A government of destruction

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By PRAXIS GROUP*

Manifesto in defense of education, teaching and public research in Brazil

Education, teaching and public research in Brazil give voice to their indignation against the current political situation. Convinced of the power of transformation of their forces and the soon overcoming of the continuously destructive shock of democratic institutions, since 2016, they stand up and assume their task of reflection and action.

At the beginning of his mandate, the citizen now in the Presidency of the Republic, said that his mandate would serve to deconstruct and "undo a lot". Let's face it, several aspects of the country's public life were victims of this destructive frenzy. None of them escaped his rage, not one.

It can be said, without exaggeration, that the dismantling project began earlier, with the “Bridge to the future” and with the enactment of Constitutional Amendment No.o. 95 (EC-95) that implemented the so-called “spending cap” and turned the country upside down. The dimension of human suffering caused by this Constitutional Amendment greatly extrapolates the numbers and graphs on these economic changes. In a mandatory article, Nelson Cardoso gives an accurate picture of the drop in investments in various public areas.[I]

In Higher Education, Science and Technology, the persistent drop in investments and the contingency of more than one billion reais in the budgets of Universities and Federal Institutes, in May 2022 alone, not counting previous years, leave no doubt: this is an ongoing project that intends to go far beyond the faction that currently runs the government.

The dismantling of other strategic sectors, such as energy, points not only to a government of destruction, but also to an “elite” without a project for the country, without direction or direction, with no other horizon than that of plunder, as has been shown by the excellent Eduardo Costa Pinto.[ii] A synoptic table shows that this dismantling does not respond to a project, but is simple destruction.

On the international scene, this movement to dismantle the liberal order was named by José Luís Fiori the “Babel syndrome”. After the fall of the Berlin wall, the order established by person Americana started to no longer sustain itself. Other global actors, such as China and Russia, played the same game of war as the capitalist interstate economy, conquering territories and carrying out primitive accumulation. Until then, control of this order was restricted to the United States, above any multilateral systems of international bodies emptied of decision-making power.

But since Donald Trump, the US government has set itself up as the chosen people to implement planning aimed at waging war at any time, against anyone who challenges the unilateral exercise of its power. They intend to hold a monopoly on major technological innovations, maintain their global military leadership, “control the production and distribution of energy and use the fight against corruption as an instrument of power struggle against competing countries and companies”.[iii]

The world order is now haunted by a new right that, legitimized by an “anti-system” discourse, allowed itself to destroy the “tower of Babel” and its diffuse values ​​of a fragile democracy. In Brazil and in the world, a regime of implosion, emptying or even annulment of institutions that previously regulated – albeit precariously – economic and social policies took hold.

If this diagnosis is correct, we have a historic responsibility that engages our actions in any sector of public life. This task is all the more difficult because we are facing a historic moment that has produced generalized demobilization and depoliticization, making the challenges of our resistance proportional to the risks we run. Hence the seriousness of the situation. In order to understand, face and overcome it, public education in its various areas of knowledge unites to form Praxis, a national articulation group for higher education. We seek to deal rigorously, in a critical and scientific way, with the multiple themes that make up the current Brazilian situation.

In this way, we will be able to draw a different scenario that will allow us to unravel new trails. Anti-systemic power projects are proving to be increasingly unsustainable. We have survived the biggest health and political crisis thanks to the efforts of a social base guided by knowledge, science and solidarity. The exhaustion of this international anti-systemic order can already be seen with the significant change in political directions in several countries, especially in Latin America. This transformation key results from the mobilization and understanding that allow building something new and democratic.

Public institutions of higher education are not separate instances of the social process. On the contrary, they reflect this process while fulfilling their natural function of tracing courses and guidelines for their transformation. His role goes beyond the limits of simple observation, nor is it restricted to abstract work. His production of knowledge and his interpretation of social and political dynamics end up revealing the sabotage mechanisms of the civilizing process and the dismantling of democratic institutions. In certain historical moments, such as the one we are going through, the critical exercise is not an option or choice. It is inherent in consequent reflection. Likewise, practice is not a result of, but constitutive of, scientific work itself.

The term “Praxis”, which gives its name to this group, reflects the awareness of the interdetermination between theory and practice. It resulted from the growing articulation between different areas and centers of public higher education in an almost spontaneous way. It currently has 34 institutions, distributed in 20 states of the federation. Its events are carried out jointly, coordinated between the participating institutions. It resulted from the inherent vocation of academic work, aimed at deep and rigorous scientific research, always at the service of the dignity of existence and the quality of human life. We are confident that only national unity will reverse the process of degradation of ways of thinking, of the individual and social body, as well as of culture, education and democratic institutions.[iv]

The members of Grupo Praxis sign the text, written collectively.

*Praxis Group is a collective of professors and staff of higher education institutions.

 

Notes


[I] AMARAL, Nelson Cardoso. “Two years of misgovernment – ​​the numbers of deconstruction” – https://aterraeredonda.com.br/dois-anos-de-desgoverno-os-numeros-da-desconstrucao/

[ii] https://youtube.com/c/CanalIEUFRJ

[iii] FIORI, Jose. Luís. “The Babel Syndrome and America’s New Security Doctrine” – https://www.ipea.gov.br/revistas/index.php/rtm/article/view/12/10

[iv] The link to the Práxis Group website is https://sites.google.com/usp.br/grupopraxis/inicio. And for the YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHnqaNqSIFGh5SbEKJn4Nlw/playlists

 

 


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