happening, and still suffering the consequences of a terrible pandemic.

But, to talk about the most immediate situation, I would say that we are facing a truly incredible fact. The character occupying the presidency refuses to admit that there really is a serious health problem, does not accept the measures that have been accepted in the world, proposes fasting as a way out and goes on and on. We are thus faced with an absolutely unprecedented fact.

Even Donald Trump had an attitude of self-defense and, at the last moment, reversed after saying that everything would be resolved by Easter; and for good or ill, he began to take a series of measures. For this character of ours has not taken any action. In terms of “crazy” governments, as they used to say, we are the best in the world! It is an absolutely unprecedented and terrible thing.

But, interpreting that there, in my opinion, the most likely thing is that he has reached his limit. He has reached a point where he will weaken. He has gained some support in modest quarters, but I don't think he's going to get very far with that.

What happened to the pandemic? The problem of science was posed. These groups are essentially obscurantists, enemies of truth, enemies of enlightenment. Faced with the pandemic, the problem of the search for a cure, the importance of science, the truth, the rational measures to be taken.

The obscurantism of these people is so profound that they don't wake up. They keep harping on that it's nothing, and they're willing to maybe cause the deaths of 300 people or something like that. If there is no total isolation, instead of dying 45.000, 500 will die.

Then came the problem of reason and curiously the reaction is not so negative. The lights have a certain weight, even in a backward country like ours; many people react well even for wanting to save their own skin. But in other situations, even wanting to save their skin, the obscurantist reactions were stronger. In this way, these groups revealed themselves to many people for what they are: charlatans, lunatics – willing to do much more than that – and neoliberals, which means institutionally neo-fascists, willing to sacrifice many lives in Brazil in exchange for a crazy project.

A moment of truth has arrived – and we are not going to welcome this, as it means the sacrifice of many people – when they will not be able to go forward. Under these conditions, a gap opens up for an opposing intervention; the rats are abandoning ship. Until recently we were under a brutal offensive; now the possibility of an intervention in another direction opens up.

*Ruy Fausto (1935-2020) was Emeritus Professor at FFLCH-USP and author, among other books, of Marx: Logic and Politics (Editora 34).

Transcription of part of his speech at the launch of Revista Rosa. (

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