Brazil: Police repression provokes the anger of youth

4 posts / 0 new
Last post
Brazil: Police repression provokes the anger of youth
Printer-friendly versionSend by email

The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: Brazil: Police repression provokes the anger of youth. The discussion was initiated by jk1921.
Below is the discussion so far. Feel free to add your own comments!

A good piece that shows that

A good piece that shows that there are now simultaneous struggles taking place in 1.) One of the so called BRICS, which is supposed to show the way forward for the world economy and 2.) The Middle East's major "Islamic democracy" held up as a example that all other countries of the region should aspire to.

There are a couple of problems here though. I realize there are issues of translation, but here goes:

1.) I am not sure that the struggles "prove" the bankruptcy of capitalism, the way the article claims. They prove that people are willing to struggle, but I don't think this an objective measure of the health of the economy.

2.) I am a little concerned about the way we use the concept of "totalitarian." The article claims that a democratic state structure encourages the population to "identify with the state." But isn't this precisely what totalitarian societies are all about? (re: Reich's Mass Psychology of Fascism). Totalitarianism requires a certain level of participation of the population in their own oppression. In a totalitarian state you are not only afraid of the police, but also your own relatives, because they may turn you in at any moment.

On the contrary, I think what a democratic state does is that it allows an ideological division of labour that encourages part of the population to identify with the state, while encouraging another part to hate it--posing the false alternative of the "social state" vs. the "free market." This strategy is being played to the hilt in the USA right now (and most of the central democratic countries), where half of the population is encouraged to hate the state as by its very nature totalitarian (take away our guns, tax us to the hilt to pay for indolents and scroungers, etc.), and the other half is told to defend the state as the last bastion against a Wild West everyman for himself hell on Earth.

This is a minor point, but I think it raises bigger question about what we mean by "totalitarian." Are we talking about the absorption of civil society by the state? Or are we talking about something like what Reich meant as the overcoming of dissent by incorporating the population into its own oppression?

An excellent and cheering

An excellent and cheering article in which we see many younger people fighting a repressive bourgeoisie. (Aren't all bourgeoisie's repressive by nature?)  The Public Prosecutor was prevented from getting home quickly  by the crowds of protestors, so we read. In his anger and frustration  - after all this is a man of some importance - he expressed regret that the days when a "rubber bullet in the back" would have helped resolve the situation were over, and declared all the protestors to be shits! It takes one to know one I guess!  


The protestors wanted free transport for all.  Not a good demand says the Brazilian ICC as capitalism can't actually cough this one up without imposing higher taxes. And in this famously rich BRIC that can't  be done anymore. The Brazilian comrades write: 



As we know, this movement has attained a national scale because of the capacity for students and high school pupils to mobilise against the fare increases. However, it is important to bear in mind that the medium and long term aim of the mobilisation was to negotiate free transport for the whole population, to be provided by the state. And this is exactly where we see the limits of the main demand, since universal free transport cannot exist in capitalist society. To provide it the bourgeoisie and its state would have to further accentuate the exploitation of the working class by increasing taxes on their wages. We have to recognise that the struggle can’t be one for an impossible reform, but should rather be aimed at forcing the state to back down.

   But couldn't it be argued that with barbarism all round us, demanding anything that the state can actually grant as a reform is a waste of time anyway. For a state "to back down" over some trivial issue, only hides momentarily the fact that no bourgeois state is any longer  fit to rule, or able to rule (if you discount repression as a form of rule ) and has no interest at all in the supposed rights, well-being, or material conditions of existence of those it exploits. As the Public Prosecutor said: You,  the exploited, are all just shits anyway!   So we won't get any reforms now, we'll just get flushed away, down the sewers.   That "universal free transport cannot exist in capitalist society" as the comrades point out, immediately raises the question of why not, and why are we demanding it if it can't be done, and under what different conditions can we get what we want?  The answer of course is obvious once you've posed the question.   We don't need the bourgeois state "to back down" but to be forceably removed and replaced with a quite different and humane dictatorship, a step on the road to communism. I have no doubt that this idea occurred to more tha a few of our struggling young comrades in Brazil.  And thank the comrades for this stimulating article.      

I'll second that Fred

They are not fit to rule: they have no solutions.

And I too am encouraged by these reports: the brutal attempts to 'contain' a specific economic demand/refusal in this case failed spectacularly leading to the 'apparently sudden' spread of awareness beyond the sparkplug of this economic demand igniting an explosion of at least a mass 'glimpse' perhaps of the much deeper fundamental political demand at issue: the class demand : 'to re-appropriate what has been stolen from it'.

The writers cautions with regard to that most insidious source of mystification -the Left Wing of Capital- are most urgent. All the powers of all the Bourgeois Oppressors and their propaganda machines still close ranks when a real threat is detected.

Thus the reports of 'refusenik' journalists who side with the refusers is relevant.

jk : I understand your two concerns: to be wary of the traps inherent in false distinctions and lack of clarity with powerful ideological words like 'totalitarian': and your question as to whether a reading of 2,000 on the 'protestometer' 'proves' a similar inverse reading on the 'declinometer'.

I don't quite see it like that : I'll sort my thoughts before posting on that ( for once )surprise