The “kidnapping” of Sete de Setembro

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By ALESSANDRO DA SILVA*

The bourgeois faction currently in power has doubled its bet on the aggravation of the trends of violence and domination that determine the dynamics of political form in Brazil

Introduction

September XNUMX, XNUMX, the date on which Brazil celebrated two hundred years of political independence. According to a current view, it was to be expected that this historic moment would be celebrated with a vibrant civic party that involved the whole country, without distinction of political currents. However, what was witnessed was a large electoral rally in support of the re-election of the current President of the Republic. The portion of the population that did not want to be identified as a supporter of this project was not even able to attend the civic-military parades that, traditionally, were a leisure option on the Independence holiday.

This attitude was the object of scathing criticism, including from the mainstream media, in the sense that the political current in power would have perpetrated the “kidnapping” of Sete de Setembro, which would be yet another demonstration of the sectarianism that keeps the country polarized, intensifies the moods on the eve of the elections and flirts with the subversion of the institutional order.

Although coherent, this assessment suffers from the serious mistake of starting from the premise that in our country, as tends to happen in central capitalism, the exercise of political power is based on the legitimacy of the State and the legality of its actions. In this idealized scenario, historical dates should be moments of consolidating consensus, deepening the feeling of belonging to the nation and, in the end, promoting the voluntary adoption of behaviors prescribed by the State.

What we intend to demonstrate in this text is that in Brazil, due to the determinations of dependency, political domination does not have consensus as its main support, but is preserved through other factors, such as repression and violence, which dispenses with the presentation of the State as an external and impartial third party to the conflict between capital and labor.

 

State: the political form of capitalism

Like the right,[I] the State is also a typical social form of capitalism, which develops as a reflection of mercantile relations. As commodities, by themselves, do not establish relationships with each other, the existence of an exchange system among men is necessary to allow that product that has no use value for its owner, to be exchanged for an equivalent next to another individual and thus realize its exchange value.[ii] There can only be a general sphere of mercantile exchanges from the moment in which the owners of commodities mutually recognize each other as such, which is provided by the legal form, through the figure of the subject of law.

The consolidation of social relations guided by this new paradigm demanded that the adoption of the behavior of reiterating mercantile practices become voluntary, since it would not be possible to impose its observation on each citizen. In this attempt, the guarantee of formal equality for legal subjects was an essential factor, as it allowed reciprocal and momentary recognition, only for the act of exchange, between the owners of goods based on the commensurability provided by equivalence.[iii] Participation in this process appears as a result of free will, not subject to any type of explicit coercion or violence, since each one gives up his merchandise and obtains the other's merchandise only through the interlocutor's consent.

In case of resistance, the desired behavior cannot be imposed by the market itself, under penalty of revealing class domination, when the need arises to deal with deviant conduct from normality standards, a function attributed to the State, as a third party that , supposedly, puts itself above the interests in dispute.

In this way, the capitalist bonds formed in the circuit of exchanges are only possible through the coordinated action of the value form, which enables the commensurability of goods, the legal form, which constitutes individuals as subjects of law and allows participation and reciprocal recognition in the market. , and the political form, which acts as a third party in relation to economic agents, in charge of ensuring compliance with contractual obligations and appropriation of value by the subject, that is, private property.[iv]

It is noticed that, as it is built on sociability resulting from the value-form, the state political form also assumes equivalence as a constitutive trait. Therefore, in capitalism, the exercise of political domination requires the construction of a consensus that recognizes the need to respect equivalence in social relations and the importance of an apparatus endowed with coercive means to impose its observation on those who resist it. Therefore, disregarding the fact that it is also crossed by the class struggle, the state apparatus was constituted precisely to enable the reproduction of capitalist relations of production and enforce the legal form and, consequently, equivalence in social relations.

 

The political form in dependent capitalism: domination without consensus

For classical political science, legitimacy is an attribute of the State that “consists in the presence, in a significant portion of the population, of a degree of consensus capable of assuring obedience without the need to resort to the use of force, except in sporadic cases”.[v] Therefore, legitimacy is directly linked to the exercise of power, for which it is fundamental that obedience becomes adhesion.

The primary means of expression of this consensus would be the law, a general rule of conduct that comes from the State and addresses citizens in an impersonal way, as well as the State itself. Hence, in this sense, legitimate power should also be legal power, that is, that exercised within or in accordance with established laws. In this line, the requirement of the government according to the law determines that “the rulers must exercise their power only by enacting laws, and only exceptionally through ordinances and decrees, that is, through norms that are valid for all, not for particular groups. or, what would be even worse, to individuals; norms, in short, that, precisely because of their general scope, have the common good as their objective and not the particular interest of this or that category of individuals”.[vi]

Therefore, legitimacy and legality are two essential attributes for the exercise of state power. It was based on these assumptions that bourgeois political science attributed to the State the monopoly of violence.

The analyzes that denounce the “kidnapping” of Sete de Setembro in this bicentennial of Brazil's Independence fit precisely into this theoretical framework. In fact, if the legitimacy of the exercise of political power stems from the existence of a degree of social consensus capable of assuring obedience without the need to habitually resort to the use of force, it was to be expected that the historical dates in which the foundation of that State, were used to deepen the ties that make individuals feel part of that community.

However, what was seen was the electoral appeal to dispute “good against evil” and the stimulus to polarization that excludes a large part of the population, perhaps the majority, from the feeling of belonging to the nation.

It so happens that a critique that is satisfied with such a “denouncement” and interrupts the analysis at this point, runs the risk of propagating the ideology of the neutrality of the State in capitalism, which hides class domination, and reinforces the illusion that through reformism, which aims to improve capitalism, it would be possible to lead peripheral countries to the path of development.

In fact, as seen in the previous topic, what is called the legitimacy of the exercise of power constitutes effective political domination[vii] of the bourgeois class over the working class, carried out through material and ideological apparatuses managed by a necessary and apparently impartial third party, the State.[viii] The supposed neutrality of the political form is based on the objective of guaranteeing the reproduction of capitalist social relations, constituted in legal relations, at the heart of which is the equivalence of the mercantile relation.

It is noticed that, although it points to essential determinations, this analysis of the State still takes into account the totality of the capitalist mode of production, a level of abstraction that needs to be reduced in order to understand the historical and social reality of our country. In short, the particular determinations that act on the social formations of the periphery of capitalism and that interfere in the way in which the political form manifests itself in them must be considered. In this attempt, the Marxist theory of dependency was adopted.[ix] which, based on the precise use of the historical-dialectical materialist method, considered the interference of internal and external factors in the structuring and dynamics of social formations in peripheral countries, which allowed the apprehension of the tendential laws that act in dependent capitalism.

Although inserted in the dynamics of world capitalism, and in this condition subject to its tendential laws, dependent countries are constituted from specific manifestations of these tendential laws. Therefore, dependence does not characterize another mode of production, but a particular way in which capitalism develops in these countries, which engenders “a relationship of subordination between formally independent nations, within which the production relations of subordinated nations are modified or recreated to ensure the extended reproduction of the dependency”[X].

The Marxist dependency theory dedicated itself to investigating and revealing which are these specific tendential laws that determine the dependent condition of peripheral countries in capitalism.[xi] and pinpointed them precisely: the transfer of value as an unequal exchange,[xii] the overexploitation of the workforce, the central category of dependency, and the split in the capital cycle (or the divorce between the productive structure and the needs of the masses).[xiii]

As for super-exploitation, Marx demonstrated in Book III ofThe capital that the mechanisms for increasing the rate of surplus value, such as wage reduction and increasing the length and intensity of the working day, are common to all manifestations of the capitalist mode of production, including in central countries.[xiv] It so happens that the bourgeoisie of the peripheral countries uses these mechanisms as a response to the transfer of value to the central countries, since, as a rule, it remunerates the workforce at a price below its value, which makes overexploitation a structural tendency of dependent capitalism. , not merely circumstantial of an evanescent character. This tendential law entails a particular development of the mode of production, “[…] founded exclusively on the greater exploitation of the worker, and not on the development of his productive capacity”.[xv]

The deepening of capitalist development in this context means the consolidation of these specific tendential laws and the consequent exacerbation of the contradictions inherent to capitalism, since the overexploitation of the workforce produces a regressive distribution of income and wealth, as well as intensifies the social ills of accumulation capitalist.[xvi]. This peculiar form of manifestation of capitalism engenders social, political and legal relations that mirror and reproduce the particular tendential laws of dependence.

If the State is a political form, whose main function is to guarantee respect for equivalence, how does it behave in a social formation that is characterized precisely by the repeated violation of equivalence?

The systematic violation of the law of value, embodied in the overexploitation of the workforce, constitutes a structural characteristic of dependence that goes against the constitutive dynamics of capitalist social relations. Therefore, overexploitation is guaranteed by extraeconomic factors,[xvii] mainly of a political nature. In fact, the continued conjunction of different strategies to increase the rate of surplus value is only viable because in dependent capitalism the State does not function, not even in appearance, as an impersonal agent for the realization of citizenship, but is instrumentalized by the local bourgeoisie to maximize economic exploitation:

Legality as a technical instance favorable to a national bourgeoisie in its productive and mercantile relations, in the Brazilian case, finds not only the legal stabilization of private property or the contract, but, in addition, finds the instrumentalization of legal means as a way of favoring relations of promotion and privilege, resulting from this interdependence of the State with internal and external capital. Thus, it is not, for example, just a chancellor neutralization of the exploitation of labor, but an even more aggravating domination, through the use of the State as an entrepreneur of wage tightening policies, for the benefit of profits. compensatory measures relating to the discrepancy between domestic and foreign capital. This exponentiation of the profits of an exporting and dependent national bourgeoisie results in the instrumentalization of legality as a form of social control, flattening the remuneration of labor and increasing surplus value.[xviii]

Our state institutions do not act impartially and technically, as tends to occur in central capitalism,[xx] because they are dedicated, above all, to ensuring economic exploitation, due to the inability of the local bourgeoisie to give autonomy to these relations.

Faced with this weakness of its bourgeoisie, in dependent capitalism the State assumes a higher degree of relative autonomy, as Ruy Mauro Marini points out: “One of the characteristics of the dependent society is the considerable degree of relative autonomy enjoyed by the State. Fundamentally, it derives from a general law of capitalist society, according to which the relative autonomy of the State is inversely related to the capacity of the bourgeoisie to carry out its class domination; In other terms, a strong capitalist state is always the counterpart of a weak bourgeoisie”.[xx]

In dependent countries, the State is instrumentalized by the bourgeoisie to act as the primary agent of super-exploitation of the workforce.[xxx] This process implies the development of a capitalism that superimposes elements of barbarism over civilizing elements, as well as reducing the field of the ruling classes to establish modalities of domination sustained by stable forms of consensus.[xxiii], founded on the legitimacy and legality[xxiii] of the exercise of power.

These characteristics explain the permanent political instability in Latin America, a threat that prevents the consolidation of liberal democracy and deepens the authoritarian tendencies that have historically manifested themselves in the region. It is not even possible to speak of the rule of law, since the bourgeoisie does not hesitate to overthrow liberal guarantees when its project of super-exploitation is at risk, in a permanent counter-revolution.

 

Final considerations

Since capitalist production relations became predominant, overexploitation is the central category for understanding the dynamics of dependent economies. It has prevailed throughout Brazil's history and determines fundamental aspects of our social relations, which include law and the State.

As capitalist sociability is structured on the form of value and, therefore, on respect for equivalence, overexploitation causes a disruption of social relations in peripheral countries, which results in the intensification of contradictions inherent to the tendential laws of capitalism. In these societies, instead of acting as an impartial third party, external to the conflict between capital and labor, the State acts to maximize the economic exploitation carried out by the bourgeoisie, in order to maintain the super-exploitation of the workforce. Here, the political form developed in a particular way, as domination is imposed more by repression and violence than by consent. Obedience is demanded from the individual, even without adherence to the community project, and subjection is imposed without the counterparts of citizenship.

The bourgeois faction currently installed in power has doubled its bet on the aggravation of these trends that determine the dynamics of political form in Brazil. Repression disguised as public security and even explicit political violence assumed a degree of protagonism in the exercise of domination only comparable to periods of official dictatorship.

Not by chance, the corporations that represent the forces of order were strengthened and employed primarily in typically repressive activities, as happened, for example, with the Federal Highway Police. The increase in police violence, with increasingly deadly massacres, the executions of community leaders, environmental defenders, indigenous peoples and landless peasants are several facets of this same movement, behold, it is not uncommon for crimes committed by agents of the State or individuals clearly identified with the ideals of the current federal government and legitimized by official discourse.

As if that were not enough, granting access to firearms and inciting their use for acts of political violence, with the formation of real paramilitary militias, are some more actions aimed at guaranteeing the continuity of political domination that makes the overexploitation of force possible. of work.

These findings explain, to a large extent, why a date like the Bicentennial of Political Independence, theoretically opportune for the creation of a sense of community and belonging to the nation, was olympicly disdained and turned into an electoral rally aimed at the group of supporters of the current government.

Such a degree of contempt for the construction of legitimacy is only viable in societies in which political power is exercised based on violence and repression and not on stable forms of consensus, conditions that, in the Brazilian case, are propitiated by the tendential laws that act about dependent capitalism.

In short, more than denouncing the Sete de Setembro kidnapping, we need to regain control of the State and put an end, once and for all, to dependence.

*Alessandro daSilva he holds a doctorate in labor law from USP and a Labor Judge at the TRT of the 12th Region/SC.

 

References


BOBBIO, Norberto et al. Politics Dictionary. Brasília: Editora da UNB, 2004.

FRAGOSO, Christiano. Penal repression of the strike: an undemocratic experience. São Paulo: IBCCRIM, 2009

KASHIURA JR, Celso Naoto. Subject of law and capitalism. São Paulo: Other Expressions; University Fold, 2014.

LUCE, Mathias Seibel. Marxist dependency theory: problems and categories. a historical view. São Paulo: Popular Expression, 2018.

MARINI, Ruy Mauro. “Dialectics of dependency”. In: STEDILE, João Pedro; TRASPADINI, Roberta (eds.). Ruy Mauro Marini: life and work. São Paulo: Popular Expression, 2011.

_____. “State and crisis in Brazil”. Political Notebooks, number 13, Ediciones Era, Mexico, July 1977, pp. 76-114.

_____. “The capital cycle in the dependent economy”. In: FERREIRA, Carla, OSORIO, Jaime, LUCE, Mathias (Orgs.). Capital reproduction pattern. Sao Paulo: Boitempo, 2012.

_____. “On the dialectic of dependency”. In: STEDILE, João Pedro; TRASPADINI, Roberta (eds.). Ruy Mauro Marini: life and work. São Paulo: Popular Expression, 2011.

_____. Underdevelopment and revolution. Translation Fernando Correa Prado and Marina Machado Gouvêa. 6th ed., Florianópolis: Insular, 2017.

MARX, Carl. Capital: critique of political economy. Book I: the capital production process. Rubens Enderle translation. São Paulo: Boitempo, 2013.

_____. Capital: critique of political economy. Book III: The Global Process of Capitalist Production. Rubens Enderle translation. São Paulo: Boitempo, 2017.

MASCARO, Alysson. Leandro. Critique of legality and Brazilian law. São Paulo: Quartier Latin, 2003.

_____. State and political form. Sao Paulo: Boitempo, 2013.

NETTO, Jose Paulo. Social Work and Monopoly Capitalism. São Paulo: Cortez, 2011

OSORIO, Jaime. “On the State, Political Power and the Dependent State”. temporalis, Brasília (DF), year 17, n. 34, Jul./Dec. 2017.

PACHUKANIS, Evgeni. The General Theory of Law and Marxism and Selected Essays (1921-1929). Translated by Lucas Simone. São Paulo: Sundermann, 2017.

WEBER, Max. Economy and society: foundations of comprehensive sociology. Volume I. Translation by Regis Barbosa and Karen Elsabe Barbosa. Brasilia: Publisher University of Brasilia, 2012.

WINN, Peter. the chilean revolution. Translation Magda Lopes. São Paulo: Editora Unesp, 2010.

 

Notes


[I] See PACHUKANIS, Evgeni. The general theory of law and Marxism and selected essays (1921-1929). Translated by Lucas Simone. São Paulo: Sundermann, 2017.

[ii] MARX, Carl. Capital: critique of political economy. Book I: the capital production process. Rubens Enderle translation. São Paulo: Boitempo, 2013, p. 159.

[iii] Cf. KASHIURA JR, Celso Naoto. Subject of law and capitalism. São Paulo: Other Expressions; University Fold, 2014.

[iv] MASCARO, Alysson Leandro. State and political form. São Paulo: Boitempo, 2013, p. 39.

[v]  BOBBIO, Norberto et alii. Policy Dictionary. 5th ed. Brasília: Editora da UNB, 2004, p. 675.

[vi] Same, same.

[vii] For Max Weber, the legitimacy of a relationship of social domination would lie in the fact that whoever obeys an order does so as if it came from an inner disposition, or as if obeying were in his own interest, because “a certain minimum of will to to obey, that is, of interest (external or internal) in obedience, is part of every authentic relationship of domination”. WEBER, Max. Economy and society: fundamentals of comprehensive sociology. Volume I. Translation by Regis Barbosa and Karen Elsabe Barbosa. 4th ed., 3rd reprint, Brasília: Editora Universidade de Brasília, 2012, p. 139.

[viii] The transition from competitive capitalism to monopoly capitalism led to a change in the State’s posture, which began to act as a direct economic inducer, which blurred the separation between economic and political instances: “[...] to exercise, in the strict plan of the economic game, the role of 'executive committee' of the monopoly bourgeoisie, it [the State] must legitimize itself politically incorporating other socio-political protagonists. The broadening of its support base and socio-political legitimation, through the generalization and institutionalization of civic and social rights and guarantees, allows it to organize a consent that ensures its performance”. NETTO, Jose Paulo. Social Work and Monopoly Capitalism. 8. ed., São Paulo: Cortez, 2011, p. 27.

[ix] Formed between the 1960s and 1970s, the Marxist theory of dependency faced a long period of obscurantism, until it was the object of a critical rescue that began in the mid-1990s and more intensely from the first decade of the XNUMXst century. Its main exponents were André Gunder-Frank, Ruy Mauro Marini, Vânia Bambirra and Theotônio dos Santos.

[X] MARINI, Ruy Mauro. “Dialectics of dependency”. In: STEDILE, João Pedro; TRASPADINI, Roberta (eds.). Ruy Mauro Marini: life and work. 2nd ed., São Paulo: Expressão Popular, 2011, pp. 134-135.

[xi] “The fundamental task of the Marxist dependency theory is to determine the specific legality by which the dependent economy is governed. This presupposes, from the outset, placing its study in the broader context of the laws of development of the system as a whole and defining the intermediate degrees by which these laws are specified. This is how the simultaneity of dependency and development can be understood”. MARINI, Ruy Mauro. “On the dialectic of dependency”. In: STEDILE, João Pedro; TRASPADINI, Roberta (eds.). Ruy Mauro Marini: life and work. 2nd ed., São Paulo: Expressão Popular, 2011, p. 184.

[xii] The transfer of value as an unequal exchange occurs when the core nations of capitalism appropriate value produced in the peripheral countries, which occurs through the deterioration of terms of trade in trade, payment of interest, profits, amortizations, dividends and royalties, as well as as well as the appropriation of differential rent and absolute monopoly rent over natural resources. LUCE, Mathias Seibel. Marxist dependency theory. Op cit., pp. 51-52.

[xiii] MARINI, Ruy Mauro. “The capital cycle in the dependent economy”. In FERREIRA, Carla, OSORIO, Jaime, LUCE, Mathias (Orgs.). Capital reproduction pattern. São Paulo: Boitempo, 2012.

[xiv] MARX, Carl. Capital: critique of political economy. Book III: The Global Process of Capitalist Production. Rubens Enderle translation. São Paulo: Boitempo, 2017, p. 271.

[xv] MARINI, Ruy Mauro. “Dialectics of dependency”. Op. Cit., P. 149.

[xvi] MARINI, Ruy Mauro. Underdevelopment and revolution. Translation Fernando Correa Prado and Marina Machado Gouvêa. 6. ed., Florianópolis: Insular, 2017, p. 63.

[xvii] “[…] in effect, for [overexploitation] to operate, it is essential that the working class finds itself in difficult conditions to claim wages that compensate for the wear and tear of its workforce. These difficult conditions can result, and often result, from extraeconomic factors, derived from state action, which we will not deal with here (it should be noted that the action of these extraeconomic factors can only take place if there are economic conditions that favor it)”. MARINI, Ruy Mauro. “The capital cycle in the dependent economy”. Op. cit., pp. 30-1.

[xviii] MASK. Alysson Leandro. Critique of legality and Brazilian law. São Paulo: Quartier Latin, 2003, p. 91.

[xx] “This peripheral and dependent capitalism results in a clear impossibility of a neutralizing and technical legal instance, as in the typical case of central capitalism. The neutral legal instance as the closure of capitalist reproduction, in the case of peripheral and dependent capitalism, is not legitimized by neutrality or by mere technicality, but rather by the very political operability in favor of the maximization of bourgeois interests”. Ibid., p. 92.

[xx] MARINI, Ruy Mauro. “State and crisis in Brazil”. Political Cuadernos, number 13, Ediciones Era, Mexico, julioseptiembre de 1977, p. 76.

[xxx] “In reality, despite neoliberal ideology and propaganda, under the Pinochet government, the Chilean state continued to shape capitalist economic opportunities and profits, ensuring the coercion of labor and the concentration of wealth and property in a small number of countries. family-based financial groups with good political connections. Despite the neoliberal economic revolution, access to the state remained fundamental to business success”. WINN, Peter. The Chilean Revolution. Translation Magda Lopes. São Paulo: Editora UNESP, 2010, pp. 192-193.

[xxiii] “The predominance of overexploitation in different forms exacerbates social conflicts and weakens the relationships that generate a sense of community. This is one of the main reasons why, in the political history of Latin American States, there has been a tendency towards the predominance of various authoritarian forms, as well as the difficulty these States have in establishing themselves in a more lasting way in democratic forms. The explanation for this is not a lack of political development, but rather an expression of the particular forms of reproduction of dependent capitalism”. OSORIO, Jaime. “On the State, Political Power and the Dependent State”. Temporalis, Brasília (DF), year 17, n. 34, Jul./Dec. 2017, p. 48.

[xxiii] “Although the claims were merely labor, strikers were historically criminalized as political criminals, first anarchists, then communists, and then as agents of internal psychological warfare; […] The State, with its immense potential for repression, has always sided with the bosses, reducing and repressing the pressure power of the working class in the unequal struggle for better working conditions, and undermining, in practice, the right to strike .”. FRAGOSO, Christiano. Penal repression of the strike: an undemocratic experience. São Paulo: IBCCRIM, 2009, pp. 457-458.

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