Life, work and dignity

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By LUIZ MARQUES*

The unification of demands is the key to the future. The organizational issue condenses the possibility of counter-hegemonic construction

Em A brief history of equality, Thomas Piketty reveals: “Until the beginning of the 40th century there was no middle class, in the sense that the 50% between the poorest 10% and the richest 50% were almost as poor (in terms of share of total property ) as well as the poorest XNUMX%. On the other hand, at the end of the XNUMXth century and the beginning of the XNUMXst century, the patrimonial middle class is made up of people who are not immensely rich, but are far from being poor”. Discounting Eurocentrism, we have the Weberian “ideal type” for other realities. Here, the perspective of the general practitioner and not that of specialists on the disease in a particular country is of interest.

Crisis of civilization

After the 1980s, the middle class generic is thrown further into the deep end in Western countries. Children accumulate fewer material goods than their parents once did. In turn, meritocratic ideology is discredited. Furthermore, by persuading winners to consider that their success is a product of their actions and, in defeat, that those above view those below with disdain, it blocks the possibility of class conciliation. This helps explain why those left behind by globalization are resentful and why they are attracted to authoritarian populists. Here is a portrait of the intermediate layers of the capitalist system in our time.

Deindustrialization and job insecurity recreate structural barbarism in the context of cybernetic innovations. On the one hand, the regression spreads social fascism; on the other, it capillalizes political fascism. In 26 of the 27 Legislatures of the European Union nations, the extreme right has seats. In Hungary, Poland and Italy (third economy, behind Germany and France) it has already taken power. Today the specter that haunts the old continent is the opposite of that speculated by socialist utopia.

A crisis of civilization is underway, with the erosion of democracy. A phenomenon that awakens to the need for primordial and unrestrained resilience, to escape the dust. The Schmittian conception separates politics into “friends” vs “enemies” at the national level, and redesigns the international division of labor. Sticking to agriculture (latifundia, monoculture, export) was what the delay wanted in Brazil. Saying that the birth of multipolarity involves nuclear war is not absurd.

Politics presents itself in public exhibitions with spiteful clichés. The values ​​of the Enlightenment – ​​reason, freedom, secularism, science, the motto “dare to know” – are exchanged for dogma. Fatigue with the founding principles of modernity leads humanity to self-destruction and the planet to climate catastrophe. The sovereignty of the people and social participation go to the index.

It is worth remembering Javier Milei's speech when taking office in Argentina. “In the short term, the situation will get worse.” Obvious. Ministries of Environment and Sustainable Development; Work; Culture; Women, Gender and Diversity that met essential modern demands are extinguished. The impoverishment of the middle sectors and the misery of the discouraged deepen fears and insecurity. The signs of a monumental recession are being heard. The country of Jorge Luis Borges allowed itself to be chained by a sociopathic clown, with the tango of anarcho-capitalism. “Long live freedom, man".

Right-wing populism uses “alternative facts,” like the spirit of a dead dog, to lure voters into environments of ethical and cognitive degradation – attacking institutions, per se, in addition to social rights. “Its popular strength depends not on evidence but on sentiment; the essence of post-truth culture”, in the reflection of Matthew D'Ancona, in Post-truth: The new war against facts in times of fake news. The feeling is, simultaneously, one of brain confusion and an absolute lack of awareness about the identity of those responsible for the chaos. The “objective truth” disappears into the drain of demagoguery. The war of all against all shows the failure of the hegemonic social model.

Unify demands

Otherness takes on hostile airs. The collective is pulverized, it becomes a simulacrum. The surplus of imagination fuels necropolitical drives (the uberization of life) and civilizational collapse. Before, commercial windows served as an escape point; now how Big Data they became a cloister. With the dynamics of artificial intelligence (machine learning) the millstones of citizenship are pursued – feminism, anti-racism, anti-homophobia, environmentalism, the left. Instead of revolutionary collective emancipation, personal salvation through Prosperity Theology. The hyperindividualism synthesized in the image of Wall Street Wolf is reproduced in the peripheries.

In the background of the scenario is the financialization of the State and society. The notion of demos (people) is deconstructed. The representation disappears (“It doesn’t represent me”). Loyalty dissipates (“Parties are equal”). Digital networks are transformed into scam advertising for the Selma Festival. The sociopolitical fabric is frayed. Ignorance is monetized by rastaqueras coming out of the sewers in manholes on the world map, with totalitarian verbiage about morals and customs. What to do?

The task of progressives is to defend the banner of egalitarianism and mutual cooperation. In the book forging democracy – the title refers to Hephaestus, “God of the Forge” (technology, metallurgy, weapons, fire) in ancient Athens – Geoff Eley highlights: “Democracy has always been a moving frontier, whose unrealized idealistic projections were as important as actual gains” . Defeats plant seeds where closed fists are born tomorrow, on the asphalt. The epic victory of Lula and the united left in Brazil brought hope back to the hearts of the hopeless.

If parliamentary disputes matter, what flourishes in sociopolitical relations is more decisive. Mass mediation in the public sphere is crucial. The humiliated and offended need to recognize each other in an interclass forum, under a comprehensive slogan: “Life, Work and Dignity”: (i) life, because capitalism does not ensure the survival of humans or any species; (ii) work, because it is the basis of a system that makes labor precarious with neoliberal grammar and; (iii) dignity, because it encompasses the aspirations of all transformative articulations.

The unification of demands is the key to the future. The organizational issue condenses the possibility of counter-hegemonic construction. Hail Lenin. The polarization caused by the pro-fascism movement is fueled by the valorization of the private and the devaluation of the public. If the privatization of existence is the essence of the alienation of individuals; The privatization of urban spaces is the barrier erected against the prospect of conviviality in the diversity of cities. Without the struggles for equanimity and the block in the street, we remain hostages of resentment and hatred under the savage neoliberalism of finance.

The dream didn't die

The worst thing is that we cannot seek comfort in the idea that this is an exceptional circumstance, when the State of exception seems to configure the new normality. As Freud highlights, in Current considerations about war and death, warmongering will not cease “as long as the peoples [and social classes, it should be added, excuse me] live in such different conditions, while they differ so much in the value they attribute to individual life and while the hatreds that divide them represent such intense psychic forces”. Until then, the human beast of this period of imperialist decadence will enjoy the Palestinian rubble in the Gaza Strip, in the metonymic reproduction of Guernica. Our challenge is to deconstruct the history of inequality in the world. The dream did not die.

* 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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