just one more effort

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By VLADIMIR SAFATLE

Author's note to the 2022 edition

Initially written in 2017, this was an intervention book. It was written at the moment of the collapse of Lulism and the rise of what would be configured, a year later, as the transformation of Brazil into the world laboratory of authoritarian neoliberalism with fascist features. In this sense, the book does not speak directly of the last three years of Brazilian history, although it was necessary, at certain times, to bring some elements of this picture to better articulate the diagnosis that had been presented in 2017.

Anyway, if it was the case of re-editing it, it is because we believe that many of its analyzes are still valid and can serve as a presupposition for an understanding of relevant dimensions of the scenario that currently surrounds us. Time has demonstrated the depth of the thesis of the exhaustion of the Brazilian left and its urgent need for reinvention. It also demonstrated the depth of Brazilian institutional exhaustion and our country's inability to create something resembling a minimally effective democracy. The fair fight against the extreme right in power only rekindled the attempt to resume the same system of pacts and alliances that sank us and limited the capacity for structural transformation required by the revolutionary plasticity of Brazilian society.

It would be the case, then, to remember how Latin America, or at least a substantial part of the continent, seeks to walk along another path. The difficulty in seeing it in Brazil, at least so far, comes mainly from the characteristics of its left and its strategies. Therefore, this book is dedicated to thinking about our current situation from the point of view of the inherent contradictions of the Brazilian left in power. It would be possible to follow another path, producing an archeology of the violence of the Brazilian State against majority sectors of the population and showing its resilience. But if I chose the second way, it is because I understand that the tendency of repetition that makes explicit the limits of the Brazilian left is much greater and more structural than we would like to believe.

We should, therefore, start from the observation that 2021 saw a set of popular insurrections in Latin America whose strength comes from unprecedented articulations between radical rejection of the neoliberal economic order, uprisings that stress, at the same time, all the levels of violence that make up our fabric social and wide-ranging insurrectionary organization models. The images of struggles coming from Colombia against the tax reform that has trans subjects in front of them in affirmation of their social dignity, the fact that we see unemployed people building barricades together with feminists in Chile explain well something that was described, recovering the precise term of Félix Guattari, as “molecular revolution”.

This means that we are facing insurrections that are not centralized in a line of command and that create situations that can reverberate, in a single movement, both the struggle against naturalized disciplines in the colonization of bodies and the definition of their alleged places and against macrostructures of spoliation of the work. These are upheavals that operate transversally, calling into question, in a non-hierarchical way, all levels of the structures of reproduction of social life.

Looking at such movements now, I think the deepest reason for writing this book is the belief that the 11st century began that way, that this is indeed our century. Those who believe that the 2001st century began on September XNUMX, XNUMX, with the attack on the World Trade Center. That's the way some would like to tell it, because that would be the way to put the century under the sign of fear, of the “terrorist threat” that never goes away, that becomes a normal form of government. A way of placing our century under the paranoid sign of the threatened frontier, of the invaded identity. As if our fundamental political demand were, in a retraction of horizons, security and police protection.

In fact, the 17st century began in a small town in Tunisia called Sidi Bouzid, on December 2010, XNUMX. In other words, it started far from the spotlight, far from the centers of global capitalism. He started on the periphery. That day, a street vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, decided to go complain to the regional governor and demand the return of his cart selling fruit, which had been confiscated by the police. A constant victim of police extortion, Bouazizi went to government headquarters with a copy of the law in his hand, and was met by a female police officer who tore up the copy in front of him and slapped him across the face. Bouazizi then set himself on fire. After that Tunisia went into upheaval, Ben Ali's government fell, leading to insurrections in almost every Arab country.

Thus began the XNUMXst century: with a body sacrificed for refusing to submit to power. Thus, the Arab spring began, with an act that said: death is better than submission, with a very particular conjunction between a “restricted action” (complaining about having your cart selling fruit seized) and an “agonistic reaction” (immolate oneself) that reverberates through every pore of the social fabric.

Since then, the world will see a ten-year sequence of insurrections. Occupy, Plaza del Sol, Istanbul, Brazil, Gillets jaunes. Egyptian women who asserted themselves with their breasts on display on social media and general strikes. Most of these insurrections will struggle with the difficulties of movements that raise against themselves the most brutal reactions and are faced with organizing the most archaic sectors of society in an attempt to preserve power as it has always been.

In Brazil, such insurrectionary dynamics struggled with the hegemonic left and its reactions. One of the main axes of this book is the defense that we must go back once more and better understand what 2013 meant for Brazil. That part of this force was leveraged by the extreme right and its ordinary fascism, this simply shows what we have known since Marx wrote, in 1848, about how a social revolution could happen under Napoleon III, namely, what popular dynamics of revolt allow both the emergence of revolutionary and reactive subjects.

It would be important to remember this once again in a country like Brazil, where the forces of reaction organized themselves in an insurrectionary way. Significant sectors of the population took to the streets, and in the following years they called for military coups, defended the fascism of those who still govern us. Within the logic of preventive counterrevolution, Brazil, unlike other Latin American countries, was able to mobilize the dynamics of popular fascism.

If I thought it still made sense to republish this book, it is because I believe that a possible scenario among us is that of an insurrection against another insurrection and that we will have to work for it. Some may find this distant and ineffective; I can only remember this phrase from Marx in a letter to his friend Ludwig Kugelmann: “It would be very comfortable to make universal history if we engaged in the struggle only on condition that we knew we were victorious”.

But as I know that these men and women will not be convinced from a sentence or even analysis (the motivations for engagement go through other paths), maybe I can only ask them to close this book. Others believe that one must be prepared for events to occur or, if you like, one must be prepared for Wish that they occur; to such and such the book in question was written.

*Vladimir Safatle He is a professor of philosophy at USP. Author, among other books, of Ways of transforming worlds: Lacan, politics and emancipation (Authentic).

 

Reference


Vladimir Safatle. just one more effort. Belo Horizonte, Traces, 2022, 144 pages.

 

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