Patriotism, militarism and the gun lobby – part 2

Image: Andrei Tufanyuk
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By MARIANA LINS*

Any ideology, far from being an end in itself, or a mere symptom of a collective of psychically ill individualities, serves, as a rule, the material interests of a very restricted minority.

“There was no hostility, there was no excess. There was a professional performance, which resulted in arrests. And we will continue with the operation” (Tarcísio Freitas on the massacre that occurred in Guarujá on July 30, 2023).

“The Constitution is a thing of wax in the hands of the Judiciary, which it can twist and mold into any shape it desires” (Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Judge Spencer Roane, in 1819).

“A position of minister Alexandre de Moraes, of the Federal Supreme Court, to consider home invasion valid in cases in which the Military Police identify a “suspicious attitude” is already serving as the basis for decisions by second instance courts, despite the STF not yet deciding the merits of the case. discussion” (Tiago Angelo in an article for the electronic magazine Consultor Jurídica on March 07, 2024).

Initial considerations

As suggested in the essay “Patriotism, militarism and gun lobby” posted on the website the earth is round Shortly after the fateful January 8, 2023, political thinker and anarchist activist Emma Goldman understood the phenomenon of patriotism as a specific type of collective psychology and/or ideology deliberately spread among the masses for the purposes of militarism – in turn, demonstrated by it, as the main bastion of capitalism.

Although she categorized patriotism as a subtype of reactionary or counter-revolutionary mass psychology, she did not focus on describing the psychic changes that the patriotic mass imposes on the individuals that make it up, much less on breaking down the ideological delusions that give substance to this psychology. As he saw this specific psychological and collective phenomenon as much more the result of deliberate manipulation than of an instinctive and spontaneous expression, he considered it more pertinent to identify, with the greatest possible degree of precision, its material causes – an investigation strategy that can be synthesized under the staff follow the money.

According to Emma Goldman, the primary cause of patriotism must be sought not in character deviations and/or cognitive deficiencies shared by patriots – a symptomatology that, in our time, even, any average reader of Freud knows is inherent to the psychology of the masses (and this regardless of the political aspect)... Under the parameters of the diagnosis presented by her, instead of in the scrutiny of other people's subjectivity, the cause of patriotism must be sought in the interests of the arms lobby which, through techniques, deliberately and surreptitiously incite the formation of a specific type of mass psychology, in this case, the patriotic one – which in its most extreme form, culminates in the fascist masses. Obviously, as she also identified, such interests and techniques of the war industries empire are directly associated with other major capitalist interests, so that the techniques are shared and adapted.

Saying that “militarism is the greatest bulwark of capitalism”[I] is, in Emma Goldman, the same as saying that “militarism acts as the bloodthirsty part of economic conflicts”, for which, he also emphasizes, “the approval and support of the State” is essential, with its legalized armed wing and permanent – ​​which, regardless of the alleged reasons, as Thucydides would say, is always aimed against the internal enemy.[ii]

She even went further and named the demons that in this fateful hour of our world, once again, appear before us in the splendor of their power; doing so, curiously, living up to the nickname that, ironically, she received from the liberal newspapers of her time, that of High Priestess of Anarchism... after all, deciphering the name of demons is one of the first steps towards exorcism: “What is always and Again behind the fierce Moloch of war is the even fiercer god of Commercialism [capitalism].”[iii]

Under the same purpose as the text “Patriotism, militarism and arms lobby” published in the earth is round on January 23, 2023, the objective of the following lines is to apply the interpretative scheme developed by Emma Goldman to some of the facts and data relating to militarism and patriotism that currently make up our immediate national reality; and, therefore, in re-updating and adapting the general conclusions she reached, or from which she started, with the aim of elaborating a political prognosis that is declaredly essayistic – rather than supposedly scientific.

That, in the end, it is nothing more than a mere exercise of dispensable freedom of expression, is a more than satisfactory result, since, at least, it will consist of a reminder that freedom of expression, including in its trivialities and risks In concrete terms, it is an original flag of libertarian radicalism. Emma Goldman herself was a great defender of freedom of expression and made extensive use of this unrestricted right of the individual who, by definition, cannot be subject to state control; as, for example, in the case of his materialist and radical speeches directly aimed at military youth or, in the process of becoming militarized - which, in the context of enlistment made mandatory in the USA with the declaration of war on Germany in 1917, cost him his arrest and, consequently, deportation without return from the country where he had lived for more than 30 years.

Because the right has also stolen this flag from us, it could result in much higher costs than we currently suspect. In this vast Brazil of ours that became a devastated land after Lava Jato and the legal-parliamentary coup against the then president Dilma Rousseff, a coup that was said at the time to be “a great national agreement”, “with the Supreme Court with everything”, perhaps it is It's a more than enough task to update the words, endorsed by Emma Goldman, of also anarchist Voltairine de Cleyre about the effects that the Haymarket case trial had on her (today considered one of the biggest miscarriages of justice in American history, as well as a historical event honored in the May Day),[iv] these words being: “Until then I believed in the essential impartiality of the law […]. After this case, I couldn’t do it anymore.”[v]

Before we move on, it is important to keep in mind that the context in which Emma Goldman developed her reflections on patriotism was one in which the United States emerged as a global military power. Even before the US entered the First World War, the anarchist drew attention to the fact that part of the US elite was growing exponentially richer with “the manufacture of munitions and war loans to the Allies” – under the very noble excuse of “crushing ” the evil German patriots.[vi] She even predicted that if military investment became a program of national action in the United States, American militarism would become much more technically terrible than the German militarism it declared to combat. And this is because, in her words, “nowhere else in the world has capitalism become as shameless in its excess as here”.[vii]

1.

In “Patriotism: a threat to freedom” from 1910, reflection on the topic begins with the clarification of what patriotism is not. Contrary to what, at first, one might assume, patriotism does not concern the love for one's homeland or the nostalgia caused by times gone by, referring to a happy childhood and youth under the comfort of family and fraternity. It does not concern tenderness, it is not an expression of a generalized feeling of belonging and welcome, or of respect, knowledge and praise for the cultural traditions contained in a specific geographical location called country. If this were patriotism, the anarchist notes, then the overwhelming majority of soldiers who form the mortar that gives concreteness to patriotism – to the extent that they come from the lower classes and often from a miserable daily life – could never be patriots.

In order to show the directly proportional relationship between the increase in global investment in military spending and the emergence, in a chain, of mass patriotism – present especially in countries where these investments were more expressive –, Emma Goldman brings to light a very robust dataset. Because if on the one hand it identifies this global “coincidence” between the increase in patriotic hysteria and the uninterrupted increase in military investment, on the other it does not understand this “coincidence” as accidental or spontaneous.

The data presented by her are indicative of the hitherto unprecedented exponential increase in global military spending, which occurred during the period from 1881 to 1905 – standing out at the top of the ranking, the following countries: Great Britain, France, Germany, United States, Russia, Italy and Japan. In the period indicated, the budget allocated to the army would have quadrupled in Great Britain, tripled in the United States, doubled in Russia, increased by 35 % in Germany about 15% in France, and in Japan almost 500%. She also presented data to prove similar growth in the budget of the navies of these countries (it is worth remembering that the Air Force only developed during the Second World War).[viii]

It is by computing the growing cost of militarism “as a per capita tax on the population” that it intends to make crystal clear one of its main subtheses regarding patriotism, which is: that patriotism is the justification for the people to pay financially for all investment in militarism, in the form of taxes and fees. According to the data presented, in the aforementioned period of time – whose development culminated, as we know today, in the First World War –, this per capita increase in the weight of militarism occurred as follows: in England, from $18,47 to $52,50, 19,66; in France, from $23,62 to $10,17; in Germany, from $15,51 to $5,62; in the United States, from $13,64 to $6,14; in Russia, from $8,37 to $9,59; in Italy, from $11,24 to $86, and in Japan from 3,11 cents to $XNUMX.[ix]

And here we have the first great analogy with our immediate situation. Because, whether it is a mere irony of fate or not, the emergence of our green and yellow patriotism proved directly proportional to the increase in military spending by the Brazilian State, being, therefore, paid for by us, the Brazilian people, regardless of political affiliation. or partisan.

In an attempt to emulate (albeit clumsily) Emma Goldman's argumentative strategy, it is worth listing some recent data and facts regarding our country: (i) From 2012 to 2022, “military members of the Armed Forces had the highest average salary increase among federal government employees” – which is “almost five times the average for federal careers and twice as much as all categories of Brazilian civil servants including the Union, States and municipalities”.[X]

(ii) During the Jair Bolsonaro administration, not only did the number of military personnel in civilian positions in the executive rise by 70% (somewhere around 6000 positions, as was widely reported in the media), [xi]as well as certain reserve military personnel being “allowed” to “receive above the limit of the public service remuneration ceiling”, by accumulating the privileged military retirement and the new (and fat) salary.[xii] A “ceiling of the ceiling” all exclusive which, in practice, meant that the “reserve generals of President Jair Bolsonaro’s government, who occupied positions in the first echelon of the Planalto”, received, per month, “a net salary of more than R$ 100 thousand” – the case of the very illustrious Mourão, Heleno, Braga Neto and Luiz Eduardo Ramos, to mention some of the best known names.[xiii].

(iii) “In 2022, Defense became the main destination” of the federal government’s budget, “capturing 21% of the R$42,3 billion foreseen in the budget sanctioned by President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) at the end of January”;[xiv] a value, it is worth adding, almost twice as large as that allocated to the Ministry of Health and almost three times greater than that allocated to Education.[xv] (iv) Jair Bolsonaro's government used R$375,9 million of the “leftovers” from the Bolsa Família program, reallocated at the end of 2021, to pay expenses of the Armed Forces, from “housing allowance for military personnel to strategic projects of the Ministry of Defense”, such as the “missile launcher system, Astros 2020”.[xvi]

(v) “More than 79 thousand military personnel unduly received Emergency Aid, even in the first month that the benefit was granted” – and, at the time, the “names of the beneficiaries” were known exclusively to the Ministry of Citizenship.[xvii] (vi) The “Army multiplied chloroquine production 12 times in 2020”.[xviii]

It is true that it was not an invention of Jair Bolsonaro (rather the opposite) that in Brazil, the overwhelming majority of resources allocated to the Ministry of Defense go to the payment of salaries and, especially, retirements and pensions, instead of going to technology and structure – allocation that precisely involves investment in weapons and other military equipment. By way of illustration, it is worth mentioning the still humble numbers from 2020, according to which for “every R$10 spent by the Ministry of Defense, R$8,35 went to personnel expenses”, which means that of the total “expense of R$ 110,8 billion”, “R$ 92,4 billion went to the payroll, representing 83,5% of the total”. And what is most noteworthy: of this amount allocated to personnel expenses, only 41,3% went to active military personnel and civilians: the majority (58,7%) going to pay Army retirees and pensioners, Navy and Air Force. [xx]

Assuming that Jair Bolsonaro and his associates actually intended to carry out a coup d'état, it is possible to assume that one of the main successes was to keep the so-called legalist military leaders – who, according to our Minister of Defense, are the ones truly responsible for saving our country. unshakable democracy” –[xx] mouth closed before the new political-literary genre “minuta do coup”, it was precisely the excess of pampering that the former president dedicated to them (such as the seas of overpriced condensed milk, the mountains of cod loin and picanha, the rivers of best quality beer, 12 year old whiskey and grape brandies,[xxx] sushi and sashimi bar junctions,[xxiii] in addition to penile prostheses and free viagra).

On the other hand, it is also possible to assume that the error in calculating the coup by this repeatedly self-appointed supreme head of the armed forces and public security (in addition to supreme head of the militias and CACs, in the neoliberal sense of the matter) was that “generosity” of his government to workers carrying weapons did not extend to the lowest ranks, such as the “enlisted men”,[xxiii] nor did it extend to the other armed “arms” of the State; which includes nothing less than federal police officers, highway police officers, penitentiary officers[xxv] and the civil police.[xxiv]Because a fact little publicized, discussed and even taken advantage of by the left was that leaders of these four categories declared in several vehicles, since 2020, that Jair Bolsonaro betrayed the class by not fulfilling the promises he made.

Betrayal and miscalculation that, it is worth noting, one of the main current heirs of Bolsonarism, Tarcísio Freitas, seems to be correcting, when, for example, he sanctioned, shortly after taking office, the bill that established an average salary increase of 20,2, XNUMX% for the careers of the São Paulo Public Security forces – precisely one of his campaign promises.[xxv] And more than correcting, it now seems to be preparing the ground: see the proposals to expand powers previously limited to the civil police, such as investigation and registration of incidents, to the military police[xxviii] and agents of the penitentiary system[xxviii] – proposals that, if implemented, according to jurist Lênio Streck, would likely have the function “of transforming the state into a Police State”;[xxix] or even the decree that prepares the payment of a bonus of 500 million reais for police officers in the State of São Paulo “in accordance with the reduction in crime rates and the increase in agent productivity”.[xxx]

On the other hand, since the beginning of the government of this (former) Army captain and patriot Tarcísio de Freitas – “coincidentally” graduated from the same Agulhas Negras Military Academy as Hamilton Mourão and Jair Bolsonaro –, the number of active police officers is only increasing the statistics of killing, both by murder,[xxxii] as for suicide,[xxxi] although absurd from a democratic point of view, it is one of the results inherent to the equation of which one of the invariable factors is the greater investment in militarism and related forces.

Because the biggest problem is not paying financially for militarism, this expensive institution, as Emma Goldman well observed in her time, and as can now be observed by us not only in Brazil, but across the globe in a state of war or preparation for war. war. Just consider, for example, that last year, in 2023, global military spending broke a new record with approximately 2,3 trillion dollars[xxxii] or that, in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, the percentage increase in global GDP directed to the defense sector from 2020 to 2021, was “almost ten times higher than the revenue target established by World Health Organization (WHO) to combat the global health emergency.”[xxxv]

The biggest problem is the bloodthirsty demands imposed by militarism on the people who support it financially; since for this “luxury” one must first of all be willing to sacrifice one’s “own children”, to gather them into a mass ready to kill mother, father, sister and brother – if necessary, given the order to shoot . Because militarism makes free will protocolally inadmissible.

In her analyses, Emma Goldman also drew attention to the objective of military training, which is to transform a thinking being into a machine of obedience and loyalty, into an “automaton”, that is, into a being whose autonomy and initiative must be completely destroyed. so that he can be commanded by his superiors with a death machine in hand.[xxxiv] That a significant part of the youth of “a free Republic” wastes their spring days “saluting to any and all insignificant lieutenants”,[xxxiv] that is, when not killing and imprisoning, in our case of internal war – it was, for her, a situation worthy of the deepest regret.

From this perspective, perhaps also in line with Lênio Streck's prognosis, we can even suspect that the objective of “civic-military schools in the poorest regions” of SP recently proposed by the same Tarcísio is simply to guarantee young, malleable and cheap labor for the militarist bases and their future “Police State”.[xxxviii] To put it coldly: with repression, oppression and killing politically legitimized, there is nothing more prudent than ensuring the reserve registration of police forces.

One of the highlights of the anarchist's analysis is the surgical emphasis she gives to the fact that the contingent of soldiers, the mortar that gives concreteness to patriotism, is made up of members of the less favored classes, as is also the case of the "class" of common criminals (she even pays attention to the now quite common phenomenon of soldiers who venture into the most varied crimes, while criminals become soldiers). In other words: it is not personal taste that leads to choosing the profession of soldier; If that were the case, we would find among them the children of the elites – which does not happen.

Hence, war is revealed by it as self-annihilation induced in the working classes so that profit and capital accumulation can maintain uninterrupted growth. In one image: soldiers fighting internally against “criminals” (in the case, for example, of our PMs) or strikers (in the case of the US army at the time of Emma Goldman) as nothing more than self-annihilation between compatriots from the same socioeconomic stratum; soldiers fighting soldiers from other countries as nothing more than workers born in different locations killing each other.[xxxviii]

In the face of legalized killing, nothing more to be expected when it comes to human beings than for things to soon get out of control and for the killing to become even more widespread, which even justifies the military requirement of readiness to shoot mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers – depending on the occasion. A horror that, despite the commotion it may generate, we routinely witness in our context of internal and external war.

2.

As developed in the first part of this writing published in January 2023,[xxxix] Emma Goldman saw counter-revolutionary, as opposed to revolutionary, mass psychology as the result of manipulation rather than instinctive spontaneity. In his pamphlet “Patriotism: a threat to freedom” from 1910, the awareness of this manipulation of transcontinental dimensions could not even be expressed in a more direct way. For, as she declares, the “powers that for centuries enslaved the masses developed a very complete study of their psychology”:

They know that people, in general, are like children whose despair, sadness and tears can be transformed into joy with a simple toy. Just as they know that the more beautifully the toy is decorated, the more vibrant its colors, the greater the appeal it will have on this child made up of millions of people.[xl]

It is precisely to obliterate the militaristic insanity that leads to the self-massacre of this child made up of millions of heads, that patriotism needs to enter the scene. For according to the analysis offered by Goldman, patriotism is the ideology, which deliberately incited in the masses, not only legitimizes but also makes them demand “the continuous increase in the demands of militarism” – thus threatening “each of the nations with a progressive exhaustion of both resources, as well as human beings.”[xi]

To the extent that the “function” of the army “is to kill”, he wrote long before we heard the very same statement from Jair Bolsonaro, it can only live “through murder” so that “it is inevitable that it seeks an enemy or that it creates one artificially.”[xliii] As he concludes, echoing in this point the ideas of the radicals of his time, the main enemy that militarism aims at is the internal enemy. And this is because patriotism is not only supported by the masses, but it is also something that concerns them exclusively. To put it briefly: patriotism is a thing for the people, for us, the riff-raff. For the masters of the world, Goldman reminds us more than a hundred years ago, are the true internationalists: “Are they not the rich, Americans in America, French in France, Germans in Germany and English in England?” – he asks rhetorically.[xiii]

In this sense, it is curious that on the same day that Elon Musk was inciting the Bolsonarist mobs here, with his disinformation attack directed at Alexandre de Moraes disguised as a defense of freedom of expression, the BRICS profile on X, ex-Twitter, has used Musk as a reference to say what disinformation is and is not, in a clearly pro-Putin bias: “Elon Musk says that most of the disinformation on X comes from the West, not Russia”, said the tweet on April 10, 2024.[xiv]

That, on the other hand, the same Elon Musk, self-appointed “champion of freedom of expression”, in the context of the criminalization of pro-Palestinian acts in the United States, retweeted a statement by Benjamin Netanyahu[xlv] – under the excuse that the strong are not always wrong from a moral point of view –[xlv] makes Emma Goldman's understanding that the ideological divide is more about the people, rather than the world's powerful few, even more insightful.

Especially because, it is worth adding, the same Vladimir Putin crowned by our national left as an anti-imperialist bulwark – despite his public exchange of affection with the same Donald Trump[xlv] and Elon Musk[xlviii] of the Bolsonarists – not only classified, in today's Russia, the LGBT movement as terrorist, but also made anti-patriotic demonstrations illegal, such as the case of an anti-war activist detained for demonstrating with a poster containing a quote from Leo Tolstoy, which would have incurred the offense of discrediting the Armed Forces of Russia, provided for in article 20.3.3 of the Code of Administrative Offenses. According to the report prepared by the Moscow police department, the author of War and peace is an “extremist recognized for his anti-government stance”, so “the actions of the citizen” in question “should be interpreted as a call to overthrow the current government, as well as to follow the ideology of LN Tolstoy”.[xlix]

It is true that according to Emma Goldman herself, in her text “Patriotism: a threat to freedom”, this great Russian, anarchist, pacifist and Christian literary genius was, above all, the greatest anti-patriot of his time, including for having been one of the first to understand patriotism as the justification for the appropriation of labor power by the State (in military functions) and by the private sector (in the military artifacts industry) with the aim of materially promoting mass death, instead of promoting life same, as in the case of food production and the manufacture of basic things such as shoes, clothes, housing, shelters, etc.

In his words: “Lev Tolstoy, the greatest anti-patriot of our time, defines patriotism as the principle that justifies the training of large-scale murderers; a business that requires the best equipment for the exercise of killing human beings, instead of requiring it to manufacture basic things like shoes, clothes and houses; a business that guarantees better financial returns and much greater glory than is the case for an average worker.”[l]

The “predominant factor” for “military preparation”, that is, for maintaining a permanent state of military readiness for war – “which inevitably leads to war” – is, according to Emma Goldman, what we today call LOBBY of weapons.[li] In a very didactic way, she defines the so-called LOBBY of arms as interest groups formed “by all those involved in the manufacture and sale of ammunition and military equipment for personal gain and profit”; whose “emissaries work everywhere” and exert direct influence over the press, schools, churches, politicians and high-ranking military officers, in order to incite “systematically national hatred and antagonism”.[liiii] As this hatred and antagonism is systematically incited between inhabitants of different locations or the same location – as is our case of undeclared internal war – precisely via the patriotism that brings with it coupled militarism.

Emma Goldman nominally suggests, although not exactly states (due to lack of sufficient evidence), as one of the main causes that triggered the First World War, the LOBBY exercised by the Krupp family “in Germany, in fact, in many countries”, whose tentacles extended “over the press, over schools, churches and statesmen of the highest rank”. Fried. Krupp AG. it was then one of the largest steel and weapons manufacturers in the world; having started his empire, in 1811, in the steel industry, he saw his business expand exponentially with the manufacture of weapons – standing out in the production of cannons and ammunition.

Emma Goldman believed that knowledge of the causes of this “great crime”, the First World War, would be able to benefit future generations so that they would not repeat the “rivers of blood” and “mountains of human sacrifice” that had already occurred before. of 1910 predicted the future. In “Military preparation, the path to universal massacre” from 1915, she even made a point of paying reverence to, according to her, “the only courageous public man in Germany today, Karl Liebknecht”, who, “shortly before the war”, “called the attention of Reichstag to the fact that the Krupp family had in its service officers of the highest rank in the military hierarchy, and this not only in Germany, but also in France and other countries”.[iii]

Documentary evidence of the bribery of German army officers by Friedrich Krupp AG reached Liebknecht – at the time a deputy in the Reichtag for the Social Democratic Party of Germany – anonymously and the case became known as the “Kornwalzer scandal”. Even though Liebknecht's denunciation, in the words of Emma Goldman, had shed light on “an international war war trust that cares nothing for patriotism or love for the people, but uses both to incite war and pocket, in this terrible bargain, millionaire profits”,[book] The result of the “Kornwalzer scandal” was only the trial and arrest of some military officers and employees of Krupp AG.

It should be noted that we are dealing here with the same Karl Liebknecht, who, after being arrested for his anti-militarist and anti-war activities, in May 1916, and, having obtained amnesty, in October 1918 (with the end of the First War), founded , shortly afterwards, the Communist Party of Germany (in December 1918); and, less than a month later, on January 15, 1919, he was brutally murdered, along with Rosa Luxemburg, by a group of fanatical nationalist paramilitaries – who were never convicted.[lv] This stops, as the Americans say, make a long story short. As for Fried. Krupp AG, its decline only came with Germany's defeat in the Second World War, as Krupp industries were not only the largest suppliers of weapons to the Nazis, but also used the slave labor of prisoners of war – the vast majority of them Jews. In Nuremberg, former directors of the group were tried, most notably Alfried Krupp, who was sentenced to a modest 12 years in prison for his war crimes.[lv]

As mentioned previously, Emma Goldman obviously recognized that, far from being exclusive, the interests of LOBBY of weapons are directly associated with other capitalist interests. To illustrate this understanding, she takes us to the example of the Spanish-American War that took place in 1898, supposedly a great and patriotic event in the history of the United States – since the alleged motivation, absolutely altruistic, would be to save our Cuban brothers from the atrocities perpetrated. by Spanish colonists. As he reports, at the time there was a strong public commotion among Americans over the situation of the Cuban people, so that the requests for US intervention, in a war that was not theirs, came from the American people themselves. The point is that this apparently internationalist public outcry, despite its nobility and sincerity, was not exactly spontaneous, but systematically incited, according to the analysis offered by the sensationalist newspapers of the time, the so-called yellow journalism.

With the end of the war – which, successfully, culminated in the first military victory of the United States over a foreign power, in this case Spain, and with the independence of Cuba – its less than noble objectives that were at stake from the beginning have become sufficiently evident; and this, at the same time that the costs of the war fell on the American people in the increase in the price of goods and rents – then justified by the war. Not noble objectives, because as stated by the anarchist: “the cause of the Spanish-American war concerned the price of sugar; […] the blood and money of the American people were used to protect the interests of American capitalists, then threatened by the Spanish government.” Proof of this, he tells us, is that, “when Cuba was finally in the clutches of the United States, the same soldiers sent to liberate Cuba were ordered to shoot Cuban workers during the great strike in the cigar factories, which took place shortly after the war".[lviii]

With the same objective of demonstrating that militarism acts as the bloodthirsty part of great economic interests, for which it has the approval and support of the State and the press (in addition to schools, churches, etc.), Emma Goldman also referred to conflicts that were ongoing at the time of writing, such as the military support provided by the US to the Mexican dictator Porfírio Diaz – who, in his brutal repression of any and all internal political opposition, guaranteed the country's “stability” for foreign investment –, and to the Russo-Japanese war (1904-1905), which according to the then recent denunciation of Aleksei Kuropatkin, the Russian Minister of War during the period, was launched exclusively to ensure the investments of Russian aristocrats in Korean concessions.[lviii]

Although she does not develop this aspect, Emma Goldman also alludes to the stage in which the patriotic masses, overcome by war hysteria, mix religion with patriotism and militarism coupled with it, starting to sing with praise and fervor the “thorny and multifaceted gospel: the gospel of military preparation”, namely: “Ammunition! Ammunition! O Lord, you who rule heaven and earth, you, O God of love, mercy and justice, give us enough ammunition to destroy our enemy.”[lix]

As we Brazilians, defenders of the democratic rule of law, have been civilly witnessing in recent years, widespread hatred and antagonism not only effectively increase the sale of deadly equipment, but are also capable of converting into a single gospel a god of mercy and the purposes of the arms industry. Although this combination is not new – see the case of Theodore Roosevelt and the Military Preparation Movement in the context of the US entry into the First World War, alluded to by Emma Goldman –, it does not make Bolsonaro's statement any less premonitory, when it is still president, that “Jesus Christ 'didn't buy a gun because he didn't have one' at the time he lived.”[lx]

It should be noted that for the dissemination of this “spirit of the times”, in our case dressed in green and yellow – and which has been manifesting itself among its people as the demon called Legion –, Jair Bolsonaro's government invested a good few millions. According to a survey by Public Agency, for example, “the Presidency's Communication Secretariat (Secom) spent on campaigns broadcast on radio and TV by religious leaders who support Jair Bolsonaro”, in 2020, “more than R$30 million”. “On the occasion, the leaders met with Bolsonaro to 'intercede for the nation and raise a cry for Brazil', as stated by Silas Malafaia, one of the organizers of the meeting”[lxi] (and not to mention, the dealings in gold bars with pastors, brokered by the former Minister of Education, and also pastor, Milton Ribeiro).

In this sense, it is worth remembering the case of the pastor of Espírito Santo who tried to raffle off a 12-gauge shotgun to invest in the “Children's Ministry” (a style of justifying perversion, so to speak, well to pastor and senator Damares Alves);[lxii] or the religious manifestations of our patriots, who, possessed by the gospel of military preparation, began to pray, without the need for mediation, on the army walls[lxiii] and for trucks and tires, and which also made the national anthem a kind of prayer;[lxiv] or even, the political persecution against the left carried out within churches, especially evangelical ones, in the context of the last elections;[lxv] and finally, to conclude, given that the examples are countless, let us keep in mind the curious case of the indigenous Bolsonarista, whose arrest would have been the supposed trigger for the terrorist attacks on December 12th, and who, in addition to presenting himself as a pastor and missionary (although he had already been arrested for drug trafficking), he was a staunch supporter of agribusiness (as well as being supported by it), and one of his biggest dreams was the construction of something like “an indigenous atomic bomb”, which, not so alienatedly, he delirious was the only way capable of making indigenous people bankers and billionaires.[lxvi]

That, on the other hand, Tarcísio Freitas and the underestimated Eduardo Bolsonaro – sponsored by Trump[lxv] and recently interviewed by billionaire Elon Musk's pet journalist, Tucker Carlson (who weeks earlier had interviewed none other than Putin)[lxviii] –, to mention just two names, have direct and public relations with the LOBBY armament company PROARMAS[lxix], the Brazilian version of the NRA (National Rifle Association)[lxx] It's something we should watch closely rather than spend our time scrutinizing their presumed perverse moral inclinations. After all, as pointed out by the High Priestess of Anarchism over a hundred years ago: behind the Moloch of war and its representatives, there is the even fiercer god of Capitalism and its beneficiaries.

In this sense, let us note that this is not a mere delusional idiosyncrasy or extreme bad taste, but rather a question of the method that billionaire Donald Trump is selling as a way of raising funds for his pre-campaign for the presidency of the United States, a “Patriot Bible”….[lxxi]

3.

According to the genealogy presented by Emma Goldman, in 1910, in the context immediately prior to the First World War, the same methods used “by German diplomats and military personnel to couple Prussian militarism to the masses” were, at that time, being applied by the “circle American military” to its own masses to attach “American militarism” to them. In other words, under the excuse of “destroying” Prussian or German militarism – with which, it was said, there could be “no peace or progress in Europe” – the same techniques were being used in different countries, such as the United States. to create a militarism similar in power.[lxxiii]

As developed in “Patriotism, militarism and the arms lobby”, for this anarchist activist, the power of slogans cannot be underestimated in terms of their importance for the psychology of the masses.[lxxiii]

One of the main techniques for making the relationship between patriotism and militarism symbiotic is, therefore, identified by Goldman when analyzing the Slogans patriots that then reverberated in the United States of their time. And this aspect is even more enlightening.

Goldman notes that Slogans ultra-reactionary patriots that he was witnessing echo in the American masses of his time were nothing more than blatant adaptations of Slogans used by “German diplomats and military personnel” – with the aim of manipulating the aforementioned symbiosis between the patriotism of the masses and the increase in militarism.[lxxiv] Case of slogan American movement recently revived by none other than Donald Trump: the America first (America, first). It is truly surprising that this hyper-patriotic American slogan had its origins in Germany, and in the context in which the USA was preparing itself militarily precisely to fight the Germans! See in this sense, the excerpt below, taken from “Military preparation, the path to universal massacre” from 1915, in which in addition to the original version of the America first, Goldman also presents us with the origin of another ultra-reactionary slogan – well known to us Brazilians, this being: “Brazil, above all”.

Forty years ago, Germany proclaimed the following slogan: “Germany above all. Germany for Germans, first, last and always. We want peace; therefore, we must prepare for war. Only a well-armed and strongly prepared nation can guarantee peace, can command respect, can be certain of its national integrity.” And so, Germany continued to prepare, thereby forcing other nations to do the same.[lxxv]

As was widely reported in the media, the main slogan of the Jair Bolsonaro government, “Deus Pátria e Família” – now recently reappropriated by the aforementioned Tarcísio Freitas[lxxvi] – was removed ipsi litteris of the Brazilian Integralist Action movement, created in the 1930s, especially influenced by Italian fascism, and which in its heyday had more than a million members.[lxxvii] In any case, beyond this issue of Slogans, there is more than enough evidence to prove Jair Bolsonaro's direct connection with fascist ideology and even with neo-Nazi groups.[lxxviii]

From all this, however, the point that we must highlight is simply the truism that, from the materialist perspective presented by Emma Goldman, any ideology, far from being an end in itself, or a mere symptom of a collective of psychically sick, serves, as a rule, the material interests of a very restricted minority. In this love of the masses for patriotic (or fascist) values ​​and ideas, there is nothing natural, much less essential or “platonic”; At the end of the day, it is nothing more than a mere means to an end.

The bizarre psychological phenomena that mark Bolsonarism or Trumpism – and which in terms of bizarreness cannot fail to include the disgusting hypocrisy embodied in the US Democratic Party under the decrepit and “teleprompterized” figure of Biden –[lxxix] they must be considered, from the perspective presented here, not from the vivisection of supposedly derepressed repressed impulses (which would be more effect than cause). And yes, based on the methods applied in the past that have been modernized, they are being reapplied with similar effectiveness today under an apparently similar aim, which is, we would dare to intuit: perpetual war which, at this advanced moment of ours, seems to encompass spectrum warfare. total and total war.

Or according to the words of none other than Julian Assange, certainly much better founded than those set out above: “The objective is an endless war, not a successful war”.[lxxx]

*Mariana Lins is a professor of philosophy at the State University of Ceará.

To read the first part click on https://aterraeredonda.com.br/patriotismo-militarismo-e-lobby-das-armas/

Notes


[I] Emma Goldman. The individual, society and the state. Translation, introduction and notes Mariana Lins. São Paulo: Hedra, 2023, p. 79.

[ii] Ditto, p. 91.

[iii] Ditto, p. 71.

[iv] About this event see: https://aterraeredonda.com.br/primeiro-de-maio-2/

[v] Available in: https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/voltairine-de-cleyre-the-making-of-an-anarchist

[vi] Emma Goldman. The individual, society and the state, on. cit., P. 83.

[vii] Ditto, p. 86.

[viii] Ditto, p. 67.

[ix] Idem.

[X] https://economia.uol.com.br/noticias/estadao-conteudo/2022/05/29/forcas-armadas-lideram-ganho-salarial-na-decada.htm

[xi] https://www.estadao.com.br/politica/presenca-de-militares-em-cargos-de-confianca-cresce-193-no-governo-bolsonaro/

[xii] It is at least curious to compare the attacks that Lula received for his statements about the spending ceiling (under the declared priority of guaranteeing food for the poorest) with this benefit to the military that became rightly known as the “ceiling of the ceiling”, since before , “the retirement amounts and the salary for the commissioned or elected position were added together, and whatever exceeded the ceiling was cut.” https://economia.uol.com.br/noticias/estadao-conteudo/2022/05/29/forcas-armadas-lideram-ganho-salarial-na-decada.htm

[xiii] Braga Netto, in fact, our almost-future vice-president (for a measly 1.8% of valid votes), “received R$ 926 thousand in just two months of 2020, without deduction from the constitutional ceiling. Just for vacation, R$120 were paid to the general in a single month.” https://www.correiobraziliense.com.br/politica/2021/07/4939869-ramos-mourao-braga-netto-e-heleno-recebem-salario-de-mais-de-rs-100-mil.html.

[xiv] https://www.bbc.com/portuguese/brasil-60311732

[xv] https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/mercado/2022/02/defesa-assegura-investimento-maior-que-obras-educacao-e-saude.shtml

[xvi] https://www.brasildefato.com.br/2022/06/24/bolsonaro-destina-aos-militares-recursos-que-deixou-de-usar-no-bolsa-familia

[xvii] https://www.correiobraziliense.com.br/politica/2022/11/5052474-mais-de-79-mil-militares-receberam-auxilio-emergencial-indevidamente.html

[xviii] https://www.cnnbrasil.com.br/politica/exercito-multiplica-producao-de-cloroquina-por-12-vezes-em-2020/#:~:text=A%20produ%C3%A7%C3%A3o%20de%20compridos%20de,atender%20a%20demanda%20dos%20anos

[xx] https://www.metropoles.com/brasil/ministerio-da-defesa-gasta-835-do-seu-orcamento-com-pessoal

[xx] https://g1.globo.com/politica/blog/valdo-cruz/post/2024/04/01/aos-60-anos-do-golpe-mucio-diz-que-desta-vez-foram-as-forcas-armadas-que-evitaram-nova-ruptura-democratica.ghtml

[xxx] https://revistaforum.com.br/politica/2022/4/17/farra-dos-militares-uisque-picanha-bacalhau-viagra-fatura-por-nossa-conta-113084.html

[xxiii] https://www.brasildefato.com.br/2022/04/27/exercito-contratou-banquetes-de-sushi-e-sashimi-para-cerimonias-militares-veja-fotos

[xxiii] “The main reason for dissatisfaction [of the soldiers] were the changes in the military pension system, implemented in 2020 with the approval of Law 13.954/19, which privileged officers and harmed enlisted men, especially those from the Navy and Air Force.” https://noticias.uol.com.br/colunas/chico-alves/2022/05/07/descontentes-militares-de-baixa-patente-vao-as-urnas-contra-os-generais.htm

[xxv] https://economia.uol.com.br/noticias/estadao-conteudo/2022/05/29/forcas-armadas-lideram-ganho-salarial-na-decada.htm

[xxiv] https://www.cartacapital.com.br/cartaexpressa/bolsonaro-perde-apoio-entre-policiais-civis-e-federais-diz-pesquisa/

[xxv] https://www.saopaulo.sp.gov.br/sala-de-imprensa/release/governador-sanciona-aumento-salarial-para-as-policias-de-sp/

[xxviii] https://www.metropoles.com/sao-paulo/tarcisio-poder-investigacao-pm

[xxviii] https://www.metropoles.com/sao-paulo/tarcisio-criara-policia-penal-que-pode-registrar-crime-em-presidio

[xxix] https://www.brasil247.com/entrevistas/o-que-tarcisio-esta-fazendo-ao-conceder-a-pm-o-direito-de-investigacao-e-um-projeto-de-poder-diz-lenio-streck

[xxx] https://noticias.uol.com.br/cotidiano/ultimas-noticias/2024/04/23/salarios-pm-bonus-tarcisio-sp.htm?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social-media&utm_campaign=noticias&utm_content=geral

[xxxii] https://g1.globo.com/sp/sao-paulo/noticia/2024/03/04/mortes-cometidas-por-pms-sobem-94percent-no-1o-bimestre-de-2024-2o-ano-do-governo-tarcisio-em-sao-paulo.ghtml

[xxxi] https://ponte.org/sob-tarcisio-suicidio-de-pms-bate-recorde-em-sp-e-faz-duas-vezes-mais-vitimas-do-que-homicidios/

[xxxii] https://cultura.uol.com.br/noticias/64392_gastos-militares-globais-ultrapassam-os-us-2-trilhoes-em-2023-e-batem-recorde-historico.html

[xxxv] Available in: https://www.brasildefato.com.br/2022/04/25/gasto-militar-mundial-bate-recorde-e-supera-us-2-trilhoes-em-2021-aponta-relatorio

[xxxiv] Emma Goldman. The individual, society and the state, on. cit., P. 89.

[xxxiv] Ditto, p. 54.

[xxxviii] https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/educacao/2024/02/gestao-tarcisio-quer-criar-escolas-civico-militares-em-regioes-mais-pobres.shtml

[xxxviii] About this specific perspective, see: https://anpof.org.br/comunicacoes/coluna-anpof/emma-goldman-e-as-forcas-de-seguranca-publica

[xxxix] https://aterraeredonda.com.br/patriotismo-militarismo-e-lobby-das-armas/

[xl] Emma Goldman. The individual, society and the state, on. cit., P. 54.

[xi] Ditto, p. 69.

[xliii] Same, p. 92-93.

[xiii] Ditto, p. 65.

[xiv] https://x.com/BRICSinfo/status/1777909203107254750

[xlv] https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20240426-bassem-youssef-slams-elon-musk-for-reposting-the-lies-of-mass-murderer-netanyahu/

[xlv] https://x.com/elonmusk/status/1784428001024938421

[xlv] https://www.reuters.com/world/putin-says-trump-prosecution-shows-us-system-is-rotten-2023-09-12/

[xlviii] https://www.reuters.com/world/putin-hails-elon-musk-an-outstanding-person-businessman-2023-09-12/

[xlix] https://theins.ru/news/249938

[l] Emma Goldman. The individual, society and the state, on. cit., P. 64.

[li] Ditto, p. 93.

[liiii] Ditto, p. 94.

[iii] Same, p. 93

[book] Ditto, p. 94.

[lv] https://www.britannica.com/biography/Karl-Liebknecht

[lv] https://www.britannica.com/topic/Krupp-AG

[lviii] Emma Goldman. The individual, society and the state, on. cit., P. 70-71.

[lviii] Ditto, p. 71.

[lix] Ditto, p. 83.

[lx] https://noticias.uol.com.br/ultimas-noticias/agencia-estado/2022/06/15/bolsonaro-diz-que-jesus-cristo-nao-comprou-pistola-porque-nao-tinha.htm

[lxi] https://apublica.org/2020/06/governo-gastou-r-30-milhoes-em-radios-e-tvs-de-pastores-que-apoiam-bolsonaro/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=post&utm_campaign=secomigrejas

[lxii] https://g1.globo.com/es/espirito-santo/noticia/2022/05/27/estamos-muito-orgulhosos-disso-diz-pastor-de-igreja-evangelica-que-rifou-espingarda-calibre-12-no-es.ghtml

[lxiii] https://noticias.uol.com.br/politica/ultimas-noticias/2022/11/08/bolsonaristas-ajoelham-e-oram-em-frente-ao-muro-do-exercito-no-rj-video.htm

[lxiv] https://www.opovo.com.br/eleicoes-2022/2022/11/03/bolsonaristas-cantam-hino-nacional-para-pneu-no-parana.html

[lxv] https://g1.globo.com/politica/noticia/2022/10/18/eleicoes-2022-perseguicao-contra-cristaos-ja-comecou-no-brasil-so-que-dentro-da-igreja.ghtml

[lxvi] https://www.cartacapital.com.br/politica/pastor-xavante-preso-em-atos-terroristas-apoia-agro-e-sonha-com-bomba-atomica-indigena/

[lxv] https://www.cartacapital.com.br/politica/na-vespera-de-ato-eduardo-bolsonaro-denuncia-abusos-do-judiciario-em-evento-com-trump-e-milei/   https://www.poder360.com.br/congresso/trump-recebe-eduardo-bolsonaro-e-mario-frias-para-jantar-na-florida/

[lxviii] An interview, it is worth adding, quite celebrated in left-wing media. https://www.brasil247.com/mundo/tucker-carlson-se-encanta-com-moscou-apos-entrevistar-vladimir-putin

[lxix] https://oantagonista.com.br/brasil/grupo-armamentista-elege-mais-de-30-candidatos-aos-legislativos/

[lxx] https://www.braziloffice.org/en/articles/how-the-national-rifle-association-nra-and-the-gun-industry-messed-up-democracy-in-brazil

[lxxi] https://noticias.uol.com.br/internacional/ultimas-noticias/2024/03/27/trump-anuncia-biblia-por-r-300-deus-abencoe-os-eua.htm#:~:text=Trump%20anuncia%20venda%20de%20B%C3%ADblia,%3A%20’Deus%20aben%C3%A7oe%20os%20EUA’&text=O%20ex%2Dpresidente%20dos%20EUA,%22Deus%20Aben%C3%A7oe%20os%20EUA%22 .

[lxxiii] Emma Goldman. The individual, society and the state, on. cit., P. 86.

[lxxiii] https://aterraeredonda.com.br/patriotismo-militarismo-e-lobby-das-armas/

[lxxiv] Emma Goldman. The individual, society and the state, on. cit., P. 85.

[lxxv] Ibid.

[lxxvi] https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/poder/2024/05/tarcisio-abraca-lema-ideologico-apos-ser-alcado-a-herdeiro-de-bolsonaro.shtml

[lxxvii] https://www.dw.com/pt-br/como-deus-p%C3%A1tria-e-fam%C3%ADlia-entrou-na-pol%C3%ADtica-do-brasil/a-63371501

[lxxviii] https://theintercept.com/2021/07/28/carta-bolsonaro-neonazismo/  https://congressoemfoco.uol.com.br/area/pais/onze-vezes-em-que-o-bolsonarismo-flertou-com-o-nazismo/

[lxxix] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-EPhkbSY_E

[lxxx] It is important to consider that this statement by Assange, from 2011, was given in the context of the war in Afghanistan. According to Assange, the war in Afghanistan would not aim for an end – such as the victory over terrorism or the pacification of Islamic radicals –, as its real objective would be to “launder the money from the US and European tax bases through Afghanistan and return it into the hands of a transnational security elite.” In any case, the generalization of Assange's statement proposed by us above is, to a large extent, in line with the understanding exposed by Brian Terrell, one of the coordinators of the Nevada Desert Experience, an anti-nuclear organization started as a movement against nuclear weapons testing in the USA in the mid-1980s. In an article published in the electronic newspaper L.A. Progressive, in September 2021, shortly after Biden's announcement of the end of the war in Afghanistan, Terrell begins by declaring the following: “Speaking at the White House on August 31, President Joe Biden lied to the people of the United States and the world: 'Yesterday night in Kabul, the United States ended 20 years of war in Afghanistan – the longest war in American history.' The US war against Afghanistan has not ended – it has simply adapted to technological advances and transformed into a more politically sustainable, more intractable and more easily exportable war"[griffin ours]. Terrell also refers to Assange's statement cited above and, like us, understands it in a general way and not limited to the war in Afghanistan. On the contrary, he situates it as factual proof of the dystopian future predicted by Orwell in 1984, “where wars would be fought perpetually, with no intention of being won or resolved in any way” (https://www.laprogressive.com/war-and-peace/will-the-longest-war-ever-end )


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