the ideological siding

Image: Elijah O'Donnell
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By MAURO LUIS IASI*

In the mirror of ideology one sees, on the one hand, the militiamen who threaten democracy and, on the other, the defense of bourgeois democracy

 "Winning a war is as disastrous as losing it” (Agatha Christie).

Among the many crimes of the militia president, from the genocide caused by his denialism and ineptitude in the pandemic, passing through electoral crimes due to the use of industrial machines for the massification of fake news, even calling for and participating in anti-democratic acts, and shady relationships with militias and alleged criminal practices, among many others that we could list here, a crime can go unnoticed.

Detective Hercule Poirot, creation of the masterful writer Agatha Christie, once said that in many moments the most important thing is not what you see, but what is hidden behind what you see. What we see is an imbecile, inept to govern, a provocateur and scammer. We feel firsthand the results of their missteps, in uncontrolled inflation, unemployment, hunger, destruction of essential services, environmental disaster, international shame and isolation and the emergence of hordes of imbeciles who feel authorized to open the dungeons of irrational darkness which their deep resentments harbored.

However, what does this visible and evident picture hide? We have already evaluated, on other occasions, the connections of this apparently irrational form with the class interests that determine it, the divisions between fractions of the dominant classes, between those who have already reached the conviction that the militiaman is a problem for the smooth running of the agenda of big capital and those who fear that their removal could jeopardize the good progress of this same agenda. I have no doubt that class interests are essential here for a true understanding of the catastrophe that plagues us. However, I now want to draw attention to another aspect of the current crisis, which is in danger of going unnoticed, but which could have significant consequences.

The reactionary bet that the extreme right used to impose the agenda of big capital created a profound instability, which ended up laying bare the contradictions of the instituted bourgeois political form. The Republic threatens to dissolve, making evident a conflict between the famous three powers: the Executive under the command of an insane coup plotter; the Legislature too busy to follow through with the imposed agenda, which abdicates its role of being a brake when the Executive branch leaves the rails of governmental rationality; and, finally, the Judiciary which, shortly after legitimizing an explicit coup that removed an elected president – ​​with all the arsenal that gives it the monopoly of interpretation of the instituted constitutional norm – shamelessly prevaricates against an endless succession of crimes committed by the militia representative who occupies the presidential chair.

We must add to this shipwreck of principles enshrined by classical political theory the shameful zigzag of the so-called fourth estate: the great corporate media monopolies. Rede Globo, just to give one example, was a direct participant and protagonist in the coup plot that destabilized previous governments, produced anti-PT hysteria and promoted the spurious maneuvers of the Lava-Jato judicial front to the condition of a sword of morality against the misdeeds of the endemic corruption, elevating Curitiba's boçal judge to the status of national hero. Now, as a spokesperson for the fraction of the ruling classes that want to remove the troublesome militiaman, he continues to practice something grotesque that is nothing close to what journalism once was.

The first clue to our mystery is here. Bolsonarism and its grotesque manifestation makes evident the contradictions of a political form that, in a normal situation, is disguised under the ideological mantle that legitimizes it. The ideological operation that presents itself to save the substance of the political form that runs the risk of showing its true nature in its shameful nudity, is based on the effort to present Bolsonarism as an attack on the democratic form, seeking to create in the pole that it a unanimity is opposed in defense of the collapsing institutional order, presenting it as possessing an unquestionable virtue.

Several spokespersons for the order are quick to pronounce judgments according to which the current crisis has demonstrated the strength of institutions. The elections are clean, the Judiciary is vigilant and acts when order is potentially threatened, the Legislature investigates the criminal in the CPI spectacle and pulls speeches in defense of life and fairness out of his hat, even when the most dignified senators are slapped . The CPI is not exactly the magician who pulls justice out of the hat, but the pretty girl in skimpy clothes who attracts the public's attention while the magicians command the privatization of electric companies, the Post Office, attack workers' rights, change tax policy in favor of big capital and plot administrative reform against civil servants and essential services in the name of the health of financial capital.

In the mirror of ideology, one sees the militiaman who threatens democracy on the one hand and the defense of democracy on the other. The militiaman did not respect the rules of the game and conspired with the intention of starting a coup while making feasible all measures of interest to the large capitalist monopolies. Democratic institutions want to keep it under control so that it doesn't disturb the viability of the same interests.

Of all the militiamen's crimes in the presidency, what the ruling classes cannot accept is that he operates political action outside the institutions. Not as the dominant classes have always done, behind the scenes of the Republic, acting inside and outside the institutions and legality they claim to defend, but to do so against the institutional fence that hides this backstage from the eyes of the good public. Keeping our metaphor, it would be as if the magician lifted the black cloak that hides the false bottom through which the assistant escapes from the box from which she should disappear.

The president's coup against the STF and institutions in general, as in the case of criticism of electronic voting machines, for example, is inexcusable in the eyes of the guardians of order. Not because it is undemocratic – our ruling class has never been democratic – but because it reveals the sham of democracy. The main intention of the ruling classes is to cover up the massacre against the working class with legitimacy, and for that it needs institutions and their supposed respectability.

Here we approach the crime that can go unnoticed. The broad unity in defense of democracy threatened by the buffoon, removing the most evident and visible aspects, is reduced to the reaction against a representative who was willing to make use of political resources beyond the institutional scenario, such as, for example, summoning masses to balance the correlation of forces and support their interests, raging that, perhaps, they do not respect judicial decisions.

Regardless of the fact that such an attitude is bravado or not, I do not believe that the risk of rupture has been ruled out, as the most optimistic believe. What interests us here and what presents itself as a counterpoint to the militiaman's evident coup d'état is that a consensus seems to be forming according to which we are all committed to restricting our political action within the limits of the established institutional and legal order. The political force that prevailed in the last period, thanks to the verified transformism, in Gramscian terms, has long since surrendered to this principle. Let's look a little closer at what that means.

Faced with the legislative rape of the constitutional text, which removes historically conquered rights, the dismantling of the State and public services due to the probable administrative reform, social security reform, labor reform, environmental destruction, the murder of universities and the SUS, we would have the right to take to the streets and protest. After that, our organizations would appoint lawyers and appeal to the court system who would tell us that the changes were made following legal rites and processes and therefore have the force of law and must be respected. Then, resignedly, we would retreat and go on with our peaceful and orderly lives, subjected to the daily onslaught while we make plans and pray to the gods that, one day, we can elect a majority of deputies and senators and a president of the Republic who can appoint capable and honest judges. to the STF so that, absolutely within the current political and legal order, we socialize the means of production and start building socialism.

The president, or a sequence of them, since it would not be possible to achieve these objectives in a single term, would accept acting strictly within the limits of order and would constitute governability through parliamentary agreements and not through the organization and mobilization of its social base. It would be unthinkable, on this path, to strengthen forms of popular power through which the interests of the majority of the population and the working class could be constituted in a persuasive force to pressure Congress or legal bodies so that they do not close their eyes to the real needs of the majority in benefit of the interests of a minority and the enormous economic power it has.

What we must clarify is that this is not a proposed path, it is, in fact, the reality of the path taken by the main leftist force and, beyond that, by almost all progressive forces in the last forty years. The result, the current scenario we are in, is very different from idealized idyllic projections and there is a very simple reason for that. The foundation of the pact could be described as follows: we give up any revolutionary perspective and the dominant classes give up interrupting the political process through extra institutional resources, such as coups, use of force or legal maneuvers based on casuistry. It happens that the ruling classes demand this from the left, but they never submitted to the terms of the pact that was imposed on us, they never acted within the limits of the instituted order and never abandoned the instruments of power that allow them to change the institutional game when it interests them.

Let's go to some examples. We have to choose our representatives through electoral processes, but the ruling classes have never given up the enormous economic power that defrauds the popular will and transforms elections into a battlefield for millionaire advertising schemes, specialized in hiding the true interests and effective programs of the political forces involved in the dispute. This is called “clean elections”. Once elected, representatives begin to operate the schemes and lobbies through which the most dignified representatives come to represent those who finance them and not those who elected them. Economic and budgetary decisions, disguised and legitimized as if they were absolutely technical issues, are in fact the management of the conditions that allow the proper functioning of capital accumulation to the detriment of the most elementary questions of human life. The monopoly of legal institutions, which proclaims and interprets the law behind a respectability and dominance of legal science, is actually the systematic practice of a class justice in which the possessing classes hire expensive guides who make them traverse the legal labyrinth and go unpunished, while the poor are caught in the nets of justice and rot in prisons.

A police officer, who fulfills the duty imposed on him in the social division of labor, patrols the streets and inhibits crimes, that is, acts within the instituted legality, but can also take the suspect to a thicket and eliminate him, can enter into symbiosis with criminal activities and start protecting them, moving to a position in the social division of labor in the political economy of drug trafficking, for example. Taking the two practices as a whole, the repressive apparatus acts within and outside of legality and this is not a prerogative of police bodies, but of all political action by the ruling classes who have always acted within and outside of legality and who want to impose us as insurmountable barrier. Successful businessmen do not use their entrepreneurship to win the tough competition on their merits and virtues, but, as a rule, take the shortcut of corruption and wet the hand of those who can favor them or should punish them. The economy minister destroys the country's economy under widely accepted technical justifications, while he keeps his rich money in offshore.

Democratic institutions and the established legal order are not the perfect dialogical context – as expected by Habermas – to which we are all inserted and must respect, they are the rules that exist to be able to restrict our action within the limits of order. Rules that the dominant classes do not need to respect or take seriously.

After years of zealously respecting these principles, a political force could be removed from the presidency by a scandalous political, legal and media maneuver without any foundation, all it took was for three imbeciles, known as Reale, Bicudo and Janaina, to present a reasoning with the correct magic words , that the president of the Supreme Court – appointed by the deposed political force – endorse the legal rite to consolidate illegality and a bunch of deputies embrace a flag, send kisses to their families and their hometown and assassinate the constitutional order opening the way for fascism.

The crime that can go unnoticed is that the militiaman who occupies the presidency with his crimes can help the order to lift the ideological fence that hides the abject body of bourgeois democracy, redressing its nakedness with fine clothes that give it back the lost dignity , at the same time that it seeks to lead leftist forces back into the quagmire of class conciliation, erasing the recent ignoble betrayal and disarming the workers so that they could face the inevitable future betrayal.

* Mauro Luis Iasi He is a professor at the Department of Social Policy and Applied Social Service at UFRJ. Author, among other books, of The Metamorphoses of Class Consciousness (Popular Expression).

Originally published on Boitempo's blog.

 

 

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