The Holocaust and its uses

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By ANTÔNIO DAVID*

It takes discernment to know in what sense the Holocaust cannot be compared to other events, in what sense it can be compared, and in what sense it should be compared

Whatever you call the events currently unfolding in Israel and Palestine, with the Gaza Strip as its epicenter and developments in the West Bank and southern Lebanon, and repercussions in the region and globally, this is an opportune occasion to examine further closely the perception of the Holocaust as an “unbelievable event” and the effects of this perception. The expression was used by historian Christopher Browning, who in his research noted that it was “a recurring theme among witnesses” of the Holocaust, including among survivors (Browning, 1992, p. 25). It is linked to the broader debate, renewed precisely by the field of Holocaust studies, of the “limits of representation”: from a certain perspective, the Holocaust would be an “unrepresentable” event.[1]

It is worth noting that this debate echoes the crisis opened by the so-called “postmodernism” in the Human Sciences since the 1960s, particularly in history.[2] Therefore, it is also worth asking: what type of historical memory and relationship with history (academic knowledge) derives from the emphasis on the unbelievable, unspeakable, unthinkable and unrepresentable character of history? And what are the practical consequences, especially social and political, of this relationship?

From mythical event to doctrine and normative and prescriptive discourse

 Providing answers to these questions is obviously not a simple task, and I do not intend to do so here. My objective is to establish some hypotheses, point out some paths, for which Theodor W. Adorno offers invaluable support, in Education after Auschwitz (1965/1967) and in other works, although he himself did not take part in the debate, which took place after his death.

If we follow Theodor Adorno's argument carefully, we understand that the essential thing in the perception in question is not in drawing attention to the historical singularity of the event (or set of events) that is conventionally called the “Holocaust” – a perception without doubt fueled by the use of a specific word, a distinction that is not made when talking about other contemporary genocides. In fact, the idea that so far nothing compares to the planned extermination of Jews carried out by the Nazis and their allies in World War II is not without ambiguity.

It can be considered that nothing compares to this event not by counting the dead and survivors - as Theodor Adorno says, “the simple fact of citing numbers is already humanly unworthy, let alone discussing quantities” (Adorno, 1995, p. 120) –, although many do, but due to the fact that, in the genocides that took place before and after the Second World War, there was probably nothing that could compare to the effective use of extermination camps as a killing machine on an industrial scale. Whether there was or not is a difficult question to answer and depends on careful and long-term collective historical investigation, not being reduced to a yes or no dilemma – and it is not certain that a widely accepted conclusion will ever be reached. .

The essential thing in the vision of an “unbelievable event” is, therefore, not in the scale of the event, but in the expulsion of this event out of historical time through its conversion into a “mythical event” (Adorno & Horkheimer, 1985, p. 39 ), because this is what we are talking about when we consider it in terms of the unbelievable and the unrepresentable, whereby a certain refusal of historical realism passes for its opposite. Note that the mythical, here, is the opposite of that examined by the authors of Dialectic of Enlightenment, focused on converting enlightenment into myth, but that doesn’t mean their use is any less pertinent. Although, by usage, the word sounds pejorative, it actually indicates that something is both present and absent from historical time.

The mythical, in this case, designates the way in which some of the survivors were able to deal with trauma, pain and suffering. For this reason, the conversion of a historical event into a mythical event is not in principle good or bad, right or wrong; it is just the path that the psyche took to endure pain, and the possible habitat of memory and testimony. But it is a case of asking ourselves what happens when this perception, or affection, is reconverted into doctrine and into normative and prescriptive discourses. Because one thing is the memory, testimony and, ultimately, the psyche of survivors and those close to them, another, quite different, is the discourse that takes mythical experience as the only possibility of thinking, speaking and writing about this event.

Such an operation is not without consequences. One of them is the dissociation between the act itself – the extermination of millions of Jews – and the objective and subjective conditions that made it possible. There is a risk that thinking about such conditions ends up being blocked, overshadowed by the unbelievable. If this happens, the questions raised by Adorno become superfluous., focused exactly on the assumptions or mechanisms that allowed Auschwtiz to happen, and which have very concrete dimensions. However, the condition for Auschwitz not to be repeated is that such mechanisms are investigated and known.

A second consequence, closely linked to this first, is that any comparison between the extermination of Jews by the Nazis and other events of extreme violence against groups or serialized sets of individuals is summarily rejected, even if such events occur under the same assumptions, the same conditions, same mechanisms. This blocks thinking about the possibility not of the event being repeated – since, by definition, no historical event is repeated –, but of something of the same type being repeated: in other words, not of it being repeated. this terrible experience that took place in the past, in which real people who had a first and last name were murdered, and which was conventionally called “Holocaust”, but that the mass murder favored by certain social and psychological conditions, practiced by the State, is repeated or by armed groups, of which the Auschwitz extermination camp is historically emblematic.

It is of no small importance to note that the word “Holocaust”, which in theory could appear in the title in place of “Auschwitz”, is not even used in the aforementioned text by Theodor Adorno. I think that this option has directly to do with this concern, manifested in the statement with which the text opens: “The demand [that] Auschwitz not be repeated is the first of all for education”.

From this perspective, the doctrine or discourse that encourages the illusory perception of an event to such a singular point that no form of realistic or referential thought reaches it, as if its occurrence were a disruption in historical time, an anomaly, has here the opposite meaning of that caught in Dialectic of Enlightenment by Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, whereby the mythical is cyclical, with its repetition in the future being inevitable. Here, on the contrary, the most harmful effect of the normative discourse that seeks to imprison the Holocaust as a mythical event is the total impossibility of thinking something similar.

A third consequence of this mental operation, and linked to the previous two, is that it favors one of the conditions that, according to Theodor Adorno, contributed to Auschwtiz happening, namely, the “inability to identify” with other human beings and “ indifference towards the fate of others”, which “was undoubtedly the most important psychological condition to make something like Auschwitz possible among more or less civilized and harmless people”. According to Theodor Adorno, “if people were not profoundly indifferent to what happens to everyone else, except the handful with whom they have close ties and possibly through some concrete interests, then Auschwitz would not have been possible, people would not have accepted” (Adorno, 1995, p. 134).

In these terms, the doctrinal and discursive frabrication of a historical memory that insists on the unbelievable and unrepresentable character of the Holocaust, and that does not discern between, on the one hand, History, and, on the other, the memory and testimony of survivors, produces the opposite of the dialectical leap that Walter Benjamin spoke of: not because such memory blocks the solution, in the present, to the injustices practiced in the past and which are still reproduced today, but, rather, because it is the very recognition of these injustices, and of the conditions who work today in its reproduction and who in the past worked in the production of Auschwitz, which is blocked.

Theodor Adorno was fully aware of this: dealing with the “possibilities of awareness of subjective mechanisms in general” without which Auschwitz “would hardly happen”, he states that, alongside the necessary knowledge of these mechanisms, “knowledge of the stereotypical defense” is also a necessity. that blocks such consciousness” (Adorno, 1995, p. 136).

It is worth noting that, in another of his writings, entitled What does it mean to elaborate on the past (1963), right after the statement that “[…] the past that we want to escape is still very much alive. Nazism survives”, Theodor Adorno adds: “and we still don’t know if it does so only as a ghost of that which was so monstrous as to not succumb to its own death, or if the disposition towards the unspeakable continues to be present in men as well as in the conditions in which they live. surround” (Adorno, 1995, p. 29). The “unspeakable”, which among survivors operates as a symptom of a terrible trauma, and as such must be respected, is also, however, a practice of executioners, who name their acts through code names that function as euphemisms (such as “Final Solution ”). Practices like this are normalized and favored when thinking becomes averse to other dimensions of history beyond those observed in the testimony, that is, in the psyche of the survivors, at least the one captured by Browning.

It takes discernment to know in what sense the Holocaust cannot be compared to other events, in what sense it can be compared, and in what sense it should be compared. That said, it is possible to identify at least four ways to answer the question of whether the Holocaust is comparable to other historical events.

The first is that which emphasizes the singular and unique character of this event. But this is a trivial meaning, linked to what EP Thompson called the “ontological status” of the past.[3] By definition, every historical event is unique and singular, so there is always a dimension of the event that makes it incomparable to any other.

A second, in which the Holocaust is equally incomparable to other historical events, which are by no means trivial, consists of what I called a mythical event, that is, in its apprehension by the psyche of survivors and other people, crossed by trauma, pain and by suffering. Even if the event is rationalized – and it is good that it is –, it is still understandable that these people are affected by the memory of this terrible event in a way that removes it from historical time, producing the psychic effect seen by Browning. We are here in the field of experience. In this sense, it is for the subject of a traumatic experience that the Holocaust is incomparable, just as other events of extreme violence are incomparable for other subjects. Experiences like these deserve to be recognized and respected.

A third way of answering the question derives from a thorough and exhaustive historical examination of the event itself, its stages or phases, how it happened, what its characteristics were, which allows us to suggest parallels between this event and other genocides. In this sense, the Holocaust can be compared to other historical events, not for accounting purposes - although it is permissible to offer hypotheses and reach conclusions about scales, not with the aim of saying that both are equal, or that one is greater. and more serious and the other smaller and less serious, which would be a trivialization – but to offer gains in understanding about events of this type. This is a meaning specific to historical or historiographical knowledge, commonly associated with academic research, and which requires very sophisticated methods and techniques.

A fourth and final way of answering the question is that proposed by Theodor Adorno, and which replaces the first meaning in other terms: if every historical event is, by definition, singular and unique, on the other hand, no historical event takes place in a vacuum, but under certain conditions, which make it possible, which favor it, which can and must be known. In this sense, the Holocaust is comparable to other historical events, current or virtual, in the very specific sense that it is possible to compare the mechanisms that made the Holocaust possible, and which are still present today, making it possible for events of a similar type to be repeated in the future. present and in the future. Such events not only can but should be compared to the Holocaust and other events of extreme violence, because the comparison allows us to become aware not only of the risks, the threats, the dangers, but of the current reality – or, as Foucault once said, to make visible what is visible.

Nationalism, reason of state and necropower

The conversion of the Holocaust as a mythical event into doctrine and normative and prescriptive discourse has serious political consequences, in addition to its effects on the psyche. One of these consequences, perhaps the most serious, is that such a doctrine or discourse lends itself well to a political instrument in favor of one of the conditions that, according to Adorno, make a new Auschwitz possible, namely, nationalism: “Furthermore, It would be necessary to clarify the possibility of there being another direction for the fury that occurred in Auschwitz. Tomorrow it may be the turn of a group other than Jews, for example the elderly, who narrowly escaped the Third Reich, or intellectuals, or simply some divergent groups. The climate – and I want to emphasize this point – most favorable to such a resurgence is resurgent nationalism. He is so angry precisely because in this age of international communications and supranational blocs he is no longer so convinced, forcing himself to excessive exaggeration to convince himself and others that he still [has] substance” (Adorno, 1995, p. 136 ).

It is worth associating this passage with another, What does it mean to elaborate on the past, in which Adorno characterized the national pride of the Germans in the context of the rise of Nazism as a “collective narcissism”, certainly an unhealthy narcissism (Adorno, 1995, p. 39-40).

As we know, this instrumentalization operates according to the logic of the reason of State. Not by chance, when reiterating that “the center of all political education should be that Auschwitz is not repeated”, Theodor Adorno adds: “It would be necessary to critically treat a concept as respectable as that of reason of State, to name just one model; to the extent that we place the rights of the State above those of its members, terror already becomes potentially present” (Adorno, 1995, p. 137).

Adorno's considerations on nationalism and reason of state can be enriched by the reading, proposed by Achille Mbembe, of the power to regulate and distribute the murderous functions of the State in modernity, which he called necropower. Against the thesis that “the complete fusion of war and politics (racism, homicide and suicide), to the point of becoming indistinguishable from each other, is something exclusive to the Nazi State”, Achille Mbembe maintains that such a fusion finds older roots : “the material premises of Nazi extermination can be found in colonial imperialism, on the one hand, and, on the other, in the serialization of technical mechanisms to lead people to death – mechanisms developed between the Industrial Revolution and the First World War” (Mbembe , 2018, p. 19-21). Despite his emphasis on colonialism, Achille Mbembe goes back even further in time, looking, from a long-term perspective, for the genealogy of the techniques and technologies of State terror.

Achille Mbembe does not fail to mention Palestine today (Mbembe, 2018, p. 47-8, 61). The mention is fair due to the effects of the actions of the State of Israel on the living conditions of the Palestinians, objective and subjective, but also due to the speeches that preach their physical and cultural death as a people, or, as I read somewhere, of everyone with more of 4 years of age, as well as for the speeches that remain silent and silent in the face of these murderous speeches, possibly – and there is clear evidence of this – because the minds of those who do so have been colonized by nationalism.

Justifying the ongoing action in Gaza as an act of “defense” of Israel is an insult, and only replicates the argument, present in all Dictatorships, that certain (criminal) actions are necessary to avoid certain harm. The defense of the Israeli population does not depend on the murder of thousands of people, including children. And, in the end, under the pretext that it is necessary to “defend Israel”, by which everything is justified, we defend not Israel, but individuals and groups that have the possession and exercise of State power in Israel, its worldview, your projects, your practice. It is unnecessary to offer here examples of speeches that preach the death of all Palestinians, which are known and are multiplying.

Such murderous rage is in no way different from that which preaches the physical and cultural death of Jews and/or Israelis – the declared purpose of Hamas –, in the face of which not a few remain silent or “pass the dust”, also incurring in the crudest and most blatant denialism that you can imagine. It is at least regrettable, to give just one example, to read in a article by Salem Nasser of October 30: “I have seen references, made by Scott Ritter, to eyewitnesses to the fact that many [of the dead Israelis] were victims of fire from the Israeli forces themselves. All of this still needs to be verified.” Such disingenuous denialism is no less shameful than that which refuses to acknowledge the deaths in Gaza under the pretext that “Hamas figures are unreliable”.

This does not mean that there are no asymmetries in the conflict and their effects on the living conditions between Israelis and Palestinians: these are clear and evident, to the point that there is no exaggeration in the use of terms such as “colonization”, “apartheid” (or “ethnocracy ”, as proposed by Oren Yiftachel) and “genocide”, with the action justified or motivated by the idea that an entire people being killable being sufficient for its characterization. It means, yes, that asymmetries do not serve to justify fascist speeches and practices, wherever they come from.

One of the attitudes that would deserve to be seriously examined, and that resonates the indifference that Adorno spoke of, is the cynical forgetfulness that all the victims of the conflict, whether the victims of Hamas' action on October 7, 2023 and in the following days, whether they are the victims of the action of the Israeli Armed Forces in Gaza and other regions, whether they are the victims of Israeli settlers in the West Bank, or Israeli hostages, all these victims are people, human beings, who have a first and last name.

What is happening in the Gaza Strip and with the Palestinian people

Much has been said about the fact that the Israel-Palestine conflict is the product of a historical process, so that it is superfluous to ask “Who is to blame?” or “Who started it?” – which leads nowhere other than a crude reduction of the complex to the simple –, which does not mean that there are no culprits for specific actions. We can see this clash between a complexifying historical discourse and a simplifying historical discourse in the open controversy with the statement by UN Secretary-General Antônio Guterrez on October 24, 2023, on the occasion of the military offensive by the State of Israel in the Gaza Strip, and in the reaction to it: “It is also important to recognize that the Hamas attacks did not occur in a vacuum” (“It is important to also recognize the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum").

Harshly criticized, Guterrez then justified his statement, saying: “I am shocked by the misrepresentations made by some about my statement […] as if I were justifying Hamas' acts of terror. This is false. It was the opposite.” Regarding what Antônio Gueterrez said, the reactions against his speech and his justification, it is not a mere detail that many press vehicles in Brazil (and, as far as I saw, abroad) have translated the expression “in a vacuum” by locution “by chance” – whose meaning is, thanks to usage, very different from “in a vacuum” –, moving it from the historical record (focused on historical contextualization) to the moral record (focused on intentions and the rightness or otherwise of the action ), thereby betraying what Antônio Guterrez actually said.

In the exact opposite direction of Antônio Guterrez, criticizing the Brazilian government's position in relation to the conflict, jurist Celso Lafer, from the Faculty of Law at USP, declared, in an interview with Journal of Culture on November 16, 2023: “We must take into account that the person who started this whole process was Hamas”[4]. Could a historian say the same without betraying his craft?

Having said that, how to face President Lula's statement given to the international press on February 19 of this year? “What is happening in the Gaza Strip and with the Palestinian people does not exist at any other historical moment. In fact, it existed: when Hitler decided to kill the Jews.” Lula has been reprimanded for making this statement, and not just by the Israeli government and right-wing organizations, but also by individuals and groups on the Jewish left. Already others, also on the left, defended him.

What has hardly been noticed, however, is that Lula did not simply compare the current Israeli military action in Gaza with the Holocaust – which is why he has been criticized; in the comparison made, this action would have been the only historical event comparable to the Holocaust[5]. In other words, Lula appropriated the Holocaust not as a historical event, which took place under certain conditions that can be known and which is pertinent to evoke in public debate, including to make comparisons, but as a mythical, disruptive, unbelievable event, in short , as an event that inhabits the imagination of survivors.

In this sense, there is no way that the comparison would not hurt the memory of the victims and the pain of the survivors and other people, not just Jews. Lula's thoughtless speech was provocative and disrespectful because it trivialized the Holocaust as a traumatic experience, no less than the use, by Israel's team of diplomats at the UN on October 30, of the Star of David during a session of the Security Council.

On the other hand, what many of Lula's critics ignore, or opportunely want to make believe, is that, as a historical event, the military action of the State of Israel in Gaza, led by a certain government and its allies, does not compare to the assassination of Jews in the Second World War in a number of aspects, but it compares in others, mainly because in both, and in a series of other acts of violence that took place historically in the world after the Second World War, the same mechanisms are observed in operation and the same conditions that produced Auschwitz.

I reiterate: comparisons like these are not only possible, but necessary. Anyone who visits the Jewish Museum in São Paulo has the opportunity to see references to crimes against Human Rights in Brazil alongside references to the Holocaust. This is an instructive example of what Adorno called the serious elaboration of the past, “breaking its spell through a clear conscience” (Adorno, 1995, p. 29).

One of these common aspects is the fact that the action in Gaza fulfills the desire, which is not even hidden, but manifest in public speeches by important figures in Israeli public life, to indiscriminately kill individuals just because they belong to a certain people – the Palestinian. This desire, it is worth reiterating, feeds on and feeds the same desire on the part of the Palestinians.

The fact that the desire to kill experienced in the key of necropolitics is restrictively reciprocal does not justify the hypocrisy of Nicole Deitelhoff, Rainer Forst, Klaus Günther and Jürgen Habermas, who, in the context of the German State's prohibitions on demonstrations against the actions of the State of Israel in Gaza at the end of 2023, and which were taken under the pretext of combating anti-Semitism – which must be combatted –, signed a manifesto, released on November 13, in which they argue: “despite all the concern about the fate of the Palestinian population, standards of judgment completely slip when genocidal intentions are attributed to Israel’s actions.” Israel does not and cannot have genocidal intentions for the simple fact that “Israel” designates a country whose society is divided; but certain Israelis in positions of power do, and many of them don't even hide it, and this the four prominent authors conveniently ignored.

By evoking the argument that the actions of the State of Israel in no way justify anti-Semitic reactions “especially in Germany”, that “the democratic ethos” of Germany is linked to a political culture for which “Jewish life and the right to Israel into existence are central elements worthy of special protection in light of the mass crimes of the Nazi era,” and while emphasizing that this commitment is “fundamental to our political life,” the manifesto echoes the “Germans’ collective guilt” complex that Adorno criticizes What does it mean to elaborate on the past. This is a “highly fictitious” and unhealthy guilt, which, on the level of common subjective life, fulfilled the function of blocking the elaboration of the past, that is, the reinforcement of self-awareness against the “collective narcissism” fixed in national pride, and, on a practical level, to remove from the executioners the guilt they had for the crimes committed during the War, since the guilt had been diluted.   

This is not a question of denying this commitment, which is fundamental, but of questioning the reason its selectivity, that is, its non-universality: if, as the signatories of the manifesto say, the so-called democratic ethos is “oriented towards the obligation to respect the human dignity”, this guidance should apply to the human dignity of all human beings, without exception.

Against nationalism, back to universalism

I see no other way to deal satisfactorily with this and other major contemporary conflicts without reestablishing, in speeches, practices and minds, the prominence of the universalist and egalitarian semantics that marked the writings of the founders of the so-called Frankfurt School, a reestablishment that undoubtedly requires a long-term organizational and educational effort. Emblematic of universalist values ​​is found, to give just one example, in a text by Horkheimer entitled Philosophy and Critical Theory (1937): “The critical theory that aims at the happiness of all individuals, unlike the servants of authoritarian states, does not accept the continuation of misery. […] the end of a rational society, which today seems to be preserved only in the imagination, effectively belongs to all men” (Horkheimer, 1980, p. 158, 160).

With Adorno, I think it is urgent to emphasize the conditions and mechanisms that allowed Auschwitz to happen and the perseverance, later and in the present, of these same conditions and mechanisms, objective and subjective, and others that were added to these. If one of these conditions is nationalism, as Adorno draws attention to, perhaps there is no more urgent task for those who defend universalist and egalitarian ideals than the critique of nationalism and its pitfalls. It is necessary to decolonize the minds of the nationalism that colonized them, otherwise it is fascism that tends to gain strength.

In this sense, and with regard to Israel and Palestine, it is imperative to note: (i) that the subjects of history are not countries, but individuals and groups, and that “Israel” and “Palestine” name countries, whose societies are divided, (ii) that in both Palestine and Israel there are individuals and groups ranging from the extreme right to the extreme left, defenders of democracy and enemies of democracy, defenders of Human Rights and enemies of Human Rights, etc., (iii) that “ synonism” is a word invented to designate Jewish nationalism, which, like all nationalisms in the world, is complex and plural, with even left-wing synonism (which is, however, very minority, following a global trend of weakening nationalisms left-wing), (iv) that both in Palestine and in Israel it is extreme right-wing nationalism that has strengthened extraordinarily in recent years, (v) and that figures like Benjamin Netanyahu and Ismail Haniya can be placed side by side with figures like Donald Trump, Viktor Orbán, Björn Höcke, Valdimir Putin, Recep Erdoğan, Ali Khamenei, Javier Milei, Jair Bolsonaro and a whole growing multitude of fascists and proto-fascists who compete for power on a global level, among themselves and with liberal-conservatives ( who, when they do not take advantage of fascism to their advantage, generally remain silent).

*Antonio David He has a doctorate in philosophy from USP and a doctorate in social history from the same institution.

References


Adorno, Theodor. “Education after Auschwitz”. Translation: Wolfgang Leo Maar. In: Idem. Education and Emancipation. São Paulo: Paz e Terra, 1995, pp. 119-38.

Adorno, Theodor. “What it means to work through the past.” Translation: Wolfgang Leo Maar. In: Idem. Education and Emancipation. São Paulo: Paz e Terra, 1995, pp. 29-49.

Adorno, Theodor & Horkheimer, Max. Dialectics of Enlightenment: Philosophical Fragments. Translation: Guido Antonio de Almeida. Rio de Janeiro: Jorge Zahar, 1985.

Browling, Chrostopher. “German Memory, Judicial Interrogation, Historical Reconstruction”. In: Friedlander, Saul (ed.). Probing the Limits of Representation: Nazism and the Final Solution. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992.

Horkheimer, Marx. “Philosophy and Critical Theory”. Translated by Edgard Afonso Malagodi and Ronaldo Pereira Cunha. In: Benjamin, Adorno, Horkheimer, Habermas (The Thinkers). São Paulo: Abril Cultural, 1980, pp. 155-61.

Mbembe, Achilles. Necropolitics. Biopower, sovereignty, state of exception, politics of death. Translation: Renata Santini. São Paulo: n-1 editions, 2018.

Notes


[1] Alongside Borwing himself, an example of this debate is the book by Michael Bernard-Donals and Richard Glejzer, Between Witness and Testimony: The Holocaust and the Limits of Representation (State University of New York Press, 2001).

[2] It is no coincidence that the topic entered the historiographical debate partly on the initiative of Hayden White, one of the most important names in historiographical postmodernism. From the 1980s onwards, as part of the effort to respond to his critics, or to what Carlo Giznburg called the “moral dilemma” and “evident embarrassment” resulting from the anti-realist arguments that White had launched in the 1960s, he began to dedicate some works to the historiographical treatment of the Holocaust – an example often evoked by its critics. In one of these works, White even wrote: “The idea that the Holocaust never happened is simply absurd. We have more than enough evidence to compel belief in its occurrence.” White, Hayden. “The public relevance of historical studies: A reply to Dirk Moses”. History and Theory, v. 44, no. 3, pp. 333-338 (citation: p. 337); Ginzburg, Carlo. “Unus Testis. The extermination of the Jews and the reality principle”, Borders. History Magazine, Florianópolis, n. 7, 1999, pp. 7-28 (citation: p. 17). In “The Modernist Event” (originally published in 1996), he mentions Browing by name. This text was republished alongside other works that address the same subject in the collection Figural Realism: Studies in the Mimesis Effect (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000).

[3] “The finished processes of historical change, with their complicated causation, have actually occurred, and historiography may falsify or misunderstand, but it cannot modify, to any degree, the ontological status of the past.” Thompspn. Edward Palmer. Misery of theory, or a planetarium of errors. A critique of Althusser's thought. Translation: Waltensir Dutra. Rio de Janeiro: Zahar, 1981, pp. 50, 54.

[4] Regarding Guterrez's statements: “UN chief's speech escalates diplomatic crisis with Israel” (DW, Oct. 25, 2023), available athttps://www.dw.com/pt-br/fala-do-chefe-da-onu-escala-crise-diplom%C3%A1tica-com-israel/a-67213883>. About Lafer’s statement: “Former Minister of Foreign Affairs CRITIZES President Lula’s diplomacy” (Jornalismo TV Cultura, 16 Nov. 2023), available athttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYwkrzILqso>.

[5] This relationship was highlighted by Michel Gherman in an interview with BBC Brasil. “Israel’s reaction to Lula’s statements comparing the war in Gaza to the Holocaust”, 19 Feb. 2024. Available athttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ha2x2VbDEjU>.


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