Left on the Move Left on the Move Left on the Move

Source: Folha de São Paulo, 17/05/19

Translated by Clara Baeder


The fact will be remembered. The first major national action against Mr. Bolsonaro’s government, which involved demonstrations comparable to those we have witnessed in June 2013, was taken by students in at least 170 cities.

Nothing could be more explicit. There is a youth that, since the occupations of 2011 – passing through 2013, the occupations of the high school students in 2016 and the several mobilizations of the last two years -, appears as the main engine of revolt and discontent.

These are years of constant mobilizations, of capacity for articulation and of clear expression of refusal to the priorities and brutality of the Brazilian State. When Mr. Bolsonaro showed the most primitive face of his violence, calling them “useful idiots”, he ended up showing which is the true enemy number one of his government.

His group knows that there is a generation forged in the fire of the streets that is gradually becoming the collective subject of a possible process of radical transformation. The misgovernment that has taken over the Planalto [the executive branch of the federal government] today has arisen exactly like the desperate attempt to prevent such an emergency from occurring. It will only accelerate it.

Against transformation, the old methods are back. In recent days, we have seen the already predictable flood of fake images of “sexual anarchy” and “turmoil” in schools and universities. Someone should give them books by Wilhelm Reich to read.

Since the 1930s, we know that all fascism mobilizes the resentment of those who do everything to avoid being affected by the circulation of sexuality. As if free sexuality would place the social body in a state of degeneracy and degradation.

For no other reason, the Nazis, besides creating terms such as the famous “cultural Bolshevism”, also created the “sexual Bolshevism” – which this government will quickly resurrect. You bet.

But beyond the affective method via WhatsApp, there is also the “rational” method. It consists of lowering one’s voice and saying: “You see, numbers are numbers. There is no money, but if the pension reform goes through, everything returns to normal. It is during these hours that it becomes clear what the government meant when it turned to the population and called them “idiots”. Because a certain limitation of reasoning is necessary to believe in something of this nature.

First, no one showed any number, no calculation to reach the value of 30% cut in universities. It began by cutting 30% of three universities that were allegedly producing a ” turmoil “, but when it became evident that it was a political pressure against certain university’s presidents, the Ministry of Education came out with the generalization of the cut. As one can see, everything was done with an impressive professionalism.

Second, because the story that growth will come with the pension reform is as certain as the story that the impeachment is enough to immediately reheat the economy or that, by reducing taxes for businessmen, they would return to invest with their “animal spirit”.

You impoverish the population, you take away their rights and securities, you transfer income to sectors that will prefer the safe investment of rentism, you decapitalize the State and then you don’t know why the economy doesn’t grow. That hasn’t worked anywhere in the world and it won’t work here.

Anyway, the game has finally begun. The demonstrations didn’t end on Wednesday. They just started, and with strength. Those who have been on the streets understood that there is no negotiation with this government, that Mr. Bolsonaro does not act as president, but as a gang leader, with logic and manners of a gang leader who seeks to surf the resentment of his recruits.

Brazil’s destiny was to go through a radical polarization. This has been explicit since the 2014 elections. Only one pole had been configured. Now, the second one will come.”

Professor of philosophy at USP, author of “O Circuito dos Afetos: Bodies
“Politicians, Helplessness and the End of the Individual.”

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