flat earth

Image: Axel Vandenhirtz


The new normal is pure abnormality

In Terra Flata – which is far from being a criterion for making or identifying Brazilians – many crazy situations are immortalized in the form of memes. There are many correlations in all this: cases of psychiatry; refined theories of consciousness manipulation; refined techniques of communication and mastery of mass psychology.

In addition to many other configurations in the political field: a resurgence of fear and social panic (the “fear of violent death”, as Thomas Hobbes would say), with planned anomie that accompany the enormous social misery; many typicalities of fascism, especially criminal ones, which proliferate in times of digital social networks; implosion of social bonds that receive in almost continuous motion the most cruel, disruptive and barbaric effects coming from this phase of eternal crisis of rentier capitalism.

Added to all of this is the fact that, in Brazil and in many other countries, political power itself has abandoned its premise of a constitutional welfare state in order to convert itself into rentier state monopoly capitalism. That is, the rentier State itself withdraws a significant portion of its resources through investments, speculation, in the financial market. A concrete example comes from the mass of dividends collected (in state booty) from Brazilian public companies themselves – such as Petrobrás, Banco do Brasil, BB Seguridade, Caixa Econômica Federal, to name the largest ones – and, thus, converting the income, dividends, into fund electoral system applied to the purchase of votes based on the so-called financial aid (“Auxílio Brasil”).

The consequences are infinite, individual and systemic, as individuals, their families and society suffer, become ill, worsen or die – with the exception of exceptions that confirm the rule of dominus imposed at least since 2016, with the Coup d'Etat. From the 2016 coup onwards, for example, two issues/consequences arise that are legally, politically, systemically interconnected – let’s see a summary, logically arranged:

(i) The Major Premise marks the 2016 Coup d'Etat. Well, how can we assess, safeguard, the Democratic State of Law, if, precisely, we suffer a regressive, repressive and reactive Coup d'Etat to Social Justice?

How to recognize the “full functioning of institutions” if we are still subjugated by the disruptive, destructive forces of Democracy, the Constitution, the Republic, basic sociability – through the culture of social hatred (“fear of violent death”?

If there is no “normality” framework, since the coup d'état against the legitimately sworn-in political forces is still ongoing, what is in force?

(ii) Under the minor premise, we see that state, political, legal, active and opposite (contradictory, antagonistic) conditions prevail in two senses – and equally exceptional.

That is, there is a patent imposition of the State of Permanent Exception (without the urgency and necessity prescribed in articles 136 and 137 of the Federal Constitution of 1988), however, this takes place in an inverted condition, as in the coup bet of a “military intervention ”, within the State and public institutions.

We follow the dissolution of all Public Policies, resilient denialism, in the face of COVID-19 and the hunger that affects 30 million people, in a serious illustration of the fascist apparatus of the State.

(iii) On this side, however, also acting through exceptional resources (extrapolating the Constitution), are the STF and, more visible in the electoral process, the TSE itself. Briefly, both acted (act) under the invocation of a very recent constitutional institute, called the “unconstitutional state of affairs”. In short, it implies acting outside the CF88 so that the humanitarian frameworks, sociability and human dignity are (even if residually) safeguarded and fulfilled.

Of course, this phenomenon – acting accordingly to an exception (exception), fighting another exceptionality of power, to guarantee the exercise of a lapidary rule – it is in itself a type of institutional, societal aberration; on the other hand, it is mandatory to act (institutionally) under the conditions of this logic, in fact, it continues to be the same logic employed by those who invest against, for example, the principle of social non-regression. In other words, it implies seeking equalization of arms, in defense of society. When the Constitution is made into a hyperbole for social decomposition, there are two alternatives: (1) either you settle into the silence of Weimar, which cost more than 50 million lives in World War II, or (2) you employ additional forces to in order to combat post-2 institutional fascism among us.

Specifically, the “unconstitutional state of affairs” begins with the assessment that the public power acts purposefully, insistently – with a view to dismantling the apparatus of containment of abusive, arbitrary, illegitimate, violent, virulent use – so that the appropriate means for a seizure of power by autocratic, authoritarian, dehumanized forces, to aim at full control of the State's legislative and repressive apparatus. The “unconstitutional state of affairs” is, in this way, a “moralizing agent” of the minimum democratic and republican conditions, through the use of exceptional means, instruments and resources: as if we were handling the technique of “fire against fire”, in order to fighting fires by “suffocating the oxygen” in the environment. Or, still: they are political agents with decision-making capacity acting through exception, exactly, to combat the systematic state exception.

Our stage, so to speak, is a new normal. However, just as the celebrated “cordiality” does not come from “cordis”, in the roots and corners of national culture, “our” new normal comes from abnormality. Normality was broken in 2016, convulsed in denials (since 2013), in successive institutional breaks, and hit until the present moment. The resulting abnormality – fascism versus the “unconstitutional state of affairs” – is obvious from any open window that allows a view of the political struggle, in the midst of the class struggle, the struggle for (lost) rights.

Convulsed, the new normal brought very recent chapters: from the rigging of the PRF, congesting highways, preventing the right to vote for thousands of people - followed by the so-called electoral coup -, to the blockades of the same highways by mercenaries paid by reactionary capital and coup. . What lasts until today is an unusual irony, because, in a kind of circus, after the planned siege, rioters of democracy, on the highways, shot the same PRF (engaged in the electoral coup) that intended to remove them from there.

Let's do a simple test: are these episodes, to name two, normal?

Other doubts arise from the “how to do it”, the longevity and the remaining strength of the two contending sides, present in the institutional domain: from 1 the “unconstitutional state of affairs” will cool down, just as the objective of curbing the coup d’état bears fruit and national fascism? Will institutionalized fascism (militarization of the State, at the other or at the same end) return to the barracks and, thus, could sponsors of crimes against humanity, democracy, the rule of law be imprisoned?

Will the “new Republic” that comes after 2023 be able to restore, in a timely manner, that minimum constitutional normality (systemic, organizational, societal) of pre-2016? Or will the “new Republic” – without forces or without explicit political will – belong to the bulge of the old New Republic?

Obviously, these questions are already being asked, as well as the municipal elections of 2024, and also the presidential elections of 2026. These blocks are already on the streets, in a political parade – as much as mercenary fascism will not abandon the roads and cities so easily .

Anyway, what will be the new normal from 2023 onwards?

That's another chapter…that's for another day. As they say, popularly, wisely, "each day its own evil". For now, evil prospers a lot: the only certainty we have, in addition to the binomial fascism x “unconstitutional state of affairs”, is that a lot of struggle will be necessary to recompose the traits of the civilizing process (art. 215 of CF88[1]), minimally drawn and decomposed in 2016.

*Vinicio Carrilho Martinez is a professor in the Department of Education at UFSCar.


[1] “§ 1 The State shall protect the manifestations of popular, indigenous and Afro-Brazilian cultures, and those of other groups participating in the national civilizing process” (in verbs").


The site the earth is round exists thanks to our readers and supporters. Help us keep this idea going.
Click here and find how

See this link for all articles