a peaceful revolution



The defining expression of Lula’s campaign is “participatory democracy”

Elections tend to tame dissatisfactions and impose an aseptic language on candidates nominated for executive instances and senatorial representations. The urgency to fish for votes in all social classes forces the pasteurization of vocabulary and the de-ideologization of messages. Poor voters, who have to learn the content of words that are repeated in speeches with antagonistic signs in the electoral spectrum: rule of law, democracy, market, freedom, sustainability, public policies, incentives for production, tax reform, participation, etc.

In the National Congress, the emblematic Centrão enlists physiological parties that tend to follow the “captain of the bush” in capturing privileges and secret prebends, in the polls. There are dozens of parties, along the lines of acronyms for rent. It is found, from bizarre proposals to serious things, such as the redistributive taxation of great fortunes, on the shelf of occasional offers. To please / confuse the electorate, propositions disconnected from any ideopolitical praxis are aired. Personalism prevails in negotiations. Reminds me of airport windsocks.

Environmental themes under the bias of a “green capitalism” and the diversity of sexual orientation in the perspective of a “progressive neoliberalism” can be, and are, swallowed by the status quo Gender and race equality became cheap advertising to mask the internal reproduction of prejudices in business mega-corporations. “The market pretends inclusion through pieces of marketing, but it does not effectively deliver results”, reads in the recently released The Meritocratic Fiction: Brazilian Executives and the New Capitalism (EDUENF), organized by Fabrício Maciel.

It is worth noting that capitalism is capable of absorbing patriarchal (sexist) and colonialist (racist) denunciations, unlike previous systems. In response, a philosopher with an audience in May 1968 preaches “political and moral radicalism”, with actions of “solidarity” between the subjects of the transformation of bourgeois society (parties, movements, urban/rural workers, intellectuals and students). It is necessary to “awaken and organize solidarity as a biological necessity to keep us together against inhuman brutality and exploitation: that is the task”, says Herbert Marcuse, in One-Dimensional Man: studies in the ideology of advanced industrial society (1964). In the classic metaphor, against the hypocrisy of the “big house” it is necessary to oppose the organic alliances of the “slave quarters”, such as the Landless Workers Movement (MST), the Homeless Workers Movement (MTST), the Solidarity Economy cooperatives that contemplate the precariat and the formidable Lula Livre Vigil held during 580 days of brotherhood, in Curitiba.

Politically, separating the wheat from the chaff in the 2022 election, the issues that raise the flags of the left field, and are protected from the ruses of the neoliberal chameleon, concern: (a) the repeal of anti-labor legislation embedded in neoliberalism of attacks on rights of the working classes, with a view to outsourcing and the precariousness of work, to build a strategy of accumulation with the increasing distance of millions of people from the official economy; (b) the repeal of the “expenses cap for twenty years”, approved during the government of coup leader Michel Temer, which hijacks the possibility for the people to access the Union budget through electoral processes and cancels the citizen dimension of economic development, with employment and income distribution; (c) the repeal of the privatist dismemberment of Petrobrás, Pre-Salt and Eletrobrás, polished in the government of the destructive Jair & Guedes with the grammar of the ruling classes to, once again, revert the nation into the commercial warehouse of foreign powers thanks to the complex of mongrel.

The set of problems, above, structures the program proposed by the “Frente Juntos Pelo Brasil”. The auspicious Fordist promise of producing the conditions for a “consumer society” accessible to the majority in central countries, through the semi-proletarianization of households that combined male employment and female domestic toil, remained in the past. In peripheral countries, yesterday and today, a myriad of available activities and goods are beyond the reach of the population. Impoverishment brings the lower middle class closer to entrepreneurial informality. The “industrial reserve army” surpassed the imperium romanum in the West. It is not by chance that iFood and Uber have become the companies that employ the most, although they do not assume the obvious employment relationships. The dialectic of urbanization with deindustrialization spreads misery and hunger.

Among expressions with expropriated semantics and those that escape fate, there are those prohibited from circulating due to the “watchdogs” that operate the media. Starting with the one who attends intelligentsia, not the platforms – “capitalism”. The term has pejorative connotations in Germany (ordoliberal). The Germans prefer a euphemism like “market society”, to avoid the burden inherited from the Das Kapital (1867). In English-speaking (neoliberal) places, people drink without moderation and without the shame of perversely delivering important human demands to the market. Therefore, the vaccine patent was not broken in the coronavirus pandemic, which would have saved countless lives. And the daily productive chores are not balanced with family life, leisure and entertainment.

The market already existed in pre-capitalist societies, not with the tendency to turn everything and everyone into commodities. It will continue to exist in post-capitalist societies, with regulations to guarantee the stability of the economy against crises, such as that of 2008, and curb interclass inequality. Moreover, without private ownership of the means of production. Associating the market with capitalism gives the impression that the timelessness of the former is shared by capital, an interpretation without historical foundation. In the United States, the Board of Education in Texas went so far as to order history textbooks to stop referring to "capitalism" and use "the free enterprise system." As ridicule does not pay taxes, it is used and abused.

The “school without a party” and the homeschooling, accused of bad faith, are appendages of cognitive denialism contrary to scientific and university knowledge. It goes hand in hand with affective denialism, without empathy with the suffering of crowds excluded from the right to subsistence, and political denialism that undermines, from within, republican institutions in the direction of the Orwellian dystopia, under an illiberal regime. The violence that targets the guardian of the Constitution, the Federal Supreme Court (STF), is loaded with the noisy and cowardly symbolism of neo-fascism, heading towards barbarism.

There is no innocence in the gesture of those who tear down the bust of Stalin in Eastern Europe, the anti-racists who demolish the statue of pioneer Borba Gato in the South Zone of São Paulo and the militiamen who break the Marielle Franco sign in Rio de Janeiro. Signs cover up meanings and provoke reactions, from left to right. “One of our main servitudes is the crushing divorce of mythology and lore. Science takes its quick and direct path (decoding the symbols); but collective representations are centuries behind, stagnant in error due to power, the big press and the values ​​of order”, writes Roland Barthes, in mythologies (1957)

Same word “neoliberalism” is used sparingly. It never appears on television, it is disguised as “liberalism” made synonymous with freedom in customs and ideas, a meaning influenced by American culture. The founders of the movement (Friedrich Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, Milton Friedman) used the designation to distinguish themselves from the old liberals, who barely and poorly tried to reconcile the “free market” with thin and shallow concerns of “social protection”.

We are linguistic beings, welcomed by true consciousness or attacked by false consciousness in locutions. It is advisable to bend the tongue, according to the politically correct. Juarez Guimarães is right when he points out the responsibility of each entry in politics: “To read the neoliberal dictionary is to gain awareness of the forms of domination and exploitation of contemporary capitalism”.

Ideologically, the strong expression of the ongoing campaign certainly refers to “participatory democracy”. It is about valuing and trusting the (dialogical) method, more than the generosity of utopias and utopians, to circumvent the authoritarian and totalitarian destiny of finalisms with forceps. The experience of “really existing socialism” (sorex) left a trail of skepticism that now leads to prioritizing the methodology for exercising collaborative power, rather than the caricatured figure of a powerful lighthouse to light the way through the stones , in rough seas.

The institutionalization of conflicts, however, should not imply the domestication of politics. Live and learn. Learning is creating. Participatory democracy recovers the emancipatory power of politics because it unveils, in practice, the subtleties of language by replacing technocratic decisions with popular sovereignty – a peaceful revolution towards the democratic and participatory rule of law.

* Luiz Marques is a professor of political science at UFRGS. He was Rio Grande do Sul's state secretary of culture in the Olívio Dutra government.


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