Image: Elyeser Szturm

By Chico Alencar*

“Producing classes”, today, are no longer the owners of capital, but the workers, the common people. the essentials

“Resurrect me, so that, from today, the family can be transformed: the father is at least the Universe, and the mother, at least the Earth” (Vladimir Mayakovsky)

A meteor hurtling towards Earth – this pale blue planet among trillions of stellar bodies – wouldn't be so scary. The nuclear powers, in rare unity, would try to disintegrate it before it reaches us. The threat of a microscopic virus scares us and, as we never imagined, paralyzes the world. For many, the human species is only now at risk of extinction.

Never has anyone appealed so much to God, an understandable impulse in the hours of agony. But some “colonels of faith” take the opportunity to explore the frightened flock even more… In the moments of lucidity that the pandemic times still allow, it is healthy to think that the sacred that is in us – with or without regulation by the churches – also resides in the concrete of the harsh existence.

The strength of Christianity in the Western world does not come so much from its storage and diffusion in doctrines or institutions. Its presence is given more by the primordial message, which has nothing to do with individual salvation or miraculous intervention: the life-death-resurrection dialectic, which is in everything that pulsates, everything that sprouts, withers and is reborn. It is in us, self-conscious matter, and in the bald flower of the path.

The dark period we are going through reminds us that it is impossible to walk in the world without stumbles, agonies, losses and pain, a lot of pain. In suffering one grows – except for the psychotics of power and money, on the loose, contaminants. We are learning to relativize the “market-god”, an all-powerful entity that regulates everything. And that only he, omnipotent, with the sacrament of profit, would make the gears of the world work.

Humanity, today, applauds other invisible ones, of flesh, feeling and blood: farmers who sustain food production and workers who process them; truckers who transport them and drivers/engineers who guarantee the transportation of those who cannot leave work; workers who maintain our energy, our gas, our water; bakers, supermarket cashiers, sweepers of our waste; journalists who inform us, scientists who research, artists who enchant us, teachers who guide us, even from a distance. And, of course, those who take a direct risk, caring, as health professionals, for the millions of infected people on the planet. “Producing classes”, in short, are no longer the owners of capital, but the workers, the common people. The essentials.

We are learning, in the general fragility, to look more at the “vulnerable” – the nickname of those that social (dis)order has always marginalized – than at the Stock Exchanges. Perhaps we understand that solidarity is more than charity practiced with what we have left over: it is permanent sharing, it is a relentless fight against the virus of individualism, it is socialization of the means of producing, distributing and governing.

Humanity lives, without going out in procession, a planetary Via Sacra: call to meditation on our inescapable finitude. Our precariousness is wide open. In this collective ordeal, capitalists and socialists stumble, and a touch of silence was imposed. What lessons will we learn?

For societies, on the other hand, an unexpected possibility opens up like Easter, which means the passage and victory of life over death, of light over darkness, of freedom over slavery. In the cold light of sad reason, the Resurrection is an anomaly, a fantastic recreation of Creation!

Today we are all, mystics or atheists, challenged to make a great passage, to reinvent ourselves, as people and society. Those of us who survive with physical and mental health have to repudiate the return to “normal”, because normal was what led us to this disaster. The absurd social inequality, the unhealthy cult of the ego, the discrimination that denies our diversity, the eagerness to accumulate, the depredation of Nature and the neglect of Mother Earth will no longer be natural. It is no longer appropriate to minimize the State, so proclaimed by neoliberalism, and Politics, which promotes the common good. For many who until yesterday were obsessed with “adjustment” against the poor, Lord Keynes rides again…

In the reconstruction of everyday and social life, still today harmfully priced, let Eduardo Galeano's contemporary prophecy be valid: “all penitents will be celebrants, there will be no night that is not lived as if it were the last, nor day that is not lived as if it were the first".

*Chico Alencar He is a professor at UFRJ, a writer and was a federal deputy for PSOL/RJ.

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