the modern demiurges

Image: Engin Binbas


Ideologies serve domination and emancipation. They question the subjectivity of citizenship and are questioned by the objective position of classes in society

Like the bourgeoisie in the XNUMXth century, the rising proletariat in industrial society was the subject of history in the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries: “the main responsible for a social confrontation with capitalism”, writes the Swedish sociologist from the University of Cambridge, Göran Therborn, in the essay “New masses?” (Magazine Piauí, April / 2014). After the 1980s, however, deindustrialization halted and reversed the march of the working class in the North. To the south, industrialization advanced in Latin America, Asia and Africa. The bad news – no alternatives were forged to the heroic class in blue overalls or anti-colonialist movements. The good news – groups with latent anti-capitalist critiques have emerged.

Industrial workers in decaying regions; surplus mass in the production circuit; middle-class youth indebted to financial credit banks; and native peoples in defense of territories and lifestyles, today, constitute the social foundations of a radical rejection of the neoliberal model of exclusion. They lack coordination to: (a) generate a dynamic associative pole in defense of the “humiliated and offended”; (b) stimulate the democratic imagination through a cumulative process of civilizing banners; without prejudice, resentment or envy.

anti-capitalist forces

The dialectic of salaried work has not lost its validity. The “value” continues to exist, there was no metamorphosis to the “service economy”. The manpower remaining in industries is capable of frightening, not overthrowing, the establishment. In 2010, in France, workers threatened to cut off gasoline supplies; in 2012, they occupied factories – that was it. But by promoting "wars of position" in the structures of domination of the system, the metallurgists help to decipher the shackles.

In the country, as noted by Gilberto Maringoni in the article “Viralismo em march”, from the book rescue Brazil, organized by Jessé Souza and Rafael Valim: “The advancement of automation and robotics in production processes, combined with new forms of management, impacts the level of employment with the so-called Revolution 4.0 in industry. Complex manufacturing plants – especially for durable goods – have very high productivity and a decreasing number of workers”. The BNDES' support for reindustrialization is a rational developmental strategy, the opposite of an analogical sigh.

The second critical force brings together the subproletariat: landless peasants and informal urban fighters who live in favelas considered strongholds of the “dangerous classes”, therefore, frequent victims of police violence. In the United States and Europe, its equivalent is found in Hispanic Americans, Arabs, Kurds, Turks, Persians, Africans and in young immigrants who, without a future, threaten systemic stability. A dammed-up anger shows signs of an explosive fuse against evictions, for water, electricity and transport, especially in the Paris belt. Protests are heading towards economic austerity. They move in search of collective identity and means for subsistence.

In the country, the population expelled from formal employment, apart from deploying in applications, without the admitted employment relationship (iFood, Uber), suffer organizational deficit due to geographic dispersion. However, they keep the flame of rebellion. They enact a solidarity opposed to hyper-individualism and over-exploitation. They matter in defining normative action formulas to nurture resilience and fight inequalities of any kind. The precariousness of work serves as a backdrop.

The third critical force arises from the contradictions of financialized capitalism, in the intermezzo Social. In 2011, students played an important role in several places (Spain, Greece, Middle East) and in the Occupy Wall Street, in New York. In 2013, the middle class gave rise to mixed acts (Türkiye, Brazil). If it did not destabilize the bourgeoisie, it overthrew governments (Egypt, Tunisia). The Gordian knot of the new subjects is to bring the hidden subjects out of the shadows, in the casino of finance. “The power, where is the power?”, asks Emir Sader, going through the theories with Diogenes' flashlight.

In the country, the contingent of university students jumped from 3,5 million to 8 million with the founding of 18 universities and 173 campuses for the interiorization of higher education, in popular administrations. The ethnoracial quotas of the federal institutions and, in the private ones, of the Fies (Student Financing Fund) provided social mobility. If the petty bourgeoisie is not in favor of democracy, it does not follow that it is shipwrecked waiting for the lifeline to reach the State of exception.

The fourth critical force is represented by “pre-capitalist” peoples. Their resistance extends internationally. In Bolivia, socialist miners fired from the copper mines plant coca and organize the indigenous people in the governing coalition. Native ministries break isolation after 500 years of solitude, longer than in the Colombian writer's fiction. Inclusive governance in the Americas (South and Central) has a political and moral obligation to repair the consequences of the colonial period.

In the country, the ruins of villages in land brazil pass through the extermination of the first inhabitants and the enslaved blacks. They continue in the gentrification of neoliberalism that adds inequalities. In the Amazon, genocide and forest devastation stem from illegal gold, diamond and cassiterite (a tin-bearing mineral) mining, and deaths from malnutrition. The mercury that pollutes rivers makes fishing and hunting unfeasible. A humanitarian assessment of the perverse continuity of colonialist and supremacist predominance is urgently needed. Many rotten powers have traversed centuries unpunished.

a counter-hegemony

For Göran Therborn, in The ideology of power and the power of ideology: “The works of Adam Smith, Marx and Darwin are scientific works. They function in parallel as ideologies – economic liberalism, scientific socialism, social Darwinism – and are usually studied and evaluated in this way”. They are determined by material conditions and the way in which people react to the conflict between the productive forces and the relations of production. In such a perspective, they are symbolic combos. They serve to justify and mobilize campaigns to build a pluralist and republican sociability.

The question is: how does “ideology” intertwine with anti-systemic alternatives? Ideologies serve domination and emancipation. They report practices and theorizations, in the cacophony of signs and language codes. They question the subjectivity of citizenship and are questioned by the objective position of classes in society. Science, law and art are not to be confused with ideologies, but correspond to ideological configurations of the times, sometimes with a Nazi-fascist approach. As in the poem by Amílcar Cabral: “Who doesn’t remember / That scream that sounded like thunder?!”

Ideologies presuppose actors who are, simultaneously, the “subjects of history” and the “subjects submitted to the prince's power”. They enable conscious transforming action for gradual or revolutionary changes and, at the same time, subordinate the collectivity to the status quo. They must be understood as social processes, not niches of ideas. They result from the class struggle. They do not portray a “false conscience” as opposed to reality, but the expression of antagonistic interests.

The effort to conquer counter-hegemony presents modern demiurges with the challenge of an intellectual clash over: (a) what exists and how the world-system is delineated; (b) what is right and just, and their opposites; (c) what is viable in the organizational chart of hope; (d) what influences the conversion of the militant engaged into an agent of pragmatic causes. In a Weberian way, the vocation of living for politics was exchanged for the profession of living for politics. Less utopia, more hypocrisy.

Faced with the climate crisis, the threat of atomic war and the erosion of western democracy, who can one turn to? The answer lies in revitalizing the World Social Forum (WSF) beyond the exchange of experiences, with functions of direction and organization, on the one hand; on the other, in intervening in the political-institutional apparatus that maintains a capacity for action, legitimacy and instruments to impose certain decisions. The situation is one of accumulation. The State's movement to insert the Participatory Pluriannual Plan into institutionality proves the fragility of civil society, but also the momentary aimlessness of the ruling classes. The new is being born, even though the old has not yet died.

* Luiz Marques is a professor of political science at UFRGS. He was Rio Grande do Sul's state secretary of culture in the Olívio Dutra government.

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