You won't see any country

Image: Paulinho Fluxuz


XNUMXst century capitalism, driven by ephemerality and the fleeting pursuit of instant profits, does without any human compensation

One of the characteristics of politics in the era of financialization is the abandonment of any project of Nation or civilizing sense. If for Marx 2008th century capitalism had, collaterally, some civilizing quality, XNUMXst century capitalism, driven by ephemerality and the fleeting pursuit of instantaneous profits, dispenses with any human compensation. In a way, this idea is expressed in the global economic behavior after the XNUMX crisis and now, in pandemic times and after the abrupt fall of stock markets in the first quarter, this becomes even more evident, when no measures were taken to correct, block or prevent the financial system to cause the same damage again. Or, as Professor José Fiori pointed out[I], in the way theNational Security Strategy of the United States of America” of the Trump Administration abdicates any global project, any universalizing offer of a "American way of life" as occurred after World War II, to simply assert that its position of strength is sufficient to validate its national interests.

In the Brazilian case, the composition of the Bolsonarista government, its erratic behavior, the incompetence in carrying out its own projects, as well as the folkloric aspect of its members (a captain expelled from the army assisted by the second echelon of the financial system and by an astrologer) may suggest the error that Bolsonarismo does not have a project for the country. In addition to satisfying the immediate interests of its social base, be it agribusiness, conservative neo-Pentecostal churches or the military base, the Bolsonarist project is very clear: immediate withdrawal of the State from all dimensions of life, with the exception of the armed forces and police – whether in the economy, in the environment, in education, in health – so that the empty space left is occupied by international capital, by NGOs and neo-Pentecostal churches in public health (abortion) and education (homeschooling), by the police arm itself (civic-military schools), for example. In this case, the basic and universal income is no longer one, but the only existing social benefit, exactly as advocated by the liberal economist Milton Friedman, in “Capitalism and Society” (1962), in which this universal program would eliminate all other benefits of the State.

The absence of a national project by the Brazilian elites is not exactly new either. On the contrary, this is perhaps its true mode of operation. The elites that led the political emancipation of Brazil in relation to Portugal, in 1822, fought as far as possible to keep the territory linked to the Portuguese Crown, as long as their economic rights were guaranteed. A country that emerged longing for European subordination and ignoring its people and its continent. The military and landowning oligarchies that directed the Old Republic were moved, as they are now, by personal interests and primary exporters, in which regional projects were more important than any national projects. It is no coincidence that the project operated in the Vargas Era implied both the discussion of a National project and the need for a strong State to operate it. In dependent and peripheral conditions, a socially weak State that is active only in its police aspect is more functional for projects of international subordination. It is no coincidence, therefore, that discussions of the National Project, whether by the elite or by the subordinate classes, gained momentum during this period.

Therefore, first, what appears to be the absence of a project, social and national, is precisely the project. Second, he is not limited to Bolsonarist hosts. And, regardless of which electoral incarnation it is or under which legend it presents itself, in 2018 or in 2022, this is the project of financialization on a global scale. It is valid for Trump, it is valid for Bolsonaro, it is valid for Temer and it would be valid for anyone who won the 2018 elections on the right. The ultra-liberal condition of this decade requires States reduced to dust so that they cannot block the destructive impulse of financial, speculative and parasitic Capital. Let's take Rodrigo Maia's behavior as an indicator, for example: at some point, did the president of Congress take appropriate measures against the accelerated destruction of the Pantanal or the Amazon? Or the spending restriction in the middle of the pandemic? Let us remember that the R$600 of emergency aid is tolerable, precisely if we consider it as the only benefit. Maia, on the contrary, tried to put his political capital at the service of the reforms that Bolsonarism was not able to carry out, that of Social Security last year and to guide the administrative reform this year, when Bolsonarism itself had given up, in addition to considering the government's tax reform proposal very timid in relation to that of Congress itself. Perhaps we will hear moans of “the horror, the horror” coming from some apartment in Higienópolis in the face of Bolsonaro’s verbal excesses. But does anyone believe that under a hypothetical government of Geraldo Alckmin, João Dória, Luciano Huck or João Amoedo we would not have these same reforms demanded by financial capital, as well as the scrapping of environmental agencies and subordination to the United States? Is it not possible to think of the Alcântara base agreement in any of these names? Wasn't vassal behavior towards the United States already present in the Temer government? Is the end of social isolation the product of a terraplanista reading or a Faria Lima demand voiced by Paulo Skaf and Abílio Diniz? And, how much have the toucan governors insisted on returning to school without the pandemic having actually been controlled?

If there are cracks in the Brazilian elite, it has to do with morals and good manners. Not the economic policy or the project for the country. Proof of this is that the combination between the austerity conviction and the incompetence of the economic team, in a context of global economic crisis, the insistence on not using the State as an instrument of progressive economic policies, will lead the country in the coming months to a profound economic collapse and Social.

In turn, the popular and progressive field is also indebted to the presentation of a national project. Nostalgia cannot support a political project. It is necessary to respond with parameters of the future and the present to contemporary questions: how to block the parasitic and destructive action of financial capital, without considering the macroeconomic tripod as a sacred canon? How to protect male and female workers socially, considering the disorganization to which the world of work has been subjected, and which, therefore, requires measures that must be universal and not restricted to the form of the employment contract? How to rebuild a State that has been severely attacked in recent years so that it becomes a tool for operating these actions and promotes an environmentally sustainable, socially fair development aimed at the domestic market, without subordination to the political and economic interests of agribusiness and without making the country’s reconversion natural the exporting neocolony? It is the effective ability to answer these questions and transform them into a program and flags of struggle that can define the popular and progressive field and place it back in the political dispute.

*Miguel Enrique Stedile is a doctoral candidate in History at UFRGS and member of Front – Institute of Contemporary Studies.


[I]      FIORI, Jose Luis. The Babel Syndrome and the New US Security Doctrine. Time of the World Magazine, v. 4, no. 2, p. 47-56, 2018.

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