The Post Office and the Revolution

Image: Jimmy Chan
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By JEAN PIERRE CHAUVIN*

Circumstances that allow measuring some power and reach of words

“Today, imperialism and the domination of the banks have “developed” to an extraordinary art both these methods of defending and putting into practice the omnipotence of wealth in any democratic republics”
(Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. The State and the Revolution)

Pauliceia, January 24th, around 14 pm. The usual post office is busier than usual, perhaps because it's the eve of a holiday.

While I wait for password C494 to be called, I stick the flap of the envelope that contains a book for journalist Bob Fernandes. In the backpack, there are also books that I intend to send to researcher Murillo Barros Nunes – an attentive reader of the Marxian tradition, in its multiple aspects of the XNUMXth and XNUMXst centuries. The bank will take place in less than a month and I will make sure he browses through the materials, with a view to future research.

The panel announces letter and number. I head, smiling, to cashier no. 4. I will be assisted by that very friendly gentleman with a good prose, who goes beyond the cold and pragmatic contact of sending correspondence. He roughly calculates how long the spines of books are. “This box will do”. He asks me to fill in the fields reserved for recipient and sender, while he registers the other envelope.

I notice that he's examining the covers… I'm afraid he's going to make some comment that discredits leftist indoctrination from a distance. It begins: “I was looking at the books, here”. Yes…, I reply, it is for a student who studies these people. "Ah, it's moving forward, then?". He adds: “Particularly, I think that this system did not work”.

Good surprise! For a few minutes, we trade cards while he seals the box with duct tape and calculates the cost of registration and shipping. Re-looks at the covers and says, pointing to The State and the Revolution, “this book is amazing”. Packed books, he now observes that the country has become a major importer, contrary to its vocation, and recalls the day when he saw a warehouse at Cumbica airport where 95% of orders came from China. I mention “state capitalism”, to which he responds that the expression was used by Eric Hobsbawm, but that it was of Stalinist origin.

Senhor Luís seems to enjoy the conversation. Without wasting time on his duties, he says that he worked in a publishing company and that the owner claimed that the United States was the worst country on the planet. I remember the invasions in the name of democracy and freedom… We both laugh when we remember that Brazilians really believe in the communist threat. "They don't even know what that is!"

The dialog will end. He launches a message of hope: “I think people are getting it, right? See this case of Lojas Americanas…”. He asks me the name again. “Jean, I'm going to ask you to fill out this form and leave it by the box later. I'll have to go out for a while to sort out some business." And then, "I'll give you two forms, in case you make a mistake". Epiphany: Senhor Luís extends his hand and the greeting embodies solidarity.

I'm kind of moved. More smiling than when I arrived at the agency. I fill in the sender and recipient data on the outside counter, where the glue bottle is. I return, with the expectation of saying goodbye again. In fact, he had left the post momentarily. I fold the form and place it under the box that holds the books.

As I left the agency, I thought it would be important to record this extraordinary event. On the next corner, I think how good it would be to have an uncle like Senhor Luís. Unlike the relatives I met, he would never try to “convert” me to the ultraliberal pseudo social democracy of the toucans; even less for the blockbuster totalitarianism of the mythomaniac, captain of the fools, fan of Brilhante Ustra and whose “specialty is to kill”.

Let's get to what matters most. Indeed, it has been an extraordinary journey. Circumstances like this allow measuring some power and reach of words. One of these days, I'll stop by the agency and leave this mock chronicle with Mr. Luís.

*Jean-Pierre Chauvin He is a professor at the School of Communication and Arts at USP. Author, among other books, of A thousand, one dystopia (Publisher Glove).

 

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