Proposals to the left



For a renewed left, which is not afraid of God, the Bible, the family and the Brazilian flag, but incorporates them as symbols and themes in its social struggles

If the score of 367 x 137 in Dilma Rousseff's impeachment vote does not represent a resounding failure of the left led by PT-PSOL-PCdoB, then it is not possible to define failure in the dictionary. Watching every House vote, instead of just laughing or ridiculing the “no” lower clergy, I began to analyze the votes in political, cultural, and social terms. I present some thoughts that I believe, if not academically perfect, are at least original. I also make some strategic recommendations for an eventual victory of the left in 2022, and to avoid a parliamentary minority government (something impossible in practice), but that could have some kind of broader support from society.

The impeachment memes that ridiculed the deputies who voted for God, for the Bible, for the family, for the homeland, for the flag and for the little granddaughter do not hit the target. The moment is for reflection, not for sad laughter. My proposal is that such themes be rethought by the left, and can be assumed by the left because they also reflect it. As? It's because?

Religion cannot be a right-wing monopoly

This is because there is not only the religious right, in Brazil we also have a religious left (although it is a minority), represented for example by Frei Betto and Leonardo Boff, by the Pentecostal Benedita da Silva and even by Marina Silva, who, if she only remains in the center it is already of great help for taking evangelical votes from Bolsonaro's religious extreme right. We cannot let what happened in the USA happen in Brazil, where the Republican Party is the party of God, the family, patriotism and the Democratic Party is the party of the laity, feminists, LGBT+, anarchists and atheists, an eternal minority in the Senate even if he wins the presidency from time to time.

The impeachment vote, with its deification of God, was a defeat for atheism and secularism. This is curious because, although the Right intelligently portrays the Left as a bunch of communist atheists, an opinion poll within the Left would probably show a majority of religious or at least people who cultivate some kind of spirituality: Spiritist, African or indigenous religions , Buddhism, New Age, Spiritual Self-Help, and even Jedaism (already the fourth official religion in the UK). At the present moment in history, atheists are still a minority, and we also have many neoliberal and even right-wing atheists who vote against the left. That is, the important dividing line is not religion but political ideology. Atheist is a minority even on the left, and true communist is also a minority. In other words, the current Brazilian Left is anything but atheist and communist. So why not propagandize this and shut up the Right?

Furthermore, both the Judeo-Christian God and the Bible are closely related to the emergence in the ancient world of concepts of equality of all and social justice (in contrast to Greco-Roman and Eastern caste societies). The first social Utopia was the Promised Land of the early Jews, where land ownership is in families and there are no pharaohs, kings, princes or nobles and a radical agrarian reform takes place every 49 years.

This is the profound truth of Liberation Theology (TL), which motivated countless founders of the PT, PSOL (Plínio de Arruda Sampaio was a Catholic militant) and social movements, which needs to be revived, perhaps eliminating the superfluous Marxist analysis from this Theology (since this conjunction allowed TL to be characterized as a Marxist indoctrination). A more scientific and consensual analysis à la Thomas Piketty is already more than enough to defend social programs and seek better income distribution, something already difficult in times of Bolsonarism. If the reader is interested, search an online Bible for the words “poor”, “rich” and “righteousness”, and read the corresponding verses. The right will be scandalized, the left will be comforted and even impressed. Who knows, maybe one day we will have left-wing religious parliamentarians citing the God of Justice of the Bible to defend the oppressed. This need not be seen as a break with secularism, but as an enormous cultural force, the same one that motivated Martin Luther King and Cardinal Arns. Religion is not a monopoly of the right.

The Family cannot be a monopoly of the Right

The Left must demonstrate that social programs such as Bolsa Família, the fight against domestic violence and sexism, and even homosexual marriage, all support the idea of ​​a stable and organized family. Let's leave the concept of the family as an oppressive male-dominated institution to a feminism dating back to the 1950s. The modern family, including the heterosexual one, is today much more than that. Let's promote the TV series Modern Family and let us celebrate welcoming families. It was even commented on social networks that the fact that left-wing deputies did not mention their families seemed to indicate that they did not have any, they would be the loners and misanthropes of society, generating enormous distrust of the simpler people (which should be the electorate of the Left). The family is not a right-wing monopoly.

The National Flag and Anthem cannot be a monopoly of the Right

Unfortunately, for historical reasons, the left has associated itself with the color red, which has a very negative symbolic and metaphorical value: it suggests blood, violence and even the Devil. Red note, getting red on overdraft, red light etc.: countless negative connotations for the word “red” (try to think of some positive expression, there may be but it's difficult).

How about the left changing its colors? After all, why lose power and elections because of a flag color? I suggest the colors white (a symbol of Peace, already used by the PT), the color green (a symbol of progressive environmentalism and the color present in the MST flag) and the color yellow, recently adopted by pro-democracy movements. Maybe we could use the blue sky of the flag and the Virgin Mary eventually, to confuse things... What the left cannot allow to be implanted is the idea that the Right is patriotic and the Left is not and does not have appreciation for the flag Brazilian. Remember the (very effective) slogan “My flag will never be red!”. The same can be said about the National Anthem, which should be sung with your hand on your chest at every left-wing demonstration. The flag and the anthem are not a right-wing monopoly!

Apart from these mistaken symbolic choices, which have only harmed the advance of the left, how about removing the name “Communist” from some leftist parties? After all, PT and PSOL are not communists and PC do B is only in name. In practice, in the concrete proposals defended by these parties in Congress, they are all democratic socialists. I don't think anyone (OK, almost anyone) really advocates the one-party system. Achieve and sustain a welfare state such as Canada, advanced European countries and even Japan (which has the best income distribution in the world, discounting pseudo-communist republics) would be a huge victory for the left in Brazil in the XNUMXst century, as it is already a very difficult target to achieve in times of neoliberalism.

Let us also remember that, for the common voter, the scythe is not a heroic symbol of historic peasant struggles, but rather an icon that suggests gratuitous violence, technological backwardness (who still uses scythes in modern agriculture?) and who knows Jason in Friday 13. Indeed, in 2013, the hammer and sickle were eliminated from the French Communist Party's membership cards. This disappearance is done in the name of “modernization”, explained leader Pierre Laurent. So let's leave the scythe to Dona Morte's skull. How about replacing it with a Tree, symbol of Life, Knowledge and Feminine?

Unfortunately, a symbol of the left that cannot be eliminated is the very word “Left”, which refers to the metaphors of the Sinister, the Demonic, contrary to Law, to the Righteous (the righteous are at the right hand of God). Right arm is fine, but it is an offense to greet someone with the left hand, which was used throughout human history to clean the anus before the invention of toilet paper. Well, but as for this unfortunate historical accident, based on where the revolutionaries sat in the French parliament after the French Revolution, we don't have much to do, do we? Or could we just be aware of the metaphors suggested by the term left, metaphors that influence the common people, but without eliminating the Left label in academic discussions?

Environmentalism is not a monopoly of the Right

And how about incorporating the modern environmentalist discourse, the defense of Biodiversity and the new alternative energy proposals that generate technological innovation, jobs and economic competitiveness? This is the discourse of the European Greens that is increasingly resonating in society. How about recreating the bridges with Marina (who still has symbolic and international influence, who can capture the evangelical electorate for the center-left, who has recall equivalent to Lula and much less rejection than the same)? This is possible, and demonstrated by the impeachment request for Cunha led by PSOL and REDE. An environmentalism based on scientific evidence and the defense of Biodiversity is the banner of almost all Brazilian scientists, intellectuals, artists, opinion makers and even of a more generous and socially conscious middle class. Environmentalism is not a right-wing monopoly.

Network youth anarchism cannot be a right-wing monopoly

And how about also incorporating a bit of Anarchism inspired by social networks and the Internet, Anarchism that fascinates our young people who took to the streets in the great marches of 2013. A little network Anarchism does not hurt anyone, as long as it is used in favor of oppressed.

Finally, how about enlisting the support of the heirs of big business? That's right, the young children of rich people who, due to university education and existential and social awareness, don't know what to do with their money but would like to help a progressive and environmentalist program. These people exist, I quote the Serraapilheira Institute here, and their resources can and should be used by the left in favor of human beings and oppressed ecosystems.

How about showing economic and political liberals that their support of the secular or religious far right is disastrous for their own interests? After all, Hitler and the Brazilian neo-Integralists were never friends with international capital and true economic liberalism. How about joining forces, tactically, with the true liberals, to stop the domination of Brazil by the religious right, backward ruralism and the bullet bench? Cosmopolitan, eco-socially responsible capital is not a right-wing monopoly.

Are my proposals too naive or too radical? Or is it that they are extremely practical and realistic, for dismantling the right-wing discourse, for rescuing important themes from the fundamentalist religious monopoly, for avoiding the political polarization that strengthens the Brazilian extreme right, for facilitating the creation of a new progressive majority in society and in Congress? Or have we learned nothing from defeats by Reagan, Thatcher, the fall of the Wall, the fall of the USSR and Trump? Are we so dogmatically blind, inertial puppets of a dated, mistaken and disastrous symbology?

A renewed left, which is not afraid of God, the Bible, the family and the Brazilian flag, but incorporates them as symbols and themes in its social struggles, will be the only left capable of defeating the Brazilian extreme right.

*Osame Kinouchi He is a professor at the Department of Physics at the Faculty of Philosophy, Sciences and Letters of Ribeirão Preto (USP).

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