Leaving the infernal abyss to see the stars again

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By REMY J. FONTANA*

Reconciliation carries risks, costs and can even be dangerous

Lula is elected: long live democracy! Non-conformists, right-wing extremists do not accept defeat: democracy threatened!

Politics has seldom penetrated hearts so much and shaped so many attitudes as in recent years, although for many, paradoxically, as anti-politics. This type of deplorable demonstration, this mistaken understanding, these mistakes and botched experiments will not fail to have harmful consequences on political culture and practice, and on the functioning of State institutions and civil society organizations.

Faced with the algorithmic dissemination of opinions, most of which are disparate, many shrouded in hateful fumes, which claim not only the right to be issued, but the equal validity of knowledge produced, whether through reasoned research or consistent argumentation, we are confronted with a time of obscurantism that seems to capture lost souls, naive consciences, disturbed psyches and all sorts of unsuspecting people.

This hazy and tense picture will be the backdrop against which we must move to try to restore a little the sanity lost by many of those swallowed by the rise of the Bolsonarist extreme right, and to advance the lights of knowledge and enlightenment, both necessary for the country to have some future and its people besides food, some dignity.

It will be a long-term task that will demand persistence of spirit and long times, measured in decades, perhaps in generations. It will be a collective effort, an organizational interdependence that should point to a permanent reconstruction/construction towards a society whose foundations contemplate balance, diversity, goodwill, free will, responsibility, conscience, “sense of agency”, that is, a feeling of of control over their own actions and their consequences.

A society that also incorporates equity, morality, well-being, compromise and tolerance, economic prosperity, values, sense and meanings, and, on the other hand, that mitigates divisions, ambition, selfishness, illusions, wrongdoing, injustices .

 

Fascistoid outbreak

Let's start with the profile of the bad soldier, expelled from the army, insignificant politician and fascist ruler, raised to the leadership of the nation by the circumstances of an authoritarian conspiracy, in the wake of the 2016 coup against the presidency Dilma Rousseff.[I]

Made of irrationalism, cynicism and mediocrity, Bolsonaro is a figure who deceives and lies, who does not know the attributions of a ruler, and who is self-deceived, not recognizing that the grotesque and ignoble masks with which he covered the character he embodied, are they own the finished expression of oneself.

An irascible and primary man who seeks to overcome himself in baseness with every speech and every gesture. A figure corroded by resentment, moved by hatred and affronts, tormented by the perception of his own insignificance, knowing that he is a hoax, a fabrication, condemned to the damnation of tormented souls, like Micheles' mystical invocations, Damares' angry prayers or terribly evangelical ministers will be able to rescue it.

The defeated on October 30. In order to unravel the social condition of these protagonists of chaos, who march and camp in the streets and squares of the country, and in front of the barracks, we would need to broaden the concept of the lump, which embraces in its original formulation (Marx&Engels) all sorts of criminals, marginals and disqualified, who stripped of class consciousness, become instrumental to reactionaryism and counterrevolution. Bolsonarist patriots of the moment contribute to the inclusion of other classes and categories in the concept; thus, in addition to the lumpenproletariat, we now have the lumpen petty bourgeoisie, the lumpenburgesia, and the lumpen armed forces, mobilized by occasional adventurers not to bar a social revolution, but to make a prosaic alternation of government unfeasible under the rules of liberal democracy.

Of the three potentialities of our soul, according to Aristotle: “to live, to feel and to reason”, the ones dressed in green and yellow, the extremist-Bolsonarist version, seem to live and apply only the sensitive power in what they hear or see, completely stripped of the power "reasoning". Hence their infinite credulity regarding the absurdities, the nonsense, the crudest enunciations, the cynical disinformation and the lies that are abundantly served down their throats by the hate machine set in motion by the former captain, puppies and minions.

They scream freedom, but claim dictatorship; they denounce a non-existent coup by proposing a real coup; they are supposed to have free will, but submit to divine predestination, via religious fanaticism; they intend to assert the truth of their beliefs and values, but are unable to substantiate or justify them.

Immersed in these conditions and carrying such attitudes, these “good citizens”, in practice a mass mesmerized by crudely fabricated “myths”, lack cognitive abilities, or have them at an insufficient level, while they are left with unthought attitudes, lacking a reference point. of beliefs associated with contextual knowledge regarding actions.

This responds, in part, to the fact that their experiences are usually dissociated from objective reality. It is this “parallel world”, already observed by journalistic chronicles and academic elaborations, the natural habitat of fanatical Bolsonarists, lost in any sense, common sense, common sense or critical sense. non sense. Meaningless, because tete malade. The little world of fools and idiots, where there is little intellect and excess of passion, objective knowledge skewed by manipulations and prejudices, and subjective experience pregnant with authoritarian exaltations and yellow-green delusions.

The indignation of these people, evidenced by the simple, caricatured and bizarre demonstrations, is given for the wrong reasons and spurious means, aiming at objectives that are the denial of the legality and legitimacy of the political system, popular sovereignty and freedom, which they invoke without knowing it. its nature, conditions, scope or limits.

Anger, intimidation and violence as prime ratio of personal conduct or collective action characterizes them.

This is the reason/unreason for the fascist rehearsals of road blockers, those camped in front of barracks clamoring for dictatorship, those who harass opponents with guns in hand, those who suffocate children by hanging them by the neck for saying “Lula there;” those who insult those who have not yet been swallowed up by irrationalism in restaurants, those who confront institutions and authorities not because there would be reasoned reasons to criticize them, but because of the foolishness of not agreeing with their procedures, dictates and decisions; of those who march like lead soldiers, puppets of the unqualified, led to the ruin of themselves and their own interests; those who put little children in a united order, making them march, in the style of the Nazi youth, chanting resounding barbaric cries; those who, in blatant ignorance, raise their arms in the Nazi salute; those who board school buses to attack teenagers who dared to suggest or indicate electoral preferences by placing their index finger in front of their thumb, drawing an L; producers of blacklists of commercial establishments, professionals and service providers who should be boycotted for being suspected of aligning themselves with the political positions of “enemies”; those who enter parochial houses and slit the throat of the parish priest; Finally, the blacklist keeps growing.

The list of extreme right wing rants, in their resistance to the minimum parameters of democracy and in their open denial of civility is long, and will still produce aberrations and morbidity on an industrial/informational scale.

What else is missing from this fascist insurgency? A stockpile of castor oil to be fed down the throats of your opponents? Punitive raids on universities, unions, parties, newspapers, or progressive associations? Indiscriminate physical aggression? Depredation of public facilities where law enforcement officials and authorities operate? Institution of “work” camps?

From this outbreak of Bolso-Fascist disobedience, from this denial of laws, pacts and political-constitutional contracts, all patriots driven insane by the crudest political rhetoric, by the most crass ideological manipulation, by the most shameless proliferation of lies will result, causing, to what remains of their faculties of reason , serious traumas that will make it difficult for them, or prevent, for a long time, access to the paths leading to the truth, to the effective reality of things.

These conservatives, particularly those of the reactionary strain, are basically people, groups or communities that find it difficult to recognize the complexity of reality, notably in conditions of rapid change in different spheres, and to admit the multiplicity under which it can be exercised and lived. human condition.

Although already present in previous years, it is in 2022, particularly around the elections, that the fascist adventure involved greater extravagances, greater delirium and threats, greater demonstration of anger and fury in its nonconformity in the face of defeat; there was no lack of tragic-comic episodes, whose bizarreness did not dispense with violence and intimidation, economic disruption and various losses, affecting many and, ironically, themselves.

What will the lives of these voracious consumers of disinformation be like from now on, who confidently or naively swallowed all the lies lavished on them by a powerful machine of fake news to distill blind hatred, not only towards opponents, but towards all who do not share their anachronistic values, their deformed conceptions of homeland, family and freedom according to the fascist canon?

How will they end up positioning themselves politically when this authoritarian wave dissolves on more democratic shores? How will they process their doubts, if they manage to overcome fanaticism, about what they believed to be, namely, protagonists of the “regeneration of the homeland”? What did they want to be, and what did they effectively become besides being pathetic and caricatured apprentices of fascism? What will remain of their embittered lives, their resentments, their impasses, their impotence to reverse the course and direction of social processes and their political expression? How, retrospectively, will they be able to reconcile their deeds, behaviors and gestures with a new reality that has overcome them?

How deep and dark are the motivations that mobilize them? How far and by what means do they intend to take their demands, articulated by a center of lies, falsehoods and manipulations, including the autonomization of digital networks, whose achievement would be the most brazen authoritarianism?

One of the most intriguing findings, in fact the same verified in relation to the Germans in the Nazi period, is that alongside the Hitlerite fanatics of yesteryear or Bolsonaristas of today, there are “ordinary” people, supposedly reasonable citizens, of a certain culture or enlightenment. who, for who knows what misfortunes in life, adhered to these cycles of insanity. In some respects, the emergence of these misfortunes can make us aware of subterranean political roots, close to us, which would otherwise go unnoticed.

Of the Nazis and their willing executioners, we know the horror they perpetrated and their inglorious end. As for the apprentices of Tupiniquim fascism, under the inspiration of the “myth”, will they be able to advance towards the abyss or will they be unable to proceed? Will they be contained by bodies or authorities that are guardians of the rule of law institutions, or by a mobilization of democratic forces?

When will these masses of reactionary insurgents see the illusions that gave them such impetus crumble? When will they realize that the claims and claims of their protests on which they based their crazy actions will be diluted by the force of a reality that will make their motivations empty of any sense, devoid of any relevance, inconsistent with the organization and functioning of the power apparatuses of a complex society, in these times of planetary crisis? For how long will they abdicate the truth of everyday life and the facts that objective reality imposes, given their preference for the repetition of their mantras, which, instead of appeasing them, exalt them even more in their fervent adherence to their “myth” and their beliefs? mystifications.

One cannot neglect, however, the fact that they navigate the dark waters of obscurantism and the deep river of ignorance, wrapped in a “histrionic hysteria of collective conversion” (Muniz Sodré, Folha de São Paulo, 13/11/22), and which are many, and which will give work to those committed to sustaining and deepening democracy.

 

Presidential elections and their enemies

A careful observation will recognize that the mobilized groups of the extreme right do not only dispute the adverse result. Their leaders trained them to question the fairness of the electoral process even before it was launched. This strategy, articulated by denialism, put into practice by Donald Trump and authoritarian imitators such as Jair Bolsonaro, ranges from denying science to denying the effectiveness of vaccines, from denying facts to denying electoral processes., among other denials.

The pathetic and rabid dissatisfaction with his opponent's victory is therefore part of a line of continuity in recent years, in which right-wing extremism has its animator installed in the government palace. It is therefore about movements, events and performances that are far from spontaneous, whether in terms of watchwords, schedules, agendas, resources; ostensibly financed by business sectors, financiers, agribusiness, all united in the same robbery of the nation and the destruction of democracy.

And now, with the election lost, Bolsonaristas intensify their resentment out of time and out of place, outside the (constitutional) text and international context, doubling down on the blocked roads and in front of the barracks, waiting for the “great moment” in that their anti-democratic claims are answered by the men of arms. However, neither their leader's pusillanimous cowardice nor the threat of military caste barracks seems to give them a glimmer of hope, given the isolation of the former and the demoralizing patacas of the latter.

Street rioters, generals nostalgic for the Cold War, business mobs, radio broadcasters thundering in their reactionary behavior without limits or scruples and, obviously, opportunistic politicians brought to the public scene by the algorithmic tricks they demonstrate, by the association of interests, by the harmony of ideas and values ​​and due to crass historical ignorance how much a significant part of the population can regress to a “primitivist” stage.

Now, in the “tabajara events after the presidential election” in which patriotism is confused with riots (M. Sodré, Folha de S. Paul, 13/11/2022), all this bunch adds up, crying out to the heavens, but invoking diabolic forces and fascist-type inspirations, in a narrow-minded coup.

It is up to us, therefore, to verify the emergence and mobilization of these strata, to recognize their behavior and political tactics, to evaluate their weight and their ability to articulate, to estimate their eventual continuity or disintegration; these are some theoretical and political procedures necessary to dislodge them from instances of power and influence, and weaken them within society.

It is to be hoped that what unifies them under the banner of patriotic irrationalism, at this juncture better understood as “patriotic” fanaticism (agglutination of patriot and sucker), usurping symbols and colors of the State and the nation, intertwines them in such an amalgam that they become to each other their own myths, their ghosts, their furies and their infirmities, in such a way that their own faces are devoured by their own masks.

Thus, from the historical drama they thought they were protagonists, they will end up supporting a burlesque comedy or a theater of the absurd, not entirely exempt from small tragedies or personal suffering. In the parallel world they live or create for themselves, the “myth” they forged in their naivety or insanity will no longer correspond to any symbolic, allegorical or legendary power.

Outside of history and devoid of reason, some seem to belong in limbo, the first circle of hell, others in purgatory. In these places, between cries and sighs, the repentant will have to wait thirty times the time they lived away from the law, democratic principles, norms and civilizing customs.

What would their adherence to such a base and disqualified ruler have been worth to them, if not diving into scientific denialism, behavioral incivility, cultural obscurantism, religious sectarianism and political authoritarianism, which will be shameful records to embarrass their posterity and descendants?

Sad legacies. May they at least serve to enlighten new generations, if they do not forget this monumental slip on the brink of the abyss of many who preceded them, and from there learn to make political choices that are more consistent with democratic parameters.

The best bet is that, within reasonable timeframes, most of these people acquire some less extreme or alienated political awareness, as these misguided energies are dispersed, when this parallel world they thought they inhabit collapses.

 

Pacification, conciliation, reconciliation or split?

What are? Who cares? How is it processed? What results?

If the first three terms refer to an intention, a deliberate search for an agreement, a desirable or necessary consensus, through diverse and complex mechanisms and political or institutional arrangements aimed at establishing an agenda or a pact that will once again allow both a civilized coexistence and the functioning of the state and governments after a period of conflagrations, the last term, scission, in the sense of division, cleavage, political and ideological separation is something that is given, it imposes itself as a harsh reality that cannot will be overcome in the short term.

The chances of success of some of these strategies aimed at consensus, or on the contrary, the reiteration of the split and even its deepening, will depend on the training of accredited leaders, on a civil society that has internal porosity and a willingness to dialogue between its various components, on a certain adherence of the popular masses, and of some objective conditions, notably economic, whether related to capital accumulation, to their appropriation/expropriation relations, or to the scope of redistributive policies, among many other factors.

When a society is tensioned or conflagrated to some degree, in an extensive gradation that goes from electoral skirmishes to civil war, at some point it must reach some end, if it wants to socially reproduce itself as such. In Brazil in the last decade, with notable growth, there has been a sharpening of feelings around values, political choices and ideological preferences, permeated by low moralism and religiosity impregnated by theologies of the occasion; both leading to a sociocultural regression that surprises and abysses us.

Such phenomena are not exclusive to us in these times of geopolitical changes, crises of capitalist hegemony and climate crisis. Almost everywhere, the rise of right-wing political radicalism has been one of the most disturbing expressions of these processes.

In our case, a long government period of four center-left administrations, with the PT at the helm, seems to have been a little too much for the ruling classes. These, with their apparatuses of hegemony, launched an intense, pervasive and continuous campaign of defamation, demonization and destabilization of those governments, the PT and its leadership.

The spurious success of these initiatives was evidenced by the 2016 coup d'état, by the arrest of Lula under the auspices of the lawfare lavajatista and for the election of the extreme rightist Jair Bolsonaro. In the midst of these processes and under the patronage of the former captain, now president of the republic, a mass of criminals emerged from the dark background of our history, with strength, capacity for mobilization and initiatives whose motivations, means and objectives must be referred to the movement fascist, be it the Italian matrix of the 1920s, or its integralist cabocla version of the 1930s.

It is this government, now defeated by force at the polls on October 30, 2022, that leaves behind this political ruin, this social cleavage, these budget gaps, this devastated land, these orphans of a dictatorship that they were unable to implement, but which they still angrily invoke it, under the inspiration of their madness, their bizarreness, their alienation.

The new democratic government, inaugurated on January 01, 2023, will therefore have to deal with this legacy of wreckage, with this mass that does not want to recognize the legitimacy of the polls. To govern a nation, not just for a part of it, in addition to democratic-republican purposes, it will be necessary to broaden consensus, generate support, disarm spirits.

Let's leave aside the conciliation processes and strategies, well mapped and studied, which permeate the country's history. Although it has not yet insinuated its cunning in the present situation, some of its versions will always be on the sleeve of the ruling classes, as a resource for harm reduction when things do not occur in the measure and scale of their substantive interests. It is a fact that both in the speeches and in the viability, support and success of Lula's candidacy, a superficial look seems to reveal his presence, with pacifying gestures, in the composition of the transition team.

But if conciliation, our old woman of war, took place when the contenders, in fact belonging to the same dominant strata, despite their quarrels and disputes, still maintained a capacity for dialogue, transactions and settlements, a proposal for reconciliation, on the other hand, arises when political tensions and social encumbrances confront opponents who have lost those conditions and possibilities.

This seems to be the current case, in which democrats of various stripes are faced with a fascist-type extreme right, empowered by the government of Jair Bolsonaro, defeated at the polls, but present in the authoritarian nonconformity of the streets.

In these conditions, who, and how, will the reconciliation agenda be proposed? Who will conceptualize it, define its terms, guidelines, scope, timetable, means, instruments and procedures? What support and forces will be needed to bring to an end the framing and accountability of protagonists who degraded institutions, abused power, defied basic rules of democratic coexistence, defiled national symbols, fomented hatred, caused thousands of deaths, avoidable, through negligence, ineptitude, prevarication and corruption, starting with the president of the republic, his family, minions and disqualified people of all kinds, with the active and well-rewarded collaboration of the Armed Forces?

Why is reconciliation difficult? It carries risks, costs and can even be dangerous. There is also the fear of being misunderstood, interpreted and handled. It will have to have cooperative dispositions, unarmed spirits, as well as courage and some political wisdom. It will demand the ability to project oneself beyond petty disputes, recent grievances, frictions and clashes of conjunctures, without failing, however, to be consistent with the objectives it has set itself.

Can we expect that such arrangements and conditions are possible or feasible? One of the most challenging issues will be to establish some connection between the different, some consensus through communicative improvement.

As difficult as it is to establish a civilizing level, where the divergent and opposed, the different and the diverse can coexist, the fact is that what has been done resulted from a social construction, and nothing prevents us from continuing to do something socially different.

It is certain that many will take time to free themselves from the fear that oppresses them, from the ignorance that subjugates them, and from the anger that kills. Conditions and dispositions that separate us by class, ideology, religion, culture, values, choices, preferences. To claim that the possibility of overcoming such barriers to coexistence could result from automatisms, memory erasure, temporizing with wrongdoing, impunity for crimes, compromises from the top, would be to make mistakes, reset impasses and repeat the mistakes that make us, as a nation , a community of unequal people who do not recognize themselves as having the same rights and dignity, opportunities and destiny.

When will we be able to look each other in the eye again? Who, what actors, with what support and with what leaders will reconciliation be possible? Who will oppose reservations, resistance?

A desirably optimistic perspective points to some political accommodation, certainly always provisional, between the institutional actors, namely the new Lula government, the conservative parliamentary majority and a somewhat hesitant guarantee of the high courts, given the ability of the first, the physiology of the second and the legalistic presumption of the latter.

On the contrary, a pre-insurrectional intransigence may prevail for a considerable time, whether that of the insanity of the streets, that of military authoritarian temptations or that inspired by the third-rate Bonapartist apprentice (of Napoleon III, Le Petit).

 

The flag and the colors of the homeland – uses and abuses

Domination (political), hegemony (cultural), morality (vicarious of religion) mobilization (of the masses) and similar or related processes in the Nation-State are found in nationalism and patriotism, and in their symbolic expressions of flags and colors a condensation, forming a kind of cultural cognitive model. Hence feelings of belonging and collective identity that crystallize in the living experience of a people.

It is true that such configurations fulfill certain purposes, necessary for the reproduction of society, for the functioning of the political system and the sovereignty of the nation. When, however, the symbols with which they are covered no longer correspond to the universality of the “State form” embodied in the nation, the enchantment and civic reconciliation of the social contract is broken.

Such is the case of revolutionary-type crises, which alter political regimes and refound the State. As a result, structures, processes and symbols that will give consistency to the new order are changed.

Perhaps, and this is a bet, and eventually a proposition, crises of lesser intensity, but strong enough to impact political practices, institutional arrangements, public policies or forms of conscience could also – or should – renew the nation's symbolic stocks for then redefine loyalties, identifications and adherences to a new moral order and a new political-cognitive and cultural arrangement, updating republican principles and deepening democracy.

This could be the case in Brazil, in the year of the bicentennial of independence, the 133rd of the republic, the 4th of Bolsonaro’s misgovernment, in which Bolsonaro himself and his resentful followers hijacked the national flag and colors, claiming to be the true (and only) patriots , staining these symbols with the hardly washable stain of intolerance, authoritarianism, truculence, political illiteracy and incivility.

If it were necessary to reinforce this proposition, it would suffice to mention that long before, but with notable emphasis in this government period, the Armed Forces already claimed, and exercised, “nationalist” prerogatives, that is, a base, overbearing and authoritarian nationalism, and a fancary patriotism , both duly dressed in yellow-green.

There will certainly be those who will propose the rescue of these symbols and colors of the homeland, in the name of the entire nationality. It can be a valid commitment, a noble task, a citizen objective. May we be lucky, if that's the case, in this arduous and long civic endeavor.

But why not dare to reinvent the nation's identifying marks and adapt its symbols to the new democratic, climatic and civilizational urgencies, in a qualitative leap that integrates us fraternally, and projects the country as a protagonist of the first magnitude in the face of the risks and threats of the Anthropocene?

 

What to expect or, what to do?

Civility, among us Brazilians, will still be a scarce item in social relationships for some time: the electoral defeat of Jair Bolsonaro does not eliminate from the social ground and from the political scene the ongoing process of ethical degradation, political authoritarianism and civilizing affront of many of its 58 million voters, hence the alert, prudence and struggle that will be imposed on Democrats in the coming years.

Returning to the title of these notes, yes, we are leaving hell; with some effort and sharp focus we can see stars again, but before reaching paradise, we have the huge southern mountain of purgatory to climb. What we can only do if fatigue does not overwhelm us, and we have safe guides to guide us and, by our side, combative companions to accompany us and dispositions for struggle, organization, courage and prudence.

What tasks await us, the democrats, the progressives, the anti-capitalists, to face the authoritarians, the reactionaries and the neoliberal capitalists?

Our action must focus not only on the bearers of these values, these fanatical followers of fascism, these receptacles and disseminators of irrationalism, but also, and perhaps with priority, on the transmitters, on the formulators, on those who command the threads of manipulations, reactionary broadcasters, especially from the countryside, unscrupulous businessmen who intimidate employees, judges and law enforcement, activists from the lawfare, etc.

We bet a lot on discourse and argumentation, but these, perhaps, should be subsidiary resources; the most relevant will be the demonstration of how government decisions and public policies consistent with the interest of the majority, especially of the less privileged, change their living conditions, raising them to a greater degree of well-being, recognition, dignity, conscience. However, for discourses or policies to create desired effects, penetrating everyday life, they need to become facts of immediate or direct experience, endowed with some meaning and, moreover, incorporating an emotional content, inserting themselves in human sensitivity.

For those who value a minimally solidary, cordial or respectful sociability, it will be a long test of resilience and patience to live, both in the private and collective or public sphere, with so many contaminated by the extremist right-wing outbreak that plagues the nation. We, those who live further south, where conservatism, reactionaryism and Bolsonarism, in their various combinations, are more ostensive, aggressive and shameless, will be even more challenged to maintain a citizen serenity, without ceasing to fight them, especially in the political spheres and cultural.

How, if and when, will these extremes of the right return to the parameters of civilized conduct, to the rules of a Constitution, to the republican guidelines of social coexistence? The most likely is that the most hardened reactionaries will remain so, immune to any agenda, dialogue or pact around the nation's substantive interests, which, without eliminating conflicts, regulate them democratically. With these unrepentant villains there will be no possibility of approximation, nothing that will make them break through the shell of insanity.

Others, we hope in greater numbers, review their expectations, assess their interests and who actually represents them, redefine their conceptions and reinsert themselves in a civic community in which the eventual prevalence of a political platform or a circumstantial hegemony does not mean the extermination of adversaries or the ruin of the nation.

Overcoming fractures between citizens of the same country does not imply canceling differences, but accepting them, recognizing them as legitimate expressions of the diversity of a people.

In any case, no approach aimed at mitigating the social cleavage that tensions us, and in the future overcoming it in a reconciliation process, will be possible before this fascist fury becomes just the bad memory of a period and the heavy and embarrassing conscience of those who they incarnated it. But for now, we'll still see the deterioration of personal relationships tickle our sensibilities, and political animosity prevails between this noise duo, "us and them".

At the moment, we cannot even imagine a new congregation of citizens, from the same country, exercising rights and duties, agreed upon by legitimate constitutional clauses. Estimating when this will happen is like standing at the base of a high mountain and trying to visualize its top. And its ascent seems to us at the moment to be almost an impossibility. For some time, decades perhaps, fears and paranoia, intolerance, rages and prejudices, despair and depression, suspicions and resentments will be abundantly available ingredients in our political scene/supper.

What we have here and which is projected for some time, and which sounds familiar to us, is that sides are taken and loyalties divided, until skin-deep emotions are brought back to their own sphere, freeing up political action, the political sphere, political relations and the political conflict of paying heavy and undue extra political tolls. Briefly said, that politics regain its nature, that its procedures organize society and that its protagonists act in consonance with their own terms.

“Permacrisis,” a term describing a long period of instability and insecurity, was the “2022 Word of the Year” for Collins Dictionary. Quite appropriate, certainly, although some others would fit us with similar pertinence: fascist (real threat), election (questioned), coup (always a possibility), myth (false), fake news (the bread and butter of the radical right), patriot (in its patriotic version), corruption (it won't let go of us), shepherd (temple moneylenders, merchants of the faith), hate (we even had a palace office to disseminate it).

Sergio Augusto (The State of S. Paul, 13/11/22), in this lexicographical package, proposes, however, a word that expresses like no other what we have felt in recent weeks: relief.

For now, in the face of this rabid rant of nonconformist fanatics, let us rejoice in the new dawn of democracy, which lasts and improves in measure and in correspondence, with our enlightenment and with our struggle.

May peace, judgment, truth and prosperity be effective, and lead us, while we wait for the sphericity of the world to be reimposed in the various areas of the madness that plagues us.

PS The title is a line from Dante, Hell, Canto XXXIV.

*Remy J. Fontana, is a retired professor of sociology at the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC). Author, among other books, of From splendid bitterness to militant hope – political, cultural and occasional essays (Insular).

Note


[I] I deal extensively with Bolsonaro’s political profile in, “From Plato’s dream to Dante’s Inferno”, The Earth is Round,14/09/22

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  • The melancholic end of Estadãoabandoned cars 17/06/2024 By JULIAN RODRIGUES: Bad news: the almost sesquicentennial daily newspaper in São Paulo (and the best Brazilian newspaper) is rapidly declining

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