country to rags

Image: Action Group


The president currently in office represents a country in tatters, an essentially lumpen country, a Brazil that has centuries of rent seeking in its marrow

Article 1 of the fundamental principles of the Constitution of the Republic of Italy states: “Italy is a democratic republic, based on work”[I]. The constituent assembly that resulted in this document lasted from July 2, 1946 to January 31, 1948. Of the 556 deputies in the assembly, 219 were from the left, 104 from the Italian Communist Party (PCI) and another 115 from the Italian Socialist Party ( PSI).

The insertion, albeit symbolic, that the democratic public thing that builds the State of a country is based on work implies several developments and meanings. His presence right at the beginning of that country's magna carta shows the strength that the Italian left held after the end of World War II and can also explain the magnitude that the country would have in the workers' struggles in the middle of the Cold War, as would be seen in the “hot autumn ” from 1969.

Even with all this present today, 2020, both parties no longer exist. The PCI languished under the leadership of reformists, the culmination of which was the declaration by the general secretary, Occhetto, that communism was over, all in 1989, in a process that led to its dissolution in 1991.

The PSI had a more tragic end: involved up to its neck in corrupt plots that pervaded its top leadership, having been one of the main targets of the manipulate (Operation clean hands). This operation even led to the suicide of three PSI deputies. In 1994 the party is dissolved after two years of agonizing history.

in the wake of manipulate, Berlusconi takes over as prime minister in 1994, staying less than a year in office. He returns, in 2001, staying until 2006 and, again, from 2008 to 2011. In the meantime, the left took office a few times, but with a program totally different from the ideals of PSI and PCI. Berlusconi was and still is a symbol of European neo-fascism, a preacher who arrived a little earlier than his political-intellectual disciples like Jair Messias, Trump, Modi, Orban, Erdogan and the like.

Roughly speaking, we can understand that the destruction of the Italian left led the country to the brink of fascism or, as the major media like to quote it, to “right-wing populism”. Brazil followed the script strictly and with touches of Latin fantastic realism: the 2013 protests born on the left are taken over by the right; operation car wash pursues the largest leftist party in the country with media support; coup against the elected president; and the rise of the extreme right to power. History repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce.[ii] Marx would say. Still, Marx had already dealt with this when analyzing the situation of Louis Bonaparte, president from 1848 to 1851 and later Emperor of France until 1870 through a coup d'état. This is the central plot point.

Bonaparte was not the one the French bourgeoisie wanted to put in power, but Louis Phillipe. This one, yes, a representative of bourgeois morals, of its customs, its “refined” culture, its rationalism and enlightenment. Who takes over via coup and modernizes the country with fire and iron is Bonaparte. For Marx “precisely because he was a bohemian, a lumpen proletarian prince, he had an advantage over the vile bourgeois because he could conduct the struggle by vile means”, this struggle to increase the power of capital over France.

It is what Berlusconi does and represents in Italy and what the president currently in office does and represents in Brazil. It represents a country in tatters, an essentially lumpen country, a Brazil that has centuries of rent seeking in its core and which, with the economic reprimarization, has thrown and still throws masses of workers into informality, into moonlighting, into “working today to eat tomorrow”. . It is the perfect mass in tatters: a working plebs without any class consciousness, destroyed, fractured, and that survives on the rotten remains that the also rotten bourgeoisie provides them. Who rules today in Brazil is the financial aristocracy, lumpen as Marx already highlighted[iii] and with the support of the mass of the lumpenproletariat.

André Gunder-Frank, in a very important work, but unknown in Brazil, already dealt with the foundations of a Latin lumpenburg. Which are: the colonial structure of relations of violence and domination, in addition to the export model; the never-touched agrarian structure (see the absence of agrarian reforms on the continent, except for Mexico and Cuba) based on the tripod of large landholdings, production for export and slave labor (updated to peonage and then to proto-salary wages as in the cases of the bóias-frias); imperialism and the dominance relations of the elites in the continent; and lumpenburg nationalism, crude in essence, which seeks to build an ever-tangible ideal of progress through dependence and subservience to great empires.

These characteristics described by Gunder-Frank are dear to Brazil, the country of income concentration and large landholdings, which are also unproductive. It should be noted that the unproductivity of this model is not mere irrationality. On the contrary, it is a rationality of the elite, which produces capital in the circulation of money in speculation, money obtained via the mortgage of the aforementioned properties.[iv].

The 2018 election showed how there is another face of this reality, which is equally hard: the vertiginous growth of the national lumpenproletariat. The various strikes of the 1980s are increasingly rare, since the international division of labor meant that the country constantly lost industries. Since 1985, going from approximately 27% of GDP to a ridiculous and probably overestimated 11%, in just 30 years. Today's strikes usually occur in the public sector, whether universities, companies or municipalities. Hence the constant exercise by the media to demonize functionalism. The formal workers in the ABCD São Paulo industry, for example, became a remnant. And the order of thought was inverted: it's not these workers in rags who earn little, who don't have rights, who are overexploited, it's the civil service that has too many rights, earns a lot and lives in the "mamata".

The lumpenproletariat is not limited to urban work. It is also present in the armed forces and police, very strong support arms of the current presidency. They serve exactly as Bonaparte's repression forces served in France, they are troops made up of lumpens, who manage to have a slightly less miserable life thanks to their dirty and brutal work of repression precisely against their peers, other lumpens.

That said, it provides the mortar that maintains the Bonapartist project of power of the clan that is currently in power: the financial aristocracy, rentier parasites; and an exploited lumpenproletariat, without education and without security, thrown into the arms of those who claim to have absolute power, in “direct” contact with them, repressor of the injustices of the “bandit”; there is still the driving force of the forces of repression, formatted from the lumpen. All of this was built over more than 30 years of democracy and was fueled, finally, with the fuel of the media's hatred, having as its central instrument the car wash (the same one that today lost its usefulness and was "finished" by the president ).

And the Brazilian left in all this? Where is it? What do you eat? What do you wear? Some points are important. First is to think what is left. The various strands of the left always accuse themselves of being “more left” than the others. To make it easier, I will treat all these strands as part of the same political spectrum, ranging from Trotskyists to neo-Stalinists, passing through ecologists and reaching post-modern identityists.

The second point is related to the sources of information of this left, still much, who knows more, trapped in the cage of the public university. Immersed in information, the young left, in reality, is not capable of critically analyzing the volume of data that affects it. They end up accepting any partial critic of the current government as their “comrade[v]”. Liberals in morals like Prioli became idolized by the left. A primary misconception, given that this is a typical liberal in economics and customs. We can extend this even to the party political debate, which is often based on information from y and the like and not in books, articles or great thinkers.

The third point is that of the new neo-Stalinist tendency of the Brazilian left. Anchored in crude debates, they end up making a big mess to gather followers. They created around Losurdo, a philosopher of importance but today overrated, the new canon of the left. It is a serious problem around fashions, whether of authors, concepts, etc., leaving no room for the contradictory, for healthy and constructive debate.

In order not to waste the reader's time and give an audience to these figures, who defend or try to detail Stalin's crimes, thus denying that they are Stalinists or neo-Stalinists, I summarize what they do: Geschichtenscheissenschlopff, ahistorical shit, as Thompson would say[vi].

Such influencers do a “work” that goes against all factual history and base their speeches on the use of beautiful rhetoric, but without material foundation. They gain followers with Marx “reading manuals” and are considered experts in all the most distinct areas of research, analysis and political struggle. one kind Frankenstein which ranges from peasantry, passing through ecology, touching on real estate speculation, presenting national party politics and ending with the famous educational knowledge (without ever having set foot in a classroom, except in mandatory teaching internships, when they do).

Anyway, while Brazil is in the hands of the rags, the left is playing at Stalinism, giving more ammunition to the Bonapartist leaders and fear in the lumpenproletariat. The national heritage is expropriated and sold, freedoms are curtailed, education is even more scrapped, public service is brought to a slow death by starvation and the people are slaughtered by unemployment, hunger, violence, fear and repression.

*Gustavo Felipe Olesko He holds a PhD in Human Geography from USP.



[ii]MARX, Carl. The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. São Paulo: Boitempo Editorial, 2011.

[iii]MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. German ideology: critique of the latest German philosophy in its representatives Feuerbach, B. Bauer and Stirner, and of German socialism in its different prophets. Boitempo editorial, 2015

[iv]GUNDER FRANK, Andrew. Lumpen-bourgeoisie. Lumpen-development. Porto: Portucarlense Editora, 1971.

[v] Comrade comes from the Latin camarata, the one who divides the chamber, the room. Comrades were then the soldiers who slept together in a certain room and thus shared the same ideas.

[vi]THOMPSON, Edward Palmer. The Poverty of Theory or a Planetarium of Errors: a critique of Althusser's thought. Rio de Janeiro: Zahar, 1981.p. 121-122


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