First years of (dis)government

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By VLADIMIR SAFATLE*

Preface of the recently released book, organized by Paulo Martins & Ricardo Musse

This book is, initially, the expression of the capacity of intervention and analysis of the Brazilian University before one of the darkest moments of our history. In it, readers will find analytical and intervention texts about the process of explaining the collapse of Brazilian formal democracy from the rise of Jair M. Bolsonaro.

While Brazil was confronted with the end of the system of pacts of the “New Republic”, with the return of the matrices of national fascism, with the explicitness of the undeclared civil war of the police state against populations historically subjected to pauperization and disappearance, the The University understood that it was its task to intervene, alert and mobilize. In this sense, she recalled what defines her, namely, being the space for exercising relentless criticism of what exists, in the belief that such exercise is a fundamental condition for society to find the strength to create new situations and confront the truth of your condition, however hard it may be.

When the Bolsonaro government rose to the political scene, one of its repeated and preferred targets was the Brazilian university. Contrary to those who claimed that the Brazilian University was a sterile space, producing knowledge that would not have contact with the living sources of society, this government understood very well the strength of what is produced in our fields, just as he understood the transformation that is taking place from the irreversible integration of the popular classes into our student and teaching body. At the University, new potentialities for the configuration of Brazilian society are being created. Therefore, for governments like this one, it must be broken and silenced.

In its fight against the University, the Bolsonaro government was not afraid to mobilize discourses and practices that take us back to the most dramatic moments of historical fascism. The accusations of “cultural Marxism”, the “denounces” of “sexual permissiveness” among us may seem worthy of an anecdote, but they have a method. They echo the accusations of “cultural Bolshevism” and “sexual Bolshevism” that were already heard in the thirties of the last century. Because they indicate real foci of struggle.

Every effective social transformation begins by changing the natural place of bodies, creating new circulations and visibility of desires. And the Brazilian University has an important role in this process, by forcing debates on the disciplinary structures of social life and the way in which bodies are subjected, classified and constructed. But any effective social transformation also begins by questioning the structures of material reproduction and their circuits of wealth. This, the Brazilian University has done since its consolidation, through the most diverse traditions and perspectives.

The awareness that we inhabit a society whose fundamental cell is the primary-exporting slaveholding estate, with its ontological divisions between two types of subjects, namely, those recognized as “people” and those placed in the condition of “things” was a weapon that Brazilian university pointed out against those who tried to make us believe that our society would know how to deal with its contradictions in a calm rhythm of conciliations.

In this sense, it should be remembered that the countless conciliations we have seen in recent decades were unable to guarantee gradual and safe transformations. Not even they were able to disarm the militarist and fascist sectors of Brazilian society. At this very moment, Brazil is struggling with concrete risks of even deeper authoritarian drifts. In moments like these, societies only have the plasticity of their revolt and the insistence on confidence in their own capacity for creation.

It is precisely at these moments that Universities become more important, that their work must become more non-negotiable and irreconcilable. Books like this demonstrate how several generations of researchers, coming from various regions of the country, are able to mobilize their sensitivity, their sense of urgency to collaborate and fight alongside the most vulnerable and deprived.

*Vladimir Safatle He is a professor of philosophy at USP. Author, among other books, of Ways of transforming worlds: Lacan, politics and emancipation (Authentic).

 

Reference


Paulo Martins & Ricardo Musse (eds.). First years of (dis)government. São Paulo, FFLCH, 2021, 448 pages.

 

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