August 07, 2017

PCB – Partido Comunista Brasileiro: The calendar and the march of events - notes on the conjuncture and ideology

The calendar and the march of events: notes on the conjuncture and ideology

imageThe bourgeoisie and the petty political bourgeoisie expect salvation by praying to the calendar and the march of events, while the workers want to tear it apart by creating new facts that are capable of freeing time.
"The representatives and represented,
Are confronted with hostility and
no longer understand each other "
There are two striking features of the conjuncture in which we find ourselves: there is a break in continuity between classes and class segments and their political and institutional representations; At the same time, the economic crisis demands a new level of exploitation of the working classes and this is expressed in the need for new political forms.
These aspects affect not only the dominant segments, which compete for the booty resulting from the removal of the elected president, but also about the working class. What until then was the political form of bourgeois sociability becomes narrow to the contradictions that inhabit its content. In general, this framework is expressed in the overcoming of "democracy of co-optation" towards a new institutional and political form that has not yet been fully defined, which some like Felipe Demier call "armored democracy" (see: After the coup: Of the armored democracy in Brazil , Maude, 2017) and others prefer to call it a "state of exception", following Giorgio Agamben ( State of Exception , Boitempo, 2016).
The material basis of the political crisis lies in the economic crisis, but the mediations between the two crises are not easy to establish. The segments and class fractions of the order disagree on the immediate exit and the following paths, although they are in agreement with the essential thing that manifests itself in the reforms against the working class. At such times, dissonance may arise between the representatives in parliament and the government, and the classes they effectively represent.
When Marx dealt with the theme in his classic The Bonaparte Brumaire , he clearly pointed out that the unity made possible under the parliamentary republic, that is, the political form which made it possible for the factions of the French bourgeoisie to live side by side on an equal footing Of rights, "was, in the same way," the only form of State in which the general interest of its class could at the same time subject itself to the demands of its factions in particular and all other classes of society. " P.114). The crisis requires a change of form and puts Parliament against the Constitution.
The intricate game between classes and their representations, so brilliantly described by Marx, does not fit here. But we are interested in a precise description that results from the indecision of the party of order in tearing up the constitution or supporting the president:
"With its decision on the revision, the Party of Order showed that it was not fit to dominate or serve, neither to live nor to die, nor to support the republic nor to overthrow it, nor to maintain the Constitution nor Throw it in the trash, neither to cooperate with the president nor to break with him. Whom did he expect to resolve all contradictions? Of the calendar, of the course of events. "( 18 of Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte , page 120).
Indecisions among political representatives express nothing less than the very contradictions that emerge from the crisis, which in turn demand changes while requiring that nothing change. In the particular case of the conjuncture in which we find ourselves, the party of the order tries to approve the reforms that interest the capital and twists so that they take effect without it is necessary to change the political form in which the representatives operate and have protagonism. Those who operated the coup that culminated in the removal of the president, can not deliver the stability that promised. Some sectors see in Feer's departure the solution, but others bet on its permanence as a condition of stability. Meanwhile, the parliamentary factions of the bourgeoisie conspire against each other.
The dominant block is divided into fractions and these in turn are subdivided into and out of parliament, in our case aggravated by a clash between the state's executive, legislative and judicial bodies. Financial capital, tightening the tourniquet of public spending, asks for bleeding from the public fund; The monopolies require the maintenance of the deregulation, subsidies, forgiveness of debts. Maintaining interest and at the same time reducing them, committing themselves to not increasing taxes and increasing them, opening markets and taking protectionist measures, solving the crisis of insolvency of States and Municipalities, saving allies, ascertaining corruption to whom Hurt and buy the parliamentarians to save the skin of the gang boss. In this scenario, it is as Marx found, also in the eighteenth of Brumaire :
If we were to remain in this aspect, the conjuncture would be marked by a great opportunity for the working classes. However, we are experiencing something similar in the field of the working classes. Democracy of co-optation was based on a class pact in which the working class was kidnapped by the representation that spoke in their name but did not represent their interests. The crisis of cooptation democracy has resulted in a crisis of representation that allows segments of the working class to be captured by the dominant ideology or pulverized into a new seriality.
In a sense, the political expression of cooptation democracy - the petty political bourgeoisie - also awaits the solution of all these contradictions "of the calendar and the march of events." The calendar marks the year 2018 and the march of events indicates for the presidential elections.


On the side of order, the bourgeoisie and its fractions hope that the reforms and adjustments can support the economic recovery and the parties of the order to agree on a viable candidacy. This feasibility faces a main problem: the candidacy of Lula, who appears ahead in all the researches. Exactly so the order hopes to make it legally impossible, even at the cost of a procedural contortionism like the sentence of the paladin of Curitiba.
On the side of the old governing forces, all hope is played in the resumption of the presidency by the election of Lula. And here's the problem to the left. It seems that the price for this resumption would be the reissue of the pact, clearly indicated by Lula's own statements, as in the interview with Valor Econômico newspaper in which the former president affirms that he can maintain the reforms approved in the Temer government in the name of stability. Also in the National Meeting of the PT the former president after saying that he will return to rule Brazil asks that a parliamentary majority be elected, because otherwise alliances will be necessary.
This is where ideology operates decisively. Ideology, among other things, is a mediation between the subjects and the real. A kind of filter of signifiers that welds a series to make sense of existence. As in the movie Matrix (1999) in which humans are attached to the machines as stacks to be sucked, but interact with a program that maintains the appearance of normality. No one would wake up in the morning and strive to get the time to be exploited, to have their labor force expropriated in the name of the extraction of more-value. We do this to "work," an honest way to "earn a living" and a legitimate path of "social ascension."
Here ideology functions as a rationalization. The whirlwind of events breeds insecurity and a solution appears like a boat in a storm ... the people will elect the new president. A supposed journalist on a radio "just touching the news" said that despite the crisis the good side is that the institutions are working, the constitution is being respected and democracy has not been broken, different from what happened in 1964. In short, the The storm strikes us violently, but we are safe in a boat called democracy piloted by the pirate who sank the ship we were on and called ... democracy. It would be good to look at what is out of focus that ideology chooses as the center.
The bourgeoisie does not believe in the election as "popular sovereignty", so much that it surrounds a whole series of conditions so that a true popular sovereignty is not established. From private campaign funding, party structure, electoral legislation to casuistry such as partisan reform and the judicial farce that can lead to Lula's arrest.
In Lula's case things are a bit more complex. We could agree that Lula is in a position to win the 2018 elections and resume the presidency, and that would be a defeat for the conservative segments that today defend the Temer government. This possibility must go through a difficult test, since the elections will take place in a very different scenario if we compare with the last lawsuits, both regarding the fact that the PT has lost the position of government, the anti-artist hysteria forged in society, the Financing difficulties and necessary alliances. However, let's just say as a hypothesis to continue the reasoning, that there is an electoral density that can counterbalance these contrary aspects. Is defeating the coup forces the only one that matters at the moment?
Win for what and with what program? Based on what alliances and with what commitments? These questions become relativized and are treated as a nonsense in the face of evidence: Lula is the only one who can electorally face the coup. I believe the problem lies precisely in this "evidence."
We are faced with a reluctant behavior. Let us remember. Lula and his tendency lost the dispute in the 8th National Meeting of the PT (1993) to the left. At the time, it was said that Lula was evidently the presidential candidate, but that the left could influence its course with the majority in the party. That is not what happened. The minority group in the Meeting created instances outside the party and directed the more general sense of the campaign and the program and then retake the party leadership directly without dismantling the parallel instances built around the so-called "Citizenship Institute", today significantly renamed " Squid".
We could give several examples of this behavior in which the collective will of the party yielded to the charismatic leadership of its leader. We prefer, however, to go back a bit in history for the genesis of this process.
The strikes and the formation of Lula and PT
In the 1978 and 1979 metallurgical strikes in the São Paulo ABC, the constant threat of intervention in the union - which in fact occurred in the strike of 1979 and later in 1980 - was under the workers. In preparation for the 1978 strike, the organization of Based in Scania, and this was generalized in the preparation of the 1979 strike through an intense agenda of factory meetings (Rainho and Bargas, Workers' Struggles and Trade Unions of the Metallurgists of St. Bernard . The risk of intervention was considered, as well as the experience of the 1978 strike and the difficulty of following the deadlock for longer, leading to two fundamental initiatives: the establishment of a "salary commission" and a Strike Fund.
What matters here is that both initiatives gave a collective character and entrenched union action in the category as a whole, facing excessive centralization. However, there was no loss of control of the union, as shown by the claim by the "union delegate" and not by the factory committee that appeared more autonomous. The real control of the working mass that was raised was, without a doubt, the leadership of Lula as proof the intervention of March 22, 1979 when Lula is removed from the direction of right, but continues being the direction of fact. The same happened in the 1980 metallurgical general strike that in addition to the intervention led the majority of the union's board of directors and others to be arrested by the DOPS and included in the National Security Law, among them Lula, who was imprisoned from April 19 to 20. May 1980.
There is something very interesting here. The process that has developed since 1978 puts the class in motion through an organization - the union - which measures forces against the dictatorship and confronts it through the strike. The dictatorship attacks by intervening in what was supposed to be the center that kept it in a defiant posture - the union - but the struggle continues. The class has a strength in itself and in its struggle process, including creating new forms that act beyond union boundaries, such as the Strike Fund, which not only collected food to overcome the difficult 30 days mark with the Salaries, but went to the neighborhoods, the places of housing, amealando solidarity of broad sectors of the city and society.
At this point, consciousness meets ideology. The class consciousness that germinated there in the outlines of a consciousness itself could not see itself as the source of its force, it still projects itself to something outside it, first in an institution and then in a leader. The result of this externalized objectification of consciousness is its estrangement, so that the strength of the class appears as the strength of the leader. What was called for in the assemblies held outside the union, which brought together six to eight thousand workers, both in 1979 and in 1980, was Lula's return.
In 1979, when the famous 45-day truce was negotiated during which the metalworkers' party was to be negotiated and the union resumed, a number of companies broke the agreement by laying off workers (350 workers were dismissed), discounting days off or employing a series of Other measures of pressure (such as the Volks, where the buses were suspended at 2:20 am to force workers to work overtime until 5:30). In several factories these threats were faced by workers who folded their arms and stopped production until they reversed the bosses' blackmail.
We must not ignore the impasse in a strike, the difficulties in continuing a standstill and the political necessity to resume the union, but let us pay attention to the structure of the reasoning that justifies the vote on the end of the strike, in Lula's words in 1979: "I would like to Ask the worker, if you want to give me a vote of confidence and to the union board: they would approve this agreement that is very bad. But we must fight for the return of the union's board "(Rainho and Bargas, op cit, p.238).
The force that sustained the struggle and resumed it in 1980 to change the correlation of forces of the opening process that would follow was that of the working class. There is no denying the role of their leaders and institutions in which resistance and union struggle were organized, including the charismatic leadership of their greatest leader, Lula. However, the leaders express, in their action, the class strength, not their own. What would happen if a leadership came to believe that this force is his and not the class expressed in it? Well, the first consequence is that the class becomes a means to realize the leader's interest and not a means to realize the interest of the class.
History is an arsenal of examples. Stalin defeated the Nazis. No, those who defeated the Nazis were the Russian people, fearless soldiers, extremely capable generals and their command in the Soviet State. Lenin made neither the Russian Revolution nor Trotsky. As much as admire these two leaders and their political capacity, the force capable of destroying tsarism and take the first steps towards a socialist transition was the Russian working class in alliance with the peasantry. The Bolshevik vanguard, the Soviet instances and then the Soviet State are expressions of this constituent force of all revolutionary change. When a class in the process of its constitution as such is objectively in institutions, organizations and individuals outside in, it always runs the risk of alienating these objectifications,


Let's get back to the juncture. We have three intentions that dispute the meaning of the "march of events". The block of the bourgeoisie and its allies; The political petty bourgeoisie displaced from the government; the workers.
The bourgeois bloc, as we have said, is unified in the necessity of reforms against the workers, but is divided on who should govern and on the scale of the necessary political reform. The line of discord seems to be whether or not the depth of political reform should eliminate current mediations, ie the major bourgeois parties (PMDB, PSDB, DEM, PT, etc.) and seek new ways.
The petty bourgeoisie wants to return to government, and for this purpose it operates essentially on two fronts: to reunify its social base, which would allow it to maintain the electoral force, and to rebuild its base of alliances, which in the past assured the governability under the reign of Democracy of co-optation. Therein lies its contradiction, for in order to secure the first task, it must present itself against the reforms, and in order to achieve the second, it must make a commitment to maintain them. The PT has done this before, with Lula in 2002 and Dilma in 2014, but it seems that the space for this is diminishing. The solution lies in charismatic leadership. The masses do not have to agree with what he does, but believe in him and the premise that what he will do will be "in his name." It's an invitation, you see, to vote for a "bad deal," but we need to get back in the government.
The destiny of the defeated and serialized working class is to be represented by one of two alternatives: either to support the bourgeois order, partly by manipulating the fight against corruption or the "danger of petism"; Or to maintain their alienated representation in the politics of class conciliation of the petty bourgeoisie. The only way for workers to overcome the stage that Marx pointed out in his 18th Brumaire - that is, "they are not able to represent themselves, and therefore need to be represented." (P. On the scene with their own strength.
It is precisely at this point that the question of the program is essential, because it allows us to go beyond appearances and bring up class interests: the bourgeoisie wants and needs reforms, moreover, points to the need to improve the Bourgeois State by overcoming Current "democratic" form; The petty bourgeoisie wants to return to government, the reforms are secondary and the political form of the Bourgeois State is the limit of its boldness, wants to regain its democratic form; The workers are against the reforms and need to fight them, their political will can not be expressed in the current form of the Bourgeois State.
The left dilemma is that it expresses the seriality of the defeated class and not the possibility of its new merger. It has an obligation to present programmatically the class interests of the workers, with independence and autonomy from the bourgeoisie and the petty bourgeoisie, but their efficacy depends on the actual movement of the class. If it is captured by the hegemony of class conciliation, the left tends to isolate itself. Some celebrate it bizarrely as they dig a little deeper into the pit into which they are buried.
The solution of the petty bourgeoisie implies the sacrifice of workers' interests, but it can be the way to solve the problems of the bourgeois block. It can only impose itself on the defeat of the pretensions of the petty bourgeoisie and the workers, but it has the strength to do so, since it has the Bourgeois State at its disposal. The petty bourgeois bloc can not impose itself, without the alliance of classes with the dominant bloc and without the passive support of the popular bloc. After all, it does not have its own autonomous strength, since it has abdicated a popular governability. The workers, while hijacked by the hegemony of the political petty bourgeoisie, do not express their own strength either. They depend only on their own strength, it is true, but they still believe that they depend on everything but on themselves. They could only present themselves as a force of their own in a field of struggle different from the electoral scene, because it requires a class fusion that surpasses its current seriality, going beyond the old forms and generating others open to the future and not as pale echoes of the past. This only arises in the struggle, inevitably within the instituted order, but beyond the established limits as we have seen in 1979 and 1980.
For the former, it was a question of first defeating Dilma, and then ... For the latter, it is a question of first defeating Temer, then ... For the workers, the aftermath is the destruction of limited labor rights, welfare reform, and Withdrawal from the public fund. The next is Rafael Braga and all our brothers rotting in prison as competent lawyers and judges release one by one the ruling scoundrel.
That is why the bourgeoisie and the petty political bourgeoisie expect salvation by praying to the calendar and the march of events, while the workers want to tear it apart by creating new facts that are capable of freeing time.
Mauro Iasi is an adjunct professor at the School of Social Service of UFRJ, a researcher at NEPEM (Nucleus of Marxist Studies and Research) at NEP May 13 and a member of the PCB Central Committee. He is the author of the book The Dilemma of Hamlet: The Being and Not Being of Consciousness (Boitempo, 2002) and collaborates with the books Rebel Cities: Free Pass and the demonstrations that took the streets of Brazil and György Lukács and human emancipation (Boitempo , 2013), organized by Marcos Del Roio. Collaborate for the Blog of Boitempo monthly, on Wednesdays.

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