Remove the roots of fascism

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By LUIZ WERNECK VIANNA*

It's about returning the country to the paths we were diverted by a criminal government

The reconquest of democracy, a process opened with the victory of the broad political front around the Lula-Alkmin candidacy, asserts itself every day in spite of the sedition of sectors of the category of truck drivers who occupied the roads in rebellion to the result of the polls, clamoring for military intervention. At this point, the methodically concerted character of this seditious movement is already clear, which the Bolsonarist hosts had as their silver bullet in order to promote the turmoil and chaos with which they would justify the coup in the institutions they plotted.

Due to lack of political support and military support, the conspiracy resulted in yet another frustrated attempt by Jair Bolsonaro's historic coup leader, forced, once again, to undo the sedition he inspired, asking his truck drivers to abandon the roads and return to their routines, several of them within reach of the rigors of the law. The defeat of this reckless anti-democratic incursion has the effect of alerting to the risks that our democracy will face in its imposition – the perverse seeds of authoritarianism fertilized in four years by fascist preaching found ground to bear fruit, as seen in the electoral process and now in this rebellion.

The horizon that is revealed for the Lula-Alkmin government, in the face of this anti-democratic culture that has germinated among us, calls for even more inventive and audacious actions than those mobilized in the victorious electoral dispute. In this objective, the radius of action of the political front to support the government must probe, without any limitation, all the possibilities of expanding its scope in the sense of incorporating anyone who rejects fascism as a political ideology. In this sense, the political grouping known as the Centrão and other representative forces of Brazilian conservatism, including those that in the electoral dispute aligned themselves with the Jair Bolsonaro candidacy, should be the object of interpellations in specific agendas by the democratic government.

Fascism has historical roots in our country, sometimes present in parties and social movements, as in the 1930s with Integralism, which attracted large sectors of the middle, intellectual and military strata, sometimes as a cloaked ideology of the State, such as in the 1937 constitution that banned political parties and swore liberal ideals to death, subscribing to the arguments of Carl Schmitt, ideologue of Hitler's Nazism, inspiration of the then Minister of Justice Francisco Campos, author of that famous text.

This libertarian constitution was revoked with the overthrow of Vargas, but many of its provisions survived in the 1946 Charter, in particular its trade union legislation, which not only criminalized strikes but also placed the associative life of workers under the tutelage of the State, in frank import of the Labor Charter of Italian Fascism. The democratic constitution of 1988, although it purged authoritarian provisions from this legislation, maintained ties that still preserve unions in the orbit of the State, compromising their full autonomy.

Above all, the deepest roots of our authoritarianism derive from the modernization process that took place here from 1930 onwards, operated since Getúlio Vargas, in the sense of making the old agrarian elites compatible with the emerging ones originating from industrialization. A striking example of this is the fact of keeping workers in the agrarian world outside the protection system created by labor legislation. As in Italy and Germany, which underwent fascist political regimes after conservative modernization processes in the mid-nineteenth century, the different Brazilian modernization surges, such as in the 1930s and 1960s, led to the strengthening of links between elites. and those of the industrial business community, from which modern agribusiness is the result. Modernization prevented our passage to the modern.

In the Brazilian case, this process of conservation of the power of the agrarian elites was also manifested in the process of abolitionism, in spite of the preaching of its main leaders, such as André Rebouças and Joaquim Nabuco, in favor of a distribution of land to those emancipated from slavery. Abolition bypassed the land issue, which frustrated the first movement to form an effectively national public opinion.

Removing such deep roots takes time and requires courage, wisdom and prudence, virtues present in the articulators, Lula at the head, who knew how to lead us to victory over the fascist hosts in the presidential succession. The nascent democratic government must guide the same path, guiding each step towards returning to the country the paths we were diverted from in search of the reencounter with the civilizing ideals from which a criminal government tried to keep us away.

*Luiz Werneck Vianna is a professor at the Department of Social Sciences at PUC-Rio. Author, among other books, of The Passive Revolution: Iberism and Americanism in Brazil (Revan).

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