the cookbook

Image: Cyrus Saurius


We are living in a situation where, in order to try to delineate the political framework, it is necessary to go far beyond the frames

After the electoral storm, the flags are collected, the wounds are licked, some rockets are released and the recipe book is opened. The first comments on the left range from a somewhat youthful euphoria to a somewhat twilight depression, even reminiscent of a bipolar swing.

On the cautiously cheerful side, it is said that, despite the meager results, a new crop of emerging leaders is reaping, capitalized mainly with Boulos, Manuela and Marília (Edmilson won, but this is one of the most veteran), in addition to achievements in other cities . There is some truth to this. On the more melancholy side, the series of defeats is underlined, the shrinking of the leftist bases, the need for moral penance on the part of leaders is preached, exalting values ​​such as humility, restraint, asceticism. There is also some truth in this.

On the side of right-wing analysts, the chant is more unison: once again it is preached that the PT is dying, and that the electorate, in the majority, preferred the “center”, defeating “the extremes”, or “the balance” instead of of "adventures". They are frames that try to frame the nebulous picture that emerges from the true spraying that occurred in these elections.

We are living in a situation where, in order to outline the picture, it is necessary to go far beyond the frames. On the left side, a very profound remodeling of its traditional base, which is the world of work, is taking place. Call it what we want and can: uberization, precariousness, fragmentation, etc. The political weight of traditional urban unionism and peasant movements has shrunk. It remains standing, but its leadership capacity has lost the strength it had. This leadership is now in dispute for the agenda of what has been called, generically, “identity movements”, which vigorously invest against the universe of prejudices that are reviving like embers, inflated by the blows of the extreme right forces, which we will talk about more forward.

It should be noted that these changes in the world of work are not exclusive to Brazil. The labor bases of European social democracy, for example, are also undergoing dramatic changes. One example among many: in the last British election, the so-called “Red Belt”, on the coal border between England and Scotland, the traditional base of Labour, voted massively with Boris Johnson and his rancid conservatism, in the name of preserving rights in the face of the Brexit. Latinos on the Texas-Mexican border, it is known, voted with Trump, also in the name of preserving positions in traditional industries, such as oil and its derivatives.

Returning to Brazil, what we have for the left are party structures and leaderships created, for the most part, within a labor universe that is ceasing to exist while another universe of expectations emerges with much more force, sometimes laden with exacerbated individualisms, in which no social group wants to give up anything, forging, however, new processes of collective expression that are still being defined.

On this side, yes, one should salute the emergence of those and other new leaders who have been proving capable of rekindling the links between the left and youth, ties that many of the traditional leaders have lost. I take the opportunity to make a literary observation: I have often recommended reading or rereading a novel by Herman Hesse, “Narciso and Goldmund”. Published in 1930, set in medieval Germania, the novel mirrors, at the same time, the Nietzschean polarity between Apollonian lucidity (of Narcissus, master teacher and later abbot) and the sagacity of the Dionysian surrender to the universe of passions (the artist and attractive disciple Goldmund) and the anguish of both central characters in the face of a world in which the old traditional framework is sinking and a new one is emerging. We know perfectly well what is disappearing, without even being able to delineate what is being born, even if we are sure that something is actually emerging from these shadows in which everything is immersed.

But the world of the right is also changing. What we saw in these elections was a strong re-articulation of some of their traditional camps, such as the PSDB, the MDB and the DEM, in the face of the emergence of their allies in 2018, and today rivals, the militiamen and the military in uniform or in pajamas gathered together around the Bolsonarist gang, along with those as grotesque (which does not make them harmless, on the contrary) as bumbling (idem) olavists, pastors, fancary economists, anti-environmentalists, etc.

Those traditional fields submerged in the 2018 election, and in their place or in their spaces, a right emerged without any shadow of scruples or civility. An example of this new lack of political character: Lava Jato and its procession of legal improprieties that installed a climate of free-for-all against its favorite targets: the PT and Lula.

To say that the six thousand military personnel, for example, who occupy positions in the Bolsonaro government represent the Armed Forces is less than half true. There are much more “friends of the mouth” improving their salary share, many sorcerer apprentices without the slightest preparation for the positions they occupy. And the unpreparedness of the group of federal government invaders becomes dramatic with the messes in the economy, the improprieties in the environment and in human rights, in addition to the absurdities in terms of foreign policy of the hamburger fryer in the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Federal Chamber and the disciple of an astrologer at Itamaraty.

But this new collection of stupidity managed to impose its style on the traditional right: lying without shame, insulting, degrading rhetoric to slang and so on, mobilizing a huge range of prejudices, such as misogyny, homophobia, racism, contempt for the lives of others. , etc..

An equally dramatic example of the imposition of this style was the campaign of Sebastião Melo, in Porto Alegre, in this 2020 election. The candidate proclaimed himself as an “emerging cadre of the old MDB”; however, his campaign was completely engulfed (I don't know his participation in this, but he can be accused, at the very least, of omission) by the completely dirty style of fake news and sordid insults against the opposing candidate, Manuel D'Ávila, from PCdoB. Some analysts see in the result of the 2020 election a retreat by Bolsonaristas in the face of traditional rights. It may be, but this makes them even more dangerous, as they certainly won't want to let go of the mouths and legal protections that the current situation brings them.

In the style of Trump, the occupant of the Planalto Palace is already attacking the supposed “lack of fairness” in the electoral process, pre-announcing one of the grimmest faces of the 2022 battle. they are renouncing any principle of civility in future electoral clashes or others, which also portends more difficult days for the left. Again, I resort to a literary suggestion: reading, or rereading, the novel “Chronicle of the Poor Lovers”, by the Italian Vasco Pratolini, published in 1947. Set in 1925 and 1926, the novel focuses on the story of the residents of a street in Florence, Via del Corno, and its vicissitudes during the consolidation of Fascism in Italy and how everything that was a solid tradition in conservatism until that moment dissolves before the emergence of the new murderous style of doing politics.

* Flavio Aguiar is a journalist, writer and retired professor of Brazilian literature at USP. Author, among other books, of Chronicles of the world upside down (Boitempo).



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