the revolt world

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By RAFAEL R. IORIS* & ANTONIO ARIORIS**

No future will be different without transforming the present from top to bottom and removing those who wore a fascist costume from the scene.

We have reached the month of May of a ghostly year with doubled numbers – 2020 – in the midst of a pandemic that takes time to reach its 'peak' even as it acts at full steam. Literature and history are some of the few intellectual 'breathers' we still have to endure so much needless and senseless hardship and destruction. We are exiled and without any Gonçalves who can help us. My land had palm trees (olive green), but today they want to arrest the thrush. “God forbid that I die” without any explanation “That I can’t find here.”

It is difficult to understand this revolting world, to realize the lack of health, employment and perspective. There is a blind insistence on preserving what has never worked in order to prove that such a country, as a plural society, cannot work. Fascist airs further aggravate the virulence of the situation. It is important to bear in mind that fascism, like genocide, are genuinely modern processes, one of the hallmarks of Western modernity. There has certainly been violence, massacres and tragedies throughout history, but one of the 'contributions' of modernization was to coordinate social (dis)organization in terms of ideological, political and economic objectives consistent with the authoritarian advance of the capitalist order.

Almost a century ago, in 1921, one of the most notorious victims of German Nazi-fascism, Walter Benjamin, also one of the most creative minds of that period, in his article “Critique of Violence”, discusses the relationship between law and justice to examine the contradictions of apply violent means to pursue just ends. Considering the Brazilian experience in the light of Benjamin's ideas, economic modernization had to make constant use of great violence (anti-worker, anti-people, anti-who-is-not-a-white male) to guarantee the objectives of a development that presents itself fairly but which, in the end, is markedly unfair.

The multiple crises related to Covid-19 must be understood as new manifestations of distortions and inequalities accumulated in time and space. And from the same nest from which the voluntary inability to deal with the pandemic emerged, the serpent had already hatched the egg of neoliberalism, now wrapped in a new guise, that of neofascism, or authoritarian neoliberalism.

Around the world, the neoliberal project basically has two purposes: first, to respond in a controlled and premeditated way to what were considered to be flaws in the centralizing-statist model. Second and more important, create conditions to renew capital accumulation mechanisms and preserve privileges for those who do not need to work through rentier strategies, attack on collective heritage (including health services), over-exploitation of work and maximum alienation.

However, neoliberalism à la bresilienne has an even more poisonous DNA, always faithful to the Mont pelerin society, but with traces of the most aberrant anthropophagy that our new-old elite could find. As has always happened since the Triple Alliance War (Paraguay War), the great party of the national elite, the Brazilian Army, is always ready and ready to fulfill its historic mission: to protect the country from possible threats represented by its people.

Today, Covid-19 gives them an extraordinary chance to once again carry out the mission of keeping the population under control and one step away from death (any death, they are all useful to the cause). But in order to understand the authoritarian and at the same time neoliberal character of neo-fascism in expansion in the world today, it is necessary to differentiate the historical fascism of the 1930s, peaked by the dictatorship of 1964, from the global neo-fascism that in Brazil embarked on the leaky canoe of the current (des) government.

With Mussolini's Italian experience in the 20s and 30s as its prototype, fascism found its greatest appeal in its hybridity. By combining traditional values ​​with the cult of the family and the homeland, but also combining innovative and progressive proposals for the time, such as strengthening unions and social programs (demands originally advanced by the socialist movement at the turn of the century), the fascist ideology was able to attract fans from different social segments. Complementing the polysemic plurality of its platform (where each one saw the appeal they wanted), the theatricality and drama of the ways in which the movement was articulated (with large crowds in the midst of grandiose scenic productions) would help a lot in attracting numerous supporters.

But in addition to a diverse, often schizophrenic, aggregate of proposals, historical fascism also responded to the real material needs of its supporters. Mussolini and Hitler, as well as perhaps his best simulacrum in the Latin American context, Perón in the 40s, promoted the expansion of the role of the national state in the coordination of economic activity, especially in the expansion of infrastructure such as railways, as well as a key regulator of the capital relationship. -work. By attacking liberal policy as divisive and insufficient, since it lacked support for unemployed or underemployed workers, the new collectivist logic promoted, at the same time, a sense of belonging beyond the effective support offered via jobs and wages. In this way, refuting the abstentionism of economic liberalism, as well as the classist content of socialist criticism, fascist ideology broadened its appeal under the mantle of a large national family acting together, an appeal reinforced by the paternalistic rhetoric of the great savior leader (macho, aggressive and patriarchal).

If functional for creating a sense of cohesive collectivity under the national flag for many, perhaps most, the salvationist aura of the unifying discourse was maintained at the price of excluding so many others. Jews, foreigners, gays, critical intellectuals, then as now, especially the latter, were, and are, the first and most obvious victims. Thus, (and is revealed today) the central hypocrisy of the fallacy of the united homeland was revealed, which, therefore, can only be built under, in fact, under the logic of exclusion. It is here that the historical parallels become even more evident. The execrated Jew of the time becomes the Latin immigrant in Trump's United States, and the leftist who destroyed the values ​​of the Brazilian Christian family in 64, as well as today.

But while historical fascism presented an agenda of important socioeconomic reforms, albeit implemented by illegitimate means, its impoverished version of today is anchored in the also impoverished version of classical liberalism offered by neoliberalism by defending, in parallel with the reproduction of the unity discourse national level, the notion of a minimal state and even, paradoxically, of a society composed of individuals atomized by the market. And so, in its latest ongoing iteration, as a great historical farce, authoritarian neoliberalism translated as an electoral platform into expanding neofascism to the Trump, Orban, Netanyahu, Putin, Modi, Erdogan, and especially Bolsonaro, the unifying-exclusivist rhetoric (of 'us against them!') and the tragicomic-aggressive style of the Salvationist leader is maintained, while the social agenda unfolds hollow, perhaps even reactionary and rights-destroying litany and the neoliberal economic litany (of the meritocracy of the I earned it and of the entrepreneur-savior cult) deepens, advancing in social segments hitherto more immune to its appeal, such as among the so-called 'new C class' in Brazil – a process largely resulting from the also impoverished modern-day version of classic Calvinism presented by the atomizing Theology of Prosperity of neo-Pentecostalism on the rise.

Thus, if on the one hand, we have the construction of a hollow feeling of belonging, as it denies the real differences of race, class, gender, etc., existing, under the motto ´Brazil above all, God above all!´ ( farcical version of Deutschland Uber alles), capable of aggregating supporters from different social strata, from Jardins 'to the outskirts of large centers; on the other hand, we have the effective delivery of everyone to the savagery of a market economy with less regulation and smaller social safety nets.

In this emerging laissez-faire authoritarian, where the liberal individualist logic flourishes, collective projects can only be given by diffuse and abstract links of belonging, such as religiosity and the mantle of the great leader (raised to the status of myth to his mythophiles), since any other shared identity (workers ) is seen as divisive and threatening.

It is not surprising, then, that the implementers of this project (yes, because there is logic in the madness going on!) are the nostalgic widowers of the hard-line business-military regime of the 60s and 70s. neither accepted the shameful transition (slow, gradual and safe) carried out over the last years of the Geisel and Figueredo administration, such as General Heleno, then advisor to the main internal opponent, General Sylvio Frota, as well as his civil version, Paulo Guedes, ideological of the Pinochet's economic model of the 70s, which endorsed the very political viability of Lieutenant Bolsonaro (known as 'Cavalão' among his fellow paratroopers!), an electoral vehicle necessary for the cynical electoral game of 2018, but possibly expendable in the future.

Nor is it surprising that the supposedly more humane version of the revived defense of this authoritarianism is Regina Duarte, the dictatorship's sweetheart who also misses the years of lead when singing the fascist anthem of the 70 World Cup, 'Pra Frente Brasil', on TV, in defense of the good times where torture didn't matter(va): “How good it was to be able to sing!”

But if there is nostalgia for the period of the so-called hard line, it comes down to its fascist style and methods, torture mixed-legitimized by pride, but not, ironically, to what was actually more important to legitimize the regime at the time, economic growth (authoritarian and unsustainable) via investments and state economic coordination of the “miracle!.

In this respect, nostalgia for the dictatorship reveals its even more cruel character. One feels nostalgia, not for the new employment opportunities (income concentration and favoring the middle classes, of course!) and economic growth, but purely for the cult of an excluding nationality and the great leader of the time, as well as the very means by which which such a narrative could be propagated on the nightly newscasts: the torture in the basements of the DOI-CODI and in the police stations and death squads across the country.

It is certainly frustrating to know that this mixture of old despotisms and new untruths continues to form the social and political basis of the country, distilled and irrefutably revealed in recent years. It is revolting to see that the federal government works hard in favor of the pathological virus and neoliberal pathology, while its critics are isolated by the risks of the pandemic and the morbidity of demobilization.

But it is necessary to learn from our accumulated misfortunes and seek strength to guarantee freedom to the thrushes, even with a broken wing. The past served the few, thus consolidating the current problems.

No future will be different without transforming the present from top to bottom and removing from the scene those who wore a fascist costume (without mask and without gloves) for the ongoing neo-fascist funeral marches.

*Rafael R. Ioris is a professor at the University of Denver (USA).

**Antonio AR Ioris is a professor at the University of Cardiff (UK).

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