BRAZIL - "The liberal democracy died, the class pact collapsed"

Following we document an Interview which the newspaper "An Nova Democracia" hold with the Brazilian philospoher Vladimir Safatle. We think it is an good contribution to forward the struggle against liberal influences on the democratic and revolutionary movement today.

Interview with the philosopher Vladimir Safatle:

"The liberal democracy died, the class pact collapsed"

Jailson de Souza, November, 2019

AND’s office received the philosopher, professor Vladimir Safatle, for an interview on the national political situation. The professor was clear and concise by defining the old democracy as something dead, collapsed. For Safatle, this political regime of class conciliation, ( that comes up as a “result of fear that the working class deserted capitalism and entered another way” – in the professor’s words), dies and in its place the one which can fulfil the task of operating the old order is the extreme right-wing. He analyses that probably what one can see in the future is “ an authoritarianism genuinely open”. In this regard, a rupture is necessary or, in his words,: “The revolutionary left-wing needs to get ready for those scenarios”.

AND: What do you think about the pessimistic effects that the 2013 events had among the parcels of the intelligentsia?

Vladimir Safatle: The 2013 events are really a milestone in the polical life of the country, a turning point. One can perceive clearly, depending on the position before the protests in 2013, who is within a process of opening for other forms of social experience and those who have a very defensive vision to preserve the same social, economic and political management model implemented in a more or less equal measure since the end of the military dictatorship. I have always defended that we were playing at that moment the coming chapters of the national history and that there was no reason for fearing the taking to the streets for the population, the more contradictory it could seem, with different forces since the beginning, because this is absolutely natural. Marx, in the Eighteenth Brumaire, tries to understand how a people’s revolution, in 1848, could create Napoleon III, i.e., how could generate the cynical reinforcement of an imperial power, extremely violent and reactionary. It was similar to 2013. It is a very clear symptom that the Brazilian left-wing did not understand it. Where was the Brazilian left-wing, or its sectors, where were they? They were far away of a possiblity to hear the streets but also far from acting through them. Those demonstrations and their spontaneity express a refuse to follow a current institutional model. This is clear. It is obvious that such a refuse can create different things: a social regression, a proto-fascist hallmark or an effective revolutionary change.

AND: Which are the perspectives for the next elections?

VS: In the next elections the far right-wing – that has detached itself from the right-wing in Brasil – is not afraid of having the ideological debate and it is going to use it. It will transform the next election into a government plebiscite and place the national agenda. And, if the government feels like being the target, it will use its force and attack everybody. I think it is important that the revolutionary left-wing becomes ready for those scenarios.

AND: What do you think of the logic of the present government and how can the left-wing act?

VS: That is not a government, it is a movement. It is not the logic of a government the one in operation, and the central topic is not “see what we are doing” but “see how I cannot govern”. And he says that it is because “the Legislative Power prevents me”. “the Judiciary Power prevents me”, “the bureaucracy prevents me”. Why all of this? Because he wants to disassemble the rest and have an absolute power. By the way, that was the fundamental logic of the Italian fascist State. In Italy, concretely, up to the middle of the 1930s, the government had tiny economic results and which was the fundamental logic? The State does not permit us to govern. In this respect, of course, the lefgt-wing answer has to be a different one.

The hegemonic sectors of the Brazilian left-wing are not prepared to act at this very moment in which it is necessary to work in different fronts. Even the groups that actuate are still minority ones. We have a country with a large energy, present at all moments. There are great demonstrations, spontaneous ones that network without a group behind but there is something missing to reverberate. The Brazilian people have not left the streets since 2013, that makes six years at this current pace but that does not have produced any accumulation so far. What does not mean it cannot happen; however we must think why the irreversible process for the consolidation of an achievement does not occur. This is a central question.

AND: What are the perspectives for the mass struggles for Brasil and the world?

VS: We have been living moments of great people’s insurrections all over the world. Chile, Ecuador, Lebanon, Iraq, France – where a true trench battle has been fought for more than a year, with demonstrations every week -, and these insurrections tend to spread out. Brasil is a powder keg. And this happens because it has been submitted to an economic primary type exploitation. The considerable pressures recover logic of the primitive accumulation with the degradation of salaries and the deepening of archaic work processes, deterioration of the legal structure for defence of the work to the level of destroying the opportunity to retire for 60 million persons. All this shows clearly that this general situation is unbearable.

Imagine that nothing will occur in Brasil is to mistake again as in 2013. In 2012 everybody said that the country was a “sea of tranquility”. They affirmed: ”everything is calm”, “we are the BRICS country”, with ”a sound economy”, “income distribution”, the old story of “the fifth economy of the world” and that “the World Cup would modernize our cities”, the progress at last! And what occurred? Everything comes down, everything collapses. And the government left-wing until now did not understand and did not analyse its capacity for answers at all.

AND: In your opinion can this old democracy we see all over the world survive?

VS: This liberal democracy we see is a result of the end of the World War II. After that an agreement was made. It was said to the working classes: you play electorally and we assure you a certain social upliftment – a certain! -, and for the other side it was said: you play electorally and permit such a social upliftment. This was called “ The Welfare State” or “something in the horizon”. It was the result of a fear the working class deserted the capitalism and entered in another path. It was at this time the struggles took place as on May, 1968 – where many victories of the French working class happened -, workers’ struggles and the social and institutional chaos in Italy, among others.The social welfare came up after this and it was sold as the perfect management system for the future, as if there were no more impoverishment and, consequently, the Marxist logic would be overcome that capital can only be developed with the extreme impoverishment that takes to the class struggle. Many thoughtAND: In your opinion can this old democracy we see all over the world survive, that this was exceeded and, by the way, it was false because the social welfare was colonial, supported economically in the colony’s, immigrants’ oppression and exploitation. It was as follows: rights for the national workers and barbarism for the “colonised”.

This model has collapsed and it collapsed by the hands of the neo-liberals. It was a system of pacts and, when the neo-liberals make them, they do it to break the pacts and really do it. Such a thing gradually creates a detachment of the most impoverished sectors of the society under this State structure and it explodes now. When the neo-liberals are back in full force, in the 21st century,they cannot operate with this expectation system. They need to operate in the fear and, if this happen, the extreme right-wing operates better and that is why it rises. Therefore, the liberal democracy died; it cannot exist anymore, it cannot operate its deals.

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