Patriots vs Citizens



Authoritarian, privatist, moral and customs guidelines gave rise to the Frankenstein of backwardness and hunger

Among the revolts that preceded the declaration of Independence of Brazil, the Inconfidência Mineira (1789) reflected the Enlightenment values ​​of the 1791th century and the experience of the colonies in North America. Leaders descended from the “big house” – soldiers, farmers, magistrates, priests, poets. Like the Haitian Revolution (1798), the most popular rebellion was the Revolt of the Tailors (XNUMX), in Bahia, which involved low-ranking military personnel, artisans and slaves. Composed of a majority of blacks and mulattos, it aimed at slavery and the domination of whites. He did not seek to found a quilombo far from a populous city, as was the habit of outlaws (Palmares).

The last colonial insurrection took place in Pernambuco (1817), led by high-ranking soldiers, merchants, planters and priests (it is estimated at 45), who called themselves “patriots”. Under Masonic inspiration, he proclaimed an autonomous republic that linked Pernambuco and the captaincies of Paraíba and Rio Grande do Norte. On the slave model, started shortly after the discovery and maintained for a painful 350 years, obsequious silence. The shackles would remain intact.

Despite the regrets, in the book citizenship in Brazil, historian José Murilo de Carvalho highlighted in the insurgent event “a nascent awareness of social and political rights”, in the raw geography of the bestialized – intersected by miscegenation derived from the frequent rapes of black women. By republic, it was understood the government of free peoples as opposed to monarchical absolutism. It did not wave a future with ideas based on equality. With its identity forged in prolonged battles against the Dutch, the patriotism of the Pernambuco epicenter surpassed that of Brazil.

Now, a time jump. Supporters of the recent coup movement also called themselves “patriots”. Not “citizens”, as in the terminology propagated in the French Revolution to designate belonging to a nation-state. In the Caucasian camp of the extreme right, incubator of the uncompensated acts on December 12th and January 8th, in Brasilia, the participants did not evoke the concept of citizenship when justifying the brutal vandalism of republican symbols. Considering themselves exceptional individuals before the current laws, they brutally destroyed the foundations sedimented by civilizational practices that did not exist in closed hegemonies.

The counterrevolutionary outcry was not constructed in relation to an external enemy: Portuguese, Dutch, French, Spanish or English with whom Brazil was in conflict at some point. He addressed the internal enemy (the people) who unfurled the flag of democracy, in defense of the institutions of the shaken Brazil land. It bet on fratricide and digital manipulations with robots and fake news. The selective finger pointed at the Jews of the hour: political subjects (leftist parties), regional subjects (Northeasterners), ethnic subjects (blacks, indigenous peoples), gender subjects (women), identity subjects (LGBTQIA+ groups) and knowledge subjects (intellectuals, scientists, agents of culture and the arts).

The patriotic simulacrum had a strong ideological ingredient, linked to a mythical-messianic vision to hide the economic anti-nationalism left over from colonialism. Phenomenon updated by mongrel vassalage to US imperialism and by increasing privatizations. See Petrobras and pre-salt slicing. All in line with the Washington Consensus. The peculiarity of tropical neo-fascism was the close association with neoliberal globalization which, with monetarist dogmas in favor of “fiscal austerity” and the “public spending ceiling”, removed powers from submissive governance that, moreover, ceded them without a minimum of decorum in presidential office.

The developmental strategy focused on reindustrialization to form a mass market, within territorial borders, and alleviate the infamous inequalities inherited from the long cycle of horrors, was never part of Coisa Ruim's agenda. The leonine-looking protests disguised the foxes' protests, shameful, pusillanimous, of betrayal of the homeland. The objective was to freeze the colonialist (racist) and patriarchal (sexist) matrix, together with the social hierarchies of the old tradition of domination and subordination. The violence and hostility to progressives had a reason.

Structural anti-patriotism was disguised with the yellow-green aesthetic of the parades, with hymns. The unruly rebels concentrated their shots on the constitutional goals of protection for a democracy with social and environmental justice. Of course, the anger and hatred did not extend to the world of finance. The maneuver herd did not know the bosses and, out of ignorance, allied with the oppressors. To cure frustrations with the unfulfilled promises of the democratic system, the indicated remedy was the installation of an illiberal regime. The blender fused neo-fascist essence (Jair Bolsonaro), hard neoliberalism (Paulo Guedes) and theocratic conservatism (Silas Malafaia, Edir Macedo). Authoritarian, privatist, moral and customs guidelines gave rise to the Frankenstein of backwardness and hunger.

The logic of financialization of the State and the interests of agribusiness added to the predatory extraction of wood (noble) and minerals (gold, diamonds) from the Amazon, which frayed the climate crisis and the genocide of original communities. The ultra-right program has made the forest hostage to commodity totalitarianism. In this, the dystopia of Bolzlavista extermination was summed up. With a clear class option, the surrenderers celebrated necropolitics in the state apparatus. Screw the poor; long live the redoubled privileges of finance capital. The noblesse du dollar oblige.

By transforming “individual freedoms” into a panacea for the nation's problems, the obtuseness of the obscurantist strands entrenched themselves in a specific field of rights, which encompassed life, the guarantee of property, personal security, the expression of thought, organizing up, come and go, and access alternative information – fast, converted into a passport to denialism. When the emphasis falls only on “civil rights” and these, moreover, are restricted to the usufruct of co-religionists, “social rights” and “political rights” go out the back door; to resume TH Marschall's classic study of the three indispensable dimensions of citizenship.

In the course of the coronavirus pandemic, it is worth remembering, a hermeneutics taken to paroxysm released the outrage of private parties, overcrowded, while hospital ICUs were full of covid-19 patients. In the macabre negationist jester, there was no lack of businessmen willing to “save the economy”, in spite of the care taken with health standards to protect the population. The narcissistic disobedience to social isolation protocols, the prescription for the use of masks and vaccination exalted a hyper-individualism, with aristocratic pretensions. With great arrogance, the genocidal impulse enshrined in the Planalto Palace was reproduced in the streets.

The gloomy picture led to terrorist attacks on popular sovereignty, with the contestation of elections – without evidence. The foolish conviction was watered by the pariah president, as of 2018, to rally mentalities numbed by anti-PTism / anti-Lulism and cast distrust on the supports of democracy in institutionality. The fetish of “freedom of expression” endorsed the parallel realities of the militants, with an air of zombies. But the chaos did not attract other adhesions.

It is necessary to intensify the political and ideological dispute in civil society, empower unity in diversity, strengthen the critical and pluralistic public sphere with the voice of excluded segments. The marginalized of history must occupy a “place of speech”, in the intricate architecture of power in municipalities, states and the Union. Without this active engagement, changes of scenery are impossible. It is not enough for democrats and organic intellectuals from the subaltern classes to legitimize the just demands “from below”. The situation of spectators of the offered narratives and received benefits does not contemplate the important principle of autonomy, in the pedagogical process of disalienation. “Emancipation will be the work of the workers themselves”, taught the still current communist manifesto of 1848.

To combat the sociopathy of right-wing extremism, the solution under the auspices of the government led by Lula resides in the implementation of: (a) More social rights – health, education, security, income, formalization of work, non-discriminatory sociability and; (b) More political rights, through expanded citizen participation for the collective elaboration of public policies, in the form of a National Participatory Budget (OPN). For a detailed exposition, see the article “Participatory Policies” by Leonardo Avritzer and Wagner Romão, on the website The Earth is Round.

The challenge is to encourage citizens to confront the false civic attitude that stupefied politics during the militia period. A task for parties and social movements in the countryside and in the city, community and student organizations, unions and bocce clubs, pagodas and soirées, buses and subways, squares and bars, Sunday lunches and intervals between soccer games. Any location. As in the beautiful song by Caetano Veloso: “We must be alert and strong / We have no time to fear death”.

*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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