The Principles of Hope

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By TARSUS GENUS*

Lula should immediately expose the “principles of hope” in the first measures of his future government

How to make current democracies compatible with the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen of 1789”, if this is based on the ideas of a “natural” right of all Humanity, whose philosophy does not see contradiction between “political freedoms” and the “economic freedom”, if the right to life and human dignity precedes all other rights? For legal thinkers and liberal economists, already in the Enlightenment, the “harmonization of individual interests in competition” would, procedurally, welcome everyone into the bosom of the new order that would assert itself over time, without major leaps revolutionaries or major political instabilities. Perhaps the expression “each one must know his place”, disrespected by the insurrection of the slaves in Santo Domingo, in August 1791, was a premonition that “all this” was a great fallacy. Or was it not?

The publication of the book Democracy as emancipation – counter-hegemonic perspectives, whose authors and organizers are Luis Felipe Miguel and Gabriel Vitullo (Editora Zouk) offers a great contribution to the programmatic debate that, discreetly, is present in the speeches of the candidates for the Presidency of the Republic. The most active fascism, today with more political strength and a mass base, promotes – in these elections – the dilution of the historical values ​​of modern democracy and at the same time makes the rediscovery of barbarism and political necrophilia. His voice and his government practices are coherent in defending – in the neoliberal era – the separation of “democracy”, as a legal form of validation of the 1789 Declaration of Rights, from the liberal economy, which in the 1802th century would restore slavery (XNUMX) at the Consulate of Napoleon Bonaparte. Today we live in a situation that is not the same, but analogous to that time.

What arises as a real dilemma about the “speech” in the candidates’ proposals – in the present electoral confrontation – is the following, which I think should be analyzed mainly by the “left” candidacies: if Bolsonarism rushes to separate politics and economy , isolating the Declaration of 1789 – which is in the Preamble of our Constitution – from its neoliberal measures that privatize the State; If Bolsonarism nullifies the public functions of the State and therefore blocks the possibility that capitalism is “humanized”, it would not be fair to think that the left should unify these apparently contradictory poles – politics and economics – with a discourse that places the its economic project as a structural consequence of the rights of man and of the citizen?

The “displeasures” of modern democracy – in fact – are more complex than we are used to thinking, as they have a connection with the theory that the “bourgeois revolution” sponsored a democratic revolution that, being “modern”, would also be inclusive , and that the Social State could be its “natural” substitute. These annoyances are old and become clear already two years after the “Declaration”, in the French Constitution of 1791, when a rupture was in progress, between – on the one hand – the assumptions of the Declaration of Rights of 1789, as a political revolution to “put an end to despotism and tyranny” (Florence Gauthier) and, on the other hand, the program of radical economic liberalism, intended by the new industrial and colonial bourgeois classes.

Imposing slavery in the colonies, imposing census elections in the country (vote concentrated in the heads of rich families), unrestricted property rights (restricted to the very rich), in addition to the violent treatment destined to the movements of the poor by the application of Martial Law, has a lot of similarity with the “labor reform”, with the handing over of the Amazon to unlimited occupation by the worst quality agribusiness, with the formation of private militias parallel to the National Army, with the delegitimization of elections due to irrational attacks on electronic ballot boxes, actions that are being assimilated in a good part of society, from top to bottom, as if this were identified with the formation of the nation.

Thomas Paine, in 1791, already foresaw these ambiguities of political democracy under construction, when he asserted that Humanity's dilemma was between choosing the Rights of Man or barbarism, but he did not intuit, however, that barbarism could be a process within the liberal-liberal universe. democracy that could take hold decades later, a time when the “barbarians” would promote their hegemony within a liberal democratic regime.

Rosa Luxemburgo made a similar challenge when, during the German Revolution, she raised the dilemma between socialism and barbarism. I think that President Lula, who will be elected in October or November, should present, in a calm and relaxed way, from the outset, the “principles of hope” in the first measures of his future government, which clarify his challenge, which will be between defeating fascism – at the polls and in the streets – or live in the memory of a democracy that didn't have the courage to say its name.

*Tarsus in law he was governor of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, mayor of Porto Alegre, Minister of Justice, Minister of Education and Minister of Institutional Relations in Brazil. Author, among other books, of possible utopia (Arts & Crafts).

 

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