Ruy Fausto – paddling against the tide



Considerations on the political thought of the philosopher

Rowing against the tide: nothing exemplifies this image better than Ruy Fausto's position as a left-wing intellectual. At any moment, nell mezzo del cammin of his life, he came to the conclusion that the critique of capitalism was insufficient to understand social domination in our time. “Radically insufficient,” he once said. A critical thinker himself, he never doubted that capitalism was one of the central pieces of the puzzle.

However, as he added other pieces from the XNUMXth century to make a balance, he realized that the exclusive fixation on the critique of capitalism ended up leaving many questions unanswered. And, more importantly, it generated a paralyzing political effect, by blocking a deeper (radical) questioning of the problems that the left itself had to face, if it wanted to re-accredit itself as an alternative for the future of Brazil and the world.

Ruy never dealt superficially with the subjects he had on his agenda for reflection. To begin with, he knew a lot about the critique of capitalism, having become one of the main Brazilian scholars (if not the greatest) of Marx's work and of the Marxist tradition, precisely the tradition that took this endeavor further. To which he added a special concern with politics, not just theoretical, but existential, acquired from his youth, which gave tremendous liveliness to his elaborations. For this reason, he kept himself very well informed about current events, in addition to his interest and enormous taste for the study of history, especially those times and places that he considered most relevant to rub against his philosophical reflection. These different dimensions, rather than splitting his life into opposing demands, existed within him as inseparable partners.

I cannot do justice, in this brief article, to the subtlety and nuances of all the topics that matter to understanding his path as a public intellectual. I will limit myself to making some notes on his relations with the left, with regard to the theoretical debate and certain practical issues, mixing references to his most recent written work – with which I am more familiar – with memories of our conversations. The latter, of course, are far from equivalent to the rigor and complexity of the written text; I evoke them only to say something about the deeply political being he always was, to suggest, perhaps, an additional layer of meaning to his thinking.


The role of criticism and some “blind spots” of Marxism

We know that the history of the world left is the history of an extended family, very varied and with fluid borders, to the point of making its very identity a matter of controversy. And also that it is an oscillating story, with ups and downs.[I] Accompanying these oscillations, several times attempts were made to rehearse his funeral. However, on several occasions, the conclusion was reached that the news of his death was premature... as the comedian Marx would say. And this, I suppose, is less due to a stubbornness indifferent to setbacks and an inhospitable reality, than due to the ability to learn from both and be renewed.

Contestant social forces will always exist as a result of the very harshness of social domination. But they are not fated, just because they contest, to become a credible and desirable political option. At this point, it is necessary to recognize that the right – a family as heterogeneous as the left – has also shown itself capable of adapting to the times and even appearing, in some of its aspects at least, as a rebellious and contesting option. Thus, it is not written in the stars that the alternative to a certain form of domination is, necessarily, an emancipatory endeavor. This is Ruy Fausto's first article of faith.

It follows from this a certain way of understanding criticism from the left, which is not content with just expressing nonconformity with social domination. It imposes the challenge of being accompanied by a reflective judgment that questions frustrated alternatives, alternatives to these alternatives and ways of articulating them in the struggles of the present.[ii] Therefore, criticism does not mean just thinking, but thinking with consequences; I mean, the consequence that is the daughter of a sense of responsibility for what one thinks and says, what opposes criticism to pure and simple levity and provides it with a kind of moral anchor. This is our friend's second article of faith.

But responsibility also carries political ballast. Criticism from the left is not content with being a solitary discharge of conscience, as if it were enough to say “I told you so…”. It is, now, the consequence that undertakes, by radiating its discomfort, to modify the state of mind of society, as if extroverting that inner disturbance that leads moral conscience to awaken. Deep down, it is an appeal to others, a request for help to the world, even if in the form of a twisted thought. Carrying out criticism is a collective undertaking – or so it should be, in order for it to have a political effect. This was their third article of faith.

Note, however, the “contract” of mutual responsibility implicit in it: a reciprocal commitment to give and receive criticism with its respective consequences, aiming precisely at constituting a common field of action. This is perhaps the most difficult step, because it qualifies the alliance to be made, forcing it to transcend private relationships in order to shape itself into a public project. Audience yes, but made by people of flesh and blood, who invest their names in a plot that exposes them twice, both when making and receiving criticism. Absolutely necessary plot, but not always pleasant. Despite the burden that the incisive style of criticism brought to him – especially when it required placing it above personal friendships – Ruy sought to take the terms of this commitment to the letter.

But in what sense do these observations refer to the very content of the discussion, starting with the theoretical debate that took place? Here it is necessary to talk a little about his relations with Marxism and with Marx's own thought. Ruy's break with this intellectual lineage, which he considered the most influential within the left since the end of the XNUMXth century, was not a bolt from the blue, the result of a purely speculative and abstract divergence. Rather, it resulted from the historical test to which it was submitted, particularly throughout the XNUMXth century. Even so, Ruy maintained a position of respect for Marx's thought, knowing him, as he did, in all his density. More: he always considered his critique of capitalism a solid starting point.

Over many years, he sought the best possible reading of the work and legacy of the great German thinker, trying to unravel how the logical form of his speech – inherited from German idealism, in particular the Hegelian dialectic – was intertwined with the investigated matter: the character of salaried work, the subtle form of exploitation involved in it, the surplus value, the commodity form, the famous “fetish” that radiates in social relations when it becomes generalized and acquires an abstract character, capital as social power, the “modes of production” etc.

Ruy thought that Marx was fundamentally right in seeing that capitalism carries a structural instability, based on the contradictory way in which it turns its gears, subjecting it to recurrent and sometimes devastating crises. And, in his work of demystifying the “almost natural” appearance of his dominance, I also felt that he provided the left with a powerful roadmap for questioning that dominance and seeking alternatives. But what alternatives? The question refers to politics, and it is precisely from there that Ruy was pulling the loose threads – or rather, as he said, the “blind spots” – from the Marxist perspective.

In fact, these blind spots are already insinuated in the critique of capitalism itself, to the extent that it instigated Marx to think that the full control of this mode of production would push societies to a crossroads, narrowing the alternatives and discarding possible “deviations” from the route . In the end, they would either have to leap beyond capitalism, following the path that would lead to an emancipated existence (communism), or head towards complete disaster.

Marx was so sure that the contradictory mechanism of capitalist dynamics would lead inexorably to this fundamental bifurcation – and only to this bifurcation – that he did not bother much to make theoretical anticipations about the political form of the anti-capitalist path. Once the old mode of production had been beaten and the foundations of the new one laid, everything else would follow as a simple consequence. For this reason, when the idea of ​​the “dictatorship of the proletariat” came to him as a means of facing the foreseeable resistance of the privileged classes, he paid little attention to the objections of his anarchist opponent Mikhail Bakunin, who warned of the autocratic threat implicit in the term “dictatorship”, preferring to focus solely on its function of serving the interests of the emancipating social class. As for the complete disaster, it was like a stopgap for the unthinkable or, in Ruy's words, a substitute for something “more or less on the order of nothing”.[iii]

Why do these questions configure blind spots? Of course, the answer has historical ballast: the experience of the XNUMXth century suggests that the contradictions of capitalism push societies not towards a bifurcation, but towards a wider range of alternatives, not excluding disaster, but which now needed to be considered. From the historical observation it is possible, however, to move on to a more theoretical reflection. In Ruy's case, it meant reexamining the critique of capitalism itself – making “a critique of the critique”, so to speak.[iv]

The perception, in his mature work, that capital configures an increasingly comprehensive and autonomous power, that is, abstracted from any external purpose to the movement even of its self-valorization, made Marx think that he was dealing not only with an economic regime, but with a social whole – this is the point of the category “method of production” – closed in on itself, since, in its development, each of its parts is welded to all the others in an inextricable way. Therefore, he concluded that it would be impossible (“utopian”) to try to get rid of one of them without also getting rid of the others. His perspective of social revolution reflects this point of view: the only “realistic” alternative would be to change everything – from the form of property to wage labor, from the market to money, from the factory to the State – even if that would take an indefinite amount of time until to be completed, that is, a period of transition between capitalism and communism, which he called “socialism”.

On the other hand, his view of capitalism as a social system thus closed was translated into a theory of history in which possible futures were also closing up to the aforementioned bifurcation, in which the anti-capitalist alternative could only follow one direction: the progress of humanity. . It did not occur to him that this alternative could also involve a historical regression, a new, unprecedented type of social domination – totalitarian domination, which we will discuss below –, which would derive from the very effort to overcome capitalism. Hence, he did not bother to elaborate the problem of the political form of this overcoming. First blind spot.

On the other hand, the prospect of changing everything (communism) caught a remnant of the Enlightenment heritage or, at least, of a certain Enlightenment heritage, which was betting on the advent of a fully transparent society. Marx thought he was overcoming Enlightenment “utopianism” – still present, according to him, in the Hegelian left – by intending to go beyond criticism that was based only on the good use of reason, as if social domination could be reduced to a simple spiritual domination, to an opacity or intransparency of the order of the intellect, so well exemplified in religious belief. Marx, on the contrary, considered that this opacity resulted from the fabric of social action itself and that even a society emancipated from religion and governed only by material interests – something that capitalism itself promoted – would continue to be dominated by a kind of subtle “enchantment”, translated by him in the figure of the commodity fetish. To overcome this “superior” form of superstition, it was not enough to criticize an enlightened reason – which could even result in a second-order illusion (the “ideology”) – but it would be necessary to carry out a practical critique, the critique of an alternative way of doing things. , against the dominant social practice.

Ruy undoubtedly liked the view that the commodity fetish constitutes a social practice, and not a simple fiction of conscience. But from there to thinking that his practical critique, through the revolution and throughout the socialist transition, could clean up all the opacity of social relations, goes a long way. Though brilliantly changing his terms, Marx nonetheless maintained this goal. aufklärer. However, more importantly: it maintained its implicit anthropology, of such a plastic human “nature” that nothing in it could constitute an obstacle to the intervention of critical action – in the sense of eliminating, for example, egoic impulses of that nature contrary to the emancipatory project – , which gave rise to an authoritarian, if not brutal, experimentalism, along with a new kind of mystification, converting criticism into its opposite. Second blind spot.

Finally, the problem of the relationship between capitalism and political form, which basically anticipates the relationship between post-capitalism and politics. His conception of capitalism as a mode of production, that is, as a social whole in which the parts are intimately united with each other, induced him to subsume each and every element of politics – the political regime and the form of the State – to functions of social domination. This, despite assuming that capitalism is driven by an internal contradiction, but that fundamentally it was located elsewhere, in the “engine room” of material life. If some political form emerged within the system, but in contradiction with it, as during a certain period he imagined democracy to be the case, this would lead society out of capitalism and, therefore, towards revolution. Except in that case, democracy, like the legal form of the contract, would be nothing more than an illusion of freedom and equality, nothing more. The viability of a contradictory coexistence of democracy and capitalism was not on their horizon. Third blind spot.


Totalitarianisms, left and right

In more recent years, Ruy Fausto has focused on the problem of thinking, based on the history of the XNUMXth century, the fate of revolutions and the political and social regimes resulting from them. A fundamental question, since “social revolution” was the term that perhaps best summarized the emancipatory project of the left at the beginning of this period. As noted earlier, Ruy was convinced that the communist regimes that emerged from these revolutions clearly showed that anti-capitalist alternatives, contrary to expectations, could turn into terrible historical regressions. The balance sheet of the left's performance in the period, therefore, is not at all positive.

Not that the right, and defenders of the capitalist alternative in general, fared any better. The century began with the catastrophe represented by the First World War, perhaps the common origin of all subsequent misfortunes, itself a result of the unfolding of European capitalism in the previous forty or fifty years, marked by imperialist competition. However, even there it is necessary to admit a certain complicity of the left, in this case the non-revolutionary left, European social democracy, which mostly lent its support to the war and ended up falling into long disrepute. This historic decision, which Ruy qualified as “almost criminal”, practically handed over the initiative of the political struggle, in the crucial period that followed, to a left more prone to getting lost in the blind spots of Marxism mentioned above.[v]

Two events, almost concomitant, and which will mark the XNUMXth century, follow directly from the First War: the Russian revolution and the emergence of fascism from Italy. Although derived from a common cause, Ruy's assessment of them, contrary to certain conservative historians, is not the same: the first was, in principle, an auspicious event, insofar as it overthrew the last bulwark of absolutism in Europe, the tsarist empire; while the second already represented the beginning of the great historical regression that will lead to the rise of Nazism and the Second World War. The history of the Russian revolution is more sinuous, since it is a story of hope that is derailed later on, as Bolshevism takes the leadership of the revolution and begins to build a new state power. Subsequently, this new power, already authoritarian, embarks on pure and simple regression, in the form of the Stalinist regime.[vi]

Due to certain common external aspects, and the need to mark the absolute historical novelty they meant, Ruy adopted, following certain analysts, the term “totalitarianism” to name both regressions, one from the right and the other from the left. . As a generic approximation to both objects, totalitarianism served him to mark the last point on the scale of a process of radicalization and dissemination of violence, which began with the installation of dictatorships of a revolutionary party - one of the extreme right and the other of the extreme. left – until they became autocratic regimes tout court, supported by recurrent mass terror, concentration camps and population extermination practices. Although the Stalinist regime (and later the Maoist regime) did not reach the point of aiming for the systematic and complete extermination of a determined “race”, as Nazism did, this does not mean that it was less devastating in its fury to arrest or eliminate a colossal number of people, whose common characteristic, moreover, was that they represented absolutely no threat to the established power.

Despite the similarities in terms of modus operandi, Ruy highlighted differences, which he considered essential, between left-wing and right-wing totalitarianism, both in relation to their “prehistory” (the question of origins) and in relation to legitimation practices and ideological discourse. This distinction came from his dialogue with other analyzes of totalitarian regimes, from which he was strongly influenced, but which tended to emphasize their continuities more than their discontinuities. This is the case of Hannah Arendt's classic analysis, which he greatly appreciated, but who was unable to explain the “origins” of Stalinism with the same breadth and insight with which he had retraced the “origins” of Nazism. He evidently had a special interest in studying the roots of left totalitarianism.

Also due to the political debate that the subject raised, it mattered less to him to provide a sociological explanation than an understanding of the complex set of ideas that could have contributed, albeit to a certain extent involuntarily, to the introduction of a totalitarian power from the left. We have already tried to indicate it briefly here, with the notion of “blind spots” in Marx's thought. This does not mean, not even remotely, that the Stalinist regime (or the Maoist one, which is a kind of continuation[vii]) had been a direct emanation of his theory of socialism and communism. But neither does it mean to completely exempt it from mistakes and lack of precaution, which could easily result in opportunistic appropriations, even reaching the complete inversion of its meaning. Between original Marxism and totalitarian practice, there are a series of indirect passages, which he tried to identify in his own effort to make a “prehistory” of communist regimes.

Thus, these passages include the peculiar history of the Russian left, Lenin's thought, the advent of Bolshevism and its ancestral relationships with the Jacobin tradition and revolutionary terror, the authoritarian appropriation, by Leninism, of the democratic and progressive energies of the Russian revolution, etc. . In the process, the conversion of the figure of the “dictatorship of the proletariat”, as Bakunin had predicted, into a dictatorship of the party and finally into the dictatorship of the autocrat or despot. Note, once again, the emphasis on the analysis of ideas and their fateful “interversions” – a figure of dialectical discourse often used by Ruy to indicate the historical passage of opposing terms (or, as he described it, “the passage from the opposite to the opposite”): for example, from the egalitarianism that is posited in the original discourse of the revolutionary regime, and which later ideologically “shoes” the communist regimes, one passes, through the denial of freedom, to its exact opposite (the non-equality). It is in this essential passage that left totalitarianism forces its entrance, almost imperceptibly, into the plane of original leftist ideas – hence our author also called it “egalitarian totalitarianism” –, from which he distinguishes “non-egalitarian totalitarianism”, from the right, which by denying the value of equality from the outset and endorsing the theory of racial superiority, imposes itself without having to carry out the interversion.[viii]

Emphasizing ideas and, at the same time, avoiding “sociologizing” (as he called them) approaches to the failure of Soviet socialism and its conversion into an unprecedented form of despotism, was also a way of rejecting Marxist explanations. ad-hoc that sought to extend the critique of capitalism to this scope. I mean, explanations like the following: that Soviet socialism was actually a disguised form of state capitalism, the result of the very backwardness of economic development in Russia and the unfortunate failure of the proletarian revolution in the most advanced capitalist countries. Ruy saw in these explanations an attempt to maintain at all costs the very same framework of ideas that, after all, insisted on preventing the predominant left from facing the blind spots of original Marxist thought head on and then drawing the due consequences. It was not, therefore, a question of opposing “idealist” explanations to “materialist” explanations, but of waging the political struggle through the clash of ideas – which, as indicated at the beginning of this article, always refers to taking a critical position, anchored on possible alternatives.


Democracy, capitalism and certain pitfalls

Let us return to the problem of the junction between democracy and capitalism. As already highlighted, Ruy Fausto saw it as a contradictory junction, a kind of interpenetration of opposites, for which he used the expression “capitalist democracy”.[ix] This could mean both a brake on the values ​​of equality and freedom – which the democratic pole entails – and a brake on the domination of capital. On the one hand, it involved the possibility of introducing progressive changes within capitalism, as had occurred in post-war Western European countries.[X] But, on the other hand, it also involved pitfalls, all of them related to tendencies to accommodate with the dominant system.

The dangers of accommodation are attested by the very trajectory of European social democracy. Starting, as we have seen, with the surrender to warmongering in the First World War. It is true that social democracy later experienced its great moment, during the so-called “thirty glorious years” after 1945. And yet, it fell back into the traps of accommodation throughout the period of neoliberal predominance, until it reached an almost complete collapse. disrepute in recent years, as exemplified by the melancholy government of socialist François Hollande in France.

But Ruy was especially concerned with the fate of the Brazilian left, after the rise of Lula and the Workers' Party to the national government. It was a moment of great hope, in view of the PT's previous trajectory, of strong ties with social movements, active participation in the democratic reconstruction of the country and fight against the iniquities of Brazilian capitalism. Based on his knowledge of the social-democratic experience and the impasses of Brazilian politics in the previous democratic period (1946-1964), our friend tried to warn about those pitfalls, even before Lula's ascension to the presidency of the republic.[xi]

Two issues stand out. The first concerns alliances, both electoral and those supporting the government. It is not an elementary question, especially when dealing with a country like Brazil, so extensive and heterogeneous from a regional point of view, and with little tradition of parties with programmatic consistency. It would be, perhaps, a less problematic question if the political currents aiming at the state power only intended to administer the status quo. But for leftist currents that really want to put in motion a platform of progressive economic and social reforms, the challenge is quite different. Alliances must be broad enough to guarantee the approval of laws in Congress, as required by a democratic regime; and yet consistent from a programmatic point of view, so as not to undermine its reformist impetus from the outset. The fundamental problem, in fact, is how to reconcile social transformation, which gives meaning to a left-wing policy, with democratic institutions and values. And that brings us to the second question.

In the past, the difficulty described above pre-disposed a good part of the Latin American left to defend rupturist solutions, which imposed the use of violence as a strategic horizon. In recent decades, as countries in the region democratized, this strategy lost credibility. Several left-wing parties began to grow electorally and began to embrace the idea of ​​a path of transformation through institutional means. The PT was one of the most successful in this route, with successive expansions of its parliamentary benches and the number of local governments it administered. In 2002, to increase the chances of victory in the presidential election, he even made a move towards the center, both in alliances and in his platform. A delicate and risky gesture, but politically acceptable, if the party made lateral concessions and could preserve the fundamentals of its program and – just as important – make certain principles of conduct non-negotiable. Among the latter, the guidance of never compromising with corruption.

For Ruy, this was not a minor issue. In his view, the left had little to gain if it replaced the temptation of revolutionary violence (understood not as a defense resource, but as a “positive” form of struggle) by using the power of money to promote the desired social changes. It would amount to making an inappropriate caesura between means and ends, whereby "good or right" ends could be obtained through "bad or wrong" means. In the two cases on the screen, that of violence and that of corruption, the means employed would irremediably contaminate the desired ends. Both would end up triggering a kind of vicious circle: once this path is adopted, it becomes very difficult, if not impossible, to get out of it. The opposite behavior may seem moralistic and even utopian, but Ruy sought to base it on a vision that he considered, on the contrary, to be the most realistic.

The point refers to the importance of “transcendental” ethical principles not only in personal conduct, but also in political conduct, which he learned to revalue even within his critique of the Marxist critique of capitalism.[xii] We cannot delve deeper into the subject in this space, but it is worth at least indicating the meaning of the term “transcendental” in this consideration. It so happens that the so-called “materialist” theory of history tends to think of the subjects of the drama of social transformation as mere supporters of the class position they may have. In a way, personal or collective conduct is subsumed under the class position, that is, the role or function that a given social class plays in different historical epochs: this extreme “objectification” of the subject seems to be a strong tendency in a view of history in which nothing escapes the immanence of the impersonal forces that govern its unfolding. Which makes it secondary to principles such as the intrinsic dignity of the human being. Such principles would only make sense, that is, in a fully emancipated society. Before that, they operate as simple illusions or, even more serious, as “ideology”, which otherwise has the function of slowing down the march of history.

Without neglecting the importance of objective class interests, Ruy sought, in his critique, ways of reestablishing a strong notion of the political subject, in which it made sense to think of him as acting, at the same time, “inside” and “outside” history. . In short, opening space to give your practice a transcendental dimension. In this consideration, I would bet that in the subject's consciousness there is always something that escapes objectification and that would harbor a passage to act not only according to given ends, but according to principles. In this way, instead of being suspected of being an illusory conscience, Ruy starts to see it as an intrinsic attribute of the subject that is not only a support, but that effectively acts.

For this very reason, the subject who acts according to principles can never consider any breach of means and ends trivial. At the very least, the principles impose limits on the use of means, precisely because the subject who embraces them is led to consider whether their consequences affect the very dignity of the ends.[xiii] Behold, moral conscience always poses the question: is it worth doing like this or like that? The question may even deserve different answers, depending on the circumstances; what you cannot do is dismiss it as a false question, especially if it affects the fate of others or many others, as happens in political decisions.

In addition to the strictly ethical aspect, corruption raises another consideration, which is directly related to the character of “capitalist democracies”, the tense interaction between democracy and capitalism. There are two ways in which the latter seeks to get rid of the nuisance represented by democratic values ​​and institutions: either through the pure and simple elimination of the democratic regime, or through its neutralization. In neoliberal times, the second strategy prevailed. Neutralization means replacing the resources of political action – the public clash of ideas, convincing voters, voluntary militancy by citizens in defense of their rights – by the overwhelming power of money. That is, to reduce the democratic regime to a form of “government through money”. Taking advantage of the resource of corruption to promote a government's goals, however progressive those goals might be, would imply playing into the game of this reduction. In purely realistic terms, Ruy saw no chance of the leftist forces prevailing in this terrain.



Throughout all the time that, in his life, he dedicated to fueling the public debate, Ruy Fausto always saw himself paddling against two tides: the tide of the dominant left and the tide of the dominant right – the latter expressed, more recently, in the speech neoliberal. It was, he said, his way of rejecting, in the field of politics, the principle of the excluded middle. That is, to avoid the disjunctive, almost always misleading, of the type “either you are on one side, or you are necessarily on the opposite side” – which, deep down, works by muffling the more reflective position and more conducive to the densification of alternatives .

Finally, once again the issue of criticism and responsibility for its consequences.

*Cicero Araujo is a professor of political theory at the Department of Philosophy at FFLCH-USP. He is the author, among other books, of The Form of the Republic: from the mixed Constitution to the State (WMF Martins Fontes).

Originally posted on german philosophy notebooks, vol. 26, no. two.




FAUSTO, R. (1987). Marx. Logic and Politics: Investigations for a

reconstitution of the meaning of the dialectic. Volume II. Sao Paulo: Brasiliense.

FAUSTO, R. (2007). The difficult left: around the paradigm and the destiny of

revolutions of the XNUMXth century and some other themes. Sao Paulo: Perspective.

FAUSTO, R. (2009). Another day: interventions, interviews, other times. They are

Paul: Perspective.

FAUSTO, R. (2010). “Left/Right: In search of foundations, and critical reflections”. Magazine February: Politics, Theory, Culture no. 3 and 4, June 2011 and January 2012. ( e

FAUSTO, R. (2017a). The Cycle of Totalitarianism. Sao Paulo: Perspective.

FAUSTO, R. (2017b). Left paths: elements for a reconstruction.

Sao Paulo: Company of Letters.



[I] On the meaning, validity and contemporary limits of the left/right distinction, see FAUSTO, R. (2010).

[ii] Cf. “Zero and Infinity”. In: FAUSTO, R. (2007), pp.155-164.

[iii] Cf. “On the Politics of Marx”; and “Successes and Difficulties of the Communist Manifesto”. In: FAUSTO, R. (2007), pp.33-50 and pp.51-65.

[iv] The notes below seek to condense an argument that is much finer and more sinuous than what I can present here. Cf. FAUSTO, R. (2017), Chap.II, spec. pp.37-48; and FAUSTO, R. (1987), Cap.I.

[v] On the trajectory of European social democracy and its mishaps, see FAUSTO, R. (2007), pp..224 and ss.

[vi] For an overview of the Russian revolution, see FAUSTO, R. (2017a), Caps. IV and V.

[vii] On the Chinese revolution and the Maoist regime, see FAUSTO, R. (2017a), Chap.VI.

[viii] On these passages from “prehistory”, to the history of the left totalitarian regimes, and on their difference with right-wing totalitarianism, see FAUSTO, R. (2017a), Caps.II and III.

[ix] On this concept, see, among others, FAUSTO, R. (2007), pp.18 and ss.

[X] Its long-term perspective, however, is to go beyond capitalist democracy, which would demand a political and social regime to neutralize the dominance of capital, which Ruy called “democratic socialism” or “radical democracy”. On the idea of ​​neutralizing the power of capital and the need for a new critique of political economy to support it, see FAUSTO, R. (2017b), pp.95-104.

[xi] On the Brazilian left, the PT and the governments of Lula and Dilma Rousseff, see FAUSTO, R. (2009), Part I, Cap.2; and FAUSTO, R. (2017b), Caps. 1 and 3.

[xii] Cf. FAUSTO, R. (2009), pp.149-151; on the relationship of this point with the topic of “left populism”, which I did not discuss here, see FAUSTO, R. (2017b), pp.29-39.

[xiii] This field of considerations should include the challenge posed by the ecological crisis and the limits of objectifying nature itself. On the ecological issue, see FAUSTO, R. (2017b), pp.39-45.

See this link for all articles


  • About artificial ignoranceEugenio Bucci 15/06/2024 By EUGÊNIO BUCCI: Today, ignorance is not an uninhabited house, devoid of ideas, but a building full of disjointed nonsense, a goo of heavy density that occupies every space
  • Franz Kafka, libertarian spiritFranz Kafka, libertarian spirit 13/06/2024 By MICHAEL LÖWY: Notes on the occasion of the centenary of the death of the Czech writer
  • The society of dead historyclassroom similar to the one in usp history 16/06/2024 By ANTONIO SIMPLICIO DE ALMEIDA NETO: The subject of history was inserted into a generic area called Applied Human and Social Sciences and, finally, disappeared into the curricular drain
  • Letter to the presidentSquid 59mk,g 18/06/2024 By FRANCISCO ALVES, JOÃO DOS REIS SILVA JÚNIOR & VALDEMAR SGUISSARDI: “We completely agree with Your Excellency. when he states and reaffirms that 'Education is an investment, not an expense'”
  • A look at the 2024 federal strikelula haddad 20/06/2024 By IAEL DE SOUZA: A few months into government, Lula's electoral fraud was proven, accompanied by his “faithful henchman”, the Minister of Finance, Fernando Haddad
  • Strengthen PROIFESclassroom 54mf 15/06/2024 By GIL VICENTE REIS DE FIGUEIREDO: The attempt to cancel PROIFES and, at the same time, turn a blind eye to the errors of ANDES management is a disservice to the construction of a new representation scenario
  • PEC-65: independence or patrimonialism in the Central Bank?Campos Neto Trojan Horse 17/06/2024 By PEDRO PAULO ZAHLUTH BASTOS: What Roberto Campos Neto proposes is the constitutional amendment of free lunch for the future elite of the Central Bank
  • Chico Buarque, 80 years oldchico 19/06/2024 By ROGÉRIO RUFINO DE OLIVEIRA: The class struggle, universal, is particularized in the refinement of constructive intention, in the tone of proletarian proparoxytones
  • Volodymyr Zelensky's trapstar wars 15/06/2024 By HUGO DIONÍSIO: Whether Zelensky gets his glass full – the US entry into the war – or his glass half full – Europe’s entry into the war – either solution is devastating for our lives
  • Why are we on strike?statue 50g 20/06/2024 By SERGIO STOCO: We have reached a situation of shortage of federal educational institutions