On the conception of the Party

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By Tarso Genro (*)

What hinders the creativity of leftist parties is not the “betrayal” or “selling” of consciences, at a time when any assault on the Winter Palace is a fiction. What holds back self-renewal is your bureaucracy's inability to 'look outside'.

The limits between the “internal” life and the “external” life of nations, states, peoples, communities, civil society organizations and parties, change according to the conditions in which people, classes, social groups live their relations with the work, family, property and politics. It is clear that in a society of networked political and mercantile production and communication these “limits” – between the “internal” and the “external” – undergo enormous upheavals.

These originate from the ability of people to “fish” certain facts, to show more or less brilliance in speech, to present more solid and intelligent arguments – or sometimes more stupid or even psychotic arguments – according to the cultural and mental conditions of each individual. . Crossing boundaries is always a risk, but this is how modern humanity was constituted with the Enlightenment revolutions.

The “limits” between the European city installed in the pampas region and the beginning of the empty countryside in its surroundings – in Borges's sense of Buenos Aires – are located somewhere in the outskirts. They are there where the farms begin, the city warehouses lose their special urbanity and become a fuss of smells and colors open to infinity. The "compadritos" are on the corners, sitting on the "owls", the seamstresses chat at the windows, the whores are respected "by day" and the small churches - indecisive in their elementary modesty - welcome all those who at some point accepted that Jesus Christ was born to save us.

Borges' limits are imprecise, as are the memories he awakens in every reader who enjoys his poem about the suburbs, an invitation from memory to celebrate its own soul. Limits leak in feeling, not in the concrete monotony of simplified life.

The “theory of limits” is the rational soul – if that is possible – of higher mathematics. According to some geniuses of physics, however, it is necessary to go beyond the “limits” of any discipline and not accept anything that blocks the development of science and the depth of knowledge. The limits between the “internal” and the “external” in political organizations, between “internal” and “external” economics in national states, between “form” and “content” in modern aesthetics – in these times of infinite reproducibility of art and commodity – are merely formal lines that no longer have any solidity. They melt into thin air: in political discourse, in religious preaching, in the complete interaction between global finance and internal poverty, in the unique game of local economies – regional and global – dependent on the calculations of algorithmic ethics, which makes rentier flows and their periods of brake.

Walter Benjamin already said that language is not a mere collection of words that produce abstractions, to make known the empirical world. In his view – correcting Enlightenment thought – he asserted that the aesthetic phenomenon (and this is valid for the aesthetics of politics) cannot be understood as pure “form”: it is its “image”, asserted Benjamin – as form and content assimilated among themselves – which transmits concepts, thus revealing new processes of knowing and making known. And the image that financial capital has of itself is what dominates the image that all people and classes have of themselves. In classical industrial society this image was registered in the work ethic, in the era of financial oligopolies and risk agencies it is shaped by the opportunism of the global financial casino.

Benjamin already said that what was considered the “external” (form) and the “internal” (content), make up a totality (the image), which becomes – itself – the conduit of the message. In his terms, it is the very subjectification brought about by the image (caused by what is transmitted) that becomes concrete and – at the same time – adds a new state of mind to ordinary life, making it increasingly alienated. Thus, the information brought by a story published in a newspaper – or a political thesis published there – may mean the same thing as a “video” or a “Twitter” message, but the sayings that will generate the images in the receiver – even if they have the same meaning – do not convey the same message to him, nor produce the same sensations.

I make these considerations to talk about a particular aspect of the debate on the my text published on UOL, which allowed me to receive important messages – for and against my opinions – that deserve a more direct reflection. One of them is the affirmation of some manifestations, that it was not correct to have published it “outside” the party instances, because the themes dealt there are internal issues, such as the conception of the party and political criticism of our leadership. I maintain that there are no more “internal” and “external” questions that should be dealt with in an absolutely organic way – both in terms of politics and in economics – other than those that relate only to the bureaucratic functioning of the Party or the State.

Antonio Gramsci's brilliant conception of the “extended State”, which in monopoly capitalism produces a set of private institutions around the public machine that are “extensions” of the formal State and function within its political logic, gives us an important example of this change. of “boundaries” between public and private, “state” and private property, “internal” and “external”, whose greatest example in Brazil is Rede Globo, which is at the same time an enormous and competent communications chain and a state party, which controls and is controlled by the state bureaucracy and body politic

I exemplify: a measure of the internal economy – in any country – integrated in the global economic order, cannot be decided only as a bureaucratic action of the State, without taking into account what happens outside its territory Its economic space is no longer purely territorial (as dominating or dominated) and the incidence of any important measure, which has scale is – at the same time – external and internal, with direct effects on the internal and external policy of the given country. This sovereign measure affects, therefore – supported by new information technologies and artificial intelligence production – not only on its geographic space, but on the entire space in which its extraterritorial economic relations are received as a message or political discourse, processed or denied. , in its validity or importance.

The “internal” and the “external” in economics lost their meaning since – for us especially – self-sufficient nationalism lost the historical possibility of coexisting with the republic, democracy and socialism. Recent article published by José Luis Fiori, shows the development of this interminable transition in Latin America, in which we have obviously been right and wrong since the beginning of the last century. The tragic thing, however, is that it led to a situation in which it is “very difficult to find a way out, which is viable and efficient, and which at the same time causes the least possible damage” (...), “outside of an economy of War practiced by North Americans and Europeans, at various times in its history, in particular during its two great wars of the XNUMXth century”.

The “internal” and “external” theme that interests us is that of the left-wing parties, as history (for socialism as a universal idea) and nightmare (for those who lived with the dissent of Stalinism) a real demand for a period of world war against Nazism, made possible by the liquidation of most Bolshevik and Menshevik intelligence, before the war itself. It is known that in the early days of the social-democratic movement, public debate – even if it originated clandestinely – was a custom among the “great intelligentsia” of the time, in different countries and revolutionary periods, inside and outside the parties. But at the Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Workers Party (RSDLP), which led to the split between Bolsheviks and Mensheviks (London 1903), the camps led by Lenin and Martov were irreconcilable in terms of organization. There the “internal” and the “external” became radicalized and polarized.

Under those conditions, it was deduced that the proletariat of the modern factory was the subject – leader of the Socialist Revolution. It was natural, therefore, that the Bolshevik Party (resulting from the “majority”) composed predominantly – in its leadership – by brilliant bourgeois and petty-bourgeois intellectuals, referred to itself as the force capable of “adjudicating” – the expression is Lukács’s. – to a highly centralized and disciplined party, the “science” and theory of the Revolution. These needed to be passed on to the most advanced and conscious workers, ready to survive underground, protected by apparatuses with clear norms of “separation” between the “members” of the Party (which would be the “internal”) – on the one hand – and the “supporters” and “militants” (the “external”), on the other hand.

In a capitalist society, like the current one, the norms of organization that separate the “internal” and the “external” are ineffective, since the new forms of resistance and struggle against the domination of financial capital over the State, as well as the re-creation of the idea of ​​revolution (or reform) are completely different from those of the tsarist era. And these ideas are generated, today, not “inside”, but predominantly “outside” the parties. The concrete forms of social reproduction, with the new means of domination, transmission of information, control of information, horizontal relationships in a network and the growing reduction of the classic proletariat, are others: the society for which the action of organizations is destined. policies is quite another, both more complex and more difficult to be changed in the humanist and democratic sense.

What hinders the creativity of left-wing parties is not the “betrayal” or the “selling” of consciences, at a time when any assault on the Winter Palace is a fiction. This may occur occasionally, but what hinders – indistinctly – the ability of parties to renew themselves is the inability of their bureaucracy to “look outside”, “take advantage of what comes from outside” – philosophy, science , of political theory – of its vast range of “partisans without a party”, which the closer to social proletarianization, the more distant from the “proletarian spirit” of industry, sacrificed on the altar of “pejotismo”, informality, intermittence and outsourcing . Our dogmatics of marked cards is no longer attractive even for our most recent militants, who come from movements in horizontal networks or from social movements over which the parties have little influence.

I suggest to help increment a substantive debate, the reading of the article by antonio martins, which shows that “a new vision of money and credit” is spreading around the world. Produced outside of party debates, this new theoretical vision dismantles neoliberal monetarist theories and proves that money – conceived as a political relationship between the state and the production of goods and services – is the decisive instrument, political and technical – but, above all, political – of the Democratic State, to refute neoliberal barbarism, as Bernie Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez are proposing. Is the writer right? I am not in a position to answer, but I sense – with my limited knowledge of economics and a certain amount of political experience – that contributions like these, which come from abroad, come from people who think about the future in a more advanced way than most of our militants and even cadres, who still believe that the “limits” of a party's instances are a protection against the “inauthentic external world”. Not the sympathetic demarcation of a welcoming space for universal intelligence.

*Tarsus in law he was Governor of the State of Rio Grande do Sul, Mayor of Porto Alegre, Minister of Justice, Minister of Education and Minister of Institutional Relations in Brazil.

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