On the concept of totalitarianism

Image: Anderson Antonangelo


Classifying an ideology is not explaining it, since identifying its nature necessarily corresponds to referring it to the concrete totality in which it emerges.

From rusticity to sophistication, in any of its forms, the concept of totalitarianism, in essence, translates the idea of ​​monopoly power[I].

Simply to follow an author already mentioned and of undeniable prestige, let us list what F. Neumann considers the “five essential factors of totalitarian dictatorship”:

1) transition from a rule of law to a police state; 2) transition from diffuse power in the liberal states to concentration in the totalitarian regime; 3) the existence of a monopoly state party; 4) transition of social controls from pluralist to totalitarian; 5) the decisive presence of terror as a constant threat against the individual[ii].

"These are, says Neumann, the characteristics of the most repressive political system."

What do they tell us?

Fundamentally, totalitarianism is a radical opposition to the liberal state.

The contrast can be easily seen for the five factors listed. So we have respectively: for the first, the opposition between law and force; for the second, the opposition between diffusion and concentration of power; for the third, the opposition between party pluralism and its opposite; for the fourth, the opposition between state and freedom; finally, the opposition between violence and reason (consubstantiated in the individual) for the fifth factor.

In this way, the liberal state becomes the system where lei, reason and freedom, guaranteed by diffusion of power and by the structure multiparty. And the totalitarian state is the system where extreme violence prevails — The horror — and domination hypertrophied by the concentration of power and nourished by the political monopoly of the single party.

One, therefore, is the regime of freedom, governed by law, by reason; the other, that of oppression commanded by violence. Who is the beneficiary of freedom, in the one case, and who is the victim of oppression in the other?

The answer, still in Neumann's words, is that what distinguishes the totalitarian state "is the destruction of the line between State and Society, and the total politicization of that society by means of the single party"[iii]. In other words, where civil society prevails, we have the realm of liberty; where the state dominates, totalitarianism reigns.

In addition to the obligatory registration of the extreme generality that characterizes all these formulations, it is also worth asking: how is civil society conceived, in the last analysis? The same author explains to us: “Government by law is a presumption in favor of the right of the citizen and against the coercive power of the State. In the totalitarian state this presumption is reversed.[iv]. Note, then, that the poles of the dilemma are, therefore, the individual and the State[v].

Everything turns, as we tried to show, within the universe of liberalism. And the determinations regarding totalitarianism are nothing more than definitions by negation regarding liberal characteristics. Ultimately, the notion of totalitarianism reflects nothing more than liberalism with the opposite sign.

This, however, is not a simple coincidence, nor a mere product of theoretical weakness. If not, let's see.

The analysis of the characters of the totalitarian dictatorship listed by Neumann reveals these implications.

Above all, the author's five factors deal with the relationship between law and violence, in which the line of reasoning is led by an unjustified disjunctive.

The global opposition between law and force, in the first characteristic, is juxtaposed with the opposition between reason and violence (5th characteristic), a different expression of the same statement. From them, the cornerstone of the entire scheme, the other “oppositions” are distilled: the single party that forms the instrument for overcoming the legal empire, and the concentration of power and the monopolized social controls that are its necessary derivatives.

Therefore, a conception is set up whose necessary assumptions are: an abstract excluding relationship between material power and legal power; and the attribution also in the abstract of a positive value to the legal field, and a negative value to material power. Assumptions that imply considering the liberal state as a sort of end of history, therefore, rationally insurmountable, eternal as a practical and theoretical value.

Thus, the definition of totalitarianism as opposed to liberalism is not casual, but the result of a comparison with a paradigmatic model. Hence we said that the definition of the concept is driven by an unjustified disjunction. It is now clear that the accusation takes place, by imperative of the real concrete, at the level of the presuppositions of the entire formula.

The abstract opposition established between the legal plane and that of material force reflects the classic conviction that legitimate power “is the rule of laws, not of men”[vi], and that “all are entitled to equal rights under the law and that all are entitled to civil liberties”[vii], so that “the main purpose of government is to defend the freedom, equality and security of all citizens”[viii].

All this because “the moral merit, the absolute value and the essential dignity of the human personality have constituted the fundamental postulate of liberalism. Therefore, each individual must be considered as an end in himself, not as a means to promote the interests of others.”[ix].

The opposition is situated, therefore, as we have already emphasized, between the State and the individual. Not mediating, in the analysis, between the two, any other dimension of social existence. The individual, in the intangibility of his human personality, is what founds the existence, limits and purpose of the legitimate state.[X].

Society, the people, are conceived, as can be seen, simply as a population, a sum of equal units whose only differences are individual differences in personal capacity, and in moral judgment and strength.[xi].

So that for the liberal analysis the question of the State is summarized in the problem of legality[xii], given that everything is generated and resolved in the interindividual game[xiii], ordered by rules defined above the social, excluding any consideration related to the problem of classes and their hegemony. Consequently, liberal criticism does not and could not logically and historically take[xiv], liberalism as a form of hegemony of a certain class, but as the real expression of equality between individuals[xv].

Analytically, this concealment is of the same nature as the one operated by the concept of totalitarianism. That is, the game of classes is hidden by the game of individualities; due to the emphasis on the legal, access to the real is prohibited[xvi].

This is precisely what the concept of totalitarianism leads to: the impossibility of understanding the phenomena that it precisely believes it determines.

What leads to this alchemy is precisely the procedure proper to liberal analysis: the use of abstract universals as the only resource of the movement of scientific apprehension. Hence, instead of conceptually reproducing the concrete, highlighting the decisive particularity in each case, we are led, by that analysis, to confront reason in general, freedom in general, the citizen in general, the state in general, the violence in general, etc., etc.[xvii].

One cannot fail to observe that such notions are linked to a particular mirroring of their generating base: the market economy, conceived as the natural place of exchange relations in general between individuals equally considered in general, in other words, the capitalist system of production and its ideology.

It is precisely the abstract universal that allows liberal criticism, giving the maximum extension to the concept of totalitarianism, to unite a multiplicity of phenomena, distinctly situated, under the same label, which confuses them under the pretext of explaining them. It is in this line of procedure that we witness the “monopoly” of power being transformed into a “monopoly” of power in general (having become a “monopoly”, that is, totalitarian, precisely because it is not diffused, as it is intended to occur in the state liberal), obviating without justification the fact that power always implies the question of hegemony. All reasoning is clearly based on an ideological position, asserting, against all evidence, that in the liberal state everyone has, or at least tends to have, some power. In other words, that power is, there, diffused, disseminated in general. Diffusion, moreover, which is taken as the only antidote to the evil that power is intrinsically, whatever it may be. Power, then, is an evil in general, which can only be opposed by its own fragmentation (diffusion). Despite being an evil, therefore, liberal criticism does not set itself the perspective of overcoming the State and its power, recommending, so to speak, contractually spreading them. Which reveals, to the extent that the contract is not effectively concluded between equals, that the liberal ideology relies on the abstract universal to defend a particular concrete privilege[xviii].

So that the assumptions of the analysis that the system offers as its “explanation” in fact guide, by resorting to generalities[xx], its justification and continuity, doing the same with regard to the “scientific” discourse that corresponds to it. Hence, and to the extent that we claim to have demonstrated that the concept of totalitarianism is a product of the liberal point of view, the statement that the notion of totalitarianism is only the expression with which this perspective coin everything that, on the political level, contradicts the archetype she forges of her world and herself. It should be noted that what contradicts the archetype, not necessarily its reality.

With this generalization that is at the same time a reductionism, since it limits the questions to the political sphere, the use of the concept of totalitarianism allows to mix and confuse Hitler with Stalin, and, if that were not enough, also phenomena of the Vargas or Peron type.[xx].

Confusing concrete historical manifestations, and reducing them to their political expression, the concept of totalitarianism simply operates a sort of tautology by “determining” fascism, national socialism and so many other events that it allows itself to encompass and that in some way contradict liberal profile. No more than that is to say that such phenomena translate the monopolization of power, the use of violence and repression of the individual. It is even worth saying that if the reasoning in relation to the mentioned phenomena is tautological, it is also, to the limit, to power in general. With this we are not trying to confuse or dissolve the different forms of hegemony; on the contrary, we want to highlight them, stating that hegemony is always present in the phenomenon of power, contrary to what the liberal analysis assumes.

Hence, and this is what interests us particularly, to state that fascism is totalitarianism is, at best, an act of formal classification, never an explanation of the phenomenon. It's actually a masking.

We said a little while ago that the liberal ideology relies on the abstract universal to defend a particular concrete privilege. It is worth asking, now, what privilege she defends by employing the abstract universal of totalitarianism.

By transforming the concept of totalitarianism into the key notion for the explanation of fascism, the first result is to place the whole problem in the sphere of the political, that is, it is to mischaracterize the historical whole that it represents in favor of a description that encloses it in the sphere of the political. power, taken in an isolated and self-sufficient way. It is to forward the explanation of the politician by the politician, of the politician by himself. Therefore, it is assumed to be independent, autonomous from civil society. Consequently, the explanation is made without reference to the mode of production in which it manifests itself; with contempt for the historicity of the phenomenon; without concern to investigate the concrete infra-superstructural relations in which it emerges.

In short, to use the concept of totalitarianism as an explanatory tool is to “explain” particular manifestations determined by generic superstructural traits. It is to “explain” the concrete particular by the abstract universal. It is to place oneself in the liberal epistemological perspective. We cannot here, recognizing the clear condemnatory character with which liberal criticism involves all its analysis of Nazi-fascism, also speak, paraphrasing Lukács, of “right-wing epistemology and left-wing ethics”[xxx]?

The other consequence of using the notion of totalitarianism, as we have already highlighted, is to identify distinct phenomena by similar appearances.

If we articulate, therefore, the two consequences of using the concept of totalitarianism, we obtain that the analysis that uses it, at a decisive level, is ultimately limited to being a discourse in general about the political in the abstract. So that the privilege conferred on the politician turns out to be in fact its dissolution, and the intended universality the instrument of this operation.

As a result, it is easy to perceive the ideological advantages that the notion of totalitarianism provides for the system that engenders it. By unlinking the Nazi-fascist phenomena, that is, the “political phenomena” from the economic structures, the separation between capitalism and Nazi-fascism is given rise, at the same time as it seeks to reinforce the intended identity between capitalism and liberalism, in addition to establishing that the “regimes of terror” are precisely those who deny liberalism, that is, capitalism[xxiii].

However, the issue is not limited to ideological advantages. We believe that the notion of totalitarianism is not only an ideological instrument, but also the theoretical limit of the liberal perspective for the analysis of Nazi-fascist events.

With such a concept it is possible to omit the causal link between capitalism and fascism, and this is vital for the system to be recognized. Otherwise, its rational foundation is broken, and consequently its character as the end of history: capital-liberalism, the supreme form to which the evolution of society and State power arrives.[xxiii]. A form that from then on only admits changes in the sense of improving the components that make it up, that is, changes that do not harm its essence, since it is only a question of progressively rationalizing all areas and sectors of the system, of incorporating , on a world scale, everything that is still at a lower level. Understanding, then, that based on it, any positive change can only be improvement (and any other change, since it denies the system, is necessarily negative), everything boils down, then, to degrees of rationalization, to intrasystemic remodeling, in a word, to technical victories. Here, then, progress is reduced to technical progress, and liberal reason shows itself exactly as limited reason, as technical reason, which is why positivism is its natural epistemology.

If a method is not found that breaks the causal link between the capitalist mode of production and the Nazi-fascist phenomena, how then to maintain the liberal utopia?

If the abstract universal makes such a rupture possible, the concept of totalitarianism reinforces it, since it is in the condition of its contrary that it reaffirms itself contemporaneously, no matter that as a technical reason, liberal reason shows itself as a limited reason; perhaps a smaller and more subtle weakness, since technical progress is shown to be the way of being of bourgeois conservatism.

To go beyond the concept of totalitarianism is, ultimately, to recognize the falsity of the concepts that support the theory of the system. If, as the liberal analysis itself wants, the totalitarian phenomenon is the denial of the equality of men, to deny the concept of totalitarianism is not to refute this factual inequality, but it is to recognize it as belonging also to the system that generates that perspective, which obviously it annihilates the perspective itself, which is to say that it illegitimates the system itself.

To accept Nazi-fascist phenomena as capitalist products is to accept that this system denies itself, therefore that it is not the finished form of history, that this one continues, and that the former is put in check. Hence, on the contrary, the fascist phenomenon has to be conceived as a negation of the very foundations of that mode of production. This is what operates the liberal analysis through the concept of totalitarianism. And to the extent that communism is also a negation of capitalism, it encompasses them under the same concept; in doing so it identifies a real denial with an apparent denial.

It is easy, then, to perceive that the notion of totalitarianism is the theoretical limit of liberal analysis. In other words, the liberal perspective can say nothing more about Nazi-fascist phenomena other than that they are governments of monopolized power in general, under penalty of breaking with its own assumptions, embodied in the notion of totalitarianism that is thought under the validity of an excluding relationship between strength and reason. Therefore, the limit of liberal criticism of fascist phenomena is the very system that generates them.[xxv].

The total insufficiency of the liberal analysis of fascism certainly has its explanation in this limit, and if it can be satisfied with its “explanation” at the ideological level, on the other hand, at the scientific level it only reinforces the thesis of the causal link with the system that produces it and who is also genetically responsible for fascist phenomena.

The trend towards formalism in the treatment of such problems, and not just them, in the field of political theory certainly follows from this. In any case, on the other hand, it seems legitimate to suspect that this is also the reason why the fascist phenomena have been left aside for a long time as an object of scientific analysis, and that the voluminous bibliography dedicated to them has predominantly been restricted to providing data and testimonies, instead of explanations, and which only more recently, when they were “equalized” to other non-liberal forms of power, started to deserve greater attention.

We mentioned above a tendency towards formalism. Without stopping there, for more than a moment, it is worth noting that the scheme synthesized by the notion of totalitarianism tends to, but does not effectively, a formal model, that is, “empty insofar as it refers to any object whatsoever”[xxiv]. As it obviously does not refer to any objects, but to certain political objects, it configures an abstract notion, that is, a “scheme of meanings (...) that does not consider all the concrete conditions of its realization”[xxv]. Therefore, like every abstract notion, it operates an emptying. What kind of emptying is this, in the particular case that concerns us, and what is its epistemological meaning, that is the question. We are meaning, of course, your orientation towards the cancellation of certain meanings. We are referring exactly to his way of privileging or ignoring dimensions of reality. Not being a formal concept of a mathematical type, it is important to know, in order to understand its particular emptying capacity, what kind of abstraction it is.

“Today, the positivist conception of natural law is currently considered scientific data, understood as an expression of certain phenomenal empirical uniformities, which says nothing about the concrete reality underlying these appearances”[xxviii]. In this conception, the starting point of the analysis is “any typical concept or the detailed description of the appearance to arrive at an invariance”[xxviii].

The methodological terrain of the concept of totalitarianism is exactly this.

And it is up to realize, in the specific case of the concept we are dealing with, that it is at the same time a typical concept and a notion obtained by empirical saturation. In other words, it is a generalization of appearances that “coincides” with a significant clot not generated by the phenomenal field placed for analysis. It is this “coincidence” that seems highly significant to us. It should be noted that as a typical concept, as a significant clot, it summarizes what we have previously tried to show, that is, a concept determined by negative definitions of the values ​​that make up the liberal conception of power; and while empirical description is an invariance scheme resulting exactly from the agglutination of the phenomenal traits that illustrate the first. Which is evidently not a coincidence, but a relationship of subordination. Given the infinity of empirical data, of appearances that the nazi-fascist phenomenon offers the observer, it remains clear that the capture effected by the concept of totalitarianism is oriented from the beginning. The concept of totalitarianism, therefore, is a generalization of appearances, related to different concretes from which, by non-empirical force, certain characteristics were abstracted without justification, among which exactly those that would make phenomenal similarity irrelevant and confusion of the two impossible. concrete facts, thus radically reducing the scope of generalization.

We did not discover anything new in showing that the capture of empirical data is not an innocent operation, nor that this lack of “purity” is a privilege of the concept of totalitarianism. By indicating the subordination that exists between the two genetic sources of the concept we are not simply unmasking a flawed operation, but pointing out the ambivalence of the concept. On the one hand, it is an “explanation”, on the other, a template for capturing empirical data; bifrontism that is characteristic of the idea of ​​a model.

The concept of totalitarianism is, therefore, a model, and not a formal notion, since it is not an empty scheme, but a framework of privileged contents: a part of the appearance of the concrete, to which the quality of essence is conferred.

Supposedly essential schema, an invariance governed by abstract general laws, it gives the impression that it offers a neutral form of investigation, valid for use in any case.

In fact, it is not a form that opens up to the diversity of reality, but an abstraction that closes itself precisely to this diversity, imposing a homogenization on the concrete that dissolves it. It is a "form" that only has elasticity to contain materials of the same type of which it itself is formed.

Hence, the formalist tendency of his analysis is expressed by an emptying of contents, yes, but of determined contents, exactly those that would deny, that would completely challenge his analytical pretensions. It really constitutes an arbitrariness of procedure that, not respecting the levels of abstraction, imputes to a minimum understanding a power of maximum determination.

In a word, it is a “form” that closes itself off to the concrete, imposes itself on it and, submitting it to the validity of the notion of recurrence that is intrinsic to it, conditions analogical explanations, and opens the pores of its theoretical fabric to the explanatory solutions that emphasize mimetic phenomena.

A line of reasoning of this order is presupposed in order to calmly identify, with “complete rigor”, integralism with fascism.

The classificatory resource that seeks to refine the concept by constituting a typology of totalitarianism, recognizing main branches and subsequently subdividing them, so that, in the part that effectively interests us, we begin to speak of right-wing, left-wing, third-party fascism. world, conservative, revolutionary, rural or many other brothers-in-law with equivalent or similar expressions[xxix], this classificatory resource, we repeat, not only does not refute any of the objections that we present, but, on the contrary, it shows even more their pertinence.

The profiling of this typology reaffirms the characterization of historical-social entities by their reduction to political appearances, taking these as the essential significant node to which is conferred the condition of north of a tracking that is carried out in spite of the modes of production and concrete degrees. their historical development. In other words, the concrete manifestations of what is taken as fascism are captured simply as political phenomena, which uncritically confers to this sphere of reality autonomy of existence and functioning, consequently of explanation.

Such classifications imply that fascism can exist in different modes of production, in different historical formations, having, therefore, an absolute universal character, and not that it is a particular product of a mode of production under specific circumstances.

The classificatory expedient still confuses the ways of being of fascism (concrete manifestations of fascism in different places and times) with particular ways of configurations of power and ideology that do not generally conform with the archetype of liberal democracy. They depart, therefore, from a “previous classification” in which political manifestations are divided between liberals and anti-liberals.

In short, the use of simple or complex classification schemes for fascisms confirms the characteristics of liberal analysis, as the modalities distilled in such classifications do not constitute more than empirical evidence of the idea of ​​totalitarianism, which at best would be an abstract determination. of the relations between law and power, but which is taken as full intellection. These classifications, because they are exactly understood as classifications of a given phenomenon, are the list of variations of that same phenomenon, and not the distinction of different concretes that have common phenomenal traits by which they are not, however, subject to determination.

Hence, classifying an ideology is not explaining it, since identifying its nature necessarily corresponds to referring it to the concrete totality in which it emerges. [xxx]

*J. Chasin (1936-1998), graduated in philosophy from USP (1962), in the 1960s he joined the group led by Caio Prado Júnior around Revista Brasiliense. In the mid-1960s, he founded the publishing house Senzala, and in the 1970s, along with other collaborators, the magazine Human Sciences Themes. In the 1980s he edited the Essay Magazine and created the homonymous publishing house, bringing together a group of activists and researchers under the motto “movement of ideas, ideas in motion”, a Marxist project that was briefly continued as Estudos e Edições Ad Hominem, in the late 1990s. introduction and dissemination of the mature thought of György Lukács in Brazil, as well as that of István Mészaros. His intellectual activity was concentrated on the “rediscovery of Marx” and on the rescue of his ontological lines, as well as on the analysis of the Brazilian reality. He was a professor at the School of Sociology and Politics (1972-76) and then at the Eduardo Mondlane University in Mozambique (1976-78); Upon returning to Brazil, he joined the Department of Philosophy at UFPB, transferring in 1986 to the Department of Philosophy at UFMG, where he established a line of research focused on Marxian studies (editor: Diego Maia Baptista).

Originally published on Magazine Topics of Human Sciences, no. 1. Editorial Grijalbo, São Paulo, 1977.


[I] “What distinguishes totalitarianism politically is (…) the existence of a monopoly state party.” Franz Neumann, Democratic State and Authoritarian State, Zahar Editores, Rio, 1969, p. 269.

Hannah Arendt, in turn, refers to “mon analyze des éléments de la total domination”. H. Arendt, The totalitarian system, Seuil, Paris, .1972, p. 8.

[ii]F. Neumann, Democratic State and Authoritarian State, op. cit., pp. 268 to 270.

[iii]Ibid., P. 270.

[iv]Ibid., P. 268.

[v] “The moral merit, absolute value and essential dignity of the human personality have constituted the fundamental postulate of liberalism”. J. Salwyn Schapiro, Liberalism, Editorial Paidós, Buenos Aires, 1965, p. 12.

[vi]Ibid., P. 14.

[vii]Ibid., P. 13.

[viii]Ibid., P. 13.

[ix]Ibid., P. 12.

[X] “(…) a liberal government, whether in monarchical or republican form, rests on the rule of law, which emanates from a legislative body freely elected by the people.” Ibid., pp. 13 and 14.

[xi]Ibid., P. 13.

[xii] “Almost from its beginnings we see it (liberalism) fighting to oppose political authority, to confine governmental activity within the framework of constitutional principles and, consequently, to seek an adequate system of fundamental rights that the State does not have the power to faculty of invading.” HJ Laski, European Liberalism, Fondo de Cultura Economica, Mexico, 1969, p. 14.

[xiii]Liberalism "has looked with suspicion ... on every attempt to impede, through the authority of government, the free play of individual activities." Ibid., P. 15.

[xiv] “Because what produced liberalism was the appearance of a new economic society at the end of the Middle Ages. As far as doctrine is concerned, it was shaped by the needs of this new society; and, like all social philosophies, it could not transcend the milieu in which it was born.” Ibid., P. 16.

[xv]Liberalism “never could understand — or has never been able to fully admit it — that freedom of contract is never genuinely free until the contracting parties have equal power to negotiate. And this equality is necessarily a function of equal material conditions. The individual whom liberalism has tried to protect is the one who, within his social framework, is always free to buy his freedom; but it has always been a minority of mankind who can afford to make this purchase.” Ibid., pp. 16 and 17.

[xvi]It should be added that such a procedure does not produce, because it emphasizes them, better results in terms of individual and legal knowledge. In our view, its privileging is exactly the manifestation of a path that does not benefit science at any level.

[xvii] “… liberalism (…) always intended to insist on its universal character…” HJ Laski, on. cit., P. 16.

[xviii] “It can be said, in short, that the idea of ​​liberalism is historically blocked, and this inescapably, with the ownership of property. The ends it serves are always the ends of the men who find themselves in this position. Outside this narrow circle, the individual whose rights he so jealously watched over is but an abstraction, on whom the intended benefits of this doctrine could never, in fact, be fully conferred. And because their purposes were shaped by the owners of the property, the margin between their ambitious ends and their true practical effectiveness has been very wide.” Ibid., op. cit., P. 17.

[xx] “…it is possible to confuse or liquidate all historical differences by formulating laws universal human”. Karl Marx, Introduction Générale à la Critique de L'Economie Politique, In ArtworksI, Pléiade, Paris, 1972, pp. 239 and 240.

[xx]Evidently we are talking here about the predominant meaning and use of the concept of totalitarianism. We do not want to dilute nuances, nor fail to recognize that certain differences of meaning are introduced in certain cases, in such a way that one ends up talking about a Nazi-fascist totalitarianism and a Communist or Bolshevik totalitarianism. However, these distinctions are deeply related; also in these cases the construction of the concept basically obeys the scheme that we are presenting. See: Gregório R. de Yurre, Totalitarianism and Egolatry, Aguilar, Madrid, 1962, p. X; JL Talmon, Los Origines de la Democracia Totalitariana, Aguilar, Mexico, 1956, pp. 6 to 8 and 271; LS Schapiro, on. cit., P. 1; let us also mention Karl A. Wittfogel (eastern despotism, Ed. Guadarrama, Madrid, 1956) who, dealing with the hydraulic society, also deals with communism, but does not include Nazi-fascism when using the concept of totalitarianism. However, he does not fail to reveal his inspiring sources by identifying the notion with the idea of ​​“general (state) slavery” (p. 28, the parenthesis is from the original), also listing throughout the work (especially Chapters 4 and 5) the characteristics of totalitarianism in the style of those we find in Neumann. To indicate what we are referring to when we mention Vargas and Peron, the following words suffice: “There is, however, another form of extremism on the left which, like extremism on the right, is often classified under the heading of fascism. That form, Peronism, which is widely represented in the poorest underdeveloped countries,…” Seymour Martin Lipset, The Political Man, Zahar, Rio, 1967, pp. 138 and 139.

[xxx]G. Lukács, Romance Theory, Ed. Presence, Lisbon, p. 20.

[xxiii] “Liberalism had to fight for its survival throughout its history, something that is no less true today. The totalitarian dictatorship, fascist and communist, has been its declared and intransigent enemy wherever it has been.” JS Schapiro, op. quote., P. 7.

[xxiii] “It is not a simple matter of more or less political strength. The difference is one of quality, not quantity. Where power is mainly exercised by traditional instruments of coercion, as in absolute monarchy, its operation is governed by certain abstract and calculable rules, though they are sometimes arbitrarily enforced. Absolutism already contains, therefore, the great institutional principles of modern liberalism. Totalitarian dictatorship, on the other hand, is the absolute negation of these principles because the main repressive organs are not the courts or administrative departments, but the secret police and the party.” F. Neumann, op. cit., P. 270.

[xxv] “For the conception of phenomena, in the form of 'natural laws' of society, characterizes, according to Marx, both the culmination and the 'insurmountable limitation' of bourgeois thought.” G. Lukács, History and Class Consciousness, Grijalbo, Mexico, 1969, p. 193.

[xxiv]JA Giannotti, Notes for a Methodological Analysis of “O Capital”, In Brasiliense Magazine, S. Paulo, no. 29, 1960, p. 66.

[xxv]JA Giannotti, Notes for a Methodological Analysis of “O Capital”, In Brasiliense Magazine, S. Paulo, no. 29, 1960, p. 66.

[xxviii]Ibid., P. 61 (emphasis ours).

[xxviii]Ibid., P. 66.

[xxix] “In current language, the term 'fascism' not only designates the doctrine of fascist Italy, but also that of Hitler's Germany and that of all regimes of more or less comparable inspiration (Franco's Spain, Salazar's Portugal, Péron's Argentina, etc. ). (...) However, it should be noted that this use is very debatable (...). For some years now, the term 'totalitarianism' has been used a lot, especially by Carl J. Friedrich in the United States. The term is comfortable, but it also stems from a debatable assimilation between the 'fascist dictatorships' and the Soviet regime. (…) Although the institutions of the different 'totalitarian' countries are, in many aspects, comparable, with regard to ideologies, the similarities are far from being so manifest. The use of the word 'totalitarianism' leads to the result - which perhaps for some is the objective - of hiding the differences that derive from the very essence of the regime and of suggesting parallels that are not always convincing.” Jean Touchard, History of Political Ideas, Tecnos, Madrid, 1970, p. 608. Cf. also note 20 of this work.

[xxx] This text is part of a set of concerns focused on the analysis of the work of Plínio Salgado, which is the object of our study (Plínio Salgado's Integralism) to be published shortly [Plinio Salgado's Integralism – form of hyperlate capitalism's regressivity, LECH, São Paulo, 1978]. The fundamental purpose of the investigation carried out was to establish the identity of the Plinian ideology, which led us to the distinction between fascism and integralism. The conventional analysis of integralism has always confused the two phenomena, a thesis that was academically enshrined in the work of Hélgio Trindade, using, among other resources, the concept of totalitarianism. The critical observations, related to the concept, contained here, are therefore immediately linked to the requirements of our specific work, thus reflecting the limits in which it was composed. However, without any greater systematic or in-depth pretension, the considerations are worth by themselves and constitute an opening of debate that seeks to contest the explanatory character of the concept that many uncritically attribute to it, and that has motivated many theoretical and practical missteps.

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  • 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
  • Introduction to “Capital” by Karl Marxred triangular culture 02/06/2024 By ELEUTÉRIO FS PRADO: Commentary on the book by Michael Heinrich
  • Hélio Pellegrino, 100 years oldHelio Pellegrino 14/06/2024 By FERNANDA CANAVÊZ & FERNANDA PACHECO-FERREIRA: In the vast elaboration of the psychoanalyst and writer, there is still an aspect little explored: the class struggle in psychoanalysis
  • 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
  • The strike at federal Universities and Institutescorridor glazing 01/06/2024 By ROBERTO LEHER: The government disconnects from its effective social base by removing those who fought against Jair Bolsonaro from the political table
  • 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