Mario Pablo Fuks



Refined and committed psychoanalyst, socialist, thinker of contemporary psychoanalysis

Here is a master: Mario Fuks. For those who do not know the contemporary history of the psychoanalytic movement in São Paulo, he was, and continues to be, one of the psychoanalysts responsible for the conception and development of the Department of Psychoanalysis at the Sedes Sapientiae Institute. It was one of the thinking bodies that were at the basis of an institution open to social life, which works to be democratic, with a horizontal foundation and collective decisions, with respect for the multiple traditions and multiple training paths typical of the history of psychoanalysis since we arrived in gain more full awareness of it.

A significant group of organized psychoanalysts, who over the last 40 years have been present, that is, putting their members “on the street” in various ways, engaged in the difficult political moments that Brazilian society has gone through, the country undergoing transformation in the long process of redemocratization . Much of this productive space for transmission and research in psychoanalysis, which receives psychoanalysts from all over Brazil and dialogues with psychoanalysts from Latin America, the USA and Europe – psychoanalysts from the same world – owes some of its political poetics to Mario Fuks. Perhaps it is more appropriate to say that that Brazilian Department of Psychoanalysis owes some of its political psychoanalytic poetics to Mario Fuks.

A refined and committed psychoanalyst, socialist, thinker of contemporary psychoanalysis, Mario Fuks came to Brazil escaping the military dictatorship of extermination in Argentina, from 1976 to 1983. There, having studied with José Bleger and experienced the radical emancipation of Mariane Langer and Emílio Rodrigué das then unthinkable paralysis of the International Psychoanalytic Association, with which those didacts They broke up, after a lot of work in public hospitals, Mario escaped virtual murder, coming to enrich the psychoanalytic and critical culture of the neighboring country with his basic work. Together with their fellow left-wing psychoanalysts, all formed in the tradition of collective and social commitment of Argentine psychoanalysis in the 1950s and 1960s, and all expelled, for life, from the very nation they were building – generation partners Lucía Fuks, Ana Sigal, Silvia Alonso, Maria Cristina Ocariz, Isabel Vilutis – the psychoanalyst engaged in a foreign country in the creation of a new critical space for the production of psychoanalysis, the development of a new effective social life.

This group of psychoanalysts did not come to Brazil out of a strict self-protection movement, to work in the liberal professional market and live a simplified office life, but, in another direction, the group would have an important institutional action and political renewal of psychoanalysis among us, projecting a self-critical psychoanalysis and present in the public movements that called for it. Meeting, then, with theoretical research psychoanalysts from São Paulo in the 1970s, Regina Schnaiderman, Isaías Melsohn, Fábio Herman, Ricardo Azevedo, being politically welcomed into a higher education institution – under Catholic control, linked to the field of liberation theology, committed to the raped people of the time, to persecuted workers and peasants, to Latin American exiles, and to practical engagement in democratic strategies against military dictatorship, the Instituto Sedes Sapientiae.

The “Argentine” psychoanalysts participated with propositions and experience in the first nucleus of discussions and studies of what would become the Department of Psychoanalysis. A department that sought to be fully aware of the productive radicality of Freud's work, the theoretical history of psychoanalysis in its century and the political monitoring of culture and inquiry into the contemporary world and its crisis.

Much of this spirit and this space of psychoanalysis among us was due to the critical and tireless work of Mario Fuks. The same work he also dedicated, at the same historical moment, to the Brazilian anti-asylum movement, the renewal of life and mental health policy here, the most active form of social political engagement of psychoanalysts at the time. A broad social struggle, which won tough battles in the 1980s and 1990s, and which, now, like much of what we achieved, is once again under attack by the confrontational irrationalities of Brazil's reinvented extreme right.

Through hard work and creating real things, so to speak, Mario Fuks, and his dear Argentine psychoanalyst brothers exiled from the evil of the world, knew how to become Brazilians like the rest of us. But in fact, they are citizens of the land without borders, always dreaming of a world of equality and possible freedom to which psychoanalysis should contribute from its own somewhat foreign human experience.

I was one of the last friends of Mario Fuks, who was a man of friends. I was able to interact with him in discussions in teaching and research groups, in permanent concern about the state of culture and criticism, in psychoanalysis as a potential for broader transformation work and also in moments of sharing the grace of living. What impressed me most about his work style was the way he reflected, in real time, the tensions and unthought-of possibilities expressed in the movement of thought in a work group.

Social and collective psychoanalyst, Mario Fuks knew how to participate in a discussion and think about the conscious and unconscious motives of his assumptions, at the same time. A psychoanalytic art that had a deep and living history in it, the history of Henrique Pichon-Rivière and José Bleger, of Freud of the institutional critique of François Tosqueles, of Freud and Melanie Klein, of Lacan, in Argentina, and, even, the limit works of dissolution of psychoanalysis in the living culture of Franco Basaglia and Felix Guatari. In one of his last writings, shortly before he died, Mario returned to the original theoretical interweaving of the Freudian unconscious and the symbolic production of violence and positions specific to social classes, thought up by Reich in the 1920s and 1930s...

Mario Fuks was a psychoanalyst who contributed to the group and to the whole, always thinking about the foundations of what was at stake, which sometimes circulated hidden, as an ideology, as a virtual symptom or as an enigma of a thought that could not find a way to take shape. Psychoanalysis, inside and outside, of the group's content and social continent, thus presented itself to him as a permanent mode of politics. From politics in the lives of peers, in work, the modern way of being in the world, in search of a general dignified life.

Listening to him in this work was both a pleasure and, often, a surprise. And, as self-recognized psychoanalysts, I must say that in the opportunities we had to discuss some clinical situation, some of Mario's ideas became a direct and intimate part of my own thinking: the meaning of the anorexic's real somatic regression, as a utopian attempt to return to the mother’s womb…, for example. It was important for me the way he accentuated the de-alienating character and radical psycho-political transformation of the emergence of the epic poet from the original group of identity regulated by myth, the first self, which we read together in Freud's The malaise in civilization.

Between his effortless intelligence and his fine, lively laugh, Mario Fuks always surprised us with an aspect of things that we wouldn't know if he didn't tell us about them. Being around him was a kind of creative joy, which made intelligent things light, and serious things thinkable. We can observe, in this specific case, the strength of a political transfer. Our respectful thanks go to this special psychoanalyst, who left so many fruits and friends, all impressed by his immense theoretical and human quality. And his unique grace.

Finally, I leave here, for the reader who is interested, the story about his journey partner in Argentina, in exile, in the development of the Department of Psychoanalysis and in the Psychoanalysis Course at the Sedes Sapientiae Institute, the psychoanalyst Ana Sigal – researcher dedicated to psychoanalysis with children, thought and theory partner of Jean Laplanche, member of the Articulation Group, a national group of institutions that evaluates the expansion of the presence of psychoanalysis in our culture and combats the attempts at privatization and spurious regulation of psychoanalysis that are circulating out there, by evangelical groups for example... Thus, you can see an image of the story from an intimate and constant friend, like Ana was to Mario, one of her first friends. And also to compare it, in its most precise acuity and reality, with the distant effects of a life, seen en bloc and from above, as the late contact with the Argentine-Brazilian psychoanalyst allowed me in this brief communication.

Mario Fuks: recovering memories of his history

By Ana Maria Sigal

This is the work of remembering and honoring Mario Fuks, an intelligent, perceptive and sensitive warrior who dedicated his life to fights that would leave marks on his history and ours.

When you lose a great friend, a life partner, a heartfelt brother, you lose a piece of us, but you don't lose a story. Remembering means keeping your legacy alive; That's why I bring some memories of the roots of Mario Fuks' work in Argentina, before arriving in Brazil, which explain his insertion at Sedes and the Psychoanalysis course. I will do so based on knowledge of parts of its history, derived from a path and work that we shared and developed together.

My story with Mario Fuks has two aspects: we met in 1966, 57 years ago. Since that time, two great passions have brought us together, Psychoanalysis and Politics. Mario Fuks had a Marxist background and this led him to assume political roles in the history of our country, but it also confronted him with the requirement to question psychoanalysis, which he always thought of as a living and constantly changing knowledge, committed to its historical moment. In psychoanalysis he dedicated himself to the politics of the clinic, the politics of theory and the politics of training.

At the clinic, he thought about how to use his knowledge to create new forms of insertion at the service of a broader population, developing public policies; in theory, to reflect on the way in which social ties mark epistemological and metapsychological issues in the Freudian text and, in training policy, questioning hierarchical and undemocratic structures present in educational institutes. Psychoanalysis allows us to capture man in his singularity, which is the singularity of his historical existence and his inclusion as a social being.

Mario Fuks didn't shy away from them. No human product that is governed by desire can be neutral, even if the places of militancy have their specificity. Mario was militant in citizenship and militant in the specificity of his job.

In the 1970s we worked in “political-technical teams”: surface groups of the Peronist Youth movement, which belonged to the left of revolutionary Peronism. These teams included professionals from all areas, offering their knowledge to promote greater social justice; In his case, he dedicated himself to public policies related to mental health and the anti-asylum struggle. This branch of Peronism took on a lot of work at the university and, in addition to assisting comrades involved in the political struggle, who did not belong to the surface, so to speak, it supported work in favelas, tenements, basic units and hospitals. Mario Fuks had an important role in general hospitals and psychiatric hospitals. The Lanús hospital was a fundamental place of belonging for Mario, both in his political and psychoanalytic work.

He took up a role as Chair of Medical Psychology at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Buenos Aires, where he invited me to work. A historic milestone was created there, by offering afternoon psychological care at the Hospital das Clínicas, which operated from 19 pm to 22 pm to ensure that workers did not need to request time off from work to be treated, which avoided the stigmatization of the subject as sick. mental at a time when this diagnosis applied to all who sought psychoanalysis to face their conflicts. Psychoanalysis was also taught to encourage doctors to listen and use the relationship between doctor and patient as a fundamental tool for understanding the patient, beyond their physiological illness.

The dictatorship was advancing in the basement and, with the coup d'état of March 24, 1976, it was possible to work for just a few more months, exiled in our own country, as in the middle of the year this possibility became untenable and we had to go into exile. I arrived in Brazil in July 1976, Mario arrived with Lucía in May 1977, when I was already in contact with Regina and Miriam Schnaiderman and other Brazilian colleagues. We met by chance in a bar on Av. Angélica with Rua Maranhão and the joy was great when we found ourselves alive, as the dictatorship decimated our work groups and the threat to lives was imminent on a daily basis.

Latin America was being taken over by imperialism, which set itself the systematic task of dismantling the leftist movements that had developed; At this point, the Brazilian civil-military dictatorship was on the verge of cooling down. After this meeting, I invited Mario and Lúcia to meet Regina and Sedes and they joined the new project that was being created. Later, Silvia Alonso joined us, who arrived in Brazil in December 1976, and joined our course that began in 1979, just as other exiled colleagues, such as Isabel Vilutis and Cristina Ocariz, became closer over time.

We all had a common origin of activism and participation in movements that questioned psychoanalysis in its power structures. We came from a critical relationship with the Psychoanalytic Society and its formal structures and thought about the possibility of training analysts outside traditional frameworks. Mario Fuks worked in the Teaching and Research group, a group that depended on the Federation of Psychiatrists led by Emilio Rodrigué and which later became the Mental Health Workers group, essentially providing supervision and training, we also shared this space. There, clinical and institutional work was carried out, engaged in social and political projects for peripheral populations.

Other colleagues who joined us here in Brazil came from similar experiences developed in other institutions. Silvia Alonso worked with Armando Bauleo in the Psychiatry and Psychohygiene service of a public maternity hospital, delving deeper into issues of femininity and dedicated herself to training analysts; Lucía worked with Mario at the Lanús hospital, an important care and training center and reference in Buenos Aires, where they met and formed a life together. Silvia and Lucía knew each other from Argentina, where together they participated in EPSO, an institution created by Gregorio Baremblit dedicated to broadcasting. These projects that we all brought were continued in our engagement at the Sedes Sapientiae Institute.

Then came the confrontation of the IPA's power by the Plataforma and Documento groups, a movement led by our analysts, supervisors and co-workers with whom Mario Fuks shared the reality of this historical period. José Bleger, Marie Langer, Emilio Rodrigué, Diego Garcia Reinoso, Gilou Garcia Reinoso, Fernando Uchoa, Gregorio Baremblit, Armando Bauleo, Tato Pavlosky were some of our great companions. Pichon-Rivière was a reference for all of them.

At that time, there were already connections between Brazilians and Argentines who shared a common thought. Helena Vianna, expelled from the Psychoanalytic Society for denouncing a psychoanalyst torturer who supported the dictatorship, found support in Argentine movements that helped her advance and defend herself in the quasi-police investigation that followed the complaint. In Brazil, major changes were also taking place in politics and psychoanalysis, which gave Mario Fuks a good meeting upon his arrival. He was openly and lovingly received by Mother Cristina and Regina Schnaiderman, working with Roberto Azevedo and Isaias Melsohn in organizing a comprehensive training course, which would open up space to welcome a large number of professionals working in the field of mental health and wishing to deepen their training in psychoanalysis.

Here Mario also met theorists who had been working on these issues, and contact with Helio Pelegrino, Eduardo Mascarenhas, Jurandir Freire Costa, Chaim Samuel Katz and others allowed him to delve further into them and gain a deeper understanding of the political path of psychoanalysis in Brazil. The course that was being created received many younger colleagues who became part of our committed space, some of whom later joined us as teachers.

What I want to emphasize is Mario Fuks' performance, engaged and fundamental. He also had excellent theoretical and militant training, he was part of study groups with Sciarretta, a teacher who trained many of us in Marx and Lacan. But above all, he had a capacity for analysis that helped him find fruitful paths. Our course and our Department suffered many difficulties and Mario Fuks was always a light that helped us find paths: acute, intelligent and insightful.

We will miss you, but the fight continues. Hail, Mario, you will always be in our memory! It was a privilege to have walked through a story with you, it was a joy to have you on the course and in the Department of Psychoanalysis, to follow your story and build ours.

*Tales Ab´Sáber He is a professor at the Department of Philosophy at Unifesp. Author, among other books by The anthropophagic soldier: slavery and non-thought in Brazil (n-1/ Hedra). []

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