Revolushow interviews Alysson Leandro Mascaro

Jackson Pollock, Untitled, c. 1943–44


Commentary on the newly released book.

Outstanding Brazilian thinker, jurist and philosopher, Alysson Leandro Mascaro has a large theoretical production of wide repercussion. Since his first public theoretical reflections, which date back to the launch of Critique of Legality and Brazilian Law (Quartier Latin, 2003), has been treading fruitful academic jusphilosophical path and positioning himself as one of the main thinkers of Marxism and the revolutionary left in Brazil and Latin America.

Your masterpiece, Philosophy of law (Atlas: 2010), is widely used as a reference book in Law courses across the country, already having eight editions updated and complemented over the last 10 years. His reflections on law, the state and politics, with emphasis on the works State and Political Form (Boitempo: 2013) and Crisis and Coup (Boitempo: 2018), have proven to be important theoretical landmarks of Marxist thought, guiding truly transformative struggles, being recognized nationally and internationally.

During the year 2020, in the midst of the biggest health crisis of our time, Mascaro was called upon to spread his thoughts by a number of lives, podcasts, lectures, classes and virtual events, in Brazil and abroad. In this context, as an outcome of his breath-taking reflections released until then, he published by Boitempo Crisis and Pandemic, dealing with concrete applications in the Brazilian social formation of more general questions of Marxism already presented in his previous works.

It was on May 29, 2020, then, that Mascaro gave the interview that would become the book recently released by the publisher LavraPalavra. On the occasion, in the 75th edition of the podcast Revolushow, entitled “As Encruzilhadas da Crise e da Pandemia”, Zamiliano Frossard, João Carvalho and Jones Manoel conducted an elusive chat with the professor, who in a memorable intervention presented his reflections on the consequences of the pandemic caused by COVID-19 within the post-Fordist capitalist sociability, in such a way that such developments must be seen not as a deviation in the course of neoliberalism or as a corruption of capitalism, but of its own manifestation and historical movement of accumulation, the current health crisis being nothing more than a aggravating factor derived from the crisis of capital itself.

In the course of his speeches, the importance of Mascar's reflection and understanding of his thought as a cohesive and linear whole becomes evident, starting from his propositions on philosophy and the philosophy of law, as well as his concrete analyses. Taking advantage of his contributions to Marxism, Mascaro will remove any and all illusions of salvation through the State and liberalism, reinforcing that there is only hope for transforming the world through socialism.

In this vein, there is no room left for any kind of institutional illusions, idealisms, attempts to soften discourses or to reproduce liberal agendas and the contemporary capitalist order. It also becomes evident the need for a theoretical advance beyond the classical Marxist conceptions, seeking within the most advanced theoretical sources of Marxism of our time the understanding of current capitalist sociability, without attempts to produce moral discourses, but rather advancing towards the constitutive ideological dispute of the structuring subjectivities of sociability.

Mascaro's interview brings the necessary theoretical framework to understand this time, with a heart full of the passion of the revolutionaries of the past and with a mind sharpened by the highest Marxist science of today, it stands as a lighthouse that provides the light that should be followed by daily fighting practices, but not only that. His words reach the reader with a strong impact, with the aim of breaking with the comfortable positions in which the left in Brazil are mapped, so that they can set aside institutional and juspositivist propositions, in order to advance in the understanding and transformation of sociability.

The necessary harsh and critical tone of the interview is also mixed with the author's words of hope, also from Utopia and Law: Ernst Bloch and the Legal Ontology of Utopia (Latin Quarter: 2008). It is important to understand the central importance of Professor Alysson's interview with Revolushow. It is not enough just as an attack on certain positions, but as a positioning and strategic advance beyond the usual aesthetics and narrative of the liberal left. It is the planting of the fundamental stake of Mascaro's bet on the way to advance towards the revolutionary form of action of the Brazilian left today. Seeking to reach the hearts and souls of the people, the masses, speaking with an open heart and abandoning pedantry and academicism to enlist all the exploited in the world for the fight against exploitation.

The practical solution to this would come to be found in the course of 2020 itself, with the concrete proposal of this commitment to mobilizing the masses and the grassroots, the social way to reach the people, in the unprecedented Socialist Centers, spaces that would serve for the sociability of the people, rooted and with capillarity in the neighborhoods, communities and suburbs of cities in Brazil. This initiative is already starting to take shape and spread across the country in 2021.

Mascaro's readers even received some unpublished gifts in this Revolushow Interview Alysson Leandro Mascaro: a complementary interview, in the drip-fire style, which was not part of the original interview with Revolushow, in addition to two texts on Mascarian works and ideas and other introductory texts.

The extra texts, written especially for the edition of LavraPalavra by Juliana Paula Magalhães and Lucas Ruíz Balconi, present the interviewee to new readers from two important perspectives, that of his ideas and that of his works, thus serving almost as a reading manual of the mascarian thinking. The path adopted by the authors to present Mascaro is impeccably didactic and will serve for many years as an introduction for those who venture into Mascaro's works.

As stated by João Carvalho, Daniel Fabre and Carlos Rivera-Lugo in their introductory texts, front cover and back cover of the book, the appearance of the interview by Alysson Leandro Mascaro for the revolutionshow proves to be a true tool for understanding the strategies of our time. His words appear as a sentinel of the highest theoretical understanding of Marxism in defense of critical thinking to unveil the structures of our sociability, but which also have the hard task of delivering the blow that will free our people and guide them towards the overthrow of exploitation, to break with the practices that structure capitalist subjectivity, of acting and speaking not within the academy, but truly reaching the hearts of those who suffer the horrors of capital. The words and ideas of Alysson Leandro Mascaro are presented as the light of wisdom and the hammer of the struggle, as science and revolution.

*Thiago Kühl is a doctoral candidate in General Theory and Philosophy of Law at the Faculty of Law of USP.


Revolushow interviews Alysson Leandro Mascaro. São Paulo, LavraPalavra 2021, 144 pages.

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